On the USA drama Suits, Toronto native Patrick J. Adams plays Mike Ross, a former stoner, underachiever, and Pearson Hardman’s newest junior associate. One of New York’s most prestigious firms, Pearson is notorious for hiring exclusively from within Harvard Law’s elite pool of graduates. But despite a knack for acing the LSAT, Ross doesn’t hold a degree from Harvard, or any other accredited legal institution. An exceptional photographic memory allows the college dropout to spew legal jargon alongside Manhattan’s brightest attorneys, but his fraudulent secret is the driving arc behind Adams’ character. We caught up with Adams to talk about what to expect from the second season (premiering tonight) and the path he took to get here.
Did you do anything special to celebrate the start of 2013?
I had a great time. I went up to visit my sister; she basically lives on the edge of the world up in northern, northern, Canada. She threw an end of the world party up there, and lives in a log cabin on this beach in the middle of nowhere with no running water and a windmill for power and everything. So I had this really great five days completely off the grid and we celebrated the end of the world. Then I went to spend some time with my family further south near Vancouver for Christmas, and then flew directly south and went from freezing cold to warm, and spent New Year’s at a yoga retreat in Costa Rica.
Are you a yoga fanatic?
This is not something that I normally do, but I had gotten into yoga pretty heavily this year and I thought it would be fun to go. It was a yoga retreat, so it was obviously sober; nobody was drinking. You’re taking surf lessons, you’re doing yoga every day, and I thought it would be a fun change of pace to ring in the New Year in a really health way. So we went down there and spent a week doing this yoga retreat and learning to surf and hiking and staying warm, so I just got back from that. I think on New Year’s I plunged into the Pacific Ocean under a full moon wearing no clothes, totally sober.
Your Twitter handle and website URL both reference ‘half Adams.’ Is this a nickname?
It was a nickname in college growing up, but I don’t even really remember how I got it. It was right around the time – you know, because I’m so old – when Facebook was coming about and Twitter started, and this whole social media thing was starting to happen. There was some impulse I had early on to engage with the Internet and cyberspace and social media. There was this sense that I wanted to participate, but I didn’t want it to be this full extension of myself. I didn’t want to be like “this is me” on the Web, there was some part of me that always wanted to – both in practice and in name – remain half in, half out.
Over the past year or so, Suits has really found its stride, but I’m interested in hearing about your genesis. When you did your first reading as Mike Ross, did you identify with his character
Totally, one hundred per cent. I think that’s why I got the part. When I read for Mike, it was at a time in my life when I was particularly down. I had just been fired from a job a few months earlier, and was just really feeling like I had made some bad decisions and that this really wasn’t for me, and I didn’t have what it took to succeed in this business. Then I read this script, and it was just instant.
For me, as an actor who had been kicking around L.A. for going on seven, eight years at that point, looking for that job and never having really connected with it – coming close a few times, but never really connecting with it – I got to go into these rooms, which were high pressure and filled with a lot of very powerful, creative, interesting and exciting people, and I got to sit in front of them and say, “This is my time.” I got to say the audition right to them, to say those exact same words, saying, “This is my job, I’ve worked hard for this. I guarantee you I’m ready for it and I will knock it out of the park. There is nobody who’s going to work harder for this,” and it was one of those few times where the words of the scene and the context of it lined up perfectly, and it was the easiest job I ever got.
Onscreen, you seem to have a bit of an issue committing to a relationship with Rachel. Can fans expect Mike to get his act together?
[Laughs] I think that will probably be the whole story of Suits: can Mike get his act together? I think there are going to be a lot of ways that he does and he doesn’t. When it comes to Rachel, in these last six episodes of the season, some stuff obviously moves forward and is dealt with. With Mike and Rachel, there’s definitely some movement – I don’t want to say forward or backward, but there’s movement, and they’ve handled it really, really well. Mike is, at his core, an honest guy, and I think it’s very difficult for him to engage in a relationship with someone if he can’t be completely honest with her. But there’s only so long something like that can remain rational, and I think you’ll see some of that movement in these six episodes.
I know you can’t reveal too much, but can you give us a tiny glimpse into what we can expect in wrapping up Season 2?
Right now, the firm is in this interesting situation where while they’ve sort of survived the attack of Daniel Hardman in that first part of the season, it’s by no means over because the firm is now threatened by a really stung reputation around the city and they’re in a very weakened position. I think it’s already announced that Conleth Hill from Game of Thrones is coming on, so I hope I’m not breaking that news. He’s coming in and Wendell Pierce who’s such a terrific actor from The Wire and Treme, [is] going to be Rachel’s dad. So again, the world’s going to keep expanding, you’re going to see sides of Rachel that you never saw, you’re going to see Mike dealing with the aftermath of what happened to his grandmother, him dealing with this woman that he was with, and really having to come to his senses and decide what he wants.
I wish we had more episodes to offer. I know people are hungry for them, but I think we’ve got a lot of stuff jam-packed into these ones. I’m excited to have Suits come back, and finally have something to offer what I consider some of the best fans in the world. I’m excited, and I hope everybody really enjoys it.
Season 2 of Suits resumes January 17 at 10/9c on USA Network.