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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.