In last week’s episode of ‘Suits’, Harvey and Mike very nearly forced an innocent woman to plead to a prison sentence for a crime she didn’t commit in order to protect their corporate client. In the real world, this sort of thing happens all the time, and the lawyers don’t think twice about it. But this is television, and we wouldn’t be able to root for a character who doesn’t have a conscience, would we?
‘Tricks of the Trade’ opens with Harvey negotiating a plea agreement for a hedge fund trader named Gabby who’s been accused of insider trading. Harvey’s client is the firm she works for, not the employee, and his job is to cauterize this wound and protect the company. Gabby insists that she only traded on stocks that had been authorized by the firm on “tip sheets” that had been distributed to all traders, but the company’s paper trail says otherwise. Harvey is particularly cold-hearted in dealing with this situation, because the firm is a big, important client. Of course, Mike sympathizes with the girl and wants to prove her innocence.
Gabby makes a run for it. Harvey takes this as proof of guilt, until he and Mike track her down to her office, digging through trash bins looking for her tip sheets. Why would a guilty woman search for evidence that she knows won’t be there?
Harvey sends Mike undercover to buddy up to some of the firm’s other traders at a bar, where he compiles plenty of information about their trading activity that doesn’t match up with the company’s official records. Where this leads is that the hedge fund’s #2 man had been acting on insider information and slipping it onto the tip sheets of individual employees who wouldn’t know where the information came from. That way, if any of them got caught (as Gabby did), the official tip sheet record for the day that everyone else got would be clean, and no one could point back to him. When Harvey pieces this together, he makes sure that the real guilty culprit gets fired and prosecuted, and Gabby is exonerated.
While all this is going on, Mike has to deal with an even bigger problem. A friend of Rachel (the hot paralegal) comes to interview for an internship, and Mike recognizes her as someone he’d taken the LSAT for. He manages to avoid being spotted, but worries that his cover may soon be blown. Which is close to what happens when the friend tells Rachel how to cheat on the test herself, and Rachel tries to set up a meeting with the test-taker (whose name she doesn’t know). Mike thinks he’s found a slick way to talk her out of cheating without revealing himself, but Rachel puts the pieces together and figures out that he’s the test-taker. She’s pissed, but at this point has not yet unraveled his whole story. (She still thinks he went to Harvard.) She probably won’t rat him out for fear of having to reveal that she almost cheated too, but this certainly puts a kink in their flirtatious relationship.
After a kind of muddled episode the previous week, ‘Tricks of the Trade’ is a really strong return to form. I liked this one a lot.