by GUEST CONTRIBUTOR Donnie (@boxcar45)
When this show first started three years ago, Louis Litt was a very, very different character from the one we have today. He was slimey, he was underhanded, and was basically put there to be “That Guy”. You know, the one co-worker everyone has that they’d like to kindly invite to play in oncoming traffic, except you totally can’t do that and still keep your job, so you smile through their nonsense and complain about them after work to anyone that will listen. If you don’t have a person like that in your office, then begin considering the very real possibility that YOU ARE THAT PERSON. Anyway, that was Louis for the majority of season 1. He was spineless with his superiors, a bully to the associate pool, sneaky at all times, but generally nothing more than a punching bag for Harvey and Mike snark.
Season 2 saw a bit of a change, and the seeds were planted for Louis being the most relatable, human character on the show. He did a lot of underhanded, cloak-and-dagger stuff to try to get ahead, and became, on the surface, a thoroughly detestable human being. He tried to cut Harvey’s legs out from under him. In the power struggle at the firm, he kissed up to anyone who would listen, hedging his bets until a winner became clear. As far as we could tell, Louis was nothing more than the Pearson/Hardman version of Toad from the X-Men comics. That is until you realize that it was all done in an effort to win the approval of the “Big Kids”. Louis, all his life, wanted nothing more than to be loved and appreciated. He threw himself at Harvey, hoping that just once, Harvey would tell him he did a good job, or at least treat him like an equal. He watched as Harvey skyrocketed to the top of the firm, and to Jessica’s right hand, based entirely on his charm and a little smoke and mirrors. Sure, Harvey was a fine lawyer because he won, but his winning always seemed based on end arounds and loopholes. He was Casey at the Bat, with a palpable arrogance, and a total lack of respect for his opponent. Meanwhile, social pariah Louis was the awkward kid just trying to be awesome at knowing law, and took more joy more in winning because he was right, and not because he was able to beat the other guy. However, because he’d been kicked around for so long, instead of letting that part of him shine, the devious, creepy jerk took center stage, with the kind hearted lovable loser we have now rarely showing up.
This season, however, has been a revelation. Louis is still totally awkward on his own time (Power walking in a tracksuit? Really, dude?), but when it comes to law – not the manipulation of law to win a case, but ACTUAL law – he knows there’s no one better at that firm. Most of all, he wants to use the law for good. Sure, he wants to win, but moreover, he wants to be right. He loses sleep over having to compromise what he knows is right just to win, as evidenced by trying to find an 11th hour lifeline to save poor Ava’s title. Did he use underhanded tactics to get to that point? Perhaps. His offer to be Jessica’s “black swan” showed that he knows the game, and that he can still get dirty if necessary to win his case. (Unless, of course, he was just offering to learn ballet, lose his damned mind and have an erotic encounter with, say, Nigel. I’m 99% sure that wasn’t the case, but if it was, for the record, it would happen in the copy room. Seriously, I would NOT want to take a black light to that room, because apparently that is where people go when they are in heat). But he doesn’t seem to want to play the underhanded backstabber anymore, and I think we can all appreciate that. In fact, I think it makes him the most normal person at that firm. He started out as an awkward kid, was beaten and abused until he became a bully and a weasel, learned that being himself was really the best way to go, and finally became comfortable in his own skin, thus unleashing his true potential. If that’s doesn’t sound like the path you followed from college to adulthood, you may not be human, in which case, hello, and welcome to our planet, I’m glad you enjoy snarky television dialogue with the rest of us. Please enjoy your stay. I just hope you’re Team Litt.