Wednesday, August 24, 2016

REVIEW: 'Suits' - Harvey & Mike Must Act Quickly Once the Sutter Case is Moved Up in 'Shake the Trees'

USA's Suits - Episode 6.07 "Shake the Trees"

Harvey, Louis and Donna search for a missing link to Sutter's inside trading. Mike takes a drastic step to get Kevin on his side. Rachel and Jessica give Leonard Bailey some bad news.

The Sutter case has gotten personal for all of its main players. Harvey and Mike need it to work in order to get Mike out of prison. Sean Cahill needs Sutter in prison as vengeance for stealing money from his mother. Kevin needs this case to go away so that he and his wife, Jill, can have a happy life once he's released. All of these emotions are complicated and personal. That's what makes it an engaging story. In the beginning, it was a little difficult to care about. It was simply the story that would lead to Mike getting out of prison early. That was its sole purpose. The plot contorted over itself to make it an engaging story that can fill 10 hours of airtime. It probably didn't need that much time. But it's the time that's been allotted to it. So, it comes as no surprise that things are starting to turn against Harvey and Mike in "Shake the Trees." Mike compromises his relationship with Kevin and the SEC pulls its deal. That's a shocking moment to end the episode on. But it also feels like a tease as well. After all of this hard work, nothing will come of it. Mike will still serve his full sentence while everyone else at the firm will be able to live their lives. And yet, it still feels like a foregone conclusion that Harvey and Mike will find some way to get the deal back on the table.

Harvey and Mike are pretty crafty as lawyers. They know how to manipulate any situation to their advantage. It doesn't always go their way. Sometimes, it backfires. Sometimes, it only provides them momentary relief from their current situations. But in the end, they still somehow find a way to win out. This current situation is how the show can beat Mike being sentenced to prison for fraud. It was a crushing defeat for Mike. It's uprooted the core premise of the entire series. After five seasons of always looking over his shoulder, Mike was finally caught. He got what he deserved. And now, the show is presenting a way for him to emerge from this punishment vindicated once more. He's a main character the audience cares about. We shouldn't want to see him in prison. So, the show is working overly hard to get him released as quickly as possible without providing any kind of valuable insight into his emotional and mental well-being. It's a formula for the show. So, the resolution already seems firmly drawn. But now, at least the story is actually starting to work in some interesting ways.

Kevin is the only angle of this case that Mike can possibly work. He does have resources outside the prison. He can still call and ask Donna for a favor. He's very crafty in that regard. But he also has to deal with much more personal consequences in prison. He's been threatened many times over the course of the series. But receiving such ire in prison is a completely different experience. There is no where else for the prisoners to go. So when Mike pisses someone off, he has to live in that environment for a long time. That's completely damaging to his relationship with Kevin. Mike interferes in Kevin's marriage in the hopes of getting them a deal as well. Kevin told him the truth in confidence. It's the exact kind of information Mike needs to free himself. And yet, he doesn't tell Harvey about it because he has formed a close bond with Kevin. Mike's heart really is genuine. He's not acting selfishly. This deal only benefits himself. He's betraying his one friend in prison just to get out. He doesn't want that to ruin Kevin's life though. Mike wants Kevin to be okay after all of this is done too. That's difficult to promise because Jill is involved with Sutter's inside trading. Mike reaches out and it blows up in his face. The walls are closing in on Mike in prison. Kevin is no longer talking to him while Frank knows that Mike is cutting a deal. All of this has the potential to absolutely explode. That's the trajectory it seems to be on right now - which should create some interesting drama for the final portion of the story.

Harvey and Sean are still playing their parts well in open court. They are opposing attorneys battling each other. And yet, they've grown really close as friends because of this case. Cahill has given Mike a lifeline. Harvey is very appreciative of that fact. He's doing whatever it takes to get Mike out of prison. It's a selfless and noble action. Cahill wants to honor that agreement. In fact, Cahill's case is increasingly getting stronger. It all felt so hopeless a week ago. Cahill had to plead to Harvey to give him Sutter's phony trading program. He sold his soul just to get his revenge. And now, his case is even better because of it. All of this information leads to the SEC finding the man providing Sutter with the trade deals. They know how he is making all of his money. Cahill is confident he can spin that as Mike helping solidify this case. He wants to believe it will be enough to honor the deal and get him out of prison. It is not. The SEC takes back the deal. Cahill wants to honor it. He doesn't want to betray Harvey. This season has brought them so close that it's personal when he has to deliver this piece of bad news. It's no longer malicious like previous interactions have been. Cahill is sorry that he has let Harvey and Mike down. But that means he'll be even more motivated to make this situation right.

Elsewhere, Jessica has taken a much more active role in Rachel's case trying to get Leonard Bailey off death row. It's been a fairly significant story this season. Again, it's been fantastic to see Rachel grow more into a lawyer. And now, she's cutting deals and owing people favors just like all of the other legal characters. It's just made more complicated by the fact that she's going to her father for such a favor. She needs his help in order to find the alibi witness in the Bailey case. His execution date has been set. That means Jessica needs to take more time out of her schedule to help Rachel. All of this is being done in the pursuit of good press for the firm. This needs to work out. Rachel and Jessica are certainly feeling the pressure. This case isn't getting any easier. Bailey is upset that they aren't doing enough for him. They keep running into roadblocks in trying to find the witness. And now, the parents of the victims are harassing them at work. It's a tough case. But it's also bringing the two of them closer together. Rachel is still learning. There's still so much of this world that she doesn't knows how to handle. She believes she's doing the right thing for Bailey. But she doesn't know how to deal with an upset parent yelling in her face. She has the support of Jessica and Gretchen. And yet, that won't be enough. The witness has died. Now, they have no leads to re-open Bailey's case. So, it's looking increasingly likely that this will be the end. This case won't be the saving grace the firm needs right now. Of course, it won't be surprising if some new detail comes to light soon that completely changes everything - much like what will probably happen in the main story.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Shake the Trees" was written by Rick Muirragui & Sandra Silverstein and directed by Anton Cropper.
  • Too much of Louis' story this season has focused on this new romantic plot. It's not a good use of him. When he's helping Harvey with the Sutter case, he's great. He's the interesting and complex character we love. And yet, when it comes to romance, he's a neurotic and annoying character who is hard to care about.
  • Plus, Louis' romance takes quite the turn. Tara reveals that she has a serious boyfriend who spends half of the year in Los Angeles. They have a deal that they can date other people. It's an offer that Louis takes her up on because he doesn't want to let this "perfect" woman go.
  • Why do we never get to see Donna date? All of the other main characters have had major romantic subplots over the years. Louis is in one right now that is excruciating. But why not Donna? Would it ruin her mystique? Would she no longer be Donna if we saw this personal side of her? The glimpses we've seen between her and Harvey are fantastic. But that doesn't have to be her only romantic prospect. It's just really frustrating.
  • This hasn't been said enough but Gretchen has been a fine addition to the series. She's completely professional around the office. She doesn't have time for any of Louis' concerns about his date. But she's still caring as well. She's there for Rachel when she needs it the most.
  • Frank Gallo has been an awkwardly used character over the last few episodes. His request for parole is an important plot point. But it's been awhile since anyone has actively cared about it. He's forcing Mike and Harvey to care because he's able to put the pieces together about Mike's new deal.
  • Donna once again impersonates a federal official for Mike. And yet, this time it's actually legal because she only represents herself on the phone as someone from the prison. A claim she makes because she calls from the prison.