7 Harsh Realities About Harvey Specter’s Character In Suits

Summary

  • Harvey Specter is reckless, neglects details, and puts others at risk due to his ego and carelessness.
  • Harvey is a womanizer who uses women for his own personal needs.
  • Harvey is a liar, afraid of losing, vain, and selfish, showcasing various negative qualities throughout the series.



Harvey Specter is the lead character in Suits, but he can also be a pretty problematic person throughout the series. Suits began airing on the USA Network in 2011, where it ran for 9 seasons. However, despite the series making waves on the relatively small network, the show didn’t reach peak popularity until 2023, when it was added to streaming platforms like Netflix, and got record viewing numbers (via THR). This success was due to the solid writing, dynamics between the main characters and the intense drama throughout the series.

The series is a high-stakes legal drama which revolves around a group of lawyers at Pearson Hardman, a prestigious New York City law firm. The strength of the show comes from the outstanding cast of characters who make the story compelling and deliciously dramatic. Between office rivalries and romances, secrets and scandals, Suits constantly features an intense and entertaining storyline that brings viewers back again and again. However, the man at the heart of the Suits series, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), has some major flaws.



7 Harvey Specter Was Way Too Reckless

Harvey is a no-nonsense lawyer who has made a reputation for never losing a case and serving the most prestigious clients in New York City. He isn’t afraid to stand up to people in positions that are more senior than his own, and he lives his life playing hard and fast with the rules. However, Harvey is also incredibly reckless when it comes to his career, the success of his firm, and outcomes for his clients. His actions frequently put his workplace and his colleagues at risk of fines, disbarment, and even jailtime.


Harvey has an enormous ego that makes him neglect details that he chooses to look at as unimportant or too small for him to concern himself with. Instead of ensuring all of his work and the work of those that support him is up to standard, Harvey occupies his time with only the things he finds entertaining or deems worth his time. Careless mistakes can slip by him because he fails to review work from paralegals and his unqualified protégé, Mike Ross. Harvey puts everyone at risk with some of his choices, but out of cockiness, he barrels on regardless.

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6 Harvey Is A Womanizer

Harvey Specter and Dana Scott laughing and flirting with each other on Suits


Everyone is perfectly entitled to have whatever relationships they want as long as all parties involved are in agreement. However, Harvey is not someone who takes into consideration other people’s opinions. Throughout Suits, several former lovers of Harvey are introduced, as well as new romantic interests, but Harvey tends to use these women to fulfill whatever needs he possesses and then heartlessly discard them. He may have some strict rules for relationships with women who are already in committed relationships, but even that respect feels directed towards the men in the relationship.

It is possible that some of this behavior is due to the fact that he is deeply in love with his assistant, Donna Paulsen. Harvey and Donna have mutual feelings for one another, but out of a sense of professionalism, they choose to keep things strictly business until the final season, when they choose to leave the firm. However, if that is why Harvey fails to commit to anyone else, it is still a way of using others to fill a gap that he already has reserved for someone else. Ultimately, his actions leave a trail of destruction, and Harvey behaves carelessly.


5 Harvey Can Be Abusive

Harvey shouting at Louis in his office in the Suits episode Bad Faith

Harvey’s superiority complex means that he typically looks down on others, and usually believes he is the most intelligent person in the room. This means he is prone to getting frustrated with people who do not live up to his expectations and the standards he has personally. As a result, he often shouts and aggressively verbally attacks other people to get his point across when he becomes enraged. And most of the time, it’s people like Louis Litt, or the associates that feel the brunt of Harvey’s aggression.


But, worse still, there have been a number of occasions where Harvey’s actions have gone beyond being purely verbal, and he has used physical force. This happened with Louis Litt, his rival at Pearson Hardman. Louis was prone to emotional outbursts, and often got into arguments with Harvey. However, on one occasion, Harvey and Louis became physical, and with Harvey’s greater strength, he easily managed to throw Louis into a table. Fair enough, Louis did get physical first, and said some pretty hurtful things, but Harvey’s actions were even more aggressive and unprofessional.

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4 Harvey Is A Liar

Mike and Harvey in Suits season 5 episode Self Defense


Harvey may be a lawyer, and there are stereotypes about members of the profession being generally dishonest or untrustworthy, but Harvey’s dishonesty is on another level. Harvey lies about evidence to push clients and those on the opposite side to bend to his will. Harvey lies about his business dealings, and worst of all, Harvey lies about Mike’s qualifications. Mike may be complicit in the lies, but Harvey is the one that found Mike and set up a foundation of false stories to get him a job as his protégé at Pearson Hardman.

Harvey knew that Mike was not qualified, or certified to hold the position, but out of his own immense hubris, he chose to risk it all and get Mike a job to essentially see if he could train this college dropout to be an exceptional lawyer. This is not only a lie, but a huge risk that could result in his firm being punished, losing his own license to practice law, and prison time. And that is not even considering the fact that cases where Mike was involved could then be repealed, affecting countless other people.


3 Harvey Is Afraid Of Losing

Harvey from Suits

While many of the attributes discussed so far reveal Harvey to be a largely negative and morally questionable figure, he is also a coward. Harvey has an incredible winning streak in Suits, with thousands of cases under his belt, and no losses. However, the figures are a little skewed, and out of the thousands of cases to come Harvey’s way, the vast majority never actually go to trial. Harvey is certainly a talented lawyer, but he also steers clear of any case that could potentially risk losing him his streak.


Harvey avoids cases he views as being unwinnable. He follows whoever has money and a strong case that he feels can confidently win, and as soon as things look shaky, he recommends settling out of court to avoid the blemish on his perfect record. This is not the action of a successful and confident man, but a scared and cautious person who doesn’t want to face the consequences of being seen as anything less than perfect. Harvey could do a lot of good if he chose to work with underdog cases where they needed help, instead of picking easy wins.

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2 Harvey Is Vain

Harvey holding evidence in Suits season 5 episode Self Defense


Whatever the case, Harvey Specter’s looks, his success, his career, his name and his wealth are all points of vanity for Harvey that he is highly concerned with maintaining. Harvey likes to look good, and to be perceived as being more in every aspect than those he interacts with. This vanity is a cause for concern when it comes to whether Harvey is able to deliver the best effort in his cases, or work hard on a case, as he would rather look good and get the credit for things than do a difficult job and earn whatever outcome.

While vanity is certainly not the worst of Harvey’s problems, and he has the means and talents to back it up, it needs to be acknowledged. Harvey requires people to put him in his place and help him see when he is falling short. This is why people like Jessica Pearson and Donna are so important in Harvey’s life as some of the only characters who are willing to call him out when he is in the wrong. Eventually, as his relationship with people like Mike and Louis grows, they are also able to call him out on his flaws.


1 Harvey Is Selfish

Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter in the Suits pilot having a drink

Finally, Harvey’s biggest underlying issue from the start of Suits is just how selfish he is. It’s Harvey’s selfishness that leads him to almost all of the other issues on this list. From thinking he is better than others, to putting the firm and his colleagues at risk, Harvey’s selfishness is his biggest weakness, and it leads to a lot of unruly behavior. Harvey ignores advice from others, to follow his own path and pursue whatever it is that he feels is best, but without support, he can only climb so high.


Fortunately, even Harvey Specter is able to see the error of his ways eventually. Over the course of the show, he does learn to lean on others for support, and to trust people. Instead of constantly building his career and becoming more and more popular and successful, he chooses to leave his career behind to marry the woman of his dreams and go visit his friend. By the time the Suits finale rolls around, Harvey is still far from perfect, but he is a lot closer than when he first appeared.