Think carefully. Everything about this moment will not only determine your career, but your life.Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Airs: Netflix (ABC) | Air Dates: 2014-2020 | Number of Seasons: 6
How to Get Away with Murder follows law professor Annalise Keating and five of her brightest students. Keating teaches an introductory law class titled How to Get Away with Murder. Each year, she chooses five students to intern in her law firm alongside her associates. As the students become more involved in Annalise Keating’s life, they find that wherever she goes tragedy strikes. As circumstances arise that cause the students to become more invested in Keating’s life, they find that they might not make it out of law school without a little blood on their hands.
The thing about this show is that it doesn’t know when to quit. The first season was solid with a strong plot line, great character development and budding romances that made sense to the show. The second season wasn’t bad, but it felt like the show had begun to deviate from what made the show great initially. Seasons 3-6 felt like the show was trying to compensate for the excitement that the first season promised. The seasons weren’t necessarily bad, but it didn’t feel like the writers didn’t know what else to add to the show and continued to write the show for shock value. Much of the show felt like it was drawn out and the writers were searching for someone meaningful to kill. The problem was that the best characterization of the show was the five students (Connor Walsh, Michaela Pratt, Laurel Castillo, Asher Millstone, and Wes Gibbons)and Annalise Keating herself; the rest of the characters were left to fight for their development.
When I think of this show, I’ll always remember the strong characterization of the main characters. The show takes its time to allow the characters to grow. They all come in with a mildly skewed sense of morals, which is initially what draws Keating to choose them for the Keating 5. As the show goes on, they characters seem to tap into their dark sides and this contributes to the idea that their morals were corrupted by pursuing a career alongside Annalise Keating. However, Annalise Keating is not a bad character; she is a character that does what she can to survive. She feels as though life dealt her a bad hand and she needs to be ultimately successful in what she does. This is what causes her to take on cases that most lawyers would run away from; this is what leads her to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court. The cases that Annalise takes are meant to show that while she doesn’t care what happens to her, she cares about what happens to those who are less fortunate. With Annalise as a mentor, the Keating 5 could have developed this type of mentality but the showrunners chose to have the characters lose their morals while continuing to believe they were decent people. This made for a compelling set of characters that, with the right plots, could’ve made this show great.
While I wouldn’t say that the show’s plots are bad, they certainly aren’t great. The premise itself feels done to death, but with the solid cast and intricate plot of the first season, the show is extremely promising. It feels only natural that the show progress beyond the classroom and as the seasons go on, we see less of the Keating 5 working in the classroom and on their clinic cases and more of them starting to become their own people. Yet, they spend much of the show blaming Annalise, making them seem less like adults who chose to go to law school and more like teenagers who don’t know how to handle their own emotions. I almost would have suggested that the characters are aged down because in order to justify their dependence on Annalise and the portrayal of her as their mother.
I really did enjoy the structure of this show. I liked how each episode started and ended with the present day and the show was mostly told through flashbacks. It gave the show a sense of mystery and allowed the audience to essentially solve the mystery so the reveal wasn’t meant to be a surprise. The reveals never surprised me because the clues were always there to point the audience in the right direction. I think this was mainly supposed to be because these were all cases that law enforcement was involved in. If you weren’t watching the show carefully, it might have come as a surprise but rewatching the show allows you to realize where the surprises come from.
Overall, this is a really fun show to watch.I do have to say that some content in this show is mildly problematic and I’m surprised that it was on cable television. If you’re squeamish, this also might not be the show for you because some of the deaths are pretty bloody (for a show that isn’t Game of Thrones). I recommend this show for people who like legal thrillers and mysteries.