How to Get Away With Murder, the highly anticipated new thriller from the Shondaland team, makes its debut on September 25 at 10 p.m. EST on ABC, as part of the new Fall 2014 #TGIT/Shonda Rhimes Thursday Night Primetime lineup. Executive-produced by Rhimes and created by Peter Nowalk, who has sharpened his skills under Rhimes on Grey’s Anatomy, the series could prove to be one of the most addictive new thrillers on TV.
The series opens with an actual murder, which involves a group of very ambitious and competitive law students who are fighting over how to dispose of the corpse. Then, there is a flashback to their first day in class with law professor Annalise Keating, played by formidable actress Viola Davis (Doubt). The series quickly works to establish each character apart from any first impressions. Wes, portrayed by Alfred Enoch, is a transfer student, naive, and unprepared for the new environment around him. Michaela (Aja Naomi King) and Asher, played by Orange Is the New Black‘s Matt McGorry, are shown to be the class brains. Handsome Connor (Jack Falahee) is a world-class manipulator, who does not hesitate to trade sex for evidence. Laurel (Karla Souza) is perceived as the smart, quiet one, but is that her true nature? As Keating poses during one lecture on witnesses, ”Do you know who anyone really is?” This query could very well become a central question for the season and series.
What should viewers expect from How to Get Away With Murder? Lots of entertainment. Thanks to Davis’ ambiguous and layered performance, it is difficult to read Keating. Early on in the series, one of her students finds her in a very compromising position. Her response to the situation probably speaks more to her character than anything else. Later, the audience sees Keating giving the student special treatment in class. Is this behavior her method of flirting, blackmail, or general manipulation? That question is left open to interpretation by the audience.
In many ways, the pilot poses more questions than answers, which is to be expected. The Shondaland team has orchestrated a densely layered thriller with plenty of twists and turns for the audience. At its core, How to Get Away With Murder wants the audience to re-evaluate their own assumptions about people. Additionally, because the series is centered around a brilliant, complex black woman, that is an especially important distinction. That old adage of never having a second chance to make a first impression is outdated. Everyone deserves a “do over” or chance to re-evaluate their first impressions. It is amazing what can be obtained from re-examination.
In the case of How to Get Away With Murder, it would be wise to expect the unexpected. It is also safe to expect that everyone has secrets and things to hide. With the same Shondaland team behind it as Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, should the audience expect anything less? As part of the new Fall 2014 #TGIT/Shonda Rhimes Thursday Night Primetime lineup, How to Get Away With Murder is expected to score big time with viewers, especially fans of Rhimes’ other two hits. If the show does in fact live up to its hype, the series could prove to be one of the most addictive new thrillers on TV.
By Leigh Haugh
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