Jessica Lourdes Pearson. Portrayed by Gina Torres on the American TV law drama “Suits“, Jessica is in my opinion, one of the most inspirational characters on television. Throughout the show, Jessica served as the managing partner of her firm, maintaining her position as a named partner despite numerous changes to the firms name. Her profound effect on the firm and the people she works with is evident from the fact that even after she left the firm, her other named partners chose to retain her name, calling the firm Pearson Specter Litt.
But who is Jessica, and what makes her so admirable?
Jessica is the boss. Or, at least she was. Leading her firm with a cool head and strong sense of leadership, Jessica used her keen intuition to maintain her firm as one of Manhattan’s top law firms. In the face of adversity, Jessica does not back down. She can stand up to her colleagues and clients, and is by no means a pushover. With a “Goddamn” in every second sentence, she also knows how to “whip” votes, using a calculated cunning to maintain her position. Although she may often come across as ruthless, Jessica has a will to win, and always finds a way.
To call her cold is perhaps harsh though. Like every leader, particularly in a highly competitive field, Jessica cannot afford to be tolerant of incompetence as at that level, strong leadership requires drawing a line in the sand. As a wise counsellor and fierce lawyer, Jessica is perhaps the embodiment of pragmatism.
But there is much more to her than that.
Jessica has overcome every obstacle white America has thrown at her. As a black woman, Jessica rose to the top of a field typically dominated by white men. A powerful scene between her and her ex-mentor (the person who hired her), Charles Van Dyke, shows exactly how she turned her hatred of being treated differently for diversity reasons as a driving force to become the best, ultimately supplanting Van Dyke as named partner.
Jessica shows Charles Van Dyke who’s boss.
Jessica also cares. Despite seeming cold, she cares deeply for her friends, colleagues, clients, and firm. She is always willing to fight for them and willing to do whatever it takes (within reason, of course). Although she walks a morally grey line at times (such as not firing Mike Ross and Harvey Specter after finding out Harvey hired Mike knowing him to be a fraud), Jessica is only human. The fact that she does not let anything stop her however, is truly inspirational.
Jessica ultimately decided that corporate law was not for her anymore after getting Leonard Bailey, a man falsely accused of murder, off death-row. She is also relatably human in that she chose love over staying at her firm, deciding to move to Chicago with her boyfriend to practice human rights law. The daughter of a surgeon, helping people is in her blood, which is why she went into law. She just needed to be reminded of that.
Always the figure of elegance and sporting a stunning wardrobe, Jessica not only looks the part but plays the part better than anyone else. Although she may have her faults, she is fierce. She is inspirational. She is boss.