The formerly undefeated Travis Tanner is back in town, and he wants revenge on Harvey for beating him in a case last season. The weapon Tanner's using is a product liability suit Harvey won four years ago on behalf of an auto manufacturer, specifically a "newly discovered" internal memo revealing that the car maker knew all about the engineering flaws that resulted in a driver's death. Tanner is not only reopening the case, he's suing Harvey for fraud, accusing him of having deliberately concealed the memo at the time. Harvey's response is threefold: 1) get himself fired by the car company so he can investigate further without being bound by attorney-client privilege; 2) order Donna and Mike to secretly search the old case files for a copy of that memo so they can prove nobody at Pearson Hardman ever saw it (or fire whoever did), and 3) keep Daniel Hardman from finding out about any of it, on Jessica's instructions.
Complicating fold number three is the fact that Mike's smart mouth has prompted Harvey to lend him to Louis to work on a case (which Louis already lied to Hardman that Mike had been scalp-deep in for weeks). Mike and Louis actually end up working well together, as Mike discovers not only how impressive Louis's dickishness can be when directed at opposing counsel, but also Louis's ongoing pain at being underappreciated at the firm. They even end up having a heart-to-heart in which it looks like some old hatchets may be buried. But Louis suspects that Harvey's still hiding something, with Mike's help. Which of course is exactly what's happening.
After tracking down the quality control officer at the company who brought her concerns to the CEO's attention (although she claims not to have written the memo), Harvey goes to the CEO and strong-arms him into settling. He thinks that'll be the end of the matter, but Tanner is still after him for fraud, even though Harvey figures Tanner wrote that damning memo himself. Back at the firm, Louis approaches Harvey to be let into the loop and offer his help with whatever Harvey's secretly working on, but Harvey refuses to trust Louis and sends him packing. Louis, still being Louis, leaves his beloved Dictaphone behind to record Harvey's subsequent conversation with Mike. When Louis later hears what's said -- which, in addition to giving everything away, isn't terribly flattering to Louis -- it's not too hard for him to tell Hardman what's going on. Hardman goes ballistic on Harvey and Jessica for hiding the fraud lawsuit from him, but rather than turning on them, he says they'll have to fight it together, since the case is, after all, against the whole firm. And thus is an uneasy alliance born.
And down in the file room late at night, Donna finds the last thing she wanted to find: Pearson Hardman's copy of that fatal memo, stamped "received" with her own signature on it from four years ago. Oh, hell.
Louis pays a visit to Hardman's office and the founding partner makes him wait a good long while before letting him talk. Louis offers to take on an insurance client Hardman brought in, which Hardman condescendingly says is beneath Louis. Louis assures him there's no such thing, which Hardman thinks may be some kind of illicit offer. Louis makes a weaselly speech about firm dynamics, but all Hardman wants right now is to see Mike Ross. Louis babbles an excuse about how Mike has been busy helping him with a suit involving Liquid Water suit. Hardman pleasantly tells Louis to forget it and somehow drives him from the room with nothing more than an expression of polite boredom.
So now -- in order to make the lie he just told Hardman (for reasons I'm not quite clear on) no longer a lie -- Louis has to go to Harvey and say he's claiming Mike for two weeks as his reward for the bet he won in last season's penultimate episode. Harvey isn't giving in unless Louis says Harvey is the best closer in New York... to Donna. "Welcher," Louis says, scampering away. Having reached Donna's desk, Harvey collects an envelope from her, then proceeds into his office and fields some sass from Mike before opening it. Whereupon he discovers that it's a complaint to reopen an auto fatality case Harvey won four years ago defending "Coastal Motors." Presumably on the argument that anybody who'd buy a "Coastal Motors" car knew what he was getting into. Mike rattles off the details of the case from his circus-freak memory and adds, "This can't be surprising to you any more." But as they both know, the statute of limitations is expired for what is essentially a product liability case, so they figure this is essentially a shakedown that they'll easily quash. Mike moves on to making fun of the presence of The Spinners in Harvey's extensive record collection, and that's the last smart remark Harvey needed to hear in order to decide to deliver Mike to Louis, which he does forthwith. Louis accepts and he and Harvey agree that the only limitations to Louis's treatment of Mike will be the ones outlined by the Geneva Convention. Which, for Louis, is actually kind of generous.
After a crosstown transition shot during which we briefly fear being impaled by the Chrysler Building, we catch up to Harvey in an empty conference room. Travis Tanner -- the formerly undefeated lawyer played by Eric Close (also from last season) -- comes in, gives Harvey some shit, and says he's the new senior partner at Smith and Devane. Which would explain why he's dressed in a fancier suit and has his hair slicked back with enough oil to lubricate a sedan from Coastal Motors. Speaking of which, Tanner shows Harvey the "new evidence" they're using to reopen the case: a heavily redacted internal memo showing that CM knew about engineering defects that caused the crash. Harvey claims to have never seen it before, which Tanner doesn't buy. What Tanner does want is $46 million dollars for the client, plus he's suing Harvey and the whole firm of Pearson Hardman for fraudulently concealing the memo. "You really want to come after me again?" Harvey asks incredulously. "0 and 2 doesn't look good on a resume." The meeting ends with Harvey inviting Tanner to kiss his ass. Nice that they got a chance to catch up.