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Out For Blood: Suits ‘Sucker Punch’ Review

By on August 3, 2012

Gabriel Macht and Gina Torres in Suits. Photo: Christos Kalohoridis © USA

In this week’s Suits, ‘Sucker Punch’, the dreaded fraud case against Pearson Hardman is dealt with. Old relationships are tested and loyalty is a major theme throughout the episode. The lovely Donna is back and, understandably, a bit miffed. However, her anger still does not match Tanner’s. He is out for blood – Harvey’s specifically – and is willing to pay a hefty sum in order to have Harvey be disbarred.

We begin with Tanner aggressively discussing possible settlement terms with Jessica and Harvey. Tanner has had it in for Harvey for a while and milks this opportunity for all it is worth. Harvey seems distanced and sarcastic until Tanner makes a rude crack about Jessica that sets him on edge. When Tanner follows that up with a disparaging remark about Harvey’s mother, Harvey responds by swiftly punching Tanner’s jaw. Somehow seeming relatively unruffled, Tanner acts triumphant and tells Harvey he will see him in court.

The ominous Daniel Hardman is quite displeased when he hears about the incident, and suggests they do a trial run of the case in the office. He also notes his disappointment that Harvey allowed Tanner to get under his skin. Still, Jessica and Harvey agree with Daniel’s suggestion, especially since Jessica has not taken a case to court in some time. Harvey convinces Louis to play Tanner in their mock trial by riling him up. Entertainingly, Louis psychs himself up by huffing that Harvey wants to get ‘Litt up!’ He also recruits Mike to work for him, so it is fun to see the Litt/Ross team back together again.

The only frozen moment for Louis and Mike occurs when Louis requires Mike take a polygraph test in preparation. He asks him some basic questions which include where Mike went to law school. Fortunately Louis mistakes Mike’s guilty silence for nervousness.

Rick Hoffman as Louis Litt. Photo: Christos Kalohoridis © USA

Jacinda Barrett guest stars as the charming Zoe Lawford, a lawyer who used to work for Pearson Hardman and definitely has some kind of romantic history with Harvey (as a fun side note, those two are married in real life). Initially, Jessica is reluctant about hiring her for the case. When Zoe comments that she dislikes Daniel and wouldn’t tell him the things she would tell Harvey and Jessica, that seals the deal in her favour.

Harvey decides to pay Donna an unexpected visit, waiting by his car for her to come outside. She is less than welcoming, but we can hardly blame her. She reminds him that he let Jessica fire her instead of doing it himself, and that he has not called her once since it happened. It doesn’t help that his first time reaching out to her is to ask her for help in the mock trial. She tells him she is going to stick with pleading the Fifth and storms away.

Later on, Mike tries his luck with persuading Donna to help and is successful. She shows up to the mock trial poised, but her composure quickly falls apart when Louis attacks her as ‘Tanner.’ He demands to know if she loves Harvey. Donna does her best to sidestep the question, but Louis goes after her with an unsettling venom. It is a painful scene until Harvey stands up in her defense and shouts, “That’s enough!” The questioning comes to an abrupt halt and Donna flees the building.

Immediately afterward, Harvey spots Louis going into the bathroom and confronts him there. He accuses Louis of crossing the line and humiliating Donna. A shaken and visibly upset Louis turns the tables around and says that all of what happened is on Harvey, not him. He reminds Harvey that they are all trying to save him and says he is sickened by what he had to do in his questioning of Donna. That silences Harvey.

Though Harvey makes a halfhearted effort to follow Donna afterward, it is Mike that waits at her doorstep to apologize. She is not terribly forgiving, but talking to her seems to trigger a light bulb moment for Mike. He excitedly states that he can fix things and hurries away with his bike. Endearing.

It turns out Mike’s idea is to find dirt on Tanner so they can force him to come to a suitable settlement agreement. He begins the laborious task of going through stacks of paperwork when Daniel enters the room. He appears to appreciate Mike’s loyalty to Harvey and sits down to help him comb through the information. It is a friendly moment, one that causes the audience to wonder if we can like Daniel. It would be nice, but is it safe?

The positive aspect of the dreadful mock court scene is that Harvey appears more likeable in the eyes of the ‘jury’. Zoe’s main suggestion is to make Harvey a person the jury can empathize with, so the fact that he stood up for Donna makes him appealing. As Zoe states to Harvey, the jury will not protect someone they do not care about. Zoe tells Jessica to work on showing Harvey’s softer side.

That is exactly what Jessica does when she steps up to question Harvey. Beginning with a story that demonstrates Harvey’s kindness to a client, she emphasizes that he does not let people know how much he cares. She pesters him about why he does not let people see his compassion. Is he embarrassed? Afraid? Finally he snaps that people will walk all over you if you show you care. He claims that it shows weakness. Afterward, he irritatedly asks Zoe if that line of questioning was her idea. She admits that it was and does not seem regretful, especially since the technique was fairly effective.

Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter and Jacinda Barrett as Zoe Lawford. Photo: Christos Kalohoridis © USA

Soon after, Harvey is working out at a boxing ring when Tanner approaches with a revised settlement offer. Tanner mentions Harvey sucker punching him, to which Harvey amusingly retorts, “Boo Hoo”. Harvey is surprised when he sees the new offer would allow him to remain at his job. It turns out that Daniel did dig up some dirt on Tanner and used it to reach an agreement with him.

This presents an interesting dilemma because Jessica and Harvey do not trust Daniel. They are wary about how Daniel set up the settlement offer and neither of them want to take it. Daniel argues that it is time to move on and have the partners vote on it. However, it is Mike who seems to convince Harvey that settling is the right thing to do. He points out that everyone has been working to help Harvey and is very agitated that Harvey would consider rejecting it. This is great character development for Mike, who just last season would never have dared to address Harvey in that manner. Better yet, he is actually right.

The partners end up being divided on the settlement vote and need Harvey to swing one way or the other. He votes to settle, probably perplexing Jessica. All seems well and the partners being to disperse when Daniel calls for their attention. He notes that Jessica’s judgment has been questionable as of late and requests they all vote on her retaining her position as a managing partner. The alternative he suggests, of course, is that he resume control of the firm.

Looks like the earlier question of whether or not Daniel is trustworthy has been answered. What exactly this means for the future of Pearson Hardman is unclear. Also uncertain is the fate of Harvey and Donna’s fractured relationship. Plus, will Harvey’s flirty banter with Zoe (apparently she, too, is a fan of the ‘Specter smile’) escalate into something more serious? Follow these story lines and more by checking out the next Suits episode August 9 on USA.

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