Even though Suits was released back in 2011, the series, which aired for nine seasons through 2019, has been experiencing a resurgence of late thanks to streaming on Netflix. It’s for good reason: The drama is gripping, enthralling, witty, and clever. It’s your garden variety legal drama with a unique twist. Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) has an incredible mind and eidetic memory, and he gets hired to work for a prestigious law firm. But there’s one small detail: He never actually passed the bar and in fact, was kicked out of Harvard for taking the LSATs for other students. The implications of this for him and the firm, not to mention every case he worked on while there, create an unseen, building tension the entire way through.
Every episode of Suits is well-written and acted. From episodes that explore the dynamics between talented but arrogant top lawyer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) and the insecure rival (and partner) Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) to Harvey and Mike’s budding bromance, and even the episode that delves into Harvey and Mike’s backstories (that one actually ranks highest by IMDb users), it’s tough to pick out the best ones. But if you’re going to watch any five, these are all worth it.
When it comes to any show, the pilot episode is always the one to watch. Even if you have watched it all the way through, it’s the episode that sets up the entire story and introduces the main characters. For Suits, this episode presents the meeker, less confident Mike as a student helping a friend deal drugs and using his incredible intelligence to fraudulently take the LSATs for other Harvard students. He has good intentions, though: it’s all to make money to help his grandmother stay in her private nursing home.
This episode also introduces fans to Harvey Specter and sets the stage for the budding bromance between the two men. The pair instantly strike up a mutual respect. So much so that Harvey hires Mike despite the fact that he never graduated (hiding this minor detail from others). Fans also develop a fascination with Mike’s encyclopedic knowledge of the law and his eidetic memory. Degree or not, Mike is going to make one hell of a lawyer.
Even though Suits is a standard legal drama, its first season proved that the show could stand out among the pack. But could the momentum continue? The first episode of season 2 demonstrated that it could. This episode showcases more of the corners Harvey is willing to cut to get what he wants, the inner workings of a law firm with far too many Alphas, and impressive work inside the courtroom and out. But the truth about Mike is always looming in the background, with every episode in season 1 reminding you that Mike’s lie could be revealed at any moment. When it does, the fallout will be huge.
In this episode, Jessica (Gina Torres), co-founder of the firm, reveals that not only does she know the truth about Mike, but she has known for some time since his old college friend Trevor (Tom Lipinski) told her. While things still work out for Mike in the end, the tension of the discovery that someone else knows begins his acceptance that the walls will close in at some point, bringing the show to an explosive pivot point.
While much of the series focuses on the relationship between Harvey and Mike, Louis Litt is a stand-out in every scene he’s in. The long-time friend of Harvey who despises living in his shadow in every possible way. Louis craves power and respect. He finally gets it when he becomes the sole decision-maker for the future of the firm. Does he choose old partner Daniel (David Costabile) or long-time confidante Jessica?
Despite his jealousy of Harvey, Louis wants more than anything for Harvey to see him as an equal, and he goes to him for advice and counsel. In this episode, Harvey helps Louis see the light and the two finally share a tender moment together. It’s one of the few episodes in which fans see Louis become both vulnerable and show strength in that vulnerability at the same time.
As the finale of the season, this is the episode where Mike gets redemption. He not only wins his prison hearing but also passes the bar. Interestingly, despite his every effort at blackmail, intimidation, and proposing dirty deals, Harvey isn’t the one to help Mike. He fails in every attempt. It’s Jessica who quietly and slyly reminds Assistant District Attorney Anita Gibbs (Leslie Hope) of a time when, as a young prosecutor, she had charges against a young medical student for theft reduced. That student went on to become an ER doctor who saved thousands of lives. It turns out that the doctor is the godson of the committee member Gibbs leveraged to get his seat on the committee that would be voting for Mike’s future.
The episode lets Jessica shine before leaving the series, proving yet again how talented she is at what she does, and how different her tactics are to the others. This episode also features pivotal moments for other characters, including Louis’ emotional breakdown from a break-up and Donna (Sarah Rafferty) finally admitting that she wants something more professional. It’s one of the tenser episodes of the season that builds throughout the hour.
With Mike in the clear and having moved on to do more meaningful work, all his lies and deception finally catch up with Harvey. His back is being pushed against the wall in a case where he has to either perjure himself or admit to wrongdoing that could end his career. This is when he meets with Mike and the pair revert to their old ways for one last con that will outsmart the other side.
It’s a beautiful moment of friendship and a reminder of how close the two were, not to mention it marks the return of Mike, who departed the show as a series regular at the end of the seventh season. This is finally the episode where Harvey lets down his guard and makes a personal decision fans were hoping he would for some time. But it also comes with a cost: He’s leaving.
Suits is streaming on both Netflix and Peacock.
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