I don’t know about you but I’ve been looking forward to How to Get Away with Murder for MONTHS, ever since Matt McGorry (you may know him as Bennett from Orange is the New Black) started posting photos from the set on his Instagram. Let me give you a quick rundown, just in case you didn’t spend your summer reading everything you could about it like *ahem* some people did.
Viola Davis stars as Annalise Keating, a law professor in Philadelphia. She teaches Criminal Law 101, also known as “How to Get Away with Murder,” at Middleton University. (Pro tip: If you’re going to google “how to get away with murder,” be sure to add “tv show” at the end. You never know who could end up looking at your search history.) The writers don’t waste any time jumping right into the action. It’s the biggest party night of the year, there are cheerleaders and bonfires and drunk college students all over the place. Four law students are standing around holding a blood-soaked trophy, arguing over what to do with a body. Flashback to three months earlier and we see the students heading to their first day of class, walking right past a bunch of “Missing” posters. Ooooh, is this the body they’re going to end up fighting about 3 months later? We shall see!
Black law students flipping coins about a body in the woods with some white folks? This already as real as Viola's wig. #HTGAWM
— The Strapture of Love (@footballfillibu) September 26, 2014
Five minutes into this show, we know two things: 1) who the brown-nosers, the screw ups, and the shy geniuses are and 2) Prof. Keating is not someone you want to mess with.
You do NOT want to be on the other side of this glare. #HTGAWM #HowToGetAwayWithMurder pic.twitter.com/IGqSLpe90E
— #HTGAWM (@telfieHTGAWM) September 26, 2014
5 minutes into #HTGAWM and we're curious. Really curious. #violadavis
— ESSENCE (@Essence) September 26, 2014
Hold up! It’s actually NOT a trophy! Well, sort of. It’s actually a small “Lady Liberty” statue that Prof. Keating awards to students for proving themselves while working on one of her cases. Whoever shows that they are worthy of working at her law firm earns the
murder weapon statue which gives them immunity from getting kicked off the proverbial island. Okay, who is the last person you want to run into when you’re dragging a body out of your house? If you said a member of law enforcement, you’d be right. Luckily the officer was distracted by some loud and obnoxious frat boys. But wait… why are they dragging the body out of the Professor’s house? Maybe use the back door next time?
Am I wrong to ask why they were moving a dead body out the front door or should I just be quiet and let y'all cook? #HTGAWM
— April (@ReignOfApril) September 26, 2014
Well, now we know that the missing person is a female student who was last seen at a frat party. We also know that you’re supposed to knock before you walk into your Professor’s office just in case she happens to be in the middle of getting some. Remember that Lady Liberty immunity trophy thing? Some of these students will stop at nothing to earn it. Michaela Pratt, played by Aja Naomi King, is the first to win it. And she does it by being clever and observant. She’s smart and ambitious. We like her.
I like Michaela. She's like a Black Tracy Flick. #HTGAWM
— Rebecca Theodore-Vachon (@FilmFatale_NYC) September 26, 2014
But the scruffy dude, he seduces a lawyer dude at a bar to get some info about a case from him. Shady! (IMDb tells me that the scruffy dude is named Connor and he’s played by Jack Falahee.) And speaking of shady, that very buff cunning linguist that was pleasuring Prof. Keating earlier? Turns out that wasn’t her husband! As the students find out at a party, hubby (played by Tom Verica, a director for “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy”) is a white guy who also happens to be a professor. But now there’s this awkwardness between Keating and the student that walked in on her. Well then… I guess we’ve established who Teacher’s Pet will be. Yep, it’s
Dean Thomas Wes Gibbins, played by Alfie Enoch.
. @petenowa #HowToGetAwayWithMurder #TGIT pic.twitter.com/7bterSPB69
— How To Get Away ABC (@HowToGetAwayABC) September 26, 2014
Oh mercy! This is a hot mess! Mr. Clean, the cunning linguist, just got called to the witness stand by Keating. Somehow his extracurricular activities in Prof. Keating’s office are relevant to this murder case she and her students are trying. What is going on here?! Whatever it is, it’s going to be good!
And just like Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder crams so much excitement into the last 10 minutes of the show. Keating chooses her gold star students who just happen to be the same group we see in the flash-forwards trying to dispose of a body. But it also leaves us with a lot of questions. Who is the missing girl and why is she missing? Did Mr. Professor Keating have anything to do with it? Did the football star boyfriend do it? What’s the deal with the trial that they’re all working on? And now that we know whose body was wrapped up in that rug, the big question is WHY? I guess we’ll just have to tune into ABC every Thursday night to find out. What did viewers think? Most people seem to be pretty impressed albeit slightly confused. There’s a lot of flashing back and forth and it’s hard to keep track of who is who because we really don’t know these characters very well yet. So if you get confused, just know that you’re not alone.
Speaking of flashbacks, a lot of Twitter users that have been to law school had some major flashbacks.
Law school all over again. #HTGAWM
— la lumière, esq. (@_lalumiere) September 26, 2014
Honestly, if this show discourages even one person from attending law school, Shonda will have earned her place in heaven #HTGAWM
— *Space Professional* (@KiaJD) September 26, 2014
This show is definitely going to bring back memories for a lot of us and I pray it doesn't tempt anyone to apply for law school lol #HTGAWM
— in charge of the girls (@AmeriKraut) September 26, 2014
Overall, the reception was positive. Viola Davis is obviously the fan favorite and, in spite of what People Magazine may think, she is nothing like her character in The Help. And viewers and critics alike are praising the show’s diversity. Aside from Viola Davis as Professor Keating, two of the main characters are Black, one is Latina, and one character may or may not be gay.
I love that Shonda shows strong black women of power who are comfortable in their sexuality and therefore themselves #TGIT #HTGAWM
— ♠️♠️Hisoka♥️♦️♦️ (@SwEetNLoveLy229) September 26, 2014
The verdict is in: Shonda Rhimes is GUILTY of taking over Thursday night TV.
5 replies on “New Show Recap: How to Get Away with Murder 1×01, “Pilot””
I just watched this and aaaaah, super enjoyable! I want more!
Liked this in general, but wide-eyed teacher’s pet is going to need to up his acting game considerably. His lack of charisma was painful in his one-on-one with Davis.
That whole scene was just…weird. It seemed out of character for her. I would’ve expected her to do more of the “Look here, kid, this is grown-up business so you just hush” thing rather than trying to be all vulnerable and manipulative. I couldn’t tell if she was being sincere or just trying to get sympathy.
Agreed, that scene didn’t really seem to fit in with the rest of the episode. But overall I really liked it; I wasn’t sure what the actual storyline was gonna be other than “Viola Davis is a badass.” (Which is an excellent storyline! But I like the students so far too.)
Also, can I tell you how much I squeed that
Paris GellarLiza Weil works for her? It was a lot.
I think she played him.