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Warning: Season 5 Spoilers Ahead!
5. Opponent: Sean Cahill (Neal McDonough), Season: 3
Why He Was So Formidable: An indefatigable investigator for the S.E.C. known for putting the pressure on and not letting up, Cahill could be a bit overzealous when it came to surveillance, ignoring protocol in the service of getting the job done.
The Details: Cahill waged all out war on PSL at the behest of his old buddy and new boss, Eric Woodall, and later brought charges of collusion against Mike and Harvey in connection with the Gillis Industries takeover.
The Outcome: Innocent of the charges, the firm battled back, but things got rocky when it came to light that Louis had buried evidence of a dirty deal with Forstman in files that Cahill was trying to subpoena. Eventually, Mike Harvey and Louis managed to convince Cahill that he was barking up the wrong tree, and to turn an eye towards his own boss.
The Verdict: This attack dog sunk his teeth in and wouldn’t let go…it just turned out he had the wrong leg. Still, we’d hate to see him coming for us.
4. Opponent: D.A. Terrence Wolf (Chi McBride), Season: 1, 4
Why He Was So Formidable: An unwavering belief in the system and the full weight of his office.
The Details: Harvey and Mike approached newly appointed District Attorney Wolf in an attempt to overturn the sentence of Clifford Danner, a man who had been wrongfully convicted for the murder of a classmate due to evidence buried by Wolf’s predecessor (and Harvey’s mentor and former boss) Cameron Dennis. Harvey’s attempts to first charm and then intimidate Wolf into cutting a deal for Danner’s release did not endear him to the new D.A.
The Outcome: Wolf pulled no punches in this fight but Harvey and Mike were able to get Danner released by scaring one of the real murderers into cutting a deal, a move that was a little hinky, legally speaking. The circumstances never sat right with Wolf, though, and years later when Donna was charged with felony fraud during the Liberty Rail case, he saw it as his chance to get back at Harvey. Harvey eventually had to resort to obstruction of justice to get Donna off the hook.
The Verdict: Twice Harvey has gone up against Wolf, and twice Harvey has had to resort to breaking the law to come out victorious. This man is the real deal in our book.
3. Opponent: Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce), Season: 2
Why He Was So Formidable: A hard-nosed legal style and all of the connections and resources that come with having your own firm.
The Details: Zane tried to renegotiate a gender discrimination settlement with a lowball offer, and when Harvey and Mike countered with a class action suit against Zane’s client, he threatened to make their lives miserable unless Jessica agreed to merge with his firm.
The Outcome: Jessica didn’t take too kindly to Zane’s shotgun marriage proposal, and in the end Zane decided taking on the firm that his daughter worked for would be a conflict of interest, so he farmed out the case to Daniel Hardman.
The Verdict: Zane definitely had Harvey and Jessica feeling the squeeze, and he was one of the reasons Jessica ended up merging with Edward Darby. We honestly wonder what would have happened had Zane stayed on the case. In fact, he would have been even higher on the list were it not for this next one…
1 (Tied). Opponent: Anita Gibbs (Leslie Hope), Season: 5
Why She Is So Formidable: A nose for facts and a seemingly tireless work ethic and a real ruthless streak.
The Details: Gibbs had Mike arrested for fraudulently posing as a lawyer and is coming at the firm hard, swamping them in a nightmare of file work while using every means at her disposal to put the pressure on those closest to Mike until she can find a weak link in the chain and cut a deal.
The Outcome: The team has managed to counter Gibbs move-for-move so far, but the truth is simply not on Mike’s side. Add to that Gibbs’s apparent skill in the courtroom and the fact that Louis may be ready to cut a deal to save himself, and it looks like someone may have finally gotten the best of Pearson, Specter, Litt.
The Verdict: Ok, so it’s too soon to tell, but we don’t like our team’s chances. Until then, we’re going with our true number one…
1. Opponent: Daniel Hardman (David Costabile), Season: 2, 4
Why He Was So Formidable: Razor sharp intelligence and moral flexibility hidden behind a seemingly benign countenance. A skilled manipulator, Hardman is an expert at judging people and using them to get what he wants.
The Details: Returned from his forced exile, Hardman used the scandal of the Coastal Motors case to sew dissent in the ranks and stage a coup, regaining full control of the firm.
The Outcome: Where to begin? This was one of the ugliest fights in firm history and by the time the dust settled, Donna had been fired and rehired, Louis had been promoted to Senior Partner, and Harvey was nearly forced out for refusing to take a drug test. Though Jessica was able to take back control of the firm, that didn’t stop Hardman, who returned as opposing counsel on the Folsom Foods case while using the terms of a nondisclosure agreement he made Jessica sign upon his departure to bring a sexual harassment case against the firm on behalf of his former mistress, Monica Eaton. Later still, he blackmailed Jack Soloff into helping him try and take over the firm yet again, this time with the backing of Charles Forstman. It’s only when Forstman pulls his funding after Harvey's resignation, that his rebellion was quashed.
Verdict: No one else has been able to ruffle the feathers of our favorite team of attorneys the way Daniel Hardman has. Say what you want about the man, we’d probably be happy to see him leading our defense if it weren’t for the fact that he’s so damn evil. And his all-consuming hatred of Jessica and Harvey means that we probably haven’t heard the last of Hardman - not by a long shot.
Ready for tonight's Suits finale? Prime yourself with the Top 5 Moments from last week's penultimate episode!