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New Suits will wear out fast

Were it not for American imports, summer on RTE would be a parched desert of movies, repeats of dreary little lifestyle shows and rehashed homegrown dramas (unbelievably, RTE1 plans to plug schedule gaps with Single-Handed and RAW, both now defunct).

But RTE2's new US acquisition, Suits, which is set in a high-powered New York legal firm, is unlikely to quench your thirst for long. When I call it "new", I'm speaking comparatively. It's been on the go in America, on the cable channel USA Network, for two years and previously popped up on satellite backwater Dave.

Lawyers, other than the ones in Law & Order, are usually depicted on television as being a small step up the evolutionary ladder from sewer rats.

Suits, an example of polished, machine-tooled drama so slick it practically slides off the screen, takes place against a glamorous Big Apple backdrop of black limos, panelled courtrooms, achingly trendy restaurants and huge, well-lit offices with floor-to-ceiling windows.

The occasional stab at a topical reference to the current economic meltdown, shoehorned in to give it a whiff of realism, bounces off the gleaming facade of artificiality like a ping-pong ball against a concrete wall.

Suits is at heart a fantasy: a glossy fairytale in which a young college dropout with no law degree can leapfrog rich, Harvard-educated stiffs to a job in a corporate law firm by virtue of his brilliant mind and photographic memory. This is Mike Ross (Patrick J Adams), who's paid by struggling college students to sit their exams.


When we meet him, he's been persuaded by his lowlife best friend to deliver a suitcase full of marijuana to a hotel room in return for the $25,000 he needs to keep his ailing grandma in a private nursing home.

Just as he's about to drop off the drugs, Mike susses that two hotel employees are undercover cops there to entrap him and makes a dash for it. Stumbling into a suite where legal firm Pearson Hardman is conducting job interviews, he passes himself off as a candidate who conveniently hasn't shown up at the appointed time.

As luck would have it, the man doing the hiring is the firm's top hotshot: the smart, suave, charming Harvey Specter, played with a George Clooneyish swagger by Gabriel Macht (he even does a bit of the head-wobble thing Clooney seems to have brought under control these days). Harvey is quite taken with Mike, because he sees a lot of himself in him.

He's astonished when Mike reveals that he passed the bar exam for a bet, without having gone to law school, yet somehow less fazed when the drugs he's been carrying around come spilling out of the suitcase.

Even though the firm hires only Harvard graduates and Mike is merely a graduate of the University of Hard Knocks, Harvey takes a chance on him and makes him his sidekick. Because, you see, that's the kind of series Suits is.


All the men are devilishly handsome, except for the nasty associate who's jealous of Harvey for getting a promotion; he looks a bit like Louie Spence.

All the women clacking around the office in skyscraper heels, bottoms wiggling like well-moulded jelly, are stunningly beautiful. Well, apart from the one whose sexual harassment case Harvey and Mike take on pro bono; she's merely incredibly beautiful.

"I'm not about caring, I'm about winning," quips Harvey – which, of course, is a way of saying that deep down he really is about caring.

The case in the first episode was very much an afterthought, there solely for the purpose of building Harvey and Mike's relationship.

And there's little doubt were that relationship is headed. The writers even gave Harvey a line of dialogue where he refers to himself as Batman to Mike's Robin.

Suits is 100pc proof guff and inoffensive enough to kill an hour on a quiet Tuesday, as long as you don't expect anything too dynamic from this duo.