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Viola Davis commands a show which utilizes her talents and gives her excellent supporting actors to play off of.
Review (with Spoilers)
Needless to say, Shonda Rhimes is perhaps one of the top producers today and surely is an inspiration. For not only does she have two hit shows on ABC, but they have given her one whole night. A feat I am unsure if ever done before. Though, what makes her especially wonderful, is her two most recent programs, Scandal and now How To Get Away With Murder feature two of the best actresses, period, who have found themselves unfortunately not finding the role they deserve on film. And while Kerry Washington may have been the one to turn the knob and open the door for Black actresses on TV, Viola Davis may have damn well ripped the hinges off.
Topic 1: Meet the Students – Wes (Alfred Enoch), Connor (Jack Falahee), Michaela (Aja Naomi King), Asher (Matt McGorry) & Laurel (Karla Souza)
Wes was a waitlisted student who just two days prior to the semester beginning got accepted. Something which seems weird, but it isn’t interesting enough to question. If just because as he enters Middleton Law School, and professor Keating’s class, he becomes but a number. One which has to compete against the well prepared Michaela, who idolizes professor Keating and seemingly is her mini-me; Connor, someone with a moral compass which seems to be completely ignored if it means success; Asher, who pretty much seems like a well-connected parent has led to an easy life for him; and then Laurel, a girl who is an idealistic wanna be lawyer who thinks getting into law is about defending the good person and putting away the bad, with no ambiguity ever present, or you ending up protecting the one who isn’t innocent.
Topic 2: Meet Annalise Keating (Viola Davis)
Professor Keating encompasses all Viola Davis has ever given and more. She has a lioness’ sight and can rip the jugular from those who disappoint her, or are simply prey; she is conniving and will use whatever method necessary to do her job; and yet despite all the cold-hearted tactics she uses to manipulate people, still this is a person behind all the mystic. One who has issues with her husband, fertility perhaps, and is just trying to do what she loves. Which is match wits with the best and win.
Though no empire, no matter how great the queen, can stand by itself. Mrs. Keating has by her side two associates at her strangely small, or better worded: intimate, law firm. One being Frank (Charlie Weber) who is not Annalise’s right-hand man, but simply an employee who seems to like the girls Annalise brings around, and then there is Bonnie (Liza Weill) who has a look in her eye which makes her seem like a problem. If just because while Frank seems to be like Michaela and idolize Mrs. Keating, Bonnie seems like more of a Laurel type who may like the pay, and the even maybe the work, but when it comes to Mrs. Keating she isn’t fond of some of the decisions she makes. Especially in her personal life.
Topic 3: How To Get Away With Murder – All Names Aforementioned
In the episode, there are 3 murders focused on. The first being the case Mrs. Keating is working on which deals with a girl, Gina (Andrea Syglowski), possibly poisoning her boss; a dead body that Wes, Connor, Michaela and Laurel are trying to dispose of; and the murder of a girl named Lila who was the girlfriend of Middleton’s star football player Griffin O’Reailly. Someone who happens to be friends with, in some way, Wes’ neighbor Rebecca (Katie Findlay).
But while we may not fully know what happened to Lila, though all signs point to Sam (Tom Verica), Annalise’s husband, and maybe her, being involved, the motive can only be assumed. As for Gina’s case, well it is used simply to introduce the characters and how things are going to operate on the show. It isn’t some whirlwind, who did it, type of case which gets you really into things. If anything, it is used excellently to show how far, or simply perhaps how each of the main cast members may act when it comes to gaining Keating’s favor. Be it through sex, like Connor; investigation, like Michaela; or fresh ideas like Wes. As for Laurel and Asher, neither really step it up in the first episode.
Leaving us to talk about that dead body our star students, those mentioned in topic 1, minus Asher, are dealing with. One of them, seemingly Connor, murdered a man in front of the others and now they all treat it like it is their collective problem. So, on a cold day in winter, they take the body to the woods, wrapped in a carpet, and set it on fire. Now, as for whose body it is? Well, it’s Annalise’s husband Sam. Leading to the question: why did they murder him? Well, such a question is hard to answer though I can only assume before the series, or season ends we will know the answer.
Topic 4: What Lies Ahead?
Well, we know Annalise is having an affair with Detective Nate Leahy (Billy Brown), who also is married, so likely their relationship will be explored; Rebecca and Wes, I see either getting together, or at the very least becoming friends, and that leading to us learning how Lila was murdered; and of course you have the various cases Professor Keating will present to her students for us to consume.