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SUITS Post-Mortem: Why No One Feels Particularly Sorry for Paula Agard This Morning

By on April 12, 2018

Christina Cole as Dr. Paula Agard.

Are you all caught up on last night’s episode of Suits?

If not, then beware of spoilers for April 11th’s “Inevitable” below.

In an episode stuffed with moral quandaries — should Donna give Stu stock advice that could land him in trouble with the SEC? Should Louis continue to see Sheila? Should Mike continue to ignore his fears about planning for the future? — the most incendiary dilemma was surely Harvey’s, who found himself in the impossible position of choosing between Donna and Paula, last night.

Initially, things started out well for Harvey and his therapist girlfriend, with the episode picking up on the events of last week. Determined to remind each other of why they were together in the first place, they planned an intimate dinner that soon extended to include Harvey’s mother, who was in town for a couple of days and wanted to meet Harvey’s “special someone.”

But as it turned out, Paula wasn’t Harvey’s special someone. Donna was, and Mom accidentally reminded Paula of the unique bond between this pair.

From there, things took a bleak turn. Following some therapeutic “role play” (just not the sort Louis and Sheila were getting up to), Paula realized that she would forever feel threatened by the presence of Donna in Harvey’s life, even if that presence was purely professional. Although Paula was able to recognize her own insecurity as being just that, she was insistent that Donna, the obstacle to her happiness and security, be removed.

“It feels like there are three people in this relationship,” she told a distraught Harvey.

“Are you asking me to fire Donna?” Harvey asked, knowing already that the answer was a resounding yes.

And in case we were in any doubt as to Paula’s intent, we later saw a scene in which, Donna, cap uncharacteristically in hand, begged Paula not to force Harvey’s hand on the matter. Asking Paula “as a woman, and as a professional” Donna implored Paula to allow her to keep the job she loved, and fought so hard to get over the last 12 years.

Whatever your feelings on “Darvey” the scene was deeply uncomfortable to watch, and its conclusion — a refusal on Paula’s part to consider Donna’s appeal — was even worse.

Not only was Paula, a professional and committed psychotherapist, unable to commit to the work of examining herself and working on her issues — issues she was fully able to recognize, and we assume, help patients overcome on a daily basis — but she was willing to throw another woman’s reputation, career and standing under the bus in order to continue avoiding her painful past.

Paula’s decision seemed particularly mean given her knowledge of Harvey’s heartfelt belief in absolute loyalty in relationships. After all, Paula was the person responsible for helping Harvey forgive his mother for being unfaithful to his father.

Harvey was not blameless in the matter either. He initially asked Stu for a favor — namely hire Donna and take her off his hands. However, the quick-witted COO was able to spot the setup for what it was, and she chose to walk away from Specter-Litt with her dignity intact.

It was only then, seeing that he had ultimately lost the most important female figure in his life, that Harvey had cause to repent. Taking a cab to Paula’s place of work, he told her that Donna had resigned. Here was surely a moment in which Paula could have redeemed herself? Could have asked Harvey to reconsider? Could have vowed to work on her own issues? Could have at least left Donna with her career? But no, the moment passed with a simple “I’m sorry,” which translated not as “I apologize for the unnecessary shitstorm I have caused,” but rather “I apologize, but this is the way it has to be.”

Perhaps Harvey read the same sentiments in Paula’s words, because his next action was to tell her he had made a mistake, and was re-hiring Donna. (I’m not sure why he imagined Donna would be so willing to return following his betrayal, but that’s another story.) And just like that, Paula and Harvey’s relationship was over.  

And although the last we may ever see of Paula Agard is the image of her tear-stained face crumpling in despair, it’s hard to summon up much sympathy for someone who had the love of a fiercely loyal man, and all the tools at her disposal to handle the situation with more dignity, class and compassion.

I guess we’d have to look elsewhere for those particular qualities.

Physician, heal thyself.

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