It’s not everyday that you get to see how a television show is really made. But since Birchbox is partnering with the USA series SUITS this month, I had the very cool opportunity of visiting the show’s set, which is located just outside Toronto. Better still was being able to sit down with the lead cast members to discuss upcoming plot lines and favorite moments. Whether you’re a fan of SUITS or just want to know more about how television magic is made, here’s the play-by-play of my day on set:
Outside of the massive warehouse-like space where the set is located.
9:30AM: It’s go time! I head downstairs to the hotel lobby and meet up with the nine other journalists who are also in town to tour the set and chat with actors Gabriel Macht (Harvey Specter), Patrick Adams (Mike Ross), Rick Hoffman (Louis Litt), Meghan Markle (Rachel Zane), Sarah Rafferty (Donna Paulsen), and Gina Torres (Jessica Pearson).
10AM: We board the bus and drive about an hour outside of the city. (Everyone onboard works as a television journalist, so naturally we start talking Nashville, Vampire Diaries, Scandal, and so on.)
A look at the spacious hallway once inside.
11AM: We arrive at the set and it’s just what you’d imagine: A ginormous former factory that’s since been converted into a large studio. The space is also used to film another hit USA show, Covert Affairs.
11:10AM: We were escorted to one of the show’s faux conference rooms where we spent the majority of the day. Down to every last detail, it looks like a legit boardroom, except that when you look out the windows you see screens of painted buildings that are supposed to resemble the New York City skyline.
The “view” from the conference room.
12:15 PM: Talent is a little delayed, so all of the journalists start taking a look around. The set is actually a variety of disparate sets that are scattered all across the studio.
A look from outside the conference room.
12:50PM: Patrick Adams—aka Mike Ross—arrives! We immediately start talking about his latest iPhone app obsession and love for Game of Thrones. Fun fact: Two GoT actors are guest stars in season three of the series, Conleth Hill (Lord Varys) and Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark).
Our tour guide, Patrick, revealing details about his first-ever sex scene, which took eight hours to film!
1:20PM: After answering questions, Patrick kindly offers to give us a guided tour. For those of you who do watch the show, we fittingly began with a stop in the file room. (For those of you who don’t watch, A) you need to and B) SPOILER ALERT: this is the place where season two ended in a very steamy scene between Patrick’s character and Meghan Markle’s character.) “My mom was scared,” said Patrick of his mother’s reaction to the season two finale. “I didn’t warn her.”
Actor Gabriel Macht who plays Harvey Specter.
2:05PM After Patrick took us through a couple nearby sets (including the only original set they still use from the pilot, Mike Ross’ studio), we went back to the boardroom and met up the show’s other big star, Gabriel Macht. When asked what he wants most for his character this season, Gabriel said: “Those questions are so hard because I’m not a writer, but look, I want them all to be pals.” [Lots of laughter] “But that doesn’t make for a television show.”
Sarah Rafferty talking about Donna and filming flashback scenes—there’s at least one coming up this season.
3:10PM Up next was the stunning Sarah Rafferty, who plays Harvey’s secretary Donna. She tells us about knowing Gabriel personally for 20 years (!) and how the cast hangs out off set. “We’re like family,” she said.
3:40PM When Gina Torres came in, I personally got really excited. I’ve loved her since her days on Alias and her character on SUITS is such a badass. As I mentioned earlier, there’s lots of GoT talk on set because two actors from the HBO series are currently guest stars. As Torres points out that SUITS’ season three “is the most cutthroat season yet. Maybe it’s all of these Game of Thrones actors.”
4:25PM: I was definitely not prepared for the cuteness that is the friendship between Meghan Markle and Rick Hoffman. The two were actually shooting a scene together that day and needed to sit down with us at the same time to make the most of scheduling. Perhaps my favorite moment from the interview was when Meghan started telling the group about how the two of them recently traveled to Paris together. Rick had been in need of a date to a wedding and apparently they had a blast. “He tried escargot for the first time and fois gras for the first time,” said Markle. “It was so sweet.”
5:00PM Finally it’s time for lunch. I was starving and didn’t realize that meals on set are not on your typical schedule. While we’re eating, about 20 or 30 extras in full business formal attire are also getting food. With all of those collared shirts and pencil skirts, they definitely looked the part of law office worker bees.
A look at some of the fabulous footwear worn by the ladies on SUITS.
6PM: The last stop on the visit was a real highlight: the wardrobe department. The mastermind behind all of the to-die-for looks, Jolie Andreatta, showed us around—and we’re not talking about just a single walk-in closet. Think a ballroom-size area with racks and racks of Lanvin, Valentino, and Gucci. If that description isn’t enough to make your heart flutter, the space has well-behaved dogs everywhere. The whole cast lets their cute pups hang out in this massive open area while filming. Basically, if you like couture and canines, this is your idea of heaven.
Meghan Markle’s dog, Bogart, hanging in wardrobe.
7PM: That’s a wrap! After a very full day, we board the bus back to Toronto. I was excited before for the season three premiere, but now I’m practically giddy. Don’t forget to tune in yourself on July 16th at 10/9c!
(Majority of the photos provided by @SUITS_USA)