‘Suits’ Q&A: Sarah Rafferty On Mike’s New Job, Donna’s Special Relationship With Louis

“Suits” is back. The USA drama begins its fourth season Wednesday night at 9/8c, and Pearson Specter has a new client – Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), who is now working as an investment banker.

“It definitely has a big ripple effect, that’s for sure,” Sarah Rafferty (who plays super-secretary Donna Paulsen) told AccessHollywood.com. “It changes the whole dynamic — especially Harvey and Mike’s dynamic, because now Mike’s a client and we see right off the gate that they’re going to go toe-to-toe, so that definitely changes things.”

In a new interview, Sarah revealed that Mike’s job is one factor that will test the relationships between the Pearson Specter family in Season 4, but Donna will continue to try and work her magic to keep people together. And, Sarah also revealed that there could be more special Donna/Louis moments on the way — the kind that may tug at viewers heartstrings.

PHOTOS: ‘Suits’ Season 4 — The Stunning Cast Portaits

AccessHollywood.com: How much was Mike’s line at the end of last season to Harvey of, ‘[I guess] you work for me now,’… how much is that going to affect who he is this season? Can we characterize Mike as slightly more arrogant this season?
Sarah Rafferty:
Well, he’s wearing a three-piece suit, so I don’t know if that means more arrogant (laughs). Gosh, you know, I think he has to have a new kind of swagger, that’s for sure, going into the sleek moneyed halls of that investment bank. He definitely brings that with him, but, he’s also got his heart in the right place, I think, a lot of the time.

Access: Donna and Mike’s relationship – that is going to change a little bit. What can you hint at about that?
They are really close and Donna really is a people person and cares about relationships and cares about the relationships being the glue that holds the firm together. Now, the firm is kind of falling apart in some ways and she’s going to continue to invest in trying to keep it together, especially the relationship between Harvey and Mike, because I think she sees them as more than just mentor and mentee. I think she sees… that they have a kind of brotherly relationship, so she’s really invested in that.

Access: They really do, which makes her role interesting, because in some ways, she can be a puppet master in that relationship with those two boys.
She tries to be, but she has varying degrees of success, I think, at that — as much as she would like to think she is flawless.

Access: What are we going to see as we go forward for Donna? We love it when she has a love interest. That was so fun with Max Beesley [who played Stephen Huntley].
That was so fun. It was so fun to see that side of her. I cracked up when she would go to Rachel and talk about how amazing she was in bed. I thought that was really funny (laughs).

Access: Scottie’s out of the picture. Are there moments where Harvey and Donna could have more chemistry? Loved the flashbacks that we got last season too.
Gosh, I loved the flashbacks. Both seasons, those might be my favorite episodes, just because there’s so much fun stuff to play, going back to times when things were kind of lighter and a little bit more carefree and then, when stakes were really high. They did a great balance of that in the flashback episodes, but in terms of the chemistry, I think that Harvey and Donna always have a unique chemistry and they have such a strong relationship because they’ve know each other for so long, so I feel like every scene that they play, even if it’s a scene about work, you know, something very work related, is still infused with a unique dynamic and a dynamic that I think is interesting because it’s always surprising to see a secretary/boss relationship be that intimate.

Access: Do you get high-end secretaries coming up to you in your daily life, talking about their own relationships with their bosses?
That would be so fun. You know what? I should open up a little kiosk and have a little secretaries party. That would be fun. I have not had any secretaries approach me. … That has not happened. I’ve had a lot of traffic on Twitter about, ‘I’m gonna go to law school,’ or ‘I wanna work in a law firm,’ or a lot times like I get both, ‘I need a Donna,’ or, ‘I pulled a Donna today.’ Like, ‘I said this to my boss,’ or, ‘I said that to my boss,’ or, ‘My boss said I was like Donna today.’ I get really funny feedback like that. People send pictures of themselves in outfits, like, ‘I’m pulling my best Donna today at work.’ And I get it from guys too — guys saying that they’re acting like Donna at work and it’s really gratifying, for sure.

Access: You had some great scenes last season with Rick [Hoffman], especially when Louis and Sheila broke up. Will we get to see more of those kind of tender moments? I got a little misty-eyed watching. I feel like Donna and Louis actually have a really special relationship.
I love that you said that and I love that you got misty-eyed and that you tuned in to their special relationship. I really think that they have, again, a very special relationship. Our writers do a great job and now that we’re going into the fourth season, they have done such a good job at deepening the characters and using these story lines to deepen what we know about these character’s relationships and last season, when that happened to Louis – he had a heart attack and she knew that she was the one that he would want there and then, she just said she knew to sit quietly with him. There were no words, no words needed. She knew they broke up, she knew what was going on. I thought that was really beautiful and really true to their friendship and I will say that yes, it would just pick up from there and go further in Season 4 and that has been so fun for Rick and I to play. Last season we saw a lot of the tender side of Louis in their friendship and I would say that we get to see a little bit of Donna’s tender side with Louis, like he brings some of it out of her in the fourth season. So, that’s definitely something I really enjoyed playing. And it’s always so fun to be in a scene with Rick Hoffman. Come on, so fun!

AccessHollywood.com: The tender side of Donna – does that mean she has some major things she’s about to go through?
I think every character’s going through major things and I appreciate how they go through them together. … I was just thinking about it, just now, how Donna kind of like pings around from her relationship with Harvey, which is such a solid relationship based in so many years of being so loyal to each other and then she’s got her kind of newer girlfriend, her BFF with Rachel she can run to, and Rachel runs to her and this sort of little brother thing she’s got going with Mike… and then this really tender understanding that I feel Donna and Louis have for each other, which is really great.

Access: Could you ever see them together as a couple – Louis and Donna? If you give them like 10 years, that could be the couple at the end of the show. They could realize how much they actually love each other.
I love that idea. I absolutely love it and I also love that you said give it 10 years. I mean, that’s another really good thing that I’m totally down for with this show. I think anything’s possible, right?

“Suits” returns Wednesday night at 9/8c on USA.

-- Jolie Lash

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