The latest episode of SUITS finally revealed why Alex Williams was so dedicated to blocking Mike Ross’ work on the prison case. Told through a series of flashbacks, the story basically boiled down ripping Harvey Specter’s feelings of responsibility and guilt wide open, thus causing him to want to correct the situation for his longtime friend. But it came at the high price of blocking Mike’s attempt to do actual good (albeit through sketchy methods).
Back In The Day.
“Full Disclosure” was all about the flashbacks. Quite often, taking a look at the past results in some of SUITS’ best storytelling. In the context of the current season, that was, once again, the case.
Harvey Specter was upset when Louis Litt made junior partner over him.
So, when Jessica Pearson asked Harvey to be a professional and work with Louis on a case, he didn’t take to the assignment very well. And once Harvey and Louis’ meeting was an epic failure — as these things generally are on the first try — Harvey chose to litigate behind Louis’ back.
Jessica, queen of the universe that she is, found out about Harvey’s behavior and yanked him from the case — in the middle of the courtroom, no less.
If, at this point, you’re thinking that has eerily similar vibes to last week’s episode, when Mike was exposed in the middle of a trial, you’re probably not alone. The difference here was that Jessica was destroying Harvey, whereas Alex’s behavior ruined Mike, Oliver, and the chance for Oscar Reyes — an innocent victim in all of this, many times over — to find justice for his son.
Harvey’s perceived mistreatment from Jessica caused him to take up Alex’s offer to pitch the two of them as junior partners at Bratton Gould. Or, well, Harvey told Alex that he’d take the offer, assuming the rival firm met his massive list of demands.
Enter Donna, ready to celebrate her six-month anniversary with her seemingly perfect boyfriend, now in a war with Harvey about whether or not she should just up and follow him without being consulted. Donna’s anniversary date was ruined because she could neither stop talking about Harvey nor agree not to follow him.
Donna and Harvey were changing firms, Donna’s life was a mess thanks to her “work husband,” and Louis was the villain in all of this (as far as Harvey was concerned), as always.
But when Louis found out that the firm was losing Harvey, he apologized to Jessica — having just learned some lessons from his new therapist, Dr. Lipshitz — prompting Jessica to do what she would later tell Harvey she “should’ve done in the first place.” She demanded that Daniel Hardman make Harvey the next promotion; if he didn’t follow through, she would leave the firm.
Harvey decided to stay with his family, which meant Alex Williams’ efforts to get Harvey a partnership at his firm were a waste of everyone’s time. Since the partners at Bratton Gould couldn’t punish Harvey, they went with forcing 90-hour workloads and unwinnable cases on Alex. Things only changed when Alex was giving a seemingly “legitimate” opportunity, which just happened to be getting himself mixed up in the very case that Mike Ross, in the present day, was fighting so hard to keep.
In a beautifully edited ending scene, SUITS told the story — Alex to Mike and Harvey to Donna — of how a guard had been murdered for reporting an inmate’s death. When Alex realized the guard’s murder was a little bit too convenient, seeing as how it followed the report to Masterson’s CEO about the inmate’s death too closely, he was blackmailed into keeping quiet.
Masterson promised Alex that, should the truth ever come out, his name would be prominently featured in all reports, implicating him as an integral part of the conspiracy. And his daughter would probably wind up growing up without a father.
More from the present day.
While Alex’s story was busy unfolding via flashbacks, present-day Mike Ross was coming dangerously close to uncovering the truth that Alex would later tell him. By consulting Frank Gallo for the billionth time and even visiting Anita Gibbs, Mike was able to put enough puzzle pieces together to realize the prison case was far bigger than he’d originally imagined.
(Because the guy who wants you dead and the prosecutor who sent you to prison are totally your best friends, Mikey.)
It wasn’t just about the prison keeping inmates for longer to make more profit: There was a massive conspiracy involving two Fortune 500 companies. Inmates were the sole labor force for building the very prisons in which other worker bees would then be incarcerated. So, in order to maximize labor and profits, prison sentences were being extended via the same arbitrary fights that had caused Oscar Reyes’ son’s death.
But just when Mike had enough information to give Gibbs to open a criminal case, Harvey went behind his back — with the support of both Donna and Louis — to make the involved parties PSL’s clients. Somehow, without much of an explanation, Donna and Louis both agreed to do whatever it took to keep Alex safe, even though it meant throwing Mike under the bus.
SUITS has been, for six-plus seasons, the story of the Pearson Specter Litt (or insert firm name here) family protecting its own. Mike Ross, for better or worse, has been the family member in need of the most protection all along. And there’s never been any indication that Alex Williams so much as existed until SUITS’ seventh season.
Suddenly, though, protecting Mike while he’s doing the right thing — if via the stupidest, most dishonest of methods — is less important than protecting a newcomer. All because Harvey feels responsible for that newcomer having a so-called “gun to his head” to begin with.
If this makes no sense to you, SUITS viewers, you’re probably not alone. Harvey even told Donna that Alex’s decision to avoid blowing the whistle on Masterson and Reform Corp. was exactly the same as Donna protecting Mike’s secret. But as Donna smartly put it, Mike’s fraud was nowhere near on the level of, you know, murder. Let’s not even talk about the unique family dynamic at PSL, versus the obvious lack thereof at Bratton Gould.
Harvey’s decision to make the comparison — or, more accurately, the writing decision to make that parallel for viewers — invalidates so much of what has made SUITS special and Mike’s lawbreaking forgivable.
So, basically, it fits right in with a lot of Harvey’s characterization in SUITS season 7.
The only shining light in all of this is that Mike Ross, while always frustratingly misguided in his ethics, has strong morals. That means he might just find a way to get some justice, even with Harvey’s threat to fire him looming over his head.
I, for one, am ready for the return of Superhero Mikey and will be cheering him on every step of the way.
Additional thoughts on SUITS “Full Disclosure”
- “Jessica’s family, and no title is worth giving that up.” Flashback Harvey is the real Harvey Specter. Presdent-day Harvey, on the other hand…is clearly his evil twin/doppelgänger Henry.
- As a young Jewish professional in real life, I found Louis’ first meeting with Dr. Lipschitz to be offensive on about a million levels. Yes, there are many Jews who are wary of Germans after the Holocaust. I know people whose parents and grandparents refuse to buy German products or otherwise do business with Germans. No, I don’t believe any of them would ever call someone a “nazi-supposed-Jew” after they’ve told that person’s family story of escaping the nazis. Louis has always been problematic, especially when he’s angry. And he was certainly bound to be riled up when Dr. Lipschitz implied that Harvey wouldn’t consider him a best friend (he wouldn’t, still doesn’t). But that “nazi-supposed-Jew” thing was a bridge too far, especially in the current climate. There are enough actual nazis out there. Throwing the word around just makes labeling the real thing seem empty. It’s not.
- Meanwhile, “I’m going to crack him like a piece of matzo on Passover” was perfect.
- “For the record, I would’ve gone with you.” “For the record, I should’ve asked you.” Throwing that Donna/Harvey relationship a bone…Too bad that bone is probably long-since chewed up.
- Harvey, honey, you don’t give anniversary gifts to women who are celebrating said anniversaries with other men. Also, in comparison, your gift was trash.
- Related, yet unrelated: “Sometimes, playing the long game means understanding who you want to be teammates with in the long run.” Twelve years is a long enough long game, folks. And I think we all know who people understand they want to be teammates with. Or, at least, they did before Henry came to town.
- “When you don’t respect yourself, you go looking for signs of disrespect in others.” Dr. Lipschitz is quickly becoming one of SUITS’ heroes.
- “Do you have any idea how many times I had to smile and take it when Charles Van Dyke pawned his work off on me? Or when Stanley Gordon called me into his office just so he could ogle my ass when I left…Not to mention when Schmidt would talk about ‘the blacks’ like he was living in 1950.” Can we just bask in this very real statement on what it’s like for women, especially women of color, have to work so much harder to be taken seriously? Or nah. This is SUITS. We’ll write in something brilliant like this, then pretend it never happened when we’re pitting women against each other later.
- Donna’s boyfriend was perfect and even remembered she was very into Shakespeare (everything since SUITS season four fails to relate). But she was loyal to Harvey instead. The series is starting to make her look like a pathetic hanger-on, which is outrageous and a slap in the face to the many young women who look up to her strength, poise, and brilliance. Donna’s role always defied stereotypes; now, it’s suddenly buried in them.
That’s it for “Full Disclosure.” Make sure to watch SUITS’ 100th episode on Wednesday, August 30 at 9/8c on USA.