When it comes to guilt or innocence, Harvey Specter cares about winning. Guilty or innocent, right or wrong, Harvey’s job is to use the law to get the best outcome he can for his clients using the tools he has at his disposal within the legal system, no matter what he thinks about their culpability.
This is the ultimate burden of a defense lawyer, and one Harvey is faced with when Hessington Oil head Ava Hessington—who he just got settled with bribery charges—is now facing six counts of conspiracy to commit murder for the same act of bribery. On their face, the charges seem completely trumped up; relying on the somewhat fuzzy association between the foreign colonel Ava bribed and his troops later killing six people who were standing in the way of the pipeline Hessington Oil was trying to build.
But this fuzzy association is what makes this Hessington Oil case interesting, at least in how it reflects on Harvey’s state of mind right now. Since the merger and Jessica’s betrayal, Harvey’s normally tight focus has turned into a laser of purpose, as he gathers his initiatives to begin his assault on Jessica’s permission. In order to do this he needs all his proverbial ducks in a row, and making sure Darby is satisfied with how he is handling the Hessington Oil case is the biggest duck to handle. What’s compelling is how absolutely reprehensible Ava Hessington is—and how Harvey knows it—and yet he must continue to do everything he can to help her, so that Darby will help him.
This is a conscious choice the writers are making, and they acknowledge that choice in a nice scene where both Mike and Harvey admit to knowing Ava’s guilty but get her out of the murder charges anyway. Mike is under the assumption it’s simply because she’s their client, until Harvey drops the real bomb: He’s going after Jessica, and he made a deal with Darby to do it in exchange for helping Ava. Mike, having just recommitted himself to Harvey for the long term, is now faced with the knowledge that he’s helping Harvey do something potentially life-ruining for them both. These character choices are compelling to me because no matter what happens, no one here is making the noble choice, no one here is the hero, and everything is about to get burned to the ground.
Suits can do these types of stories better than most shows because it treats the law more like a big chess game than a respected institution. Ava’s solution to having witnesses put her bribed colonel at the scene of the six murders was to bribe all of the eyewitnesses so they wouldn’t talk, but Harvey and Mike see two moves ahead and know that’s exactly what Cameron Dennis expects her to do and will use against them. Instead, Mike comes up with the idea of using legal settlements in a civil case as sort of de facto bribes sanctioned by the court. This might be an awful, horrible abuse of the legal system, but it’s just that—legal—and they can use it to their advantage to get a win.
Mostly, though, this case works because it features Harvey and Mike together again, doing their Harvey and Mike thing. These two are far more interesting as partners in crime than they ever were when they were estranged, so as much as it would have been interesting to see Mike work with Louis for a few weeks, the return of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was pretty darn entertaining.
Less entertaining was whatever was going on with Katrina Bennett. Katrina is a character that had a lot of potential to be an interesting new dynamic at the firm, but the writers have struggled to find personality traits for her other than icy and ineffective. Having been hired by Harvey simply to cover Mike’s ass, she’s in a position of no power so must fight for anything she can get, and yet goes about it in ways that only make people react negatively toward her.
When Harvey gives Louis the second aspect of the Hessington Oil account to work on, preventing a takeover of the company by Hessington’s biggest rival, Katrina immediately sucks up to Louis in an effort to get on the case. This leads to a tedious spiral of her clashing with pretty much everyone in the inner circle, resulting in a very strange viral cartoon she sends out to everyone in the office making fun of Mike’s devotion to Harvey. It’s strange because in an office setting like this it’s sure to come out who sent the message, which can only make Katrina look bad in the end, yet this aspect is never mentioned. It’s all very high school, which I suppose is apropos as Pearson Darby can be quite the immature bunch. In the end, Louis decides to let her in on the case with him—probably because he knows exactly how much everyone else wants her to go away. I’m still waiting for any sort of shading to make Katrina seem like a worthy addition to his ensemble, so pairing her with Louis for a while might be the best thing for the character.
Despite the issues with the Katrina story, the return of the Harvey and Mike dynamic made this episode a pleasure to watch. The biggest question on my mind is how Mike will react to the news he’s about to be in for the biggest fight of his life—and whether he’ll be forced to keep it from Rachel.
- The episode starts off with a shot that exists purely to objectify Rachel, which between that and the less-than-lovely conversation about Elizabeth Hurley serves to cement Suits’ status as the bro-iest bro show on basic cable, outside of maybe Franklin & Bash.
- Harvey’s first dividend check from the merger is $500,000. Jessica’s is $1.5 million. This merger was a bad idea why, Harvey?
- British Harvey Specter a.k.a. Stephen Huntley seems like a pale imitation with a better accent, but his presence as Harvey's “destroy Jessica” helper is certainly interesting.
- Having Donna become interested in Stephen romantically is a concerning place for her story to go. Is she only allowed to be personally invested in Harvey Specter-like beings?
- Harold lives! I’m glad he’s thriving somewhere else. Far away from here.
- “Just Donna?” “It’s like a name and a title in one. You’ll see.”