Donna is one of the most influential characters in Suits, but does she deserve to be? Maybe… not so much.
When considering who the most important characters in Suits are, Mike and Harvey are two of the obvious names that come to mind. However, if the discussion turns to who is the most influential, Donna Paulsen simply has to be part of the discussion. She is as mystifying as she is unpredictable and while many tend to find a great deal of charm in her character, that isn’t a universal feeling.
Donna has the potential to do some incredible things in the show but there are a handful of anecdotes and traits that need to be put out there for further discussion and debate. Of course, some of the entries listed may seem petty and may perhaps be viewed as overblown, but such is the ever-changing nature of television.
She may be a lot of things at that firm, but the one thing Donna Paulsen isn’t is perfect.
The Donna seemed like it could serve as the perfect business opportunity for both Donna and Benjamin when it came into existence but when push came to shove, it didn’t quite work out.
The device itself went far beyond what even seems possible but the overconfidence of Donna really did put things into perspective. From failing to impress in a meeting to not really knowing what direction to go in with the product, the trajectory changed fairly quickly.
Damaging Harvey & Scottie
There are a handful of women that could be considered suitable partners for Harvey throughout the course of the show and the one that really stands out, outside of Donna, is Scottie.
While the distrust between Harvey and Scottie was at the forefront of their relationship, the fact that she returned in Season 7 and heavily hinted that Donna was always going to get in the way of Harvey being with someone else tells us all that we need to know.
Crumbling On The Stand
From mock trials to actual trials there is one undeniable fact: Donna Paulsen always struggled when she was put up on the stand. It doesn’t matter whether she was defending Mike, Harvey, or herself, because she so often couldn’t handle the line of questioning that was put in front of her.
When you consider how much experience she has with the law, that’s slightly concerning – and yet she was never really called out for it.
‘Better Than You’ Persona
The character of Donna is played brilliantly by Sarah Rafferty, but that doesn’t take away from the arrogance that has spilled over into how Donna has actually been written.
From her cocky strut to how short and sarcastic she can be with just about everyone, she gives off an aura of believing that she’s better than just about everyone she comes into contact with.
Perhaps that’s what you need in her secretary role, but it still feels odd and a bit pointless when she tries to convince people that she’s the best legal secretary in the city.
Poor Judgment With Stephen Huntley
One thing that Donna has always tried to pride herself on is her judgment, and most of the time, she does seem to be on the money.
Alas, that streak has a substantial hole in the middle of it by the name of Stephen Huntley.
She was led to believe he was just a charming Englishman who had come into her life when in reality, he was the criminal that Harvey and Mike had been looking for all along.
There’s an ethical question or two that needs to be asked when it comes to Harvey’s relationship with Paula, but if you put that to one side, there is one reason and one reason only why things fell apart – Donna.
Maybe that was destined to happen at some stage anyway but Donna sped the process up by impulsively kissing Harvey, which even she admitted was an incredibly selfish thing to do.
Once the fourth or fifth season rolls around there is an eye-rolling level of repetition that is added to the show in the form of Donna’s ability to, seemingly, read minds.
Every single time she’s given a piece of information that she already claims to have known, many are left scratching their heads as to how she could possibly know. It feels more like lazy writing than anything else but in a way, the idea of her being a superhero in disguise is far more entertaining.
Stubbornness In Arguments
There’s one rule that Donna refuses to break 99 times out of 100: her loyalty to Harvey is more important than just about everything else.
So, when she’s put in the middle of an issue that forces her to enforce that, problems arise.
It happens when she’s arguing with a multitude of characters but it’s particularly on display when she’s conversing with Rachel. In the blink of an eye, Donna can go from her best friend to a sworn enemy, and that cold nature can’t be ignored.
Lying To Louis
Donna did everything she could to protect Mike’s secret and she did so, by default, to protect Harvey and the firm.
One thing that slipped her mind, however, was how Louis would react when he inevitably found out that Mike was a fraud.
All Donna could do was sit there and take her verbal punishment and while Louis probably did take it one step too far, she knew she was in the wrong and that she manipulated her friendship with a man who was always able to open up to her.
Becoming Senior Partner & COO
There’s a real admiration from many behind Donna asking for a seat at the table, and it’s easy to understand why. She felt as if she deserved more than what she already had and she received it – first as a senior partner and then as COO.
Still, as was noted when she discussed the matter on the stand, simply asking for a promotion does seem like a big shortcut. Then, when that ‘step up’ in responsibility took place, she never came across as someone that should’ve been making important legal decisions alongside Harvey and Louis within the ranks of the firm.
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