Tuesday, August 6, 2013

'Suits' Review - 3.04 Conflict of Interest

        On the newest episode of USA's Suits, Harvey's defense of Ava hits a roadblock when the interests of her murder trial are at odds with Louis' work to thwart a hostile takeover of Hessington Oil by a rival businessman.

         Personal battles amongst the staff at the firm often produce some of the most meaningful stories on Suits. The constant battle between Harvey and Louis is a frequent yet insightful storytelling device. The two are both very skilled and competent lawyers but operate in slightly different ways - Harvey is flash and pompous while Louis is sly and under-appreciated. Both get results but have distinct viewpoints from within the firm. Harvey is the golden boy while Louis is always constantly fighting to be acknowledged. Harvey and Jessica used to be inseparable but the merger put this giant wedge between the two. Now, Jessica is siding with Louis' plan over Harvey's while he has Darby in his corner. Darby owns 51% of the firm but Jessica is the one running it full time. All of these issues bubble up to the surface and they all confront each other over what's best for Ava Hessington and Hessington Oil.
         "Personal" was a word used a lot in the episode. Harvey, Louis, Jessica and Darby all made claims that one another was taking this case and the tactics being used too personally. They all have a stake in this case. And yet, they all have different reasons for why they want things done a certain way. The show does a remarkable job of making each character's point of view come across. They will all say the other is operating too personally but they are just as personally motivated. Louis goes to the board to vote Ava out as CEO to get in even better standing with Jessica. And then, everyone realizes that she is innocent of the murder charges in a very passionate scene at a fake deposition. Louis doesn't take back what he did because he is now Jessica's "Black Swan." Jessica is angry that Darby handed this case over to Harvey and yet needs to hold onto the Hessington Oil business because it generates $14 million dollars in billings. She is not close to Ava Hessington like Harvey, Mike and Darby are and thusly prioritizes the business over her defense. Harvey wants to make sure that the actions of one case don't effect the issues of the other. And yet, he stubbornly pushes aside Louis' plan of her speaking out even though it is her best chance at retaining her company. But he does come to realize this and makes it so that everything can go well for both cases. But the maneuvering elsewhere keeps this plan from working out. And he personally takes it out on Jessica. He is now more determined than ever to win Ava's case so he can become Managing Partner - a plot that Mike was let into last week and is apparently fully on board with although I would have liked to see what Mike truly thinks of it.
        Katrina has loads of untapped potential that the show has not quite figured out how to use. This hour was the best use of her yet as they finally start to overcome how she initially joined the fray. We all know how unethically she weaseled her way into the firm. And to date, that resentment that Harvey and Mike have towards her has been her biggest defining characteristic. After several episodes of that, the show has realized that they needed her to become more. Thusly, they positioned her in the unique position as Louis' associate - despite her over-qualifications for the position. Now, she is directly involved with the main proceedings without unnecessarily stealing focus from the main driving action. She and Mike are forced to work together and I was fully prepared for yet another hour of the two hating each other and repeating why they hate each other yet again. Instead they called a truce and were a partnership that produced results - albeit results that didn't equate to much in the long term. This is the direction the show needs to be taking her down - where she is useful to the story but doesn't detract from the great stuff happening elsewhere.
        Donna's "hot and steamy" affair with Stephen was meant to bring some levity to a very dramatic and pivotal episode. And it more than delivered on that. The two have very amusing banters - as almost everything is a double entendre. But near the end of the episode, something very interesting happened. Rachel turned to Donna and asked her when she was going to tell Harvey about her arrangement with Stephen. That initially struck me as very odd. Why should Donna have to tell Harvey about it? Sure, the two have a very close friendship but she is still entitled to a personal life. And then, it hit me at the same time as Harvey's harsh words hit Donna. Her relationship with Stephen may be fun and casual but it could also be a distraction to the work they both need to do. Donna is irreplaceable because of how necessary she is to keep everything Harvey does working so efficiently. This relationship could be a distraction for her and now is the time where Harvey needs her to be precisely at the top of her game. That's also where Donna the character is at her best. So perhaps this distraction may also turn out to be too much of one for the overall show and her character.

Some more thoughts:
  • Rachel: "Does he know that blah blah blah constitutes this that and the other thing?"
  • Louis: "It happened."
  • Jessica goes to meet Darby in Toronto. Hey, that's where this show is actually filmed!
  • Mike & Katrina: "Shit" So very humorous and yet perhaps trying too hard to be an homage to that memorable sequence from The Wire.
  • Rachel's petty jealousy of Mike and Katrina was the one drawback. She knows that Mike hates her - as evidenced in what happened in just last week's episode! But hey, it got him to say "I love you." And that's big, don't ya know?