‘Suits’ 1.04 Recap: “You Never Forget Your First”

In last week’s episode of ‘Suits’, Mike represented his first client in court. That’s a pretty big accomplishment for someone who isn’t, strictly speaking, an actual lawyer.

‘Dirty Little Secrets’ opens with Louis subjecting the junior associates to a round of Harvard trivia. Mike has memorized his facts, and kicks some butt at first, but gets tripped up on a question about the best place to get square pizza. He fumbles for a minute and says that he’s more of a burger guy, but knows that he just made a huge mistake. This makes him paranoid that Louis has figured out that he didn’t really go to Harvard. For the time being at least, Louis doesn’t pursue this further. Still, the worry is there in the back of Mike’s head.

Nonetheless, Louis assigns Mike his very own pro bono case. It’s an insignificant case, so even if he wins, it’ll be a small victory. And if he loses, that’ll be really humiliating. Mike has to represent an apartment tenant who’s suing his landlord for not doing anything to clean up a bed bug infestation. The tenant has withheld rent, and so the landlord evicted him. This is supposed to be an easy slam-dunk case that Mike can’t possibly lose. Yet he’s blind-sided when the landlord brings in a shark attorney who turns the tables and crushes him in court.

Not one to give up so easily, Mike investigates further and discovers that the landlord has been trying to turn the building into condos and has been forcing out the old tenants who won’t buy in. He didn’t just refuse to clean up the bed bug problem; he actually planted the bed bugs in the apartments. Mike lines up fifteen former tenants for a class action suit against the landlord. Not only does this win the case for his original pro bono client, but he’s brought the firm a significant number of new paying clients in the process. This is a much bigger victory than he could have expected, and he’s happy to rub it in Louis’ face.

Mike also continues to flirt with hot paralegal Rachel (Meghan Markle), but she turns him down for a date, insisting that she can’t date coworkers.

Harvey, meanwhile, has his own hands full. His boss Jessica (Gina Torres) has assigned him to represent the CEO of a pharmaceutical company who has been accused of falsifying clinical trial data to get a new drug for ALS approved. The CEO happens to be Jessica’s ex-husband, who she’s still on good terms with, so she takes the case personally. When Harvey suspects that he actually did falsify the trial results, Jessica pulls him off the case and takes it over herself.

When Harvey digs into this, he learns that the ex-husband has ALS himself. His drug does work and has suppressed his symptoms, but causes liver damage in a small number of subjects. His new girlfriend (and head researcher) falsified the trial results in order to get the drug approved so that he could keep taking it.

Harvey’s solution is to come clean to the test subjects who filed the suit. He convinces the CEO to offer them an ownership stake in the company so that he could continue researching, and hopefully find a solution that will work for them as well. They accept.

The Mike and Harvey storylines barely interact at all in this episode, which is interesting. They are each evolving as independent characters who exist outside of their relationship with one another. That’s rare and refreshing for what is essentially a procedural legal drama. I like it.

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