Viola Davis kills in “How to Get Away with Murder”


Emily Schulz, Staff Writer

What happens when the lawyer becomes the criminal? ABC’s new show, “How to Get Away with Murder,” explores what happens when the lines between justice and legality become blurred, and everything you know about the law is put into question.

The show follows four law students unknowingly embarking on a dangerous journey when they enroll in the course of legendary lawyer, Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis). They make the mistake thinking that Criminal Law 100 is only a classroom experience.

The show, produced by Shonda Rhimes, the creator of “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” opens up with the show’s leads—Wes (Alfred Enoch), Connor (Jack Falahee), Laurel (Karla Souza), and Michaela (Aja Naomi King)—arguing about what to do with a dead body in their possession on the night of huge celebration at the university. Someone spills blood, but no one spills any secrets about who was murdered or who the culprit is.

The next scene transports the viewers and the law students three months earlier to when they are just beginning Professor Keating’s class. There they must compete against each other in a real ongoing trial to win the calloused lawyer’s favor and a position in her firm. The competitive nature of the wannabe lawyers thrives in this desperation and some break under the pressure.

In an environment filled with real convicted murderers, lawyers, and grad students, the viewer finds very few differences between them. I enjoyed deciphering who the “bad guy” is and finding out at the end that there is no clear answer as no character’s personality or motives are left one-sided. The plot promises to thicken as the audience learns more about each character, thus proving that lawyers–whether experienced like Keating or extremely hopeful like Wes, Connor, Laurel, and Michaela– are not always striving for justice. The show’s strategy of maintaining characters’ mystery waiting to be solved left me hooked from scene one.

This edgy new show has all the essentials: betrayal, affairs, mystery, desperation, sophistication, and of course, murder. At the end of the show’s pilot the audience gets the “who” of the murder, now they must wait for the “how” and “why,” and the big question of if they’ll get away with it.

While mature viewers are at the edge of their seats, make sure little kids aren’t nearby. In just one episode it’s clear that this will be an intense series that is not to be watched with little brothers and sisters in the room. But for those able to handle the intensity of the show, have your DVRs ready on Thursday nights for a thrilling show  that will change everything you think you know about courtroom dramas.