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"I've been underestimated my whole life 'cause I don't look like a policeman's daughter. But I'm 33 years old and I'm the City Attorney. I didn't get where I am by being stupid."
— Keri Allen to Jessica Pearson

Keri Katherine Allen is the city attorney of Chicago and an extramarital lover of its mayor, Bobby Novak.

History

"He keeps me around because I do what it takes without having to be asked. I don't complain about it and it never comes back on him."
―Keri Allen to Jessica Pearson[src]

Keri Katherine Allen was born to a policeman father and had several brothers. Studying law in post-secondary, she was mentored by Chicago city attorney Ken Sharma, who hired her right after graduation, which led to her becoming Deputy City Attorney. After being one of the attorneys who helped defeat US Steel, she was approached by Alderman Bobby Novak. Keri voices her lack of interest in Novak as he is married, despite Novak stating that he and his wife have separated. After a conversation in the elevator, Keri tells Novak that he cannot always rely on his handsome looks, reminding him to do his job and serve the people who elected him.

Keri takes over a case for the previous attorney, Ricculi, who has gone on maternity leave. Keri offers a $7,000 settlement from the city to Gabrielle Aquino, the mother of a young man who illegally ran between train cars and got crippled as a result. However, Gabrielle's lawyer states that the city's responsibility to maintain the trains supersedes her client's son's violation. Keri explains that while that is true, the Safety and Inspections department would prove in court that the trains were maintained, which would lead to them getting nothing. Gabrielle responds that she asked for the safety inspection reports and never received them, and when Keri is confused, her lawyer adds that her office requested them three times as per legal disclosure discovery but did not receive them, much to Keri's surprise. Keri then returns to City Hall to see Sharma at the City Attorney's office, explaining that she tried to find the reports on her own but could not. Sharma responds that he would handle the matter himself, adding that if the Safety and Inspections department don't hand something over, the attorneys then figure out they don't need it, leaving Keri with a suspicious look on her face.

Keri goes to see Alderman Novak at the Polish restaurant he had mentioned earlier. She alleges that Sharma is mishandling evidence, stating that she went through his previous cases where the settlements were much less than expected and that evidence was missing. However, Novak reminds her that whistleblowers are rarely rewarded and that if she came forward, she would be forced out of City Hall. However, Keri goes to Novak's office to inform him that she cannot bring herself to hold the information back and that she is going to come forward. Novak tells her to take a moment to consider her actions, believing momentarily that she came to see him to get him to talk her out of it, but when she states that she is sure of what she wants to do, it leads to the both of them heading to Keri's apartment to have sex. The next morning, Novak tells Keri that he would be ousting Sharma in her stead, taking the risk on her behalf as a show of thanks. Keri initially believes that he is referring to the sex, sardonically stating that he may as well leave cash on the dresser, although he clarifies that he wishes to thank her for reminding her why he went into politics to begin with. He tells her that while he loves being an alderman, he is lazy, complacent and numb, but that due to Keri, he feels lively again, and that he needs to do this for her.

Novak exposed Sharma publicly at a City Council meeting, causing his employment to become terminated and for Keri's workload to increase significantly. The day after, Novak goes to see her, although she notifies him that people believe her affiliation with a married alderman is the reason her career may have advanced, which she does not want spreading. Keri then states that she doesn't want to be the reason Novak doesn't get back with his wife, although Novak notifies her that he is considering running for mayor and that he would bring her with him if he wins.[1]

Keri was soon made city attorney for Chicago and continued sexual relationship with Novak, despite the fact Novak remainded married. She is loyal to Novak and handles various legal matters on his behalf without him having to personally ask her, and completes the tasks in a manner where the repercussions never affect him. After Jessica Pearson attempted to halt Novak and Pat McGann's attempts to tear down public housing apartments in the North Park neighborhood, Keri had the Chicago State Bar disbar Jessica after she was officially disbarred from New York. Despite Jessica no longer able to practice law, Jessica retained power of attorney over Lillian Cook, one of the public housing tenants, although Keri revealed to the judge and Harvey Specter that Lillian was her aunt, thereby having Jessica's ability to represent Lillian revoked.

Jessica approached Keri at her office and demanded an audience with Novak, although Keri refused. Jessica expressed her realization that Keri was having sex with Novak, although Keri attempted to rationalize that Novak kept her around due to her abilities. Jessica then attempted to buy her way onto City Council, although her plans backfired when McGann refused to have Keri fired, which was one of Jessica's stipulations. After Novak offered Jessica a job to work alongside him in exchange for her dropping the public housing case, Jessica agrees on the condition that she replace Keri as his number two.[2]

A few days later, Novak speaks Keri in his office about the electrical bus issues, and she replies that a man named Dennis Nivens is obstructing them as Novak did not give him the Lansing contract. Keri then assures Novak that she would handle the matter as she handles everything else for him, although Novak suggests that Jessica would be a better fit, as she ran a huge New York firm, has skills, free time and wants to be back in the field. Keri wonders how Jessica would be able to work for Novak if she has a lawsuit against the city, only for Novak to tell her that there is no longer a lawsuit. Keri is against it, mentioning that she was the one who had Jessica's license to practice law in Chicago removed and that Jessica had accused her of sleeping with him, although Novak merely replies that she should stay in her lane while Jessica stays in hers.

Jessica visits Keri at her office, telling her that she drafted a lawsuit for the city to file against the bus manufacturer, although Keri explains that they have a relationship with the CEO lasting over a decade and that suing would bring attention to the fact that Novak's statement to have the buses working is failing. Jessica retorts that the way the office would deal with it would be to have endless lunches on the taxpayer's dime, to which Keri responds that it's a business relationship and that Jessica had much to learn how things worked at the mayor's office, prompting Jessica to wryly reply that Keri had much to learn about being a lawyer.

Keri heads to Novak's office, complaining about Jessica's actions. Novak gives his support for Jessica, saying that he is glad Jessica is actually listening to the assignment he had given. Keri demands to know why he had hired Jessica, and he replies that there is a lot of dirty stuff he has to do and that it made Keri sick to kick out the people of the North Park neighborhood into the street just so McGann could construct a building, and that he values Keri too much to have her involved in the dirty side of things. He then approaches her, stroking her hair while admitting that it has been weeks since they've been together and that he misses her. However, Keri states that she has worked too hard to be seen as the girl who has slept her way to her position, and that since Jessica views her as such, she is reminded of that every time she sees Jessica. She then walks out of Novak's office, claiming it is ironic that Jessica is the reason they can no longer sleep together.

Keri attends a charity event with Dennis Nivens, where he admits he was behind the bus mishaps. Keri inquires as to whether he was being petty as Mayor Novak did not get him to the Lansing deal, although Nivens claims that it was due to the supply chains. Jessica mentions a possible settlement, and Keri intercedes that she was merely discussing a possible expedition on the buses. Jessica then serves Nivens with a lawsuit, and while Keri attempts to salvage the situation by claiming that the mayor's office is not suing him, Nivens sees it as a good cop/bad cop deal and informs Keri that he still has many pending deals with her office. Realizing that she is trapped, Keri allies with Jessica's stance and tells Nivens that unless he starts honoring his contract with them, she would reconsider the deals her office has in place with him. As he walks away, Jessica commends Keri on her turn around; Keri asks whether Jessica is trying to humiliate her, although Jessica replies that she made Keri look better as Nivens now sees her as someone with a spine.

As Keri heads to court, Jessica meets up with Nivens. Inside the courtroom, Keri is stunned to discover that she is no longer on the docket; when she inquires into the matter, the judge replies that someone from the mayor's office had settled the matter. Realizing it was Jessica, Keri ambushes her, claiming that her actions made her look incompetent in court and affected her reputation, only for Jessica to reply that she should have thought of that before having Jessica's license to practice law taken away. Keri replies that had Jessica disbarred because Jessica referred to cops as animals, which affected her as her father was a police officer. Jessica replies that she did not refer to cops in general as anything, but rather specific men who had done specific things. Keri tells Jessica that if she wants to come at her, she is more than welcome to, but that if Jessica goes after her department or any of the lawyer she works with, she would make Jessica's disbarment look like jaywalking in comparison to what she would do next.

Novak pays Keri a visit at her apartment, claiming to be worried about her as she had left work early. Keri states that she is not Novak's girl and that she is not sticking around to fight out whether Jessica would be replacing her or not, prompting Novak to reply that he doesn't care about who has power in the office, adding that Keri is the woman he needs. As Keri begins to say that his wife is the one he needs, he kisses her, and she responds by kissing her back. The pair then begin to take each other's clothes off as they continue kissing, while outside her apartment, Nick waits for Novak in the vehicle.[3]

The next day, Keri attempts to secure a police contract, although union attorney Eric McBride, who represents the cops, refuses to sign the agreement since Jessica had gone up against the department before on a police brutality case, where she called the cops animals, and therefore the department no longer wishes to sign the Mayor's contract as he has employed Jessica.

Jessica goes to Keri's office in order to provide assistance on the police case, although Keri refuses, dismissing her and adding that she does not trust her. Shortly after, Keri heads to Novak's office, notifying him that the fire department will double their demands once they discover what the police department turned down. Novak wonders if this is McBride merely posturing as he is a lawyer and not a police officer, although Keri explains that he is practically one of them as he has been their union lawyer for 14 years; additionally, Keri adds that as someone with a police family, she understands the resentment towards Jessica. This prompts Novak to ask whether it was Keri who leaked Jessica's employment to the press, although Keri denies the accusation and voices her discontent that Novak would entertain the notion that she would ever harm him.

Shortly after, Jessica pays Keri a visit, notifying her that what the police really want is their pension fund. Jessica explains that there is a loophole that allows developers to avoid paying millions in property taxes, and that if they closed that loophole, they could use that money to fill the pension fund. Keri is hesitant to accept Jessica's help, although Jessica expresses her guilt, as the blue flu which puts her family at harm stemmed from her presence, and asks Keri to trust her.

Keri goes to see police superintendent Chuck Hargrove with Jessica's plan and it succeeds, with the police contract officially being signed. Novak goes to talk to her and realizes it was Jessica's doing, while Keri suggests that he could use the situation to justify Jessica's employment. Later that night, Keri asks Novak to go out for drinks and celebrate, although Novak tells her that he wants to return home so that he could tuck his kids in for the night.[4]

The next morning, Keri exercises at home in her apartment while watching the news on her MacBook Air. After her exercise, Keri calls in late for work due to a hot water issue in her building. However. she notes that Novak isn't responding to her properly and is merely making small talk. At City Hall, Keri attempts to go to Novak's office but is informed by Derrick that Novak is not in today, citing personal business, but that he most likely would still attend a scheduled meeting for 2pm. Derrick then asks her to be involved in a PR campaign to make the office look good; despite her initial declination, Derrick convinces the reluctant Keri to participate.

In her office, Keri is photographed by Luke, who is taking photos for the PR shoots. Luke asks Keri out, although she refuses, which Luke construes as her being taken. She then tells him that she is late for a meeting, although as he leaves, Derrick notifies her that the meeting has been cancelled since Novak is spending time with his wife, not noticing that Keri is slightly affected by the explanation.

The next day, Keri gives a speech in front of young women, talking about being the city attorney, when one of the girls, Tasha, asks her how she balances a relationship or marriage with her job. Keri replies that she isn't in a relationship, and Tasha responds by stating that Keri has class and integrity and thus is her new role model. That night, Keri goes to Novak's house, telling him that she does not want to be the woman with no integrity, sleeping with a married man, before Novak explains that his wife, Stephanie Novak, has relapsed and is suffering from multiple sclerosis.

At a restaurant, Keri is drinking alcohol when Novak calls her, although she ignores it. She is then approached by Luke, the photographer who had shown interest in her, whose offer she had taken up after all.[5]

The next morning at City Hall, Derrick and Keri have a meeting with the other employees, where they explain that Novak has taken the day off work for personal reasons, with Keri being left in charge of the day-to-day. Deputy Mayor Lloyd Triple wishes to take advantage of Novak's absence by pushing forth his agenda to have a street in Chicago named after Fred Hampton, a member of the Black Panther Party, although his attempts are shut down by Jessica. Jessica then goes to Keri's office, where Keri thanks her for her interference, although Jessica demands to know where Novak is. Keri then reveals to her that Stephanie Novak has MS and that Novak is taking care of her, and Jessica responds that they cannot hide this from the others as they would eventually find out.

Lloyd pays Keri a visit in her office to discuss his campaign to have a street named after Fred Hampton. Keri, however, informs him that as a member of the Black Panther Party, Fred is viewed as a militant and that the Chicago Police Department would be against it, and thus would negatively affect Novak's tenure in office. Knowing that Lloyd is firm, Keri approaches Derrick and tells him to team up with Lloyd and claim his plan has been approved, with the intention being to string him along until Novak returns. Derrick is reluctant, not wanting to lie to Lloyd after lying to the press, and Keri reminds him where he works and tells him to find a way to wrestle with his conscience.

A few hours later, Jessica asks Keri how being mayor for a day is like and asks her about Carl Jeffries and his murder, stating that his decision to drop the lawsuit benefited only two parties – Pat McGann and the City of Chicago. Jessica adds that she discovered that Carl fell into some money after dropping the lawsuit and asks if she paid him off, to which she replies that she did not and would not do that. Keri then goes to McGann's work site to notify him that Jessica is digging into Carl's murder. Keri asks him if he paid Carl off, and McGann rudely dismisses her, although he adds that she had celebrated when the lawsuit was dropped and asks her whether she believed magic dust is what caused the office's problems to disappear. Keri then leaves and returns to City Hall.

As she returns to her office, she is approached by Derrick, informing her that they got 612 signatures in one day, allowing them to petition City Council. Keri attempts to thank Derrick for his participation in her ploy, only for Derrick to accuse her of not wanting to Fred commemorated as she comes from a police family, while hiding behind the veil of wanting to protect Novak. Derrick tells her that she should at least give Lloyd some respect before leaving the signatures on her desk and walking out.

Meanwhile, Keri goes to Lloyd's office and reveals to him that it was a ploy to waste his time, and that the mayor's office has no intention of supporting his campaign to have Fred Hampton commemorated, adding that the police department would not support it. Keri is shocked that Lloyd knows the truth regarding Novak's whereabouts, but adds that if he knows Novak is tending to his wife at the Mayo Clinic, he should understand she is shutting his agenda down not as a power play but out of loyalty to Novak, who would not approve it. As Keri is about to leave, Lloyd asks her if he could give her some advice, and when she accepts, warns her that she should not let her loyalty to Novak allow her to become what she hates, adding that Fred Hampton fought to help those in poverty while she helped McGann kick poor people out into the streets.[6]

Some time later, Keri brought Luke to her apartment, where the pair spent the night together. The next morning, Keri dresses for wor and sees a shirtless Luke eating in her kitchen. Noticing his presence, she informs him that she does not wish to be rude but that he must leave. Luke jokingly refers to her actions as "love 'em and leave 'em", and on his way out, asks Keri out on a date. Seeing the look on Keri's face, he backpedals and claims he was kidding, but asks if he could still call her, which she agrees to. Moments after, she receives a knock on her front door, only for it to be a process server delivering a lawsuit.

Keri heads to Jessica's office at City Hall, waiting for her. When she arrives, Keri discloses that the city is being sued by Ken Sharma, the former city attorney. Jessica replies that it is Keri's job to defend the city from lawsuits, but Keri clarifies that she does not wish to fight the lawsuit in court but merely wants for it to disappear, citing that making things go away is Jessica's specialty. Jessica tells her that if she wants the case dropped, it would either mean she does not want something getting out or she is afraid of the outcome, although Keri responds that Novak is listed on the lawsuit as well and that she wishes to protect him.

Jessica goes to see Keri at her office after a meeting with Sharma and notifies her that she is being deposed. Keri is frustrated, as she had wanted Jessica to get the case dropped and is now forced to bring in outside counsel, although Jessica claims that she can still get it dropped. Jessica suggests that she prepare Keri for the deposition, adding that she had been through many of them before and that Keri had trusted her instincts to come to her before and therefore should trust her again, adding that whatever Keri does not want coming out would definitely come out otherwise.

That night, Keri goes to see Novak in his office, where he is clearly upset. Keri inquires into Stephanie's well-being and realizes that Novak is upset that she told Jessica, although Keri justifies her decision by claiming that Jessica cannot work so closely with him and not know. Novak then lashes out, stating that he spent thousands of dollars, two days, and a battery of tests for the doctors and the scans to have no results, and that all he wants is answers, claiming that in five years, he would be out of office and that Stephanie would be in a wheelchair. Following the end of his tirade, Keri leaves Novak to his own devices.

The next day, Jessica deposes Keri privately, asking Keri about Sharma. Keri discloses that Sharma was her mentor who hired her straight out of law school, with Sharma as City Attorney and Keri as Deputy City Attorney. However, after nearly two years, Keri discovered Sharma was mishandling evidence, which led to Sharma's departure from City Hall and Keri succeeding him. Jessica asks why Novak's name is on the lawsuit, as Novak was alderman at that time and not mayor, to which Keri divulges that it was Novak who ousted Sharma. Jessica follows up by asking how long she had known Novak, and when Keri responds that it was only a week, Jessica poses the question of why Keri would trust someone she barely knew for a week and risk her career in the process; Keri claims that she was doing what she felt was right, only for Jessica to claim her actions led to Novak making her the youngest city attorney in the history of Chicago; when Keri protests, Jessica further suggests Keri exchanged sexual favors in exchange for professional advancement, causing Keri to storm out.

Jessica goes to Keri's apartment to discuss the case, where Keri orders Jessica to pay Sharma whatever he demands. Jessica attempts to tell Keri not to give in to Sharma's demands, although Keri replies that if the issue gets out, the public would find out that not only did Keri sleep with Novak at that time, but still does, adding that while Novak would recover, the rules are different for women and that she would always have a reputation of a woman who slept her way to the top.

The following night, Jessica pays Keri a visit at her office to tell her that the problem has been solved without the city paying a dime. She explains that all Sharma wanted was for his name to mean something again, but that since it wasn't going to happen in Chicago, she called Harvey to arrange for Sharma to have a corporate job in New York City, informing Keri that she still has powerful friends there. Jessica then apologizes to Keri for jumping to conclusions and accusations on how she got her job, adding that the truth is that Novak got his job because of her and that she wishes the world knew it. Moments after, Luke stops by Keri's office to ask whether he had left his watch at her apartment. Keri tells him that she hadn't seen it but that she would look for it, but when Luke tries to kiss her, she rebuffs him, telling him that she is in a relationship with someone else and therefore cannot continue her relationship with him.[1]

Trivia

  • Keri Allen was portrayed by Rebecca Rittenhouse in the Suits episode Good-Bye, which served as the backdoor pilot for Pearson, in which she was recast with Bethany Joy Lenz.

Appearances


References

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