Viola Davis provides a master class in manipulation and you just don’t know who she really is other than brilliant. How to Get Away with Murder has a strong ensemble cast which drives this show through its twists and turns of a crazy ride which I am excited to experience.
We start the episode at night on a college campus with a bond fire school spirit rally going in full force. Cut to a small group of students meeting in woods bickering about what to do next when the final member of the group arrives carrying a statue that seems to cause a rift through the group whether or not it was a smart move to go back and grab the apparent murder weapon or not.
Being law students they go on for several minutes spouting cases stats to justify their choices from cleaning and replacing the murder weapon to hide it in place sight to how to dispose of the body. In the end they are at a stalemate so the only way to make the call is of course flip a coin. Heads they go back for the body tales they leave it where it is…sure makes perfect sense to me!
Our little team is made of Wes the wide-eyed naive waitlisted kid, Asher a meathead “bro” future douche bag, Michaela the type A overachiever gunning to be the next Annalise Keating, Connor who’s shrewd and somewhat morally questionable and finally Laurel the shy, quiet type who you just know is hiding something behind those puppy dog eyes.
Flashback to three months prior it’s a beautiful spring day and we meet Wes, a young college student riding his bike across campus racing to his first day of law school. As he enters we get a very tight shot of a message board covered in “Have You Seen Me?” posters for a young female coed that’s gone missing. The missing girl becomes a sub plot and will take us into the second episode so at this point isn’t too important to the main story but pay attention to it because I have a feeling (wink, wink) it’s relevant to the dead body our merry band of law students encounter at the top of this episode.
Wes enters the lecture hall to a room full of eager law students chomping at the bit to become teachers pet to the city of brotherly loves most sot after law professor Annalise Keating (played masterfully by Viola Davis).
At list point we one by one meet the core group of law students who end up debating how to dispose of a body and of course are the stars of the class. Professor Keating enters the hall and begins grilling the class on a case of a woman accused of poisoning her lover who happens to be her boss for breaking up with her and demoting her after his wife discovers their affair. Viola Davis owns this room. She says the words “How to Get Away with Murder” and chills run down my spine lol. Right from the start she takes command as professor Annalise Keating picking out the cream of the crop and challenging her students to come up with a defense for her client. This starts a competition professor Keating creates to earn the use of a statue, the very one used to kill our mystery victim, as a get out of jail free card for an exam. It’s coveted and a brilliant way to send our students on a quest for evidence the lawyers have to uncover to help them win the case.
One by one several of the core group goes out into the world to discover bits and pieces of evidence the professor Keating can use to discredit the witnesses and the evidence of this case. From the color blind witness who swore she saw a yellow pill on the accused secretary’s desk to a damning inner office email none of which were acquired through legal channels but hey that’s what law students are for. Finally young Wes discovers what he thinks is a brilliant way to get the case thrown out and decides to run to the professors house which seems to be unlocked so of course he walks in looking for her even though its after hours and totally dark. When he finds Keating she’s being “entertained” shall we say by a gentleman caller who is most definitely not her husband. It’s hot, that’s all you really need to know. This puts Wes in an awkward situation but Keating isn’t fazed by it. What she is bothered by is that fact that her staff left the door unlocked again and that Wes brought nothing useful to the case.
Back to the courtroom when our professor and her team think the case is tilting in their favor they receive a major blow when their client Gina is caught on security camera buying aspirin the same color as her former lover’s prescription meds. This blows their defense strategy out of the water and enrages Keating. But Annalise doesn’t lose, she’ll do anything to win and so this game isn’t over by a long shot. So she pulls out the big guns. Once again we are back in the courtroom and looky looky here. Who do we find in the witness chair is Det. Nate who just so happens to be Keating’s hot friend from the other night. BOOM! He discredits the video and accuses the department of tampering with video evidence in the past. This pushes the case over the top and of course Keating’s client walks a free woman.
Now before we get to that little matter of the dead body in the woods we find ourselves back on campus at a sorority house and a maintenance man arriving to fix the low water pressure. This is an old school campus I guess because they have a literal water town up on the roof so of course when the poor maintenance guy goes up to look inside the tank he finds the body of the missing coed who’s posters were plastered all over campus at the start of the show. We soon find out that she was a student of Keating’s husband Sam. Needless to say Sam is really broken up about it and Annalise makes a joke about it probably being the boyfriend. Hmm…boyfriend.
Into the woods! We still have that small issue of a dead body that has to be dealt with so we flash forward to the present. Our crew of once wide-eyed enthusiastic law students is now in a car with a dead body wrapped in a rug stopping for supplies at a convenience store on their way back to the woods to dispose of said body. Which raises the question…who’s in the rug? Patience is a virtue, or so I’m told. As our group struggles to drag the body through the woods they encounter a couple trying to get a little sexy time going and a phone call from one of Keating staff which of course alerts the sexy time couple who thankfully take off. I mean really, who wants to have sex in the woods in the winter anyway?
We now come to the dead body wrapped in the rug. The group decides to incinerate the body in a bondfire in the middle of the woods though I’m not sure how smart this is because IT’S A BONDFIRE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WOODS but they believe it’s the best way to get rid of the DNA. Just before the match is lit the rug is unwrapped to reveal…dun dun dun…Keating’s husband Sam! Yes, I know! What the hell happened? We don’t know and won’t find out in this episode but it should make for a crazy story in the coming episodes.
How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays at 10pm on ABC.