Beware, there are spoilers below.
On September 26, 2014, ABC Studios aired the first episode of How to Get Away with Murder. In an industry already overflowing with criminal dramas—Law & Order: SVU, NCIS, and Rizzoli & Isles, just to name a few—the producers had to be careful in crafting an original criminal/legal drama that would keep and maintain their audience’s attention. I would say they were wildly successful.
As soon as I saw the first commercial promoting the show, I knew I couldn’t miss it. Intrigue, mystery, drama and what seemed to be great acting, captured my attention. My only obstacle: I would be studying abroad for the semester in the Netherlands. There was no way I was going to wait until December to finally see it, especially not when I had friends in America who would most definitely spoil it. So I downloaded a proxy server to trick my computer into thinking I was in America and watched the episodes online and I’m incredibly happy I did. The show had me on the edge of my seat from the first episode and kept me there all the way through to the season finale.
The season immediately starts with a shocking turn of events: four law students, Wes Gibson (Alfred Enoch), Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King) and Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza), have killed a man and must now decide what to do with the body. Each episode after follows their journey as ambitious law students working for college professor and defense attorney, Annalise Keating (Viola Davis). We learn in bits and pieces whom they murdered, why they murdered him and how they murdered him.
My friend who was also in the Netherlands exclaimed profusely about any plot twists that startled her. Oh my gosh! The man they killed was Sam Keating (Tom Verica), Annalise’s husband. Oh, jeez! He was having an affair with one of his students, a girl who had been found murdered in a water tank. Did he kill her? Was it drug dealer, Rebecca Sutter (Katie Findlay)? All of these unknown answers compelled us deeper into the story and had us repeatedly pronouncing, “I can’t wait for the next episode.”
When we returned from our study abroad experience, we reunited with friends who’d been watching How to Get Away with Murder here. Every Thursday, we gathered in our common room to see what would happen next and how each character would react.The general consensus? Viola Davis is an amazing actress. She’s powerful, cynical, intelligent and quietly emotional. Episode 13, “Mama’s Here Now”, reveals the intensity of Annalise’s emotions and the incredible craft Davis possesses in bringing this character to life. A bottle of vodka in front of her, she slammed her hands on the table and shouted, “Did you know what he did to me?” This episode almost brought tears to my eyes as we learned more about Annalise’s childhood and the horrifying event that shaped her into who she was.
Amid all the heart-pounding drama, we chuckled over Asher Millstone’s (Matt McGorry) comical childishness.
“Most of his lines have to be improvised,” a friend commented.
And our hearts went out to Connor and his love interest, Oliver.
“Oliver is the one good, pure, thing in this entire show. I love him,” another friend said.
On Thursday, February 26, we all gathered for the two hour season finale. We stocked up on snacks and camped out on the couch, excited to finally find out who killed Lila Stangard, Sam’s lover and the girl found in the water tank. As the ending credits rolled down the screen, we were filled with a sense of satisfaction and expectation. Frank, one of Annalise’s employees, killed Lila. While this wasn’t a jaw-dropping, gasping, astonishment, as we’ve seen him commit various illegal actions for Annalise, it also made sense. Oliver tested positive for HIV and we learned that Laurel had Michaela’s engagement ring, which she lost the night they killed Sam, the whole time. The season finale’s last scene featured Annalise and Frank asking one another if they did it. They were looking at Rebecca Sutter’s body. This caused uproar in the common room and we immediately began speculating on who killed Rebecca. Now, I’m already eager for season two to start and I’m deeply unhappy that I’ll have to wait until the fall. Please! I want more How to Get Away with Murder!