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I might not be a TV-series connoisseur but its low-key surprising to see the diversity of my watch-list this year. After watching supernatural teen drama The Vampire Diaries, swoon-worthy Korean drama Business Proposal, medical drama The Good Doctor, work-place mockumentary The Office, political satire Parks and Recreation, fantasy drama House of the dragons– it was quite refreshing watching Suits which is a legal drama TV series.
I’ve watched parts of the series over the years on YouTube, where they have an official channel with compilation videos of fan-favorite moments. So I had some idea about the main characters, but didn’t know how popular it was or how it ended. Those videos made me want to watch the series without spoiling everything.
Suits ran for nine seasons over almost a decade. Personally, I enjoyed the show most up until season seven when three major characters left.
There are many things I want to talk about regarding The Suits, so I will break down all the seasons and share my thoughts on them.
Suits – Season 1
College drop-out Mike (Michael Ross) lived with his childhood best friend Trevor and Trevor’s girlfriend Jenny. When Mike was 11, both of his parents died in a car accident, leaving him with only his grandmother as family. Despite this challenge, Mike had an exceptional photographic memory that allowed him to accurately remember everything he saw.
When Mike’s grandmother fell ill and he needed money for her treatment, Trevor convinced him to sell test question papers at school. This resulted in Mike being expelled from school and losing his seat at Harvard Law School. In an attempt to make it up to his friend, Trevor let Mike live rent-free in his apartment for one year while writing LSATs for others.
Meanwhile, Trevor dealt drugs behind Jenny’s back. He sent Mike on a risky drug delivery mission without warning him of the potential consequences if caught by the police.
Mike narrowly escaped the police and a drug dealer before finding himself in a meeting room with Harvey Specter, an esteemed corporate lawyer from Pearson Hardman. Harvey sought a Harvard graduate (a mandatory prerequisite) to fill an associate position at his firm. Mike confessed to being an amateur drug dealer but impressed Harvey with his legal knowledge. Despite knowing that Mike couldn’t legally practice law, Harvey offered him the job on the condition that he would turn his life around. At Pearson Hardman, we meet Jessica Pearson (the managing and name partner of the firm, also Harvey’s mentor), Louis Litt (another senior partner who has a complicated relationship with Harvey), Donna Paulsen (Harvey’s secretary), and Rachel Zane (a talented paralegal who has worked at the firm for five years).
In the first season, Harvey and Mike bonded over difficult cases. Mike impressed his colleagues and clients with his intelligence and quick thinking. Louis caused him trouble to keep him under control. Despite having feelings for Jenny, who was dating his best friend, Mike couldn’t stop thinking about Rachel due to his problematic past. He cut ties with Trevor after exposing his illegal dealings to Jenny, causing her to break up with him and move in with Mike. After Trevor found out about Jenny and Mike’s relationship, he purposely hid a voicemail from Rachel expressing her desire to be with Mike and exposed Mike’s true identity to Jessica. In my opinion, Trevor should be awarded the prize of backstabber of the year!
Suits – Season 2
Jessica confronted Harvey about wanting to fire Mike, who had been trusted with a big lawsuit. Meanwhile, Daniel Hardman returned to claim his place in Pearson Hardman after his wife’s death. He was embezzling client funds for an extramarital affair; Jessica and others handled the situation behind closed doors, forcing him to step down without tainting the firm’s name. His mistress also left the firm. Five years later, Daniel claimed he had changed and returned to kick Jessica out using Louis as a pawn due to his insecurity and rivalry with Harvey.
Naturally, the focus shifted to standing against Daniel Hardman instead of firing Mike. Daniel and Louis made things difficult for Jessica and Harvey. Daniel accused Louis of embezzling money 5 years ago, causing Louis to side with Jessica. To complicate a case, Daniel planted a fake document which led to Donna’s firing. However, she was later rehired by Harvey.
To deal with Daniel’s actions, Jessica merged the firm with another owned by Edward Darby. Meanwhile, Mike helped Rachel prepare for the LSATs and they grew closer at work. He also bought an apartment for his grandmother who unfortunately passed away before seeing it.
At his grandmother’s funeral, Mike reunited with his high school girlfriend Tess (who was married at the time). They got high and made out at Mike’s place until Rachel found out about their affair. Eventually, Mike ended things with Tess and shared his secret with Rachel.
Not initially approved, but Jessica eventually agreed to keep Mike’s past a secret. Harvey made Louis fire his preferred candidate and instead hired Katrina Bennett for the same reason. Other characters in this season include: Dana Scott/Scottie (Harvey’s girlfriend and main competitor from Harvard, now a lawyer at Darby’s firm), Travis Tanner (Harvey’s old rival who will do anything to take him down), Sheila (or Lady Louis) who captured Louis’ heart from day one, and Robert Zane (Rachel’s father – a high-profile lawyer and co-owner of another law firm that competes with Pearson Hardman). Despite having to stand against her own father in court, Rachel remained loyal to the firm.
Suits – Season 3
This season has more complicated plots than the first two. After merging with Darby International, there was immense rivalry between the former owners and employees of the individual firms. Louis found himself entangled in a rivalry with his British counterpart Nigel, the quartermaster of Darby International. He managed to gain that position only to lose control over the associates, which was one of his passions. Harvey and Mike fell out without finding much support from Jessica in the new firm. Harvey turned to Edward Darby to make him a name partner and dethrone Jessica from her position as managing partner.
Harvey had to go to extreme lengths to win a case for Darby, fighting against his previous mentor Cameron Dennis – a special prosecuting attorney and disgraced former DA of Manhattan whose work ethics were questionable at best. To ensure punishment for certain criminals, he wouldn’t mind tampering or burying evidence as well.
Mike and Louis worked together on a case, but Louis became suspicious when he discovered Mike’s false grades. Harvey took Mike back to work with him, leaving Louis disappointed. Darby sent his fixer Stephen Huntley to help Harvey achieve his goal. Donna started seeing Stephen temporarily, but it turned out he had ordered the murder accusation that Harvey was trying to save his client from. Darby took responsibility and stepped down. Donna felt guilty for dating a criminal and Harvey was bothered by her personal life interfering with work. Eventually, Harvey made amends with Jessica after regretting betraying her mentorship and got his name on the wall at their firm.
Mike and Harold, a former colleague of Mike’s, were questioned by US attorney Eric Woodall as an act of revenge against Harvey. Woodall told Mike that he would be set free if he gave up his mentor. Fearing his past actions – hacking Harvard’s website to falsify grades and certificates – Mike became nervous. However, Harvey and Louis arrived in time to prevent them from saying anything incriminating and secure their release. Despite feeling guilty for what happened to Mike, Harvey was willing to turn himself in due to Woodall’s personal vendetta against him. But despite the threats from Eric and strict orders from Harvey, Mike remained loyal towards him. In order to keep everyone safe, Mike decided it would be best to leave Pearson Specter and take a job as an investment banker instead.
Suits – Season 4
Mike’s new job as an investment banker forced him to oppose his friend, mentor, and ex-colleague Harvey in a takeover battle. This led to an accusation of collusion by SEC’s Sean Cahill. Shady billionaire investor Charles Forstman betrayed Mike, resulting in his firing from the new job. He was desperate for work but didn’t want to return to Pearson Specter. Jessica’s current romantic interest Jeff Malone left SEC to join Pearson Specter and help tackle attacks from SEC. Louis got jealous of Harvey being named partner and Jeff receiving too much attention at the firm. He got involved in illegal activities, leading to his own firing and betrayal by Forstman.
Unemployed and desperate, Mike considered accepting a previous job offer from Forstman despite knowing about his recent betrayal and vindictive nature. However, Louis convinced him that joining Pearson Specter was a better option than working with Forstman again.
Louis discovered that Mike had never attended Harvard and used this information to blackmail Jessica into rehiring him as a name partner. To aid Mike in a case, Donna obtained documents illegally, which could have resulted in her imprisonment. Rachel’s relationship with Mike was strained when she learned of his affair with his married ex-girlfriend. By the time they reconciled, Rachel’s ex-boyfriend Logan Sanders became one of Harvey’s top clients. While working on Logan’s case, Rachel and Logan kissed, adding complexity due to the personal feud between Logan and Mike. Eventually, Logan left and Mike proposed to Rachel. Additionally, Jessica struggled to balance pursuing a romantic relationship with Jeff while keeping sensitive information from him at work.
SEC backed off from Pearson Specter, but Sean Cahill returned to Harvey to track Fortman’s shady activities. After Norma’s death (Louis’ secretary who was never shown in the series), Donna left Harvey to work as Louis’ personal secretary. This decision came almost immediately after Harvey confessed his love for her by saying, “You know, I love you Donna…” Although it was hard to miss the care and attraction between Donna and Harvey, they did an excellent job of keeping their relationship limited to friendship only.
Suits – Season 5
In my opinion, Season 5 of Suits was the most interesting out of the nine seasons. We got to see a different side of Harvey, one that was more vulnerable and personal. Unlike previous seasons where he was portrayed as the best lawyer in the city or Jessica’s protégé, we saw him struggle with panic attacks after Donna left his employ. He couldn’t complete his work without her because she always knew what needed to be done without being told explicitly. To help him cope, Harvey sought therapy from Dr. Paula Agard, which led to revelations about his difficult childhood being the root cause of his current state.
Harvey learned about his mother’s affair when he was young. He trusted her and kept it a secret, but this took a toll on his mental health. As an adult, Harvey discovered that his mother never stopped cheating on his father. Feeling guilty and anguished, Harvey fought with his father and finally shared the truth. The family fell apart: Harvey’s mother left with the other man, while Harvey’s younger brother couldn’t afford college and turned to gambling.
Harvey’s mother left a lasting impression on him; he struggles to trust anyone or build meaningful relationships, unable to show his true emotions.
Harvey’s rival Tanner returned and he kept dreaming of Donna sleeping with him. Insecure Louis made a deal with Daniel Hardman’s ally Jack Soloff to revise Harvey’s compensation. Mike worked on a case with Rachel’s father Robert Zane but they fought due to different values and work ethics, ruining their relationship before the wedding. Rachel struggled to keep the wedding small despite her desire for extravagance, fearing it could expose Mike’s secret. Both Mike and Harvey resigned from the firm to save it, but Mike was arrested that same night.
The fiesta began when Jack Soloff promoted Mike to Junior partner after they worked on a case together. Harvey’s new secretary helped publish an article about the youngest junior partner, which led the reporter to contact Louis’ love interest Sheila Sazs, who was working at Harvard.
As Sheila couldn’t find Mike’s name in her documents, she questioned his legitimacy. Ruthless US attorney Anita Gibbs took on the case of proving him guilty, and the situation became more complicated as she would stop at nothing. Harvey and Mike searched for dirt on Anita’s past to use against her but found none. Harvey acted as Mike’s attorney and presented all the evidence they had, but Mike realized that Anita would never let them go. He decided to take one for the team and plead guilty under the condition that Anita left his colleagues alone. Although this went against Harvey’s will, he could not stop Mike from making the deal.
Harvey learned from a secret source that the jury planned to return a verdict of not guilty. He kept it quiet because Mike’s confession changed everything. Rachel’s mother disapproved, causing Mike to call off the wedding just before walking down the aisle. After learning about Mike’s truth, they were against the wedding, but Jessica convinced Robert not to miss it. The season ended with Harvey taking Mike to prison where he would serve for two years…
Suits – Season 6
On the first night of prison, Mike met Frank Gallo, Harvey’s old enemy who sought revenge. Harvey and Rachel both missed Mike in their own ways. Rachel dealt with bullying from a law school classmate due to her association with Mike but gracefully shut down the haters and began working on an innocence project for her professor with Jessica’s help. Meanwhile, Jessica returned to the courtroom after many years but troubles at the firm kept knocking at her door. She reminisced about her childhood and relationship with her surgeon father, finding a personal cause more meaningful than striving to stay atop a corporate law firm in New York. Reconnecting with love interest Jeff Malone – who had left when he learned she kept Mike’s past secret – led Jessica to leave Pearson Specter Litt and start anew in Chicago.
Living with Frank Galo in the same prison was life-threatening for Mike. When Harvey and Sean Cahill found common interests, Sean promised to use his powers to transfer Galo from the prison. However, Galo turned out to be an informant and couldn’t be moved. Mike’s cellmate Kevin Miller played a vital role in making a deal that shortened Mike’s stay at the prison. After getting out of jail, Harvey offered Mike his old job back. Despite this offer, Mike refused and wished for a fresh start elsewhere.
After being rejected from several places, he finally got a job at a legal clinic where he worked with people who needed help; however, not being able to represent clients legally made him despair about passing the BAR exam.
Harvey and Louis assisted Rachel and Mike in passing the BAR to legally practice law. While Anita Gibbs made it challenging for Mike, Jessica and a prison psychiatrist vouched for his character, allowing him to proceed. However, admitting her awareness of Mike’s fraudulent activities caused Jessica to be disbarred in New York.
Suits – Season 7
The firm is struggling after Jessica’s departure. Harvey and Louis are now interim managing partners. Donna had an existential crisis but then stood up for a better position in the firm. As a non-lawyer partner of Pearson Specter Litt, she faced challenges as people questioned her abilities. However, she offered to act as COO and took responsibility for looking after the associates.
Harvey stopped taking therapies a year ago and reconciled with his mother. He also started a romantic relationship with Paula.
Louis met Sheila again after some time apart. They had disagreed about having children before which led to their separation. Louis dated another woman who was in an open relationship but things got complicated when that woman became pregnant by someone else. Sheila was engaged to be married soon but wanted one last fling with Louis before tying the knot.
Louis struggled between his moral values and physical needs until his therapist helped him understand why he always struggles to have committed relationships.
By the end of the season, Sheila canceled her wedding and reconciled with Louis. Louis had won a legal battle against Sheila’s fiancé, which led to the cancellation. Donna was heartbroken to see Harvey with someone else. After being persuaded to confess her true feelings, she ended up kissing Harvey out of nowhere and causing his breakup. Paula demanded Donna’s resignation but ultimately failed to convince her otherwise, resulting in Donna resigning. After the breakup, Harvey rehired Donna for her old position.
Harvey’s ex-girlfriend Scottie returned briefly but left again after learning the real reason behind Harvey’s breakup. Mike rejoined Pearson Specter Litt and paid a lump sum amount to help their legal clinic recruit someone new.
Harvey agreed that Mike could work on pro bono cases with the clinic as long as he continued bringing money from big clients into their firm. While working on one such case, it triggered a conflict of interest with another client of the firm so Mike signed off on it; however, he couldn’t keep himself away from continuing to work on it anyway.
Harvey hired his old friend Alex to the firm, but one of Alex’s clients was involved in a conspiracy. Due to some past secrets, Alex had to make a scene in court and get the jury to drop the case. Mike pursued the case because it was important to him. Jessica asked Harvey for help with a case that would uplift her community in Chicago, but she ended up losing her license there and getting a job offer from the mayor. Meanwhile, Mike and Harvey came up with a plan to rescue Alex from being blackmailed by his clients and old firm. On the other hand, Robert Zane’s co-partners conspired against him and tried to take over Specter Litt. After careful consideration, Robert joined Specter Litt with 15 of his associates ultimately stopping their takeover attempt. Rachel and Mike got married then decided to settle down in Seattle where they started their own firm focused on class action cases.
Suits – Season 8
As the managing and name partner of Zane Specter Litt, Robert Zane hired Samantha Wheeler as his right-hand senior partner. Harvey, Louis, and Alex remained partners while Donna continued working as COO. Later on, Samantha became a name partner alongside Alex Williams. Sheila got pregnant with Louis’ child, while Katrina Bennett – Louis’ protégé – struggled with romantic feelings for her married personal associate. Finally, Donna and Harvey admitted their feelings for each other at the end of Season 8; however, Donna’s mishandling of client/boyfriend Thomas Kessler forced Robert Zane to sacrifice his legal career for the good of the firm.
Suits – Season 9
Faye Richardson, a special master from the bar, oversaw the firm due to their underhanded tactics. However, Faye had secrets that could take her down. In the last episode, Louis and Sheila rushed to the hospital after exchanging vows. Meanwhile, Harvey proposed to Donna and they got married at the same venue. After visiting the newborn baby, Harvey and Donna decided to move to Seattle with Mike and Rachel while Louis stayed back as leader of the firm with Katrina as a name partner at Litt Wheeler Williams Bennett.
My Final Thoughts on the Characters
The plot for the first few seasons revolves around Harvey and Mike catching bad guys, similar to Batman and Robin. Harvey was already successful in his career when he met Mike, but their encounter made him a better friend, lawyer, and person overall. In a later season, Donna’s conversation with Jessica revealed why they both supported Harvey and Mike despite the trouble caused by Mike. Harvey’s personal growth became more prominent as he came to terms with his difficult childhood, reconciled with his boycotted mother, tried to build a relationship with Paula, accepted failure, and finally confessed his feelings to Donna. Honestly speaking, I felt that Donna and Harvey’s relationship deserved more space or a proper ending than an impromptu wedding in the last episode of a series running for ten years!
Donna Paulsen, from Suits, will remain one of the sassiest female characters of all time. She exemplifies beauty with brains and remains committed to her professional life while maintaining friendly relationships with her boss and love interest – gotta give her respect for that! Donna never hesitates to share an honest opinion with Harvey or even Jessica. She is a wonderful friend to Rachel, Mike, and Louis. Donna’s intervention between Harvey and Louis prevented them from making rash decisions.
I respect and admire Jessica the most among all the characters. As a woman of color from humble beginnings, she climbed the corporate ladder without taking shortcuts, making her one of my role models. Despite constant fighting against male co-owners and disrespect from subordinates Harvey and Louis, Jessica handled every difficult situation with grace and dignity. She was always far-sighted, humble, clever enough to bow down when necessary, yet strong-willed enough to hold her ground tightly. Jessica finally found love in Jeff but had to choose commitment to work repeatedly – a realistic portrayal of a strong independent woman’s personal life.
Jessica found Harvey at his lowest point; paying for his college tuition and mentoring him exemplifies true leadership – paving paths for others’ legacies to continue. Without Jessica, Harvey wouldn’t have become the great lawyer or best closer in the city!
In real life, we might relate more to Louis Litt than any of the other characters. Louis is a complicated character who isn’t purely good or evil. He wanted respect from his colleague and best friend Harvey, but often let jealousy and insecurity get the better of him. Although he projected anger and bitterness towards his associates, he never exposed their mistakes to others. To become a better person, Louis had to work hard to defeat his inner demons by confronting himself many times. This required courage and self-awareness in order for him to build stronger relationships with friends, colleagues, and partners.
Mike, the protagonist of the story, embodies compassion, commitment, and loyalty. Despite a difficult start to his life, he found purpose and used his intelligence to give back to society. Mike remained true to his friends, family, and values. While he is a great character overall, I personally struggle to connect with him on an emotional level.
Coming from a wealthy family, Rachel was hesitant to rely on her name or money to establish herself. Despite being one of the top-performing paralegals at her firm, she lacked confidence (which I could relate to). However, over time she built up her own reputation and supported Mike through many challenging situations. The on-screen chemistry between Mike and Rachel was truly impressive…
So, overall, I loved the format of the show. It focused on one or two cases at a time while also dealing with office politics and personal drama. I appreciate that the writers chose not to introduce a common love interest between Harvey and Mike or Harvey and Louis. I give Suits a rating of 4.5 out of 5 and highly recommend it for watching.
Can you guess how many times the name of the firm changed? Tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!