'How To Get Away With Murder' Recap: Viola Davis Stars In Shonda Rhimes' Legal Drama
How to Get Away with Murder, the latest primetime drama from Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland, stars Viola Davis as defense attorney and Middletown Law School professor Annalise Keating, who teaches the Criminal Law class that appropriately bears the nickname that's the show's title.
'How To Get Away With Murder' Recap
Annalise’s students include Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch), Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry) and Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza). The unlikely band of first-year law students eventually gets selected to join Annalise’s firm after proving themselves in a case that doubles as an introductory exercise in which they learn how the exacting and ruthless attorney works her magic in the court of law.
The case Annalise has the students working on with her is – not that of missing student Lila Stangard whose likeness is splashed over the halls – but that of The Aspirin Assassin. Annalise is currently defending a woman named Gina, the former mistress and assistant to a big-time CEO, who is accused of attempting to kill him out of jealousy. Each of the students is to come up with a defense, and no two students may offer the same one. The students who provide interesting defenses are invited to continue working the case, and the student who separates his or herself from the rest will receive Annalise’s sculpture of Lady Justice that they can turn in at any time to get out of an exam.
The Aspirin Assassin Case
Fighting to distinguish herself, Michaela rushes into the courtroom with some pertinent information – the witness Annalise is cross-examining is colorblind, negating her testimony about the color pill Gina had on her desk the day her boss died. Later on, Connor seduces an IT guy who works at the CEO’s agency. From him, he gets hold of an email that incriminates the CEO’s business partner, helping Annalise find a new suspect for the jury to consider. When Wes tries to offer his breakthrough idea, he finds Annalise having sex with a man that isn’t her husband – and then has his idea shutdown. Laurel’s realization that Gina and the man's wife are both guilty and were in on the attempted murder together is swept under the rug by Frank (Charlie Webber). The firm knows and is ignoring that their client is guilty.
At a party with law professors and students, Annalise’s pupils meet her husband, Psychology professor Sam (Tom Verica). After the awkward meeting, Annalise follows Wes into a side room. He promises not to say anything about what he’d seen the other night. He then learns from a tearful Annalise that her husband has been putting the pressure on to have kids, which is putting a strain on her marriage. She then proceeds to rub his shoulders and run her hands over his chest, causing him to make a hasty exit. Back at home with Sam, they learn that missing girl Lila, who had been student of Sam’s, has turned up in the water tank on top of a frat. Incidentally, Lila’s boyfriend has been spending some time with Wes’ neighbor Rebecca.
The trial the next day presents a new obstacle for Annalise and her staff, as the prosecution has gotten its hands on a video that shows Gina buying Aspirin. In a desperate move, Annalise calls Nate (Billy Brown) – a cop and the guy she was having sex with in her home the other night – to the stand. In order to discredit the latest bit of evidence, she asks him if he’s ever known the Philadelphia police to doctor surveillance tapes. He has. As a result, the jury opts not to convict Gina.
Following the case, Connor, Michaela, Asher, Laurel and Wes are all named to Annalise’s firm. Wes frets that he’s only been picked because of what he saw. After scolding him for the accusation, Annalise gives him one more chance to take the offer. He does.
Three Months Later
How to Get Away with Murder’s linear reality was interspersed in its first hour with flash-forwards to events that occur in three months time. Wes, Laurel, Michaela and Connor have congregated in the woods with a blood-covered Lady Justice. They debate what to do with the evidence and assumed murder weapon, and what to do with the body. It’s not, as it would seem, a classroom exercise. The foursome heads to Annalise’s office, wrap the body up in a carpet and steel themselves to transport it across campus as the majority of the school population is participating in a ritual bonfire.
On their way out the door of Annalise’s office, a cop stops them because he needs Connor’s car moved. He grows suspicious upon learning that they were in their professor’s office, but Michaela's quick-thinking dulls his concern and stalls him long enough that he’s drawn to something more pressing. Eventually, the group gets the body to the woods. After Laurel gets a call from Frank that momentarily distracts the others, they prepare to burn the body. As the flames start to ripple over the branches, it’s revealed that the body they're burning is Sam’s.
How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays on ABC at 9/8c.