See exclusive photos from the fall finale table read.

By Maureen Lee Lenker
November 21, 2019 at 09:00 AM EST
Fall TV
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Murder night is back.

How to Get Away With Murder‘s fall finales have never been short on drama, from revealing Sam’s (Tom Verica) true killer to the identity of #WhosUndertheSheet. The final season is no exception, with Thursday’s fall finale offering us a glimpse at the events surrounding the Keating Four’s law school graduation, as well as finally giving us key details on Laurel’s (Karla Souza) disappearance, revealing the identity of the FBI informant, and adding yet another body to the show’s death toll.

Eric McCandless/ABC

The Keating Four and those surrounding them have faced plenty of drama before, from disposing of Sam’s body to lots and lots of murder. But if you think it can’t get it worse, well, the fall finale has news for you. As creator Pete Nowalk tells EW, “Their lives are over as they know it. What it really does is launch us into this final six episodes. Everything’s changed and there’s no going back and people are going to have to make real decisions about their lives.”

If that sounds ominous, that’s because it is. Ahead of the Thursday night’s big episode, EW called up to Nowalk to get all the scoop on what to expect, how this changes the game, and what this might mean for their eventual end game. Read on below these exclusive photos from the fall finale table read.

Mitch Haaseth/ABC
Mitch Haaseth/ABC
Mitch Haaseth/ABC
Kelsey McNeal/ABC
Kelsey McNeal/ABC
Mitch Haaseth/ABC

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Traditionally, your fall finales have answered one or two big outstanding questions, and then also, at the same time PITCHED us into a new mystery that will carry us through the back half of the season. You have maybe a harder task than usual here in that you have to push us closer to what will be the series finale ultimately. So can we expect this to feel like a typical How to Get Away With Murder fall finale? Or is it something a little different to get us closer to that end game?
PETER NOWALK: Yes, and yes. This is definitely a typical murder night episode, which means it’s chaotic. And dark and funny, and very dramatic. What’s so fun about writing our murder night episodes is you don’t have to control yourself at all. You can just let loose basically. And what’s fun is the characters really let loose too. We’re going to be seeing a lot of that. We’re gonna find out more about Laurel in this episode 9. We’re also going to find out who the FBI informant is who’s been working against our crew. And we’re gonna raise the stakes on everything. I don’t want to reveal too much but there will be a dead body — when that happens, everything is over. It’s not like they’re going to get away with it anymore. That ship has sailed. It’s How to Get Away With Murder until you don’t.

The fall finale takes place on the eve of their law school graduation, so are we finally catching up to the flash-forwards we’ve been seeing all season or are those even further in the future?
We will be catching up to most of them. Whatever we catch up to will explain a lot of the flash-forwards that we’ve seen, but we’re not going to pass all of them. That will happen in Episode 10. So, some will be explained and some we’ll have to see.

What can you hint about who the informant might be? Is there a possibility of someone with noble motives or is it total self-interest?
Whoever the informant is, is probably actually doing the right thing in any normal moral standard. Yes, they are being noble. To our characters, of course, it’s a betrayal. And so this person will have really good reasons that are personal to them for doing what they’re doing. As a writer, you don’t want it to feel like it comes out of the blue. [It needs to be] earned and we’ll show you how that’s earned in this episode as we reveal who it is.

Last week we learned at the end of the episode that it’s looking like Annalise’s plan is to fake her own death and try to skip town. So, will we learn more about that and how successful that might be? We still don’t know if her funeral is real or not.
We will catch up to the flash-forwards of Annalise calling VIP Results. The Gone Girl company as I call it. We’ll go past what we saw. So you’re going to get a lot more clarity on what her plan is and her fate. We might go back to that funeral perhaps and get more information, which is what I’m really excited about for people to see.

How can how much can we expect Governor Birkhead and Xavier to play into this week’s events?
They’re definitely our big, bad puppeteers currently, in our characters’ minds. Anything bad that happens, they feel responsible for it. Whether they’re in the episode or not, it doesn’t really matter because they’re just this looming ghost over everyone. Xavier was outed in court as a killer in the last episode, so I don’t think he’s was gonna like roll over and go away. He’s gonna hit back.

We also know that there’s a murder forthcoming. People might have previously assumed that was Annalise. But that seems kind of unlikely now. Will we find out who the victim is?
You are going to find out one murder victim in this episode. And I’m not going to say whether that… you have to wait till the end of the show to find out whether that’s Annalise or not.

Bonnie and Nate have now both learned that they killed an innocent man. Are we going to see fallout from that this week?
Nate is personally really livid. It’s just another betrayal by Annalise and another lie, and I feel like he’s gonna have to confront her about that, i.e. he does confront her about that. Bonnie’s reaction is going to be really different. Nate’s more angry that Annalise kept this lie from him. Bonnie is angry too, but she’s processing it in a more internal way. Miller loved her and she assumed the worst about him and then she killed him. So she has a lot to sit with and to react to and the person she’s probably blaming the most is herself.

Things seemed to be moving in a positive direction for her and Frank. And clearly, having this secret exposed is a huge step backward for them. Can we continue to have any hope that these two very damaged people might find some solace in each other?
That will be addressed a little bit in this upcoming episode, like what Bonnie’s feelings are toward Frank. What I am excited about is in the whole back half of the season, we’re really going to be delving into a lot more of what their original history was when they first met at Sam and Annalise’s house. We’ve seen little bits of those flashbacks, but we’re going to be really explaining a lot more here. Just to understand why they weren’t together a long time ago. Frank and Laurel — I get that the fandom of that and I’m not saying that’s over. But Bonnie and Frank are both so damaged that it would make sense for them to choose each other because who else is going to understand the darkness inside of them?

We’ve really basically seen hide nor hair of Laurel this whole first half of the season. Are we finally getting some answers about her whereabouts and survival status?
Yes. We’ve been building to this all season. In episode 9, you’re going to find out more about Laurel. I’m not going to say more than that. There’s a dead body; it could be hers. There’s an informant; it could be her. It could be completely the opposite of that. But you’ll finally we’ll be giving you some answers, which is exciting after confusing the audience for so long.

In the flash-forwards, we’ve seen both Connor and Oliver coming apart at the seams. Can we expect them to make it out with their sanity and marriage intact or might this fall finale give us some clues about where the two of them are headed?
I can’t really answer that without giving away what’s going to happen in 9 because anything I say will reveal too much. But I don’t think they’re thinking much about their marriage in episode 9, because things are so chaotic and horrible.

Can you give us a cryptic clue for the back half of the season and the final six episodes?
Gosh, it’s really the thing I’m most excited about. People are gonna be really… their brains are going to hurt a lot. Brains will be hurt. In a way that makes me really happy.

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

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Episode Recaps

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