Suits Season Three makes its argument on DVD in time for the start of the show's 4th season on the USA network. The series is a legal dramedy with a decided emphasis on its comic aspects. Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams lead the cast in this lightweight show, which takes the usual case-of-the-week law firm idea and gives it a bit of a twist. As of the third season, the show takes on a more serious tone as the cases involve heavier matters and a more personal conflict between the characters. People who know much about legal work will still probably not believe this, but more casual viewers may enjoy the show anyway. The Season Three set comes with all 16 episodes of the third year, along with a brace of extras, including deleted scenes, commentaries, a web series, a pair of featurettes, and a gag reel.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 480P/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 11 Hr. 44 Min.
Package Includes: DVD, Digital Copy, UltraViolet
Disc Type: DVD-9 (dual layer)
Release Date: 05/27/2014
Now in its 4th season, Suits continues to be a fun show to watch so long as you don’t think too much about the basic premise. As before, the core of the series is a ruse played by ace attorney Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), who hired Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) to be his star associate at the firm. Ross has high intelligence and a photographic memory, which should be an asset anywhere. But he’s never been to law school and has no law degree. The series revolves around how Ross can figure his way through the case of the week and the two guys can come out on top without people figuring out what’s really going on. On multiple occasions, Harvey or Mike will run into obstacles set by the firm’s founding partner Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) or by Harvey’s in-office nemesis Louis (Rick Hoffman). Going through the 3rd Season, the situations have become decidedly more serious and more personal between the characters, with the opening half of the season seeing significant cameos by members of the ensemble of Game of Thrones.
The Production Rating: 3/5
SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN THE 3RD SEASON EPS, REMINDERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE: The third season picks up directly where the last one left off. Harvey has failed in his bid to thwart the merger with Darby and is now licking his wounds. Mike has been effectively promoted by Jessica, in spite of the fact that he has no law degree or schooling. And Mike has at this point blurted out his true nature to paralegal Rachel as the beginning of an affair between them. The opening round of episodes swirls around the firm’s new partner, Darby (Conleth Hill) and his prize client Ava (Michelle Fairley). A simple case of bribery leads into a major case involving the massacre of protestors in Africa to protect a pipeline project of Ava’s. Mike has to find a way to get Harvey to forgive him for siding against him. Harvey works to find a way to supplant Jessica, in retaliation for his humiliation last year. All of this builds up for the first ten episodes, culminating in the predictable dissolution of the merger with Darby and a victory on multiple fronts for Harvey. Of course, there’s also a big scare where Louis nearly uncovers Mike’s secret and generates a lot of fast tap dancing by both Mike and Harvey to get him off the trail. And as with the second season, the year ends with Mike in an extremely ticklish position as he’s questioned by police and faces serious pressure to roll over on Harvey. Things resolve not with a cliffhanger but a sidestep as Mike switches careers to work as an investment banker for another firm – thus avoiding the whole situation and reversing his position with Harvey. As Harvey will now be working for Mike…
As I do every year, having worked in the past as a litigation paralegal, I need to repeat the problem with the central concept of the show. While the character of Mike Ross is clearly smart and has that eidetic memory, it’s more than a stretch to think he could be hired by any firm without any paper trail, or that he could bluff his way through the kinds of situations the series presents. Having multiple attorneys and employees at the firm aware of his status without having them take any action just makes them complicit in what is a serious act of fraud. At this point, we’re up to not only Harvey but also Rachel the paralegal and even Jessica Pearson, the main partner of the firm.
But if you can look past those problems, the series can be a fun ride. The usual law firm show clichés are spun in different directions here, sometimes with pretty funny results. The scripts delight in setting up one expectation and then delivering the complete opposite. And the performances of the cast, particularly Rick Hoffman as in-house villain Louis Litt, are appropriately light and fun. The third season features multiple opportunities for comic conflict between Hoffman and guest actor Adam Godley as his British counterpart in the firm, and both actors make the most of them.
The Season Three DVD set arrived on May 27th, roughly two weeks before the airing of the first episode of Season 4 on USA. Included here are all 16 episodes of the third season, with audio commentaries on two key episodes: “The Other Time” and the finale “No Way Out”. Deleted scenes are included for several episodes. The fourth disc includes a gag reel, two featurettes and a 10-episode webisode miniseries. The packaging includes an episode guide on the inner sleeve and instructions for downloading a digital copy or Ultraviolet copy of the season.
I should note that the episodes all run about 43 minutes with credits, with the exception of the season opener at 48 minutes and the season finale at nearly 46 minutes.
The discs’ specific episodes are:
“The Arrangement” – This is the season opener, dealing with the ramifications of the new merger with Darby and the introduction of Ava Hessington. The episode runs 48:03, about five minutes longer than normal. A deleted scene is included separately, running 0:41.
“I Want You To Want Me” – Cheap Trick does not appear in this episode, which continues the stories of Darby, Ava and Mike’s attempts to get back in Harvey’s good graces.
“Unfinished Business” – Harvey’s old boss from the DA’s office turns the Ava Hessington matter from a bribery case to a murder rap. A deleted scene is included separately, running 1:45.
“Conflict of Interest”
The disc also includes a previews menu for other television DVD releases by Universal. (See the Special Features sections.)
“Shadow of a Doubt”
“The Other Time” – This is the annual “looking back” episode where we can see earlier events in the characters’ lives. This episode can be watched with a scene-specific commentary by Aaron Korsch, Gabriel Macht, Rick Muirragui and Daniel Arkin, which mostly consists of them joshing each other. Deleted scenes are included separately, running 1:53.
“She’s Mine” – This episode sets up the tipping point for Ava Hessington’s case, as Mike uncovers something critical that could not only make the case but split up the firm. Harvey responds to Mike’s information the expected way – by beating the crap out of the person responsible for the mess. (There’s an alternate version of this ending included on the disc, which would have carried the beating into the following episode.)
“Endgame” – This episode plays out the revelations of the Ava Hessington case in court. A deleted scene is included separately, running 0:52. (There’s an alternate version of the beginning of this episode included on the disc, which would have had the beating from “She’s Mine” keep going into the current one.)
“Bad Faith” – The Pearson Darby firm begins its “divorce”.
“Stay” – The mid-season finale ends the Darby/Ava story arcs and throws in a cliffhanger where Louis Litt nearly blows Mike’s situation wide open. A deleted scene is included separately, running 1:36.
“Buried Secrets” – A deleted scene is included separately, running 1:33.
“Yesterday’s Gone” – A deleted scene is included separately, running 1:15.
“Moot Point” – Deleted scenes are included separately, running 3:09.
“Know When to Fold ‘Em” – Deleted scenes are included separately, running 2:39.
“No Way Out” – The season finale, as usual, throws the balls up in the air at the end, setting up a completely different relationship for Harvey and Mike next year. The episode runs a little longer than usual, clocking in at 45:45. An alternate ending running 1:11 is included separately, along with a 26 second introduction by Harvey Korsch. Had this been used, the series would have had a more typical cliffhanger. It’s probably for the best that it wasn’t used as it looks pretty melodramatic. This episode features another breezy commentary by Aaron Korsh, Gabriel Macht, Rick Muirragui and Daniel Arkin, likely recorded at the same time as the earlier one.
The disc also includes the gag reel, the featurettes and the Suits Recruits webisode series. (See the Special Features section.)
Suits Season Three is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer that feels like an accurate representation of the intended look of the show. As with the earlier seasons, there is a certain slickness here, which belies the lower cable budget at play in the production.
Video Rating: 3/5 3D Rating: NA
Suits Season Three is presented in an English Digital 5.1 Dolby Digital Mix which, like the first season, mostly lives in the front channels but which gets some punch from the music in the surrounds. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand.
Audio Rating: 3/5
All of the discs feature deleted scenes from multiple episodes. The deleted scenes can be accessed either in the episode choice menu or via the special features menu. The scenes can be played individually or via a “Play All” option for the scenes on each disc. The scenes typically begin with the last moments of the prior scene in black and white and then switch into color as the new material begins to play. On the fourth disc, one of the episodes actually features an extended version of one scene.
Special Features Rating: 3/5
On discs two and four, one episode will feature a commentary with Aaron Korsh and various members of the cast and writing staff. These episodes are “The Other Time” and the finale, “No Way Out.
The additional special features are broken up as follows:
Previews – A separate menu option for Previews allows access to trailers for the DVD sets of the following Universal television series: The Office, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, House, Grimm, Parenthood, and Monk.
Alternate Ending to “She’s Mine” and Alternate Opening to “Endgame” – (2:10, Anamorphic) – This is the original version of the fight at the end of “She’s Mine”, where the fun continues into the following episode. In editing, the producers clearly decided to finish the fight during the first episode and start the next ep with the aftermath.
Gag Reel (10:15, Anamorphic) – The gag reel this year is about twice as long as the one for the first season. It’s the same mixture of blown takes and gag expressions. In several cases, we’re shown a situation where the actor is going up on their lines and then proceeds to go for multiple takes in the cellar, as it were. Other situations involve noise on the set, mock dancing by the cast, and some interesting alternate line readings by Rick Hoffman…
Suits: Trust & Betrayal (9:44, Anamorphic) – This is the show’s usual fluffy featurette, talking about the plot directions of the current season. Among other things, the show’s producers playfully blame the darker tone of the season on the guest stars from Game of Thrones…
Shooting Suits (5:19, Anamorphic) – This short featurette offers a quick look at the production of the series.
Suits Recruits: Class Action Webisodes – (22:56 Total, Anamorphic) Ten installments of the Season 3 Suits Recruits webisode series are included here in anamorphic widescreen, totaling about 23 minutes.
Subtitles are available in English for the episodes and the special features. Each episode can be viewed separately or via a “Play All” function. The episodes have internal chapters but there is no menu for them.
The packaging includes a guide with summaries of every episode on the inside sleeve. An insert in the packaging has instructions for downloading a digital or Ultraviolet copy of the season.
Suits Season Three continues to be a fun series so long as you don’t spend too much time thinking about it, although it is certainly showing its age at this point. The premise is now completely impossible, but the dialogue and plot twists are still clever enough to amuse a forgiving viewer most of the time. Fans of the show will enjoy this season set. More casual viewers may want to rent it. But I should throw in my usual caution that it would definitely help to have seen the earlier seasons to truly understand what is going on here. It is quite possible to just jump in with the top of the third season as they do have helpful recaps at the start of each episode, but the added history helps.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Kevin EK
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