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The Real Reason Meghan Markle Left Suits & How The Show Wrote Off Her Character

It might be hard for some to remember at this point, but before Meghan Markle was the Duchess of Sussex, she was an up-and-coming actor most famous for playing the role of Rachel Zane on "Suits." Her co-starring part in the USA legal drama remains her most prominent gig prior to marrying Prince Harry, as the rest of her onscreen career mainly consisted of guest roles on procedural shows like "CSI: NY," "CSI: Miami," and "Fringe."

Today, Markle is far more famous for her complex (to put it mildly) relationship with the British royal family, her highly publicized romance with Prince Harry, and her work as an activist in the realms of mental health and racial justice. But when her relationship with her now-husband was just starting out, the writers on "Suits" had a tricky decision to make. Markle's Rachel was a major player on the series for most of its run, but showrunner Aaron Korsh knew that if the star's romance with Prince Harry blossomed, she wouldn't be long for the USA Network.

"I knew from a year ago that this relationship was burgeoning," Korsh revealed on BBC Radio 4's "Today" show in November 2017. "And I had a decision to make because I didn't want to intrude and ask her, 'hey what's going on and what are you going to do?'" Korsh said that he didn't want to presume too much, but given Markle and Prince Harry's chemistry, he decided to prepare for the best-case scenario.

The Suits writing team was rooting for Harry and Meghan all along

Normally, the prospect of losing one of your TV show's biggest stars wouldn't be cause for celebration. But for Aaron Korsh, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's love was something to root for. "Collectively with the writers, we decided to take a gamble that these two people were in love and it was going to work out," the showrunner told Radio 4's "Today" in 2017. "What we decided to do (was to) say, 'look, I would rather have good things happen to Meghan in her life' – which would likely mean her leaving the show."

Because the "Suits" writing team was already prepared for Markle's royal romance to lead her away from the New York drama, it was much easier to write her out of the show. Korsh said that he was always open to bringing her character back if things went a different way, but that it served the story better to plan on her departing than sticking around. "It's much easier to undo that, if it came to it, than to just plan on her staying forever and then finding out she's going to go," he told Radio 4. "And the only way to write a character out like that would be if they got hit by a bus or something."

In the end, Korsh and his team made the right call. Both Markle and her Rachel Zane character wound up with a happily-ever-after ending.

What happens to Meghan Markle's Rachel Zane at the end of Suits?

Though most folks know that Meghan Markle was an actor on "Suits" before she became a duchess, far fewer have actually watched the show in its entirety. If you haven't, then you missed the rollercoaster saga of Rachel Zane and her whirlwind romance with fake lawyer Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams).

The two characters meet when Mike is hired by lead protagonist Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) to work at his New York law firm, where Rachel is a paralegal. The two have instant chemistry, but things get complicated on both ends due to Mike lying about finishing law school and Rachel having a policy against dating coworkers. Over the course of seven seasons, they circle each other, always struggling to get the timing right. But when it came time to write Markle off the show due to her relationship with Prince Harry, Mike and Rachel finally got their own happy ending.

In the "Suits" Season 7 finale, Mike and Rachel get married before leaving New York for a new law firm in Seattle. It's the last fans get to see of Markle's character, though Mike returns briefly in the show's final Season 9 and mentions how well their life together is going. If you weren't following royal romance news at the time, you probably wouldn't have thought twice about the way Markle gets written out. Rachel gets a complete and satisfying arc, which ends, appropriately, with a wedding.