Suits Recap – S8 E10: Managing Partner

In the mid-season/summer finale, Samantha and Alex fight for the name partnership, Sheila becomes pregnant for real, and Donna orchestrates a rebalancing of power that results in a new firm name I refuse to learn or remember.

The fight is on

The gang meets to sound the name partnership round-starting bell (Zane even says ‘get ready to rumble’). Alex and Samantha come out swinging on the Gavin Andrews vs. Insurance Company case, and that is more than enough boxing metaphors for me. Why the writers didn’t pick up on my tap dance-off suggestion to solve all firm disputes, I don’t know.

Snazzy Tie

Alex, in another pretty tie, gets Harvey to help him with his side of the case. But Zane didn’t get the memo, so he won’t help Samantha, not at first.

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A series of flashbacks show why Zane values Samantha, and also why he owes her. Twelve years ago, when she had longer hair and a center part – a hairstyle I find more flattering to her than her current side-part bob – she was an associate at an unnamed law firm where Zane was a partner. The name partners of that firm were money laundering. When Zane found out, he was blackmailed into staying quiet by being forced to take some dirty money of his own. He gave it to charity and didn’t blow the whistle for the sake of Rachel’s future law career. Little did he know she’d go on to marry a convicted felon, haha.

An FBI agent (who refers to Samantha’s previous military service – what now?) wanted Samantha to be an informant against the bad guys at the firm. Instead, she fixes the situation by convincing Zane to force the crooked partners out and take over the ownership with his trusted partners Caldor & Rand. She helped Zane rather than rat on him and the others because she was moved by his devotion to his daughter. Being a foster kid, she could only wish for a father like him.

In the present, Alex and Samantha take their case to court. Samantha knows that Andrews (Alex’s client) has to be guilty of damaging a Vermeer (!) painting his airline was transporting, in order to increase the value of his own Vermeer (I call credibility on this smarmy punk having access to one Vermeer, let alone two, considering the rarity of Vermeer works – come on now.) But she also needs to get rid of a box of evidence containing information that could incriminate her client, the insurance company. Zane eventually makes the box disappear, but Alex gets access to it by having Katrina go somewhere (off-screen), impersonate Samantha, and get the evidence anew. As shady as this move sounds, Alex could have done worse and didn’t. Andrews wanted him to threaten Samantha with disbarment for ethical violations she committed when she represented Andrews previously.

When Samantha realizes she’s lost the case, she goes to Zane and demands he make her name partner anyway, because he still owes her. Zane floats this idea with Harvey, and they get heated with each other about broken words and promises. That is, Harvey tells Zane to get the fuck out of his office. Wise Queen Donna, suitably garbed in a beautiful and imperial black dress, offers a way out: both Alex and Samantha should be made name partners simultaneously.

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Donna’s solution works because she convinces Zane to step down as managing partner, and Louis to take over the role. Louis knows he can handle it because his balls have grown due to his impending fatherhood, and because he has realized he wants an active role in raising his child, which he might have more time for as managing partner, maybe? Especially since the now-pregnant Sheila is up for a promotion to dean of Columbia Law School (from Admissions Director straight to Dean – yeah, sure, that career path makes sense – not), and intends to go for the job. Baby or no baby, she’s a working woman and proud of it.

Peaceful Partners

Zane, Harvey and new name partners Samantha and Alex all make peace, but without having a group hug – ew, gross suggestion there, Zane, you deserve the serious side-eye you get for it from Alex and Samantha.

Group Hug Sideeye

Harvey thanks Louis for stepping up and breaking the impasse between him and Zane. When Harvey finds out about the pregnancy, he offers Louis sincere congratulations, complete with a heartfelt hug.

Louis & Harvey Hug

All that’s left to tie up Season 8’s front ten episodes is for Donna and Harvey to celebrate how tall and thin they both are, and how good they look in their designer duds. They’ll also drink to how well Donna pulled the strings and made her puppets dance.

Donna & Pretty

Suits returns in January 2019 with its back six episodes, and, I hope, a break from any talk about name partnerships.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her latest novel The Showrunner, available from your favourite bookseller, is a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir about female ambition inside the TV biz that has been called a “sophisticated, compelling, and surprisingly complex drama” and has been optioned for development as a TV series!

Check out its book trailer here:

Suits Recap – S8 E9: Motion to Delay

In which the previouslies include footage of Mike, though he doesn’t return, dammit; we welcome back Katrina and Brian, yay; Harvey & Zane do bad Terminator impressions; and Samantha wears what may be her most flattering (if bridal-adjacent) outfit yet.

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A dramatic story line is shoe-horned into this episode, about this guy Bratton (formerly of Bratton Gould, Alex’s old law firm, the one that was doing corrupt stuff with jails that led to convict deaths). It comes out of nowhere (or last season), apparently for the purpose of making Zane reflect that life is passing by, and so that he can proclaim repeatedly that ZSL needs to present a unified front to the law/business world.

Bratton launches a $20 million lawsuit against ZSL, compensation for the law firm he lost because he was a criminal and our boys blackmailed him, with proof of his crimes, into resigning. The ZSL crew think he’s bluffing, because why would he want to go to jail when his crimes are discovered, but it turns out he has terminal cancer, and wants to live out his days working, not with his family. Harvey promises to delay the case until he dies, but Bratton claims the hate he feels for Harvey et al. will keep him going for 2 years. He promptly proves himself wrong by dying  (off-screen) of a heart attack, leaving Zane to ponder his own mortality.

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The competition for name partner between Alex and Samantha intensifies when Alex’s new client Gavin Andrews comes up against an insurance company that Samantha represents. Something to do with a claim for a multi-million dollar painting that was damaged (sabotaged?) on a flight. Samantha, in a flattering semi-bridal outfit that makes her look way statuesque, and that Jessica could have worn, come to think of it, wants Alex and the firm to drop Andrews, whom she calls “a shady shit,” as a client. Alex wants to keep Andrews.

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Zane and Harvey instruct Samantha and Alex to make peace between the clients without dropping either of them, but Alex and Samantha can’t do that, they’re too adversarial. Samantha goes to Louis to collect the favour he owes her, and asks him to get Alex removed from the case. Harvey hears about this and stops it; he’s had enough of Samantha’s bullshit. Donna asks Samantha if she will concede the next name partnership to Alex if Donna can supply a written promise from the others that hers will come within a year or so. Samantha refuses, because Donna may have internalized the patriarchal system that calls for name partners to be male, but Samantha knows she’s better than Alex, so forget that idea.

To set up the summer finale, Harvey suggests to Zane that Alex and Samantha fight it out: one case, head-to-head, winner takes all. Zane agrees to this fun plan, though the previews for next week promise that the firm will be torn apart (at least temporarily) by the fight.

Enough of that yawner conflict, on to the good stuff: the burgeoning relationship between Katrina and Brian. Katrina is made senior partner, as Louis promised. On the day she chose to wear a fugly shirt/blouse (check the cuffs on that thing), he shows her her swanky new office. She is happy.

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Still wearing the fugly shirt, she asks Brian to be her dedicated associate. He half-jokingly asks if they can still be friends (not if you become lovers, Brian!). She unjokingly tells him he must replace his entire tie wardrobe with power ties and she doesn’t want him to be a yes man, she wants him to push back. They begin working on a lawsuit against High Rise Fashion (good low-rent company name) which has been stealing designs from a designer friend of Katrina’s. So she does have friends. Or a friend.

One night in the firm library, Katrina gets anxious about the case. Brian suggests they take a few hours off, go to dinner and celebrate her promotion. They toast each other multiple times with wine, and he tells her that before he went to law school, he wanted to be a songwriter and his wife kinda wishes he’d stuck with songwriting. BUT he has no regrets, because he loves the law, just like Katrina does. Uh oh.

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The next day, Katrina is hungover, there’s been a setback with the case, and she blames Brian for taking her eye off the ball. She thinks about trying a bluff to win the suit, “like Harvey does,” but Brian is not a yes man; he tells her that’s a bad idea. So does Harvey, when Katrina asks his advice (is this the first time that Katrina and Harvey and their hurricane names have  interacted? Might be.) Just in time, Brian finds evidence of collusion with the clothing manufacturer, and they win the case.

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Katrina is happy again and wants to celebrate (again) but Brian can’t, he has to go home to his wife and daughter. He suggests she go out with some other friend (hey, how about the fashion designer whose case she just won?). But no, she will stay in and be lonely.  Even more so when Louis gives her a gift of her new business card, framed. He offers to go for dinner, but she demurs. Sensing her loneliness, Louis kindly says that one day she will find love, like he did, after she once told him he would. Problem is, if you ask me, Katrina’s already found it with Brian, her married-to-another soulmate.

Next week: in the summer finale, Alex and Samantha get into the metaphorical ring to fight for the name partnership.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her latest novel The Showrunner, now available from your favourite bookseller, is a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz that has been called a “sophisticated, compelling, and surprisingly complex drama.” Check out its book trailer here:

Suits Recap – S8 E8: Coral Gables

In which Louis’s tortured teenhood gets too much air time for my taste, Samantha learns what it’s like to lose a (boring) legal fight, Gretchen makes a work mistake, and I pine for the return of Katrina and Brian, my new favorite characters in this show.

Samantha grey dress

We open with Sam in a very tight (yet flattering) grey dress, dropping in to see bantery nemesis Eric Calder (sometimes pronounced Caldor because continuity seems to be asleep on the job), a name partner from Zane’s (and Samantha’s) previous firm. She wants to sue his client, Greyscale Defense, part of her scheme (don’t ask) to get the client back for Zane, as a kind of gift to him after his wine country travails. Harvey thinks she’s maneuvering for the name partnership again (yawn), and they exchange boasts/threats about how they should get in the boxing ring and duke/kick it out (is this supposed to be foreplay? I hope not). But he agrees to help her after Calder produces (fabricated) evidence before a judge that leads to Samantha being dismissed from the case for a supposed conflict of interest.

Samantha Louboutins

Samantha relaxes enough to put her feet up (in not just Louboutins, but worn Louboutins) on the couch when they discuss the case, but she won’t divulge any gossip about her relationship with Zane when Harvey rather uncharacteristically asks for some.  Much legal back-and-forthing later, Samantha tells Harvey she’s never fabricated evidence herself, but she did once bury some to save an innocent female client from going to prison. Too bad that in the process, she had to banish a lawyer from the old firm named Betty Palmer, who had objected to the evidence burial, to the wilds of Coral Gables. In the end, she atones for her sins by giving her best client to Calder and telling him his fabricating ways will not be exposed, and she will not go after Greyscale, but only if he hires Betty back and makes her a senior partner.

Harvey suggests they go for a few rounds in the ring for fun, but Samantha doesn’t want to. She feels bad about losing the client (and endangering her name partnership bid), so she’d let him win and that would be a drag. Harvey understands her down mood, because he’d never lost until Mike went to prison, and losing sucks when you’re an arrogant, high-priced lawyer.

Dr. ChazYou know what also sucks? When you go see the best fertility specialist in the country, he turns out to be the guy who bullied you in high school, and he recommends fibroid surgery. That’s what happens when Louis and Sheila visit Dr. Chaz McManus, played by Josh Randall, formerly of Ten Days in the Valley, the other TV show I recap (that is, I recapped its one and only season). Louis struggles to deal with the situation – should he give up on the best doctor money can buy because the guy was an asshole jerk 30 years ago and scarred Louis for life? (My answer: yes.) Tedious flashbacks with teenage actors ensue, including an imagination exercise that Stan asks Louis to do which employs an impressive number of kid extras wearing 80’s fashions and hair. I think I at some point owned the vest that the blonde girl is wearing, god help me.

80's kids

Much is made of a contract that young Louis drew up, an agreement he made with himself to never be bullied again by Chaz. In the imagination exercise, young Louis reminds present day Louis that he/they also pledged to raise a kid who would never be a bully. Looks like Sheila is getting that surgery with Dr. Chaz for the sake of un-bully baby.

Alex tie 2

I’m liking the tie and pocket square combos the Suits costume designer is putting on  Alex. The groovy, pretty complementary patterns make a stylish contrast to Harvey’s strait-laced black and grey accessories. Garbed in one such ensemble, Alex asks Gretchen to get Louis’s signature on a document and send it to a client’s lawyer by a deadline.

Gretchen gets the signature, and thinks the envelope was picked up by the courier, but Donna  picked it up by mistake along with a stack of files. When Gretchen discovers what happened, she tries to get the secretary at the other law firm – a youngish person who  replaced one of Gretchen’s cronies – to falsify the receipt log, but the new person is not interested in exchanging favours with an oldster like Gretchen.

Gretchen & secretary

Gretchen next asks Samantha to use her fixer skills to make it seem like the secretary screwed up. Samantha thinks that to do so would only make matters worse. She tells Gretchen to tell Alex the truth.

Alex tie & pocket square

Alex, in another nice tie-and-square duo, gets pissed at Gretchen. But when his client tells him to fire Gretchen or lose the account, he lets the client go. That’s two clients lost this week, which should make Zane unhappy. And Samantha and Alex are now even again.

Gretchen talks to Donna about maybe retiring – she feels like she’s got no fight left.  Donna thinks it’s not Gretchen’s time quite yet. They hug.

Next time: The name partner fight resumes between Alex and Samantha. Only two episodes left until hiatus!

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her latest novel The Showrunner, now available from your favourite bookseller, is a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz that has been called a “sophisticated, compelling, and surprisingly complex drama.” Check out its book trailer here:

 

Suits Recap – S8, E7: Sour Grapes

In which Louis and Sheila have conversations that do not, for once, involve inane sex talk; Zane and Alex share a winery storyline that made me wonder if it was written to be shot totally out-of-office to accommodate Wendell Pierce’s other acting roles, Harvey finds himself in the middle of a height lineup with a client and an opponent, and Donna and Samantha continue to team up.

Stan Hug

I was rightly skeptical last week about Sheila being pregnant. The test result she announces to a thrilled Louis at the beginning of the episode turns out to be a false positive. Though we don’t find this out until:

  • Louis does a victory dance in his office upon hearing the positive pregnancy news
  • He agrees not to tell anyone yet, then tells Gretchen, his beauteous sister Esther, and Stan, AKA Dr. L., who says mazel tov and gives him a heartfelt and heartwarming hug
  • Louis and Sheila have some serious talks/arguments about whether their child would be brought up Jewish
  • Gretchen looks for (and finds) a midwifery course Louis can take

With Dr. L’s help, Louis and Sheila arrive at a compromise about their child-to-be’s cultural/religious identity: they will blend their traditions. Sheila makes kugel, Louis promises to allow a Christmas tree in the house. Then they find out about the false positive. Louis puts on a brave face for Sheila, but cries in Gretchen’s arms, in another touching hug scene. Aww.

Gretchen HugZane calls Donna at her home (an upgrade from the last apartment we saw her in, guess her new COO salary has come in handy) and asks her to have Alex driven upstate to his winery/country house to help with a personal case. In a weird bit of business, Donna gives Alex a bag packed with the essentials (including tight-fitting sweaters to show off his abs) he’ll need for the trip, and sends him off.

Donna at homeZane is completely alone at the winery we never knew he owned –  without his wife, any staff, or workers. He says he bought the business to honour his long-dead sister (remember her being an inspiration in the case he fought with Rachel about racial and gender discrimination from an insurance company?) because she liked wine. This unconvincing explanation aside of why he’s been absent for three weeks from the Toronto office set, he has a problem: his wine tastes terrible because he lost an entire harvest due to a supplier not delivering barrels on time that Zane had ordered and paid for.

Zane & Alex at wineryZane thinks the supplier’s motivation for fucking him up is racism. When Zane and Alex confront the (white) supplier and threaten a lawsuit, he angrily denies any racial bias but admits that the long-established community of wine growers is not keen on newcomers – especially well-heeled hobbyist types.  Zane dismisses Alex from the case for suggesting that the guy might be telling the truth, but brings him back after listening to Donna, the voice of reason.  Zane recalls how important community was to him growing up, and promises to build a tasting room the community can share.

So will his scenes from now on in the show be located in the winery? I still don’t get how or why this whole story line came about. He calls Donna to give her an update on the case and firm harmony, and they settle on corny, old-timey nicknames they will use for each other forthwith: Red and Pops.

Harvey & Fox in lobbyBack in the city, David Fox, the arrogant, short-ish, attractive landlord/owner of the office tower that houses the law firm, hands Harvey a file and asks him to deal with it. Harvey doesn’t know that Donna promised Harvey’s legal services to Fox for a year as part of a deal Harvey authorized Donna to make, so he resists angrily until Donna tells him to suck it up and take one for the team.

Harvey & Donna arguing

Fox wants to buy a building that belongs to a rival, and wants to hide his identity from said rival so as to get a fair price. The other developer, an imposing guy named Billows, sees through Harvey immediately when Harvey arrives with an offer he says is from a southwestern property company, or maybe a client in Dubai. Billows refuses to sell to Fox and alludes to Fox having some kind of shady deal going on with one of the building’s tenants, a grocery store owner named Peter Minto.

Billows & Harvey Faceoff

Harvey assumes Fox is money laundering through Minto, and has another fit with Donna about dropping the case, but she won’t let him because if he does, she’ll look like a liar. She asks Samantha (less prone to hissy fits than Harvey) to help out. Samantha and Harvey find out Fox is helping Minto because he was kind to Fox when Fox was a street urchin, stealing cigarettes at the age of 13 on the mean streets of Manhattan (in the 90’s). They come up with a deal that allows Fox to buy the building at a high price (and therefore look like he made a bad deal), but still protect Minto. Harvey grudgingly admits Fox has earned his respect. And by the way, Samantha speaks Mandarin, because she’s multi-talented like that.

After Zane’s and Harvey’s cases are resolved satisfactorily,  Samantha and Donna have a fun chat about the silly men they work with, and how they are either bad at receiving gifts (Zane), or at giving them (Harvey).  Harvey pops in and apologizes to them both about the Fox case – they were right, he was wrong and he’s sorry. They tease him in concert and he rolls his eyes.

Now that everybody’s getting along so well, it’s going to be awkward when it’s time to vote for whose name goes up next on the wall.

Next week: Samantha takes on a case that riles up Harvey.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her latest novel The Showrunner, now available from your favourite bookseller, is a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz that has been called a “sophisticated, compelling, and surprisingly complex drama.” Check out its book trailer here: