How to Get Away With Murder star Matt McGorry talks Asher's fate in the fall finale
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the How to Get Away With Murder season 6 fall finale, “Are You the Mole?”
The time has come to say goodbye to another member of the original Keating Five. Wes (Alfred Enoch) seemingly met his end in season 3 of How to Get Away With Murder — though he made a strange reappearance at Annalise’s (Viola Davis) funeral this week — and Laurel (Karla Souza) remained M.I.A. until a brief FaceTime from an unknown number confirmed she was alive on Thursday’s fall finale. But the latest to fall is our favorite frat boy: entitled-bro-turned-compassionate lawyer Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry).
The HTGAWM fall finale was full of Asher shockers, including a marriage proposal to Michaela (Aja Naomi King) and the revelation that he’s been working as an FBI informant. It’s okay, though (sorta), because he hardly gave the feds anything and was blackmailed into it with a threat to send his mom to jail.
High on mushrooms, Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) responded to the news of this betrayal by bludgeoning Asher with a fire poker, knocking him unconscious. But Asher recovered, long enough to run to Bonnie (Liza Weil). Whatever solace or advice she offered was short-lived, because only hours later, Asher was lying in the hallway of his apartment building, struggling for breath and bleeding out from a head wound.
With Michaela and Connor (Jack Falahee) in FBI custody for Asher’s murder, we were treated to our last glimpse of Asher, a close-up on his lifeless eyes. The moment leaves more questions than answers. Who killed him, and why? How do Xavier Castillo (Gerardo Celasco) and Governor Birkhead (Laura Innes) factor into this? And will we see any more of Asher in the final six episodes of the series?
To get answers to these questions and a bit of that signature Asher Millstone comic relief, we called up McGorry. So let’s put that fire poker down, look into spousal immunity, pick up a pinwheel at the convenience store, and dive in to this murky, murderous episode.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How does it feel to join Alfred Enoch, Tom Verica, and Katie Findlay on the list of the deceased on this show? Were you shocked when you got the script?
MATT MCGORRY: It’s good company to be in — aside from the fact that they’re all dead. But other than that, the people are really wonderful, and the actors are great as well. [Series creator] Pete Nowalk and I had talked about this idea towards the end of last season. In the beginning of the season, Pete let me know that indeed this would be the case. So it didn’t come as a shock in that way. But of course there’s different levels of processing and realizing what that means.
What was going through your head when he first brought that up to you?
There’s a lot of different things. I was partly thinking about how the audience would respond. Knowing that Asher is the mole as well. [I am] curious to see if people will be angry or will understand, or maybe there’s going to be a healthy mix, which actually is probably a good sign, if people are conflicted about that. But for me, just thinking about getting to finish the show out in a very strong way is also really appealing, and knowing that the show was ending in any case. I might have felt differently if I knew that we had more seasons or this came earlier, but I feel like I’ve really gotten to play to the end. And I will be in more episodes as well for flashbacks. So it feels like a nice sense of closure a little bit, even though it is certainly sad in some ways, both witnessing and playing Asher as he is dying. Also, just making my peace with the end of the show. The show that has been my home for the last six years, which is a really long time in the world of television. There’s a swirl of mixed emotions.
From the facts at hand, fans will probably have several theories. It could be that Asher collapsed and bled out from the blow Oliver dealt earlier. There’s also some suggestion that Gabriel (Rome Flynn) attacked him in the hall. Which is the more plausible? Or is it none of the above?
I know that the writers on the show have succeeded in continually making me keep guessing about all the different plot points in the last six years. I know well enough now than to try and actually spend too much mental energy predicting. Even as I play that scene, I do not know who killed Asher either.
Pete said from the beginning of the season not everyone was going to get out alive. But in some ways, Asher’s a little more innocent than the rest — or at least, he was at first. Do you feel like maybe he deserves this fate the least of all of them?
[Laughs] I’d like to think that no one deserves it. That’s my original operating standpoint. It will probably surprise people in some ways too because he’s actually provided probably the bulk of the comedic relief throughout the six seasons on the show. I know a lot of fans find that really important, especially because the show is often so heavy and so tense. It’ll be interesting to see how people respond, and it is nice as an actor to be able to get to play the range — to go from getting to be the silly, goofy guy for a long time to also having story lines that have more depth and nuance. It really is a nice blend.
How early on this season did you know that you were the informant? And did you have to keep it a secret from other people in the cast?
I don’t remember how early I found out. I don’t think I knew initially going into it. It’s not particularly essential for how I play it. Because I don’t want to be tipping the audience off, even unconsciously early on… But once I knew I was, I told people, including the death thing, actually. To be honest, it was kind of funny. It became a funny running joke at times too. In the middle of a scene or at the end of the scene, I’d be like, “And I’m gonna be murdered…” It was a nice way of breaking the tension and including some laughs too.
We got a sense of how it went down that he became the mole. It seems like he was essentially blackmailed into it. But are we going to get more pieces of that puzzle — and more justification for that?
I don’t even know, to be honest. I’d be interested in seeing that, though. I’ve really liked doing scenes with Asher’s family. I feel like it adds a really nice dynamic.
In his most desperate hour, Asher goes to Bonnie. Are there maybe some latent romantic feelings there? Another secret we’re unaware of? How do we interpret that moment, because it’s a strange choice?
They have a deep connection that’s been built over time. Asher has felt a romantic connection since the end of their relationship. I think we’ve seen that. And also, as much as Asher has an affinity for the other students, next to Michaela, Bonnie and Asher have shared a lot of history in particular. She’s always taken this role of looking out for him and, frankly, taking on his burden, in addition to almost everyone else’s burden on the show.
That proposal to Michaela really came out of nowhere. Did it surprise you? Do you feel like he really meant it from a place of love, especially since this turned out to be one of your last scenes with Aja?
I think the main driving force behind it was the spousal immunity, wanting to make sure that there were protections in place. But he definitely has really strong feelings still for Michaela romantically. Or I guess I have to talk about him in the past tense now, which is kind of sad, but he did have very strong feelings about her when he was alive.
Can you tease the final six episodes and how much we might see of you?
You’ll definitely be seeing more of Asher. There’s going to be pieces of the mystery that are going to be filled in over the course of time. Asher may be dead, but he will also be present.
Viola Davis stars as a law professor where she teaches, wait for it, how to get away with murder.