How Suits is filmed in Toronto

This legal dramedy is set in New York, but shot all over downtown
This legal dramedy is set in New York, but shot all over downtown

Clive Thomasson has a tricky job. As the production designer for Suits — a barely realistic, one-liner-packed TV show about corporate law (and sometimes criminal and family) in New York City — he has to make a Manhattan out of Toronto. After all, that’s where the show is filmed. You may have spotted the cast and crew on set this summer, while they were shooting the sixth season.

Most of the show, however, is filmed in a Downsview studio. Only when the script takes the storyline outside the law firm 
does Thomasson have to find spots throughout Toronto’s financial district that resemble New York. His favourite skyscraper lobbies? The ones at the Richmond-Adelaide Centre and the Bay-Adelaide Centre. For lunch and dinner scenes, he’s used Mercatto at 330 Bay. (He brings in fancy tablecloths to make it look more high-end.) “We also film on the stairs outside the National Club on Bay Street,” he says. “It looks like the entrance to a New York apartment.”

Sometimes, Thomasson gets the chance to film inside an actual law firm. Last season, for instance, Suits got inside Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP to shoot a few scenes on a weekend — a rare treat. “Law firms don’t really want us filming in there Monday to Friday because they’re usually working from 7 to 9,” says Thomasson. Maybe Harvey Specter doesn’t have that much pull after all.

Cover of the Fall Issue of Precedent Magazine

This story is from our Fall 2016 issue.




Photo courtesy of Bravo