Allison: There's blood in the water, Harvey. You may have fended off this attack, but we're not the only ones circling.
Harvey: We fended you off, we'll fend off the rest.
Allison: With who? I got all your best senior associates. Your future. And I'm not done.
Harvey: We'll see about that. Lunch is on us. After all, we just landed a huge, new client.
Allison: You say "we", but I don't see your name on the door.

Allison Holt and Harvey Specter

Blood in the Water is the twelfth episode of the second season of Suits and the 24th overall. It first aired on January 24, 2013.


The war with Daniel may be over, but the battle has left Pearson Hardman vulnerable, and a rival's attack on the firm seems as personal as it is professional. Meanwhile, Louis and Mike are forced to pay the price for their actions.


"That's it? No fun banter? No witty repartee?"

Mike Ross finally decides to get rid of his stash of weed by vacuuming it and throwing it out with a bag of other things. At the office, Donna Paulsen waits for Harvey Specterto arrive to give him urgent news. But first, they discuss the change of name of Pearson Hardman; Harvey comments that "Pearson" does not have the same ring to it, and Donna suggests "Pearson Paulsen". She then changes the topic and asks about his weekend with Zoe Lawford before realizing through Harvey's odd behavior that the weekend never happened.

Moving onto business, Donna tells Harvey that he needs to meet with one of his clients, Trent Devon. He then asks for Mike and becomes furious when he finds out that Mike hasn't come in to work yet. During his meeting with Trent, Trent tells Harvey about his concerns about the changes at the firm and the effect it may have on his company and is even considering leaving Pearson Hardman for another firm.

"Today is day one of the Louis Litt rehabilitation program."

Meanwhile, Jessica Pearson also approaches Louis Litt about another client, Bernie Carillo, threatening to leave. Louis then confronts Jessica about not letting him hire Maria Monroe while she let Harvey hire a fifth-year. Jessica then retorts, reminding him that she had warned him about voting for Hardman against her, and she is willing to put that behind her if Louis contributes to the firm and does something about the leaving clients. Louis then finds Harold Gunderson and chastises him about the client.

When Mike finally comes in, he brings Donna her very precisely blended latte and does not listen when Donna tries to warn him about Harvey's mood. Harvey then starts reprimanding Mike and threatens to fire him if he does not "get his shit together", which Mike was doing that caused Mike to be late in the first place.

That night, Donna tells Harvey that he might have gone too far with Mike. She then quotes him telling Mike earlier that "People don't leave [him]," realizing that he might actually be referring to Zoe. He finally tells her that it is Zoe, and that she is leaving to take care of her niece whose father is dying. She then tells him that he shouldn't be taking out his frustrations on Mike.

"Here's to the wonderful world of being an associate."

Elsewhere, Mike is drinking alone at a bar when Jimmy Kirkwood appears and sits with him, saying he owes him one for making him quit Pearson Hardman, which then led him to work at Bratton Gould. He then tells him that working at that firm is great and then invites Mike to work with him. Mike refuses but finds out the names of two of the associates who will be transferring: Clarke and Owens. He then goes immediately to Harvey's apartment to tell him, and they realize that the firm must also be poaching their clients, particularly Trent Devon. Harvey then immediately thinks of Allison Holt and Daniel Hardman, speculating their involvement and their grudge against Pearson Hardman.

"Pearson Hardman is falling apart, and I'm telling you, the avalanche has already started."

The next day, Jessica and Harvey has a meeting with Allison Holt in their under construction building. When asked about it, Allison denies any involvement with Daniel, and they then tell her about the tortious interference claim they are filing against them for using privileged information to target their clients. Allison just scoffs at it and goes on to taunt them about more possible future attacks on the firm, saying everyone knows about the civil war the firm had gone through.

"You can't fire Mike!"

At the firm, Louis goes to Rachel Zane for an update about the Carillo contracts and finds out that they have lost the client. He then goes straight to Harold, despite Rachel's objections, and fires him in front of the other associates, warning them that they cannot afford incompetence at a time like that. Later, as Harold packs up his things, he tells Mike about how good he is and even shows him his record at Harvard which then impresses Mike enough to try to talk Louis out of firing him. Louis then lists some of the big mistakes Harold has made over his years at the firm. After getting Louis to agree, however, he set conditions that Mike will be responsible for Harold when he stays, which Mike does not agree to, given his already full load with Harvey's assignments.

"No one is leaving you."

Harvey and Donna then go over the clients and decide on tactics to woo them to keep them. Then, through his recent discovery from Harold, Mike comes in and tells them that two other fifth-year associates: McKinney and Kline, and that all four of these fifth-year associates are in fact the best ones under Louis.

"You and I... we're done."

Harvey then goes to confront Louis, assuming that Louis has been telling Allison Holt who to hire, which Louis denies. In a fit of anger, Harvey trashes Louis' desk and tells him that he is now unwanted in the firm.

Louis then sets up a meeting with Allison and offers to transfer to Bratton Gould. He asks her why they have been going after his associates but not him, and Allison replies that despite being aware of his very impressive record, his loyalties apparently waver according to Daniel Hardman. Louis then tells her that he is leaving Pearson Hardman because he is no longer wanted there, and when Allison points out the non-compete clause in his contract, he reveals that Jessica will waive the clause if he does not take clients with him. Because of this information, Allison gets away with only offering him a junior partnership which Louis questions but agrees to anyway.

"But you also said you've always trusted me, and I'm telling you, trust me one more time."

Harvey's clients are all secure except for Trent Devon. Mike finds out what deal Bratton Gould may have made with Trent. Mike finds out that a company, Flash-Start, has recently spoken about its interest in Trent's work, and apparently, Allison represents a hedge fund that's about to buy controlling interest. This deal will offer him a lot of money and he gets to run both companies. Harvey realizes that the deal is too good to be true, so he goes to Trent and tells him that he wants to check the terms of the agreement and will let him go if that is what he really wants.

Back at the office, Louis approaches Jessica and asks her to waive his non-compete contract terms so he could take a position at another firm. Jessica realizes that Allison had gotten to her, but Louis says he was the one who approached Allison, saying he got Harvey's message that he was no longer welcome at Pearson Hardman. Louis also tells her that he was not the one tipping off Allison about the good associates, and Jessica tells him that he was willing to give him one more chance because she knows what it was liked to be played by Daniel Hardman. Jessica, having no clue about what Harvey has done, tells Louis that she sees his worth and wants him to stay but waives his non-compete anyway.

Harvey later drops Mike off at the firm so he could find out what's too good about the deal, but not before Mike questions his real intentions at "helping" Trent. Before he could get into the building though, a man revealed to be Tess' husband jumps him. Mike recognizes him and apologizes, but Tess' husband continues to beat him up anyway, warning him to stay away from Tess.

"Let's just say that actions have consequences."

Louis, close to tears, leaves his resignation letter on Jessica's desk, packs his things and begins to leave when he sees a bleeding Mike stumbling from the elevator. Louis, who has experience with first aid kits because his cat often got into fights before, takes care of his wounds. Mike then asks him why he was about to leave when he saw him, and Louis tells him about Harvey no longer wanting him there. When Mike tells him that he should not quit for Harvey's sake, Louis tells him that his rivalry with Harvey was not always like this: that it was once healthy and was strictly in the office only, and once office hours are over, they "punched out", and so did their spiteful relationship. But now, apparently, Harvey never punches out anymore, and he cannot take any more of it any longer. Mike then suggests redeeming himself through action as well, starting with helping him on Trent's case.

The next day, Jessica tells Harvey that Louis is quitting because of him and rebukes him for it, saying he is off his game. Mike then walks in on them, and when Jessica sees his bruised face, he tries to explain himself but to no avail. Harvey then demands to know what happened to him, intent on kicking whoever beat him's ass, but Mike refuses to answer, telling Harvey that he does not want to because of the story he had told him about his parents in "High Noon". Harvey stops asking and tells him that he got off easy

Mike then tells him that the deal Trent will make with Allison will screw him over, that after the deal, they are just going to sell Trent's company and that the firm only wanted to take Trent away from Pearson Hardman as their client. Harvey realizes that Mike had help from Louis, and Mike tells him that he is now certain Louis didn't betray them.

Harvey later meets with Allison to tell her the bad news for Bratton Gould: Trent is letting go of Allison's deal and staying with Pearson Hardman, and that their hedge fund client, Edelson Investments, will also be moving to Pearson Hardman. Allison is apparently not disappointed. Allison then offers Harvey to come work at Bratton Gould. Harvey, of course, declines, and Allison questions his position and future at the firm. She then warns Harvey that the battle is just beginning for them, saying other firms now know that Pearson Hardman is vulnerable.

Meanwhile, Mike meets with Jimmy again. Jimmy is more than enthusiastic to recruit Mike, saying he will look good for bringing a good lawyer like Mike in, so he is disappointed when he finds out that Mike wanted him to hire Harold for him instead. He is, however, impressed by the grade Harold has on his resume and still owes Mike a favor, so he agrees.

"One day, what he is isn't going to be enough to make up for what he isn't." - Jessica talking about Mike

Harvey reports to Jessica his successes of the day, and Jessica commends him for it. Harvey then tells her that he and Mike were offered positions at Bratton Gould. When Harvey tells Jessica that he wants to be a name partner, though, she blows him off. Harvey insists that getting rid of the Hardman name of the firm will send out a message to the attacking firms that they are recovered, but Jessica counters that she will not rush a decision that big. She then compares Mike's lack of a degree to Harvey's lack of discretion.

Mike then talks to Rachel, telling her that Harold now has a job. Rachel, seeing Mike's shiner, then asks if her husband found out. She then tells him that she no longer cares, even after Mike tells her that he has ended things with Tess.

Harvey then goes to Louis with his resignation paper and tears it up in front of him, telling him without words that he does not want him to quit.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

Major/Highlighted Events

  • Harold Gunderson is fired from Pearson Hardman by Louis Litt.
  • Jimmy Kirkwood, who left the firm in "Undefeated" after leaking confidential information to rival law firm Wakefield-Cady, is now an associate at Bratton Gould. He reveals to Mike Ross that associates from Pearson Hardman have been jumping ship to Bratton Gould, and offers Mike a position there, which he declines. Because Jimmy owes Mike one (Mike had offered to either report him and get him blacklisted from other firms or to turn himself in, thus allowing him to gain employment at another firm), Mike has Jimmy vouch for Harold, who now becomes employed at Bratton Gould.
  • Allison Holt is now employed at Bratton Gould and has successfully poached all of the firm's top senior associates and attempts to steal Harvey Specter and his clients. Harvey manages to retain all of his clients, including Trent Devon, whom Allison had offered a bad deal. Allison offers Harvey senior partnership at Bratton Gould, which Harvey declines. When Harvey speaks up for his firm, however, Allison notifies him that it is Jessica's firm and not his, as his name is not on the door.
    • Harvey asks Jessica to be promoted to name partner, which she refuses due to his impulsive nature, citing how he wanted them to leave the firm the moment Daniel Hardman became managing partner. Harvey replies that he acts based on his gut, which Jessica states is a good quality for a closer but not for a leader. She then mentions all the reckless things Harvey has done, including hiring Mike, and she adds that one day what Mike is will not make up for what he isn't, which Harvey believes applies to him as well in Jessica's eyes.
  • Tess' husband assaults Mike for sleeping with his wife. Mike's wounds are treated by Louis, who had submitted his resignation to Pearson Hardman in order to become a junior partner at Bratton Gould, which he decided to do so after Harvey made it clear he was not wanted at the firm. Louis then helps Mike go through the financials of a case on his own time, thus exploiting the truth behind Trent Devon's new contract. Jessica had informed Louis that she didn't want him to go but would allow him to leave if he wished, a sentiment she passed on to Harvey, who later rips up the letter in front of Louis as he is packing up his things, showing Louis that he does not want him to leave either.

Cultural References


  • Goddamn Counter: 2
  • It is revealed that Louis' first class of associates are fifth-years, meaning that Louis' job overseeing the associates began five years ago.


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