On this episode of Suits, “Self Defense,” Mike’s insistence to defend himself prompts Harvey to challenge Mike to go toe-to-toe in a mock trial. Gibbs puts pressure on Louis. Mike’s trial begins.
After weeks of putting out fires and trying to cover his ass, and the asses of everyone who knew his secret, it’s time for Mike’s trial.
Trevor is on the stand, and he’s eager to tell all, but before recounting Trevor and Mike’s long and storied past, Gibbs is interested in hearing about more current events. Like the fact that four days earlier, Mike approached Trevor and asked him not to testify.
A week and a half earlier…
Trevor Turns on Mike
Mike tracks down Trevor and questions why he went back on his word not to testify. Trevor felt he had no choice, since Gibbs has plenty of evidence and witnesses to send him to jail for dealing. Trevor tells Mike that he doesn’t want to be a witness for the prosecution, but he can’t risk going to jail. Not for Mike anyway. Mike assures him that whatever Gibbs has on Trevor, Harvey can get him out of it.
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Trevor turns the tables. Gibbs told him that Mike could get himself out of this mess if he would just turn on Harvey, and Trevor advises Mike to do just that. Mike says that unlike Trevor, he would never do that to a friend to which Trevor replies that unlike Mike, he won’t be going to a white-collar prison. If Trevor doesn’t rip Mike to shreds on the stand, they’ll rip him to shreds behind bars.
Harvey Challenges Mike
Harvey tells Jessica that Mike wants to represent himself. What better way to prove he’s a lawyer than act like one? Neither Jessica or Harvey thinks this is a good idea, but they have to tread lightly. The only thing keeping Mike from going to Gibbs and pointing his finger at them is his loyalty. Harvey has a plan, but he needs Jessica to sign off on it. Whatever it is, Jessica’s in, because if Mike handles his own defense, she and Harvey will be the next ones on trial.
Harvey goes to Mike’s apartment. He warns Mike that if Gibbs manages to rattle him in court, they are going to see him as a fraud and nothing else. Harvey thinks it would be wise to do a trial run, but Mike thinks this is a waste of time, but Harvey argues that Mike needs the practice because Gibbs is going to come at him in ways he’s never thought about.
Mike accuses Harvey of wanting to do a trial run to prove he’s outmatched. Harvey says Mike is outmatched, by both himself and Gibbs, and Mike is afraid to find out. Mike is confident he can hold his own, and Harvey uses Mike’s hubris against him. If Harvey beats Mike, he lets Harvey represent him. Mike agrees but warns Harvey that he better bring his “A “game, because while Harvey may be the best closer in the city, Mike is fighting for his life.
Mike Gets the Upper Hand
Mike and Harvey give their opening arguments. Harvey sticks with what should be indisputable facts: there’s no record of tuition being paid, no evidence of a Boston address, and Mike’s picture isn’t even in the yearbook.
Mike calls Harvey to the stand and points out that Harvey doesn’t have a known address for the time when he attended Harvard. Harvey explains he sublet an apartment. Mike says this proves is it possible for someone to not have a Boston address and it not mean they didn’t attend Harvard.
Harvey fires back. He wants Mike to explain his reason for not having an address. Mike says he chose to live with his best friend, Trevor. The only problem with this arrangement, is that Trevor has lived in Brooklyn his entire life, a three hour drive to Cambridge. It is a stretch to think Mike would make that drive everyday, but Mike clarifies that he only went to class when there was a test.
Harvey can’t believe that Mike expects anyone to believe that he graduated from the most competitive law school in the world without ever going to class. Mike retaliates by stating that Harvey expects people he didn’t graduate from law school at all and convinced the smartest lawyers in the world to make them his younger partner, ever.
Harvey Strikes Back
Mike’s off to a good start, but it’s Harvey’s turn to kick some ass. He produces an affidavit from every single member of Mike’s supposed graduating class. In a nutshell, it claims nobody saw him, knew him or heard of Mike Ross.
Mike asks that Jessica, serving as the judge, strike the document on the grounds that it’s completely fabricated. There’s no way Harvey could have contacted all those people since the night before. Harvey suggests Mike call every one of his “classmates” and put them on the stand. But when Mike does, every single one of them will look him in the eye and say “Who the hell are you?” And with that, Jessica calls a recess.
Gibbs Threatens Louis
While Harvey and Mike are doing their mock trial, Louis returns from Harvard. He’s met outside the office by Anita Gibbs. Gibbs knows Louis is responsible for convincing Sheila to flee the country. He denies the allegation, but Gibbs has pretty damning proof. Louis flew to Boston three times in the past two weeks, took two cabs to her house and another within a 100 feet of the admissions office.
Gibbs tells Louis Sheila may be in Argentina for now, but she won’t stay there forever. And when she returns, Gibbs will go after Louis for witness tampering. Gibbs warns Louis that if Sheila isn’t back by the start of trial, she’ll assume he wants to be brought up on charges.
Mike confronts Harvey in the bathroom, the sight of so many confrontations at the firm. Mike is pissed that Harvey isn’t playing fair. He argues that Gibbs won’t submit false evidence. Maybe not, but Harvey says she will set up traps for Mike to bungle into.
Jessica goes to see Anita to personally serve her with a restraining order. Louis, who was freaking out after his conversation with Gibbs, went and told Jessica about the impromptu meeting.
Gibbs can no longer approach Louis without his attorney present, and Louis’ attorney is Jessica. Jessica tells Gibbs she’s done driving a wedge between herself and her people.
Gibbs is curious how strong the bond between Jessica and her people will be once she parades every one of them on the stand and asks if they knew Mike Ross was a fraud. Jessica asks Gibbs if she really thinks they’ll all have a different answer. Gibbs believes they’ll plead the Fifth, and they’ll tell themselves it implies no guilt, but in the eyes of the jury, they might as well be standing up there and say they did it.
Another Hole in Mike’s Story
As carefully as Mike and Harvey tried to construct Mike’s credible matriculation at Harvard, something else fell through the cracks. Donna discovers the class rankings from Mike’s first year, and he’s not on it. Lola Jensen didn’t cover all the bases. Mike wants to have Lola rectify the situation. Not a wise move, since this will lead Gibbs right to her.
Mike wants to go to Benjamin, but Harvey doesn’t want to let any more people in on Mike’s secret. Mike wants to know what Harvey plans to do, and Harvey’s response is to do what they’ve been doing with every piece of evidence that makes them look like shit, make it look like shit. Harvey warns Mike not to go to Benjamin behind his back or prison will be the least of his problems, but Mike does it anyway.
Harvey Goes After Rachel
The mock trial resumes, and Harvey calls Rachel as a witness. Mike objects, saying he has a marriage certificate from Nevada, showing he and Rachel got married six weeks after they started dating.
Harvey says Mike can’t use this in the real trial, since Gibbs could easily prove Mike and Rachel aren’t married and go after Rachel for perjury. Mike admits he has no intention of using this tactic in court. Mike is simply trying to rattle Harvey like Harvey rattled him with that affidavit.
Harvey calls Rachel anyway, giving the excuse that when spousal privilege is invoked in the moment, the prosecution has the right to question the validity of the marriage.
Harvey goes after Rachel, guns blazing. He wants all the details regarding their quickie Vegas nuptials. Rachel stays poised, right up until Harvey asks if she vowed to remain faithful to Mike throughout their marriage. When she says she did, Harvey brings up Rachel’s relationship with Logan Sanders, and the fact she lied to Mike at that non-existent ceremony, just like she’s lying now. Point made.
Louis Becomes the Weak Link
When Jessica isn’t dealing with Mike and Harvey trying to tear each other to shreds, she’s got to talk Louis down off the ledge. He got a call from Sheila who was approached by someone in Argentina. The person, obviously sent by Gibbs, questioned what she was doing there, and if someone else had bought her ticket. Sheila said she was there for work, but Sheila isn’t holding up well through all of this drama.
Jessica tells Louis that Gibbs is just trying to scare him, and even if Sheila tells them everything, Louis did nothing wrong. Louis’ bigger concern is what if Gibbs does find out they knew about Mike. Jessica reminds him the only proof Gibbs will ever have about Mike is if they tell them, and when she asks her, Jessica is going to plead the Fifth, and she suggests that Louis do the same.
But Louis has another idea. He wants Jessica to tell Gibbs that Mike went to Harvard. It was her decision to hire Mike, and she stands by it. Harvey walks in while the two are arguing and want to know what the hell is going on. Louis tells him about Sheila, and Harvey is a bit incredulous regarding Jessica’s actions. Jessica isn’t about to apologize, she did what she had to do.
The threesome have to squash their issues for the time being, because Gibbs interrupts their little meeting. She informs them the trial has been moved up to the following day. She convinced the judge it was necessary before all of her witnesses disappear.
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A Surprise Witness
Harvey tells Mike the trial has been moved up, and Mike still insists on defending himself, disgusted by what Harvey did to Rachel. Harvey defends his treatment of Rachel, saying he did it to protect Mike, and if Mike can’t see that, he can’t win this trial.
Rachel intervenes and tells Mike that she wants Harvey to represent Mike. She’s afraid the jury will hate Mike if he does to Trevor on the stand what Harvey did to her, and she would rather the jury hate Harvey.
Trevor’s testimony is pretty brutal. The truth hurts. Trevor says during their time living together, Mike smoked weed, was a bike messenger and took the LSATs for people. On top of that, he was thrown out of college for cheating.
Harvey discredits Trevor pretty swiftly, bringing up his history as a drug dealer. Harvey also makes it known the only reason Trevor is testifying is because Gibbs offered him immunity. Harvey accuses Trevor of being jealous of Mike. Trevor denies this, so Harvey threatens to call Jenny to the stand who can state Trevor lied to her for years about dealing, and when she found out, she dumped him and started dating Mike.
Gibbs next move is to call Donna to the stand. Jessica reassures Donna that Gibbs won’t ask her point blank if she knew about Mike, but if they do, she can lie, and they’ll never know.
Gibbs brings up how Mike landed an interview with Harvey in the first place, and Donna is forced to admit he lied, saying he was another candidate for the job. Despite Jessica’s belief that Gibbs wouldn’t ask if Donna knew whether or not Mike actually attended Harvard, that’s exactly what the attorney does, and Donna pleads the Fifth.
Harvey calls Jimmy Kirkwood to the stand. Mike had already begged Jimmy to cover for him, reminding him of everything they’d been through together and what Mike’s conviction could mean for Jimmy’s aunt, but Jimmy still declined.
Jimmy comes through and swears Mike attended Harvard. The judge tells Gibbs she has 24 hours to prepare for cross, but she doesn’t need it. She brings up the fact that Mike approached Jimmy outside his office, and she has pictures of the two of them apparently arguing. Gibbs also brings up the fact that if Mike gets convicted the settlement he got Jimmy’s aunt could get overturned. This is enough to call into question if Gibbs would lie for his aunt just like Harvey got Trevor to admit he would lie out of jealousy.
Harvey has Doubts
After their day in court, Mike feels confident things will go his way, but Harvey says Jimmy wasn’t enough. Harvey wants to give the jury a reason to want to let him go. Now Harvey thinks Mike should represent himself. It’s the only way to get him to testify without actually testifying. Plus, Gibbs is to good when it comes to crossing.
Mike says there’s no way they will let him change his lawyer in the middle of a trial, and Harvey tells him they better find a way, because if they don’t, Mike’s going to lose.
Gibbs approaches Louis again. She’s figured out that Louis used the information about Mike to become a name partner. Louis swears he won’t turn on his partners, and Gibbs points out he had to blackmail them to get what he deserved, and that has to hurt, a little.
She tells Louis Harvey is going to lose. He knows it. She knows it, and Harvey knows it. She gives Louis one last chance to turn. Before it’s too late.
Suits airs 10pm Wednesdays on USA.
(Image courtesy of USA)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.