If audiences thought Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) was going to get off with just a slap on the wrist for the crimes he committed, they had another thing coming. In the season-five finale, Mike put his own future on the line to save Harvey (Gabriel Macht) and Jessica (Gina Torres) from going to prison and took a two-year deal that had him ready to go behind bars.
Mike planned to marry Rachel (Meghan Markle) and ended up leaving to go to prison instead as we stared at a sad and lonely shot of Rachel outside the church, in her wedding dress watching Mike leave with Harvey.
We spoke exclusively to Megan Markle on what she thinks of the finale, the growth of her character, and what Mike and Rachel might have in store for them come season 6.
Since the show began Rachel has battled two things specifically. First is to be seen as her own individual and one who can handle herself as she’s grown over the seasons. The second is dealing with Mike’s secret and how that affects her life. For me, one of the biggest scenes this season was in last weeks episode when they are holding Mike and Rachel calls her dad for help, who kind of knew, but finally received confirmation that Mike is a fraud because she called him.
It’s been interesting because at the onset Rachel has always been a strong character. That very first scene when Mike meets her and she said look we can get it out of the way that I am not interested, was so badass. As she starts to fall in love with Mike Ross over the seasons, especially in seasons two and three we saw, what some would say was a softer and others would say a weaker side of Rachel.
I remember reading those storylines. I think that Rachel lost sight of her strength while falling in love. She lost sight of that independent spirit and just became a part of this puppy love storyline. It’s a great storyline, though, because it parallels what happens in real life for a lot of people.
However, once all of the drama started with Mike, I think Rachel really got her sea legs back. First, she becomes Harvey’s associate and has to deal with working with him on a daily basis. Then she ends up having to stand up to her father in a way she has not done before, and then, of course, making a choice to be completely supportive of her fiancée regardless of the fact that he has put them both in a position that could jeopardize their future.
What has that been like as an actor to play?
As an actor, it has been really great to play. Look, the last three or four episodes of season 5 were riddled with tears for every single scene. So my challenge as an actor was to find where are these tears coming from? For some of them it was anxiety, for some of them it was fear, and for others, it was panic or being overwhelmed. To try and find different layers in that was especially challenging. In real life, I am not that kind of person. I don’t really cry because I do it on the show so much (laughs). Some people [via social media] are always saying oh Rachel is always crying. But you know if you had to deal with this on a daily basis, wouldn’t you be crying? Wouldn’t you have all your emotions on your sleeve — probably. I think that is really important to remember.
That’s ironic because when I watch I never really felt that Rachel is a character that over cries. I just think that Rachel has a lot of emotional scenes and she is the closest to the situation. Why wouldn’t she be crying?
Yes! Exactly. I know, I completely get why she is emotional. You are right! People also have to remember there is no character on this show whose personal life we know more than Rachel. She is the only character where we see her family pretty often. We see her vulnerability in a much different way then we see everyone else. All of the characters have had emotional growths this season — but a lot of times we see a majority of those characters at the firm with their game faces on.
How does Rachel differ from the characters in what is shown each episode?
Rachel is one of those characters where we just see and know so much about her. We see her at home, in her bedroom, dealing with her personal issues with Mike, with her parents, etc. It’s a much more intimate thing that viewers see. I think if we saw all of those facets of the other characters we would see more tears and emotions from them. (laughs). Also, she is closest to Mike’s problem. Mike is a fraud and has been hiding this for years and we see her in a more intimate light than we do the other characters. This makes her more vulnerable and makes her show more emotion than you might see from some of the other characters.
For the finale, Mike doesn’t come to Rachel when he makes his decision. How does this affect the two of you in season 6?
I hope that fans know that both Gabriel and I shared our concerns about how the ending was originally written. We are happy that (show runner) Aaron [Korsh] was willing to hear us out. I had a gut reaction when I read the script. I just felt something about it and was glad I was able to talk to Aaron.
I am sure when people watch that last scene they can imagine what it was originally written as and what it became. There was also a scene that was added in at the very last minute during the last week of filming. It might be interesting to see if people guess what that is — but it also is a scene that connects Mike and Rachel in a way that we hadn’t seen in awhile.
I think it’s the biggest shock that I could imagine. When I read the script I was like well now what? I think it was so brave of our writers to make a choice like that and say we are going to just flip the script and start over in a way because no one saw this coming. It’s not a cliffhanger it is a very decisive ending to the season and now it’s the question of where we go from here?
Fans want to know did you steal anything from the set?
(laughs). I did take a couple of things. I took Rachel’s LSAT score and framed that. It’s in my house. There are also a ton of things in Rachel’s apartment that I would like. But Rick Hoffman (who plays Louis Litt) reminded me that when they start letting you take things home it could mean that they don’t need you anymore (laughs). So I hope all of Rachel’s stuff stays there for years to come.
Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
My fans are just the best people ever! They are so sweet and there is so much support for the character, for me, for the show, and even my website. I really feel a huge connection to the fans. It’s weird to even call them fans. I know I don’t know them, but it feels like they’re my online friends. I want to say thank you.
I hope you keep enjoying the show because we keep working hard to give you good episodes. So thank you so much again for all the support and love you have shown me.