Suits Recap – Season 4, Episode 14: Derailed

jessica draped dress

Top line: the women’s costumes, especially Jessica’s, were gorgeous this week! And Patrick J. Adams directed the episode, including, presumably, the opening shot of Rachel sitting in bed, wearing a sweater without pants (as one does – not) and almost but not quite showing the camera what she has or doesn’t have on, under that sweater, in the spot where her pants would be if she were wearing them.

risky shot

The ‘sexy’ banter between Mike and Rachel that follows touches on the topics of Game of Thrones (2nd episode in a row for a GofT reference, and after two GofT cast members have appeared on previous seasons of Suits – someone on staff is super into that show), sexual domination, and being tied up (yawn, and ew), which means we’re relieved and grateful when the landline phone rings, Professor Gerard calling for Mike.


Gerard asks Mike to convince Harvey to take on a whistleblower case. Some guy who used to work for Liberty Rail says he was fired because he knew about the company’s coverup of faulty ‘heat sensors’ – this episode’s drinking game prompt – that caused the big accident we heard about last episode in which people tragically died. Mike says no thanks, because Harvey and Jessica are not keen on seeking damages from big corporations they would rather have as clients, but then Gerard mentions that he knows Mike’s secret (AKA The Secret That Will Never Ever Die As a Plot Engine), not that he’s blackmailing Mike or anything.

donna cactus

Mike remembers he became a fake lawyer because he wants to help people, same as Claire, from last week’s flashback, did. So he tells Harvey he’s taking the case on himself, and Harvey says no, then okay fine, after Donna, wearing a beautiful fitted blue dress that totally works with her colouring and her enviably trim and fit figure, brings Harvey a cactus which she waters (wtf?), and tells him not to interfere with young Mike.

On to the episode’s B story, which is a kind of comic/dramatic love-hate triangle involving Jeff, Jessica and Louis. Jeff suggests to Jessica that they go on a romantic vacation together to Paris, her favorite city.

jessica sweater

Jessica agrees to go after doing some decorous chopping of leeks (because leeks = French cuisine) in what looks suspiciously like Harvey’s condo kitchen, while she wears a lovely draped backless sweater that no one would ever cook in, over a bra that either has a very low back strap or is magical.

tricia helfer

In making his case against Liberty Rail, Mike deals with a female lawyer named Evan Smith, played by Canada’s own Tricia Helfer, who I thought might be a former pro wrestler (that would be Trish Stratus) but no, Tricia is a former model (and looks it) who is known for her role in the Battlestar Galactica TV series (the circa 2004 one). Her character is all limp but serious bobbed hair, silk blouses, pastel coloured suits, icy demeanour, and coolly uttered comebacks to Harvey’s wolfish come-ons when he gets involved.

Turns out the whistleblower guy has sued a few past employers and gotten cash settlements, but even so he’s telling the truth this time, really he is! At some point, to provide plot tension, Harvey gets mad and yells, “This isn’t about your parents, Mike!” (though isn’t every episode about Mike’s dead parents, kind of, and their effect on his life decisions? And of course, about Mike’s Secret) and gives Mike 24 hours to make his case, which is not enough time to subpoena the company’s records of safety inspections or whatever. Mike retorts that Harvey is a “cold, heartless, son of a bitch” but it’s okay, they still love each other, and I just realized that Mike has stopped wearing the skinny ties he was once known for. Is this because he wants to help people? And why is that tie so ugly?


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Harvey’s 24 hour ultimatum leads Donna to do A VERY BAD THING in order to help Mike, which is to con her way into the TriRail offices posing as some kind of inspector, and grab copies of the reports that incriminate TriRail for not having followed proper procedures.

donna white dress superhero

The scene in which Donna does this conning/impersonation is played as general Donna Awesomeness, complete with wacka-wacka musical underscoring. Later, when Donna is wearing a flattering A-line wrap dress – in the show’s trademark colour for women, white – Rachel even calls Donna a superhero for getting the goods, but, spoiler alert: this will not end well.


Louis brings the comedy by his varied and several depictions of outrage over the fact that the law firm’s receptionist is answering the phone “Pearson, Specter” and not saying the “Litt” part. He discusses this with Rachel, who kindly (they’re friends again), advises him not to harass the support staff, and with Jessica, who is wearing a fabulous white jacket and kicky black skirted suit when Louis quotes at her the immortal Aretha Franklin song R.E.S.P.E.C.T, saying it’s what he deserves.

jessica B&W suit

When Jessica finds out Jeff paid the receptionist to leave off Litt’s name as a prank, she asks him to make nice with Louis. He says he’ll do anything for the woman he loves, including congratulate Louis sincerely and go for drinks with him. Jessica, wearing the hell out of an elegant pleated white shirt, goes all dreamy-eyed at the thought of Jeff’s devotion.

jessica pleated shirt

jessica grey dress

She’s so touched that, while wearing her second beautifully draped grey dress of the episode like the fashion boss she is, she asks Harvey about the time he told Scotty Mike’s secret. When Harvey admits he wishes he’d told Scotty sooner, because maybe then the relationship might have lasted, she decides it’s time to to tell Jeff. Guess how that’s going to go.

the 3some

Mike presents the contraband evidence about the heat sensor coverup to Evan the hot lawyer. Harvey comes along to declare Evan hot and also to gloat about the settlement and public admission of guilt they’re going to get out of Liberty Rail.

showing vid

But Evan has the last laugh when she lures Harvey to a bar that evening for drinks and shows him video evidence of Donna doing The Very Bad Thing. So he can forget about that settlement – and Evan is going to report Donna’s crime to the district attorney!

bar talk

Louis and Jeff yuk it up over drinks – both actors sell a funny bit about football first downs – but when Jessica comes over to Jeff’s place afterwards, he reveals that Louis let slip while under the influence that the Hardman embezzlement happened two years ago, so now Jeff knows that wasn’t the reason for Louis’s promotion to name partner. Jessica tries to explain that’s why she’s there, to tell the truth, but Jeff declares their relationship over.

we're over

So I guess the trip to Paris is off?

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist whose latest book is a comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club. Her recaps of Season 4 of Suits are her first foray into the wild world of TV show recapping.

Suits Recap – Season 4, Episode 13: Fork in the Road

Flashback episode alert! We’ve got two timeframes running this week and both feature Michael Jordan references, because he’s timeless, yo.

rachel in bar

In the present day, Donna and Rachel meet for a drink at a bar so Donna can dismiss a pickup artist with some snappy banter and Rachel can wear a pretty black cocktail dress of the type Donna usually wears to work. They chat briefly about how someone said Rachel resembles Khaleesi’s translator on Game of Thrones, then recap (from episode 12) that Donna told Louis about Rachel having gotten Katrina (again MIA this week) a job at her dad’s firm, and that Louis asked Rachel to be friends again. Trouble is, Rachel could only be friends with him if he can forgive Mike, and he can’t.

harvey swacket

Meanwhile, Harvey, looking suave in a black swacket with coordinated throw cushions, is having a drink with Jessica in his apartment. After they dispense with their icebreaker topic – which basketball play was Michael Jordan’s best – Jessica asks Harvey to make peace with Louis, but Harvey can’t till Louis forgives Mike. So make him forgive, Jessica says.

Harvey decides to force his errant children to get along by tricking them into taking a road trip together to see his first big client, McKernon Motors, at the company’s plant.

all 3 in car

Louis is all up in both men’s grills (sorry, couldn’t resist) during the drive – he tells Harvey he drives like a savage animal, and tears into Mike: he refers to him as a fraud, a disease, a liar and a conman. From his seat in the back of the car, Mike delivers some childish insults of his own, and plays up his vulnerable side – he admits he doesn’t know how to drive, and reminisces about playing I Spy with Grammy on car trips. Louis retorts that Mike is probably lying about being an orphan whose parents died in a tragic car accident.

When the happy trio stops at a gas station that looks like a relic from a 1950’s movie, Harvey goes inside, and Mike and Louis start fighting – in their suits – outside of the car. Louis gets Mike into a chokehold, and blurts that Mike ruined his life and the law firm, but Harvey calls him off before Mike suffocates. Then the two of them make up and become friends again because there’s nothing like a bit of vicious wrestling to bring two work colleagues together. That Mike said he was sorry might have helped, and also when he swore that the only thing he ever lied to Louis about was Harvard.


Post-reconciliation, Louis says, “You’re not a fraud,” though Mike is, but who cares as long as we’re moving on from the constant obsessing over Mike’s secret. Harvey gives the reconciliation his paternal seal of approval by handing over the McKernon account to them to share, and Louis offers to teach Mike how to drive on the way home. Aww.

The flashback parts of the episode follow two unrelated story lines from 6 years before the present day: one depicts the rivalry between Louis and Harvey when they were both associates wanting to be promoted to partner, at a time when Hardman was the big boss; the other shows Mike in his bike messenger/stoner days.

blurred skinny pants

The Harvey/Louis back story goes like this: Harvey just signed Michael Jordan as a client! Donna, in a bad bangs hairpiece, was possibly more bossy and know-it-all-ish then than she is now! Harvey wears unflattering skinny pants and short suit jackets to indicate this flashback takes place in the past! Let’s team up Harvey and Louis to get ahead together! But Hardman is a manipulative, promise-breaking, double-talking asshole who pits us against each other for sport! Fuck that, I’m going to try to make partner on my own! Me too! But now someone has to lose so the other can win! Don’t you know that loyalty is all that matters? No, it isn’t, winning does! I hate you forever because you didn’t fight fair! Me too! The end.


The past Mike story line brings back Mike’s mostly but not totally bad news drug dealer friend Trevor, and Mike’s Grammy, sympathetically played by actress Rebecca Schull (who is apparently unrelated to Amanda Schull AKA Katrina Bennett). Trevor wants to pay Mike’s rent for a year in a rundown but roomy 2 bedroom apartment to make up for getting him expelled from college and prevented from ever going to Harvard (see season 1). But Grammy does not approve of Trevor, so Mike won’t agree to move in.


While delivering packages to a free legal clinic, Mike crushes on Claire, a law student who is interning there. Claire, played by Patrick J. Adams’s real-life fiancée Troian Bellisario, of Pretty Little Liars fame, is beautiful, smart, serious (she wants to become a lawyer to help people!), and will only date guys who are of the same mind.

better meet cute

So Mike lies, says he’s a law student at Columbia, helps her with an immigration case, and flirts and banters with her charmingly (she is charming and convincing too). Though, this being Suits, they bond somewhat implausibly over references to movies (Indiana Jones, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) that are not of their own era, while eating sausages at groovy downtown Toronto spot Wvrst.

date at Wvrst

For a few days there, Mike gets all motivated to put down the weed, go back to college for real, study the law, and become the man Claire would like him to be. He gives up that plan when Claire’s suspicious boss discovers Mike is not a law student and tells Claire, who has no time for that noise and cuts him dead.

mike smokes

Mike defies Grammy and moves in with Trevor, resumes smoking, and laments ever meeting a woman of Claire’s ilk again. Cue the final flashback scene: Jessica interviewing and hiring an eager new applicant to the law firm – beautiful, smart and serious Rachel. She might want to help people too.

she got the job

Suits Recap – Season 4, Episode 12: Respect

pere and fils

If you want to get buzzed, drink every time you hear the word respect in this episode. Though it’s also about manning up, wiping the slate clean, taking a charge (obligatory basketball reference – mine), being a grown-up, and doing what needs to be done (lying) to win, regardless of boring old ethics, sportsmanship, the law, or whether you actually like a single person that you work with, and zzz.

So yeah, Louis still thinks being a name partner equates to being a total dick, and Donna is still trying to overlook his dickishness and be friends again, I’m not sure why – because she’s the show’s Mother Hen? Harvey is still threatening Louis physically (not the most attractive trait in a person, and I just don’t buy Gabriel Macht as a tough guy, sorry), Rachel’s skirts are still one or two sizes too tight, Jessica is still lying to Jeff and feeling guilty about it. And veteran character actor Stephen Macht (father of Gabriel) is back as Professor Henry Gerard, a ethics professor from Harvard Law School who has committed yet another crime, because we are all flawed human beings, even the father figures we formerly put up on pedestals while also blackmailing them.

Let’s rip through the plot summarily, starting with our girl Jessica, who meets Harvey on the roof of the office tower wearing a chinchilla (silver fox?) stole, though I could have sworn it was summer last week when Louis strolled around outdoors with Katrina, played by Amanda Schull, who I just discovered is a trained ballet dancer who starred in the film Centre Stage 15 years ago. Check a young Amanda in this deeply weird clip from that movie, where she pirouettes to Jamiroquai in her toe shoes and heavy black eyeliner, and looks alarmingly like Kelly Taylor (AKA Jennie Garth) on Beverly Hills 90210.

jessica fur

Back on the Toronto rooftop, Jessica and her fur are worried that Jeff is going to find out she lied when she told him Louis was made partner because he knew she’d covered up the Hardman embezzlement. When she asks Louis to play along with her story if it ever comes up with Jeff, he demands to be given one of Harvey’s clients in return, because he ain’t doing nothing for nobody no more unless he gets something good. Jessica caves, because – reasons.

harvey threatens louis

Louis saw that his old idol Professor Gerard was in the office and asks to take over his case, whatever it is. Harvey, who has Issues with Gerard,  refuses to hand him over, threatens to knock out Louis’s teeth, yells at Donna, and acts generally bad-tempered and tiresome. Under Donna’s influence, Harvey eventually agrees to let Louis take on a client named Joan Walsh, who owns a cosmetics company, and was the first client given to Harvey by Jessica when HE became name partner.

rachel hands over file

Rachel tries to warn Louis about Joan Walsh’s capricious ways, but he’s too busy being an arrogant jerk to listen to her and he does bully-ish power move shit like make her stand up and hand him a file rather than walk two feet over to her desk. He takes Walsh out for dinner, and pisses her off by trying to talk business when she wants to drink Manhattans, eat dessert and dance the cha-cha (heh), and also when he makes a business suggestion he wouldn’t have made if he’d listened to Rachel. Rachel later helps him save the situation because even when he treats her like shit, SHE IS A PROFESSIONAL. And a team player. And a grown-up. In a cute coat.

I am a professional

When Walsh informs him that Harvey and Jessica offloaded her onto him because neither of them can stand her, Louis yells at Donna that she betrayed and tricked him with the story about Walsh being Harvey’s first client as name partner. Donna, wearing a sleeveless dress in a week when it was cold enough for Jessica to wear fur,  explains that she’s been supporting and helping and caring about him all along and tells him to “get on the goddamned team.”

goddamned team

Louis goes to see Jeff, demands respect from him in an assholish manner that seems to be an act (for once) and in the process, convincingly backs up Jessica’s story about the embezzlement. This gets him a nod of approval (or was it a nod of respect? drink!) from Jessica.

jessica nod

As for the Macht père et fils duo, here’s their story. You may (not) recall that earlier this season Harvey went to Gerard, esteemed Harvard ethics professor who never liked Harvey, to see if he knew Mike’s secret, for some reason I don’t remember. While in Boston, Harvey discovered that Gerard had serious gambling debts and used this knowledge to blackmail Gerard into doing something or maybe not doing something.

Now Gerard is in trouble again, because when he was traveling, the TSA found $25,000 cash on him, he couldn’t explain where it came from, and he’s been accused of stealing from a victims’ compensation fund he was administering. He wants to hire Harvey – not Louis or anyone else at the firm – to defend him, not because Harvey is a good lawyer, but because all Harvey cares about is winning.

Harvey is insulted (he is too a good lawyer!) and besides, he doesn’t believe Gerard is innocent, so he refuses to take the case till Mike convinces him he should, for the sake of the victims, and because it’s the mature thing to do.

Mike grills Gerard to prep him for court on the poker game story he’s come up with to explain where the money came from. Mike realizes Gerard is lying, and divines the truth: that the money came from a student who bribed Gerard to fix his failing grade in the course, though Gerard doesn’t explain what he wanted the money for (not to pay gambling debts, it appears). Mike finds the bribing student, and strong-arms him into signing a document saying he lent Gerard the money. Problem solved. Harvey even agrees to cover the loan repayments from his unethically-earned mountain of cash at home.


Harvey confesses to Gerard that not only was he hurt that Gerard didn’t respect him, he was disappointed to learn that Gerard is weak and has faults like regular people.  Gerard apologizes for letting him down and admits he respects Harvey’s legal wizardry. He also says he’s figured out that Mike didn’t attend Harvard. But Gerard and Harvey are father and son bros now, so Mike’s secret is safe with him.

after work drinks
Over after-work drinks at a fancy bar, Harvey thanks Mike for his work on the file. Mike asks if Gerard knows his secret – there was something about the side-eye the old man gave him when last they met that got Mike wondering. Not to worry, Harvey says. Gerard doesn’t know. Dum-da-dum-dum.

Next week: a flashback episode! And Patrick J. Adams’ real-life fiancée Troian Bellisario guest stars.