Suits: Acts of War

Suits S01E03: “Meet the New Boss”

Mike’s grandma got sassy, Harvey gave Louis a compliment, and Rachel took that first scary step toward being awesome—it was a great week for Suits. Really! It takes a lot for a series to make me fall all over myself like it’s the second day of my alma mater’s homecoming weekend, but so far this season, Suits has consistently brought the win to Thursday nights.

Harvey and Hardman finally butted heads when they ended up working on the same case involving a nurses' strike. It was purely accidental. Well, accidental in the sense that Jessica had no intention of letting it happen, gave Harvey the case purely to keep it away from Hardman, and then had no choice but to accept the pairing when Hardman elbowed his way in. The disdain that Harvey and Hardman have for each other oozes from their very pores and unfortunately, some of the residue landed on Mike. Gross.

Rather than work together like the highly successful, professional adults they consider themselves to be, Hardman and Harvey each worked largely behind the other’s back, relying heavily on Mike to be their go-between. Unfortunately, a little communication between the two partners might have gone a long way toward resolving the case in a manner that didn’t kill Mike’s soul just a little bit more. Hardman sent Mike to figure out what the nurses' actual demands were, which he did successfully and heartwarmingly with the help of Sassy Grandma. The ringleader for the striking nurses insisted that all they wanted were the funds necessary to add a few more to their workforce and eliminate the standard practice of nurses staying well past their shifts, without pay, to tend to the needs of their patients. That sounds fair.

Hardman jumped on board with negotiating an end to the strike. Unfortunately, Harvey had tangled with the nurses before and knew that once their representative sat down to talk, the demands would change drastically and throw the whole negotiation into a deadlock. Apparently she'd burned through five different negotiators in the past and Harvey was not thrilled that Mike had worked with Hardman without his consent to effectively screw up the case.

Hardman’s courtship of Mike was one more step toward the Pearson-Hardman civil war that we all know is coming and Hardman is evolving into an awesomely surreptitious villain. He hasn’t even done anything overtly wrong yet, but the intent is obvious. Still, until he slips up, the employees of Pearson-Hardman are stuck in the middle of a verbal tug-of-war between the warring Daniel Hardman and Jessica Pearson loyalists, and honestly, at the moment, if I were a random party in the Pearson-Hardman offices with no real attachment to either side, I’d be tempted to at least give the guy a chance. His open admittance to past wrongdoing and humble insistence that he has been reformed make Jessica and Harvey’s continued apprehension toward him look childish in comparison. He’s a master demagogue, as the recent exchange over Jessica’s stolen tea service illustrated. Last week, Jessica insisted that it was just one more jab at her, a reminder that the real boss at Pearson-Hardman was reclaiming his rightful place. This week, when confronted with the theft, Hardman appeared flabbergasted, then sincere; apologizing for taking it and insisting that he only wanted it because it was a gift from his late wife, whom he missed dearly. He was hurt that Jessica and Harvey thought so little of him.

It’s easy, as a viewer, to call Hardman’s B.S. as quickly as he slings it. We have insight to his words and actions that the characters don’t that make us resistant to his manipulation. Harvey and Jessica are definitely going to have their work cut out for them once Hardman crosses whatever line he’s aiming for.

Harvey eventually swooped in and strong-armed the nurses into accepting their original terms and going back to work, utilizing information that Mike had gathered, much to his bleeding heart’s horror. I’m hoping this doesn’t drive a wedge between the dynamic duo, but Mike’s definitely going through a bit of a bratty phase at the moment, so who knows. He avoided Rachel for half the episode, understandably, then positioned himself somewhere just inside the friend zone to help her create a profile.

She later called him on his weak excuse to dump her and there was angsty angsting on Mike’s part. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Rachel eventually figures out the big secret on her own. She’s a bright woman. She also retook her law school entrance exam this week! Who saw that coming? I didn’t see that coming. I was so proud. See, Rachel? You don’t need Mike to justify your presence! You’re perfectly capable of being fun and exciting on your own.

And finally, there’s Louis. There was some chatter in the comments section last week that, in the wake of Louis’s apparent defection to Team Hardman, that he might end up working as a sort of double agent for both camps. After the Louis Litt Lovefest that his storyline turned into this week, I think you guys might be on to something.

Harvard revoked on-campus recruitment privileges from Pearson-Hardman because some anonymous associates told a respected industry publication that their lives were terrible and they hated their jobs with the firm. As the associates’ direct supervisor, Louis was pleased as punch by the confirmation that he was a reviled overlord, but losing the recruitment opportunity was a definite blow to the firm’s reputation and Jessica told him to fix it. A representative from Harvard came to interview associates one-on-one and Louis was smitten with her. The associates dubbed her “Female Louis” and one pondered, “Do you think if they touch, the world will cease to exist?”

Mike didn’t want to think about them touching.

Lady Louis, played hilariously by guest-star Rachael Harris, told Louis that his problem wasn’t that he was a dick. “I have 20 underlings and I don’t know a single person’s last name,” she said (and I instantly understood Louis’s crush. I think there was a small one on my part, too). She said the problem was that his associates all thought that he was lazy. They didn’t respect him. So Louis put in a literal all-nighter and did all of his underlings’ work for them. Harvey walked in on his slumber party of one and they reminisced about the good old days of when they were associates, confirming that Harvey has basically tormented Louis since the beginning of time, but also that Louis really IS a great lawyer in his own right.

And then, and I think we all need to take a moment to savor this, because like Harvey said, it will never happen again, Harvey complimented Louis. “You’re the man,” he said, three little words that would have been so fleeting...if Louis hadn’t recorded them.

In the morning, Louis berated his underlings and reminded them of just how good they have it. He also tossed them a nugget of a compliment, if any one of them cared to pick it up and dust it off, by reminding them that he gives them the cases that he does, pushes them as hard as he does, and generally just makes their lives hell so that they will learn, “be all they can be” and all that. Hovering in the shadows, Jessica overheard and later complimented Louis on resolving the Harvard issue so impressively. Louis countered that all he ever wanted was for Jessica to give him an opportunity to “rise to the occasion” as she so regularly does with Harvey. Aww. I think I love Louis a little. And I totally told you so: a little love goes a long way with Louis Litt.

Double agent? I can see it. Nice call, you guys! Keep the awesome predictions coming in the comments!

Case Notes

– “I make a trip down here to express serious concerns and you mock me!” Poor Mike. Grandma was feisty! It’s nice to see some granny action, especially since I felt like the writers forgot that she existed somewhere in the middle of the first season.

– Mike: “I spent the night with my Grandmother!” Harvey: “Was she hot?”

– Donna and Rachel need to go on more happy hour sprees as their super-lawyer counterparts Harriet Specter and Michelle Ross. I would watch that forever. In fact, I demand webisodes of those two just running around being snarky and awesome. Are you listening, USA? C’mon, you know it would be amazing.

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