“Suits” is a series on the USA Network, which follows the story of one lawyer and one pseudo-lawyer at Pearson-Hardman. The pilot introduces us to newly promoted Harvey Specter (who is by company policy required to hire an associate) and Mike Ross, a college dropout who writes LSATs for a living. Upon hearing his grandmother needs to be taken into full-time care Mike decides to sell drugs for his friend, Trevor, to cover hospital costs. After a faulty drug deal Mike runs into Harvey’s interviewing room. Due to his eidetic memory and wit, Harvey hires Mike despite not owning a legal degree. The overarching message behind this episode is that unethical behaviour will propel you to the top. Specifically, breaking the law, selfishness and blackmail are enough to do well at Pearson-Hardman.
Consider Mike Ross; in this episode the audience is introduced to a young man who got expelled for memorizing a math test and selling it to the dean’s daughter. While this too is a rule-breaking act, the act I will analyze is when he agrees to sell marijuana for his friend, Trevor. The agent in this case is Mike and his agency is the briefcase of marijuana and a suit he borrows from Trevor. The scene where the rule-breaking act takes place is in the Chilton hotel. Although this is rule-breaking behaviour, Mike is immediately absolved of guilt when the viewer realizes he only took this job so he can pay for his grandmother’s healthcare. Therefore, Mike is justified in his actions because he is following a higher calling, his grandmother’s health. During this act, Mike happens to run into Harvey Specter who takes a gamble on Mike and hires him. This contributes to the overarching message because thanks to Mike selling drugs (breaking the law), he is able secure a job that Harvard law’s top graduates fail to obtain.
Next, consider Harvey Specter; the pilot introduces him as a successful lawyer at Pearson-Hardman. In this episode Harvey is promoted to senior partner, only to be demoted later on in the episode. This is because Harvey lied to his client about
receiving funds for their deal; as a result, the client fires the firm. Harvey convinces Jessica Pearson to keep his promotion in exchange for a pro bono case that he must complete himself. Harvey agrees to these terms, then passes them onto his associate Mike Ross citing that he has more important things to take care of. The rule-breaking act in this case is the passing on the pro bono case to Mike and his agency is the folder with the case file in it. The purpose of his action is to concentrate on “more important” things than a pro bono case. By passing on this case to an associate Harvey was able to minimize the amount of work he put into this case and simultaneously keep his promotion (selfishness). This relates to the overarching message because this action shows how Harvey can keep his promotion even though he lied to his superior and did not complete the case himself.
Lastly, considering Mike and Harvey together, they both act unethically at Pearson Hardman. When Harvey first gets demoted, he plans on firing Mike because if anyone finds out about his “law degree” (or lack thereof) Harvey will get disbarred. However, to keep his position Mike blackmails Harvey by saying he will tell the Board of Ethics about himself thereby disbarring Harvey. As a result, Harvey agrees and uses the same argument against Jessica to keep his promotion (That if he gets demoted, he will tell the Board of Ethics that Jessica did not report Harvey about his lie to the client). The act in this case is the blackmailing, the agents: Harvey and Mike. The purpose of this act is to keep their jobs. This relates to the message of the episode because this act tells the audience that blackmail is justified when you want to keep your job.
The law is a standard where we decide right and wrong, moral and amoral & ethical and unethical. It holds that we obey it for justice and good faith. Despite its intention to deter bad behaviour, according to Suits Season 1 Episode 1 Pilot: (im)proper application of its terms are advantageous to the agent.
Suits (TV Series 2011) Trailer – (Official Exclusive). N.d. YouTube. YouTube, 10 Sept. 2011. Web. 31 Jan. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Zu0yYV2uYs>.