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'Suits' Returns Tonight! Stars Sarah Rafferty & Rick Hoffman Dish on the Louis/Donna Dynamic (JJ Interview)

'Suits' Returns Tonight! Stars Sarah Rafferty & Rick Hoffman Dish on the Louis/Donna Dynamic (JJ Interview)

Sarah Rafferty, Rick Hoffman, and Amanda Schull show off their Columbia pride while backstage during the Suits College Tour event held at the school on Monday (March 3) in New York City.

The actors are gearing up for the show’s big return and sat down with JJ for a quick chat about what we can expect!

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Suits

In tonight’s mid-season premiere, titled “Buried Secrets,” things get complicated when Harvey (Gabriel Macht) mixes business with pleasure and gets caught between Jessica (Gina Torres) and Scottie (Abigail Spencer).

Painful memories plague Mike (Patrick J. Adams) as he uses a case to exorcise demons against an old foe, while Louis’ (Hoffman) suspicions threaten to expose Mike.

Suits returns TONIGHT, March 6 @ 9/8c on USA!

Click inside to read our unedited conversation with the trio…

JustJared: So let’s talk about Mike’s secret first. Louis is getting closer and closer to finding out. Because Donna and several other people know, will they be protecting Mike or is he in trouble?

Rick Hoffman: Donna is the first one who he approaches and she kind of puts up the cloak. We have many many moments at your desk…

Sarah Rafferty: Yes, Donna is trying to save Mike and steer Louis in a different direction.

RH: And that continues with a couple of other characters. This little hunt, it definitely affects a couple of the relationships. There is somewhat of a resolve, but ultimately in the long run, does that make it worse? There’s some serious danger that could cause some further serious damage. It’s set up to have a real demolition and destruction if Louis were to find out that he was lied to.

JJ: Could you see any potential scenario where Louis could look past it, if he were to find out the truth?

RH: Being that he’s loyal to a “t,” I don’t really…unless he could potentially get himself into trouble, there’s no leverage really that anyone has with him. He’s just insanely loyal, so as of now, no.

SR: Louis has a very cut-and-dry morality. There’s no gray area with Louis. You’re either being immoral or you’re not, in the case of Mike.

RH: As Donna is to Harvey, as Harvey is to Mike, there are certain lines that every character doesn’t cross because as much as they’re flawed – that’s what’s so cool about our writers, they are these great, multi-dimensional characters – their moral compass at times is really sturdy.

SR: But Louis is unique in its sturdiness than the rest of the firm.

RH: More black and white.

SR: Exactly. And that’s why it becomes so dynamic that he’s the one hot on the trail, and you see the rest of the firm have to respond to that, and certainly have to circle the wagon in response to that.

JJ: Now that Scottie is sticking around for good, how does that throw off the balance of the office? She’s very competitive. Will that be a problem for Louis?

Amanda Schull: Scottie and Louis at a couple points, very specifically, butt heads. Professionally and personally.

RH: Eventually yeah. Once again, another wonderful, powerful woman on the show.

SR: Yeah, and Abigail’s performance is awesome.

JJ: Agreed! Love her. As for Katrina, what’s coming up with her?

AS: I think you see a very different side of Katrina in the second half of the third season. I think she’s now part of the team and you see strength with that, and so she doesn’t need to rely on the tactics she did earlier in the season. She feels comfortable with Louis.

RH: Let’s just say that something happens, potentially catastrophic, in one of the episodes that sheds a good light on it.

JJ: [to Sarah and Rick] One of our favorite things about the show is your on-screen chemistry. You have these really great comedic moments, but then turn around and have these very honest moments together. Which do you prefer playing?

RH: Great question.

SR: More please. That’s all I have to say. #MorePlease. It’s such a treat to work with Rick, as you can only imagine. I love the Donna/Louis relationship and I think it was born out of the first scene that was written for us in season one.

RH: By accident really, that scene that they added. Because they were short on time in the first season’s fifth episode, so they never had the original Louis/Donna scene.

AS: I didn’t know that.

RH: Yeah, and I still say to this day – and I never heard what you [Sarah] think – since the beginning, we we’re like, “Let’s have this [dynamic].” So she would throw a look back when she’s following Harvey out the door and I would just throw in, “Hi Donna.” So based on those initial four episodes, I think it’s because they need two scenes. They threw one in and threw another one in.

SR: The scene is when Louis goes to Harvey and says he wants to borrow Donna, and Harvey laughs and is like, “I can’t lend her to you. You try.” Donna pulls the whole…she starts to cry. He ran away and freaked out, and she was like, “That was awesome.” It’s really fun for her to role-play. I think she has a lot of experience in that (laughs).

RH: We constantly try to sell things to each other to get what we want.

SR: That fun is the most rewarding thing for us to play, but the reason that’s the most rewarding is because the writers have grounded that in a truth about these characters that we touched on in the flashback last year. You know that they’ve known each other for 10 years. You see Donna and Harvey meet, and Donna meets Louis because Harvey knew him before. She meets Louis Litt and is like, “Listen, Rain Man.” She gives him the rundown and gets her power, and he realizes that she’s a formidable presence. They have a mutual respect that develops over the next 10 years into a real understanding, respect, and love for each other that develops even more in the back six episodes.

RH: That’s very true. We give directors who do flashbacks headaches because we maybe think too much about what’s happened prior. We want so much to have this backstory for our characters, so we give alternate takes of what it could be. Especially that particular scene when she sizes me up in two seconds. The poor director…there are different moods you can have when Louis first sees Donna. It’s so much fun to have that opportunity with these writers.

SR: I love their relationship.

AS: It’s not just the writing. It’s also clearly the actors, that they do their homework and have such respect and appreciation for their characters. They put so much more behind it so they make them three-dimensional humans rather than words on a page.

Both: Thank you!

AS: It’s true.

JJ: Couldn’t have said it any better.

Be sure to tune into Suits tonight @ 9PM on USA, which will be followed by the series premiere of Sirens!

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