"Suits" up, Chicago! USA's legal drama will use its Season 7 finale as a backdoor pilot introducing a political spinoff around Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres).
Torres left the show as a series regular at the end of Season 6, but has made several guest appearances since then. Jessica is still a name partner at Pearson Specter Litt and has provided wise counsel to Harvey (Gabriel Macht) as he takes over managing the firm.
On screen, Jessica ostensibly moved to Chicago to be with boyfriend Jeff Malone (D.B. Woodside). Off screen, Torres reportedly wanted to spend more time with her family in L.A. ("Suits" films in Toronto).
The spinoff won't feature the hard-charging lawyer battling in court, however. Instead, creator and executive producer Aaron Korsh told Deadline that it will focus on politics.
"Jessica is going to get in a tangle and a tussle with some Chicago politics players," he said. "They will be of different levels, from the mayor on down, and maybe not all will be directly involved in politics, we may have a real estate developer or someone of that type, and some power brokers within the city and maybe further a little down the rung in that world."
Torres herself pitched the idea of a spinoff and that it not be a legal drama.
"Moving into politics was a way of differentiating the show from 'Suits,'" the actress said "I didn't want it to be 'Suits 2,' I wanted it to be its own entity, and so moving it away from a glossy attorney show, I wanted it to be darker, a little more reality-based, a little grittier and to reflect what it is that we are going though in the country."
The finale/backdoor pilot will see Harvey torn between his work in New York and helping Jessica in Chicago.
"The idea is, Harvey would go to Jessica's aid, battling against political forces in Chicago, and the people on 'Suits' would all step up and try and help Harvey with the situation he is in back home," Korsh explained. "We will be bouncing back and forth between Chicago and New York."