Why Suits' Gina Torres Wanted Jessica Pearson To Get A Spinoff

Suits Gina Torres Jessica Pearson USA Network
(Image credit: Parrish Lewis/USA Network)

Gina Torres is revealing why she wanted her Suits character, Jessica Pearson, to get her own spinoff. CinemaBlend’s Nick Venable was at the TCA panel when Torres shared what motivated her to do Pearson and why it seemed like a great next step for her career. According to Torres,

I was actually working on other things, so I had started really making my way into producing, which is something that I’ve always wanted to do and always felt that would be the next chapter in my creative career. And while all that was happening, I had become obsessed with the 2016 election and that world and how that all sort of evolved and all the people in it, all the denizens in it, whether they were believers or not, whether they were gun-for-hires or not, whether they were in it for the greater good or whether they were in it for power. And my mind went to Jessica Pearson, this character who I thought was in the rearview mirror of my life, and realized that that’s something that she did in the world of Suits, that that was very much her life, which was not just walking a line but blurring it and moving it and rewriting it and drawing it and what would she do in that world. I told the right people about it. [indicates Aaron Korsh and Daniel Arkin]

Now, Jessica Pearson is heading back to television via Pearson. After seven seasons playing Jessica Pearson on USA's Suits, Gina Torres ultimately opted to leave the series, although the Season 7 finale acted as a backdoor pilot for her spinoff. Part of that set of events included Jessica opting for a change of venue, which explained why she wanted to leave Pearson Specter Litt. She moved from New York to Chicago, where the new series will be set.

Accordingly, her return to television will follow her as she wades into the world of Chicago politics. There, Jessica will take on the pivotal role of Mayor Bobby Novak’s “right hand fixer.”

Considering Jessica Pearson and, in extension, Gina Torres’ popularity on Suits, getting behind a spinoff set on the character likely made the decision an easy one. Creatively speaking, moving forward with a spinoff felt like a natural transition for the character, according to showrunner Daniel Arkin. Arkin also explained why the spinoff got off of the ground, saying:

I’ll jump in for a second to say that what I think is particularly nice about this spinoff in particular is that the pieces were all there. It didn’t feel like we had to contrive something. There wasn’t a premeditation to spin the character off, but her character had organically come to a crisis in her life, a personal crisis, professional crisis, had left New York for Chicago, and left to make more of a commitment to her boyfriend, played by D.B. Woodside. And she wanted to do good. She wanted to start getting back to the core of why she became a lawyer, do some pro bono work. So all those pieces were there for her character. So, when Aaron came to me and said, you know, we want to do a spinoff.

The preview teased a high-powered drama with equally heightened stakes. The Suits franchise has chosen an excellent character to get behind. Pearson is getting started just as its originating series is ending. So, it seems like a good time for the network to try something new as Suits ends with its ninth season.

Pearson will help keep the world of Suits alive. It is always a positive thing when fans of a show know that a spinoff is coming because the story made sense. Gina Torres expressing that she thought the character was in her past only to be inspired by the character's potential future, is a great sign.

How often do spinoffs originate from such a naturally creative place? Pearson will definitely benefit from that lift. As showrunner Daniel Arkin mentioned, Jessica will be trying to get back to why she wanted to become a lawyer in the first place.

Trying to do good things in the world of politics can be a tricky business. Along for the ride will be The Mist’s Morgan Spector. He will star as the new mayor of Chicago, Bobby Novack. The Mindy Project’s Rebecca Whittenhouse will also be playing an ambitious lawyer.

Jessica Pearson fans have had to wait a while to see her back on their screen. How much longer that wait will wear on is currently unclear. Regarding an exact release date, the recently released teaser only offered a vague “coming soon.” However, we do know that Pearson is currently slated to premiere in the summer of 2019. The second half of Suits Season 8 is currently airing new, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA. The legal drama is among many shows returning this winter.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.