TORONTO - The creators of television drama Suits obviously wanted to make the legal profession look sexy and glamorous, realism be damned.
That is no doubt why they cast three gorgeous actresses, Gina Torres, Meghan Markle and Sarah Rafferty, and have them routinely strut around the fictional law offices of Pearson Specter in vertiginous stilettos and skin-tight designer threads.
Speaking to Life! during a press visit to the set in Toronto, where the show is filmed, the actresses acknowledge that this may strain the boundaries of credibility. But they appreciate how smart and capable their characters are - and how the series has been subtly progressive in its depiction of race as well as gender.
"The show's like a fantasy world, in a lot of ways," says Rafferty, 41, who plays the firm's allseeing secretary, Donna, the gatekeeper to its top legal eagle Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht).
"Especially considering that Donna's a secretary and she wears Dolce & Gabbana. She's wellcompensated for her efforts," she says, laughing.
But as dolled up as they are, the women of Suits are also whip-smart and often act as the conscience or voice of reason for Harvey and his sidekick Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), whose complex bromance is the centrepiece of the story.
The showrunners were deviating from the original script when they made the head of the high-powered firm a woman - and one who also happened to be African American. Torres, 44, who plays the woman, says: "Jessica Pearson started off as a Jonathan Pearson - the character was originally conceived as a man, and then maybe a much older woman."
Yet the producers eventually chose her, she says, because they "wanted people who would best bring forth these characters and had absolutely nothing to do with genetic make-up or cultural background, which I'm incredibly grateful for".
"The female characters are so beautifully realised and well-drawn and they're running it. I'm literally running the firm, and the women in Suits in general really hold the emotional and moral truth of any given storyline.
"They tell the truth and they don't care who they're telling it to - it could be their boss or subordinate - and that's refreshing. We are a fearless bunch of warriors. Well-heeled warriors."
Torres, who has played formidable femme fatales on other TV series, including the hit spy drama Alias (2001 - 2006), meets many female lawyers who are "huge fans of the show" and see Jessica as an inspiration.