There’s something about the word “no” that makes Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) go “Oh, hell, yes!” Once he refuses to take no for an answer, it doesn’t matter how many times he hears that word, or even who’s saying it.
At the beginning of Season 8, Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce), Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty) and Alex Williams (Dulé Hill) all told him to stop trying to use the conflict of interest between two of Zane Specter Litt’s clients as a way to beat out Robert as managing partner. But Harvey did not stop -- not until Donna convinced him that what he really wanted was to get back in the lawyering game. Once Harvey digs in his heels, he usually gets his way, and that often turns out alright. But sometimes when Harvey balks at a roadblock, things don’t go so well. Either way, here are six other times Harvey refused to take no for an answer -- and we're SO glad he did...
1. No, You Can’t Hire a Lawyer Who Didn’t Go to Harvard
The bylaws were clear: Pearson Hardman only hired associates who graduated from Harvard Law School. No exceptions. So, when Harvey got promoted to senior partner, he was expected to hire an associate of his very own -- from Harvard. Then fate threw drug dealer/legal savant Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) in Harvey’s path. Mike’s incredible recall and knowledge of the law impressed Harvey deeply. Obviously, that’s why he hired an associate who did not go to Harvard (and wasn’t even a lawyer). But we like to think Harvey also took one look down the hall at the bland hopefuls waiting to meet him, and decided it was a stupid rule anyway.
2. No, You Can’t Beat the System
In Season 2, Pearson Hardman co-founder Daniel Hardman (David Costabile) returned… and immediately set about trying to take back the firm from Jessica (Gina Torres). He and Harvey quickly clashed, and Hardman bamboozled Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) into supporting his bid to become managing partner. The inevitable showdown came when Harvey smoked pot, and Louis used the opportunity to fire him! Harvey demanded a hearing in front of a quorum of senior partners. Then he turned the tables on Louis and Hardman, using the hearing as a platform to lay out Hardman’s machinations involving Coastal Motors and the fraudulent suing of his own firm. Hardman’s bid to get Harvey officially ousted failed miserably, but Jessica’s call to dismiss Hardman was a rousing success.
3. No, You Can’t Stop Louis From Ruining Mike’s Life
When Louis discovered Mike faked an A+ grade in ethics, he demanded that Mike personally apologize to the professor, Henry Gerard (Stephen Macht). To force the issue, Louis invited Gerard to give a lecture at the firm. Harvey knew that if Mike made that confession, it would ruin his life, because Gerard wouldn’t just let it go. He reminded Louis about their early days at the firm and how Louis covered for him when he blew off his work. Louis still wouldn’t sell out a friend, right? It was one of the prettiest speeches we’ve heard Harvey give, but Louis still said no. Fortunately, Harvey’s words had some kind of time-release power. Just as Mike stepped up to face the music, Louis waved him off. Okay, he still made Mike apologize to both himself and the professor for not getting his work done and therefore missing the lecture. But that was an outcome everyone could live with.
4. No, Mike and Louis Won’t Be Friends
Sometimes Harvey goes to great lengths to get his way. Like that time in Season 4 when he took Mike and Louis on a road trip to get them to bury the hatchet. It was shortly after Louis leveraged his knowledge of Mike’s secret to become name partner. Louis then vowed to make Mike’s life a living hell until he quit. Even Jessica was at her wit’s end with those two. So, Harvey used a combination of threats (for Mike) and flattery (for Louis) to wrangle the contentious pair into joining him on a drive to McKernan Motors’ corporate headquarters. Then he insisted that, by the time they got there, Louis and Mike would have their shit worked out. Things got emotional, ugly, and bittersweet — but, boy, did they work it out.
5. No, Rachel Can’t Be a Lawyer
In Season 6, Rachel got a letter from the bar saying she’d already been rejected on ethical grounds. It turned out that ethics board member Craig Seidel (Michael B. Silver) rejected Rachel so he could blackmail Harvey into ruining a business competitor, Velocity Data Solutions. No lawsuit against Seidel’s rival, no lawyering for Rachel. (Shockingly unethical for an ethics professional, right?) Louis did some digging, and Harvey went back to Seidel and said he would not let him deny Rachel her shot. Seidel confessed that he wanted revenge on Velocity. It stole his company’s ideas, but he couldn’t complain to the feds without revealing he had an affair, and his lover stole the secrets from his own laptop. Harvey demanded Seidel fix things for Rachel -- because it was the right thing to do. Then he offered to find a legit way to sue Velocity, provided that Seidel paved the way for Mike to join the bar.
6. No, You Can’t Have Donna in Your Life
At first, Dr. Paula Agard (Christina Cole) was good for Harvey. She helped him with his panic attacks and even got him to forgive his mother for cheating on his father. Things were pretty bubbly right after they started dating, too (another time he refused to take no -- as in, no, you should not date your therapist -- for an answer). But soon their romance became strained, partly because Harvey did not always immediately tell Paula the whole truth about things -- especially things involving Donna. First he confessed that they had once slept together. Then he had to tell her about The Kiss. Paula, haunted by an unfaithful past love, told Harvey she couldn’t handle him continuing to work with Donna. Harvey couldn’t change Paula’s mind, but he couldn’t fire Donna, either. So, Donna resigned. That was when Harvey came to his senses. Goodbye, Paula. Welcome back, Donna.
If you're a fan of Harvey Specter's, we know you're going to love Dr. Max Goodwin, Bellevue Hospital's newest medical director who's all about disrupting the status quo. Click here to learn more about New Amsterdam, premiering September 25 on NBC!