Wednesday, February 15, 2017

REVIEW: 'Suits' - Mike and Harvey Build a Class Action Case While Louis Needs Help with a Client in 'Admission of Guilt'

USA's Suits - Episode 6.14 "Admission of Guilt"

Harvey and Mike walk a fine line when they partner on a class action. Louis needs Rachel's help impressing a client during an annual presentation. Donna and Benjamin refine their product.

Last week's episode of Suits established the game plan for everyone to try to get Mike in the bar as a real lawyer. It is a risky plan but it is one that everyone is committed to right now. Of course, it's filled with so much uncertainty. It would require several illegal actions just to get it done. But it's a risk everyone is willing to take because they believe Mike should be a lawyer. Harvey is doing this because it will get Mike back at the firm working alongside him. Mike is doing this because he wants to actually help in court when his clients need it the most. That's a divide that will surely come to a head at some point during this story. But this episode is more preoccupied with the details of this new story and the illegal action Mike and Harvey are conspiring to do on behalf of the ethics board member for the bar. It's all just a little too ridiculous and breezes by a little too quickly. It feels like it's just suppose to be an abbreviated story. One that can be easily wrapped up in an episode or two. That makes sense given there are only two more episodes of this season. But it also feels rushed as well considering the show has just come back from hiatus and the characters have barely settled into their new roles in this universe yet. So, it may just be a little too chaotic at the moment.

Plus, it should be interesting to see how many of the details of this case actually stick in the future. Mike and Harvey are suppose to be operating covertly in order to crash the stock of this company. They can't let anyone know the motives behind their actions because that would lead them to going to jail. And yet, it seems like everyone is able to figure it out quite easily. It just shows how prone to bullshit these characters are and their own awareness of the truth of the situation. Even the new characters in this story seem to know what's going on. So that makes it a little more frustrating because there isn't a whole lot of weight or severity to these actions. Rachel makes Harvey promise to stop doing everything as soon as it starts going wrong. And yet, the tone of the story is largely just mentioning the illegality of these actions but ultimately deeming them not a big deal at all because everyone seemingly knows what's going on. It makes it hard to connect with this story. It could be a meaningful story too with Mike bringing a class action lawsuit against a big corporation. He's always wanted to fight for the working man. And now, he's doing it. The question should become: is he doing all of this for himself to get into the bar or is he actually representing the clients to the best of his ability? And yet, that question really isn't a priority for the show throughout this episode.

And more importantly, the case may be completely irrelevant by next week's episode. Harvey and Mike are doing all of this because it's what they believe they need to do in order to get Mike in the bar. But then, Harvey learns the true reason Craig wants him to attack this company. His product wasn't stolen from him because he was having an affair. Instead, he gave it over himself and was paid for it in an offshore account. And now, he has regrets about those transactions. That's why he's going through all of this with Mike and Harvey. But all of this just gives Harvey leverage. So, he can just blackmail this guy instead of doing what he wants. He can threaten to expose his insider trading and ruin his life and career. That's a whole lot easier than getting an admission of guilt from the CEO of this company. That may still be something Mike wants to fight for in the future. That may be his way to passionately fight for his clients. But right now, he has a pretty good deal on the table. The multi-million dollar settlement could mean a lot to these people and bring a swift end to this case. Mike is only keeping it alive because he needs the stock to plummet. But with Harvey having that leverage, it could just return the story's focus to Mike becoming a lawyer once more. That would be a good shift because this story just isn't doing anything of real interest.

It is nice seeing Mike and Harvey working a case together though. Mike is the one who has to bring this case forward through the legal clinic. And then, he is able to bring in Harvey as a partner. That brings him back to working at Pearson Specter Litt. That's a nice image. It's interesting seeing Oliver working in the same environment where Mike once did. This time Mike is the mentor. But mostly, he's just having a good time at Oliver's expense. He is still there to encourage him to do his best because the world needs many different types of lawyers. But Oliver is right as well in calling Mike out for setting a poor example. Mike is incapable of being a good role model as long as he's continuing to do potentially criminal acts for his own benefit. That shouldn't inspire anyone to follow in his footsteps. The audience has a clear understanding of what Mike and Harvey want. And yet, it's understandable that the new characters Mike is interacting with don't know what to think. Right now, he's just too chaotic to be seen as a stabilizing force in their lives. But it's also unclear if hearing that will have any impact on Mike's convictions to being a real lawyer again.

Plus, it's still so fascinating to watch new variations on familiar dynamics this season. It's great watching Louis and Harvey as actual friends running a business together. Sure, Harvey is way too distracted with Mike once again to be a good person for this business. It's because of that loyalty that the firm ultimately loses one of their biggest clients. Louis isn't able to be impressive enough to keep that business without him. That's something that Harvey will need to accept sometime soon. He can no longer just do whatever he wants. He needs to do what's best for his business at all times. His absence leads to Rachel and Katrina working together. It's great to have Katrina back at the firm. I never thought that would happen as long as Amanda Schull was off starring on Syfy's 12 Monkeys. But it seems the show has found the scheduling opportunities to have her back on a recurring basis once more. That's good because she and Rachel have a really interesting conversation. It's just great watching them approach this task with full trust of one another. They make an effective team and are able to pull off the presentation. Of course, the client still leaves. But that's not their fault at all. Plus, the two of them still end the day feeling great because Katrina is able to give Rachel the insight into what her father really feels about her. She may not be working for him but he is still incredibly proud of all that she's doing as a lawyer. That respect means everything to her.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Admission of Guilt" was written by Ethan Drogin and directed by Michael Smith.
  • It's wonderful to see Donna as a flawed human being who is capable of making mistakes. Most of the time she is depicted as the all-knowing Donna who is always right. She makes a suggestion to Louis and it doesn't work out. That's a humanizing moment that makes it clear that her advice may be great but she can't predict how everything will turn out before it happens.
  • Of course, that moment with Donna also plays into her story with Benjamin about developing a machine that captures her essence. It's still such an incredibly silly story the show wants the audience to take seriously. It's great that Benjamin is getting more screen time. Donna has to show empathy to him for him to then give it to the machine. But again, it seems odd for the two of them to try to make it big with this product given everything else happening at the moment.
  • Oliver was a key motivator for Mike deciding to try and become a real lawyer. So, that relationship needs to remain important as Mike tries to commit a new crime to do that. Oliver may be naive and innocent but he's wise and aware of who Mike is as well.
  • Tara is increasingly seeming like the girl who Louis comes home to. She's the person he voices his frustrations to. It's suppose to seem like growth that she knows him so well by now to support him after a bad day at work. It's good that he has this in his life now too. It still just doesn't feel natural or genuine though.
  • There's a throwaway line about Rachel passing the ethics portion of the bar without having to appear in front of the panel. Did that really happen because of what Harvey and Mike are up to? After so much buildup of that moment, it would feel like a cheat not to see it happen onscreen. The same also goes for Mike should that event actually happen.