How To Get Away With Murder is a compelling masterpiece


Without a doubt, I can say that Netflix and ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder is one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. 

The suspenseful opening scene shows four what appear to be college students crowded around a rolled-up rug in the woods screaming about what to do with a body. As a viewer, I was initially confused about what was happening and what I was watching, but I was nonetheless intrigued and excited to continue watching.

The screen then goes black, and we see three typed words on the screen: three months earlier. 

The same students, along with hundreds of others, are shown walking into the law building of what the viewers later learn is a prestigious university. The scene transitions to the inside of a large lecture hall and shows some students talking and others nervously preparing for the class. 

Within a few seconds, a woman walks into the front of the room from a side door, and introduces herself as Professor Keating, and introduces the class as what she likes to call it: How To Get Away With Murder. 

Viola Davis stars as Annalise Keating, a defense attorney and law professor at the fictional Middleton University in Philadelphia. From her first few moments on screen, Davis portrays her character as cunning, crisp, and complex. When viewers first meet Keating, her confidence and passion for what she teaches are obvious, along with a depth to her character revealing that there is more to her than what initially meets the eye. 

First-year law students, Wes (Alfred Enoch), Connor (Jack Falahee), Michaela (Aja Naomi King), Asher (Matt McGorry) and Laurel (Karla Souza) quickly learn that they may have to compromise their morals to be successful with the law. When these five students are chosen to work for Keating at her law firm, they become the standout students in the class. I also recognized these students as the initial few from the flashback and was desperately wanting to know how they managed to tangle themselves up in a murder. 

In her upcoming trial, Keating is defending a secretary—who is believed to have been her boss’ mistress—in a trial that accuses her of poisoning said boss. Keating is no stranger to digging up dirt or having her friends—who just happen to be police officers—lie on the stand in the favor of the defense. Keating’s complexity develops even more when Wes catches her in her office with someone other than her husband. This adds a new depth to Keating and her perspective on her current trial. 

The plot uses flashbacks and flashforwards to create a frame story that works to develop the suspense and depth to the show. Because viewers know that each of the students is involved in some type of murder, we are impatiently waiting for the backstory to develop. Throughout the first few episodes, we only acquire some of the details necessary to make sense of it all. 

I was pleasantly surprised with the genius little details that were incorporated into How To Get Away With Murder. The moral dilemmas combined with the drama that can only exist on TV create a complex and mesmerizing series. The characters need to survive in a competitive law school cause them to change their views morally and socially. Viewers are able to see the decisions that the characters make when figuring out how much is too much and how far is too far. 

Overall, the mysterious and fast-paced tone of How To Get Away With Murder only adds more depth to the already compelling nature of the series. The intriguing plots develop throughout multiple episodes leaving viewers hooked and constantly wanting more.

After the first episode, I was left eagerly waiting for the conclusion of the unsolved murder that it seems like the law students committed and excited for what situations the developing characters would find themselves in next.