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How Long Does Mike Ross Stay in Prison?

Mike Ross, one of the main characters on the TV show Suits, ends up going to prison for fraud after it’s discovered he never actually graduated from law school. This shakes up the plot of the legal drama significantly. So just how long is Mike behind bars?

Mike ends up serving around 2 years in prison before getting released. However, the exact time period is left somewhat vague in the show. Let’s take a closer look at Mike’s conviction and imprisonment timeline to get a better sense of how long he pays for his past mistakes.

Mike Ross’s Conviction

Mike is arrested in season 5 after his law degree secret comes out. He cuts a deal and pleads guilty to avoid the chance of further charges or a longer sentence.

Mike admits to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud. As part of the plea deal, it’s agreed he’ll serve 2 years in a federal prison.

So in September 2015, Mike surrenders himself to the authorities and begins serving his sentence. This kicks off a major multi-season storyline with Mike behind bars.

Timeline of Mike’s Prison Sentence

Here is an overview of key dates related to Mike serving time in prison on Suits:

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September 2015Mike begins 2 year prison sentence
2016 – 2017Mike spends over a year in prison off-screen
November 2017Mike gets temporary release to visit ill grandmother
May 2018Mike is released on good behavior after about 2 years

Mike’s prison stint lasts from September 2015 through May 2018, which equates to roughly 2 and a half years. However, a good chunk of that time in 2016-2017 happens off-screen.

The show skips over one year until picking back up with Mike in prison in season 6. So the total time depicted on screen is less than 2 years.

Mike’s Time in Prison

Here are some key events and details related to Mike’s time behind bars:

Danbury Correctional Facility

Mike serves his sentence at the minimum security Danbury Correctional Facility in Connecticut. He takes a van there on his first day accompanied by Harvey and Donna.

Kevin Miller

One of the first inmates Mike encounters is his former cellmate Kevin Miller. Kevin later becomes an important part of Mike getting temporary release to see his ill grandmother.


Early on Mike gets on the bad side of fellow prisoner Frank Gallo. Gallo is locked up for much more violent crimes. He repeatedly threatens and assaults Mike while they’re imprisoned together.

Temporary Release

In November 2017, Mike is given temporary release to visit his dying grandmother. With help from Kevin Miller, he’s able to spend a few days with her before returning to prison.

Harvey’s Visits

Mike’s mentor and friend Harvey Specter visits him multiple times in prison to provide legal help and moral support. These visits become less frequent after Mike beats up Gallo.

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Early Release

Mike ends up getting released early in May 2018 due to good behavior. He served just under 2 years of his 2 year sentence.

Why Did Mike Get Early Release?

Mike is able to leave prison a few months early thanks to a combination of factors:

  • His lack of prior convictions and minimum security level made him eligible for early release.
  • Time off for good behavior reduced his sentence.
  • Help from his lawyer Sydney allowed his release date to be moved up.
  • Beating up Gallo ironically may have portrayed Mike as reformed to the parole board.

So in the end, Mike completes close to but not quite the full 2 year sentence he agreed to as part of his plea deal. With time off for good behavior, he ends up serving under two years behind bars.

What Seasons Show Mike in Prison?

Here is an overview of which seasons showcase Mike’s prison storyline:

  • Season 5: Mike surrenders to begin his sentence
  • Season 6: Focuses heavily on Mike in prison, features Harvey’s visits
  • Season 7: Shows Mike’s return to practicing law

Mike’s time in prison is featured most heavily in seasons 5 and 6 of Suits. Only a few prison scenes occur in season 7 as he transitions back to normal life.

Related Questions

Why did Mike Ross go to prison?

Mike goes to prison after it’s revealed that he never actually graduated from Harvard Law and has been practicing law fraudulently. To avoid further charges, Mike accepts a plea deal admitting to conspiracy to commit fraud.

What did Mike go to prison for on Suits?

Mike surrendered himself to authorities and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud. This related to him pretending to be a lawyer and practicing law without a degree.

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How does Mike get out of prison?

Mike ends up getting released early from prison in May 2018 after serving almost two years of his sentence. He gets time off for good behavior. His lawyer Sydney also manages to get his initial release date moved up.

Does Mike become a real lawyer after prison?

Yes, after being released from prison, Mike takes the bar exam and passes. He then gets re-hired by Harvey and goes back to practicing law at the newly renamed Specter Litt firm, this time as a legitimate lawyer.

Does Mike Ross pass the bar?

At the end of season 7, Mike takes and passes the New York state bar exam. This allows him to finally become a licensed lawyer, after years of fraudulently practicing without a real law degree.


In the end, Mike Ross serves close to two years in prison on Suits as punishment for pretending to be a lawyer without a law degree. He spends most of his sentence at the Danbury Correctional Facility.

Mike manages to get released a little early thanks to good behavior. After getting out, he passes the bar exam and returns to practicing law legally at Specter Litt.

Mike’s prison arc provides a dramatic multi-season storyline that shakes up the framework of Suits. His eventual return to law brings his character full circle after experiencing the consequences of his past actions. The journey shows Mike evolving as he pays his debt to society and rebuilds his career.

Prison Inside Team

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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