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"Because you may be special master, but I'm managing partner. That gives me certain rights–"
"Not anymore. [...] You're not managing partner anymore. Effective immediately. You're stripped of your title and all the duties that go with it.
"

Louis Litt and Faye Richardson

Special Master is the second episode of the ninth season of Suits and the 126th overall. It first aired on July 24, 2019.

Synopsis

The firm is forced to face the repercussions of their actions; Samantha seeks Katrina's help for an old friend.

Plot

While Samantha Wheeler is starting her morning workout at the boxing ring, she is approached by Lucas Hodge, a man she served in the military with. Lucas informs her that the firm he is a part of is letting people go after they failed to acquire a Department of Defense contract, adding that he was the only person in his department let go, and that the other guy was the CEO's son-in-law. He had come to see Samantha in order to file a nepotism lawsuit, and she tells him that he can share the details over breakfast. Lucas responds that if she is buying breakfast for him, the amount should be added to his legal bill as he does not want charity, although Samantha responds that taking on his case pro bono is not charity and that she would not take no for an answer.

Louis' Mankini

Louis greets Harvey and Donna in his "mankini"

Harvey Specter and Donna Paulsen head to Louis Litt's house, where they see him wearing a Speedo, which Louis refers to as a "mankini", claiming that wearing it instead of underwear is extremely supportive. Harvey and Donna refuse the offer and instead try to tell him that they are together and to explain why Harvey spent the night at Donna's apartment, although Louis is oblivious and believes that by together they mean standing together side-by-side and that Harvey had spent the night at Donna's due to plumbing issues. Donna then explicitly states that she and Harvey are in a relationship and that they didn't want to share the news before when the timing was bad, with Harvey adding that they wanted Louis to know, as their partner and friend, although Louis replies that while he is happy to hear their good news, there is also some bad news.

Back at the firm, Donna inquires into how long Faye Richardson is going to stay, with Louis responding that it would up to the discretion of the New York State Bar Association. Harvey retorts that there is no way he would accept some outside taking control of his firm, while Alex Williams begins to tell Louis that they could have avoided it, only for Samantha to intercede, claiming that Alex was going to say that they could have avoided this predicament had they removed Robert's name.

Specter Paulsen Litt Wheeler Williams

The partners of the firm have a meeting

At that moment, Faye walks in, announcing that she wished to meet them and criticizing the firm's management, such as how the firm had two disbarred managing partners in two years, a junior partner who had gone to prison, and that she believes Harvey was an involved party in Mike Ross' fraud. Faye adds that if they want her gone, they would have to show her that they would stop crossing lines and fly straight, revealing that not only does she have the power to fire them, but that she can approve cases, allocate resources and do anything else she sees fit in her capacity as Special Master. Faye announces that her first order of business would be removing Robert Zane's name from the firm name, causing Samantha to reply that she would find dirt on Faye if Faye attempted to do so. Faye responds that this kind of thinking is the exact reason she had to take over their firm and that Samantha has no say in the matter, causing Samantha to retort that she would be leaving the firm. As she storms out, Faye informs the others that their days of operating the firm as they seem fit, likening it to the Wild West, are over.

Samantha Wheeler's Office (9x02)

Harvey convinces Samantha to stay

Harvey heads to Samantha's office, where Samantha begins to pack her stuff, claiming that the firm isn't for her anymore and that she will not capitulate to Faye's demands. Harvey tells her that they need her, and that whether she likes it or not, the world thinks Robert is guilty, and therefore would think Samantha is guilty if she suddenly quit. He asks her to wait out Faye's tenure as a compromise, adding that the moment she left, they would add Robert's name back. Samantha discloses that she took a case pro bono that morning for a friend that cannot afford their rates, which complicates matters as Faye has control over case approval, although Harvey replies that since Faye's jurisdiction began as of today, as far as he was concerned Samantha met with Lucas and took on the case the night before.

Alex goes to Louis' office, berating his decision to sign off on giving Faye control, claiming that they could have used the threat of Faye's interference to convince Harvey to remove Robert's name, which was happening now anyways. Gretchen Bodinski then inserts herself into the conversation, divulging that she knows Faye as she had worked at Faye's firm years before. Gretchen reveals that during Faye's tenure as managing partner at her old firm, where she and her husband were name partners, she discovered her husband crossed a line and proceeded to have him disbarred, along with removing his name off the wall. Alex states that a woman who would do that to her own husband wouldn't care about what the firm did to her, although Louis suggests that he may have found a way out.

Donna & Faye (9x2)

Faye asks Donna to schedule Thomas Kessler's exit interview

Katrina Bennett heads to Donna's office to question how long Faye would be at their firm when Faye herself walks in. Katrina introduces herself to Faye before excusing herself, and Faye asks Donna to schedule an exit interview with Thomas Kessler, stating that she finds it hard to accept that a man would fire his law firm after that firm placed his interests high enough to break privilege. Knowing that Thomas would not lie for them again, Donna notifies Harvey of Faye's plan and adding that they need to get rid of Faye, with Harvey replying that they need to find a way to avoid that exit interview.

Samantha heads to the office of Tom Daly, Lucas' employer, to discuss the nepotism and wrongful termination lawsuit. However, she is blind-sided when Tom discloses that Lucas was fired not because of the contract, but because he had attacked several employees, had a poor employment record, sometimes missing work without calling in, and that they had to foot medical bills for the employees he injured.

Louis & Benjamin (9x2)

Louis enlists Benjamin to oust Faye

Back at the firm, Louis goes to the IT department to pay Benjamin a visit. He asks Benjamin to develop a program that can analyze the three-thousand page book on the State Bar's by-laws to find a loophole that would allow them to oust Faye; while Benjamin is initially hesitant, Louis convinces him to aid him in defending their home while its under attack. Meanwhile, Samantha returns to pay Lucas a visit, realizing he has PTSD and asking why he hid it. Lucas reveals that he was technically diagnosed during his tour, but begged his medical doctor not to put in his record, hoping that it would get better following his discharge from duty, only for it to get worse.

Thomas Kessler (9x2)

Thomas agrees to resign with the firm

Harvey goes to Thomas' office at night, notifying him of Faye and asks him to be their client again. Thomas refuses to do so, reminding Harvey that he wouldn't lie for them again, although Harvey adds that they had tripled his business and that if he had done the "right thing", Thomas would have lost his expansion. Thomas asks Harvey what Donna is to him, and Harvey replies that Donna is the most important person in his life and that she knows it. Realizing that they must have gotten together, Thomas asks when it happened and Harvey immediately responds that it was the night following the hearing. As Harvey was honest, Thomas agrees to be their client again on the sole condition that Harvey is his attorney and not Alex, declaring that he doesn't trust Alex. Harvey doesn't think it's a good idea and asks Thomas whether he can get past the fact that Donna had slept with him before breaking up with Thomas, and while Thomas has a brief moment of hesitancy, he states that he can.

Specter Litt Wheeler Williams (9x02)

Samantha notices Robert's name has been removed

Samantha returns to the firm, where she notices that Robert's name has been removed from the wall, which now reads "Specter Litt Wheeler Williams". Immediately after, she encounters Faye, who orders her to drop the Lucas case, claiming that as Lucas is her friend, she would cross lines for him, and with the case involving military subpoenas, it would be a red flag. When Samantha refuses, Faye reminds her that she has approval over all new cases, although Samantha lies that she took the case and notified Harvey of it last night, knowing that Harvey would corroborate her story. Unable to make her drop the case, Faye notifies Samantha that she controls firm resources and that she would not allocate any to Samantha for a pro bono case, warning Samantha that she would have to use her own money and that she would drop Lucas herself if Samantha used firm resources, including any associates or her own expense account.

Katrina Bennett's Office (9x2)

Samantha asks Katrina for help

Samantha then heads to Katrina's office to ask Katrina to give her access to her expense account to hire private investigators and expense accounts, although Katrina refuses. Samantha explains that she cannot leave Lucas out to dry, disclosing that while she and Lucas served together, she left and he had stayed for two more tours, developing PTSD while she wears $2000 dresses and negotiates million-dollar deals. Katrina then agrees to help Samantha on two condition, the first being that they follow the law and remain ethical and the second being that they only pick fights with the military that they know they can win.

Harvey goes to Alex's office and pours scotch, wanting to celebrate as he has good news. Harvey informs him that Thomas would be coming later today to sign an engagement letter to be their client again, although he adds that Thomas wanted him to represent him and not Alex. Alex does not like that his partner has taken his client, with Harvey trying to soften the blow by adding that it was only done to prevent Faye from having an exit interview with him. While Alex accepts it, he berates Harvey for trying to mask the news as a celebration.

Katrina Bennett's Office

Faye asks Katrina why she is helping Samantha

Faye goes down to Katrina's office to ask why Katrina has been listed as the attorney of record in Samantha's Lucas case, as she had explicitly told Samantha that firm resources could not be used. Katrina discloses that she worked on the case on her own time and that she would not be attending the scheduled depositions, which Faye respects since Katrina is adhering to the rules. However, Faye adds that she wanted Samantha to drop it, with Katrina stating that she is aware that Faye believes Samantha would be tempted to cross lines since the case is personal for her. Before she leaves, Faye tells Katrina that if she really wanted to help Samantha, she would help her avoid the temptation.

Following his talk with Alex, Harvey goes to Donna's office to share the news. Donna wonders if Thomas would arrive to sign the engagement letter as Faye wishes to have the exit interview with him, although she calms down when Harvey informs her that Thomas had given his word. Donna asks Harvey how he can make everything feel better, to which he responds that it is because he is Superman and Donna is Lana Lang. Donna retorts that she is Lois Lane instead, although Harvey quips that she is the best of both as she is a redhead before he leaves, claiming to go save Metropolis, which Donna scoffs at, claiming Harvey does not even know his own phone number.

Associates' Bullpen (9x2)

Faye humiliates Louis in front of the associates

At the associate bullpen, Louis notifies the associates that Faye has joined them but asks them to give her a wide berth while welcoming her. Susan Carter asks to clarify whether Louis wants them to welcome Faye by avoiding, which Louis affirms. Susan then continues to ask more questions until Louis states that he is their leader and that no one likes a talker, before dismissing Susan and beginning to walk away. As he gives himself self-praise and tells the associates that it was he brought in Faye to deal with the firm's reputation, adding that Faye was reluctant, he turns around to see Faye herself. Faye sets the record straight, informing the associates that the New York State Bar installed her due to the firm's reputation of poor ethics and has Louis confirm this to them, lest he lie.

An angered Louis then walks to his office alongside Alex, who notifies him that a client of theirs is being sued. In his office, Benjamin tells him that he requires a digital copy of the by-laws while Louis berates him for not scanning the physical book, dismissing him and ordering him to get the job done by the end of the day. Knowing that they need to blow off steam, Alex invites Louis to go bowling.

Meanwhile, Samantha deposes Daly, suspecting Daly of knowing that Lucas had PTSD as he has specifically had the furniture in Lucas' office rearranged so that his back was not against the door. Daly turns off the camera and admits to Samantha that he suspected, but that if he were to confess that on the record, Lucas would not be able to part of the protected class without an official diagnosis of the disorder on his record, which Lucas does not want. As Daly and his attorney leave, they present Samantha with an offer for a sealed settlement of $25,000.

Alex & Louis (9x2)

"Louis, I want you to imagine Faye's face on all those pins. Imagine she's taking your firm and laughing at you."

At the bowling alley, Louis reveals that he has never bowled, after having attended a bowling birthday party as a child and having his fingers stuck in a bowling ball. While he is initially unable to bowl, he successfully gets strikes in a row, knocking down every single pin consecutively after Alex suggests that he imagine the pins to be Faye. At the firm, Thomas arrives at Donna's office to sign the engagement letter. He and Donna have a small chat, and Thomas elects to take the letter to Harvey's office to sign there instead of signing it now and giving it to Donna.

Louis Litt & Alex Williams (9x2)

Louis and Alex bond post-bowling

Back at the bowling alley, Louis has a piña colada while Alex has a beer, and the pair revel in their post-bowling victory. Louis tells Alex that ever since Alex joined the firm he felt shafted outside the firm, while Alex adds that he thought he and Harvey would be a team when he came, but that despite everything that happened, he was still standing by the end of it and that Louis would be. As Louis had shared that he had been involved in wrestling before, Alex displays that he can tap dance, having been forced to take lessons as a child by his mother.

Katrina heads to Samantha's office to ask about the deposition, where Samantha explains that she received a $25,000 offer; while Katrina suggests that they could get $50,000, Samantha replies that she wants $500,000 and that she is willing to use blackmail and extortion to help her friend. Realizing that Faye had correctly predicted Samantha crossing lines for a friend, Katrina informs Samantha of this and suggests that what Lucas really needs is professional help.

S09E02Promo09 - Faye Donna

Donna convinces Faye to not interview Thomas

Louis returns to the firm after bowling, meeting with Donna in the associates' kitchen. He apologizes for not celebrating in the monumental news of Donna's relationship with Harvey and asks to indulge in conversation, specifically regarding and comparing Harvey's sexual prowess. As Donna leaves and heads to Harvey's office to inform him of what Louis had said to her, Harvey notifies her that Thomas backed out of signing with them as he could not handle Harvey and Donna being together. Knowing that Thomas no longer being a client would lead to Faye going through with the exit interview, Donna tells Harvey that she would tell Faye the truth. Heading to Faye's office, Donna informs Faye that she was in a relationship with Thomas that ended and that this led to Thomas leaving the firm; additionally, Donna adds that having an exit interview with him would reopen the wound and asks Faye if she ever had a relationship she thought would last but ended badly. Faye, sympathizing with the situation due to the circumstance with her husband, thanks Donna for telling her the truth and notifies her that she will no longer be seeking an exit interview with Thomas.

Lucas & Samantha (9x2)

Lucas Hodge is notified that he cannot get his old job back

Back at Samantha's office, Samantha brings Lucas in, informing him that she could not get his old job back but that he had been given a $25,000 settlement. Lucas is infuriated, as he wanted his old job back, although Samantha tells him that she had created a new corporation called SW Industries. While the company would exist only on paper, publicly Lucas would have a job and would receive $100,000 a year. Lucas does not initially accept the job, refusing the income as he's not actually working for it, but Samantha claims that the contract is null and void if he does not seek professional help. She discloses to him that she was beat as a child and required therapy to better herself, and that he would need it as he was in a war.

Louis & Faye (9x2)

Faye publicly berates Louis

As Louis makes a prunie in the associates' kitchen, Faye enters and publicly berates him for having Benjamin break the law by hacking the Bar. Louis retorts that he did not tell Benjamin to hack the Bar but that he had ordered him to do whatever it took to get Faye dismissed, while Faye lashes back that Louis in unethical, tarnishing the firm and his reputation as the other associates watch. Louis then makes his way to the IT floor. Donna returns to Harvey's office, but as the pair begin talking, Gretchen interrupts them and tells them to head to IT right away.

Louis, Donna & Harvey (9x2)

"You're just agreeing with Donna because you don't want her to be mad at you now that you're in a relationship."

There, they find Louis reprimanding Benjamin for ratting his orders out to Faye, and he tells Benjamin that he is fired. Donna refuses to have Benjamin fired and asks for it to be put to a vote, only for Louis to respond that as managing partner, he can fire support staff without the need for a vote and that Harvey would only agree with Donna in a vote because they are in a relationship. Donna replies that Harvey wouldn't do that, but both she and Louis notice that Harvey is hesitant to argue against Louis' assertion that Harvey only supports Donna in her stance against Benjamin's firing because he is in a relationship with her. Faye then appears and tells Louis that Benjamin would not be fired, while Louis leaves after replying that he is not sticking around for Faye to publicly humiliate him for a third time.

Katrina pays Alex a visit at his office, thanking him for taking Louis bowling and asking Alex to keep being there for Louis, adding that Louis would need his friends now more than ever. Louis heads outside the firm building and enters into his chauffeured car and finds Faye waiting there for him. She explains that she took heed of Louis' desire not to be publicly humiliated and therefore wished to have a private conversation in order to notify him that, effective immediately, she was stripping him of his title as managing partner along with all of its respective duties.

Cast

Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

Major/Highlighted Events

Specter Litt Wheeler Williams (9x2)

The firm is renamed

Cultural References

Trivia

Goofs/Inconsistencies

  • According to Faye, it has been two years since Jessica Pearson's disbarment ("Hard Truths") although timeline wise, it would only be a year at most.

Quotes

Donna: Louis, as much as we would love for you to show us how supportive your underwear is, Harvey and I are here to share some news about why we were together the other morning.
Louis: Yeah, I know why you were together. You were worried about the firm.
Donna: Except the firm isn't the reason why Harvey came over the other night, and it's definitely not why he stayed over.
Louis: Wait, Harvey, you have a problem with your plumbing? 'Cause if you need to use my shower–
Harvey: That's not what she's saying, Louis, and I'm never gonna use your shower.
Louis: It's got a steam feature! Come on upstairs, I'll show you.
Donna: Louis! Harvey and I are together.
Louis: Yeah, I know you're together. You're standing right in front of me.
Harvey: See? This is what I'm talking about. I mean, like, how did even make it through law school?
Donna: No, no, no, no, no. Harvey and I are in a relationship.
Donna: How is it that you always make it feel like everything's gonna be okay?
Harvey: Because I'm Superman.
Donna: No, you're supposed to say, "I was just thinking the same thing about you."
Harvey: But Superman wouldn't say something like that. He'd just expect Lana Lang to get it.
Donna: Well, in case you haven't noticed, I'm not Lana Lang. I'm Lois Lane.
Harvey: You have the best of both because Lana was a redhead. Is that mushy enough for you? 'Cause I've got to go save Metropolis.
Donna: Save Metropolis. You don't even know your own phone number.
Louis: What the fuck did you do?
Benjamin: Louis, you don't understand. She knew before I even told her.
Louis: Bullshit. She knew because you told her. You betrayed me.

Gallery

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