The pilot introduces us to brilliant deal closer and legal mind Harvey Specter, a high ranking associate at the law firm of Pearson and Hardman. In the opening moments we get a taste of just what kind of smart it takes to close deals, including a willingness to lie, which firm partner Jessica Hardman tolerates, yet hardly encourages.
In a college classroom, we then meet college dropout Mike Ross, who we discover possesses an equally brilliant mind with an extraordinary photographic memory, taking Law School Entrance exams for people in exchange for money.
Mike and Harvey cross paths in a twist of fate that lands Mike in need of quick cash to keep his ailing grandma, who raised him, in a full-time care facility for Alzheimer’s. While attempting to make a drug deal on behalf of his best friend, Trevor, Mike finds himself running away from the cops and right into a Pearson and Hardman associate recruitment interview.
Impressing Harvey with not only his personal story but also his unrivaled knowledge of the law, Mike earns a place as a summer associate for Pearson and Hardman despite his lack of credentials. It’s a secret they have to hide from both firm partner Jessica Hardman and Harvey’s long time rival, Louis Litt.
As punishment for lying to a high profile client, Jessica requires Harvey to work a pro-bono sexual harassment case, a case he hands off to Mike as his first real legal proceeding. When his street smarts aren’t enough, Mike enlists the help of legal researcher, Rachel, and Harvey’s personal assistant, Lisa, to navigate his new position.
Their investigation into the sexual harassment claims of their client reveals a conspiracy on the part of the defendant to obstruct justice, which Harvey and Mike use as leverage to gain justice for their client, successfully winning their first case together.