Warning: The following contains spoilers from tonight's episode of Suits. If you haven't watched yet, consider yourself warned. Proceed with caution.
And just like that, Mike Ross is out of jail.
Of course, it didn't happen just like that. No, in typical Suits fashion, it took a great deal of dangerous maneuvering on Mike's behalf to make sure the circumstances were just right so that his buddy Kevin (Erik Palladino) could always walk free while the nasty Gallo (Paul Schulze) got locked away for an even longer sentence. But by episode's end, Mike was once again a free man. And, according to star Patrick J. Adams, it couldn't have happened any sooner.
Adams revealed to E! News that it was a fine line the show had to walk to punish Mike for his crime in a way that showed it was serious, while also making sure not to irreparably damage the foundation of the show. Luckily, they'd experienced a similar situation once before. "The last time we had Mike leave the firm and go to Sidwell Investment Group [in season four,] we planned on having that be longer, but we ended up not really knowing how to navigate the show and pulling it back," he said, before adding that Mike's 10-episode stint behind bars felt like the appropriate number to him.
"I think if it was shorter, though, you know, Mike being caught for his initial crime of acting as a fraud, because that's the structure of the show…we really couldn't do it any less," he added. "We knew we couldn't do it so fast, but at the same time, when you go too far away…I think that we're in the situation where we have to get back to the flow of the show and get these character back together and see how they go on."
He's just relieved that the fans were willing to go along for the ride. "I think there's a lull in which a character like Mike being in prison is a show unto itself. You can sort of have that be a spin-off, if you wanted to, but it's not our show," he said. "We're all really grateful to the fans for being willing to go with us. It says a lot about how great our fans are that they were willing to go with us on this journey that was 10 episodes long and a very different color and feel for our show. I think that we're happy the reward was getting back to what it was before."
Adams admitted that returning to the regular sets and leaving the prison world behind was a bit of an adjustment him—in more ways than one. "It was strange to be putting on a suit again. It had been a while. What also was weird is it's not the same Mike anymore. It's like coming at it from a new angle," he said. "Mike doesn't hold on to any of this shame or this secret anymore, you know? He's free of it. He's done his time. He's out, so there's something, there's a sort of renewed confidence, a renewed maturity to him. It just made me really excited to see who this guy is going to become now that he can finally shake off the weight of this secret he's been carrying around for so long."
So, what's next for Mike now that he's a free man once again? According to Adams, that's the question on everyone's mind. "I think that question is really going to motivate our back six episodes [premiering in 2017,]" he said. "I think for Mike, it's a struggle of where he wants to end up. He obviously would love to work with Harvey again, but doing so as lawyer is going to be difficult, so maybe there's another capacity in which he can do it. But at the same time, in his closing statements last year at his own trial, he made very clear that he wasn't interested in wasting his talent anymore just fighting for the one percent…I think that push and pull of who he wants to be and how he wants to do it is going to become the next big conversation of the show and see how that gets put back together again."
Now that's Mike's been released, that means there's nothing keeping him apart from Rachel (Meghan Markle). Might those be wedding bells we hear? "Again, I don't know how they're going to tackle it, but I know that there's a lot of love between these two and I think that Mike is going to come out of prison and see exactly what Rachel has been doing and be so proud of her and excited to support her in the way that she supposed him for so long," Adams said, coyly. "I think they're both busy people with a lot going on, but their relationship is really important that I can't see a reason yet—although I'm sure the writers will throw some wrench into there—but I don't see a reason yet why they wouldn't want to continue to move along the path and get married as soon as possible. We'll have to see though."
Suits' midseason finale airs Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9 p.m. on USA.
(E! and USA are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)