20 Things Wrong With Suits We All Choose To Ignore
The second half of Suits season 8 is now upon us, proving there’s still plenty of life left in the popular legal drama, even after the departure of major characters Mike Ross, Rachel Zane, and Jessica Pearson. Indeed, Gabriel Macht’s Harvey Specter has demonstrated he’s more than capable of keeping the show afloat without the aid of series super couple Mike and Rachel
To the delight of fans, rather than showing signs of winding down, Suits is actually ramping up. Not only is the show expected to be renewed for another season, but Pearson – a spinoff headlined by former series regular Gina Torres, who plays Harvey’s mentor, Jessica Pearson – is set to drop later this year.
Not that any of this should really come as a surprise: Suits has enjoyed consistently strong ratings and decent reviews since it debuted in 2011. There’s a lot that Suits gets right, from its likeable roster of glamorous characters through to its breezy approach to the genre. At the same time, it also has to be acknowledged that Suits has succeeded despite several obvious shortcomings that audiences generally seem content to overlook so they can enjoy the show. Some of these weak points stem from poorly-handled storytelling, others relate to the series’ often wildly inaccurate depiction of the legal profession, and the rest tend to be a combination of both.
Here’s a round-up of 20 Things Wrong With Suits We All Choose To Ignore, which even a formidable “closer” like Harvey would have a tough time defending!
20 Harvey And Mike Are Experts In Every Area Of Law
There is absolutely no way that Harvey Specter and Mike Ross could’ve represented most of their clients throughout Suits’ first seven seasons. In the real world, the only lawyers who personally cover multiple areas of law operate out of small, general practices. Hotshot legal eagles like Harvey and Mike, who work for large firms, only practice one specific area of law, and they’re either transactional or litigation experts.
Plot developments like Harvey (who ostensibly practices corporate and tax law) poaching a client from rival Louis Litt (a corporate finance specialist) simply wouldn’t happen. Obviously, having the heroes work for varied clients with unique dilemmas each week adds to Suits’ entertainment value, but if the showrunners were going for accuracy, Harvey and Mike would be forced to refer this work to one of their peers!
19 How Does Mike Maintain His Secret So Long?
The core of Suits’ premise is that Mike Ross never qualified to practice as a lawyer. It goes without saying that this causes headaches for Mike and Harvey – along with anyone else they share his not-so-little secret with – for the much of the show’s run. Yet this really shouldn’t have been such a long-running issue for the pair, since Mike should have been publicly outed as a fraud by the end of Season 1.
Harvey and Mike vet opposing counsel in the lead-up to a trial, probing for any weakness to exploit – and it stands to reason that their opponents do the same. How come nobody discovered that Mike hadn’t earned his college diploma (much less secured a law degree) or participated in any undergrad work experience programs?
18 Pearson Hardman’s “Harvard Only” Hiring Policy
Plenty of real law firms only hire candidates who graduate from Ivy League schools, whether they openly admit it or not. That doesn’t mean that Pearson Hardman’s “Harvard only” associate recruitment policy holds up to scrutiny. After all, it drastically reduces the number of potential quality candidates that the firm has access to – a fact even the most ardent Harvard alumnus would be hard pressed to overlook.
This firm by-law also belittles the academic chops of other top flight institutions to an absurd extent, even when “school pride” and snobbery are taken into account. It just doesn’t fit that a smart operator like Jessica Pearson would perpetuate a policy that needlessly excludes other graduates from other universities – especially Yale, whose law school arguably has a better reputation than Harvard’s!
17 Being A Lawyer Is not glamorous
Admittedly, virtually every movie and TV show set within the legal industry perpetuates the myth that lawyers lead rock star lifestyles, but Suits takes things to another level. Sure, there are perks to working for a big firm – healthy paychecks and dining out at exclusive restaurants with clients come to mind – but there are plenty of drawbacks, too.
The majority of legal work involves many, many hours of emphatically unglamorous research work in drab offices connected by corridors that are cluttered by boxes of files. Obviously, this doesn’t quite square with the "baller" day-to-day routine enjoyed by Harvey Specter and his high-flying peers in Suits – something prospective lawyers reading this list should bear in mind!
16 Everyone Is So Young
It stands to reason that Mike Ross and Rachel Zane – as a freshly hired associated and senior paralegal, respectively – are played by actors in their twenties/early thirties in Suits. They were just starting out in the industry, so it's only natural that they would skew towards the younger end of the age spectrum favored by TV shows.
Their bosses’ apparent ages are much less natural, however. When we’re first introduced to Jessica, Harvey, and Louis, they’re all in their early forties, at most. It’s highly improbable (although technically, not impossible) that the trio would have ended up in such senior roles – and before too long, they’re all name partners – given how relatively young they are. The show would be decidedly less dreamy, but sadly, old white dudes should really be filling their shoes, instead.
15 Why Does Harvey Risk It All On Mike?
Harvey Specter is a maverick who possesses a level of self-confidence that regularly spills over into outright arrogance. It’s totally in-character for him to view himself as above petty concerns like the Pearson Hardman by-law that stipulates that associates must be Harvard Law School graduates. Even so, hiring Mike Ross – who didn’t attend any law school, let alone HSL – was an insanely big gamble.
Sure, Harvey was looking for someone who possessed similar qualities to himself, but even if Mike ticked all the right boxes, recruiting him meant risking his career and possibly even jail time. Are we expected to believe that Harvey is so conceited that he’s willing to stake his entire future on someone he’s only just met? It seems like a bit of a stretch, even for a white-collar renegade like Harvey.
14 All the Rapid-Fire Casework
Part of the appeal of Suits – and yet another reason why it’s inspired a generation of younger viewers to pursue a career in law – is that it depicts the law as moving at breakneck speed. This makes for an entertaining show filled with nail-biting moments, as we watch with bated breath, hoping that Harvey and Mike will be able to outsmart and outmanoeuvre their opponents in time.
Too bad the actual legal system doesn’t work that way. On the contrary, in the real world, complex litigation tends to move at a far more glacial pace. And while the environment is undeniably stressful, it’s mostly more of the “slow burn” than pulse-pounding variety. This applies to even the most interesting, high-profile legal matters – so we’re not sure that Harvey and Mike are cut out for the real-life legal world.
13 Mike's LSAT Scam Wouldn't Work
Before landing a sweet gig at Pearson Hardman, Mike Ross was paying the bills by sitting the Law School Admission Test on other people’s behalf. He was apparently able to do this for quite some time, as he only gave the game away in the pilot episode after a proctor recognized him as someone who had already sat the exam.
Realistically, Mike would have struggled to pull off this scam once; getting away with it repeatedly is out of the question. See, Mike’s scheme involves wearing a hat pulled low to hide his face, and discreetly dropping off the completed test paper as he exits the room. In reality, participants are banned from wearing non-religious head coverings, and papers are collected by officials-- specific measures designed to prevent this kind of fraud!
12 There Wasn’t Enough Fallout From The Mike Reveal
Season 5 of Suits wrapped with Mike arrested for conspiracy to commit fraud – which is totally in-line with how someone who’d illegally practised law for several years would be charged. The following season, he goes to prison: again, nothing out of the ordinary here. However, by the end of season 6, Mike has not only found work at a legal clinic after serving a reduced sentence, but Harvey brings him back to the firm in season 7!
This doesn’t really add up. Mike’s criminal record would prohibit him from working within the legal profession in any capacity, whether that be a legal clinic or a firm. That’s not the only isue, either: how come we never learn that every single case Mike ever worked on has been reopened and re-tried?
11 The Amount Of Backstabbing And Infighting
Granted, open conflict, covert betrayals, and complex internal politics are part and parcel of working at a prestigious law firm in the real world. Better still, this aspect of the professional environment is a recipe for compelling drama – it's unsurprising that Suits leans heavily into this side of things.
At the same time, it’s downright remarkable that a firm as dysfunctional as Pearson Hardman (in all its different iterations) could remain in business, much less thrive. The constant upheaval in senior management – and the continual firm rebranding – would have far more negative widespread (internal and external) consequences than what we see in the series.
10 Hardman Falls For The "Signed" Affidavit
Pearson Hardman co-founder Daniel Hardman is many things, but a fool isn’t one of them. That's why he’s proven to be such a thorn in the side of legal heavyweights like Harvey Specter and Jessica Pearson. So when he’s outfoxed by Mike Ross’ simple ruse in season 2 episode “High Noon”, it doesn’t quite ring true.
In case you need a quick recap, Mike hoodwinks Hardman with a damaging affidavit that torpedoes his campaign to regain control of the firm – a document Mike sneakily signed himself. Let’s be honest: the idea that a shrewd customer like Hardman wouldn’t go over that affidavit with a fine-toothed comb and immediately notice Mike’s signature is pretty hard to swallow.
9 Mike Never Gets A Law Degree
If only Mike had qualified to be a lawyer at the local night school soon after he was hired. This way – so long as Harvey kept Mike out of the courtroom itself until the day he officially passed the bar exam – the pair would only have been guilty of breaking Pearson Hardman policy, rather than committing a crime.
Sure, it would have been tough to conceal internally – people would probably start questioning why Harvey’s promising new associate never set foot in a court room – and it does make his deception more easily traceable. Still, we’d rather run the risk of losing our job than face the prospect of jail time!
8 Nobody Applies To Work At Pearson Specter Litt
When it becomes public knowledge that Mike Ross has been practicing law without a license, it isn’t just Mike who has to deal with the resulting blowback. Pearson Specter Litt also suffers severe damage after the revelation that each of its name partners knowingly employed a fake lawyer. This lead to a mass staff exodus, as nobody wanted to be linked with the ensuing scandal.
Suits season 6 would have us believe that no new candidates applied to fill the void these outgoing employees left – but we don’t buy it. Yes, potential applicants would definitely think twice about being tainted by the Pearson Specter Litt brand. However, it’s absurd to suggest that no one would apply for a position at a once-prestigious New York firm, especially given the relative scarcity of positions at top-flight practices.
7 Mike's Computer Password
Mike Ross is blessed witha brilliant mind and a photographic memory, which makes it baffling that he initially sets his work computer password to “Ross99”. Why would a guy like Mike opt for such a laughably weak security measure, when he could devise something so insanely complex that only he could memorize it?
Of course, the out-of-universe explanation for this is that the Suits creative team wanted to illustrate how much of a “fish out of water” Mike was in a legal environment. As someone with no previous experience working for a top-tier law firm, Mike had never been instructed on the finer points of password creation. Even so, computer password best practice is old news even to non-lawyers, so it seems out of character that someone as sharp as Mike would drop the ball like this.
6 The Associates Use Books To Research
On the rare occasion that Suits deigns to show Mike Ross or Rachel Zane researching a case late into the night, they’re almost always shown burying their noses in phone book-sized legal tomes. On a storytelling level, this is an instance of the show getting things right: to the average viewer, these gigantic hardbacks serve as effective short-hand for “boring legal homework.”
To actual legal professionals, though, these scenes look hilariously anachronistic. As any lawyer could tell you, Mike and Rachel are far more likely to burn the midnight oil seated at their PC, logged into online research portals and databases. It’s actually extremely rare for anyone other than older practitioners to resort to pouring over physical books.
5 Leonard Bailey's Life Shouldn't Be At Stake
For this entry, we’re zeroing in one specific example of Suits being out of sync with the legal system it supposedly emulates: the fight to save Leonard Bailey’s life. If you recall, Rachel Zane (and later, Jessica Pearson) spends part of season 6 trying to have Leonard acquitted, in order to cancel his lethal injection.
It’s all very tense, as both women draw upon their formidable prowess as lawyers to spare Leonard from his unjust fate, but it’s also complete fantasy. New York stopped using capital punishment in 2004, the year Leonard was sentenced. He should either have received life in prison right out of the gate, or had his existing sentence commuted to a life imprisonment term at some point in that year.
4 Hoyt Nearly Loses His Company In A Poker Game
In fairness to the Suits writing staff, several elements of the case at the heart of season 2’s poker-oriented episode “All In” check out. A contract can indeed be drafted on a napkin as shown, and you could theoretically put up a company as collateral in order to buy your way back into the game. Mike even correctly identifies the three components all legally-binding contracts need: offer, acceptance and consideration.
There’s just one major thing that the episode overlooks: Keith Hoyt was intoxicated when he entered into the contract. As such, having it rendered voidable should have been a slam dunk for a lawyer of Harvey Specter’s caliber – something the show conveniently ignores!
3 How Was Mike Hired In The First Place?
Here's another issue with Mike’s recruitment to Pearson Hardman: how was he even hired in the first place? Forget about Harvey Specter disregarding Mike’s ineligibility to join for legal and company policy reasons, how did he manage to put one over on Human Resources?
After all, a law firm of Pearson Hardman’s size would definitely have a HR team to handle the associate onboarding process, and part of this would include a full background check. At that point, they would have flagged to Harvey – and almost certainly Jessica Pearson – that there’s no record of Mike earning a Bachelor’s degree, much less going on to attend Harvard Law School.
2 Donna Destroys The Evidence
Suits’ Donna Paulson is a legal secretary whose abilities border on the supernatural – as her boss Harvey Specter once noted “Donna never makes mistakes.” Except, of course, when she destroyed evidence that supported a fraud accusation against Harvey in season 2. The emotional motivations underlying this reckless behavior make perfect sense: Donna was acting out of loyalty to Harvey.
However, given how close their relationship is, she had to know her actions would make him livid. Tampering with evidence is both a crime and goes against Harvey’s code of ethics.Why didn’t she simply approach Harvey first? As one of his closest friends and confidants, she’s free to speak candidly with him – and plan out a more legally-complaint course of action, instead.
1 It Regularly Fails The Bechdel Test
For those unfamiliar with it, the Bechdel test is tool that aims to ensure the presence of more than one female character of substance in any given film, TV show, or comic book, asking that these women be preoccupied by more than simply talking about the men in their lives.
Despite being a series with several intelligent, successful, empowered female characters – like Jessica Pearson, Rachel Zane, and Donna Paulson – Suits flunks the Bechdel test regularly. Later seasons do address this somewhat, but the majority of female-led storylines over the course of the show’s run have revolved around male characters at the expensive of more meaningful narrative developments for the women.
Did we miss any other things wrong with Suits? Let us know in the comments!