As promised (threatened), Daniel Hardman shows up to take on the gender discrimination cases that Pearson Hardman is bringing against Folsom Foods. Except, oops, he's also there to prosecute a wrongful termination suit against Pearson Hardman on behalf of Monica Eaton -- the very woman Jessica fired for having an affair with Hardman back in the day. Seems like this would be a slam dunk, but Jessica and the firm are hamstrung by a confidentiality agreement that Hardman made her sign when he left the firm. Which means Jessica can't tell anyone the real reason she fired Monica Eaton. That's bad enough, but then Hardman makes Monica's firing about gender, which pretty much screws Pearson Hardman on those gender discrimination suits. Win-win for Hardman, the jerk.
Not that anyone at the firm is taking it lying down. Jessica's in full raptor mode, refusing to negotiate or settle despite Harvey's advice to do so. Mike takes it upon himself to try to persuade Monica Eaton to drop the suit, unsuccessfully. Donna actually bitch-slaps Hardman… twice. Louis tries to mend fences with Harvey by offering his help, only to learn that his pathetic crush on Monica years ago has been trumped up into sexual harassment in her wrongful termination claim, leading him to literally threaten Hardman with death.
But through all of the maneuvering -- legal and otherwise -- Hardman remains one step ahead of them (and sometimes two). At least until Mike convinces Monica to settle on behalf of all the gender discrimination plaintiffs she'll be screwing if she proceeds with the suit.
Meanwhile, Rachel is applying to Harvard Law School and Jessica is trying to convince Rachel's dad that Daniel Hardman is bad news. She goes so far as to bring up that merger offer he mentioned last week, but he's no longer interested -- he plans to have Daniel Hardman beat her in court instead.
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After some previouslies that go back five years, we slam into the present day, with Daniel Hardman in the Pearson Hardman conference room. Yes his beardedness is back, after ironically being just about the only man in Lincoln without any facial hair at all. His name's still on the wall of the elevator lobby in the background, and he's deposing Sloane Moseley, the gender discrimination plaintiff who was Harvey and Mike's client last week and apparently still is, because they're at the table as well. He's quizzing her about the executives at her company when he suddenly pivots to the question of gender equality among the senior partners at Pearson Hardman. Mike protests that it isn't relevant, which Hardman says it is, but Harvey says this is supposed to be about Folsom Foods. Hardman feigns confusion and clarifies that the suit they're discussing is in fact against Pearson Hardman, and this is all just a charade so he can serve them with subpoenas for a wrongful termination suit for ten million dollars. Harvey hotly says Hardman is lucky he's not in jail, let alone in any position to sue for wrongful termination, but Mike, actually reading the paperwork, says the suit is on behalf of Monica Eaton, the former Pearson Hardman employee that Hardman was having an affair with -- the very affair Harvey used to blackmail Hardman out of the firm these five years ago. Hardman says it was Mike's idea in the first place. "What this firm did to that woman was unconscionable." Yes, I believe she got screwed by both Pearson and Hardman, albeit in different ways.
Harvey and Hardman take this to Jessica, who calls Hardman a piece of shit. Harvey threatens that if this goes to trial, they'll tell the jury about Hardman's affair with Monica. Which is when Hardman plays his ace: that confidentiality agreement that Jessica signed the night Hardman left. He says this isn't for him, but or Monica Eaton, who wants payback after the suit Mike Ross brought her during the summer episodes. Jessica asks Harvey to escort Hardman out, and he does, but the look he gives Jessica indicates that they'll be having some discussions about that confidentiality agreement.
On the way out, Hardman smugs to Harvey that Mike's complaint was so well-written he only had to search-and-replace the name Daniel Hardman to Anonymous. You're a jerk, Daniel, but I have to admit I enjoyed your book Primary Colors Harvey in turn reveals that Lawrence Kemp never signed the affidavit that he and Mike used to force Hardman out. "Must stick in your craw, having to walk by my name day after day," Hardman taunts right back. Harvey tries to claim that he had to hold Jessica back from changing the sign, but Hardman knows that Jessica wouldn't make Harvey partner, because she doesn't trust Harvey. "She didn't tell you about the confidentiality agreement, did she?" Hardman says as the elevator doors close on him. Well, no. It's confidential, duh.