[Warning: Contains spoilers for the first five seasons of Suits!]
Maybe the first mistake Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) made was doing that drug delivery for best bud Trevor Evans (Tom Lipinski) back in season one of Suits. Or maybe it was befriending Trevor in the first place. Grammy always said that boy was trouble. Anyway … instead of ending up in jail, Mike ended up the associate to hot-shot corporate attorney Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) at a prestigious law firm where everybody went to Harvard Law School.
That doesn’t seem like punishment, right? Except that Mike didn’t go to Harvard and didn’t even have a law degree (or any degree, just an amazing memory). Mike’s real mistake was thinking he and Harvey could keep this huge secret. Not that owning up made life at Pearson Specter Litt any easier for anyone. Now Mike’s paying for it -- with his freedom. Considering all the other times he has suffered for his secret, that hardly seems fair. Let us count the ways Mike has paid for his mistake.
1. His BFF Betrayed Him
At the end of season one, Mike’s ex-pal Trevor (the same guy who pulled him into a life of crime) told Harvey’s boss Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) all about Mike’s lie. That put Jessica -- and the firm -- on the hook. It was only a matter of time before she got clued in, but being sold out by one of your oldest friends is pretty harsh.
2. He Didn’t Even Get to Say Goodbye
One big reason Mike took the risk of being exposed as a fraud was because the job would help him get the best care for his ailing grandmother, Edith (Rebecca Schull). But he didn’t have as much time to visit her as before. Buying Grammy a sweet Manhattan apartment felt like a nice way to make it up to her, but she didn’t live long enough to even see it. Devastating.
3. He Suffered Rachel’s Wrath
In the season two finale, Mike finally told Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) the truth when she insisted on knowing why he didn’t write her a law school recommendation letter. How mad was she? So mad, she slapped him! Then she slapped him again! And then they had sex in the file room. Ummm, maybe that wasn’t actually punishment. Never mind.
4. He Put Rachel on the Firing Line
When Jessica found out that Mike and Rachel were dating, she was not happy about Mike telling her business to the daughter of rival Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce). Jessica made Rachel sign an affidavit declaring she knew Mike didn’t go to Harvard. Sure, Rachel was savvy enough to get what she wanted out of that (i.e., a guaranteed shot at a job), but she still officially put herself on the line, and she could go down too.
5. Busted! (The First Time)
When Mike got busted with Harold Gunderson (Max Topplin) for collusion and bribery in the Ava Hessington case, there was plenty of guilt to go around. Harold went along with Mike’s idea to agree to a settlement that would get witnesses out of the way, and Harvey OK’d the plan. But the arrest showed everyone, like never before, just how dangerous Mike’s deception was for the firm.
6. Charles Forstman (Need We Say More?)
In season four, Mike took a new job as an investment banker. No more lawyer lies for him. But then he tried to play billionaire Charles Forstman (Eric Roberts) in a deal. Instead, Harvey’s longtime enemy played him -- and the fallout pushed Mike right back to the firm. He had to start living the lie all over again! Worse, Forstman took a fresh interest in getting back at Harvey, and that was bad for everyone.
7. “Pearson. Specter. Litt.”
Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) began investigating Mike in season three, never finding out anything for sure. But Mike himself messed up in season four, by not knowing that the damn key Louis had was for graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law. Then it was Louis’ turn to get what he wanted. What did he want? To be a name partner -- and to make Mike’s life hell.
8. He Got Promoted
Impressed with Mike, former nemesis Jack Soloff (John Pyper-Ferguson) made him a junior partner -- the youngest the firm ever named! Wait a sec, is this another one of those not-really-a-punishment punishments? Nope, because Mike’s first client was Claire (Troian Bellisario), a woman he dated back in his bike messenger days, who knew he wasn’t a lawyer. Mike and Rachel’s attempts to cover for him just made her more suspicious. They only avoided total disaster because Claire decided to keep Mike’s secret. Phew!
9. He Disappointed a Man of God
Inspired by Trevor (him again!), Mike looked to his old priest, Father Walker (Scott Michael Campbell), for reassurance. He wanted to be told he’s a good person but refused to admit he was doing anything wrong. That got Father Walker thinking that maybe he made a mistake -- by not being harder on teenage Mike back in the day. Talk about a guilt trip! Are confessions always so tense?
10. Just When He Was Out, They Pulled Him Back In
Realizing his secret would keep him from having a real future, Mike resigned from the firm. Clarity at last! But about 10 seconds later, the feds arrived to arrest him for conspiracy to commit fraud, and the whole house of cards came crashing down. You know the rest. What happens next?
Find out what's in store for Mike and Pearson, Specter, Litt when Suits returns Wednesday, July 13, at 9/8c on USA Network!