How to Get Away With Murder cast and creator on what they'd change if they could
Who hasn't wanted a do-over at some point in their life?
When it comes to wrapping up six seasons of a beloved network television show, it is perhaps difficult to resist imagining what could have gone differently. On Thursday, How to Get Away With Murder came to a bloody, dramatic end, and creator Pete Nowalk and his cast had nothing but praise for the series finale. But looking back on the show's run, there are a few things they'd change if they could, ranging from plot points to their personal experiences with fame.
For star Viola Davis, her one sticking point is Annalise's ability to accept love. Though in the finale we saw Annalise walk through life holding a series of hands and old flame Eve (Famke Janssen) spoke at her funeral, we still never got a definitive picture of what relationships Annalise might've enjoyed in her lifetime.
"I really wish she would’ve found some way of really understanding what it means to love and be loved," Davis tells EW. "Just really give herself over to that and see how that would’ve evolved. I don’t think she quite got there. Now, that mirrors life. Some people never get there. I think how it concludes is very apropos to where she is in that journey of finding love, loving, and being loved. Pete sewed it up in a great way, but that’s what I would change: for her to find a great love."
While the finale brought closure to many story lines, it also left plenty for the audience to fill in the blanks on. We often saw the past lives of characters like Annalise, Bonnie (Liza Weil), and Frank (Charlie Weber), but we only heard accounts of the Keating Five's backstories, without seeing them come to life. Karla Souza, who played Laurel Castillo, wishes they'd had time for that. "We mentioned here how I was kidnapped when I was younger, I was doing cocaine — I would've liked to have flashbacks on the Keating Five," she says. "You have those scenes in Euphoria where they go all the way back to when they're kids, and it gives a great backbone for the character and for the audience to feel connected to them."
Rome Flynn, who didn't join the cast until Season 5, as Sam Keating's son Gabriel, wishes there'd been more time for storytelling around his character. Gabriel had a complex romantic relationship with Michaela (Aja Naomi King) and an antagonistic friendship with Asher (Matt McGorry) that he would've liked to dig deeper on. "We didn't get to really dive into the complexity of Annalise and Gabriel or Michaela and Gabriel, because I feel like they have so much in common we didn't really get to talk about," he muses. "Also I would love to have had more scenes with Asher. It was this budding thing, and it was funny, but we just ran out of time."
Other cast members didn't necessarily wish for changes in the storytelling, but just in their own relationship to the experience. For stars like Jack Falahee who went from virtual unknowns to network TV stars, the show's success instigated a major, sudden change. "It all happened so fast and I was just so young," he says. "I regret not being present in certain moments. I'm still trying to practice being present more, but it's difficult when it's the first time you're walking on red carpet and there's 400 cameras. If I could go back, I would try and be more present and just really appreciate these moments with my friends because we sort of grew up together on the show. We were all in our mid-20s and now everyone's married, engaged, with kids. It was a crazy time frame for personal growth as a human. So, going back and being able to anchor myself in some of those moments."
Similarly, Conrad Ricamora, who played Falahee's onscreen husband, Oliver, wishes he'd been more able to recognize the value of their work as it was happening. "Part of me wishes I could have understood the significance of what we've done in a more profound way early on," he says. "But you're so busy that you just can't."
Of course, no one has a longer list of hypothetical redos than the series' creator. "I always would go into every season and I’d be like, 'Let’s cut down on the amount of plot and the story lines and focus more on the characters and the relationships with each other,' but the show wasn’t built that way," Nowalk says. "So there would always be this struggle of balancing the plot and keeping the twists coming with just like the drama of Oliver and Connor’s relationship."
Still, Nowalk says he wouldn't want to make any changes to the show as it stands, so much as just carry forth the lessons he learned as a writer. "It’s more like if I was going to create another show, how would I avoid certain things? And maybe not bog down the show with so much baggage?" he reflects. "It’s just in the premise of the show, from the beginning they were murderers. I really give people credit for sticking with it who did because it’s about grief. It’s dark. Things I’ve learned I like to write about are quieter moments. I love the Ophelia and Annalise relationship. That’s stuff that I didn’t know how to write so much as the twists and turns."