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mike&harv

Did you think the Suits endgame of this season – of the last five seasons, actually – was that Mike Ross would go to jail for the fraud that is the core of the show’s premise?

I didn’t. I thought he would make a deal that would enable him to get out of jail and use his brainpower to help others (he might still do this in jail). And the friend with whom I discuss the show thought Harvey would find a way to get Mike off altogether.

So congrats to the Suits writers/creators for surprising us both, and for dispensing justice and just desserts to Mike – the most honourable and sensitive criminal ever – in a way that keeps us sympathetic to both him and to Harvey. And thanks too, for resolving Mike’s issue. Resolution is good.

On to the recap:

mike & gibbs

Following up from last week’s cliffhanger ending, Mike makes the deal with Gibbs that calls for him to go to jail for 2 years but protects anyone at PSL from prosecution. He’s given 72 hours to report to FCI Danbury (a real-life low security prison in Connecticut, with separate women’s and men’s sections, where Piper Kernan, author of the memoir Orange is the New Black, served her time.)

auto shop

As the 72 hours count down, shit happens. Like that Harvey pleads in court to disallow Mike’s deal, but is overruled by Mike, Gibbs and the judge. Next, he visits the jury foreman in an auto shop (this show and auto shops!) and finds out the verdict would have been not guilty. Though not because any of the jurors believed that Mike had gone to Harvard Law. Because, according to the foreman – who rather implausibly cites the play/movie Twelve Angry Men – Gibbs did not make a good enough case.

dont bug me I'm drinking

Harvey lies to Mike (at first) about what the verdict would have been, looks for evidence of a mistrial, and on Donna’s suggestion, tries to make a deal with Evan whoever (played by Tricia Helfer, who really works her disdain for Harvey in her one scene), the lawyer on the Liberty Rail case – something about a file that contains evidence of corporate-sanctioned murders that he will offer to Gibbs in exchange for setting Mike free. In a plot development that doesn’t make much sense, Evan gives him the file in exchange for letting her ‘shop’ for lawyers (and their clients) and staff at PSL for her law firm.

no deal

Jessica is not pleased with this deal but agrees because the lawyers are going to leave anyway and as Louis points out, if they don’t try to save their family member Mike, who are they? Too bad Gibbs is not interested in the file. She accuses Harvey of being a self-serving, immoral manipulator of people and the law, who can’t even justify his use of dirty tricks in service of justice like she can hers. Nice talk.

rachel upset

Having determined his own future, Mike spends most of the episode trying to set things right with Rachel, who is pretty upset that he broke his promise to wait for the verdict, and ignored her plea to have faith in himself.

couch sex

After Mike passes on to Rachel the lie Harvey told him – that the jury would have found him guilty – she utters the corny line “I want us to be one” (who could say this with a straight face?) meaning “let’s bone” and they have what’s meant to be passionate couch-sitting (and possibly impregnating?) sex. They also decide to go ahead and get married before Mike goes to jail.

rachel & dad arguing

Robert Zane is still raging about Mike, the evil wrecker of his daughter’s life and future. He tells Rachel her law career will be over if she marries him, and he tries to steal some lawyers from PSL with the help of Katrina Bennett (remember her?) who now works for him and has found a hole in the PSL lawyers’ non-compete agreements.

katrina

Louis gets involved with the Zane threat and blackmails (this show and blackmail!) Katrina into not helping Zane steal the lawyers. Though Zane’s firm does get at least one: Jack Soloff, of whom I have somehow become fond (shocking, I know). Maybe he’ll return in some future episode like so many past featured characters have done.

goodbye jack

Mike goes to Rachel’s mom and asks if she can convince Robert to attend the wedding, for Rachel’s sake. The mom is pretty damn sure Zane will never forgive Mike, ever, but says she will try.

R's mom

Jessica applies pressure on Zane too – she visits him to ‘make peace’ and apologizes for not trusting him enough to tell him about Mike before. While she’s at it, she suggests he come to the wedding, because she knows from difficult father-daughter relationships, and this is a now or never situation.

h&Danner

Harvey is angry that Mike didn’t let him take the fall for their joint crime, and feeling guilty besides, because Mrs. Danner, who is a bit of a drama queen and so short that Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams have to bend their heads at odd angles in their scenes with her, keeps overacting at Harvey about how Mike won’t survive in jail, and how everything (including the death of her son) is Harvey’s fault.

Harvey takes a punch

So when Mike comes over to Harvey’s apartment to ask him to be his best man at the wedding ceremony, Harvey asks him instead to let him (Harvey) go to prison. When Mike says no, Harvey goads him into a fist fight (training for prison, don’t you know) in which Mike does the punching and Harvey does the bleeding. Mike is still going to jail, though.

donna in blue

At the church the next morning, Rachel has on a wedding dress, and Donna is in a maid of honor dress that looks like what she’d wear to work, which makes sense since most of her office wear is weirdly bridesmaid-appropriate anyway. And both Zane parents have shown up for the ceremony.

wedding dress mirror

Except Mike calls the wedding off, because Robert Zane is right, and Mike doesn’t want to take away Rachel’s law dreams, and he couldn’t live with himself if he did that any more than he could live with himself if he let Harvey go to jail for the fraud he committed.

tearstained

If he loves her – and he does – he has to not marry her yet, not till he’s served his time and she’s become a lawyer. And he will still love her in 2 years. So in the end, they’re as all good as two heart-broken but committed people can be, if a little tear-stained.

333 bay street

Jessica and Louis return from the not-wedding to the office, the exterior of which is clearly signed as 333 Bay Street in Toronto – an office building that in real life houses a large law firm that employs people I am personally acquainted with! – only to find that everyone (except Donna) has up and gone. In this scene, Jessica wears an amazing coat with fur cuffs that makes her look way regal. But can a queen rule without any subjects?

mike&harv

The last words for the season go to our blood brothers Harvey and Mike, who wax philosophical outside the Danbury prison. Once they’ve got a classic “It was my fault/no it was MY fault” exchange out of the way, Mike says:

  •  he’d do it all again if he had the chance (Harvey says the same),
  • “Donna always said you were looking for another you, I guess you found one,” and
  • “I guess it’s time to get busy living or get busy dying” (a movie quote – from The Shawshank Redemption – that does not feel gratuitous, for once, but apt)

Their bromance thereby signed, sealed and delivered, Harvey tells Mike to watch his back, and Mike enters the prison, in his suit.

Season 6 of Suits begins this summer, without – according to show creator Aaron Korsh – a jump forward in time. Bring on the jailhouse scenes! And see you then.

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a suburban comedy of manners called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

This penultimate episode features twists, turns, reversals, slow motion running, multiple exhortations to have faith, and a cliffhanger ending. All of which is building toward a resolution of the Mike-as-fraud storyline on the season finale, right? There will be a resolution? THERE HAD BETTER BE.

So Mike found a way to take charge of his own defense because he was co-counsel all along and it’s not his fault if Gibbs didn’t notice.

co-counsel

As his one and only witness, Mike calls to the stand one Gloria Danner, mother of the recently deceased (shot trying to prevent a robbery) Clifford Danner, a wrongfully convicted guy whom Mike once helped get out of jail. Gloria is a big Mike supporter who doesn’t care about his credentials, because he’s the most caring and honourable fake lawyer ever. gloriaWhen Gibbs tries to undermine Gloria’s credibility, Gloria chews the scenery a little bit and insists Mike is the best. The defense rests.

That night, Mike struggles to write his closing argument, while the other characters stew in pots filled with doubt, guilt and fear.

Louis becomes convinced Mike will be found guilty and therefore they will all fry. He goes to Gibbs, ready to affirm that Mike is a fraud in exchange for immunity, but his word is not enough, she wants proof, and he doesn’t have that, so no deal.

lobby fight

He confronts Harvey in the building lobby (discreet!) and secretly records their yelled, heated conversation, during which Harvey basically admits he was at fault for hiring Mike in the first place, but Louis made his own bed when he used the secret to advance himself, so fuck off, Louis.

Next, Louis suggests to Jessica that they turn on Harvey together in order to save themselves, but she is sure Harvey would take the bullet himself if Mike is found guilty, so she and Louis would be spared. And now she’s pissed off at him for being such a dick.

jessica's mad at louis

Because Jessica was convincing or because she shamed him, Louis does not turn his tape over to Gibbs, and he refuses to take her call. So there’s one threat nullified. For now.

Mike rips up his prepared closing argument and speaks from the heart about how he IS a fraud because he didn’t use his gift for lawyering to help the downtrodden like he always wanted, but wasted it  making money for rich people. And by god, he will not serve the 1% any longer, no matter what the jury decides!

jury

Gibbs, unmoved by this display, makes her closing argument: Mike is a liar and this is not a victimless crime.

Harvey isn’t convinced they will win the case, so he tries to whip up grounds for a mistrial – he asks Donna to get him some dirt on the jurors, but she won’t cooperate because that’s illegal, yo, and you gotta have faith. He then tries to blackmail Gibbs’s associate David Green into jury tampering, but Green decides he would rather have his career destroyed than be preyed upon by a cowardly bully named Harvey.

Look, it's Toronto's Clarence Square.

Look, it’s Toronto’s Clarence Square.

Harvey is stung by this criticism, and in crisis, pays a nighttime visit to Donna at her apartment, something he’d promised he wouldn’t do anymore. He’s racked with guilt, and emotional (!), and he wants to turn himself in, but Donna tells him not to. She asks him to believe, like she does, that Mike and Harvey are worthy of being found innocent. And to have faith.

Those are tears in Harvey's eyes.

Yes, those are tears in Harvey’s eyes.

Mike offers Gibbs a deal – he’ll plead guilty and never practice law again if Gibbs will promise not to go after anyone at the law firm. She counters with two last minute deals to consider before the jury returns with what she is pretty sure will be a guilty verdict: one is to serve 2 years in prison (instead of the 5-7 he is likely to get if found guilty) without implicating anyone else at the law firm. The other is to serve no time and identify one name partner to be burned at the stake.

the look of love

Semi-honourable Mike would never betray his friends, but he’s tempted to take the 2 years in jail deal to prevent everyone else being charged if he’s found guilty. Rachel is against this plan because it would leave her alone and Mike-less. Which makes sense, but maybe this is about more than you, Rachel?

Diaz explains

While hanging around the courthouse waiting for the jury’s verdict, Mike overhears a petty criminal/getaway driver named Diaz, who has no lawyer, being railroaded by a prosecutor. Mike offers to represent Diaz, which pisses off the prosecutor (and Gibbs, when she finds out), but neither Diaz nor the judge who hears the case care about Mike’s own trial. With Rachel’s help, Mike makes headway for his client, until the prosecutor offers Diaz a deal to get off totally if he rats on his friends. Diaz agrees immediately, and rationalizes to Mike that if doesn’t do this, and he’s found guilty, the friends will still be charged, so no biggie.

Mike sees the Diaz light

Mike sees the Diaz light

Mike takes this insight on Diaz’s part (a point he and others have made all episode-long, but whatever), as a sign he must turn himself in. He rushes over to Gibbs’s office just as word comes that the jury is ready to deliver their verdict. With Harvey in hot pursuit, but a few key steps behind, Mike tells Gibbs he’s ready to make a deal. She asks which one, but come on, it has to be the 2 years in prison scenario.

Run Harvey run.

Run Harvey run.

Next week, according to the promo tagline: “Someone is going to prison, but who?” And Harvey claims it ain’t over till it’s over.

Miscellany:

  • When Donna dared to question Jessica about the wisdom of seeking a mistrial, Jessica made it  clear that she is looking out for herself first, and Mike second. Just saying.
  • Nothing like waking up in the morning in full eye makeup and false eyelashes, Rachel.
  • SPECULATION: Was Mike’s promise to the jury – to dedicate himself henceforth to helping the powerless – a hint that he is going to trade his 2 year prison sentence for x years of community service?
  • BIGTIME SPOILER ALERT: Hello! Canada Magazine has just posted a jaunty video of Meghan Markle looking at wedding gowns in the Suits costume room for Rachel and Mike’s upcoming wedding …

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a suburban comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

Trevor and Gibbs have the same nose.

Do Trevor and Gibbs have the same nose?

It occurred to me last time, with talk of Mike’s trial being 2 weeks away, that the season might end without us getting to know the trial’s outcome, which would suck big-time as a payoff on the setup we’ve been going through.

So when this episode opened with Turncoat Trevor (looking rather gaunt this season, I hope the actor is okay) testifying at the actual trial, I was relieved. Then there was an immediate flashback to 3 days earlier, and our two main men decided to conduct an in-house mock trial to practice before the real trial, which seemed like a time-filling device, and I doubted again. Only to have Gibbs get the trial moved up midway through the hour, and even conclude her case for the prosecution before the episode ends.

Now I wonder if there will be enough trial-related story to fill the two eps that remain, but curious anticipation is an enjoyable state to be in, right? Kinda like how I’m dying to know where formerly evil butler Thomas Barrow will end up on PBS’s run of Downton Abbey, yet I’ve managed to resist the siren call of U.K-sourced spoilers. Because anticipation is fun!

mock trial-ing

Back to Suits: Mike and Harvey disagree about which one of them should be the lead defense lawyer for Mike, so they decide to duke it out via a mock trial and decide based on who ‘wins’ it. Harvey takes Gibbs’s part, Jessica is the judge, Mike represents himself, and a bunch of suited extras stand around on the office set and pretend to be the rest of the firm’s lawyers.

Benjamin has a certain B.J. Novak quality to him, don't you think?

Benjamin has a certain B.J. Novak quality to him, don’t you think?

While the mock trial lasts, Harvey and Mike both prove they have hidden resources.  Mike has the loyalty of Benjamin, the law firm’s IT guy, who is willing to hack into government databases and create false records for him, because unlike the real Harvard grad assholes, Mike treated him kindly. And Harvey shows how cruel he can be when he ‘destroys’ Rachel on the mock trial stand by outing her affair with Logan Sanders and painting her as immoral and untrustworthy.

Rachel is rattled.

Rachel is rattled, but hey, nice eye makeup job.

Harvey’s hard-heartedness (shall we just call it misanthropy?) convinces an emotionally bruised Rachel that Harvey should defend Mike after all. Because if Mike were to eviscerate his former best friend Trevor on the witness stand, the jury would hate him for it, and be less likely to rule in his favour. Armed with the ability to engage in that kind of pragmatic strategic thinking, Rachel is going to make a fine cutthroat lawyer someday!

real trial

At the real trial (boy, was that a quick off-stage jury selection process), Harvey discredits Trevor by revealing that he was a lying drug dealer who made a deal with Gibbs to avoid persecution and has been out to get Mike since that time Mike took up with Jenny, Trevor’s ex.

Donna stumbles, crumbled and wonders if she should have worn a more modest neckline.

Donna stumbles, crumbles and wonders if she should have worn a more modest neckline.

Gibbs counters by calling Donna to the stand and asking her about the day Harvey hired Mike, and why wasn’t Mike  on the list of Harvard grad candidates that Donna had scheduled to be interviewed? The normally (over-)confident Donna stumbles under questioning, then crumbles (she feels terrible afterwards, and possibly during)) and asserts her 5th Amendment rights rather than say anymore, though Jessica had already decreed that no one in the firm was to do that because it would make them look guilty.

Restrain me all you want, I don't give a damn.

Restrain me all you want, I don’t give a damn.

Jessica made that decree pre-trial, after Gibbs stepped up her harassment of Jessica and Louis, the two people she had not yet gone after with her blackmailing ways. Jessica hangs tough, and even gets a restraining order against Gibbs that says she cannot speak to any of them without legal counsel present, but Louis – ah, Louis – weakens.

Gibbs channels Lola in Damn Yankees.

Battle of the Grimaces.

Gibbs threatens to charge Louis with witness tampering because he sent Sheila Szaz to Argentina to avoid the trial. Jessica assures him no charge will stick, but Gibbs keeps at him with the threat/promise that prison offers neither mudding nor ballet performances to attend. So if he keeps pretending he didn’t know about Mike and didn’t only become name partner because he knew, he can look forward to some serious arts and sensory deprivation in his future.

Look at those rosy cheeks!

Look at those rosy cheeks!

Harold, our favorite curly-haired, blond, rosy-cheeked, in-over-his-head, sweet-natured lawyer, brightens up the episode by offering to publicly swear that he knew Mike at Harvard. This is exactly what Mike’s case needs – someone who will falsely testify that they knew him there. That is, someone who will back up the borderline credible story Mike and Harvey have concocted – that Mike didn’t attend classes at Harvard, but commuted from New York to Boston once a week for tests (to which I say – what about the group work?). Mike appreciates the offer but knows Harold would fall apart under Gibbs’s cross-examination, so he approaches another buddy – Jimmy Kirkwood – a former PSL lawyer for whose aunt Mike previously secured a generous settlement from an unscrupulous insurance company.

Sing Jimmy, sing!

Sing Jimmy, sing!

Jimmy at first refuses to perjure himself and risk prison to save Mike, but he shows up in court, takes the stand, and sings an upbeat tune about how much fun he and Mike had when they were hanging at Harvard together. Things are looking up until Gibb tries, and partially succeeds, to cast doubt on Jimmy’s credibility.

NOW you want me to defend myself?

NOW you want me to defend myself?

After the prosecution rests, Mike is optimistic about his chances, but Harvey is not. He thinks they need to play one more face card to sway the jury – and that card is Mike. But the only way Mike can ‘testify’ without having to submit to Gibbs’ incisive cross-examination skills is if he represents himself. And how the hell is he supposed to do that at this point, midway through the trial? Tune in next week to find out how, and to see if Louis turns traitor once and for all.

Miscellany:

  • no sign of Jack Soloff this week – can it be that I missed him, his luxuriant hair, and his envelope of secrets?
  • no Jeff, Scottie, or Gretchen either
  • just watched the second last episode of Downton Abbey and (spoiler alert) I think Thomas Barrow is going to be okay!

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a suburban comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

Last episode, Mike and Harvey bargained away a legal chip that could have saved Mike’s ass to keep Donna and her dad out of the mor-ass (yup, I’ll be here all week) that is Mike’s case. This episode, they do the same thing to keep Rachel from having her future as a lawyer ruined when Gibbs goes after her. But how many legal chips do they have left?

MIke Gives GIbbs the Snake the Stink-Eye

Mike Gives Gibbs the Stink-Eye

Mike and Harvey are in court to demand Gibbs hand over the discovery (all the evidence she has collected in support of her case) when Mike recognizes Gibbs’s associate: a lawyer named for whom Mike once wrote the LSAT’s, back when Mike’s fraudulent activities were confined to test-taking.

Hey, I know that guy

Hey, I know that guy

Yeah, that guy

Yeah, that guy

The judge orders Gibbs to hand over her many, many boxes of files, and sets the trial date for two weeks hence.

Nice coat on Rachel, nice blowout on Gibbs

Nice coat on Rachel, nice blowout on Gibbs

Rachel is heading to work in one of her many nice coats when Gibbs ambushes her. She lures her to a nearby café by mentioning that Rachel cannot claim spousal privilege re: Mike because they’re not married so she WILL have to testify and what’s she gonna do on the stand –  take the 5th or perjure herself? Rachel won’t be tricked into saying anything without her lawyer (that would be Harvey) present, but Gibbs whispers sweet nothings to her about how if she’ll only turn on Harvey, Rachel and Mike can both live to see the day when they graduate together with law degrees from Columbia. Whereas, if Rachel doesn’t make a deal, goodbye law career.

Rachel knows Gibbs is a completely untrustworthy snake but she can’t stop thinking about the offer, especially after she has her regularly scheduled “student review” meeting with the law school dean (how can this meeting be a real thing?) and he a) accuses her of having gotten Mike to write her LSAT’s, and b) makes vague threats about expulsion.

Rachel's upset

Rachel’s upset

Rachel’s pissed-off-ness about the whole matter spurs Mike to yell at Harvey and suggest that they hire an outside lawyer to go after someone Gibbs is close to, the way Gibbs has been doing with Donna and Rachel. Harvey thinks that’s a horrible idea but Mike goes to see Scottie anyway and asks if she or someone at her new firm will take on the job. Not for his sake, understand, but for Harvey’s.

love this dress

Scottie ­– who looks, I think, the best she has ever looked on Suits, in this cool black sheath dress with an interesting cut-out neck/arm line, though the thought of the undergarment wrangling that would be necessary to wear it ­is pause-giving – tells Mike to get out and go away, she will NEVER help him because he ruined  her and Harvey as a couple.

Call me maybe

Call me maybe

She later berates Harvey for siccing Mike, AKA the person whom Harvey chose over her, onto her. He tells her he didn’t, apologizes for everything, confesses that he’s in therapy, and asks could he maybe call her when this mess is over. She’s in therapy too, so yeah, he could call her if he ever gets out from under the case and his childhood issues. And if she is still alive then, and still contractually able to appear on Suits.

Scottie oversteps her bounds

Scottie puts on her own nice coat, and on her way out, has a strange conversation with Rachel wherein she coolly (more like ice-coldly) warns Rachel that even the best scenario for Mike and Rachel is not great. Because if Mike gets acquitted and quits law and Rachel goes on to practice, Mike will probably resent Rachel’s success in his once-and-former field. Rachel assures her Mike is not like that, but damn if another successful woman lawyer hasn’t gone and planted another seed of doubt in her mind about her future with Mike.

mike up in guy's grill

When Mike hears that the dean brought up false LSAT-taking – a crime he has not yet been charged with – he realizes Gibbs must have found out about his past and illegally convinced the dean, her old law school buddy, to threaten Rachel. He gets his face up very close to the associate and blackmails him into providing sufficient proof of Gibbs’s wrongdoing to trade the suppression of such proof from the judge for a free pass for Rachel on the intimidation tactics. Gibbs agrees to this side deal, because no matter what happens pre-trial, Mike is not a real lawyer and that will come out in court, so there.

jessica glitter sweater

Harvey, Mike, Donna and Rachel may be working on nothing but protecting Rachel and preparing for the trial, but Jessica, in her glitter-edged sweater, is still hell bent on keeping the law firm going through this crisis. Her first task: to come up with PR moves to counter the effect of a damning Wall Street Journal editorial that suggests one or all of the name partners must have known about Mike all along.

jack & jessica

Jack Soloff – who is looking more like an ally than an enemy these days – suggests the firm take on some pro bono work for their clients’ favorite charities. Jessica wants to make the more aggressive move of poaching an entire department’s worth of real estate lawyers from another law firm. But no one wants to jump on the sinking ship, even for twice their salaries.

When Louis reports that so reduced is the firm’s reputation that only 3 bottom-of-the-barrel candidates from Harvard have applied for the usually coveted summer associate jobs at the firm, Jessica gets him to open up the application process to other colleges – and not shitty schools like the University of Arizona (burn), but other big-time Ivy League schools. Only they’re not interested either.

Jack tells Jessica he was offered a job by the law firm he tried to poach from, and says he’d rather stay with PSL ­– for which he has complicated feelings of attachment and loyalty, something to do with the idea that if he can make it there, he can make it anywhere (he’s from Boston) ­ ­– if he has a shot at ever being a name partner. To prove he can be trusted, he gives Jessica an envelope containing whatever incriminating info Hardman has on him.

louis is pissed at jessica

Jessica floats the Jack name partnership idea by Louis. He explodes at the thought, and accuses her of weak leadership. She suggests that if he thinks he’s so smart, why doesn’t he stop Sheila Szaz from testifying at the trial about Mike.

sheila szaz is upset

Louis goes to Boston for what seems like his fourth or fifth time in two weeks, and gives Sheila a demonstration of what cross-examination from Harvey would be like – cruel, humiliating, and possibly career destroying for Sheila. To protect her from that ordeal, he gives her a plane ticket (does anyone in real life ever, anymore, use paper plane tickets that come in paper folders? NO) to Argentina and persuades her to leave the U.S. until after the trial.

Endnotes:

  • This week’s drinking game is all about the surprise drop-in: chug whenever someone says, “What are you doing here?”
  • Mike decides the way to prove he is too a lawyer is to defend himself. Not sure where that will leave Harvey.
  • Donna wades through hundreds of boxes of discovery documents and finds out that Gibbs has located Turncoat Trevor. Uh-oh.

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a suburban comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

It was Sheila Szaz who turned Mike in!

But first, Donna, Donna, Donna:

donna flamenco dress

Donna celebrates her return to Harvey’s desk by wearing a nightclub-ready, cleavage-centric, flamenco-skirted dance dress to work, only to be hauled in for questioning by Gibbs about the whole Mike fraud sitch. Donna says nothing and plays it cool until Gibbs mentions that by the way, she also has Donna’s dad in for questioning. Something about a shady real estate deal he was involved with some years ago? Donna: “You’re a cold heartless bitch.” Gibbs: “I am. Here’s my card. Call me.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 3.27.03 PM

To get the wiggy flashbacks out of the way: when Donna was an earnest piano-playing tween, her dad’s business failed and they had to move out of a nice house into an apartment ­– goodbye piano! – in Connecticut, where she took up musical theatre instead (as one does). Seven years before the present day, Mr. Paulsen, having become the lowly manager of a real estate brokerage, asked Donna to ask Harvey to invest in a questionable real estate development deal.

donna&harvey sparring in past

Harvey refused because he doesn’t believe in investing with close friends or family, especially if they don’t know what they’re doing, and Donna and Harvey traded angry words about their respective Daddy and Mommy issues. Harvey went one further, secretly met Mr. Paulsen and threatened to make his life hell if he were to take any money from Donna for the investment.

donna & harvey spar in present

In the present, Harvey promises to get Donna’s dad off the hook, but not before blame is thrown around about Donna being put at risk – Harvey blames the dad for doing the shady deal 7 years ago, the dad blames Harvey for making Donna an accessory to Mike’s fraudulent hiring, and after Donna learns that her father is about to be formally charged, Donna blames Harvey for her troubles too.

mike & harvey plotting

Harvey has cleared his schedule for the next two months to deal with the charges against Mike. And now he and Mike (and Louis) have to get Donna and her dad out of trouble too. Their first move is to get Gibbs to hand over the anonymous email that triggered her investigation of Mike. It was sent from a “general faculty Harvard email account” (does this sound plausible? not to me), which makes Mike and Harvey think Professor Gerrard sent it. But Louis recognizes Sheila Szaz’s writing style right away (who else would use the word “besmirch,” so he pays her a visit.

louis & sheila

She admits that she sent the email after she saw a magazine article about Mike’s meteoric rise to partner and found no record of him in her files. Louis pleads with her on the basis of their prior soulmate relationship to retract the email. She won’t retract it, but she promises not to identify herself as the sender. She later changes her mind and comes forward, which makes Louis very sad.

louis & gretchen

It doesn’t help when Gretchen, who has been moved to Louis’s desk, tells Louis it was she who arranged for the article to be written about Mike, in a misguided attempt to get Harvey some credit. And Louis had been so happy that Gretchen’s opening gambit as his secretary had been to promise to get him into the big mah jong game that his former secretary Norma played in for years before she die! The consolation: Gretchen is on the side of the fraud squad, ie. the principal characters on the show.

mike & gerrard

Mike goes to see Professor Gerrard at one of his illegal poker games and asks him for help.  Gerrard won’t expose Mike, but he won’t lie and say that Mike was his student either. Mike persuades him instead to write a vaguely worded letter praising Mike that Harvey uses as a bargaining chip against Gibbs. Their bluff works and Gibbs agrees to stop persecuting Donna and her dad so as to avoid putting Gerrard on the witness stand. But Harvey and Mike have to withdraw their motion to dismiss the charges. So the trial is still coming.

jeff& jessica

When Gibbs delivers subpoenas asking for every case file on the books at Pearson Specter Litt, Jessica urges Mike and Rachel to destroy the affidavits she and they signed previously acknowledging their various degrees of complicity in Mike’s fraud. She also seeks outside counsel for herself from her old flame Jeff Malone. Jeff pays Mike a visit and yells at him for ruining his relationship with Jessica – there’s just no end to the collateral damage of what Mike has done! Jeff refuses to be Jessica’s attorney but might speak to her again one day when the whole mess is over. You know, might.

Next week: Gibbs goes after Rachel.

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a suburban comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

 

mug shot

Over an opening montage of Mike getting booked at the police station, and stripped of potential self-harming instruments like shoelaces and his tie ­– hey, what about the thread in his suit and shirt buttons? – we meet Assistant U.S. Attorney Anita Gibbs, the back six’s low-voiced villain, and we learn that the big fraud Mike is charged with really is about him pretending to be a lawyer, and not about some other illegal thing he did as a fake lawyer. This is a satisfying payoff for the show to make, at long last, on the show’s now years-old premise. So good job, show.

anita

We know Gibbs is a tough cookie, because she doesn’t give a fuck about things like violating Mike’s rights by not letting him see a lawyer for hours, or keeping him in jail overnight to scare him. Also because she has Mom hair, and wears department store-bought clothes.

Mike is tough and cocky too (cookie, cocky, kooky) – he tricks Gibbs into videotaping him talking about that rights violation, and immediately ID’s the federal marshal posing as a cellmate who tries to intimidate/scare him about life in jail.

mike and thug

Mike’s façade cracks when Robert Zane shows up (sent by Rachel) claiming to be Mike’s attorney. Robert wants him to rat on Harvey in exchange for his freedom, and also to never speak to or see Rachel again.

robert zane is pissed

Mike won’t betray Harvey, but he looks pretty rattled when Robert throws him against the wall, and he crumples when Harvey finally shows up. Mike figures the jig is up because of the small matter that he is actually guilty. Harvey, ever the pragmatist, points out that the onus is on Gibbs to prove Mike isn’t a lawyer, which should be difficult thanks to the fraudulent hacking into databases these two have orchestrated in the past ­– Michael’s credentials are technically in order. You know what would be kind of funny though? If season 6 of suits saw Mike in jail using his Mr. Memory skills to engineer a prison break. Suits could even do some crossover episodes with the coming remake of Prison Break, about which I am extremely dubious, though I was a big Wentworth Miller fan back in the day.

jessica is pissed

Meanwhile, back at the Pearson Specter Litt ranch, Jessica’s first impulse is for the principal cast members to dissociate from Mike, for fear of being pegged as “unindicted co-conspirators” (this episode’s drinking game prompt), which they basically all are, so good luck with that. She also wants Harvey to tear up the resignation letter he submitted last episode as part of his deal with Forstman, because of the bad optics of his resignation coming on the same day as Mike’s arrest. Except he can’t, because if he does, Forstman will unleash Hardman again in attack dog mode to take Jessica down. So Harvey has to find a way to defend Mike while pretending he did not resign, and hope that Fortsman doesn’t find out he’s pretending.

gibbs in court

Harvey negotiates with Gibbs to get Mike released without bail pending trial. She tries to double-cross Harvey in the courtroom and have the judge prohibit him from defending Mike, but Mike plays his you-violated-my-rights card and takes the hand.

scottie closeup

Next, the boys try to figure out who leaked their secret to Gibbs. Harvey swallows his pride, eats crow, and pays a visit to his old love Scottie, who has a chic new haircut and a frosty attitude. She bitterly says she didn’t squeal, but can’t promise she won’t in future.

trevor streetcars

Mike, in turn, ambushes his old buddy Trevor the Turncoat on what’s meant to be a Manhattan sidewalk except there are Toronto streetcars in the background. Trevor also denies having tipped anyone off, but says his only motive for keeping quiet is to protect his own family. Aren’t old friends grand?

sweaty harvey

Gibbs shows up at Harvey’s gym to tell him that if the reason he’s boxing in the middle of the day like an unemployed person is because he was fired or made to resign by the the firm, that’s evidence he’s a co-conspirator, so haha gotcha, unless, of course, he’ll turn on Jessica. While looking convincingly flushed and sweaty, Harvey reaches into his bag of insults and suggests Gibb take a remedial class in fiction writing  (huh?) at NYU.

jack caught in web

When our merry band of co-conspirators realize Harvey must return to work at the office to ward off Gibbs and her suspicions, Mike comes up with the solution to Forstman finding out – he threatens Forstman’s inside man at the firm: Jack Soloff. If Jack lets Forstman know Harvey hasn’t quit, Mike will tell Gibbs Jack was the main man at the law firm who knew all about Mike’s fraud. Jack somewhat reasonably protests that he never did anything bad to Mike so why the blackmail? Guess he sealed his fate when he went after Mike’s surrogate parents Jessica and Harvey.

rachel cries

Rachel is mighty fretful this episode. She’s beside herself with worry after Mike is arrested, and goes to her dad for help, only to have him advise her to quit the firm and Mike. When she won’t, because of true love and all, her dad gives her a very cold shoulder and asks Jessica to fire her, which she refuses to do.

Zane senior asks Rachel to convey a message from Gibbs to Mike that he can be free if he turns on Harvey (a message Zane already delivered to Mike in person so why he repeats it to Rachel, I don’t know), and she makes the mistake of considering the idea for one second, thereby incurring Mike’s wrath. By the end of the hour, she and Mike have made up and pledged their love anew, which made their earlier tension seem manufactured for drama’s sake, but whatever, the sweater coat she wears in this hug scene is nice.

mike & rachel hug

Louis warns Donna to avoid any contact with Harvey and Mike (again with the unindicted co-conspirator concern) but, while wearing the hell out of some beautiful figure-flattering dresses, Donna says she just can’t stay away.

donna slate dress

When Jessica asks Louis to find something in the bylaws that will stop Jack Soloff from trying to boot her out again ­– which Jack pledged to do as soon as he found out about Mike’s arrest – Louis instead comes up with a bone-headed suggestion that he take over from Jessica as managing partner at the firm. Jessica accuses him of self-promotion and selfishness and reiterates her demand that he find a loophole in the bylaws.

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Louis doesn’t do that, but he does realize that the team player/We Are Family thing to do about this whole mess is to release Donna from his employ so she can help Harvey, even though he will miss her, and he fears what the consequences will be for her. This move earns him Jessica’s sincere thanks via a drop-in at his mudding spa (salon?) during which we get gross close-ups of Louis’s mud-covered nipples, and Jessica wears a heinous black ‘vest’ that looks like a scrunched up satin tablecloth glued onto a white shirt.

mudding

Nipples and vest aside, Jessica and Louis have a heartwarming bonding conversation about Lord of the Rings, during which he gets in a good joke about how horrible he would be if he got hold of the One Ring That Rules Them All, since he’s no Frodo. Jessica compares him instead to the ever-loyal Samwise Gamgee, and he opines that he’s always thought LoTR was more about friendship than about power. Sort of like Suits, don’t we all know.

donna at harvey's

Donna announces her return to Harvey’s side in a work capacity by making a surprise appearance inside his apartment late at night (no mixed messages being sent or received there). And when he hears she’s come back to him, Gabriel Macht as Harvey does that actorly thing where he softens his eye expression, and wins us all over.

softened eyes

Next week: we find out who sold Mike up the river.

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a suburban comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

Mike & Harvey as Batman & Robin with complementary suit & tie combos - nice work, costumers!

Suits returns, starting tonight, Wednesday January 27th, for the first of the back 6 episodes of Season 5.  I will once again be recapping the show, but because I don’t get screeners (ha ha, as if),  and because Wednesday nights are when I go dancing (priorities!), my timing pledge will be to get each recap up before the next episode airs.

In the meantime, for those who remember when this blog was mainly about food, I offer a relatively foolproof recipe for flaky buttermilk biscuits, adapted from a Taste of Home recipe published in 2001.  I’ve kept to the same 4 ingredients the recipe calls for, but varied the method slightly in an attempt to achieve maximum flakiness and height.

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These slightly salty – in a  good way – biscuits are best served warm (fresh-baked, or reheated in the oven) , and slathered with cultured butter. And they go as well with savoury foods like eggs and bacon or hearty soups, as with desserty combos like raspberries and whipped cream. Either way, they’d make a fine accompaniment to an episode of Suits.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits (adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
2 cups self-rising flour*
3/4 cup buttermilk
Melted butter

*As a substitute for each cup of self-rising flour, place 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 cup.

Directions

In a large bowl or food processor, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add  buttermilk and pulse just until moistened. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; gather dough together into a mound; knead 3-4 times.  Pat down to a 3/4-in. thickness, so that the dough is about the size of an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper.

To create layers, fold the two ends of the dough into the middle as you would fold a piece of paper to put it into an envelope. Gently flatten the nowstacked dough again with your hands until it’s about 3/4 inch thick and paper-sized again.

Using a sharp knife (no biscuit cutter necessary), cut the dough into 9 square biscuits. Place in a round greased cake pan with the sides almost touching so that the biscuits have nowhere to go but up, OR place the biscuits on their sides in the cups of a greased muffin tin. Brush with melted butter and  bake at 425° for 11-13 minutes (a few minutes more if using the cake pan method) or until golden brown. Yield: 9 biscuits.

hugs

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