Suits: Oh Donna!

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Suits S02E05: "Break Point"

Tell me that didn’t just happen. Tell me we didn’t just lose Donna.

Realistically, of course, it had to be done. The shock we saw Donna slide into at the conclusion of last week’s episode, when she realized that the entire mess revolving around the missing memo was, ultimately, her own fault, gave way to total blinding panic as she struggled to protect Harvey, protect the firm, protect herself, and ultimately, do the right thing.

Unfortunately, destroying the incriminating document was nowhere even close to “doing the right thing.”

Mike was quick to figure it out—interrupting a pensive Donna contemplating the industrial shredder on two different occasions while hoarding a particular file like it was the last Twinkie in a zombie wasteland. Donna’s usual sharp quips fell flat and she clearly and uncharacteristically struggled to take control of the situation. Mike implored her to come clean to Harvey about the lost memo and argued that it was more damaging to everyone if she continued to feign ignorance. She insisted that keeping knowledge of the file from Harvey, and ultimately destroying it, was the only way to protect the firm.

While Donna’s logic was certainly flawed, it wasn’t particularly out of character. While we had never seen Donna incapable of thinking straight prior to this, we’ve seen her on numerous occasions, take charge and skillfully handle various messes around the office on her own. More often than not, it was Harvey who went to Donna for help, rather than the other way around. Donna often took pride in her ability to make problems go away. The idea of turning to Harvey for protection simply didn’t compute. That wasn’t the sort of thing their relationship was based on.

For his part, Harvey wasn’t exactly making things better. While his apologies to the family of the man whose reputation he devastated in his defense of Coastal Motors years earlier were genuine and heartfelt, they couldn’t truly make up for the anguish he had caused the man’s widow during the initial trial. I felt bad for him, repeatedly being rejected, but I also felt for the woman in question. We’ve seen Harvey be harsh and maybe even borderline cruel in court and I can’t imagine that he was in any way gentle with the family during that trial. As the woman said, “My husband died and you made me sit there while you shit on him.” It’s not the sort of thing someone gets over quickly, if ever, especially after being given an opportunity to vindicate their loved one at long last.

After being turned out a second time and finally realizing that a teary “I’m sorry” was not going to dissuade the wronged widow from her pursuit of justice and had, in fact, made things a great deal worse for the firm as a whole as much of the staff wound up with subpoenas to their names, the defeated Harvey admitted to Jessica, “I shouldn’t be a lawyer.”

It was a harsh indictment of himself. The problem isn’t necessarily that Harvey shouldn’t be a lawyer. He’s intelligent and capable, competitive, and at his core, he DOES care about doing the right thing. However, Harvey often seems to fall victim to a blind spot when it comes to his clients and cases. Harvey wants to trust people. Time and again, the idea of trust is often presented by Harvey as the most important part of any relationship he has, both personal and professional. It’s hard to break Harvey’s trust, though when it’s done, that individual is pretty much reduced to outsider status forever—as we’ve seen with his old boss, the DA, Coastal Motors, and Daniel Hardman. Trust was a topic in Harvey and Donna’s argument in the restroom when Mike ultimately ended up spilling the beans about the memo. Trust (or the lack thereof) was the determining factor in rejecting Louis’s peace offering last week. With Harvey, when the trust isn’t there, it REALLY isn’t there.

However, when Harvey truly trusts an individual, he is often willing to do anything for that person. He’s put his career on the line for Mike at least a half-dozen times and he would take down the moon if Jessica asked him to. Harvey is fiercely protective of those whom he trusts, and while that makes him an excellent ally and friend, it often causes him to turn professional matters into personal battles, and it makes it difficult for him to become friends or allies with a party that was previously treated to the full power of his verbal venom.

The problem isn’t that Harvey shouldn’t be a lawyer. It’s that despite being someone so acclimated to working in the gray area, Harvey often can’t help but see other people in terms of black and white, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At Hardman’s urging, Jessica hired an outside lawyer, Allison, to represent the firm. I think it was the introduction of Allison and her actual motive to represent Pearson-Hardman that may have finally revealed what Daniel Hardman’s real intentions are—not that we didn’t already pretty much know. From the beginning, Allison was quick to condemn Harvey. She was quick to point out that Harvey had been accused of burying evidence in the past and that he had a reputation among their peers for pushing the limits of acceptable courtroom conduct. As Allison’s investigation wore on, it became apparent that though she intended to save Pearson-Hardman, she was determined to do it at the cost of Harvey’s career.

And Hardman was pretty much okay with that, making thinly veiled allusions to getting his old office back.

Donna called the “witch-hunt” for what it was during her disastrous (though somewhat amusing, Star Trek-laden) deposition. However, that brief spark of Awesome Fierce Donna wasn’t enough save her. She tried to tell Harvey about the memo, only to have her last chance interrupted by the deposition proceedings. It ultimately came down to Mike telling Harvey after the latter almost perjured himself by signing an affidavit claiming that the office had never received the memo in question.

The resultant confrontation between Harvey and Donna in the women’s restroom was tense and tragic. Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty were stunning to watch as the two fiercely loyal friends came to verbal blows over Donna’s faulty decision-making and the revelation that she did indeed end up destroying the document. It was the decision that sealed Donna’s fate. In saving Harvey, she sacrificed herself both professionally and personally. The trust issue came up, with allusions to the possible past Donna/Harvey romance that was hinted at earlier this season. Harvey condemned Donna for keeping things from him, which she tearfully countered with, “You keep things from me ALL THE TIME!” They were both hurt so deeply and I got the vibe that the issue with the memo was really just the final straw in a long line of little traumas. It hurt to watch this scene, you guys.

And it hurt to watch Donna carefully pack up her desk and walk out after Jessica fired her, “to spare Harvey” from having to do it himself. He met her at the elevator bay, but neither one of them said a word. Harvey moved first and pressed the call button for Donna, silently accepting her dismissal without a single word of dissent. Whether it was out of deferment to Jessica’s authority after an episode of defying it or a concession to his issues with broken trust, and the fact that Donna had severely broken his, remains to be seen.

Did anyone else have to grab the tissues after credits rolled?


Case Notes


– This was an awful day at the office for everyone, wasn’t it? Poor Louis had to put his cat to sleep. I’m glad Rachel took the time to show him a little kindness.

– The settlement terms from Travis Tanner call for Harvey to be stripped of his partnership and reported to the bar. Do you think it will come to that?

– Speaking of Rachel: Are we EVER going to find out how she did on her LSAT?

– Mike got to handle an emancipation case all on his own. No one cared. His bratty side was showing again.

– Do you think there will be any long-term repercussions for ditching Donna in Pearson-Hardman’s future? What about Harvey? Do you think we’ll get Donna back eventually?