Suits, which originally aired for nine seasons on USA Network from 2011 to 2019, is enjoying a second life on Netflix as new fans get acquainted with and grow to love the legal drama. That love is so strong that creator Aaron Korsh is reportedly working with NBCUniversal on an spinoff of some kind. Though that project is still early days in the potential planning process, the original series, which also spawned a short-lived spinoff called Pearson, might be coming back for more.
Suits centers around Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a talented young Harvard student who snags a job as a lawyer at a prestigious law firm even though he never technically graduated. Details, right? Through its nine seasons, there have been some fabulous episodes. The best episodes of Suits are the ones everyone talks about, and all have fabulous ratings from sources like IMDb. But there are a few underrated episodes that don’t get the recognition they deserve for how they helped develop character arcs, move the plot forward, and provide useful context.
Impressing in shows like Breaking Bad and Billions, David Costabile shines when he pops up as antagonist Daniel Hardman, co-founder of Pearson Hardman and its managing partner before he was ousted from the firm. It’s the first time we see Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) being challenged in the partner meetings. He carefully weaves himself back into the mix, assuring that he’s happy to remain the No. 2 when he clearly has other motivations.
This episode also shows the extent of Louis Litt’s (Rick Hoffman) insecurities. But it also proves that while he might act like a tyrant, he really does care about his associates. In this episode, when he discovers the firm is ranked low on the list for Harvard graduates, Louis tries to do everything in his power to change the institution’s mind and earn back his reputation. This episode also introduces the character of Sheila Sazs (Rachael Harris), who eventually becomes Louis’ main love interest.
Arriving deep into the first season, when characters have already been introduced and established, this episode is one of the first to show what Mike is truly made of in a courtroom session. He’s blindsided after thinking that they would settle a mock case, and is thrust into courtroom drama as the mock trial commences.
The episode demonstrates not only the type of lawyer Mike wants to be, but also his deep love for Rachel (Meghan Markle) and moral code: he refuses to break her on the stand just to win. He concedes, though the situation Mike is put in foreshadows how the corporate world will eventually chew him up and spit him out before finally making him realize what’s truly important.
“We’ve been crossing lines long before we even ever met,” Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) tells Mike in one scene in this episode, beautifully summing up the tactics used at the firm and how and why Mike manages to fit right in. This, however, is a flashback episode that reveals bits of both Mike and Harvey’s backstories. While it’s not as exciting as other episodes, the stories reveal how decisions they made in the past have influenced them and led them to where they are today.
Fans learn how Harvey became partner after discovering embezzlements at the firm and how Mike began taking the LSATs for people for money, but more importantly, why. Seeing that he had good intentions further paints Mike with a morally sound brush. The episode provides important details that show not only the true character of both leads, but also the depth of their skills.
It’s in this episode that the friendship between Mike and Harvey really takes an interesting turn. They aren’t just colleagues who respect one another at work — they truly do rely on and trust one another as personal friends. In this episode, the pair get high together, then sneak into Louis’ office. They playfully scheme as they talk about planting something in Daniel’s office to set him up.
But this is also an episode where the true rivalry between Harvey and Louis is discussed and revealed. This is especially apparent when Louis discovers the innocent fun the two men are up to and tries to use Harvey’s recreational drug use against him. The episode marks the end of a chapter as Mike finally gets the proof needed to get rid of Daniel once and for all, opening the story up for another antagonist. It also introduces the beginning of another storyline: Rachel is finally ready to express her feelings to Mike, only to catch him in bed with an ex.
The sexual tension between Harvey and Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty) was palpable on the show the entire way through. Even though they were close friends, Donna never shied away from admitting, if not in so many words, that she had feelings for him. Harvey, meanwhile, clearly truly loved and relied on Donna, but his fear of commitment and losing her made him keep her at arm’s length.
This episode provided a much-needed backstory to give fans context on their mysterious past. I’s revealed that they did indeed become intimate with one another a decade earlier, but decided to keep things platonic after that. The episode also sheds light on the relationship between Mike and his old college friend, Trevor (Tom Lipinski), and just how toxic their friendship was beneath the surface.
Louis was always in the background of the firm, called upon when his skills were needed, then ignored when they weren’t. But in this episode, he finally gains leverage. While the episode She Knows, when Jessica finally discovers the truth about Mike, is among the highest rated, this one where the phrase “he knows” is uttered doesn’t get enough credit.
After finding out that Mike never graduated and has been practicing law fraudulently the entire time, Louis demands to become a name partner or he’ll reveal the secret. He goes to extreme lengths to threaten and antagonize Mike, even walking a thin line with Jessica, reveling in his perceived newfound power position. It’s one of the darkest moments for a character who had one of the most compelling arcs on the show.
The second major flashback episode of the series, Faith is considered by many viewers to be one of the most underrated. This episode takes fans not only back to the recent past, but also to the Mike and Harvey’s childhoods to reveal some of the trauma that influenced their lives. For Harvey, it’s his mother constantly cheating on his father that fueled his fear of commitment and of trusting women. For Mike, it’s the day his parents died, which eventually led to defiant behavior as a teenager.
In both cases, the men are healing in adulthood, but in their own ways. Harvey talks to a therapist to finally work out his personal demons. Mike, meanwhile, goes back to his hometown to visit the priest who tried to guide him all those years before. It was a beautiful precursor to the final moment of the episode when, just after Mike announces that he’s going to resign and focus on his upcoming nuptials and building a family, two officers arrive to arrest him. The jig is up.
Stream all 9 seasons of Suits on Netflix.
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