Suits: Hit and gig­gles

An un­likely sou­venir from their trip Down Un­der has only strength­ened the bond be­tween Suits stars Sarah Raf­ferty and Rick Hoff­man, writes HOLLY BYRNES

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

HAND­ING a man his balls is some­thing her TV al­ter ego – power per­sonal as­sis­tant Donna Paulsen – does in the sexy hit se­ries Suits.

But when ac­tor Sarah Raf­ferty gave a pair of kan­ga­roo tes­ti­cles to her co-star Rick Hoff­man – as a sou­venir of their re­cent trip to Syd­ney to­gether – they were re­ceived with love and laughs.

Back on the Toronto set last week, Hoff­man is still chuck­ling as he says how much he treasures the trin­ket and his re­la­tion­ship with Raf­ferty.

“I ac­tu­ally have them in my drawer, next to my bed ... that’s how much luck they have brought me,” Hoff­man boasts. “Some peo­ple say prayers at night ... all I do is open the drawer, look at those roo balls and that’s all I need.”

Their cheeky ban­ter is al­most a char­ac­ter in it­self on the show, now in its sev­enth sea­son and go­ing strong.

From the pi­lot episode, when the head­strong Donna gets the bet­ter of Hoff­man’s agi­tated at­tor­ney, Louis Litt, their comic tim­ing and non-sex­ual chem­istry has siz­zled.

“I can go back to the first day that we re­ceived pages,” Raf­ferty ex­plains, “when there was a Donna and Louis dy­namic in that very first scene ... when he asked [her boss] Har­vey if he could bor­row Donna and Har­vey [Gabriel Macht] said, ‘You’re go­ing to have to ask for your­self’ ... Donna just com­pletely messed with him. That was the day that Rick and I were like, ‘Oh, I think we’re out of the gates with this ...’ and the friend­ship has only grown from there.”

The com­edy is a per­fect counter to the le­gal drama, but this duo have some­thing that sparks well be­yond what’s on the page.

“It’s when we im­pro­vise that we both can’t keep it to­gether [laugh­ing],” Hoff­man says. “When they al­low us to im­pro­vise and me to act like a goof­ball, that usu­ally sets off Sarah.

“Gabriel has a se­ri­ous con­di­tion,” he adds. “He looks at my face and it doesn’t mat­ter what ex­pres­sion I have on it and he’ll start laugh­ing at my face. He just gets the gig­gles and I start mak­ing fun of him and then that makes me laugh, it makes him laugh more and we pretty much take the piss out of each other for about 10 min­utes, then it’s back to work. That’s the kind of fun we have.”

Raf­ferty’s feisty per­for­mance has made her char­ac­ter an in­spi­ra­tion for many women: ei­ther be­cause of her un­re­quited love for Har­vey; or more sig­nif­i­cantly, her con­fi­dence and com­pe­tence at her job.

“I got a tweet from some­body who said, ‘Be­cause of Donna, I hold my back a lit­tle straighter in the of­fice,’ ... or ‘My boss said I just Donna-ed that’, us­ing her name as a verb, which is pretty funny,” Raf­ferty says.

En­cour­ag­ing women to stand tall, the mother of two girls says “is pretty grat­i­fy­ing right now, es­pe­cially in the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment and we’re go­ing to con­tinue on that jour­ney with her this sea­son”.

Hoff­man’s Louis is equally iconic among Suits fans, who love how he over­comes his small man syn­drome to tri­umph in court and in love. As the se­ries re­turns, Hoff­man reveals “we find him get­ting over a breakup and it’s Louis, so the break-up does not make him easy at work”.

The show’s most pop­u­lar re­la­tion­ship – the un­re­solved sex­ual ten­sion be­tween Donna and Har­vey – is still about the tease, Raf­ferty says. “It’s that slow burn. Who knows how long we’re go­ing to draw it out?” SUITS THURS­DAY, 8.30PM, FOXTEL’S UNIVER­SAL CHAN­NEL

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