A Second Look at 'Suits': Who's the Bad Guy Now?
A Second Look at 'Suits': Who's the Bad Guy Now?
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
On most TV shows, it's easy to find the Bad Guy. This is not the case on Suits. Taking into account what we learned in the show's flashback episode, "Rewind," whose behavior most strongly fits the role of a Bad Guy?

Who's the Bad Guy Now?

Moral ambiguity is always a big part of Suits. Even the most honorable characters at least consider taking the low road every once in awhile. These constantly shifting sands of morality make one of Jessica's questions to Harvey in "Rewind" an important one.

"Who's the bad guy now?"

Throughout Suits season 2 and especially in "Rewind," the choice for the most morally bankrupt person has been between Daniel Hardman and Harvey Specter. Even though one is the obvious "villain" and the other is the obvious "hero" of the show, it might not be that easy to tell.

In a point-by-point look at Harvey and Daniel, who comes out the worst?

Daniel Hardman

Hidden beneath that warm and fuzzy Santa Claus of an image, Daniel Hardman is as cutthroat as any lawyer in the firm. But is he a bad man?

  • Hardman stole half a million dollars from his clients and firm.
  • Even with a dying wife, Daniel Hardman engaged in an affair with a subordinate.
  • The Hardman of five years ago was kind of a jerk (Example: Louis' tie).
  • When confronted by Jessica, Hardman lied about the purpose of the stolen money.
  • In the present day, Daniel Hardman has manipulated every situation to put himself back on top.

  • Hardman loved his wife enough to give up his career.
  • Over time, Daniel Hardman repaid the money he stole.
  • The only reason Hardman left was Harvey's blackmail.
  • How much of a crime is it to have an affair?

Harvey Specter

Harvey is the hero of Suits. But is he really a hero? Thanks to a whole host of flaws -- not the least of which is extreme arrogance -- Harvey rarely exhibits truly heroic behavior. He may even be the Bad Guy we're looking for.

  • Harvey immediately leveraged Jessica's request for assistance into a promise of a partnership.
  • When the signs pointed to Louis as the thief, Harvey was positively cheerful about destroying the man.
  • Whether true or not, Harvey appeared to care more about his promotion than a dying woman.
  • Harvey refused to show emotion or leave the office when his (beloved?) father died.
  • Harvey's moral superiority when blackmailing Hardman into leaving the firm was debatable.
  • Upon winning Jessica's old office, Harvey seemed to be perfectly happy and celebrating, no matter what happened in the process of getting that office.
  • He didn't fight for Donna when she failed him -- not initially anyway.
  • In the present day, Harvey has teamed with Jessica in an elaborate scheme with the apparent goal of destroying Daniel Hardman.

  • All of Harvey's actions are motivated by loyalty to the firm and a belief in the law.
  • Even if no one notices it, Harvey does have integrity.
  • Harvey only hid his emotions about his father (and everything else). The real sadness was there.
  • As much as he can be, Harvey helps and appreciates the people close to him.

So Who Is the Bad Guy Then?

Going purely by the number of negative qualities exhibited by each man, the odd and incredible answer is Harvey. So why is he also the hero?

The answer to that comes from the quality of each man's good and bad traits. Harvey's failings are mainly the result of the man's own damage: Arrogance and ambition are shields. He fears weakness and therefore only shows any in front of those few he trusts. Hardman, on the other hand, seems to simply choose to be bad. I mean seriously, if he loved his wife so much, why have the affair in the first place?

Daniel Hardman may have his own reasons and excuses for awful behavior, but mostly we just see him as a jerk. Whereas Harvey is a flawed man trying to do his best and occasionally failing. We feel for him, and we get him. This -- and possibly this alone -- marks Harvey as a hero on Suits.

But One More Counterpoint...

As we move toward the end of Suits season 2, here's something frightening to think about: Seen from the point of view of a character like Louis Litt, is Harvey Specter the hero of Suits? Or is he the villain?

The answer to that may be surprising. Fortunately, the answer is also what makes Suits stand out.

(Images courtesy of USA)