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Suits Review: Cracks in the Defense

suits conflict of interestOn this week’s episode of Suits a single client divides the firm.

We’re still on the case of Ava Harrington (Michelle Fairley) and the whole did-she-or-did-she-not solicit a murder. And while it’s not so much a question of whether she did it (everyone’s operating under the assumption that she did), it’s now the case of how they’re going to get her off with minimal damage. It all started with a plea. Now, thanks to some steady steamrolling by Cameron Davis, Ms. Harrington’s in danger of losing her freedom as well as her company. Neither one of these is an option for her; that’s why she’s got Harvey (Gabriel Macht) repping her criminal case while Louis (Rick Hoffman) manages the corporate side.

That’s a good plan until a PR move causes a rift in Ava’s defense team. In a bid to prevent a corporate takeover of Harrington’s company, Louis prompts Ava to make a public statement to the press, and most importantly the shareholders who are bailing from under her. Harvey shuts this down, because once given, the statement can and will be used against Ava in her upcoming criminal case. Harvey’s not willing to take that risk. But the only other option to keep Harrington’s alive is for Ava to step down as its CEO. And that’s not an option Ava is willing to risk; no matter the circumstance.

So, there seems to be an impasse.

Except of course that there isn’t because, as Louis points out, his client is Harrington Oil, and not Ms. Harrington herself whose wants come secondary to what’s best for his client. Harvey tries to point out that Ava Harrington is Harrington Oil, but Louis isn’t having it. His client needs Ava to step down which, as mentioned before, she’s not doing.

To combat that, Louis goes to Jessica (Gina Torres) and asks her permission to approach the board of directors to vote Ava out of the company. It’s a risky move, because if the board proves loyal to Ava and believe in her innocence, Pearson Darby might just find themselves minus one very heavy duty client. Jessica at first denies her permission. Per her new partnership with Darby she wants to play aboveboard on this. Instead, she goes to Darby and asks him to convince Ava to step down willingly.

That meeting does not go well. Not only is Darby on Ava/Harvey’s side with this one, he also scolds Jessica for wasting company funds by flying out to meet him when she could have simply phoned and received the same no that she got in person. An underlying thread in this week’s episode is Jessica resenting no longer being the Top Dog. Louis alludes to it, and Darby’s condescending attitude confirms Jessica’s fear that she has lost power over her firm. And in what could be considered an attempt to try to reassert her authority, Jessica gives Louis the go ahead to approach the board of directors. This he does.

Around this time, Ava talks to Harvey and demands that she be allowed to testify in her defense. Harvey and Mike have been against this, mostly because they think she’s guilty and Cameron’s going to catch her in a lie, but when faced with no other option they give her a mock deposition. They hope to show Ava how bad it would be for her to testify, but they’re actually surprised by Ava’s passionate denial and genuine remorse over the deaths. She’s innocent. This opens up a new strategy as the plan is now to have Ava meet with the board and convince them of her innocence so that they’ll stand by her thus helping both the criminal and corporate case. With her firm behind her, Ava’s public image will be restored reassuring the stockholders and raising her esteem in the court of public opinion. So, it’s a win-win.

Unfortunately it’s also too late. Mike (Patrick J. Adams) has been working side by side with Katrina (Amanda Schull) this week (keeping your eye on your enemy and all that) and the two surprisingly find that they have a great working relationship. So great that Rachel starts to get jealous. (Ah, poor Rachel! –Seriously though, let me stop laughing. Are you kidding me with this?) But the love fest ends with the information that Ava’s innocent.

When Louis went to the board it was under the assumption that Ava was guilty. Finding out now that’s she’s not throws a wrench in that whole plan. Because after all, taking Ava’s company away will destroy her. But that was an acceptable consequence when they thought that she brought it on herself. Now that it turns out she hasn’t, Louis is franticly trying to find a way to stop the vote. That is until Jessica tells Louis that Ava’s innocence doesn’t matter. Let the vote go through. Louis is taken aback by this, because to him this is a game changer, but to Jessica it’s a non-issue. This scene is an ironic juxtaposition to their previous scene in which Jessica seemed to be the one with integrity while Louis seemed like a snake in the grass. Well, now that there are no more pretenses we can see that when it comes down to it, Louis is basically a guy who wants to do right while Jessica is a woman who needs the win.

As a result, Ava is out and Pearson Darby is still in with Harrington Oil. The Katrina/Mike partnership is over as it comes down to it that they’re loyal to two different sides. Darby is pissed that Jessica went against his word. When confronted, Jessica is defiant and says she did what’s best for the firm. That might not be something that she has to do for much longer as this whole episode solidifies the agreement between Mike and Darby. If Mike gets Ava off on the murder charge, Darby will back him for managing partner. Game’s on.

Season 3, Episode 7: “Conflict of Interest” (original airdate August 6, 2013.)

Suits airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on USA Network.

Image courtesy of USA Network.

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