Premiering in 2011 and running for nine seasons, the hit courtroom drama series Suits was one of the biggest television shows of the 2010s. The basic premise follows a brilliant though unambitious con man who is taken under the wing of a major Manhattan corporate lawyer despite not having a law degree.
With a range that spanned from comedic con jobs with a dash of triumph to devastating drama and even heartbreak, the series took fans on an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. With 134 episodes spread across the show’s nine seasons, these 10 episodes have come to viewed as the pinnacle of Suits.
10 ‘She Knows’ (Season 2, Episode 1)
After Season 1 thrived, offering courtroom thrills with a side of triumphant fun, the onus was on the Season 2 premiere to indicate what the show would be moving forward. It moved delightfully fast in that endeavor, with Jessica (Gina Torres) revealing to Harvey (Gabriel Macht) that she knew of Mike’s (Patrick J. Adams) secret and wanted Mike fired while a co-founder of the film made his return after a five-year hiatus.
It maintained Season 1’s stylistic flair while effectively bringing in characters and implementing ideas that would take the show in a slightly more dramatic direction. David Costabile was instantly a divine addition to the cast, giving the series regulars a great central antagonistic presence to rally against.
9 ‘Dog Fight’ (Season 1, Episode 12)
Suits often had a lot going on in any given episode, piling character development and cut-throat workplace politics on top of its sharp legal drama. The Season 1 finale, however — while not lacking character-centric plot points — was a shining example of how good the series could be at pure courtroom thrills.
The episode saw Harvey trying to free an innocent man only to be confronted by a district attorney who prioritizes the integrity of the legal system over the pursuit of justice. With high drama, passionate performances, and the mounting tension of the trial, “Dog Fight” was basic courtroom drama done to a phenomenal standard.
8 ‘Character and Fitness’ (Season 6, Episode 16)
Mixing intricate character work with the thrill of courtroom drama made Suits such a hit series for so long. That combination of narrative threads was rarely explored better within one episode than it was in the Season 6 finale, which contained big moments for all the show’s major characters.
Harvey and Mike’s plan to make Mike a legitimate lawyer faced an unexpected threat; Donna’s (Sarah Rafferty) business venture was hit with a lawsuit, while Louis’ relationship with Tara struck a rough patch because of his anger issues. With a desperate tension running throughout, the episode weaved all its elements together beautifully, capping one of the series’ strongest seasons off with a lively meshing of isolated narratives.
7 ‘This Is Rome’ (Season 4, Episode 10)
Season 4 was a bit of a lackluster outing from the series, which failed to capitalize on the show’s early, high-tempo energy, but it did strike gold with its mid-season finale, “This Is Rome.” It presented the closing of a chapter that was both unexpected and inevitable.
With Louis Litt resigning from Pearson Specter, the crew tries to help him get his affairs in order and plan for the next move while Harvey and Jessica fend off an outsider trying to poach clients. A wonderfully snappy episode, it left fans in surprise when the credits rolled and gave Rick Hoffman ample room to make the episode his own.
6 ‘One Last Con’ (Season 9, Episode 10)
While the series had its ups and downs throughout its 9 season run, Suits made sure it left its fans on a high with the series finale producing one of the best episodes of the entire show. With the firm facing the very real threat of discontinuation, Mike and Harvey work together and rally the partners to pull off one final con job.
The episode’s plot was loaded with the excitement and flair that the series so effortlessly flaunted at its peak. As fun, as it was thrilling, it masterfully hearkened back to key moments throughout the series while offering a satisfying, definitive conclusion for each of the major characters.
5 ‘Pilot’ (Season 1, Episode 1)
While pilot episodes are fundamentally important to introduce not only a show’s story but its ideas, themes, and tone, it is not uncommon for them to lack a stylistic flair that the series will develop as the show continues. Suits, however, hit the ground running from the get-go, giving fans a vibrant and fast-paced first episode that proved enthralling.
In addition to giving Mike and Harvey the perfect introductions, it also beautifully set the scene for their working situation and the risks they were willing to take. Fun-filled, thrilling, and a little cheeky as well, it debuted with impressive ratings and showed what the series was willing to do with its somewhat ridiculous premise.
4 ‘Faith’ (Season 5, Episode 10)
The fifth season of Suits sits arguably equal with its debut outing as the show’s best. A major reason for that was the significant rising stakes in the season’s second half, which were set in motion by the pulsating mid-season finale, which mixed present drama with revealing flashbacks into Mike and Harvey’s haunted pasts.
What made the episode so ground-breaking though, was its unbelievable ending which saw Mike resigning, so he could marry Rachel (Meghan Markle) with a clear conscience, only to be arrested by federal agents shortly after. The unbearable cliffhanger left fans on the edge of their seats and launched what would be the best chapter of the series at the back end of Season 5.
3 ‘High Noon’ (Season 2, Episode 10)
With much of Season 2’s first half building up to a decisive vote for the firm’s leadership, the mid-season finale seemed like it would drag out the result of Louis’ pivotal say for a grandstand finish. Instead, it revealed early on that Louis voted against Harvey and Jessica, making Daniel Hardman a managing partner.
The early narrative twist surprised many fans, but it ended up being a masterstroke as Harvey and Mike had to act fast to rectify the seemingly hopeless situation, giving the episode plenty of incentive and frantic momentum. It also served as a big episode for Mike, who spoke at his grandmother’s funeral and hit a snag in his teased romance with Rachel.
2 ‘P.S.L’ (Season 6, Episode 10)
Season 6’s mid-season finale was one of the show’s most shocking episodes. Harvey offered Mike a way back into the firm as a consultant. Mike aided Rachel and Jessica’s defense of an innocent client. Jessica rediscovered why she wanted to be a lawyer, prompting her to leave the company and leave for Chicago.
A seismic shift in the show’s trajectory forced fans to completely re-calibrate their expectations of what was to come while renewing the series’ driving bond between Mike and Harvey. It also marked Gina Torres’ last appearance as a series regular.
1 ’25th Hour’ (Season 5, Episode 16)
Arguably the episode that most altered the landscape of the series, “25th Hour” served as the finale for Season 5 and saw Mike face legal punishment for fraud. The episode shows the result of Mike’s acceptance of Anita Gibbs’ deal, resulting in him facing time in prison in exchange for her not pursuing Harvey and his associates.
Part of what made the episode so special was Gabriel Macht’s performance, with the ever-so-cool composure of Harvey melting away as he desperately searches for ways to help Mike but failing at every turn. It wonderfully broke the illusion of Mike and Harvey’s plot armor and ended on a poignant note long after the credits had stopped rolling.
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