This week’s episode of Suits, “Conflict of Interest,” was filled with life and was much more exciting than last week’s episode, “Unfinished Business.” This episode featured a different theme from loyalty and betrayal: the characters struggling for power and having the final say on decisions. Also, this episode continued the importance of innocent versus guilty clients.
In the continuation of Ava Hessington’s case, her firm is about to be taken over and the lawyers of Pearson Darby debate whether she should make a statement since she is also being accused of murder. Harvey, who is then backed by Darby, insists that she should not make a statement because it will hurt her image in her murder case. However, Louis wants her to make statement. Jessica originally sides with Harvey but then agrees with Louis’ subsequent plan to tell the board of Hessington Oil to vote so that Ava steps down and Pearson Darby is retained as their legal council. It is concerning that Jessica only seems to care about money, which is exemplified by the merger with Darby, and trying to win through increased financials.
These disagreements fueled the power struggle between all the characters; Louis tries to get Harvey to agree to a statement and then goes behind his back, with Jessica’s unofficial blessings, and talks to the board, which ends up backfiring, Harvey used Darby’s 51% to tell Jessica that anything on Ava was his call because Darby assigned the case to him, Darby, who sides with Harvey, tells Jessica that she is overstepping when she goes to tell him that he needs to back her decision, and finally Jessica struggles with her lack of power and tells Darby that his extra 2% don’t matter because she got them fourteen million dollars through Hessington Oil. Due to the recent merger all of this power struggle is understandable; Jessica is not used to being number two and Harvey is using Darby to push her out, so he doesn’t care about pissing her off to get his job done.
I am happy that this episode moved off of the themes of loyalty and betrayal because after Harvey forgave Mike, those themes didn’t seem as important in other plot lines because they were so minor compared to Mike’s betrayal. Also, this episode made the characters feel real, making the show extend beyond the confines of a television, because they are all cutthroat, to get ahead and follow their convictions. Moreover, with Harvey’s power move against Jessica her actual power is being questioned over and over, especially when she at first does not want Louis to go behind Harvey’s back and he tells her that she’s clearly not in charge anymore.
Another major part of the episode was whether the lawyers at Pearson Darby believed Ava Hessington. At first they were all sure that she had played a part in the murders that she was being accused for, but after a practice deposition, they all believed that she was genuinely innocent and would try to make right for what had happened. It was shocking to see that after they all believed that she was innocent that their convictions changed. At first Harvey demanded that Ava not speak, but after, he arranged to have her talk in front of her board before they voted. However, Louis had already talked to the board to vote Ava out, which will play out next week. I always wondered if I were a lawyer, if I could completely do my best for a client that I thought was guilty. Clearly the fact of whether a defendant’s lawyer believes he/she is innocent or guilty plays a big part into their strategy and ability to win.
There were a few small parts of the episode that struck me, also. Katrina’s loyalty to Louis and her change in personality made her a welcome character in this episode. Honestly, one of the reasons that this episode was miles better than the last was because Katrina is turning into a more dimensional and sympathetic character. Also, Donna’s “agreement” with Stephen concerns me because I don’t completely trust him and Donna is such a constantly loved character. Overall, this episode turned this season in the right decision, placing more emphasis on the power levels within Pearson Darby, especially concerning Jessica, and finally making Ava a sympathetic and innocent client.