USA’s Suits returned tonight with a game-changing premiere called “She Knows.” Whereas season one is a two man show that often feels like a procedural, it’s clear immediately that season two is a serial with a much more dynamic plot. More twists are packed into this episode than one would expect, and some really cool new stories are set up.
First, the title of the installment must be addressed. Jessica (Gina Torres) is the epitome of cool as she deals with the revelation of Mike’s (Patrick J. Adams) secret. Her conversation with Mike, fishing for info before ordering his termination, is a wonderful scene between two fantastic performers. She is smooth and guarded in the best possible way. The follow up to this, deciding to see just how good Mike is, is just as classic. Both moments send chills down fans’ spines, especially those that have admired Torres for years, through her previous work. It’s a triumphant hour for her as an actress.
Jessica understands that keeping Mike employed at Pearson Hardman threatens the entire company that she has poured her heart and soul into, especially now that “She Knows,” so she demands that he be fired. No one can blame her for this. The firm is sort of like the child she never had. Her reaction is completely understandable, even if firing Mike would kill the series. Thus, the plot twist necessary to keep him around.
What is more painful for Jessica than learning Mike’s secret is hearing of Harvey’s (Gabriel Macht) betrayal. This is someone that she trusts implicitly. Harvey may not always do what she’d like him to do, but she is sure that he has her best interests at heart, and that he cares about her. This belief seems to be gone now. For Harvey to go behind her back like this makes him loathsome, and it will take a long time before he can start earning back her trust.
Yet, in the same episode we discover such an ugly part of Harvey, we also observe how good he can be. Tasked with firing Mike, of whom he has become very fond, Harvey can’t bring himself to do it. Harvey has connected with Mike in a way that he never has with anyone else. For the first time, Harvey has found someone worthy of his mentoring. Which is why the scene where Harvey can’t fire Mike not only redeems his character, but is just as memorable as the Jessica/Mike stuff.
One thing some might overlook is how Donna (Sarah Rafferty) handles the entire situation. She knows that Harvey must fire Mike, and doesn’t try to stop him. But she is supremely proud of Harvey for not being able to go through with it. She also neglects to listen in on Harvey and Mike’s conversation, very unusual for her, because she, too, has formed an attachment to Mike, and it would be too painful for her to hear it. This reveals another, softer side of her character, and one that is most welcome.
Speaking of Donna’s sides, her conversation with Rachel (Meghan Markle) in the bathroom is something new. Donna and Rachel start to form a bit of a friendship in season one, but now they are really confiding in each other. It’s nice to see such a strong, healthy bond between gals on television, a medium which doesn’t always handle these types of relationships so well. How thrilling to be in on the ground floor as the pair get to know each other!
Most of this review has been about Mike’s secret and how that plays out. But the truth is, there is a heck of a lot more going on in this episode, and that pushes Mike to the back burner. The series’ ability to make Mike’s story not the most important thing in the episode is a testament to Suits’ great writing, especially since Mike’s secret was a huge cliffhanger at the end of season one.
Hardman (David Costabile, Breaking Bad, Damages), as in Pearson-Hardman, the firm at the center of the series, decides to return to work. This may have been an entirely preventable turn of events. Harvey and Jessica practically panic when they learn Hardman’s wife is dead, thus negating the blackmail they have used to keep him away for the past five years. But it’s their aggressive plays to keep him on the sidelines that bring him back into the fold. Would he have returned if they hadn’t acted? It’s impossible to know. However, there is little doubt that what they decide to do certainly hurries this along.
Hardman threatens the firm even more than Mike. He used to be the boss. We don’t yet know what he was like, or how he will be, as he is seemingly changed, upon his return. Too many main characters distrust him to be fooled, and there has to be secrets here. Hardman will definitely shake things up in ways that cannot be foreseen. Plus, there is now the threat of him finding out about Mike, which could ruin Jessica and the others.
Interestingly, Suits still manages to squeeze a case-of-the-week story in among all of these other happenings. Mike goes against the firm to help out a struggling author, only to learn some deeper truths. The screen time devoted to this story is miniscule, and what is spent on it is more about Mike’s character than the case itself. As such, this isn’t nearly enough to make this a procedural episode, and actually comes across as a very intriguing tale.
There are numerous twists and turns in “She Knows,” as well as wonderful moments for each of the principal characters, including Rick Hoffman’s Louis and recurring player Max Topplin’s Herald, to shine. This is a fantastic hour of television, and one that certainly heralds, excuse the pun, Suits rising to a whole other level this year. Anyone who watches this episode would be hard pressed to dismiss the series with any negative comments now.
Suits airs on USA Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.Powered by Sidelines