'How to Get Away with Murder': Who's really the murderer?
It’s the burning question of the fall season: Who is the actual murderer on ABC’s new hit drama How to Get Away with Murder?
On the season premiere, it was uncovered through flash-forwards that a group of students from Annalise Keating’s class attempted to cover up the murder of her husband, Sam (Tom Verica), who was killed with the coveted justice statue Annalise uses as an immunity idol in her class. Who’s the real killer?
“I love everyone creating their own theories,” executive producer Pete Nowalk tells EW. “Some of [the clues] we’ve planted intentionally, a lot of them are subtle Easter eggs of suspicion for the audience, and some of them we didn’t plant and people are still seeing them. I’m hoping people really get into the details and subtleties of the show, and they might even want to watch certain episodes twice or watch those flash-forwards again because they’re all very specific and detailed and full of little clues.”
With the clues provided from the series premiere, we’ve listed 10 suspects—though, to be fair, there’s no guarantee that any or all of them are actually the murderer. Below, we weigh the odds on the suspects and Nowalk offers up juicy teases on what’s next:
Annalise Keating (Viola Davis)
Chances she’s the murderer: 20/1. Sure, the murder appeared to take place in her office and the victim is her husband, who she’s been cheating on with Nate, but she might be the too-obvious suspect. Still, distraught that her husband may have been having an affair with now-dead student Lila (Megan West), Annalise could’ve offered her students a passing grade if they implemented her teachings on how to get away with murder and took care of the body for her.
What’s next: Annalise confronting Sam over his potential affair with Lila “challenges the relationship in terms of all the suspicion is now out there” Nowalk says. “Sam knows that he has to really win Annalise’s trust back because her having this thought, whether he has slept with Lila or not, really crushes him. She says something very loaded in the second episode, that it’s happened before, so he knows that he has a lot of ground to make up with her.”
Wes Gibbins (Alfred Enoch)
Chances he’s the murderer: 5/1. Aside from being among the quartet moving Sam’s lifeless body in the flash forward, Wes also knows the truth that Annalise has been cheating on her husband. Innocent and trusting, Wes could find himself coming to someone’s rescue to the detriment of Sam.
What’s next: “They’re two different sides of the same coin,” Nowalk says of Annalise and her newest protégé Wes. “The whole show is about teaching the education of these young kids. Wes is our central figure in that. He’s the most naïve and pure. Annalise is obviously on the other end of that. We’re going to see him learn interesting things. What I really want people to know is that she’s going to learn certain things from him as well.”
Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee)
Chances he’s the murderer: 10/1. He was also among the quartet and seemed the most unaffected by what they were doing. He also won the trophy that we know is ultimately the murder weapon.
What’s next: “We’re going to get to know different sides to him for sure,” Nowalk says. “These are people who are showing up for their first day of law school, so they have their A game on. They seem very competent and confident. They’re hiding their insecurities, and a lot of that can come across through bravado. He’s a real person with real feelings and he’s a young person, so maybe he’s not dealing with those feelings in a real way. He doesn’t mind being a little blunt with people. We’ll find out why he’s so frustrated with Michaela.”
Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King)
Chances she’s the murderer: 60/1. Though she was with the quartet, she attempted to look away from their misdeeds so she wouldn’t be called to testify, meaning she’s less likely to be the killer.
What’s next: “She’s extremely confident,” Nowalk says. “She’s fought tooth and nail to become the girl she is. She has her whole life mapped out for her. She has a great fiancé [Elliot Knight] who we’re going to meet. He’s definitely a match for her. She is totally on the right track to get everything she’s ever dreamed of getting. This semester, and specially being thrown into Annalise’s path, is really going to twist her life in ways she never expected. She’s going to become very uncomfortable with her new life. This is the opposite of what she’s planned for herself.”
Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza)
Chances she’s the murderer: 25/1. She was also among the group trying to get rid of the evidence of Sam’s murder, but the quiet and unassuming law student seems like she could barely kill a fly, let alone a full grown man.
What’s next: “I don’t think she’s doing it intentionally,” Nowalk says of her timidness. “She’s actually just a shy, nervous person and this law school on acid atmosphere is making her even more shy. When we see her one on one with people, especially in her romantic life, she’s a little more at ease with her life. Having to be around a very intimidating figure like Annalise is going to make her find her voice.”
Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry)
Chances he’s the murderer: 99/1. The very “brah”-like law student was the only Annalise new-hire who wasn’t with the quartet dumping Sam’s body, making him the long shot.
What’s next: “Asher is very naïve,” Nowalk says. “He’s lived in a bubble—a very wealthy, exclusive and entitled bubble. He gets this job and he’s surrounded by people who are going to challenge him and wake him up to who he is as a person. He just thinks he’s going through life having fun. Other people may point out that his actions—especially someone like Laurel, who is a bit of a liberal—are going to affect other people. He definitely gets his bubble burst sometime in the first season.”
Detective Nate Lahey (Billy Brown)
Chances he’s the murderer: 8/1. Just because he’s a cop doesn’t mean he’s exempt from doing evil things. Case in point, he’s been sleeping with Sam’s wife, Annalise. In the world of law, that’s called motive.
What’s next: “Annalise has a lot of ground to cover after what she did to him in the pilot,” Nowalk says of their now rocky relationship. “She has to apologize to him and win him back. Whether he wants to go along with that or not is a whole different story. He allows her to show a very different side of herself—a much more vulnerable, doesn’t-need-to-prove anything side. She really likes having him in her life, and it’s not just for sex. There’s a much more emotional connection there. As much as he hates to admit it, because he is married and his wife is very sick, he feels that deeper connection with her too. As much as he wants to stay out of her life, she keeps pulling him back in.”
Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber)
Chances he’s the murderer: 25/1. The elder statesman at the firm—in comparison to the students, at least—he comes off as a sleaze looking to sleep with students. Though that’s something he may have in common with Sam, it seems less likely that he’s the killer… unless he did it for Annalise.
What’s next: “On face value, he seems like quite the dog,” Nowalk says. “And he is quite the dog in a lot of ways, but there are some secrets. There’s a backstory we’ll hint at that will make us feel things for him. He has an undeniable attraction that pulls people in in a way that maybe they don’t like. He’s very loyal to Annalise. He’s a very good boy when it comes to working for her, and that makes him good at his job and someone to admire. He’s not from this world. He picked himself up by the bootstraps and never expected that he would wear a suit to work every day. He’s really out of his comfort zone and very successful considering where he came from.”
Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil)
Chances she’s the murderer: 5/1. There was a hint in the premiere that she’s the one we should be worried about, not Frank, when it comes to Annalise’s associates. Could it be that she’s the past affair Sam had, and his death is a lovers’ quarrel?
What’s next: “She lives completely within Annalise’s world and she works really hard,” Nowalk says. “For Bonnie, that can result in some unhealthy habits. She doesn’t maybe have a good work life balance, so she might be looking for things within work that she shouldn’t be. She both reveres Annalise, and also fears her and sometimes resents her, so all those feelings together can make her have some unhealthy behavior at the office.”
Rebecca Sutter (Katie Findlay)
Chances she’s the murderer: 3/1. Wes’ mysterious next door neighbor definitely has a connection to football jock Griffin O’Reilly (Lenny Platt), the boyfriend of the missing Lila, who was Sam’s student. Could the tangled web ultimately lead to her being behind his demise?
What’s next: “She works at a dive bar and probably resents these Middleton kids,” Nowalk says. “There’s a bit of a towny vibe to her. She thinks the ‘Middleton privileged, behind the ivy gates’ thing is a little bullsh–. She’s going to be in trouble. We’re going to find her in trouble with the law. Her relationship with Wes is going to become much more co-dependent and she’s going to be pulled into Annalise’s circle in some way.”
How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.