The last time we hung out with Mike and Harvey, Mike’s sucky friend Trevor (henceforth known exclusively as “Sucky Friend Trevor”) had just spilled the beans to Jessica Pearson about Mike’s pretend Harvard pedigree. Oops.
Pretend friends, pretend degree—is there anything in your life that’s real, Mike Ross?
In “She Knows,” Suits' much-anticipated Season 2 premiere, we learned that Jessica did her due diligence following the revelation and looked into Mike’s Harvard credentials. They checked out thanks to Lola Jensen’s savvy hacking kills back in last season’s “Identity Crisis.” Unfortunately for Mike—and, by extension, Harvey—Jessica was more thorough in her investigation than Mike and Lola were in their fraudulent creation of Mike’s highly educated alter-ego. His Harvard Law background checked out, but beyond that, Jessica failed to find any record whatsoever of a Mike Ross attaining any other degree anywhere else. This proved problematic, since one typically needs to earn a bachelors degree before entering law school. Jessica confronted Harvey and demanded that he fire Mike. She also informed Harvey that if she were to discover that Harvey knew about Mike’s lack of qualifications and hired him anyway, she’d hand him a pink slip, too.
So Harvey was prepared to fire Mike. He certainly didn’t want to and he even felt bad about it, but like Harvey has repeatedly said (and oh, so desperately wants everyone to believe), “I care about me.” Donna called him on his conflicted feelings because Donna knows all. For example, did you know that Harvey rarely wears lavender to the office? And when he DOES, it’s typically a signifier of his protective big brother feelings? Well, Donna knew. Donna is awesome.
Harvey couldn’t bring himself to fire Mike because somewhere beneath the lavender silk and the immaculately coiffed hair he has FEELINGS. They’re very small and he’d appreciate it if you’d please ignore them because they often prompt him to recklessly endanger his career. He sent Mike out to handle the big important Swinton merger that was being held up by a pesky lawsuit (don’t you hate when that happens?), then baited Louis into throwing work at Mike so that he could buy time to work on bargaining with Jessica. If Mike was just randomly fired, then Louis would start asking questions about it and the entire story would become common knowledge... which was exactly what Jessica DIDN’T want.
Luckily, Harvey didn’t have to brainstorm for too long. The wife of David Hardman, the man who put the Hardman in Pearson-Hardman, passed away after a long struggle with breast cancer. News of her demise sent the partners at the firm into panic mode because it meant that their absentee overlord was potentially returning to torment them all. In their defense, all of that anxiety wasn’t exactly unfounded since we learned that David Hardman was a womanizer and an embezzler who nearly brought down the entire company with his nefarious ways. I mean, even Louis Litt was dreading Hardman’s return. Admittedly his concern was more about the potential return of long work hours than anything else, but still, it’s pretty impressive that the thought of Hardman had even the firm’s residential skeeze panicking.
However, no one panicked quite as much as Jessica Pearson, whose very position in the company would come under fire if David Hardman returned. Harvey compared the situation to Highlander: “There can be only one.”
From Highlander, it was a quick jump to Let’s Make a Deal. If Harvey kept Hardman away from the firm, Jessica would let him keep Mike.
Meanwhile, Mike quite successfully settled the lawsuit that initially held up the Swinton merger... all by himself, like a big-boy lawyer. It made his impending unemployment all the more unfathomable. He’s come a long way from the bumbling newbie we knew in Season 1, formally qualified or not. Now if only he could get his love life sorted out.
Harvey pulled his best...um...Harvey, basically blackmailing Hardman to stay gone unless he wanted Harvey to go public with his dirty laundry. Harvey claimed that he could destroy Hardman’s professional reputation, and implied that the truth about his past philandering would turn his teenage daughter against him. Harvey left a pricy gift basket behind and went off to primp for his “Mission Accomplished” photo shoot. The good people of Pearson-Hardman breathed a collective sigh of relief...for a few hours at least.
Upon returning to the office in the morning, Harvey walked in on Hardman in the middle of a seemingly heartfelt mea culpa to the staff. He admitted to his past crimes and swore that he was a changed man. Yeah, I’m thinking probably not.
Yet Harvey still refused to fire Mike. He admitted to Jessica that he'd known the truth about Mike the entire time. And Jessica promptly fired her best asset who, in return, pointed out that he was her best—and at the moment, only—ally she had. Harvey skillfully explained that if Jessica went ahead with firing him and Mike, she’d have to explain her actions to Hardman, who would certainly spin the events leading up to their unemployment as some sort of indictment of her professional competence, and very quickly kick her out of her own company, just as she feared.
In the end, Jessica kept both Harvey and Mike on the payroll. Summoned to the office in the middle of the night, Mike arrived thinking that his meeting was with Harvey. Instead, Jessica revealed that despite knowing everything that she knew (and not particularly liking it), she’d let Mike stay... and she wanted to him to show her how he'd won Harvey over. Mike implored her to start up a laptop, echoing his challenge to Harvey in the pilot. Amazed, and a little bit amused, that Mike won his position by essentially “beating” Harvey, Jessica smirked and closed the laptop with, “I’m not Harvey.” Jessica Pearson is a total badass.
– I think that my favorite Mike-and-Harvey interactions are those in which they try to out-movie-geek each other. This week had Mike quoting Goodfellas (“Where’s the money, Karen?”) and Harvey pulling out Highlander references at a funeral. Between Highlander and Harvey’s documented Star Trek love, I daresay he’s the bigger dork. Awesome.
– Forget WWHD (What Would Harvey Do?). It’s more like WWJPD or WWDD. Jessica and Donna are the fierce female string-pullers of Pearson-Hardman and I’m totally okay with it.
– Okay, so the Rachel-Mike-Jenny love triangle is over, right? Hopefully? It was seriously my least-favorite storyline last season. I didn’t even care who Mike ultimately ended up with, I just wanted the tug o’ war to stop.
– “She Knows” tied up the remnants of Season 1 and set the stage for Season 2 quickly and efficiently. I think David Hardman is going to be a lot of fun to hate. (Plus: Hi, Gale from Breaking Bad!) I’m pretty excited. How about you?