Gina Torres brings a ‘Suits’ character back to TV in ‘Pearson’
“Suits” is getting ready to close up shop, but at the same time, it’s introducing its own legacy.
Immediately after the ninth and final season of the USA Network law drama begins, the spinoff series “Pearson” will debut Wednesday, July 17. Fans of the parent show should recognize immediately that the new program is about Jessica Pearson, who was disbarred in New York, but – as still played by Gina Torres – she now makes her way into the legal and political worlds of Chicago as the mayor’s (Morgan Spector) fixer, regularly and expectedly stirring things up as she goes.
“I had started really making my way into producing, which is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and I always felt that would be the next chapter in my creative career,” says Torres, who also gets “Pearson” credit as a coexecutive producer. “And while all that was happening, I had become obsessed with the 2016 election and how that all sort of evolved and all the people in it ... whether they were believers or not, whether they were guns for hire or not, whether they were in it for the greater good, or whether they were in it for power.
“My mind went to Jessica Pearson, this character who I thought was in the rearview mirror of my life – and I realized that’s something that she did in the world of ‘Suits.’ That was very much her life, which was not just walking a line but blurring it and moving it and rewriting it and drawing it and what would she do in that world.”
Torres then discussed the idea with “the right people,” namely “Suits” creator Aaron Korsh and Daniel Arkin, who eventually became “Pearson” executive producers. “The network had this idea to do a spinoff for years,” Korsh notes. “I was so in my head trying to do ‘Suits,’ and Gina just said, ‘Hey, we’re doing this now.’ It was really her passion that drove the thing.”
The “Pearson” cast also includes “One Tree Hill” alum Bethany Joy Lenz and Simon Kassianides (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), but as the title suggests, there rarely is a moment in “Pearson” when the title character isn’t front and center ... at least in the show’s early going.
“We talked about this idea of seeing Jessica unleashed a little bit,” Korsh confirms, “seeing much more dimension to her character, and seeing her in a different world with different sides of her. Sometimes, you will be upset with her for the actions she takes, but you’ll never not be on her side. You’re always going to root for her, and you’re never going to not have empathy for her.”
Gina Torres stars in the “Suits” spinoff “Pearson,” premiering Wednesday on USA Network.