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How to Get Away With a Murderous Secret

How ABC’s hit show kept their season’s biggest secret under wraps

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Who killed Sam Keating? It was one of the best-kept secrets of the fall — so guarded, in fact, that even the perpetrator didn’t know he’d done the deed until the table read for How to Get Away With Murder‘s Nov. 20 winter finale. Spoiler alert: Wes (Alfred Enoch), the unassuming wait-list student known as the ”puppy,” struck Annalise’s (Viola Davis) husband, Sam (Tom Verica), with the coveted justice trophy after the psych prof began choking Rebecca (Katie Findlay). And Annalise may just be willing to cover for him. So how did the show avoid killer spoilers? And what’s next for the Keating Five? Here’s everything you need to know.

The Lead-Up
To prevent leaks and manage the paper trail, each actor received just one script, which was watermarked with his or her name and had to be signed for. ”You couldn’t get the script delivered to you unless you were home,” Liza Weil (Bonnie) explains. And if there were revisions, the original had to be turned over before a new one would be sent. ”It was like signing away your life,” Davis says with a laugh.

The precautions didn’t stop once shooting began. Sides — the mini-scripts that include just the day’s scenes — were forbidden, forcing the cast to bring in their watermarked scripts…which led to some on-set pranks. ”I saw a script and was like, ‘I’m going to hold on to it for half an hour,”’ Karla Souza (Laurel) says. ”Sure enough, people were flipping out.” And even though the set was littered with warnings like ”No visitors! No photography!” one exception was made — for Denzel Washington, who happened to drop by the day of the table read. He was sworn to secrecy.

The Aftermath
With Wes revealed as the killer, what’s next for the striving law student? ”It’s an inevitable turning point, a real shift in his life in what happens next and who he’s becoming,” Enoch says, teasing that it will definitely change the dynamic between Wes and Annalise. ”It binds them even closer,” he says. But the same can’t be said of the Keating Five, who will feel increasing pressure to turn on one another when the cops start questioning them. However, everyone involved is operating under the assumption that Sam was a murderer himself, responsible for Lila’s death. ”What happens if they’re wrong?” showrunner Pete Nowalk asks. Davis, for one, has a good idea how Annalise would feel. ”Like a big fat failure,” she says ominously. ”Like she’s made the biggest mistake of her life.”

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