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Spotlight: Patrick J. Adams gets his breakout role as a bogus lawyer on the hit series Suits

Faking ItBefore Suits debuted last year on the tiny USA Network, it sounded like every other legal dramedy with impossibly good-looking lawyers sassing judges and having confrontations in front of floor-to-ceiling windows. That assessment wasn’t entirely off the mark: Suits is set in a stylish Manhattan firm (though shot in Toronto) and features an easy-on-the-eyes cast, including its boyishly handsome star Patrick J. Adams. But the show, which recently began its second season, quickly distinguished itself from the clones with its snappy pacing and sharp dialogue, and became a sleeper hit. The Toronto-born Adams plays the dishy and disheveled anti-hero, Mike Ross, a low-level con artist who stumbles into a job as an associate, despite having no law degree, after impressing the firm’s star litigator with his photographic memory and self-taught mastery of legalese. (TV rules of plausibility are in effect.) Adams brings nuance to the role of the savant hustler. Ross can be ruthless, and yet vulnerable—a mere guppy in a sea of Armani-clad sharks. Earlier this year, he nabbed a Screen Actors Guild nomination for best actor in a drama series, which pitted him against award heavyweights like Bryan Cranston (for Breaking Bad) and Steve Buscemi (who won for Boardwalk Empire). For the 30-year-old Adams, who spent a decade stuck in Holly­wood’s revolving door of guest spots and doomed pilots, landing Suits has meant a huge leap in name recognition. It’s the breakout moment actors dream of, and almost as unlikely as, say, stumb­ling into a job as a lawyer without a law degree.

Suits, Season 2
Starring Patrick J. Adams
Mondays at 9 p.m.