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Suits episode 3, titled ‘The New Boss,’ deals directly with Daniel Hardman’s return. Unlike with episode 2 where Hardman’s presence is an ever present shadow, the boss himself is back at the firm and throwing a wrench into the waterworks with boastful abandon. Daniel is more old school, coming from the belief that since his name is on the door of the firm, he can insert himself happily into any case he so chooses. It just so happens that he chooses a case that has been assigned to Harvey. As the Specter vs. Hardman battle resumes, Mike and Louis are caught in the cross fire and takes a few punches themselves. Between the brewing war and Mike’s affection for Rachel, nothing is safe at Pearson Hardman and the ending will come right out of left field to surprise viewers.
However, right off the bat, the tried and true formula where Mike does something good but messes up Harvey’s master plan is still too much like the misinformed teenager getting scolded by their parents. This routine is just that, routine. It’s getting old and while they’ve tried to leverage this with more screen time showing Mike doing great things on his own initiative to solve a case, it still backfires somewhat. If USA Network wanted to make the show more real by adding a dash of repetitive formulaic arguing that has a predictably happy resolution, they’ve succeeded.
That aside, this is a wonderfully tense episode in the developing arc of the storyline at Pearson Hardman and the Suits Universe. Overdue for some positive screen time is Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman, the man in charge of the associates. This is the kind of man who has a method to his madness, his years of experience influencing his Associates in unknowing ways. When a bad review of the firm lands in his lap Louis musters his best effort to prove to the Associates that not only is he the master of their quaint little universe. He challenges each and every one of them to gamble their careers on switching firms to see if there are better opportunities than those at Pearson Hardman. It cannot be said that this aspect of Louis’ character is such a departure from his usual sly apathetic facade and it further opens dimensions of his personality to viewers.
As the two most visible Senior and Junior partner respectively, there is a healthy give and take rivalry between the two that Harvey seems to just barely edge out over Louis. The so called ‘best closer in the city’ does have that visible edge over Louis and soon Jessica needs to see Louis’ value or lose him for good. Louis gives Jessica a verbal notice that just like he gives the associates a chance to rise to the occasion and do well, Louis would love the same chance to do that for Jessica. It’s a heartbreaking moment between one person and another, where Louis seeks Jessica’s approval and favor but rarely seems to get it.
Louis and Harvey themselves have a brilliantly sculpted moment together in a scene not often shot between the two bantering rivals: this episode features the bond rather than the rivalry that these two men have. Forged together by long nights as Associates themselves when they were younger while being hammered with work that the current Associates would never have imagined, Louis and Harvey remark on their own careers and Louis inadvertently gives Harvey the smoking gun that Harvey needs to win his case.
Harvey Specter, ace closer of the city, continually butts heads with returning founder Daniel Hardman in a civil war that is fast spilling out of the small trenches and into the open fields of the firm’s bullpen. Hardman’s character has recently lost his wife, as she was incidentally being used as leverage to keep Hardman away from the firm due to his extramarital affair. This was covered earlier in the season premier but bears repeating because, although Hardman claims he’s a changed man from before, he is hardly the push over that Jessica and Harvey hope he would be upon returning.
Like his name, Hardman’s personality is hard to deal with, and Harvey is seen in a rare moment upstaged by Hardman in a courtroom due to an old connection from Daniels past. Daniel Hardman is the kind of guy who will gleefully wave good bye at you as you slip off a cliff side rather than help you. He is a man who is more at home as a snake in the grass; he and Harvey have wildly different approaches to dealing with the current case that is on the table during this episode.
Stay tuned as part 2 of our review covers more of the romantic entanglements in the Suits Universe.
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