"You cheated, Louis. You broke the rules, and you have to pay the price. People may think that lawyers will do anything, that they can do anything. Now, I'm not willing to accept that, okay? You can't go skirting the rules and justify it because you think someone else broke the rules."
Harvey Specter to Louis Litt

Rules of the Game is the eleventh episode of the first season of Suits and the eleventh overall. It first aired on September 1, 2011.


Harvey's former mentor turns to his protégé when his office comes under investigation. Elsewhere, Mike and Louis try to settle a mogul's estate in the midst of family clashes, and Jenny worries that Mike is hiding something.


Jenny begins questioning Mike about his true relationship with Rachel after Louis tells her that he knows something is going on between Mike and Rachel. Mike insists that they are just friends. Jenny then insists that she and Mike go out on a double date with Rachel (that is if Rachel can find somebody she can go out with) so Jenny can get to know Rachel more and they can start a kindly friendship. Mike then says yes with hesitation.

On the way to the office, Harvey spots an old colleague in Cameron Dennis (played by Gary Cole). Harvey then introduces Mike to Cameron, telling him that he was his mentor when he was still working at the at the DA office. Cameron invites Harvey to dinner to do some catching up.

At the office, Mike and Rachel try to find out if Harvey worked as a prosecutor while working with Cameron. He also forces Rachel to go on a double date with him and Jenny after Louis spills the beans to Jenny about what he probably saw when Rachel kissed Mike. Rachel also says yes with hesitation.

Jessica notifies Harvey and Louis that Malcolm Price, one of their clients, has passed away, and that he is leaving his estate and several of the companies he owned to his two daughters, Madison and Kelsey, who don't see eye to eye. Louis is tasked with getting Madison what she wants while Harvey and Mike are assigned to Kelsey. Louis bets that if he wins, he gets Mike as an associate, while Harvey asks for Louis' "Nixon in China" opera tickets so that Louis has to miss it. Madison hates Kelsey because she is her half-sister, and blames her for causing Malcolm Price to leave her mother and marry Kelsey's, and became jealous that Kelsey became her father's favorite. Since Malcolm and Kelsey worked on the "Nothing but the Truth" tabloid together, Madison wants Kelsey to not have it, while the tabloid is all that Kelsey wants.

Mike asks Donna why she didn't tell him that Harvey used to work at the D.A.'s office. Donna doesn't wanna tell Mike because he doesn't want to uncover the truth to which will hurt Harvey's credibility as a lawyer - big time. Louis sets up ground rules for who wins the Malcolm Price fortune case including not going in each other's internal documents. Louis sets up a wager to which if Louis wins, he gets Mike's services and nothing in return if Harvey wins. Mike is surprised and confused why Harvey would agree to that but Harvey tells Mike that he's sure they would win.

Harvey spots Alexandra Leeds a former colleague who now works for the attorney general and wants to talk about Cameron Dennis. Harvey is confused what is there to talk about him. Leeds tells Harvey that the attorney general is having Dennis investigated over allegations of tampering of evidence so he can win. Nobody from Dennis' firm want to testify since they all still work for Dennis. Leeds then had Harvey subpoena so he will testify in front of a grand jury since he used to work for Dennis. Harvey knows if they uncover the truth his reputation will be badly hurt and may be fired from the firm since some of the cases where Dennis tampered the evidence was Harvey's cases. Dennis reveals to Harvey the true reason of their date was that so he can assure that Harvey got his back during the trial. Harvey wants Dennis to settle however Dennis knows that during his time whatever may have happened, both of them put the real bad guys to jail.

Harvey asks Donna what she will do if she was in Harvey's shoes since Donna used to work with Harvey as well at the DA office. Donna tells him he's tell him everything and watch him suffer in hell with pleasure. Mike comes in and tells Harvey that the tabloid that Malcolm Price had was a growing fortune and if Kelsey can have it, she is set for life. Harvey puts the whole case in Mike's shoulder and Mike isn't too proud of that. Harvey tells him if Louis loses he'll get the concert tickets Louis want to go to not because Harvey wants to go to the concert but so he can watch Louis cry. 

Harvey asks Rachel if she already has a date for their planned double date. Rachel insists she already has and is ready for the date. Mike goes to Louis' office to talk about division of assets between the two fighting sisters. Louis could not believe that Harvey put the case solely on Mike and is confident he can beat Mike. Mike talks about division of  the 10 companies that goes to Kelsey so a certain percentage goes to Madison. Louis refuses all alternative proposals telling Mike that his client only wants Kelsey to not get the tabloid. Louis tells Mike to get off Harvey's back and let him settle the case himself.

A part of Harvey's past is told when he tells Jessica that he saw Dennis bury the key evidence that would let the defense walk. Jessica asks why he didn't report it. Harvey then says that Jessica put him there to be mentored and that was why he just left. Harvey absolutely does not want to expose Dennis of his actions because he was his mentor. Jessica says he will represent Harvey in the deposition and defend his credibility.

Mike goes out with Jenny on a double date with Rachel and her date who is Kyle, Mike's rival associate at the firm. Mike asks Kyle how long he and Rachel have been dating and tells him that ever since he beat Mike at the mock trial, they "bonded" to which Mike knows Rachel does not like Kyle at all. Rachel asks Jenny how long she and Mike have been dating; Jenny tells her that it all started when she used to date Trevor but she and Mike were in love from the beginning. Mike tells Kyle to back off Rachel when he tries to put her hand on her and play with her, which annoys Jenny because she saw that Mike was looking at Rachel in the same way he was looking at Jenny when she was still with Trevor. Jenny then gives Mike a choice of whether he still wants to be with her or if he wishes to be with Rachel.

Alexandra Leeds tries to grill Harvey during the deposition and begins by clarifying to him his tremendous record as assistant DA. She then asks Harvey about his relationship with Cameron Dennis. Harvey then says that wanted her to get the internship with Dennis so he could go to law school and ultimately land a job at Pearson Hardman. Alexander then grills Harvey about the said tampering of evidence and if he was in anyway involved which violated the code.

Harvey and Jessica meet up with Alexandra Leeds and Alexandra hands Harvey the specific cases to which Cameron Dennis not only tampered the evidence but also got rid of witness testimony and falsifying DNA records. She tells Harvey that Dennis is a dirty public servant and need his help to get rid of him. Alexandra blackmails Harvey that if he doesn't help get rid of Dennis, she will have Harvey disbarred because of suspicions that Harvey helped with the tampering.

Since all Kelsey wants is the paper, which Madison refuses to give up, Mike comes with the idea to allow Madison to keep the tabloid but allow all the employees to leave and form a new company under Kelsey. However, he faxes this proposal to Kelsey, and Louis breaks the ground rules he set with Harvey by accessing Mike's faxes. Louis proceeds to lock up employee contracts, preventing any of the tabloid employees to leave. Mike then decides to use Louis' fax ploy against him, by sending a letter of intent by United International to purchase the tabloid. Louis then convinces Madison to sell the tabloid to United so that Kelsey does not get it. However, Mike convinced Kelsey to purchase United International, and declares that she now owns the paper. With both sisters happy, Madison having prevented Kelsey from getting the tabloid and Kelsey owning it via United International, the matter is resolved. However, Louis admits that he knew that Kelsey bought United and thus convinced Madison to oversell the company to 50%, giving her more money while leaving her half-sister to drown in debt with the tabloid. Louis then gloats to Harvey that he won, but Harvey, still in turmoil over his past as the A.D.A., lashes out at Louis.

Harvey goes to Cameron Dennis' house and convinces him to step down as DA instead of going to jail. Harvey reminds him of a specific case, Hector Avila, Harvey's own case to which Dennis tampered the key evidence. Harvey is sure that if found guilty, Harvey will be disbarred because of the Avila case. Dennis tells him that he did the right thing because all the men he put to jail were true murderers and rapists. Harvey then pushes Dennis to make a deal to step down so the trial does not push through and the men he put in jail will stay in jail.    

Donna speaks to Jessica and believes that Harvey is the victim in the Cameron Dennis case and she feels sorry for him. She hands Jessica some documents that would help Harvey with the case.

At the fax room, things got a little intimate when Rachel puts her hand on Mike's arm. Mike then tells her straight that he did everything he can to get Rachel's heart including faking a marriage for a client to which Mike masterminded so she can get Rachel in real life. Mike insists that Rachel is now flirting with him to which he says is too late because he was with Jenny now. Mike does not want any more playing between him and Rachel to which Rachel replies that if he doesn't want to be her friend, then he can just find another paralegal to help him and that their friendship is over.

Jessica finds Dennis and tells him to cut a new deal with the attorney general for him to step down to which Dennis refuses at first as he will try to sell Harvey out along with him. Jessica then hands Dennis the documents that Donna gave her which were revealed to be the key evidence in which Dennis tried to bury and reveals to him that that wasn't even the original copy and that she still has it with even more evidence that he tried to tamper. Feeling threatened, Dennis then agrees to step down effective immediately.

Jessica tells Harvey that he does not need to testify anymore as Dennis decided to step down. Harvey is however frustrated after he finds out that he put an 18 year old Clifford Danner to jail and Danner spent his entire adult life in jail even though he was innocent because Dennis buried the evidence that would clear his name. Jessica asks if Harvey has enough to overturn the conviction, and Harvey admits that he doesn't know; regardless, Harvey decides to get him out.             


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

Major/Highlighted Events

  • Mike and Harvey run into District Attorney Cameron Dennis, who reveals that Harvey used to be the Assistant District Attorney. Cameron invites Harvey to dinner that night, which Harvey accepts. As they return to the firm, Mike asks Rachel if she knew that Harvey used to be a prosecutor. Rachel denies it, claiming that she read every lawyer's bio in the firm and that anyone who used to be the A.D.A. would have it listed. However, upon further inspection, Rachel and Mike discover that Harvey was indeed the former A.D.A., prompting the two to wonder why Harvey want that fact hidden.
    • Mike then tells Rachel that Louis had told Jenny Griffith about the two of them and asks her to go on a double date so that Jenny knows there is nothing going on between them. Rachel asks Kyle Durant to be her date, who tells Mike that he wants to violate Rachel's "ethics" all night long. This irritates Mike, and when Kyle puts her hand around Rachel's waist, he tells her to stop, angering Jenny, who believes Mike should not have gotten involved as Rachel wasn't his date. Jenny tells Mike that he looks at Rachel the same way he looked at her when she dated Trevor, and asks him to choose.
    • Mike asks Donna why Harvey doesn't talk about his time at the District Attorney's Office, immediately causing her to ask how he was aware of that. When Mike explains that they ran into Cameron Dennis, Donna implores him to drop the matter at hand and to not ask Harvey about it.
    • At dinner, Harvey is ambushed by Alexandra Leeds, who works for the Attorney General's office, and she reveals that she is investigating Cameron for systematically burying evidence to gain convictions. As his current employees would not testify, Leeds subpoenas Harvey to testify against Cameron. Harvey then asks Cameron about it, and Cameron explains that it isn't nothing to worry about but wants to ensure that Harvey still has his back. Harvey explains that he does have Cameron's back but that he would not perjure himself if push comes to shove, and that Cameron should talk his way out of the situation as he has skeletons that should remain hidden.
  • Jessica asks Harvey why he left the District Attorney's Office, and he reveals that it was because Cameron buried evidence on a case. Jessica scolds Harvey about his failure to report it, which he was obligated to do, and Harvey responds that he quit when he found out. Jessica decides to represent Harvey for his deposition, where Leeds asks him why he left the A.D.A. despite having a stellar record, having handled 36 cases a day and winning every single one that made it to trial. Harvey reveals that Jessica is the one who put him through law school and she told him to get trial experience at the District Attorney's Office before inviting him to work at her firm. When he deemed that he had gained enough experience, Harvey left. Leeds isn't satisfied with his answers and decides to go after Harvey too, revealing that she looked into Harvey's old cases and that they happen to contain buried evidence as well.
    • Harvey goes to Cameron's house, reprimanding Cameron for burying evidence on his case. Cameron retorts that all the cases are technically his, although his answer vexes Harvey, who protests that they were still his cases. Harvey tells Cameron that the Attorney General does not want him to go to prison, only to step down, and therefore he should make a deal. Cameron expresses his disappointment in Harvey, telling him that while Harvey makes the rich richer, he works on keeping bad guys behind bars. He informs Harvey that Hector Avila, the man in Harvey's case, was a murderer who deserved to be imprisoned, and reminds Harvey that if the truth about his evidence tampering comes to light, then all the rapists and murderers Cameron put in prison would be released, and that the responsibility would then fall under Harvey unless he perjures himself. Not willing to commit perjury, Harvey simply tells Cameron to make a deal and leaves.
    • Donna, who is revealed to have worked alongside Harvey under Cameron Dennis at the District Attorney's Office, presents Jessica with damning evidence against Cameron, claiming that the files are confidential and that Harvey would be enraged if he knew she had them. Jessica finds out that Cameron made a deal with Leeds by blaming the evidence tampering on Harvey instead of him, and presents Cameron with Donna's files, coercing him to make a new deal where he steps down and Harvey remains untouched. Jessica then threatens him that if he messes with one of her people again, she would make sure the Attorney General's office receives the original copies of the evidence.
    • Jessica returns to the firm to notify Harvey that the matter has been resolved. However, upon discovering earlier that Cameron buried evidence on Harvey's cases as well as his own, Harvey proceeds to go through all of his old case files and discovers to his shock that twelve years ago, he put an 18 year old named Clifford Danner in prison, but only because the evidence pointed at him being guilty. Upon further inspection, he finds out that Clifford is innocent and that Cameron buried the evidence since he believed Clifford was guilty. When Jessica asks if he has enough to overturn the conviction, Harvey admits that he doesn't know, but remains steadfast in his decision to get Clifford out.

Cultural References

  • When Mike says he looks dashing, Jenny replies that no one uses the word "dashing' anymore, prompting Mike to retort that James Bond does. Jenny asks whether he thinks he's James Bond, and Mike tells her that he has Sean Connery's swagger, Daniel Craig's physique and mentions George Lazenby, only to add that he doesn't know what the latter was known for.
  • After Madison and Kelsey Price state their names, followed by Louis and Harvey saying each other's names, Mike responds with "Doctor, Doctor", with Harvey replying "Chevy. Nice." This is a reference to Chevy Chase's "Doctor, Doctor" scene in the 1985 film Spies Like Us.
  • Harvey advises Mike on how to crush Louis, only for Jessica to remind Harvey that they're supposed to be working together. This prompts Harvey to ask whether he and Louis are supposed to be like "Captain & Tennille", and states that if they are, then Louis would be Tennille.


Harvey Specter's Subpoena

Issued November 2011

  • Goddamn Counter: 0
  • Daniel Hardman is mentioned for the first time.
  • According to Harvey's subpoena, the episode takes place in November 2011. However, the date is listed in DD/MM/YYYY format, opposed to the MM/DD/YYYY format officially used in the United States. Additionally, the issuing attorney is listed as Tony Santana, which was also the name of the cab driver that had sued Harvey in "Bail Out".
  • Mike reveals that he has been working at Pearson Hardman for months.


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