TV & Film

'Suits' Star Rick Hoffman On Louis Litt Not Being The Villain, Getting His Due, Being Allergic To Cats And More

The "Suits" Season 3 midseason finale is next week, and they're going full-steam ahead, but there are still so many loose ends to tie up at the law firm before "Suits" returns in 2014.

In this week's episode, titled "Bad Faith" (Tues., Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. ET on USA), Louis Litt is finally getting his due -- or is he? -- as boss lady Jessica asks Louis to be her "Cooler King", and it is nothing short of Litt-tastic.

But as the partners of Pearson Darby Specter move forward with the dissolution, there are also love interests complicating things: Harvey (Gabriel Macht) and his old flame Scottie (Abigail Spencer); Mike (Patrick J. Adams) and Rachel (Meghan Markle); and, of course, Louis (Rick Hoffman) and his beloved Mikado the cat.

I caught up with Hoffman to talk about Mikado -- did you know he's deathly allergic to cats? -- and the impending return of his human love interest Sheils Sazs (Rachael Harris), and he also teased another shot at a Louis-Harvey friendship (or broship, as he put it) and posed a theory that Louis and Harvey, physical traits aside, aren't all that different. Keep reading for more from the man behind one of the best supporting characters on TV ...

First off, you are really embracing Twitter!
Yeah, I know -- I kind of turned a corner with the whole tweeting situation. I don't know what happened. Maybe like a month ago, I started just wanting to talk to a bunch of people who like the show. And, of course, at first I'm sort of answering everything the way you're "supposed to" answer, and I lost a bunch of followers ... I was like, "What the hell is this all about? What is Twitter supposed to be about? If you're not answering your fans, then what's the point?" Then I had a chip on my shoulder, and I was like, "OK, now let's have some fun." So now I don't care if anyone drops, and people ask hilarious questions and I give them hilarious answers and that's my new Twitter relationship with all these wonderful fans.

Because so many people have been media trained to give those canned answers, I think it's shocking ...
I think they're a little shocked when there's something more than "thx!" or something lame with two exclamation points!! Yeah, I'm not gonna do it all the time ... [laughs] then I think even my own boss will be like, 'Can you please stop?' [Laughs.] But every once in a while, it's fun.

Well since you're so active on Twitter, I wonder if you've noticed what I have: that, this season especially, the show is getting more love than ever.
For sure. This season, you can't escape it, on Twitter or on the streets, even up here in Canada [where we shoot]. And it's fantastic most of the time, aside from when you just wake up in the morning and you just want to go to Starbucks and get coffee. [Laughs.] It's gone up to a whole different level from where it was in the first season. And then you guys and Mo Ryan had that piece in The Huffington Post, which was so great ... it's amazing.

Glad you read that! I was happy she came around to it. What is it about this show that you think resonates with people? Because I'm very honest that I don't watch much else on USA, but I love "Suits."
I think it's that the characters are identifiable in different ways to different people. That's a testament to the writers and [creator] Aaron Korsh, who loves TV -- but loves, I guess, good TV. That's subjective, but he likes good story and stories that are plausible. And he somehow can make it work with a heavy law trial going on, but also a cat trial that's like borderline farcical, but it's got heart in it for levity. Viewers can appreciate that hour of television getting both sides -- the light and the heavy.

Louis is a character that people really relate to because, yes, he has his smarmy moments, but really he's the underdog, the outcast, and he's just trying to get to the next level, trying to make people like him. Will Louis ever get his due?
Well, I can tell you that he does, in this next episode. I think he's turned a corner ... obviously he's forming new relationships as the seasons go on, and obviously this new one with Rachel is great because she actually softens him up. He now has an opportunity to really have another man-to-man friendship -- a broship -- with Harvey, and let's see if he doesn't screw this one up this season. He did in the first season, when Harvey told him he respected him. Something happens in this episode where he earns Harvey's respect again. Let's see what happens ... I think now, with higher stakes, let's see if Louis doesn't get in his own way like he used to. It will be an interesting test to see what happens.

People may disagree with me but, obviously aside from the physical, Harvey and Louis are very similar when it comes to their collective character traits. I feel like Mike is more stable ... Harvey and Louis have a hard time looking at themselves in the mirror. Harvey overcompensates for that with his smoothness and how sharp he is, and Louis overcompensates too, but they both run on the fuel of fear and insecurity. I think that's why Louis may be more likable or enjoyable -- they're both innocent and flawed, but the only harm they cause is to themselves, usually. All three men, there's a similarity: there's the hero, there's the mini-hero and then there's the anti-hero.

Do you consider Louis the anti-hero of the show?
Anti-hero has been used now a little more than it used to be, and I want to be clear: I'm using hero very, very lightly. [Laughs.] Louis is not a villain, that's for sure. But when his back is against the wall -- and it has been a couple of times in this show -- he's always come up heroic. Harvey is constantly heroic. Louis, like against Hardman in the elevator last year or when he's tested and it comes to his principles ... he and Harvey share that loyalty, those principles. There are similarities. People are always trying to wrap their brains around Louis, like 'How do I like this guy? He's such a douche! Why do I like him?!' The writers stay true to the human being instead of making him a cartoon.

But he has those classic cartoonish moments still, which like you said, brings the levity. Facing off with Nigel Nesbitt over Mikado ... that's seeing Louis totally vulnerable, but so much so that he's in full fighting mode.
Yeah, I think Louis is really one of the only guys who's Type A, B, C, D and Z. [Laughs.] He likes to flap his wings with certain guys, like Nigel, and even Mike or his associates. And at the same time he can become this little puppy when it comes to Harvey ... he just goes into his shell. It's the greatest job I've ever had.

You've had so many jobs, big and small, most of them with at least a hint of that douchey, smarmy thing you do. Besides "Suits," what's the role you're recognized for the most?
Oh it's amazing what people come up with. I was onscreen for maybe 10 seconds of "The Day After Tomorrow" and that's one of the most popular shout-outs aside from "Suits" now. Literally I get taken over by a tidal wave in a bus, and I say no more than three sentences. And "Hostel" ... that's always a popular one. But with "Suits," it really turned a corner. My parents are always a great litmus test. Based on the amount of shrieks my mother gives when we're out in public, her constant shock when somebody comes up and says something nice. [Laughs.]

OK, how freaking cute are your parents? Can they please be on the show again soon? They are adorable.
Let me tell you something ... if my mother and father knew that HuffPost asked about my parents ...

Oh they'll know -- this does not get deleted, Rick!
Well then print this also, because they crack up at themselves: they will get big heads, and then my dad will start pitching ideas. Right now he's been quiet, but everybody in their community has ideas for them. They think they have their own spinoff.

[Laughs.] I would watch a few episodes of the Litt Show. What would they even call it? It'd have to be a Littism ...
You know what it would be called? Canceled. [Laughs.]

Another person I'd love to see come back into Louis' life is Rachael Harris' character, Sheila. Is there a chance she might be back soon?
The answer to that question is yes, there's a good chance that Rachael Harris will come back. I'm not going to tell you what episode or if there is an episode ... let's just say that Sheila Sazs may be around again. That's all I'm saying.

[Editor's note: USA's official description for next week's midseason finale, "Stay," mentions Sheila -- yay!]

I think fans are ready to see more of Louis' outside life. Maybe his apartment, or what he does on the weekends. I imagine him being a secret paintball pro, like he has a regular game with a bunch of 12-year-old boys ...
In the first season, we did see him at the gun club -- he's apparently a marksman.

Which is why I think paintball. The gun club is practice for his true shooting passion -- with paint.
[Laughs.] Right. I mean, aside from mudding, cats, origami ... how many things can this guy do that are just outrageous? Clearly I'm open to anything. I've been butt naked on this show already, knowing it's completely for comedic purposes. Drinking milk for two and a half hours straight for a scene -- and not just milk, but half-and-half. Being on call to go to the hospital in case I get deathly allergic to the cat. You know I'm allergic to cats, right?

Are you joking me?
Oh you don't know this? Yeah. I am deathly allergic. I am not a cat lover. I am a dog lover -- but I'm only a lover of hypoallergenic dogs. I have an inhaler and an EpiPen on set ... they come over with a hose after the cat is on me to make sure there's no dander or hair. It's insane!

All for your art. So you talked a bit about this week's episode, but what can you tease about the midseason finale next week?
I'll just say that for the fans of "Suits" ... people look forward to finales of shows, and they're either happy or underwhelmed. There is absolutely no way they'll be underwhelmed with this midseason finale.

"Suits" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA.

Read Mo Ryan's take on "Suits" here and tell us: Are you loving this show as much as we are?

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