The frenzy over the fairy-tale royal wedding of L.A. girl Meghan Markle has been building since her engagement and will likely be incessant until May 19 when she finally walks down the aisle at Windsor Castle in the 15th century St. George’s Chapel.
But the soon-to-be duchess also has another upcoming date at the altar. While this wedding is more low-key, it’s also attracting its fair share of attention.
Markle, who plays paralegal Rachel Zane on USA Network’s legal drama “Suits” will tie the knot after a multi-season courtship with attorney Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams). The wedding highlights the April 25 season finale.
With a real-life royal wedding looming, there’s been added interest in the “Suits” fictional happy ending. USA Network announced last November that Markle, who has been on the show since its 2011 premiere, would depart from the series after her engagement that month, teasing fans about the fate of Ross and Zane. The network hasn’t been shy about milking the “Suits” wedding for all it’s worth, filling their press page with promotional material, including a trailer release and photos that tease the event.
That strategy has also been a bit bizarre. In what could be considered a deliberate attempt to preserve some measure of mystery about the finale to draw in more viewers, USA did not make available to the press any wedding photos showing Markle’s face, releasing only pictures from scenes of the reception that showcased the actress’ hair. A spokesperson for the network said photos showing Markle’s face were not available.
The network also said that executives from the series were not available for comment.
Despite that off-kilter approach, the episode is likely to be among the series’ most viewed. The show focuses on Ross, a college dropout and former drug dealer who accidentally slips into an interview at one of Manhattan’s top law firms, Pearson Specter. After seeing his photographic memory and intelligence in action, attorney Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) hires him on the spot, and for the remainder of the series, Ross struggles to keep his nonexistent Harvard Law degree a secret. In the midst of all of this, Ross’s relationship with the astute and tenacious paralegal, Zane, is a breath of fresh air.
Though it’s unclear whether the on-screen wedding was written in as a nod to Markle’s engagement and departure, it’s safe to say her character’s charming love story has enamored “Suits” fans from the moment they met in the first episode.
The relationship has been a bit rocky — Ross is unfaithful at one point, leaves Zane at the altar in their first wedding attempt and is imprisoned for fraud.
Their first meeting was an indication of their dynamic chemistry. When he started flirting with her during his orientation at the firm, she responded, “Trust me. I’ve given dozens of these, and without fail, whatever new hotshot it is thinks that just because I’m just a paralegal, I will be blown away by his dazzling degree. I can assure you, I won’t.”
As she walks away, he gazes at her, whispering, “I love you.”
Their relationship evolved. They argued about legal cases. Zane wasn’t afraid to call Ross out on his mistakes or his deceptions or lies. After he proposed, Zane was too preoccupied worrying about her criminal fiancee to pick out the color of her wedding napkins. Despite it all, they were able to rebuild trust and support each other.
Markle and Zane both appear confident and self-assured. After their first kiss, Zane tells Ross, “Yes, it was a good kiss, but just to be clear, I rocked your world.”
Zane initially struggles to make it to law school but persists to climb the ranks and become one of the firm’s most valuable lawyers. Before they became a couple, Ross in season two helped her fill out a Match.com profile.
“I have an office, which is unheard of for a paralegal,” he says, describing Zane. “I’m passionate, funny, tenacious, courageous. I want someone who notices the little things like the fact that I’m a foodie...the fact that my parents are obviously loaded, but I’m still determined to make it on my own.”
Markle, who has said she grew up on TV sets like “Married...With Children” because her father was a lighting director, joined “Suits” in 2011 at age 29. But before her acting career took off, she attended Northwestern University, interned at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires and ran a food and lifestyle blog.
While there’s a lot of buzz about Markle’s life changing after the royal wedding — she is becoming a U.K. citizen — she has already alerted the world that she’s changing the royal family as well. There have been several reports of Markle breaking longstanding royal rules, some intentionally, some not. Markle is also the first American royal bride since 1937 and the first African American woman to marry into the family.
The future of the “Suits” couple is up in the air. But her two weddings may be enough to hold her fans, at least for now.