Suits fans may have had to endure a brutal nine-month wait for a new episode, but after watching the season 2 premiere, odds are we can all agree it was worth it. Creator Aaron Korsh appears to have had enough time to figure out all the ways he could make a good show even better (and how to fit in Goodfellas and Highlander quotes). Let’s break it down.
• Jessica is in the know, which should mean more screen time for Gina Torres. If Trevor hadn’t told Jessica that Mike was a fraud, any future threats to Mike and Harvey would not have been taken seriously by viewers. I think this played out the best possible way: Trevor told her Mike had never gone to any law school, so she had him investigated. There was a record of him graduating at the top of his class at Harvard Law, but not of him getting an undergraduate degree from any university in the world. Maybe Harvey and Mike should have thought about doctoring that, too, but I certainly hadn’t, so I can’t fault them. It also establishes Jessica as their mental match. She told Harvey to fire Mike, and Harvey stalled by tricking Louis into giving Mike more work — by, of course, asking him to lay off him for a few days because Jessica had taken an interest in grooming him. Harvey knew if Mike were to suddenly leave while being assigned work for Louis on an important merger, Louis would ask questions that Jessica didn’t want to answer.
Still, Harvey needed another break: The wife of Daniel Hardman (David Costabile, pictured far right), the other half of Pearson Hardman, had died. Threatening to tell her about an affair Hardman had was how Jessica and Harvey got him to leave the firm five years ago when they discovered he’d been borrowing money from escrow — he paid it back, but clients still could have put him away for theft. Harvey wanted to go public with Hardman’s crimes, but Jessica said it would hurt the firm’s reputation. So, they pushed him out instead. Now that their leverage was gone, they assumed Hardman would return for their heads.
It’s a bold move going to a man’s wife’s funeral to ask if he’s going to make your life hell. It’s also bold to have some of the hour’s funniest moments set there, like Jessica and Harvey discussing whether she’d addressed “Being a prick keeps you handsome” to him (oh, the ‘shippers!), and Louis deciding that the long line to pay respects to Hardman was suddenly “flowing” when associate Harold suggested Hardman might now return to work and stealing the cancer ribbon Harold was wearing for his own lapel. (This power struggle should give Rick Hoffman more screen time, too, as Louis chooses a side, and that’s also well-deserved.)
An eerily serene Hardman insisted that Jessica tossing him out was the best thing anyone could have done for him — it gave him the opportunity to connect with and care for his wife and get to know his teen daughter. But Jessica and Harvey weren’t buying it. Harvey seized the moment to cut Jessica a deal: If he stops Hardman from returning, Mike doesn’t have to go. Cut to Harvey showing up at Hardman’s house and threatening to tell his daughter about the affair if he doesn’t set up his practice elsewhere. Harvey thought he’d won, but no. Hardman ended up coming clean to the firm’s employees about having been unscrupulous, power-hungry, and greedy, and, he says, also to his daughter about having cheated on her mother. If you’re busy and distracted hiding what you’ve done, you’re vulnerable to anyone who discovers it, he said. It’s then a slippery slope in terms of what you’d be willing to do to keep your secret. He wants to now prove the firm can be successful without breaking the rules.
That slippery slope sentiment flowed nicely into Jessica’s next showdown with Harvey. He failed to keep Hardman at bay, so Mike had to go. Remembering her reasons for not wanting to publicly out Hardman five years ago as a fraud — because it would reflect poorly on her — Harvey used them against her now. He told her he had known Mike was a fraud when he hired him. If Mike gets canned, Harvey would leave, too, and then Hardman would start asking questions. Hardman would use this all happening under her leadership to make her look reckless or foolish, and he’d move to replace her as managing partner. Jessica slid: She’s going to accept Mike’s situation so he and Harvey can help save her job.
Later, she told Mike she wanted to know everything, starting with how he got Harvey to hire him. Just seeing the smile on Mike’s face when Jessica said she wouldn’t need to use a computer in their battle of the brains made me excited to watch them have more scenes together. It’s gonna be fun to see how she’ll use Mike and Harvey, what moves those three can come up with in their civil war with Hardman. Instead of the Hatfields & McCoys, it’s the Pearsons & Hardmans. (Do you think we learned that Jessica had plagiarized in college not only so plagiarism would be on Mike’s brain for his current case, but also so Jessica might empathize with Mike when she hears he was kicked out of college for selling a test? She made a mistake, too, she just didn’t get caught.)
NEXT: Things get personal