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Mike: Louis knows.
Harvey: Louis knows what?
Mike: My dirty little secret.
Harvey: You're Canadian?
Mike: No. He knows that I didn't go to Harvard.

Mike Ross and Harvey Specter

Dirty Little Secrets is the fourth episode of the first season of Suits and the fourth overall. It first aired on July 14, 2011.


Harvey defends Jessica's ex-husband Quentin Sainz. Meanwhile, Mike is assigned his first solo case, and his secret is almost discovered.


"The law is a very precise endeavor."

Louis Litt and the associates play a Harvard trivia game after hours and Mike Ross is in the lead by one point against his rival, Seth Keller. During the double point round, Mike fails to answer the question about the Harvard Law dormitory tradition of getting square pizza from Pinocchio's. Seth then answers "five" when asked how many supreme court justices were from Harvard, and claims victory. Mike, however, points out that there are in fact six, including Ruth Bader Ginsberg who may have graduated from Columbia University but attended Harvard Law before then. Mike wins because he points out that Seth was not precise, just as Louis previously refuted Mike for not being precise. Having won, Mike receives a pro bono case of his own, but Mike is left uneasy about Louis and tells Harvey Specter that Louis may know his secret, which Harvey brushes off.

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Harvey then sees Jessica Pearson and Quentin Sainz hugging in her office, immediately deducing that she has taken a case for him. Harvey warns Jessica about Quentin's case is a failure waiting to happen after hearing media coverage over the millions killed from the ALS drug that his company manufactured to the public. Jessica then shocks Harvey by revealing to him that Quentin is her ex-husband and then tells him that she wants him to take the case because Quentin's current girlfriend, Lisa Parker, does not want her on the case. Harvey has no interest in taking it because he fears that Jessica will interfere with his work.

Mike's case turns out to be a bedbug problem in a building owned by a Johnny Karinski who won't do anything about the problem. After filing a case to the housing department to take the situation to housing court, he visits his client, Frank, to inspect the apartment. They meet Karinski who threatens to kick Frank out for refusing to pay the rent, in which Mike states that it was legal if the apartment was inhabitable. However, he has yet to prove that in court.

Harvey meets with Quentin and his girlfriend Lisa about the company's ALS death drug. Quentin explains that six terminal patients with other various health issues used his drug as a scapegoat for the other drug companies. He also claims that the drug was proven safe for eight years, and that the argument the media is putting out is baseless.

Harvey, Mike, and Quentin meet with Collin Church, a lawyer representing the legal dispute over the ALS drug. Collin refuses the settlement money, saying it should be much higher because his client was lied to by the company about the side affects and demands $250 million. When Quentin rejects the settlement, Collin reveals a poster with printed details of the side effects his clients had from using the ALS drug, threatening Quentin and Harvey that he intends to plaster them up. Harvey warns him that it's libel to do that, but Collin shows that he is willing to go lengths to receive the settlement he proposed. Harvey refuses to be extorted by Collins and leaves the room with Quentin, but Collins makes sure that Quentin knows that he must receive the $250 million in four days or he will take action. After hearing that Harvey refused the settlement offer, Jessica becomes angry at Harvey playing the "bad lawyer" and using dead patients as a small fraction to the millions that lived in court.

"I'm your first? Don't worry, I promise not to be gentle."

Mike's first case in housing court is against a professional lawyer, Vivien Tanaka. He loses miserably, leaving a bad first impression on the judge and failing to bring the required receipts for Frank's case. Louis lectures Mike, saying that the client he first brought in from the tennis courts helped save Mike's face from his loss in housing court and did little collateral damage to his reputation, but he had expected Mike to win.

Harvey and Mike takes the case to the court and reveal that Collin not only failed multiple lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies by threatening to publicize the case, leading to settlement agreements, but he also recycled his plaintiffs in order to win. Collin backfires by revealing Quentin's financial instability and bankruptcy prior to his drug's release stating that there was financial motive for advertising fraud. The judge then rules that the case will be taken to court. After Harvey's loss at court, Jessica takes the case herself, disapproving his lack of faith in Quentin.

"My beautiful wife."

Mike and Rachel pose as a married couple looking for a luxurious home in an upscale neighborhood apartment building owned by Karinski to uncover some secrets. Instead of getting their information from the realtor, they ask to talk with the other inhabitants.

Jessica and Quentin meet at Central Park to clear the air about their divorce. Jessica confronts him about his lies during the divorce and demands to know the rest of the secrets he has hidden from her in order for her to continue fighting for the lawsuit. She meets with Harvey later and they grab drinks. She reveals that Quentin is dying from ALS.

"Like it or not... you're all in the same boat."

Harvey and Jessica meet with Lisa and made her confess that that she falsified drug trials to put it on the market to save Quentin. They then tell Quentin and give him options to make Lisa the scapegoat or fight with Collin and rebuild a new drug company. Instead, Harvey issues a conference with the six of the complainants and Collin to propose a compensation for the side effects Quentin was unaware about, showing them a video footage of Quentin suffering from ALS. The agreement is then made that these six ALS patients will have partial ownership of the drug company, which will then help save lives by conducting more research for the drugs that could help others like them.

"Just get that carpet out of here!"

Meanwhile, Mike recruits former tenants of Karinski's buildings to testify in court about the abuse they experienced living in his apartment building. He discovers from the photographs that the tenants gave him had similar carpets to that of Frank's. He and Harvey arrive at Karinski's home with a sample of Frank's apartment carpet. When Mike takes it out, Karinski flips out, knowing that the carpet was infested with bedbugs. Mike proceeds to reveal that Karinski actually created the bedbug problem in order to drive tenants out so he can remodel the apartment and rent it out for a much higher price. He reuses the bedbug carpet and installs it into other apartment buildings that he buys in order to create the same situation and profit. After Mike won the housing court case, fifteen other clients wanted to file similar complaints against Karinski and were willing to pay, surprising Louis.

Towards the end, Mike and Rachel joke about their fake marriage status, and Mike takes a leap of faith and asks Rachel out on a date for their fake fifth anniversary. However, Rachel rejects him because she doesn't date anyone from the office.


Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Russell Hornsby as Quentin Sainz
  • Sharon Leal as Lisa Parker
  • Anthony Starke as Collin Church
  • Matthew Lemche as Frank Carvello
  • Paulino Nunes as Johnny Karinski
  • Donald Burda as Judge Renee Aubuchon
  • Christina Chang as Vivien Tanaka
  • Ben Lewis as Seth Keller
  • Suzanne Coy as Judge Elizabeth Schelling
  • Kim Roberts as Glenda
  • Nahanni Johnstone as Sales Agent
  • Christian McKenna as ALS Man
  • Sheila Boyd as ALS Patient #1
  • June Ng as ALS Patient #2
  • Kevin Power as ALS Patient #3
  • Clinton Walker as ALS Patient #4

Major/Highlighted Events

  • Mike Ross and Seth Keller engage in a trivia tournament hosted at night by Louis Litt. Mike gets all the answers right except for a question asking where people at Harvard Law School would get square pizza, which Mike is unable to answer. Mike, however, answers the next question right and wins the tournament, receiving his own special pro bono case as a victory prize. Mike tells Harvey Specter that he believes Louis suspects he is a fraud, although Harvey reassures him that Louis does not, because if he did, Louis would have made the situation known already. Additionally, he reminds Mike that Louis would never suspect such a thing because Louis would never imagine that Harvey would hire a fraud or that Mike could be one.
  • Quentin Sainz, the founder of Sainz Pharmaceuticals, goes to Pearson Hardman and convinces Jessica Pearson to take his case. Harvey, who is aware that Quentin is involved in a lawsuit that no other firm wishes to involve themselves in, asks Jessica why she would ever take on such a client. Jessica reveals that she was married to Quentin and that she trusts him. Harvey discovers that Quentin's ALS treatment drugs are causing liver failures in their consumers, an allegation which Quentin claims is false. Not trusting Quentin, Harvey initiates a background check on him, which reveals that he started dating his current girlfriend Lisa Parker while he was still married to Jessica. After Jessica discovers this information, she joins the case as well, and discovers that Quentin has ALS himself and is dying. Harvey and Jessica interrogate Lisa, who admits that she falsified clinical trials in order to get FDA approval because she loves Quentin. Harvey and Jessica have Quentin reveal to the ALS sufferers who are suing him that he too has ALS, and instead of a multi-million dollar payout, Harvey and Jessica offer them a controlling stake in Sainz Pharmaceuticals.
  • Mike's pro bono case involves a landlord, Johnny Karinski, who is trying to evict his tenant Frank Carvello due to the Frank withholding rent. Frank explains that his whole apartment is filled with bed bugs and that he does not want to leave the apartment since that is where he grew up with his family, who aren't around anymore. After losing in housing court to Vivien Tanaka, an attorney who represents half the high-rises in Manhattan, Harvey tells Mike that the landlord is trying to evict the clients so that he may build condominiums. Enlisting the help of Rachel Zane, she fronts as Mike's wife as the pair check out the condos. After finding other tenants who were also evicted by Karinski, Mike discovers that Karinski installed bed-bug infested carpets in their apartments to force them out, and gains a victory through settlement as Harvey watches proudly.
    • After losing in housing court, Mike was berated by Louis for his loss. However, Mike returns to Louis' office to notify him that he won the case via settlement. Louis tells Mike that the case means nothing for his career since it was pro bono, but Mike reveals that he signed the other fifteen tenants he found and that they are all paying clients.
    • Having enjoyed pretending to be husband and wife, Mike meets up with Rachel after his conversation with Louis, with Rachel humorously proclaiming that being his wife was worthwhile. Mike then asks her out on a real date to celebrate their fake wedding anniversary, only for Rachel to inform Mike that she does not date anyone from the office.

Cultural References

  • Quentin Sainz references the 1997 film Titanic when he states that the coffee people drank on the Titanic wasn't responsible for Leonardo DiCaprio's death in the movie, remarking that the analogy is similar to blaming him and his drugs for the reported side effects his consumers have received.


  • Goddamn Counter: 0
  • Louis and Seth state that only five Supreme Court judges came from Harvard Law School while Mike clarifies that there were in fact six. This is something the tour guide at Harvard told him in "Pilot" when he visited the campus.
  • When Mike tells Harvey that Louis knows his "dirty little secret", Harvey asks if the secret is that Mike is really Canadian. This is a reference to Mike's actor, Patrick J. Adams, who is Canadian.
  • Quentin Sainz mentions the 1997 film Titanic; Victor Garber, who portrayed Thomas Andrews in the film, also portrayed Phillip Hardman in the international version of "Pilot".


  • After Frank Carvello realizes Mike Ross has never been to court before, Mike tells him that he had never driven a car before his first time driving either. However, in the season 4 episode "Fork in the Road", Mike reveals that he cannot drive as he had never learned, although it is likely that Mike had simply lied to Frank in order to ease his worries.


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