In short, ABC’s new drama, How to Get Away with Murder is riveting. The pilot held my attention all the way through making it hard to wait to see the next episode. It is a well done show with multiple layers to it. However, like Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, two other shows by the same producers, the storylines are not only way over the top but also morally ambiguous. It appears that there are no “good guys” here, so you are not sure who to root for. It is like watching a train wreak being horrified and fascinated at the same time.
Murder flashes back and forth from the present time and three months earlier. In the present, a group of four law students contemplate what to do with a dead body. Three months earlier, we learn that they are all part of Annalise Keating’s criminal law class. Keating (Viola Davis) chews up every scene that she is in as the tough as nails law professor. There is nothing soft or fuzzy about her and in order to stand out in her classroom, you need to go to great lengths to impress her.
Keating doesn’t see her job as letting guilty people run free. She views it as “doing her job.” In short order we see that she doesn’t condone finding evidence to support her client even if it isn’t obtained in the most ethical way. She invites her students to work with her firm on some of the toughest cases and dangles the carrot of employment as an enticement to impress her. Only the smartest and most resourceful students will get that carrot. To complicate matters, a missing student is found dead on campus, adding yet another murder to solve.
Some of the students will work all night trying to uncover clues, while some work under covers, if you know what I mean, to find answers. Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch) appears to be the most innocent of the bunch and yet has a knack for walking in on things at the wrong
moment. He is likeable enough, but his exaggerated looks of surprise throughout the show make it hard to take him seriously. In short order, he finds himself sharing secrets with Keating and learns more about the woman than he ever wanted to know. She is either a broken woman or pure evil, only time will tell.
The show also features two of Keating associates, Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber) as Frank Delfino, who likes to hit on students and Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil) who likes to call him out on it.
It is too soon to tell if this show will have a moral compass or if it will be just a show about bad people doing bad things. I am not a fan of Scandal or Grey’s Anatomy, but I am hooked with this one. I may change my mind if I don’t see some light in the darkness soon though.
How to Get Away with Murder airs on Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.