The Wolf of Pearson Specter Litt

Last time, Suits ended with Anita Gibbs, subpoenaing (if that is, in fact, a word) every document Pearson Specter Litt has ever drafted, sent, signed or otherwise. Every file, memo, Mike and Rachel love letter, had to be handed over. She’s not just coming after Mike, but the whole firm. If I were Jessica, I’d set the place on fire. Destroy everything and start over. Harvey and Mike were almost out the door anyway. If Harvey goes, so does Donna. If Donna goes, so will Rachel. If every bird leaves the nest, I don’t suppose Louis is going to stay. They can just set up shop somewhere else, right? Clean slate. No Mike. No trouble.

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Afraid
Okay, maybe not. You don’t just torch everything you built. And you probably won’t be able to take the name ‘Pearson Specter Litt’ with you, either. Besides, what’s Gibbs (Leslie Hope) hoping to find in their documents anyway? As far as I can tell, Jessica’s either done everything by the book, or cover things up by changing the books. They don’t have anything to be afraid of. Do they? I guess it wouldn’t be a show if they didn’t.

God’s Green Earth
In ‘God’s Green Earth’, Gibbs is pointing her arrows at Rachel (Meghan Markle). She doesn’t want to talk to Mike’s girlfriend, she just wants her to listen. And she gets to her. Rachel’s been on the fence, thinking about making a deal to make everything go away (and subsequently put Harvey (Gabriel Macht) behind bars). Gibbs paints a picture of a lovie dovie future for her and Mike (Patrick J. Adams). One that’s more like a fairytale rather than a real possibility, no more matter how convincingly Gibbs is trying to be.

Cash Cow
Because of Gibbs’ unorthodox tactics – talking to Rachel without a lawyer present and getting the dean of the university Rachel goes to, threaten to expel her – Mike gets his alfa wolf on. The wolf that cuts corners. The wolf with a photographic memory and street smarts. It seems like Gibbs has found David Green (Farid Yazdani, XIII: The Series), one of the many people who hired Mike in the past to take the LSAT for them. He must’ve tipped her off about Mike’s former little cash cow on the side. David would implicate himself, obviously, if he were to come forward with this. That’s why I don’t quite understand why he showed up in court at all, as Gibbs’ briefcase carrier. Mike saw him there, recognized him, and is now able to blackmail him.

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Target
And so he does. David had better give Mike some dirt on Gibbs. Or else. He comes through. Gibbs has no choice but to back off Rachel. That’s only one setback solved, though. Apart from the upcoming trial, or should I say because of it, Pearson Specter Litt has a target on its back. Not just Harvard graduates don’t apply anymore, hardly anybody gives the firm more than a month to live. Jack Soloff (John Pyper-Ferguson) gets offers from other firms, but wants to stay. He’s got a clever way of reasoning. If PSL falls, he can get another job somewhere else. If PSL survives, he has a shot at becoming named partner. As a token of good faith, he gives Jessica (Gina Torres) what Daniel Hardman has on him.

Louis
If you were wondering what Louis is doing, if he’s helping at all: he is. Sheila Sazs (Rachael Harris) is supposed to testify. Harvey’s going to pick her apart in court. Louis doesn’t want her (and himself) to be dragged through the mud, so shows up at her door with a plane ticket. Argentina. Have a nice long holiday until the trial is over. After showing what Harvey’s going to do to her, Sheila agrees to go. Louis’ first win in a long time. But it’s not all good news. Donna (Sarah Rafferty) informs Mike and Harvey at the office that ‘they found Trevor’.

Pearson Specter Litt On Fire

Suits, season 5, episode 12, ‘Live to Fight’ reveals the identity of who’s after Mike Ross, Harvey Specter, Jessica Pearson, Rachel Zane, Louis Litt, Donna Paulsen – am I forgetting someone? – and especially for Louis it’s a hard pill to swallow.

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Hope
Anita Gibbs (Leslie Hope) has got the whole PSL family by the balls. I wasn’t much of a fan of Hope, to be honest, when I first saw her. As Jack Bauer’s wife, in the very first (and many people consider best) season of 24, Teri Bauer was a worrisome woman, jealous, suspicious and no stranger to constant nagging. But that’s 15 years ago. She got herself a nice head of hair and insufferable as Gibbs is, Hope plays her brilliantly. A force to be reckoned with. Everybody’d better be on their game, because once she grabs you, she doesn’t let go.

The Email
Gibbs smells blood, and rightly so. And all because of a secret source. One she doesn’t have to share with opposing council for another three weeks. The judge, however, starts to question her motives and makes Gibbs hand it over. It’s an email. Anonymously sent. Whoever wrote it, implicates Mike (Patrick J. Adams), calling him a ‘potential fraud’. Funny choice of words. The source seems to have a hunch; no evidence.

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The Professor
Mike and Harvey (Gabriel Macht) can think of only one person who could’ve done this: Harvard professor Henry Gerard (Stephen Macht; Gabriel’s father in real life). Mike looks him up – Harvey’s got other things to take care of – and confronts him, but Gerard swears he didn’t do it. Mike, good lawyer that he is, has come prepared. Would the professor be so kind to sign a statement in which he solemnly swears Mike was in his class? No. As fond as Gerard is of him, he’s not going to perjure himself. He won’t be blackmailed either.

Father Donna
The one getting grilled in a holding cell by Gibbs this week is Donna (Sarah Rafferty). They’ve picked up her father (Derek McGrath, She’s the Mayor and, of course, My Secret Identity) for a 7 year old minor offense. He’s going to hang for it, if Donna keeps quiet about Mike and the conspiracy of keeping his secret. The show gives us a nice introduction to her father and their relationship via flashback. Turns out, Donna’s always been this smart. He, not so much. Mike comes up with a plan to at least make Gibbs back off the Paulsens. Professor Gerard was willing to sign something else. A sort of letter of recommendation, in which he expresses his admiration for Mike as a lawyer. No word on Harvard, although it’s kind of implied that Mike went there. The most important thing is, it’s enough to bluff.

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The Sazs Factor
In the courtroom, Harvey makes a deal with Gibbs. Drop the charges against Donna’s father and they won’t bring in Gerard to testify. It’s a huge gamble, but it works out. Now, if Mike had indeed been innocent, what keeps him from putting Gerard on the stand anyway, after the charges have been dropped? Maybe that’s not possible, because it’s a lawyer-y backroom deal. In the meantime, Louis (Rick Hoffman) has taken a look at the email and knows exactly who wrote it. The way it’s written, is classic Sheila Sazs (Rachael Harris, Lucifer), his former soulmate – with the emphasis on former.

It Gets Worse
Like in many cases, Louis talks to Sheila and just makes matters worse. She didn’t know for sure that Mike was a fraud (ergo: ‘potential’), and wasn’t planning on coming forward. Unfortunately, she has now. Given she’s the female counterpart of Louis, maybe even more rigid and stubborn, it’s going to take a lot to win this case. Also because every other law firm now knows about the fact that Mike’s a suspect – publicity is a bitch -, and Rachel (Meghan Markle) is contemplating strategies to keep her boyfriend/fiancé out of jail. It looks like the only way to do that, is turning Harvey in instead. With everything that’s going on, and half the city knowing about the case, it finally seems like something Mike and Harvey won’t be able to weasel themselves out of this time. But you never know. This is Suits. Suits operated by puppet master Aaron Korsh.

The Mike Ross Situation In Flux

Suits returns from its autumn break with ‘Blowback’ and things don’t look good. When Mike Ross was taken away in handcuffs at the end of ‘Faith’, my guess was it didn’t have anything to do with his dirty lawyer secret; the show just wanted us to believe that. It’d be a misunderstanding, somebody wanting revenge because of a lost case, that’s all. But no. Mike’s in the sourest pickle that’s been dangling above his head since the beginning.

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Somebody’s Been Talking
Somebody’s out to bury Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams, Luck, LOST: ‘The Man From Tallahassee’) and every one of his friends with him, or so it seems. The circle of people who knew Mike was a fraud, had grown bigger each season, but it was still pretty much contained. Well, the cat’s out of the attaché case now. Somebody’s been talking, but who? The first thing the Ross/Specter/Zane family needs to do, is finding out who might’ve shot his mouth off. Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht, The Others, The Spirit) pays an awkward visit to Dana ‘Scotty’ Scott (Abigail Spencer, Mad Men, True Detective). She wants to sweat her former boyfriend a little, but she hasn’t talked and – probably – won’t. All the while, Mike’s put away and being interrogated by hound dog Anita Gibbs (Leslie Hope, 24, Tyrant).

Not A Lawyer
Gibbs is pretty good at scaring tactics, but there’s only one Mike Ross. He does however get quite railed up when his lawyer steps through the door. It’s not the one he was expecting. Rachel (Meghan Markle, 90210, Fringe) called her father for help, and Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce, The Wire, Treme, The Michael J. Fox Show) couldn’t be happier to see his soon-to-be son-in-law in a jail cell, accused of pretending to be a lawyer. He wants to know if it’s true. I think you already have the answer to that, Mike says. Harvey’s standing by, so when Robert walks out, furious, he steps in and tells Mike just how simple it is: they don’t have to prove he’s a lawyer; it’s up to Gibbs to prove that he isn’t.

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The Usual Suspects
Mike is released on bail and contacts his old friend Trevor (Tom Lipinski, The Knick). He’s also not the one who ratted him out. There are two people they’ve forgotten about: Claire (Troian Bellisario, Pretty Little Liars), Mike’s ex-girlfriend, and hacker girl Lola Jensen (Amanda Crew, Silicon Valley), who helped out Mike in the season 1 episode ‘Identity Crisis’. It seems unreasonable to assume anyone from the inner circle would deliberately go after him. There must have been a fly on the wall, of some kind, put there by one of the bad guys. Jack Soloff (John Pyper-Ferguson, Bird on a Wire, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr, Jeremiah, The Last Ship)? Doesn’t seem likely. He’s more of an ambitious errand boy. Daniel Hardman (David Costabile, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Damages) then? He seems too busy with Billions at the moment. Or maybe the biggest baddest wolf of all, Charles Forstman (Eric Roberts, the hardest working man in Hollywood)? Maybe the writers pull a ‘matryoshka‘ and introduce an even more powerful player.

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Just When You Thought You Were Out…
Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in. Harvey resigned, Mike quit; everything was going to be fine. Harvey would start his own firm, in all likelihood, and Mike would marry Rachel and get a job as some legal advisor or something. But now it’s all hands on deck. Harvey’s back at work, even though he promised Forstman he’d leave. Mike blackmails Soloff, so when Harvey shows up, the first thing Soloff is going to do is not give Forstman a call. And Donna (Sarah Rafferty) leaves her ‘Litt Station’ to help Mike and Harvey any way she can. That probably means Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) will have Gretchen (Aloma Wright) as his new secretary. ‘Blowback’ does what Suits has been doing for five and a half seasons straight; not missing a beat. Welcome back.

Suits: Faith

Harvey’s back on the couch, telling Dr. Paula Agard about the time he told his dad his mother was cheating on him. A lot of flashbacks on that side and on Mike’s side, because we’re going down little Michael’s memory lane as well.

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Time to Put the Gloves On
Harvey’s story isn’t all that surprising or original, but it allows for a nice guest role for James McCaffrey, who played the firefighter ghost Jimmy Keefe on Rescue Me. Harvey has been keeping his mom’s secret, but when his dad brings home his colleague Bobby for dinner – the same Bobby that’s been getting it on with his mother -, he can’t take it anymore and leaves the house.
His father finds him later, releasing his frustration through his boxing gloves. He knows something’s up with Harvey and literately tries to slam it out of him. Harvey’s backed into a corner – not so literately – and tells him the truth. Mom’s been ‘doing’ Bobby.

Doin’ It
Yes, that’s a direct quote. Sort of. When Gordon Specter asks his son what he means by what his mother’s ‘been doing’, Harvey replies: ‘Bobby.’
Now, that could’ve been a way too cheesy line, and it is, of course, but it’s coming out of a highly emotional, tormented Harvey, who’s unable to say more than just one word. Also, the direction of the scene doesn’t put emphasis on the (punch)line, which makes it powerful, instead of cheap, corny or otherwise. It’s another example of how well-oiled the machine behind Suits is. It looks like the whole team, from writers to crew to actors and directors, is working as one entity; there’s no light between them – and they never let cheesiness come in the way of story or character.

Go on Pretending
Harvey went to Dr. Agard to get advice, just as Mike went to an old friend for the same thing. His conversation with Trevor (on ‘Uninvited Guests’), and probably with Claire (on ‘Mea Culpa’) as well, left him thinking of what in the world would be the right thing for him to do. Quit his dream job to wipe the slate clean? Eliminate the chance of getting caught for being a fraud? Go on pretending?

Accountability
Mike goes to one of his former teachers, Father Sam Walker (hence the title ‘Faith’). He asks for advice, but refuses to take accountability for his own actions. Until confronted with his past. He realizes he needs to let go, trust, have faith, in order to free himself from the situation he’s manoeuvred himself into – but more importantly: in order to love and be loved.
I was half-expecting to hear Sting’s ‘If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free’, but alas. The setting free part apparently goes both ways. Mike’s only going to be able to love fully when he gets rid of the fear of being abandoned, like his parents did.

Off the Wall
Mike and Harvey actually come to the same conclusion in the end. They’ll fight another day, but now it’s time to step aside and let the chips fall where they may. The stone around their necks called ‘Pearson Specter Litt’ has to be turned in.
Harvey saves the firm (and Jessica) by stepping down, because the man behind Daniel Hardman, Charles Forstman, is gunning for him and won’t let go until ‘Specter’ is off the wall. Because Harvey’s out, the whole voting ceremony about whether or not Jessica should stay in power, falls apart.

Racing Bicycles
Mike saves his life and that of Rachel’s by stepping down as well. Turning over a new leaf. He’s going to sell racing bicycles – or something. All’s well that e… Oops. Mike’s not even left the office when the cuffs are on his wrists. Arrested on suspicion of fraud.
I’m sure it’s got nothing to do with him unlawfully pretending to be a lawyer, or am I? He can’t be thrown in jail; then the show’d be over, right? Right? To be continued. In about 4 months.

Suits: Mea Culpa

The aftermath of The Punch. Our beloved suits don’t get physical very often, so when it happens, there are consequences. One of the biggest consequences: saying sorry. Unfortunately, sorry doesn’t just seem to be the hardest word, it also doesn’t change Louis’ intention to bury Harvey.

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The Gap
There appears to be a gap within the season in 2 episodes – usually an extremely long pause that’s in no way justifiable, but USA’s been doing it for years so whatever we say, it’ll fall on deaf ears. In any case, the first-half-of-the-season-finale is just around the corner and ‘Mea Culpa’ makes it clear there’s some serious trouble in paradise on the horizon.

Broom Closet
That trouble comes walking through the doors of Pearson Specter Litt, in the shape of Mike’s ex-girlfriend Claire (Troian Bellisario). Against everybody’s better judgement, Mike’s just been promoted to youngest Junior Partner ever. He gets his first case, picks Rachel as his associate, but when Claire comes into view, he drops everything and hides in the broom closet; he didn’t just go out with her, she dumped him after he confessed he wasn’t a lawyer. In short: she knows.

Flip a Few Switches
Rachel bends over backwards to keep her in the dark, but it’s too bad Mike’s got such an exquisite taste in women; Claire’s no dummy. She gets convinced by Rachel to take the deal, to not rat out Mike, to not send her fiancé to jail. It comes with a price, though. Mike visits Claire to thank her – and figure out exactly how Rachel pulled it all off – but what she has to say to him seems to flip a few switches in his head. His secret will come out, sooner or later. If Mike really loves Rachel, he’d better think hard about marrying Rachel. If he truly loves her, pre-tasting wedding cakes isn’t the way to go.

School of Hollywood
Mike knows Claire’s right. We all know. But what can you do? There’s no way he could redeem himself, come clean and start over. I’m no expert on law, but I assume he’ll go down, Pearson Specter Litt will go down, and every case he ever worked on will be reopened. (Again, I take my knowledge from the School of Hollywood, so that may not be completely accurate.)
It is, however, the big question of Suits. We’ve got two, maybe three more seasons to go, but like Game of Thrones, people are already speculating about how it will end. Is Mike going to be exposed, and, maybe more importantly, is he going to leave Rachel?

Confession Time
The big emotional moment this week comes from a simple apology. Harvey ‘fesses up to Louis. His therapy sessions, panic attacks, the whole nine yards. And he’s sorry, genuinely. It’s a heartfelt scene, Louis forgives him, everything seems to be right as rain. Until Evil Louis gets the better of him and stabs Harvey in the back the next day. In Suits terms: he ‘pulls a Soloff’.

Extensive Damage
Louis calls a meeting to suspend Harvey. All he has to do is prove Harvey’s the one responsible for the ‘extensive damage to his skull’ and the famous ‘bylaws’ allow the firm to send him packing for three months. It’s only when Donna threatens to quit her secretary job, that Louis subsides – or tries to. The meeting’s the next morning, everybody knows it was indeed Harvey who hit him, so there isn’t really a way out of it anymore. I’m sure next week we’re going to see a big white furry rabbit coming either out of Louis’ or Donna’s hat.

Suits: Hitting Home

Harvey’s not in a good place right now. Seemingly without any cases to handle, and feeling more vulnerable by the hour, Louis forces him to take a look in the mirror and he breaks.

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Poor Thing
‘I’m ready to talk about my mother’, is the last thing we heard Harvey say. ‘Hitting Home’ starts with a young boy; this must be a flashback, and it is. Harvey comes home from school, sick, and finds his mother in the bedroom, putting her clothes back on. Back on from what? Apparently she’s having an affair with ‘cousin Scott’ – her sister’s husband, I presume. The only thing Harvey remembers is her saying ‘poor thing’, which has always stayed with him, because he knew she didn’t mean it. He never received the love he’d been so desperately wishing for.

A Precise Copy
Harvey’s a hard client to have, for therapist Dr. Agard. She does however get through to him, little by little. You could actually call it a breakthrough, when she links his coming-home-sick story to the way he handles women in his grownup life. He tells her he never wanted to be ‘like her’, has basically been devoting his entire life to do the exact opposite of what his mother used to do – especially when it comes to the business of (extramarital) affairs. Ironically, Dr. Agard says, that way of thinking often results into a precise copy of what you’re trying to stay far away from.

Hitting Home
No, Harvey’s not in a good place. Add to that his lie to Louis, his broken promise, in fact, and Louis discovering it – him sleeping with his sister, then breaking her heart – and confronting him, and Harvey’s left no other way out than react like a cornered animal would; hitting home.

The Final Chord
Is it me, or has the music supervisor changed on Suits? Maybe I’m only picking up on it now, but there were a couple of scenes that ended with an un-Suits-like overly dramatic music score. It made me feel like watching a lawyer soap opera; too cheesy. Let’s turn the big swelling, bombastic final chord down a notch, shall we?

Hardman
Jack Soloff’s trying to make peace; he didn’t have much of a choice, anyway. It’s a great character, because he’s not all bad. This will be the episode where Soloff gained a whole lot of sympathy, working with Mike on a case, but most importantly, blowing off Daniel Hardman (the real, never-ending nemesis of the Suits universe). I’ve got a feeling Hardman wasn’t just there for a guest spot; he’ll be back soon, with more munition. This time he’s not going after Jessica’s firm, but after the destruction of it. He just has to find a new errand boy, because Soloff doesn’t bite.

Junior Partner
There’s another old threat resurfacing: Mike’s long forgotten secret. Soloff, in an attempt to get Jessica’s respect and genuinely wanting to show his admiration for Mike, has filed a request (or whatever the appropriate lawyer term is) to bump Mike up to Junior Partner.
Mike had better decline, because there’s no way Jessica’s going to go through with it. Mike Ross, Harvard graduate, who, by the way, never went to Harvard, will never be Junior Partner. He’s got three options to turn down the promotion of a lifetime. Just Not Ready, Health Issues, or Family Matters. Take your pick, Mike, although I’m not sure he’ll pick any of those. He might just run the gauntlet.

Mitchell
It was mentioned in a brief moment, but it’s big news. If it’s indeed true, that is. Donna, during her dinner with Harvey, reveals she’s been seeing someone. Mitchell is his name, and he’s smart and funny and… made up? Harvey’s ‘happy for her’, but does he buy it?

Suits: Privilege

Another week, another sleazeball move by slimey Jack Soloff. Suits’ fifth season has a hard time getting rid of one of the most backstabbing lawyers law firm Pearson Specter Litt has ever had the ‘privilege’ to employ.

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Opening Titles
Suits just keeps on doing what it does best, week in week out, for 4 1/3 seasons straight. The funny thing is, the show still has the same opening titles sequence – and it still fits. It’s like Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams haven’t aged a bit in 5 years.
Well, maybe Adams’ hair, but other than that it’s remarkable how well they both still look like their younger selfs.

Specter. Harvey Specter.
It must be a very nice line to say: ‘Specter. Harvey Specter’, as if he were a British Double O Spy. Macht certainly has the panache to be the Bond of the lawyer world. Anyway, moving on, he finds himself in a case where his therapist – Dr. Paula Agard – is a witness for the prosecution. He warns her – well, his version of warning someone – but she’s obligated to tell the truth, being under oath and all. The only way to help his client is to take her credibility away. The story she’s told him during their sessions, Harvey’s using against her.

Pissed
She’s pissed. Angry. Sure, it was a bit below the belt, maybe, because it was something she told him in confidence, but shouldn’t she be a little bit relieved? Because her testimony couldn’t be used as a smoking gun, Harvey’s client – an innocent man – didn’t go to jail. I know her relationship with Harvey is a rocky one, and her trust had been betrayed, but why didn’t she look at the bigger picture? Why did she keep calling Harvey arrogant? He is, of course, but it didn’t really have anything to do with the case. I’d expect a little more understanding from a therapist.

Kiss
But they kiss and make up – kind of. Even with their trust shattered, Harvey returns to Dr. Agard, willing to talk about that one thing she wants to talk about; his mother. Macht and Christina Cole have great chemistry, and this is the first time I feel there could be something more in store. Could we indeed expect a highly inappropriate kiss between them any time soon?

Red vs Black
‘Privilege’ gives us something we’ve been hoping for: a mini-showdown between Red Donna and Black Donna. It could go either way with these two, never mind if they buried the hatchet at the end of the episode. There are a lot of friendships already on the show, so there just might be a rivalry in the works. They sure are a match for each other.

Mistrust
Louis and Mike are working a case together, a case that puts them in a tight spot. That tight spot being: the office of Jack Soloff, Bad Guy Lawyer by day, Even Worse Guy Lawyer by night. He’s the only one who can help them out, but Soloff still wants to ‘get even’ and stabs them in the back again. This guy has a limitless supply of knives.
It’s actually a bit naive of Louis and Mike to deal with him without Jessica. You can’t bring her along for every little thing, especially if you ask a colleague for help, but this is Soloff we’re talking about. A little mistrust goes a long way here.

Dress
Eventually, Jessica puts on her most glorious dress, confronts Soloff and saves the day. Or does she? There’s only so many times you can threaten to fire someone. Even though she’s walking out of his office with a smile, her position’s not as strong as it used to be. Soloff’s out for blood. He’s just waiting for the perfect time to screw everybody over and push Jessica, Harvey and Louis out of Pearson Specter Litt.