This week’s episode of USA’s Suits should be remembered as the hour in which Jessica (Gina Torres) made Harvey (Gabriel Macht) a name partner, having no idea he’s been plotting to take control of the firm from her. But really, it’s feline-lover Louis (Rick Hoffman) meeting the cat of his archenemy, Nigel (Adam Godley), that we won’t soon forget. Watch the scene below. Just the look on Hoffman’s face when he first sees her – already, you want to rewind. Also, that cat should be in this gallery of MVPs: Most Valuable Pets.
For me, this moment encapsulates why Louis is one of the best comic reliefs on a TV drama: He’s not just a walking one-liner. The humor comes from the character, which the show’s writers have taken time to build. They’d already established Louis’ affinity for cats (RIP, beloved Bruno) and all high-maintenance beings (see: Louis mudding, which is now a delightful recurring theme; his former relationship with Sheila Sazs). There’s something very Denny Crane about his unapologetic joy and total commitment to whatever he does. What also makes Louis great is that we don’t laugh at him, we laugh with him, and he can make us do more than chuckle. (I’d like to think the writers knew fans would be so upset seeing Louis hurt when Patrick J. Adams’ Mike ditched him to reteam with Harvey that they had to issue a mea culpa in the form of Amanda Schull’s Wire fan Katrina joining Team Litt and Louis cat-sitting).
Tell us: Who is your pick for the greatest comic relief on a TV drama? I’d also nominate True Blood’s Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), who, while being a fabulous human in a world of vampires, werewolves, shifters, and fairies, never feels like a caricature – even when he’s teaching Terry (Todd Lowe) to “sexy the dip” and “cha-cha the dip” at the fryer.