Every office has someone like Donna Paulson, the all-seeing, all-knowing secretary that Sarah Rafferty plays on USA’s legal potboiler Suits, which began its sixth season earlier this month. Nothing at the law firm of Pearson Specter Litt goes on without her knowledge — which means Rafferty was the perfect selection to burn through popular fan theories about where the show is headed for a new video interview with Rolling Stone.
The actress hands down rulings on every percolating conspiracy, from a secret pregnancy between unlicensed hotshot lawyer Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) and his fiancée Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) — “Hope so! That’d be cute” — to the notion that Mike and co-lead Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) may be more than just legal partners: “They have been, since the show’s beginning! Google that. It looks really real.”
Rafferty is also delighted by the notion of Donna’s secret backstory as the granddaughter of Joan Holloway, i.e. Christina Hendricks fan-favorite character on Mad Men, and offers a compelling vision of the show’s endgame (“Just Louis and a shitload of cats,” she says). But her juiciest tidbit concerns the show’s recurring “can-opener ritual.”
As part of their pre-trial routine, Harvey and Donna grasp a manual can-opener for good luck, and from the eccentricity’s first appearance, fans have been curious about its origin. Rafferty won’t offer any easy answers, however: “I have an idea of what the can opener ritual is, but I’ll never tell. It’s cooler in your brain than in reality! But it’s very specific and it involves thumbtacks.”
Rafferty also discussed the pleasures that she takes in playing her shamelessly gossipy character over this long-running show’s tenure. “Donna’s interested in everyone’s personal life, and she’s kind of fearless about getting involved in it,” she says.”It’s fun for me as an actor, because I get to engage with all the characters on the show.”
Much like Rafferty at the outset of Suits, Donna entered the complex field of law with an outsider’s perspective. “I love that Donna wasn’t planning to be in the world of law in any way,” she says. “She was an actress!”
Before showing why she earns the big bucks via five varied, expressive reads of the word ‘Louis,’ Rafferty teases the what’s coming up in the already-in-progess new season. “We’ve come back for Season Six and we’re sort of a whole new show,” she says. “There’s a whole new set, Mike’s in prison — it’s been amazing. I hope everyone comes along for the ride.”