The Suits Season 5 finale ended with Mike entering the Danbury prison, and his law firm compadres returning to the Pearson Specter Litt office to find the premises abandoned, all partners and staff gone. The season 6 premiere starts minutes later – the series did not flash-forward two years to Mike’s emergence from jail, as a wag of my acquaintance had hoped. But this cleaving of the 6 principals – Mike on the inside, the remaining 5 on the outside – into two separate story lines and settings makes the episode easier to recap, so yay, and here goes.
Mike’s First Day and Night in Prison
Over a montage of Mike’s pseudo-hipster hairdo being cut down to a more jailhouse-appropriate style, a guard intones the prison rules, which Mike will be resistant to, because he is Trouble (the word is this week’s drinking game prompt) and a nose-thumber at authority, while also being a naif who is so not prepared for even a country club jail, despite Harvey’s efforts at toughening him up by throwing a crystal glass in his general direction last episode.
Mike is so unready he thinks that his meeting with new recurring character #1, prison psychologist (or he is a social worker? guidance counselor?), played by Malcolm Jamal-Warner, is about friendly banter and more Shawshank Redemption movie quotes. Not quite. MJW makes Mike wait hours to hear that his psych assessment reveals he has narcissistic tendencies, which he needs to do something about so he can leave prison a better man than he went in.
Mike’s it-looks-like-cotton prison shirt is a pretty shade of blue that brings out his eyes, because TV, and also in the tradition of another blue-eyed Mike, played by my erstwhile TV boyfriend Wentworth Miller in Prison Break, a show soon to make a comeback. (I am dubious about said comeback but I’ll probably try it at least once.)
Suits’ Mike is shown to his clean and modern looking cell (it looks more like a double-size freshman dorm room), the other half of which is decorated with photos and keepsakes. The guard tells him for no apparent reason that he is confined to his cell for the evening, whereupon new recurring character #2 appears: a bald guy in his forties who strolls in, jokingly yells at Mike for touching his stuff, tells him the first rule of prison is to trust no one, then engages him in an hours long heart-to-heart talk about how they each came to be there.
Bald guy’s name is Frank, and he’s got 5 years left to serve for insider trading, which he committed because he wanted to buy more and more expensive stuff, mainly for his kids, awww. He’s so sympathetic – he even offers Mike the use of a contraband cellphone he keeps under his pillow – that Mike opens up and tells him his story, then uses the phone to text Rachel that he is okay, and his cellmate is a good guy.
Except Frank isn’t so nice. Turns out he’s not Mike’s cellmate, nor is he in for insider trading. He bribed the guard to let him spend the evening there so he could get Mike to spill some dirt on Frank’s arch-nemesis Harvey Specter, the guy who put Frank away 13 years ago. Mike’s story telling was mostly done off-stage, so we’re not sure how much he implicated Harvey in the whole fraud thing, but Frank seems to think he’s acquired valuable information, including Rachel’s cell phone number. Uh-oh.
Meanwhile back at the office
The Unjailed Five spend the entire episode (and most of the night) in the office, wandering from empty space to empty space, grouping and regrouping, getting high, doing some smile-worthy comedic bits , alluding to movies (sigh), and reminiscing about dear departed Mike between spats about loyalty and family and Who’s with me? Once more unto the breach type speeches.
And during all this, the hair Rachel and Jessica are wearing looks amazing.
Some cracks show in the we-are-family, united-we-stand-divided-we-fall singalong sessions when Louis briefly suggests the firm name be changed to Pearson Litt, and Harvey almost leaves in a huff, only to return when Donna reminds him that Mike went to prison to save them all from going there.
But after the name partners get high together (Jessica, in gorgeous shoes – supplies the joints), and bond over Chinese food delivered by a sneaky process server, the team is ready to face the challenges before them, including that PSL has been hit with a $100 million class action suit contesting every case Mike Ross ever worked on.
To fight the suit will take money. After some verbal feinting and sparring, Harvey, Jessica and Louis reveal their net worth to each other. Louis has the most money, natch, and together they have enough to fight another day.
Their first instinct is to try to make the departed partners share in the suit. With the help of Ben, the faithful IT guy, who is still around because someone has to run the firm’s computer systems, they discover that the partners are up to various dirty tricks like giving notice to clients, and trying to bifurcate the firm and get back their buy-ins.
Louis comes up with the brilliant (?) plan of using their pooled financial resources to settle the class action suit for $10 million (good luck with that) which will mean they have nothing left to return the partners’ buy-ins, haha on the partners.
Next week: things get real for Mike in prison.