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5 Reasons That Warrant Watching ABC's How To Get Away With Murder

5 Reasons That Warrant Watching ABC's How To Get Away With Murder

5 Reasons That Warrant Watching ABC's How To Get Away With Murder

If you're not watching, your missing out.

ABC refers to their Thursday night lineup as #TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday) and it’s impossible to disagree. This season’s long-time audience and ratings faves Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal are now followed by the new girl on the block, How to Get Away with Murder, a legal thriller.

Set in Philadelphia, the show stars Tony winner and Oscar nominee Viola Davis as high-profile criminal defense attorney Annalise Keating. Annalise also teaches law at (fictional) Middleton University. Every semester she selects a group of her top law students to work at her firm. The professor is tough but fair–she wants her students to succeed and become the best attorneys they can be. But like everyone in this action-packed thriller, the students as well as the teacher are trying to figure out how to get away with murder.

While Annalise’s professional life is totally on track, her personal life–not so much. Annalise lives with her husband, Sam Keating (Tom Verica, also a director and exec producer on Scandal). Annalise and Sam are having some issues–like she thinks he killed one of his students who she believes he was sleeping with. Meanwhile, she’s been sleeping with Nate Lahey (Billy Brown), a local Philadelphia detective. It may or may not matter that Sam is white and Nate is black. What does matter is Sam ends up dead in a fast-forward flashback in the premiere episode. And what about Frank (Charlie Weber) and Bonnie (Liza Weil), two long-time associate attorneys at Annalise’s firm? Those two are like the keepers of the crypt–and they seem to know where all the bodies are buried.

How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays after Scandal. Catch up at


5. Hearsay

Shonda Rhimes, who created both Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, has also been credited with HTGAWM. While she exec produces the show, it’s really the baby of Peter Nowalk, who has written for Rhimes on both of the other shows. Nowalk is openly gay and HTGAWM reflects that–which is awesome. Rhimes has always had LGBT characters on her shows and her support for Nowalk as exec producer is fabulous–and one more reason to love her. Also, she’s set the stage with her other hits so viewers can’t help but sit tight for HTGAWM. Three definitely is the charm.


4. Hung Jury

Among Annalise’s student worker bees–all in contention for her coveted Lady Justice award (it’s like the immunity idol on Survivor) that she gives for the best work on each case–is Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee). Walsh is openly gay, seriously hot and not above using his considerable charms to try and win the coveted Lady Justice statue. In the season opener, the first sex was gay sex–with Connor seducing an IT whiz to get some information he needed for Annalise’s client.

Nowalk has said he wants gay sex to look as normal as straight sex on TV. On HTGAWM it does–just a lot hotter.


3. Power of Attorney

There are three women in Annalise’s daily orbit. Bonnie (Liza Weil of Gilmore Girls fame also played Amanda Tanner on the first season of Scandal and appeared on the lesbian-themed web series ) is clearly the one who makes the Keating firm run like a well-lubed vibrator. In the first episode Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King who co-starred in the medical dramas Emily Owens, M.D. and Black Box) says of Annalise "I want to be her." Michaela is used to getting what she wants. But she wasn’t prepped to discover her fiancé had a one-nighter with Connor. Laurel Castillo (Mexican actress Karla Souza whose American accent is so absolutely flawless you would never know she has only starred in Mexican TV and movies) is the real worker bee in the group–not upper middle class like most of the other students; she’s struggling to stay in Annalise’s sites. Except she’s landed in Frank’s instead.


2. Reasonable Doubt

All #TGIT shows have a bad girl. HTGAWM has Rebecca Sutter (Katie Findlay late of The Killing and The Carrie Diaries).Annalise’s student crush, Wes Gibbins (British actor Alfred Enoch who played Dean Thomas in all the Harry Potter films and whose American accent is, yes, flawless), has it bad for his upstairs neighbor who has secrets to spare. He meets her when she’s getting beaten up and then she lands in jail for murder. Rebecca is Girl with the Dragon Tattoo danger-hot. Wes has already been burned, but he’s sure Rebecca is innocent and is willing to put his fledgling career on the line to prove it.


1. Nolo Contendere

No contest–HTGAWM lives and dies by the star power and scene stealing of Viola Davis. Her Annalise is the queen of nuance. Her smoky-eyed side-eye will cut you. Her lips–how could anyone cheat on those lips? She walks with authority, but dresses like a siren. And when she talks, everybody listens. She’s hot in bed–or on a chair in her office–but she’s even hotter in the courtroom. Annalise Keating is, possibly literally, to die for. Davis–who got an Oscar nomination for 15 minutes of screen time in Doubt–is one of the most breathtaking actors today. She grew up dirt poor and talks about scrounging for food and now devotes her philanthropy to ending hunger in America. Yes, she is perfect and we have loved her since her days as Tom Selleck’s deputy in the Jesse Stone TV movie series. In HTGAWM she’s no one’s sidekick. She’s the sun around which everyone else orbits. And she is magnificent. Davis is the icing on the #TGIT cake. Watch or find yourself in contempt–of missing a great actor in a superb drama.




Victoria A. Brownworth is an award-winning journalist, editor and writer and the author and editor of nearly 30 books. She has won the NLGJA and the Society of Professional Journalists awards, the Lambda Literary Award and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She won the 2013 SPJ Award for Enterprise Reporting in May 2014. She is a regular contributor to The Advocate and SheWired, a blogger for Huffington Post and a contributing editor for Curve magazine and Lambda Literary Review. Her reporting and commentary has appeared in the New York Times, Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe andPhiladelphia Inquirer. Her book, From Where We Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth won the 2012 Moonbeam Award for cultural & historical fiction. Her novels, Ordinary Mayhem and Cutting will both be published in winter 2014. @VABVOX

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