Suits returns for its seventh season on July 12, but there’s another important date for fans to pencil in this summer: the USA series will air its 100th episode on Aug. 30, and star Patrick J. Adams will direct it.
Ahead of making the announcement at the ATX Television Festival‘s “From Actor to ‘Action!‘” panel on Saturday, Adams — who’s directed three previous episodes of Suits — told Yahoo TV the plumb assignment was kind of by chance. Because of the prep time required before an actor directs an episode of his own show, producers knew he needed to direct episode 8 or episode 14. Since he’d directed episode 14 in two prior seasons, he told the powers that be that he’d love to do the former — not realizing it was the milestone hour. “We were talking about it, and it seemed like it was going to work out well. And then at some point in the process, Gene Klein, one of our producers, went, ‘You know this is the 100th episode, right?’ I sort of had that moment of ‘Oh my god. That’s going to be a lot of responsibility,’ and I had a slight panic about it, and then thought, ‘No, this is perfect.’ I’ve been directing, and I feel like I’m learning a lot every time and like the episodes go pretty well. So I jumped in and said, ‘Hell, yeah.'”
What are those lessons he’s learned about directing so far? “To really trust the people that are around you. You think as a director you need to know all the answers all the time — and I think it’s important to have answers all the time — but the thing I’ve learned is that there’s so many incredibly talented people at every level of a show like Suits. And really, your job is just to sort of filter amazing ideas from other people,” he says. “So [it’s] empowering other people to do their jobs, to give them the leeway to do what they do best, and encourage them so you always end up with the best results. You’ll always have to have an idea of how you want something to go, and have a game plan in case people show up and they kind of are just looking to you and they don’t want to bring something to the table. But you have to be ready to throw that game plan away if people come in really energized and excited about a different idea. You have to learn to roll with the punches, and I love that. It brings a whole different energy to the set. I’m so grateful to be an actor on this show, but as an actor, you get to experience one point of perspective in the whole thing where, as a director, you get to see how all these people do their different jobs, and you’re constantly engaged and constantly have something to be thinking about. You’re doing this scene right now, but there’s a scene coming up right after it. So it’s really good for my brain — it doesn’t really give me much time to get too far into my head.”
He’ll start work on the episode later this month, which means he has no idea what the storyline is now. Still, he’s looking forward to it. “It’s a big deal for any show to get this far, and I think everybody’s energy on-set is going to be really good, and people are going to be really excited and feel emboldened by reaching this milestone,” he says. “Also, I hear that when you do a 100th episode, they make you a cake. So I’m excited that I’ll probably, as director, get to be first in line for a slice of said cake.”
As an early celebration of the milestone, the entire original cast — including Gina Torres — will do a table read of the pilot episode at ATX on Sunday. “I’ll definitely go over it [ahead of time],” he says when asked if he’ll prep a bit for that as well. “I need to make sure I at least do as good a performance as I did the first time around. Especially with Gina not being on the show right now, it is a very rare thing that we all get to be in the same space and share some time together. We’re one of the rare casts that actually all enjoy each others’ company still, that wants to be on the same stage and hear what each other has to say. Every opportunity to do that is a great time, and we’re so excited to be doing it at ATX because it’s such a fantastic festival.”
It’s also fitting because Season 7 of Suits is “almost like a brand new first season,” Adams says. “This is the way that Mike always wished that it could’ve been, in a sense. He gets to be a lawyer, he’s free from the burden of this crazy secret. He’s working where he feels most at home, but at the same time getting to work on these other cases that mean something to him. And it’s great to be back with Gabriel [Macht] and have more scenes with Harvey and to be in the new office, which is really exciting. Mike has more authority. I think because he’s not hiding a secret anymore, he’s a lot more confident. It seems like the perfect situation. But obviously, being Suits, within a short amount of time, some wrenches might get thrown into the mix.”
Season 7 of Suits premieres July 12 at 9 p.m. on USA.
Read more from Yahoo TV:
ATX Television Festival Founders on the Lessons They’ve Learned
‘Suits’ Season 6 Finale Postmortem: Patrick J. Adams on The Moment Mike‘s Been Waiting For