The Keating Five have done everything in their power to get away with murder. Throughout the first half of How to Get Away with Murder’s freshman season, those involved in Sam’s (Tom Verica) death removed, eventually burned and disposed of the body, and even left the murder weapon in plain sight. Now comes the tricky part: Keeping their stories straight.
When Murder returns on Thursday night, Sam is presumed missing, forcing the students to face the police just hours after covering up his murder. Can the five of them—culprit Wes (Alfred Enoch), alleged killer Rebecca (Katie Findlay), high-strung Michaela (Aja Naomi King), quiet Laurel (Karla Souza), and weak link Connor (Jack Falahee)—trust one another?
“Too much is at stake,” Enoch says. “Everyone is frantically trying to preserve themselves to make sure they can come out of this and preserve something of a life they hoped that they would be enjoying when they turned up at this prestigious school. All of a sudden, everything is at risk, everything is perhaps about to be snatched away, so everyone is fighting very hard to keep their lives intact. Faced with something as extreme as that, you do pretty much whatever you can do. In that context, I don’t think you can trust people. That is a huge source of conflict in this next phase of the show.”
The problem, of course, is that each of them played different roles on Murder Night, which will cause a divide between them. Much like with their characters, that topic has turned into a frequent debate between the actors on set. “If we all remember, I wanted to call the police,” King says, defending Michaela. “I wasn’t holding the trophy, I didn’t strike the final blow. I didn’t break into his house, the door was unlocked like it normally is. I was just going to turn in the trophy. I don’t deserve to go down like the rest of them.”
But Souza interjects: “You still pushed him down the stairs.”
“I didn’t push, I just deflected,” King retorts. “As a woman, I was about to be attacked and protected myself and really had little involvement in what happened for the rest of the evening, so there’s a big struggle with which direction to go. And having to keep the people in your life that you weren’t that close to, now you have to be even closer to them because you’re a part of this blood pact together basically. We’re bonded by blood. The stakes of that are so high because I can’t really trust you, but I have to trust you.”
Ultimately, though, Wes was the one who made the final blow, which will affect him in ways unlike the others. “He is living with the consequences of what he’s done, which is committed this murder,” Enoch says. “From now on everything is different. Everything has changed. The strain that puts on him and his relationship with Rebecca and his relationship with the others and his entire life is the big thing. It starts to unravel.”
So, how will they actually get away with murder? It seems highly likely that Annalise (Viola Davis) will have a hand in that since she did discover Wes apologizing to Sam’s dead body. We’ll quickly find out exactly what happened after that moment through more flashbacks to Murder Night during Thursday’s episode, though don’t expect Annalise’s tough exterior to hold, even if she did wish her cheating husband ill.
“I think it’s going to be gradual, but you’ll see it, it’s coming,” Davis says of Annalise breaking down. “I encouraged the writers to show that because so often I see women on television and they’re either really sexually promiscuous or they’re really strong, but I don’t see the consequences a lot of times. I don’t see the repercussions.”
Despite whatever help they may find, there are some pressing problems with their plan, namely that Michaela lost her engagement ring sometime during Murder Night and the scales on the justice statue—a.k.a. the murder weapon—are missing. Let’s also set aside the fact that they not-so-wisley disposed of Sam’s remains in a random dumpster, any number of these things could come back to haunt them. “If you watch those real murder TV shows, we had no planning done whatsoever and people plan a murder for months and even those people get caught or miss a little thing here,” Souza says. “Nowadays, there’s DNA samples and all these things you can do. It’s just a matter of time.”
Let’s also not forget that there’s an odd man out within the group. Asher (Matt McGorry) was not present during Murder Night, forcing the group to keep this giant secret from someone they send a lot of time with. “He wouldn’t have gone along with the murder,” McGorry says, noting it was probably a good thing he wasn’t there. “I don’t think he would’ve stood there because of his very strong moral compass. Ultimately he does have a good heart, even if it’s a douchey heart. We’re going to see how they all have to deal with an increasingly more complicated withholding of this secret from Asher. It’s dangerous territory.”
Unfortunately, keeping this big secret isn’t the only stress these kids are facing. If the first half of the season was heading towards finding out who killed Sam, then the second half will delve into finding out who really murdered Lila Stangard, Sam’s sorority girl mistress whose death Rebecca is currently on trial for. “The finale is really going to explore that,” says Liza Weil, noting that Bonnie is as yet blissfully unaware of Sam’s true fate, though it sounds like that will change as the group looks to find new life rafts.
“The second half of the season is going to explore alliances being made and enemies and how these relationships shift given that we’ve all committed this murder together,” Falahee says. “There are still people in the house that don’t know the murder has taken place. It gets really messy.”
How to Get Away with Murder returns Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
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