Former Bedfellows Make Strange Office Politics
Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) was under professional and personal threat in Suits’ most recent episode, “He’s Back,” and the vengeful individuals seeking her downfall attacked many members of the Pearson Hardman staff in their pursuit of her.
The enjoyably paced episode opens with Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) and Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) at either side of a client in the midst of a deposition. Across the conference room table sits the weasel-like opposing council, Daniel Hardman (David Costabile), who delights in inappropriately turning the questioning into an opportunity to announce a lawsuit that is being brought against Jessica. Daniel is representing his former lover and the firm’s former employee, Monica Eaton (Gina Holden), who is claiming that Jessica wrongfully dismissed her on the basis of gender. Daniel, who makes a habit of hitting where it will most hurt, insults Jessica by asserting that she has “…always been married to her job,” expects female associates to exhibit similar priorities, and dismissed Monica due to jealousy of the younger woman’s sexual activity.
The lawsuit promises to be especially complicated and potentially damaging because of Daniel Hardman’s involvement, so Harvey advises Jessica to settle, but she is adamantly against it. While the firm attempts to refute the unjust allegations, Daniel unsuccessfully attempts to divide the loyalties of the team, but even standing together, the team is encountering difficulty clearing Jessica because her having signed a non-disclosure form precludes her from discussing many of the facts that would explain her actions.
Mike suggests a questioning tactic that will prompt Monica to reveal for the record the very matters about which Jessica is barred from speaking, but unfortunately, the seemingly clever plan plays into the devious intentions of Monica and Daniel, who proceed to assert that Monica was sexually harassed by Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman), further inflaming the situation for the firm.
Louis, who remains remorseful about having been temporarily fooled by Daniel, asks Harvey to help fight Daniel, forcing Harvey to tell Louis about Monica’s sexual harassment claims. Louis is especially devastated by the allegations because he had formerly had an unreciprocated crush on Monica. Harvey attempts to bolster Louis’ spirits, but Louis remains crestfallen in the immediacy of learning of the hurtful allegations. However, later, Louis corners Daniel in an elevator and delivers a firm message. “All you do is betray,” Louis tells Daniel, adding that if Daniel crosses him again, Daniel should expect to be pulverized.
Harvey’s trusted assistant, Donna Paulson (Sarah Rafferty), whose job was previously almost lost due to Daniel having planted evidence against her, takes an even more direct approach with Daniel. Bringing him to his former office, which has now been turned into a conference room, Donna proceeds to tell off the firm’s arch-enemy. When he attempts to attack her self-esteem by starting to imply something about her close relationship with Harvey, Donna slaps Daniel across the face, and she tells him that no one in the firm would act as his witness, so there is no point in his attempting to sue her for having slapped him because he could never prove it.
Ultimately, despite her desire to draw blood from Jessica, Monica is convinced by Mike to take a low settlement and end the lawsuit. When Harvey tells Jessica of the development, she says with a smile, “God damn kid…He’s another you,” and she again declines to settle. However, Harvey reminds her of her own past advice to him about keeping cool and offers some further words that we probably never expected to hear uttered by Harvey, “You can’t win every move.” Presumably, Mr. Specter still believes one can win every game, even if the occasional move must be lost in the process.
In a subsidiary storyline, Rachel and Mike had multiple conversations about her trepidation about applying to Harvard Law School, with Rachel saying the ironically hilarious words, “I don’t want to go to law school. I want to go to Harvard.” By the end of the episode, she has completed her application, and Mike and she have a heart-to-heart about realizing that she will be leaving the firm to attend law school.
Jessica finally agrees to settle, and her confidence seems to return by the episode’s completion, even telling Harvey to get Hardman’s name off the firm’s entrance wall. Yet, aware that the fight with Hardman is not fully concluded, she considers merging with another powerful firm.
Daniel Hardman has served as the sort of irritating villain who seems to never die no matter how many times he is thrown from a cliff, but hopefully, when this season completes in two episodes, we will at last hear the last of him.