Suits returns from the July 4th break with a return. Tanner (Eric Close), the sleazy lawyer from last season, is back. He represents the family of a man who died in a car accident. Harvey represents the car company. Harvey points out that he won this case already and that the statute of limitations ran out a long time ago. Tanner hands him an internal memo that shows that the car's hood was substandard. He's alleging fraud, and that means time has not run out. He's suing the car company and Pearson Hardman.
Meanwhile, Louis (Rick Hoffman) trying to collect intel on what is going on between Hardman (David Costabile) and Jessica (Gina Torres). Hardman is dismissive and wants Mike. Poor Louis. He tells Hardman that Mike is working with him on a case. Louis tries to get Harvey to give Mike to him for the case, but Harvey refuses.
Mike (Patrick J. Adams) rifles through Harvey's vinyl collection. It says something about their relationship that Mike feels comfortable doing that in front of him, and that Harvey (Gabriel Macht) doesn't do anything about it until Mike makes the fatal mistake of making fun of The Spinners.
Harvey grabs Mike by the arm and delivers him to Louis. They negotiate terms, but basically it sounds like Mike is Louis' for a while. Louis guesses that Harvey is using him to punish Mike, but he's okay with it. Louis' client bottles a genius water, something like smartwater (r) and is being sued by a smaller company. He wants Mike to bury them in motions.
Harvey asks Donna (Sarah Rafferty) about the memo. She denies ever seeing that memo. Harvey has her go through the whole case file. This means boxes and boxes. She heads over to the file room. Harvey heads out to meet his client (John Finn), who brings along the company's in house counsel. Words are exchanged (basically the other lawyer is concerned that Tanner's animosity towards Harvey will be a bad thing for the company), and Harvey gets the firm fired, against the other lawyer's wishes. Why? Because anything Harvey discovers now will not be covered by attorney-client privilege, as he justifies to Jessica.
Harvey also tells Mike that he's going to need him to go over everything in the file, but not to let Louis know anything. Mike goes through the files with Donna. They are interrupted by a knock. It's Harold (Max Topplin). Harold is crushing hard on Rachel (Meghan Markle), so when she asks for a stapler to get him out of her hair, he goes to look for it. Donna musses up Mike's hair and her own, and when Harold walks in, he's so gobsmacked that he doesn't notice all the files everywhere. Donna is crafty.
Mike rushes to the conference room to meet Louis and opposing counsel. He hands Louis all the motions, and Louis lays them one by one in front of the guy. He stammers and stutters that this isn't good faith negotiations for settlement, and Mike produces yet more motions and Louis hands those over, too. Louis seems pretty impressed that Mike has all that done. After the meeting, Mike heads back to the file room.
He goes to Harvey with what he didn't find. An inspector at the company wrote many reports until 2005. She never wrote one about the car in question, and she never wrote one again. There's no record of her anywhere with the company. He hands Harvey her address, and Harvey goes to see her. He thought she might have been paid off and might be complicit in the fraud. It turns out that the woman (Erika Alexander) informed the company and was assured that the problems would be fixed for her silence. They did fix those problems going forward but didn't fix the already existing problems. The woman hates the company and that they made her complicit in what was effectively a murder since the negligence led to that man's death.
At the deposition of a middle management guy, Louis appeals to the guy by telling him that he understands being passed over for promotions and not being appreciated for the work he does. Mike looks at Louis with understanding. The man spills that his company knows their product sucks and that they are trying to eat into Louis' client's market share with the suit. Louis and Mike celebrate, and Louis gives Mike the afternoon off for a job well done.
Hardman tells Louis that the rival water company is declaring bankruptcy. He tells Louis and Mike it's a shame when they worked so long on it. Mike says nothing to give away the fact that he only just started working on it. Mike suggests to Louis that this could still be a win-win. The rival company might make terrible water, but they have other good products. If they buy it all for a heavily reduced bankruptcy rate, and then drop the suit, they will have come out way ahead on this. Louis implements that, and when Hardman compliments him on it, he gives the credit to Mike.
It's not as fuzzy as it sounds. Mike and Louis talk about their working relationship, and Louis realizes that his behavior isn't always great. He goes to Harvey to ask what is going on, and Harvey throws him out. Mike tells him he's being harsh, but Harvey says he doesn't trust him and that Louis is pathetic. Mike agrees. Problem is that Louis left his dictaphone on record and hears it all. He tells Hardman everything and tells Mike later that he gave him credit because he owed him for covering with Hardman, but that's it. They're done.
Harvey gets the car company to settle, but Tanner is still going after him. Harvey's not worried. In the file room, Donna finds the heavily redacted memo. She received it way back when. What are you doing to Donna, Suits?!