Pearson: ‘The Former City Attorney’ Recap & Review

Although drastically different from Suits, Pearson follows its predecessor’s footsteps with a flashback episode. This week on Pearson, we see the beginnings of an affair, revisit old friendships, and learn a little more about the mysterious Tommy Deal.

The episode opens with a flashback from five years ago, where we see Keri (Bethany Joy Lenz) as the Assistant City Attorney. She meets Bobby (Morgan Spector), who is an alderman. The two flirt, after Keri finds out that Bobby is separated from his wife. The scene is adorable, but we are unfortunately reminded of the fact that it is indeed the past as we are transported back to the present day. 

(Yes, I am guilty of liking Keri with Bobby. Yes, I know Keri deserves better. I just can’t help it. The scenes in this episode, along with their previous scenes made the relationship so appealing. Can we just forget morals for one second? It’s a show about corruption!)

Awkwardly, Keri’s one night stand leaves her apartment as she is served with papers from her former boss, the former City Attorney Ken Sharma (Amol Shah). The city of Chicago is being sued for wrongful termination because of Keri’s actions five years ago.

Recalling her past, we watch as Keri negotiates with a woman whose son became crippled due to the neglect of the city. Although she handles it very well, Keri becomes blindsided when the opposing counsel brings up documents that she had never heard of before. Unfortunately, she learns that evidence was buried in the case. When she goes to report it to City Attorney Sharma, she is shocked to find out he actually endorsed the burial of the documents.

Confused and unsure of where to turn, Keri tells Alderman Novak, who hatches a plan with her to expose Sharma. The plan makes Novak feel excited, like he is actually doing something for the city which attracts him even more to Keri, but also causes him to fight back against Pat McGann (Wayne Duvall) when he later meets with him. Unfortunately, McGann puts Bobby in his place, reminding him that he is the one who will make Bobby mayor, not Bobby himself. We also learn that McGann’s involvement with Novak is merely quid pro quo for his father, which is code for “Bobby’s father did something shady for Pat.” By the end of the episode, we know the shady thing that Bobby’s father did for McGann was getting rid of union boss Tommy Deal.

Back in the present day, we watch as Jessica (Gina Torres) tries to solve Keri’s problem. Unfortunately, Jessica’s corporate law techniques don’t work when the opposition has a personal vendetta against Keri and Bobby. (It makes sense, after all, they did expose his corruption.) This leads Jessica to practice deposing Keri, but Jessica unknowingly crosses a line when she implies that Keri got to her place because she slept her way there.

Jessica awaiting Ken’s arrival. (USA Network)

Later, Jessica visits Keri to apologize, but Keri confesses to her affair with Bobby. She admits that, even though she didn’t sleep her way there, if the truth came out, it would ruin her career and she was afraid of that happening. Of course, Jessica understands and knows she must do whatever it takes to settle the case outside of court. This causes her to go to Sharma and offer him a one million dollar settlement.

Unfortunately, Ken rejects the huge settlement. It turns out he is more upset about losing his power than he is about the money. As he storms off, telling Jessica that she can “keep [her] money,” Jessica knows who to call immediately.

Calling in a favor, Jessica rings up Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), her mentee and friend from Suits. She asks that he find Ken a place in New York City where he can be a lawyer once again. Of course, never failing his mentor, Harvey goes to search for that job for the former city attorney.

Jessica ends her day by returning back to the office to scold Yoli (Isabel Arraiza), who had been working with Derrick (Eli Goree) all day to secure a deal with a large company. Unfortunately, Yoli let her passion get the best of her, and she made several rude comments to one of the company’s officials. Yoli apologizes profusely, begging Jessica not to fire her. Of course, Jessica, seeing the same fiery passion that she has in Yoli, forgives the girl just this once.

Leaving the office, Jessica apologizes to Nick (Simon Kassianides) for accusing him of being a murderer. She also opens up to him, and the two share a tender moment which is interrupted by the arrival of Jeff (D.B. Woodside). It’s a strange, weirdly tense moment between Jeff and Nick as the screen cuts to black.

Overall, this episode had its ups and downs, but it was most interesting to see Korsh utilize the flashback format that he used in Suits. It’s a welcome addition, as flashback episodes are some of my favorite Suits episodes.This week’s Pearson definitely felt very Korsh-y. It was a reminder that the showrunner was indeed the same man who crafted the iconic legal drama and is now trying something different with this twisted, dark political drama.

Although I felt like Arraiza and Goree’s characters were merely added as reminders that they exist this episode, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even if the ending was a bit confusing with the strange feeling of desire radiating off of Nick, it was nice to learn more about Keri and Bobby, the leaders of the show (behind Jessica, of course.)

Watch Pearson live with me at 10/9c on USA Network or catch up on the Pearson website.

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