The pleura responds to the presence of infecting organisms with a vigorous inflammatory response associated with an exudation of white blood cells and proteins. The development and outcome of pleural infections is a function of a balance between the virulence of the invading microorganism and the immune reaction involving professional immune cells as well as the pleural mesothelial cells. Most commonly, pleural infection occurs after invasion through the lung parenchyma and a breach in the viscera pleura resulting in the formation of a parapneumonic process. Upon infection, the microorganisms are recognized by the pleural mesothelial cell, which remains the first line of defence. Pleural responses to infection include those of innate immunity as well as adaptive or acquired immunity. Innate and acquired immune responses are closely linked. In this review, we discuss the different virulence factors that allow microorganisms to infect the pleura and the role of the pleural mesothelial cells in bridging the innate and acquired immune responses.