Mike Ross is not a lawyer. He just plays one ... in a law firm.
Ross, a college dropout wunderkind, works for New York's high-powered Pearson Specter firm—an associate attorney serving under the tutelage of closer Harvey Specter, a lawyer so ruthless that one has to wonder whether the notorious underworld organization from old James Bond flicks was named after him. Oh, Harvey does have a few more principles than that evil genius who always strokes his white cat ... but hiring lawyers with actual law degrees is apparently not one of them. Mike, blessed with a thorough understanding of the law and a photographic memory (and, really, who on television doesn't have one of those these days?) is just too bright to not hire (and, really, why should lawyers bother with such pesky details as the law?).
While Mike's secret was closely guarded in the beginning, now it's practically common knowledge. Donna, Harvey's legal secretary, knows. So does Rachel, a paralegal who has become Mike's main squeeze. Even Jessica—the Pearson part of Pearson Specter—figures out that Mike didn't graduate from Harvard. But at a law firm like this, big corporate intrigue is the rule of the day, so Mike's little personal secret is barely worth gossiping about at the water cooler.
Suits is all about internal power struggles, gratuitous grudges and—every now and then—courtroom drama. It's House of Cards without Capitol Hill, Game of Thrones without swords and nudity. Oh, and of course Suits must also live without any Emmy love; it's just not the sort of show you'd expect to see taking home a lot of awards.
Nor will it make many friends here at Plugged In. For some viewers, this may qualify as a soap-based guilty pleasure, but the emphasis is on the guilt, not the pleasure: Sex, seriously sour language and rampant bad behavior weigh as heavily on this show as a dumpster full of illicit legal briefs.
While it's certainly not the worst thing on television, it is a show that shamelessly shoots low. It doesn't try to be clean. It doesn't try to be meaningful. It doesn't even try to be good. It, like Harvey Specter, only wants to "win"—presumably its time slot.
Mike is working again at Pearson Specter, but struggling to deal with Rachel in the wake of her kissing another guy. (The two had been cohabiting, but Mike's now moved into a hotel for a while.) In pleading to patch things up, Rachel reminds Mike that she forgave him for an earlier affair. "I got over it without getting rid of it because forgiveness doesn't work that way," she tells him.
Louis is spending his time trying to bury evidence that he embezzled money. Then, given an opportunity to frame Harvey for his mistake, he instead appears to fess up at the end of the episode.
Lawyers are willing to stand up for one another and, at least to some degree, do some self-sacrificial things. On the other hand, we hear people talk about crime, cover ups, sleeping together and infidelity. They drink whiskey. They say the s-word nearly 20 times (uncensored on the iTunes instance we watched) and also give voice to other profanities like "a--," "b--ch," "h---" and "p---." We hear God's name misused a half-dozen times, half the time with "d--n."
"Conflict of Interest"
Pearson Darby is in an precarious position: Harvey is defending murder suspect Dr. Ava Hessington, the head of an oil company. Louis Litt, another attorney for the firm and Harvey's archrival, represents Hessington Oil, and he believes it'd be best for Hessington to step down. Much in-firm backbiting ensues as lawyers yell and fume and do everything but wag their fingers at one another.
Meanwhile, Donna strikes up a relationship with a visiting lawyer from across the pond. Their "arrangement" is cemented through a series of suggestive double entendres slyly referencing, for example, a man's arousal. Later, she brags about the sex they've been having.
Costumes can be revealing. Someone asks, somewhat longingly and kiddingly, whether Donna and Rachel are in a lesbian relationship. When a lawyer jokingly asks an assistant whether she would kill somebody for him, she replies, "You want a gun or a knife?" Characters use the s-word two-dozen times. Other curses include "h‑‑‑," "p‑‑‑," "douche" and at least eight misuses of God's name (three with "d‑‑n").