Suits S5E1: “Denial” – Episode Review

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Suits follows the story of Michael “Mike” Ross (a genius college dropout with an eidetic memory) and Harvey Specter (one of New York’s best lawyers). Tired of cookie-cutter Harvard graduates, Harvey decides to hire Mike as his associate, despite Mike not having a law degree. Mike soon realizes that despite how smart he is, he has a lot to learn about being a lawyer. At the same time, Mike’ sympathy and concern for the clients reminds Harvey why he became a lawyer. The two become an incredible duo for the film, but constantly struggle to hide the fact that Mike is not a real lawyer.

SUITS -- "Denial" Episode 501 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter, Patrick J. Adams as Michael Ross -- (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

SUITS — “Denial” Episode 501 — Pictured: (l-r) Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter, Patrick J. Adams as Michael Ross — (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

“Let’s get something straight. I’m not here to make your life comfortable, you’re here to do that for me.”

– Louis Litt

After more than a decade of working as Harvey’s secretary, Donna Paulsen leaves Harvey to work for Louis Litt (Harvey’s long time rival at the firm). Despite how much Louis has told Donna how much they would make an incredible combo, things started off shaky. Previously, Louis gained permission from Harvey to have Mike become his associate, but Harvey later changed his mind and convinced Mike to stay with him, instead of going to Louis. Now Louis believes that Donna will do the same. Louis’ fear of Donna leaving him takes over when he discovers a list entitled, “Secretary Replacements for Louis,” on Donna’s desk. Louis retaliates by assigning Donna unreasonable tasks. Since Donna was struggling to prove Louis she would not leave him, Rachel Zane (Donna’s good friend and a paralegal at the firm) did not tell Donna about her engagement to Mike due to guilt. Donna eventually explains that the list was originally for Louis when his previous assistant died, but kept it to pass on to Harvey. Louis is ecstatic to discover Donna also recreated the same cake he had originally made for Mike with the words, “Welcome to Team Litt.” While Harvey has been telling Louis throughout the episode that Donna will return to him, Louis feels more at ease knowing that Donna shows no intention of doing so. Donna later surprises Rachel with an engagement gift, despite Rachel not telling her about the engagement. Donna tells Rachel to never be scared to speak about her greatest moments, even while Donna is experiencing her worst.

SUITS -- "Denial" Episode 501 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter, Rick Hoffman as Louis Litt, Sarah Rafferty as Donna Paulsen -- (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

SUITS — “Denial” Episode 501 — Pictured: (l-r) Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter, Rick Hoffman as Louis Litt, Sarah Rafferty as Donna Paulsen — (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

“Nobody hates change more than I do, but it’s coming whether we like it or not.”

– Harvey Specter

For the first time we see Harvey with no Donna by his side and Harvey is having hard time handling a bankruptcy case with a trucking company. To make things worse, Mike took a separate took a case of his own and is unable to help Harvey with his case. Rachel steps up to help Harvey as his secretary, but she makes a mistake that nearly cost Harvey’s client his company. An infuriated Harvey takes out his anger on Rachel, but Mike steps in to defend Rachel stating that the only reason Rachel is in this situation is because Harvey chose to not hire another secretary after Donna left. Mike helps Harvey win and Harvey admits to his mistake afterwards.

Throughout the episode, Harvey visited a therapist, Dr. Agard (played by Christina Cole) for his sleepless nights. In reality, Harvey has been having panic attacks ever since Donna left and is trying to have Dr. Agard sign off on anti-anxiety medication. Dr. Agard agrees to give Harvey a small supply of pills. However, Dr. Agard explains to Harvey that his panic attacks are a result of his denial that Donna may never come back to him and the attacks will not go away unless he accepts it. After realizing his denial is what led to his mistake with the bankruptcy case, Harvey throws away the pills given by Dr. Agard as a sign of his acceptance that Donna may never come back. Harvey then asks Donna for the list of secretaries she had originally created for Louis.

While previous first episodes of Suits introduced the firm being under attack or Mike’s secret being at risk, “Denial” focuses on the social dynamic amongst the main characters within the firm itself. For the first time we see a rattled Harvey, Donna now working for Louis, and Mike being engaged to Rachel.

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