Analysis of Suits

Summary The movie follows Mike Ross, a college dropout who takes the LSAT for money. After narrowly escaping a suspicious proctor, he impresses Harvey Specter and starts working for him at a law firm. They tackle a pro bono case against Devlin McGreggor, in which Mike struggles to convince a hesitant witness to testify, and Harvey confronts some personal and internal office issues. Meanwhile, Mike also deals with the drug business and his grandmother's illness. In the end, they win the case and reconcile. Harvey seeks redemption by taking on a criminal case and reflects on his mistakes.


Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique Overall, the story of the screenplay is engaging and has a good balance between dramatic tension and comedic moments. The plot is well-structured, with clear character arcs and development. The introduction of the main characters, Mike Ross and Harvey Specter, is well-done, and their interactions are compelling. The script effectively combines elements of legal drama with elements of a heist story, creating an interesting and unique premise. The dialogue is sharp and witty, adding depth to the characters and moving the story forward. The pacing is generally strong, but there are some moments where the narrative feels slightly rushed. Additionally, while the main characters are well-developed, some of the supporting characters could benefit from further exploration. The screenplay successfully sets up potential conflicts and storylines for future episodes or installments. Overall, the story is engaging, entertaining, and has great potential for further development.
Suggestions: To improve the screenplay, I would suggest giving more attention to the supporting characters and their storylines. They have the potential to add depth and complexity to the overall narrative. Additionally, some moments of the script could benefit from further development and exploration to allow for a more immersive experience. Lastly, while the comedic elements are effective, it would be beneficial to balance them with more emotional and dramatic moments to create a stronger overall impact. Overall, the screenplay is well-written and enjoyable, and with some minor adjustments, it has the potential to be even stronger.

Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:

Mike Ross

Mike Ross is an intelligent, yet unmotivated college dropout who has a knack for cheating on tests for money. Despite his shady past, he is a naturally gifted lawyer who impresses Harvey with his legal knowledge and analytical skills. He is also portrayed as a determined lawyer who is passionate about fighting for justice, but tends to procrastinate and can be a bit of a slacker. Despite his flaws, he is loyal to those he cares about and has a good heart. He carries the weight of a tragic past with him, often struggling with trust issues, but he is quick-thinking and resourceful when it comes to problem-solving.



Harvey Specter

Harvey Specter is a quick-witted, confident, and successful attorney who specializes in handling troubled legal situations. He has a cocky persona and always strives to win at any cost. He is deeply loyal to his colleagues and clients and will use any tactics necessary to protect their interests. Despite his hard exterior, he has a vulnerable side that he only reveals to those close to him. He is a mentor figure to Mike and has a special bond with him.



Mike

Mike is a brilliant and ambitious young man with a troubled past. He is intelligent, resourceful, and determined to succeed in his career as a lawyer. However, he also struggles with self-doubt and a fear of failure, which leads him to take questionable actions to prove himself. Mike is driven by his desire to make a better life for himself and his grandmother, whom he deeply cares for. He values integrity and justice, which often puts him at odds with his colleagues who are willing to bend the law.



Trevor

Trevor is a charismatic drug dealer who is highly ambitious and successful in his illicit dealings. He is manipulative, dangerous, and driven by his desire for money and power. He can be pushy and potentially a bad influence on those around him. He was once Mike's friend, but their relationship became strained due to Trevor's involvement in drug dealing.



Harvey

Harvey Specter is a highly skilled and charismatic lawyer, known for his killer instinct. He is confident, successful, and often prioritizes his own interests above others. Harvey is also experienced, savvy, and willing to do whatever it takes to win cases. However, he struggles with personal issues and often conceals his emotions from others. He is fiercely loyal to his clients and colleagues, but can sometimes be inflexible and abrasive.



Katherine

Katherine is a highly successful lawyer who is strategic in her thinking and values the ethical side of her work. She is respected but also known to be cutthroat and manipulative when necessary. As a mentor and boss, she has high expectations and tests the loyalty and commitment of her employees. She is concerned about Harvey's lack of compassion for others and disappointed in his recent behavior, but she also values his potential as a successful lawyer.



Rachel

Rachel is a seasoned paralegal who takes her job very seriously. She's highly intelligent, resourceful, and sharp-tongued. Although she is smart and capable, she is also vulnerable about her weaknesses. Rachel has a close working relationship with Mike and is impressed by his legal knowledge, even though she is put off by his arrogance. She shows Mike around and gives him advice about the firm culture, and is instrumental in helping him win the case against Devlin.



Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Mike Ross Mike starts off as a bright but unmotivated young man with a checkered past. Through his association with Harvey, he discovers his untapped potential and decides to study law. He eventually becomes a successful lawyer, fighting for what's right despite the obstacles that come his way. Along the way, he learns to trust others and open up about his own fears and vulnerabilities. He also learns to take responsibility for his actions and make amends for past mistakes. Through his journey, he becomes a better, more rounded person who is dedicated to making a difference. The character arc is well-structured and provides a clear arc for Mike Ross. However, it seems a bit formulaic and lacks some depth. The story could benefit from more exploration of Mike's motivations, fears, and personal growth. Additionally, the final resolution feels a bit rushed and could use more time for emotional resolution.
To improve the character arc, it might be helpful to add more scenes that show Mike struggling with his inner demons. This could help make his personal growth more meaningful and add depth to his character. Additionally, the final resolution could benefit from more time for emotional closure and reflection on the journey. This could help provide a satisfying conclusion to the character's arc and leave a lasting impact on the audience.
Harvey Specter Harvey's character arc begins as an ambitious and confident attorney who is disappointed when he is not made partner. He realizes that his career is at a standstill, and he needs to make a change. As he takes on more cases with Mike, he discovers a new sense of purpose and acquires a more empathetic and compassionate outlook. He learns to become more introspective and opens up to those around him. Through his relationship with Mike, he develops a more human side and realizes the importance of trust and loyalty. Ultimately, he realizes that being a good attorney is not just about winning cases but also about helping people in need. He becomes more selfless and learns to place the needs of others above his own. The character arc is well-constructed, but it could benefit from more depth and complexity. The transformation from a cocky attorney to a more empathetic and compassionate one is predictable and could be enhanced by adding more nuanced facets to Harvey's character. Additionally, the character arc could benefit from more external conflicts that challenge Harvey's beliefs and values. This would make the transformation more credible and compelling.
To improve the character arc, consider adding more layers to Harvey's character. Explore his backstory and personal life to reveal hidden struggles and insecurities that shape his behavior. Introduce more external conflicts that test his values and beliefs. Additionally, consider incorporating more meaningful relationships into the story that force Harvey to confront his weaknesses and grow as a person.
Mike Mike's character arc begins with him working as a LSAT taker and drug dealer. He is disillusioned with his life of crime and realizes he needs to get his act together. He takes a chance to enter the world of law, albeit hesitantly. As he becomes a lawyer-in-training, Mike navigates professional and personal hurdles that challenge his integrity and morals. He begins to doubt himself and his abilities, but ultimately finds strength in the support of his colleagues, particularly Harvey. He is driven by his desire to make a difference and help his clients, which ultimately leads him to success as a lawyer. In the end, Mike learns important lessons about integrity, honesty, and the consequences of his actions. The character arc is well-developed and highlights the key themes of the movie. However, there are moments where Mike's character development could have been more nuanced and realistic. For instance, his transition from a life of crime to a successful lawyer-in-training seems too smooth and idealistic. There is also a lack of exploration of his relationship with his grandmother, which seems like a missed opportunity to add emotional depth to the character.
To improve Mike's character arc, the screenplay could add more realistic challenges for him to overcome on his journey to success. This could include showing the difficult and sometimes ugly reality of the law profession, as well as exploring the emotional toll of his grandmother's illness and disapproval of his actions. Additionally, the relationship with his former friend could be developed further to add more complexity to his character. Overall, the screenplay does a good job of developing Mike's character, but there is room for improvement.
Trevor Trevor starts off as a successful drug dealer who tries to convince Mike to join his business. As the story progresses, his ambition and greed become more apparent, and he becomes more manipulative and dangerous. He tries to make amends with Mike, but when that fails, he becomes confrontational and ultimately gets what's coming to him. The character arc for Trevor is a bit predictable, as it follows the typical trajectory of a villain in a crime drama. It would be more interesting to see him develop a deeper motivation for his actions, or to have him change in a more unexpected way.
To improve Trevor's character arc, consider giving him a backstory that explains why he became involved in drug dealing, and how it relates to his desire for money and power. You could also have him change in a more unexpected way, such as turning on his accomplices for a greater cause, or developing a genuine friendship with Mike that complicates their relationship.
Harvey At the beginning of the movie, Harvey is a highly successful and confident lawyer, but struggles with balancing his personal and professional life. Throughout the film, Harvey encounters various internal office conflicts and faces mentor troubles and personal struggles. As the movie progresses, Harvey learns to prioritize his clients and colleagues over his own interests, and becomes less arrogant and self-centered. He also recognizes the importance of emotions and relationships in his work and personal life. By the end of the movie, Harvey has grown both personally and professionally, becoming a more sympathetic and compassionate person. The character arc for Harvey is well-developed and provides a clear trajectory for the character. However, it would benefit from more specific examples of moments where Harvey learns to prioritize others, and how he grows emotionally. Additionally, some of Harvey's actions contradict his newfound compassion later in the film, and could be better resolved.
To improve the character arc for Harvey, the film could include more scenes or moments where Harvey specifically prioritizes others over himself. Additionally, some of Harvey's past actions could be addressed and resolved more effectively to provide a clearer character arc. Overall, the arc could benefit from more nuanced emotional growth for the character.
Katherine Katherine starts as a demanding but supportive mentor to Harvey, but as the movie progresses, she becomes more concerned about the ethical side of her work and the people she works with, including Harvey. She begins to doubt Harvey's ability to lead the firm and considers making Mike her successor instead. Eventually, she realizes that she can still have a successful career while also valuing the people in her life, and she ultimately chooses both Harvey and Mike as her successors. The character arc is well-developed and shows Katherine's growth and realization of the importance of ethics and compassion in her work. However, it could benefit from adding more specific examples of how Katherine's behavior changes throughout the movie.
To improve the character arc, consider adding specific scenes or dialogue that show Katherine's growth and realization. For example, showing her taking a stand for what she believes in or making a difficult decision to prioritize ethics over results.
Rachel At the beginning of the movie, Rachel is impressed by Mike's legal knowledge, but put off by his arrogance. However, as she works with him and sees how capable he is, she begins to develop a respect for him. Throughout the movie, Rachel is instrumental in helping Mike win the case against Devlin and grows increasingly invested in the outcome. However, when Mike's lie is exposed, Rachel feels betrayed and angry. She confronts him about his deception, but ultimately forgives him and helps him salvage his career. By the end of the movie, Rachel has developed a close working relationship with Mike and has grown as a person, learning to trust her own instincts and speak up for what she believes in. The character arc is well crafted and follows a logical progression. However, while Rachel is an interesting character, she sometimes feels like a tool to advance Mike's storyline rather than having her own story arc. It would be beneficial to flesh out her character more and give her more agency in the plot. Additionally, while Rachel is shown to be highly intelligent and resourceful, her vulnerabilities and weaknesses are not explored in depth. This could be an opportunity to add more depth to her character and make her more relatable to the audience.
To improve the character arc, it would be beneficial to give Rachel more agency and explore her vulnerabilities and weaknesses in more depth. This could involve giving her more scenes where she is actively pursuing her own goals or making decisions that affect the plot. Additionally, it could be interesting to explore her past and how it has shaped the person she is today. This could add more depth to her character and make her more relatable to the audience. Overall, Rachel is an interesting character with a lot of potential, and with some minor tweaks, could become even more compelling.
Theme Theme Details Themee Explanation
Deception and IdentityThe screenplay explores the theme of deception and identity through Mike's double life as a fake lawyer and drug dealer, as well as Harvey's confrontation with Joanna, who turns out to be a fake employee.Deception and identity play a significant role in the character development and plot twists in the screenplay. The theme highlights the consequences of living a double life and the importance of authenticity.
Ethics and MoralityThe screenplay touches on the theme of ethics and morality through Harvey's decision to take on a pro bono case and Mike's struggle to balance his illegal activities with his desire to do the right thing.Ethics and morality are explored to showcase the characters' growth and development. The theme raises questions about the line between right and wrong and the choices individuals make when faced with moral dilemmas.
Career and AmbitionThe screenplay explores the theme of career and ambition through the characters' pursuit of success in the legal profession, showcased through Mike's journey from a lowly drug dealer to a lawyer and Harvey's desire to become a senior partner.Career and ambition serve as driving forces for the characters' actions and decisions. The theme explores the sacrifices individuals make to achieve their goals and the challenges they face along the way.
Friendship and BetrayalThe screenplay touches on the theme of friendship and betrayal through Mike's strained relationship with Trevor, who tries to involve him in the drug business, as well as Harvey's confrontation with Louis and his mentor.Friendship and betrayal are explored to showcase the complexities of human relationships. The theme delves into the consequences of trust and the impact of betrayal on the characters' personal and professional lives.
Justice and RedemptionThe screenplay explores the theme of justice and redemption through Mike and Harvey's pursuit of justice for their clients and their own personal growth and redemption arcs.Justice and redemption serve as motivators for the characters' actions and decisions. The theme examines the struggle for justice in a morally complex world and the potential for redemption and growth even in the face of adversity.



Screenwriting Resources on Themes

Articles

Site Description
Studio Binder Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters
Coverfly Improving your Screenplay's theme
John August Writing from Theme

YouTube Videos

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Story, Plot, Genre, Theme - Screenwriting Basics Screenwriting basics - beginner video
What is theme Discussion on ways to layer theme into a screenplay.
Thematic Mistakes You're Making in Your Script Common Theme mistakes and Philosophical Conflicts
Goals and Philosophical Conflict
internal Goals The protagonist's internal goal is to prove himself as a competent lawyer and succeed in his job
External Goals The protagonist's external goal is to succeed in his job and navigate various legal cases
Philosophical Conflict The overarching philosophical conflict in the screenplay is the tension between personal morals and professional ethics


Character Development Contribution: The goals and conflicts contribute to the development of the characters by challenging their beliefs, values, and personal growth

Narrative Structure Contribution: The goals and conflicts provide a driving force for the narrative, creating tension and conflict that propel the story forward

Thematic Depth Contribution: The goals and conflicts explore deeper themes such as morality, justice, success, and personal identity, adding depth and complexity to the screenplay


Screenwriting Resources on Goals and Philosophical Conflict

Articles

Site Description
Creative Screenwriting How Important Is A Character’s Goal?
Studio Binder What is Conflict in a Story? A Quick Reminder of the Purpose of Conflict

YouTube Videos

Title Description
How I Build a Story's Philosophical Conflict How do you build philosophical conflict into your story? Where do you start? And how do you develop it into your characters and their external actions. Today I’m going to break this all down and make it fully clear in this episode.
Endings: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great By Michael Arndt: I put this lecture together in 2006, when I started work at Pixar on Toy Story 3. It looks at how to write an "insanely great" ending, using Star Wars, The Graduate, and Little Miss Sunshine as examples. 90 minutes
Tips for Writing Effective Character Goals By Jessica Brody (Save the Cat!): Writing character goals is one of the most important jobs of any novelist. But are your character's goals...mushy?