How to Get Away with Murder

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How to Get Away with Murder
How To Get Away With Murder.png
Created by Peter Nowalk
Theme music composer Photek
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 15 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Scott Collins
  • Tracy Bellomo
  • Ann Kindberg
  • Michael Foley
  • Rob Fresco
  • Noah Evslin
  • Scott Printz
  • Doug Stockstill
  • Holden Chang
  • Erika Green Swafford
  • Michael Price
  • Jeff Jur
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 43 minutes (approx.)
Production company(s)
Distributor Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Original channel ABC
Picture format
Audio format
Original release September 25, 2014 (2014-09-25) – present (present)
External links
Official website

How to Get Away with Murder (sometimes abbreviated as HTGAWM) is an American television series that premiered on ABC on September 25, 2014.[1] The series was created by Peter Nowalk, produced by Shonda Rhimes and distributed by ABC Studios. Viola Davis stars as a law professor at a prestigious Philadelphia university who, with five of her students, becomes entwined in a murder plot.[2] The series airs on ABC as part of a night of programming all under Rhimes's Shondaland production company.[3]

The show features an ensemble cast with Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry and Karla Souza as her students, Charlie Weber and Liza Weil as her assistants, Katie Findlay as her client, and Billy Brown as a police detective.

For her portrayal, Viola Davis has received critical acclaim, winning the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance in a Drama Series and receiving nominations for Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, Best Actress in a Television Series at the Golden Globe Awards and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the Primetime Emmy Awards. The show has also received accolades, honored as a Television Program of the Year by the American Film Institute and winning Outstanding Drama Series at the Image Awards.


Annalise Keating is a prominent law professor and criminal defense attorney at Middleton University. She selects five students to intern at her firm: Wes Gibbons, Connor Walsh, Michaela Pratt, Asher Millstone, and Laurel Castillo. They work with Annalise's employees, Frank Delfino and Bonnie Winterbottom, an associate lawyer. As Season 1 introduces occasional clients for Keating, it explores two significant murders through flashbacks: Lila Stangard, mistress of Annalise's husband Sam Keating and a student at Middleton; and then Sam Keating at the hands of Annalise's interns.

The first nine episodes alternate through flashbacks and the present day to show the progression of events leading to Sam's death who Annalise believes murdered Lila, and disposal of his body at the hands of Wes, Connor, Michaela, and Laurel. The final six episodes explore Annalise's attempt to help her interns cover-up Sam's murder and legally show Sam's responsibility for Lila's death; and the events leading to Lila's death.

Cast and characters[edit]

Actor Character Seasons
1 2
Viola Davis Professor Annalise Keating Main
Billy Brown Detective Nate Lahey Main
Alfred Enoch Wes Gibbins Main
Jack Falahee Connor Walsh Main
Katie Findlay Rebecca Sutter Main Guest
Aja Naomi King Michaela Pratt Main
Matt McGorry Asher Millstone Main
Karla Souza Laurel Castillo Main
Charlie Weber Frank Delfino Main
Liza Weil Bonnie Winterbottom Main

Main cast[edit]

  • Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating, Esquire: A high-profile defense attorney, teaching a class at Middleton University.[4]
  • Billy Brown as Detective Nate Lahey: Annalise's lover who tries to prove Sam's involvement in the Lila Stangard murder and the main suspect in Sam's murder.[5]
  • Alfred Enoch as Wes Gibbins: A student recently accepted off the wait list who later has a relationship with Rebecca.[6]
  • Jack Falahee as Connor Walsh: A law student seen as ruthless and somewhat narcissistic by his peers.[6]
  • Katie Findlay as Rebecca Sutter: Wes' mysterious neighbor and later girlfriend who becomes a suspect in the murder of Lila Stangard.[7]
  • Aja Naomi King as Michaela Pratt: An ambitious student who wants to be successful like Annalise.[8]
  • Matt McGorry as Asher Millstone: One of Annalise's students who comes from a privileged background.[9]
  • Karla Souza as Laurel Castillo: An idealistic student who later has a relationship with Frank.[6]
  • Charlie Weber as Frank Delfino: An employee of Annalise's firm who is not a lawyer but handles special duties requiring discretion.[10]
  • Liza Weil as Bonnie Winterbottom, Esq.: An associate attorney in Annalise's firm.[11]

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Tom Verica as Professor Sam Keating: Annalise's husband who was murdered and had an affair with Lila Stangard.[12]
  • Megan West as Lila Stangard: A sorority girl who was having an affair with Sam Keating at the time of her murder.[13]
  • Conrad Ricamora as Oliver Hampton: An I.T. specialist with whom Connor is in a romantic relationship.[14]
  • Alysia Reiner as D.A. Wendy Parks: A prosecutor who goes up against Annalise.[15]
  • Lenny Platt as Griffin O'Reilly: A star quarterback and boyfriend of the murdered Lila Stangard.[16]
  • Elliot Knight as Aiden Walker: Michaela's fiancé.
  • Lynn Whitfield as Mary Walker: Future mother-in-law to Michaela.
  • Arjun Gupta as Kan: A Legal Aid lawyer and Laurel's boyfriend.
  • April Parker Jones as Detective Claire Bryce: A police officer investigating the disappearance of Sam Keating.
  • Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Hannah Keating: Sam Keating's sister and sister-in-law to Annalise; she is also a psychologist.[17]
  • Kendrick Sampson[18]
  • Famke Janssen[19]
  • Matt Cohen as Levi[20]

Guest cast[edit]

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 15 September 25, 2014 (2014-09-25) February 26, 2015 (2015-02-26)
2 15[21] September 24, 2015 (2015-09-24)[22] N/A



Viola Davis plays the lead role.

On August 19, 2013, ABC bought the original concept from Shondaland Productions, produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers. The script for the pilot episode was written by Grey’s Anatomy supervising producer Peter Nowalk.[23] ABC ordered the pilot on December 19, 2013.[24] The pilot episode was filmed in Los Angeles, California, at the University of Southern California, and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, at Bryn Mawr College; and in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, at Ursinus College.[25] It was directed by Michael Offer.[26] On May 8, 2014, ABC picked up the pilot to series[27] for the 2014–15 television season.[28] At the Television Critics Association Press Tour in July 2014, it was announced that How to Get Away with Murder will be a limited series with only 15 or 16 episodes per season.[29] The smaller size of episode count stems from the deal for the series star Davis.[30] On October 9, 2014, ABC picked up the series for a full season of 15 episodes.[31] On May 7, 2015, the show was renewed for a second season which will begin airing in the fall as part of the 2015-2016 television season.[32]


On January 21, 2014, Matt McGorry was the first to be announced as a regular cast member, playing a law student.[9]

Throughout February and March 2014, other roles were announced as cast: Aja Naomi King,[8] Jack Falahee,[6] Alfred Enoch[6] and Karla Souza[6] as law students; Katie Findlay as a drug-dealing student;[7] Charlie Weber as a law associate to Professor Keating;[10] Billy Brown as Professor Keating's extra-marital love interest;[5] veteran actor and producer Tom Verica as Professor Keating's husband;[12] and Liza Weil as one of the professor’s two associates.[11]

On February 25, 2014, it was announced that Shonda Rhimes had cast Viola Davis in the show's leading role of Professor Annalise Keating.[33]

On November 4, 2014, it was announced that Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden was cast in the second half of the first season for a secret recurring role.[17] On December 15, 2014, it was announced that Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Cicely Tyson will appear in an episode in the second half of the season.[34]


How to Get Away with Murder airs on Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. ABC pushed Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal to 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., creating an all-night block of Shonda Rhimes-produced dramas airing on Thursdays, a rarity in American television.[35] It was announced July 14, 2014 that the series would debut September 25, 2014.[1]

In Canada, the series airs with sim-subbing of advertising in same timeslot on CTV, though it airs three hours earlier before the original ABC timeslot in the Atlantic Time Zone on CTV Atlantic in the Maritime Provinces.[36][37] In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it premiered on October 22 on Universal Channel.[38] The series began airing on TV2 in New Zealand on February 10,[39] and in Australia, it premiered the same day as New Zealand on the Seven Network.[40]


Television ratings[edit]

Season Timeslot (EST) Number of Episodes Premiere Finale TV Season Overall rank 18–49 rank Overall viewership
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
10:00 pm
September 25, 2014 (2014-09-25)
February 26, 2015 (2015-02-26)
8.99[42] 2014–15 #30[43] #12[43] 11.40[43]
2 15[21]
September 24, 2015 (2015-09-24)
N/A N/A N/A 2015–16 TBD TBD TBD

The series pilot on September 25 set a record for DVR playback viewers with 6 million, surpassing the January 27, 2014 record of 5.6 million set by the pilot of The Blacklist.[44]

The series premiere had more than 14 million viewers on live broadcast, and over 20 million with DVR.[45]

Critical reception[edit]

The series started with generally positive reviews from critics, with most praising Viola Davis' performance. On Rotten Tomatoes, season one has a rating of 86%, based on 57 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "How to Get Away with Murder isn't conceptually original, but it delivers thrills with melodramatic twists and a captivating lead."[46] Metacritic gave season one of the show a score of 68 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[47]


How to Get Away with Murder has been honored with acknowledgements from the People's Choice Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globe Awards, GLAAD Media Awards, the Critics' Choice Television Awards, and the Primetime Emmy Awards as well as the Television Critics Association and the American Film Institute.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2014 AFI Award Television Program of the Year How to Get Away with Murder Won [48]
2015 People's Choice Award Favorite New TV Drama How to Get Away with Murder Nominated [49]
Favorite Actress In A New TV Series Viola Davis Won [49]
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Drama Series How to Get Away with Murder Won [50]
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Viola Davis Won [50]
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Aja Naomi King Nominated [50]
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Alfred Enoch Nominated [50]
Outstanding Writer for a Drama Series Erika Green Swafford
("Let’s Get to Scooping")
Won [50]
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Viola Davis Won [51]
Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama Viola Davis Nominated [52]
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Drama Series How to Get Away with Murder Won [53]
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Viola Davis Nominated [54]
Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series Cicely Tyson Nominated [54]
BET Award Best Actress Viola Davis Nominated [55]
TCA Award Individual Achievement in Drama Viola Davis Nominated [56]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Viola Davis Pending [57]
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Cicely Tyson Pending [57]
Artios Award Casting, Television Series: Drama Linda Lowy Pending

Critics' top ten lists[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

The Complete First Season[59]
Set Details Special Features
  • 15 Episodes
  • French and Spanish Subtitles
  • First Year Law: Behind the Scenes
  • 'Bye Felicia' Music Video
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Bloopers
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2
August 4, 2015


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External links[edit]