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"Hey, did you tell Susan's parents you were me the other day?"
"The other day? No, I was in Cairo the other day.
"

Alex Williams and Louis Litt

Cairo is the fourth episode of the ninth season of Suits and the 128th overall. It first aired on August 7, 2019.

Synopsis

Faye decides to take action against Harvey and Donna's relationship. Harvey looks to impress Donna's father.

Plot

S09E04Promo07 - Harvey Donna

Harvey and Donna discuss Jim Paulsen

At Harvey Specter's apartment, Donna Paulsen is making Harvey a cup of coffee to discuss the fact that she is meeting her father, Jim Paulsen. for breakfast and wants Harvey to tag along so that they can share the news of their relationship together. Harvey points out that Jim isn't a fan of him as he had threatened Jim's livelihood in the past to prevent him from taking Donna's money, along with Jim accusing Harvey of putting Mike Ross ahead of Donna, referencing when Anita Gibbs brought him in to pressure Donna into incriminating Harvey.

Faye Richardson goes to see Katrina Bennett at her office to ask her why she brought Susan Carter to her the other day, adding that she knows Katrina didn't do so because Susan wished to owe up to her mistake. Katrina replies that she handled it as she saw fit after Faye claims Susan should have been reported. Impressed, Faye tasks Katrina with drafting a code of conduct for the firm, Katrina realizing that the partners would take it better coming from a fellow partner and not Faye herself. Katrina agrees on the condition she drafts the code as she sees fit, which Faye would not be allowed to amend; Faye would have to either accept it wholesale or refuse it, and Faye says that her condition is an indication she made the right choice in picking her.

Alex Williams' Office (9x4)

Craig Cameron blackmails Alex Williams

A flashback is then shown, taking place 8 years ago, where Thomas Bratton goes to Alex Williams' office offering him Masterson Construction as a client. Alex is hesitant as he believed Craig Cameron, a fellow attorney at Bratton Gould, was in line to have Masterson, although Bratton informs him that he believes Alex is a better fit as he has a wife and children and therefore understands the value of being part of a family, adding that whether Alex accepts or refuses, Craig would not get Masterson. In the present day, Craig pays Alex a visit at Specter Litt Wheeler Williams for a favor, wanting the firm to tank its case against Panasonic. Craig reveals that Bratton tipped him off about Masterson's crimes prior to his dismissal, with Craig threatening to expose Alex for his crimes if he does not get the attorney on the other side, Samantha Wheeler, to take the deal he has proposed.

Louis Litt storms into the conference room, insulting a man and woman he believes to be opposing attorneys, only to find out they are Susan Carter's parents. He makes it seem like he was merely showing them what not to do and leaves, telling them his real name is actually Alex Williams. Louis then goes to find Gretchen and discusses if he can get her back, as Norma's granddaughter is his temp secretary and is incompetent. Gretchen tells Louis that if he wants her back early, he would have to personally ask Faye.

James Paulsen (9x4)

Jim attends breakfast with Donna

Meanwhile, Donna goes to breakfast with her father and notifies him that she is with Harvey, although he has personal misgivings regarding Harvey. Donna tells him that Harvey would jump in front of a train for her, although Jim states that she deserves someone who puts her needs above his own in when it's not a life-or-death situation, adding that he trusts her judgment.

A flashback is shown once again of Bratton Gould 8 years ago, where Craig confronts Alex about poaching Masterson from him. Alex attempts to explain that Bratton had given it to him and attempts to split another client, Mayfield Foods, with Craig, although Craig refuses as Mayfield is a tenth of Masterson and that he wouldn't get his bonus that year.

Samantha's Office (9x4)

Alex asks Samantha Wheeler to tank her case

Back in the present, Alex is musing about that incident before walking into Samantha's office, asking her to take Craig's offer. Samantha deduces that Alex wants her to take Craig's offer as Craig has something on him and surprises Alex when she asks if it's about the Masterson corruption and his involvement in it, having been made aware of it due to being Robert Zane's fixer. Samantha mentions that if she took the bad deal, Faye would find it suspicious and look into it and that Alex should simply tell Faye about it. Alex replies that he cannot, as he covered up a crime despite Samantha's rationalization that he was framed, adding that he has two daughters and he does not want them to know that their father did that. Samantha asks what Rosalie Williams thinks, only to realize Alex's wife does not know; Samantha then tells him to tell Rosalie that night.

Donna returns to the firm to find Faye waiting for her in her office. Faye tells Donna that she's aware that she and Harvey are in a relationship, and citing that 2 out of the 5 people in firm management being in a relationship causes them to have influence over the other and therefore tells Donna that she must give up her power to vote. Donna is aghast and asks why she must give her vote away and not Harvey, with Faye replying that it is because Harvey is a senior partner and a former managing partner. However, Faye offers to accept Harvey's vote in exchange for Donna's if the pair reach an agreement, stipulating that if they do not, she will choose who loses their vote.

Donna then goes to the copy room where she is found by Harvey. Harvey notices that Donna is upset about something when Donna mentions giving up something important to her because of their relationship, although when Harvey inquires into it, Donna tells Harvey it is because of her father, adding that she can't be with someone who can't get along with her father and that Harvey never even told Lily, his mother. Harvey replies that he didn't think he had to, and before she leaves, Donna responds that it is because Lily was not an important part of Harvey's but that her father is.

Louis confronts Katrina in the women's restroom, asking her to sneak in a clause into her code of conduct, having discovered it on Faye's desk after going to her office to ask for Gretchen back. Louis' proposed clause would place personnel reassignments under the purview of the name partners, preventing a Special Master from taking secretaries. Katrina replies that his clause is a by-law and not a code of conduct, but after he is adamant that she insert it in anyways, tells him that she would try.

Lily Specter (9x4)

Lily talks to Harvey

In Harvey's office, he gives Lily a call, telling her Donna is the one. Lily tells him that she has rooted for him and Donna to get together for years, shocking Harvey and prompting him to ask how she knows who Donna is, although she explains Marcus Specter had told her, as he too was a fan of Donna. The pair discuss Jim, with Harvey asking for help how to make amends, and Lily states that Harvey has a generous heart and that he should go to Jim and make a gesture, offering to talk to Jim if that doesn't work out.

S09E04Promo10 - Alex Rosalie

Alex and Rosalie in a flashback

In another flashback, Alex comes home to see Rosalie showing a video on her iPhone of one of their daughters having learned to walk. Alex informs her how a guard working at one of Masterson's prisons slipped him a note about a prisoner's death being covered up and how the guard was then murdered by an inmate, claiming that he would get to the bottom of it.

In the present, Alex returns home, notifying Rosalie that he intentionally ate dinner at the office in order to come home late as he wanted to have a conversation with her after their daughters had gone to sleep. Alex comes clean about his involvement covering up Masterson's crime, stating that he was framed and covered it up to protect his family. Rosalie asks why Alex is telling her the truth now and back then, to which Alex replies that it is because he is being threatened by Craig and that he didn't tell her before because she would have made him come forward, which would have affected their family and wouldn't bring back the two dead men. Rosalie is angered, as she and Alex had discussed the mistreatment of people of color and helping them during their time at Harvard Law School, only for Alex to help Masterson extend prisoner sentences. Alex claims that it killed him to do so, and Rosalie excuses herself to process what she had just been told.

S09E04Promo13 - Donna Faye

Donna confronts Faye Richardson

Donna confronts Faye in her office, not wanting to lose her vote, and explains to Harvey that the two not only influence each other, but balance the other out. However, when Faye replies that individual circumstances do not matter, Donna mentions mentions Faye's ex-husband, believing it is personal for Faye since she and her ex-husband had a conflict of interest at work, adding that she and Harvey aren't them. Faye is angered that Donna mentioned her ex-husband and replies that it isn't a negotiation and that the next day she would revoke one of their votes due to the conflict of interest.

Jim Paulsen (9x4)

Jim disapproves of Harvey's actions

Harvey goes to a restaurant to make amends with Jim, and while Jim is initially appreciative of Harvey's efforts, he is insulted when Harvey reveals he looked into Jim's business and found a deal going wrong for him and therefore pulled strings to aid him. Harvey is confused as to Jim's reaction, considering his help a gesture, only for Jim to say that he hopes he treats Donna better than he treated him before leaving. Louis goes to see Katrina in her office to ask whether she had placed the clause into the code of conduct, and she tells him that she did not and will not be doing so as it is goes against her character. Louis is infuriated that she will not help get rid of Faye and mentions Katrina being sneaky in the past to aid him and uses their friendship as leverage, which Katrina does not appreciate. Katrina retorts that due to recent events, she has reflected on what kind of lawyer she wants to be and dismisses Louis after refusing his clause.

Samantha Wheeler's Office (9x4)

Rosalie asks Samantha for help

Another flashback is shown of Alex going to Bratton's office to notify him that the guard had slipped him a letter and then was murdered. However, Bratton responds that if Alex were to come forward, he would complicit as he was the one who had the waiver signed that granted Masterson the power to use prisoners as workers, and in addition, Masterson had paid him a big bonus when the prisoner and guard died. Alex states that he did not get a bonus recently, only for Bratton to reply that there is indeed a bonus waiting for him in his account, indicating to Alex that Bratton is involved. Samantha walks into her office to find Rosalie there waiting for her, wanting to go after Craig for coming after her husband by finding dirt on him, and asks her for her help, which she agrees to do.

Harvey Specter's Office (9x4)

Donna and Harvey argue in his office

In Harvey's office, Donna berates Harvey for insulting Jim and thinking he's better than her. Harvey immediately asks Donna what is wrong, stating that while he may have made a mistake with him, he knows that Donna knows that he doesn't think he is better than her. Donna then divulges the truth about Faye planning to revoke her voting power, maddening Harvey. As Harvey attempts to head to Faye's office to protest her actions, Louis walks in, notifying Harvey that he is going to talk to Faye about getting Gretchen back. Harvey tells him that Faye is trying to take Donna's vote away and that he would be talking to Faye right now; when Louis proposes that they go together as a united front, Harvey responds that they do not have enough leverage to demand more than one thing, and that Donna's vote trumps Louis gaining Gretchen back. Louis is angered that Harvey is placing his wants over his, only for Harvey to lash out that Faye's presence is Louis' fault for signing over the firm to her without putting up a fight. This causes Louis to angrily retort that Faye being Special Master is his fault since she only took over their firm due to Robert and Jessica Pearson's disbarment, both of which happened because of Harvey, the latter of which because he hired Mike knowing he was a fraud. Louis then storms up while Donna prevents Harvey from lashing out further, explaining that he and Louis got angry because they were insulted, which is exactly what Jim felt. Harvey then goes to the bullpen, where Louis is idling. Harvey and Louis apologize and Harvey states that it's time they use Louis' idea to use a clause.

In yet another flashback, Alex calls home to inform Rosalie that he would not be home for dinner, with Rosalie adding that this would be five nights in a row that he has missed dinner at home. Alex hangs up the phone as Craig walks into his office, asking for half of Masterson as they are working with Reform Corp. and could use two lawyers. Wanting to protect Craig from being trapped in the same way he is and forced to commit a crime, Alex refuses and infuriates Craig, who believes Alex is too greedy to share a massive client, adding that he would not be able to move up without Masterson's business as he needs it to fulfill his quarter.

S09E04Promo08 - Samantha Alex Harvey

Harvey informs Alex and Samantha of his plan

In the present day, Alex goes to Samantha's office, aware that Rosalie came to see her as he states he knows his wife and that she would protect her own. Samantha explains that Rosalie wants her to fight dirt on Craig, although Alex, wanting to protect Rosalie, asks Samantha to let him handle it. Harvey then walks in and informs the pair that there are things going on that he is going to notify them of, and that tomorrow morning they would all put a stop to it.

Name Partners & Special Master

The four name partners meet with Faye

While working in her office, Katrina is interrupted by the arrival of Louis, who apologizes for using their friendship to have her do something shady for him. He then asks if she can still add something to her code of conduct, although when Katrina asks what the difference is from his first request that she declined, he responds that the first time he tried to sneak something past her while this time, he intends to make her aware of the clause. The next morning, Louis, Harvey, Alex and Samantha go to Faye's office to save Donna's vote. They all mention the interpersonal relationships they have, such as Louis naming Donna his child's godmother and Samantha having dinner at Alex's house, although Faye chalks it up to it being friendship and not a relationship and claims there is still a conflict of interest. Louis then reveal that Katrina's code of conduct has a clause that allows the name partners to waive said conflict and that they all have done so. The four also threaten to quit if she does not respect their legal rights to waive conflict, reminding her that she would have to explain to the State Bar why four name partners resigned after she did not let them do something that was their legal right.

S09E04Promo12 - Gretchen Faye

Faye announces Donna can keep her vote

Later that night, Faye goes up to Gretchen and asks her if she informed Donna about her personal history regarding her ex-husband, although Gretchen merely asks if Faye had spied on her to find out the truth about Donna and Harvey. Faye adds that it was painful to have the incident with her ex-husband mentioned, and Gretchen replies that it was painful for her to be taken away from Louis and that Donna found it painful to be mistreated. Faye claims she is learning things as well and apologizes, stating that she told Donna she could keep her vote and asks Gretchen whether Louis would prefer hearing it from herself or Gretchen that she could return to being Louis' secretary, and with a smile, Gretchen responds that Louis would like hearing it from Faye.

Craig Cameron's Office

Samantha goes to see Craig at Bratton Gould

At Bratton Gould, Samantha walks into Craig's office and offers a counter-offer, which he refuses. She then presents with a file with unknown information that he reads. After perusing the contents of the file, Samantha tells him that if he reports Alex, Alex would not go to prison, but that if he did that, she would report him for his crimes, which would lead to him being imprisoned. Craig then tries to take Samantha's counter-offer, although she notifies him that the deal is no longer on the table and that she would beat him in court the old-fashioned way.

Harvey Specter's Apartment (9x4)

Harvey and Jim make amends

Harvey invites Jim to his apartment to apologize, explaining that he had spoken to Donna and that he did not see that his gesture was disrespectful just as Jim did not see that Harvey's offer to help him with his business deal with well-intention. The two make up and Jim asks if it isn't too late to accept Harvey's help for his business deal, with Harvey telling him that it isn't. Rosalie returns to Samantha's office to ask why she took care of Craig herself, and Samantha responds that after Rosalie accepted her to her home for dinner, she saw what it was to have a family and realized she wanted to protect them. Rosalie praises Samantha, as does Alex, who walks into the office. Alex invites her to their home for family game night, and when Samantha replies that he should do that with his family, Alex states that Samantha is his family.

Harvey & Donna (9x4)

Harvey and Donna embrace

In her apartment, Donna finishes leaving a voicemail for Rachel Zane when Harvey walks in, telling her that he and her father were on good terms. Harvey then tells Donna if they are going to be in a relationship, she needs to trust him with the truth and if something is bothering her even if she doesn't want him to act on it. Donna then humorously asks what he means by if they were to be in a relationship, to which Harvey replies that they would be together forever. Donna jokingly takes that as a proposal and stumbles through her words when Harvey mentions that there would be no point officially proposing to her because whatever way he did it would not be the way she would want him to do it, and therefore it didn't matter. Donna then asks Harvey if they're engaged and it is Harvey's turn to stutter, although Lily calls him, saving him from the conversation. He answers the call and tells her that the Jim issue was resolved before putting the call on speakerphone and introducing Donna and Lily to each other. Harvey then attempts to end the call, only for Donna to take the phone and talk to Lily, while Harvey looks at her and smiles.

Cast

Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

Major/Highlighted Events

  • Craig Cameron, an attorney at Bratton Gould whom Thomas Bratton elected not to give Masterson Construction to, threatens to expose Alex Williams to the U.S. Attorney's Office for covering up murder if he does not get Samantha Wheeler to tank a case against him, although Samantha finds dirt on him to settle the matter.
  • Faye Richardson discovers that Harvey Specter and Donna Paulsen are in a relationship, and claiming a conflict of interest, tells Donna that she would be losing her voting power. Faye also has Katrina Bennett create a code of conduct for the firm, although Katrina adds in a clause that allows name partners to waive conflict, allowing Donna to keep her voting power.
  • Donna tells her father, Jim Paulsen, about herself and Harvey, causing an initial friction as Harvey and Jim do not see eye-to-eye. However, Harvey is able to make amends with Jim and introduces Donna to his mother, Lily.

Trivia

Quotes

Craig: What the fuck? You're taking Masterson?
Alex: Craig, before you say anything, I tried to say no.
Craig: And that's the kind of thing that someone says when they didn't try at all.
Alex: They framed me, Rosalie. If I came forward, I was going to prison too. And for what? It wasn't gonna bring those two people back.
Rosalie: You said they were extending sentences. People of color. It's what we talked about back in law school, and you just let them keep right on doing it.
Alex: You think it didn't kill me to do that?
Rosalie: I wouldn't know what it did to you because you didn't bother to tell me.
Louis: We'll kill two birds with one stone.
Harvey: You're not coming anywhere. We only have so much leverage. Donna losing her vote trumps you getting Gretchen back, and we have to pick our battles.
Louis: And what a surprise, the battle we're picking is yours. Well, I'm not having it. I say we go in there as a united front and get it all back at once.
Harvey: And I say we wouldn't have to go in there at all if you hadn't have let her into our house in the first place.
Donna: Harvey.
Louis: What'd you just say to me?
Harvey: You heard me. You let her in here, and you didn't even put up an ounce of resistance.
Louis: Are you fucking kidding me? She's here because Robert Zane fell on his sword for you. And let's just go back a little further. She also wouldn't be here if Jessica hadn't been disbarred, which only happened because you hired Mike Ross. So if you want to blame someone for Faye being here, look in the goddamn mirror!
Craig: Masterson has the new Reform Corp project. They have a huge amount of business. They can handle two lawyers. [...] I need this, or I'm not gonna make my quarter. I'll never move up.
Alex: And I'm telling you, you don't want Masterson.
Craig: That's bullshit! I've wanted Masterson for a year and a half. Are you really that greedy that you can't share a tiny piece of your success with me?
Alex: God damn it, Craig, I told you, it's Mayfield or nothing. I offered it to you once, I'm offering it to you again. So take it or fucking leave it, but leave me the hell alone!
Harvey: Donna, you know we're gonna be together forever, right?
Donna: Well, not if that's how you're gonna ask me.
Harvey: Doesn't matter how I ask you.
Donna: Why not?
Harvey: Because we both know however I ask, it won't be exactly the way you would have instructed me to ask, so might as well ask you any way I want.
Donna: Well... That... I...
Harvey: Go ahead. Okay. Keep stumbling. That's only the second time I've ever seen you at a loss for words.
Donna: So, we're engaged, then?
Harvey: Well, I... No, it's...
Donna: Look who's stumbling now.
Harvey: No, it's just... I never considered marriage part of–
Donna: Part of what? Being together forever?
Harvey: Sweet baby Jesus. I never thought I'd say this, but thank God my mom is calling.

Gallery

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