'There will be more things that make your head hurt,' EP Pete Nowalk tells EW

WARNING: This story contains major spoilers from the season premiere of How to Get Away with Murder. Read at your own risk!

Annalise Keating has set the K4 free — but one appears to be locked up by premiere’s end.

Though Annalise is not disbarred following her arrest last season, she ultimately takes responsibility for the death of Wes. Deciding she doesn’t want the rest of the Keating Four to meet the same fate, she decides to set them free by writing them recommendation letters, also penning one for Bonnie. Annalise is starting fresh.

But not everyone gets to enjoy that same luxury. It’s clear in the premiere that Laurel suspects her father is to blame for Wes’ death, though she doesn’t immediately confront him. Instead, she tells him she had an abortion, later contradicting herself by telling the K4 she’s keeping the baby. What’s really going on?

Well, a flash forward to three months later finds a drugged Laurel in what appears to be a mental institution, freaking out when she feels her flat stomach and asking where her baby is. Has Laurel lost it? EW turned to executive producer Pete Nowalk to get the scoop.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Laurel appears to be in a mental institution. Can you confirm that location or is that something we’ll come to find out?
PETE NOWALK: I can’t confirm or deny that. Part of the mystery of the season is, where is she, what is she doing, and what happened to her?

Credit: Mitch Haaseth/ABC

Let’s say it is a mental institution. Laurel’s mother was also in a mental institution. It seems like something Jorge might do to keep the women in his life quiet. Is that a fair assessment? Or a wildly crazy theory?
Oh, my God, I think that’s totally fair. I love the level of attention you pay to this show! I think that’s totally fair and I think that’s a good theory. Obviously it’s how we want you to think about the show is to start guessing and those are very good guesses.

Laurel told Jorge she had an abortion, but told her friends she was keeping the baby. And yet three months later, she has no baby. Who was she lying to? Can you at least confirm she’s lying to someone?
I think I’ll confirm that; yes, she’s lying to somebody.

Could she be faking this sort of insanity in this final scene?
Yes, if we’ve proven anything, Laurel is very smart. She comes from a diabolical father, so she’s probably learned a few tricks, so she could be faking a lot of things. We saw her lie throughout the episode, and we’ve seen her lie throughout the series, so that is another good guess.

How far will Laurel go to prove her father had Wes killed?
She’s going to go really far to prove that. What I love about Laurel is, she has a real mission and she has a drive and a passion. This is a moment for her to show her father who she truly is, and that she is not someone to be f—ed with. We’re going to see exactly what that means for her, but we’re going to see her take really big steps to confront her father about this.

Are we hitting this flash forward by midseason?
I can say I think so. Yes, it will be somewhere in the middle of the season. It just depends if it’s in our winter finale or our winter premiere. Basically we’re only doing eight episodes before our midseason finale. Usually we would’ve done nine, so we’re in that mode right now. But somewhere around there, we’ll reach it and we’ll give you some answers.

Are we getting more from that flash forward in coming episodes as you’ve done in past seasons?
Yes, there will be clues and there will be more things that make your head hurt, but yes, we will see more images from that night.

Why is Annalise’s therapist involved in this final scene? Because Frank is there too, does that indicate there might some sort of reconciliation between Annalise and Frank?
That’s a good point. The Frank and Annalise reconciliation is something we’re going to address throughout the season. It’s obviously not an easy one, because there’s so much that’s happened between them. That is the question: Where is Annalise during that scene? That will be a big question that you’ll continue to ask, and you’ll see why in the next few episodes. What involvement does she have with this? All we know is, her therapist is now at Laurel’s bedside and that makes no sense right now. Isaac, Jimmy Smits, is our link to a lot of the characters and we’re going to find out how that happened.

What does Isaac and Annalise’s relationship look like moving forward?
There’s a lot of conflict there. I don’t think Annalise wants to be going to therapy. She’s been to therapy before, as she says, and I don’t think that ended up as she wanted it to. He’s also the boss of her, which has made it really fun to write. We knew we needed a very powerful actor to match Viola, and Jimmy Smits is definitely that, if not more so. There’s going to be a lot of fireworks between them, as well as some moments of connection.

Annalise has set the K4 and Bonnie free. Can they really stay away from each other?
She’s hoping they can. I think it’s time that she’s tried that, because all of them together are sort of toxic, as she said. She’s only smart to see what happens when they’re not all together. Just because she’s letting go of all of them, I don’t know if that means they’re going to let go of each other. They all need each other, and we’re going to see if they’re just these toxic magnets that can’t get away from each other. We’ll find out by the midseason.

Bonnie takes a job with Denver (Benito Martinez). Why is she going to the dark side? And should we be worried she’d turn against everyone?
She’s going to the dark side because Annalise betrayed her. If there’s anyone who has stuck by Annalise’s side time and time again, it’s Bonnie, and Annalise just threw her out with the trash. I get Bonnie making a quick decision to get a paycheck and maybe to do it in a way that would hurt Annalise. Yes, I think the rest of the characters are going to be a little terrified about what that means.

Nate also works for Denver. Both he and Bonnie have been betrayed by Annalise at different points. What will their relationship look like?
It’s really fun to see. In the next episode, you’ll see a lot more of it, and what his opinion of her is. We’ve seen them orbit each other before, but we’ve never seen the two of them interact a lot. It’s really a fun dynamic for us to write because these are two people who are bonded, for sure, in their very conflicted feelings about Annalise. We really love showing how their relationship grows and you’ll find out more.

Hannah Keating froze the insurance money, so will we see her again? What will that fight look like?
It doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see her. For us, Hannah has continuously been the thorn in Annalise’s side, which makes sense. Not that much time has passed in our story line since Sam died. I think it’s been a year and a half. As far as Hannah’s concerned off screen, Annalise got away with something really bad. Marcia Gay Harden is on another TV show, so we’re waiting to see — and I want the audience to wait and see — what happens with that relationship and how Hannah is always going to continuously try to beat Annalise.

How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Episode Recaps

How to Get Away With Murder

Viola Davis stars as a law professor where she teaches, wait for it, how to get away with murder.

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