Why Meghan Markle Left Suits TV Show

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Meghan Markle in Suits

Meghan Markle exited her leading role in Suits with Season 7, here's what happened with the actress.

USA Network's nine-season legal drama Suits had a rather expansive cast, but arguably few more famous than Rachel Zane actress Meghan Markle, known to many today as the Duchess of Sussex and the wife to British royal Prince Harry.

Did Meghan Markle Leave Suits?

Meghan Markle Suits

Meghan Markle departed Suits and her role as Rachel Zane in the Season 7 finale, closing out her time on the legal drama with her wedding to Patrick J. Adams' Mike Ross, who exited the show at the same time.

The contracts of much of Suits' cast were fulfilled with the end of Season 7, and both Adams and Markle opted not to continue, even with the Season 8 renewal.

For Markle, this came almost two years into her relationship with British royal Prince Harry, which started with a blind date in early 2016.

The couple's engagement was announced on November 27, 2017, two weeks after Deadline reported plans for Markle and Adams' departure on November 13, citing the latter's aspirations to start a new chapter in his career 

Markle has yet to appear in another acting role since exiting Suits with Season 7, seemingly announcing her retirement from the profession to Variety in 2022:

“No. I’m done. I guess never say never, but my intention is to absolutely not.”

When Did Suits Cast Meghan Markle?

Meghan Markle's Rachel Zane debuted in the Suits pilot, which aired on June 23, 2011, kickstarting her seven-year on the USA Network show.

Markle was the fourth actress cast in the pilot, boarding the show at the same time as Gina Torres' Jessica Pearson following the signing of Patrick J. Adams' Mike Ross, Gabriel Macht's Harvey Specter, and Rick Hoffman's Louis Litt.

At the time of her casting in August 2010 - via The Hollywood Reporter - Suits was set to be called A Legal Mind, and her character was referred to as Rachel Lane, as opposed to Rachel Zane as it would come to be in the show:

"Markle plays Rachel Lane, an attractive paralegal with an encyclopedic knowledge of the law who’s assigned to Mike and becomes his valuable after-hours research ally."

Meghan Markle's Long Sun in Suits

Meghan Markle was among the original cast of Suits and continued to be a series regular all the way through the show up until the Season 7 finale, meaning she appeared in a total of 108 episodes of the USA Network legal hit.

Speaking in her first joint interview with then-fiance Prince Harry - via ABC News - Markle explained how she felt "very very fortunate" to have the longevity she did on Suits, but felt after they hit 100 episodes in mid-Season 7 that she had "ticked [that] box" and saw it as time to move on:

"It’s a new chapter. Right. And also keep in mind I have been working on my show for seven years. So we're very very fortunate to be able to have that sort of longevity on a series and for me, once we hit the 100-episode marker I thought you know what I have I have ticked this box and I feel really proud of the work I've done there and now it's time to, as you said work as a team with you [Harry]."

What Happened to Meghan Markle's Character in Suits?

Meghan Markle's Rachel Zane started out on Suits as a paralegal at Pearson Hardman before she went on to pass the LSATs and gain entry to Columbia Law School in Season 2. The talented lawyer would later pass the bar exam in Season 6, making her a fully licensed lawyer.

In terms of her personal life, Rachel was close friends with Harvey's secretary Donna Paulsen. But her romantic entanglement came to Mike Ross who she finally got together with at the end of Season 2 after he revealed to her he was a fraud.

In her final season on Suits, Season 7, Rachel became the head of the firm's associates, had her wedding to Mike in the finale, and sailed away from New York to Seattle to run a law firm with her new husband that specialized in helping out the little guy and taking on Fortune 500 companies.

Although Marke's Zane never returned to Suits after the Season 7 finale, Adams' Ross made a comeback in a recurring role across Season 9. After being asked how Rachel was doing, Mike offered a quick update on his wife's life in Seattle, saying, "If I told you how good, you probably wouldn't believe me." 

Creator Aaron Korsh told Deadline he never actually asked Marke to return for the finale in order to "respect her new life," as the season was developed after her May 2018 wedding into the British royal family:

"In the end I didn’t ask, and I just thought, I’m going to respect her new life and not put her in the position of having to ask. We decided not to put her in that position so I never asked."

Suits is streaming now on Netflix.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.