Suits takes its story backwards in order to go forward this week, and it fits like the missing piece to a fantastic puzzle, giving us further insight into the characters and one line that we've waited what seems like forever to hear.
The episode starts in the present time, with Mike making Ferris Bueller's Day Off references when he meets Harvey to discuss something they're going to do that Jessica can't find out about. When Mike asks if what they're going to do will cross a line, "We've been crossing lines before we even ever met," Harvey tells him, before getting on a train. Yes, people still use trains.
Five years earlier, the references are to A Few Good Men, Mike and Trevor (Tom Lipinski) are still getting high together, and Harvey is senior associate at Pearson Hardman with his sharp eye firmly trained on partnership. When Jessica asks Harvey to look into who's been embezzling from their clients' escrow accounts, Harvey tells her he expects "a seat at the table" - so basically, "ambition" has been a key word in the Harvey Specter Dictionary for awhile now.
A mere fifteen minutes after he takes the case, Donna tells Harvey that associate Zoe Lawford (Jacinda Barrett) handles the five accounts in question. Since we learned last week that Zoe left the firm five years ago, that's one big, red flag. What did she have to do with Hardman's crime...or what did it have to do with pushing her out the door?
Back in the present, Mike goes to Rachel looking for her help wiith Monica Eton. "You don't know the real reason why she left," he says, which is our cue to step back five years again and briefly meet Monica when Harvey interrupts Louis' sad attempt to hit on her. Meanwhile, Past Mike is out at a bar with Trevor, which is where they meet Jenny (Vanessa Ray) for the first time, and we know how well that turned out.
Later that night Past Harvey tells Jessica that he followed the money and he thinks Louis is the man they're looking for, given how much money he's spending on orthodontic work and the racquet club. The next day, Jessica calls Louis into her office and puts the screws to him, but he thinks he's getting busted for sleeping on her couch and raiding Harvey's liquor, among other random indiscretions. Jessica kicks him out of her office and then chews Harvey out for bringing her the wrong man. Determined to nail the right person, Harvey decides to enlist Louis' help in his investigation instead. He happens to walk by Mike and Trevor on the street, leading Mike to declare, "If I ever look like that, shoot me."
Present Mike has located Monica, who's now working in retail, and presents her with a lawsuit for damages against Pearson Hardman, saying that "five years ago, you got screwed." She has no interest in "revisiting a story I spent the last five years trying to forget." That leads us right into remembering what happened to her: she was the other woman that Hardman was involved with. From then on, it's all about the flashbacks.
Having let "financial wizard" Louis look over the account data, Past Harvey tells Jessica that he'd stake his career on Hardman being the embezzler, and while Jessica is initially defensive, she can't argue with the numbers Harvey puts in front of her. He tells her to take it to the District Attorney, but she would rather give Hardman the courtesy of explaining himself first.
When she confronts him, Hardman tells Jessica that he stole the money to cover medical treatment for his wife, Alicia, who has stage four breast cancer. She's sympathetic and wants to give Hardman the chance to pay the money back, saying "Daniel is the reason why I'm here," but Harvey would rather kick him to the curb the way she was ready to do to Louis.