The USA Network’s legal drama ‘Suits’ turned out to be my favorite television series of last summer, which was quite a surprise given the overwhelming number of generic lawyer shows on the air. With an unconventional premise (the lead character faked his law degree), well-drawn characters and excellent writing, ‘Suits’ was anything but generic. The show returned for a second season this past Thursday, and the premiere episode has already raised the stakes.
The first season finale ended on a cliffhanger, as Mike’s bad-seed former friend Trevor was about to tell senior partner Jessica (Gina Torres) all about Mike’s big secret. The premiere opens with Mike trying to suppress his panic. Jessica has invited him to dinner, and he doesn’t know whether Trevor followed through on his threat, and if so, whether Jessica believed him. The episode title, ‘She Knows’, should clear that up.
Yes, although Mike smoothly deflects all of Jessica’s questions, Jessica is far too smart to fall for this charade once she’s sniffed something out of place. While Mike’s forged Harvard law school records seem to check out, he has no record of ever graduating with a regular undergrad degree. Whoops.
Jessica orders Harvey (Gabriel Macht) to fire Mike. He can’t do it, and stalls as long as he can until finally giving an ultimatum: “He goes, I go.” Jessica calls Harvey’s bluff and tells him to get out. There’s just one problem: The firm is currently under threat from a former partner named Hardman who Jessica and Harvey had forced out five years earlier for embezzling. Now he’s back and stirring up trouble with regard to an important merger that Jessica has been trying to orchestrate. Jessica realizes that if she fires Harvey, Hardman will smell blood and swim in for the kill. Thus, Harvey achieves a stalemate. Jessica can’t fire him, and he won’t let her fire Mike. Impressed whenever someone outmaneuvers her, Jessica grudgingly accepts Mike back into the firm, under the condition that he and Harvey tell her everything.
While all of this is going on, Mike has to clean up a case involving a junior literary editor who claims that her former employer, a big publishing house (the law firm’s client), plagiarized one of her book ideas. Mike initially goes in intending to steamroll the girl like Harvey would do, but of course buckles when he hears her sob story. He then tries to help her but, over the course of the case, realizes that sometimes a lawyer just needs to be heartless. The solution he arrives at technically vindicates the girl’s claims, but at the expense of crushing her hope of making any money off the deal. The lesson Mike learns is that justice doesn’t always lead to a happy ending for everyone.
The premiere is right up to par with the best of Season 1. The episode is cleverly plotted and filled with both snappy dialogue and meaningful character moments. I’m very glad that this show got picked up for a second season, and I look forward to seeing where the new storylines take us.