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USA Network Welcomes Katherine Heigl to 'Suits' Following Meghan Markle's Departure

(Mike Coppola/WireImage)

The USA Network announced Wednesday that actress Katherine Heigl will be joining the cast of Suits for the legal drama's eighth season.

Now that Meghan Markle landed the permanent role as a member of the royal family with her engagement to Prince Harry in November, she's hung up her suit for good on the set of the network's highest rated TV show.

Heigl, however, won't be filling Markle's pumps.


According to The Wrap, the Knocked Up (2007) and 27 Dresses (2008) actress "will be playing a new character named Samantha Wheeler, described as "a talented new partner at Pearson Specter Litt who challenges the status quo and will either become the firm's greatest ally … or most powerful enemy."

Heigl, who is a Primetime Emmy Award winner for her outstanding supporting actress performance as Izzie Stevens on ABC's Grey's Anatomy, was excited to share her news.

Joining 'Suits' was the perfect organic way to not only collaborate with an EP I admire deeply, but to also become part of a show and cast that I am an immense fan of. I have watched 'Suits' from the very beginning and feel incredibly lucky to be the newest member of the Pearson Specter Litt family.



A character like Wheeler sounds like just what the legal drama needs to sustain the tension that drives it. And with the addition of the new character, Heigl will breathe new life into the show following Markle's exit.

Patrick Adams, an original member of the show since the beginning on June 23, 2011, will also be departing after the show's seventh season to spend more time with his family.

The network issued a statement, saying, "While we're excited for Season 8, everyone at USA will deeply miss Patrick and Meghan, and are grateful for the talent and commitment they brought to Suits season after season. We wish each of them nothing but the very best."



Heigl will star alongside Gabriel Macht, Sarah Rafferty, Rick Hoffman, and Dulé Hill, who was promoted to series regular. But the seventh season has yet to finish out its run with Mike Ross (Adams) and Rachel Zane (Markle).



The second half of the show's current season will return after its hiatus on March 28.



Series creator Aaron Korsch is a fan of Heigl's work, and he shared his enthusiasm for her coming on board to shake things up as an antagonist.

On behalf of the entire 'Suits' team, I am extraordinarily excited to welcome Katherine Heigl into our family – I have always been a big fan of her work and was delighted to discover she was an avid 'Suits' fan herself.

The show is already on its way to acquiring new viewers.


This is good news. Case closed.



Grey's Anatomy fans are looking forward to seeing Heigl in another show.



Some people did not welcome the news, as Heigl had a reputation for stirring things up over contractual matters on Grey's Anatomy.






But it's all water under the bridge.


And plenty of people have Heigl's back.



After Markle's departure from the show, Heigl will get a royal welcome to Suits.

H/T - Twitter, TheWrap, Wikipedia