1.25.2015

How To Get Away With Murder REVIEW

#JustSammthingXAwardSeason
My sister Fleur is reprising her role as guest writer for Just Sammthing with a review of another TV show. This time she writes about How To Get Away With Murder. The series is set to return for its mid-season premiere next week and its star Viola Davis is up for a SAG Award for best actress in a drama series this Sunday. The Shonda Rimes show is without a doubt one of the biggest new TV shows this year and although I haven't started it yet, my sister has. Read what she has to say about it.



by special guest writer FLEUR
Thankfully strong female lead characters are gradually gaining ground in Hollywood. On the big screen, think kickass Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, as well as television screen, for example determined CIA officer Carrie Mathison in Homeland. The creation of such powerful women however is a true trademark of the producer Shonda Rhimes, arguably the most successful producer of the moment with an entire evening on ABC dedicated to her shows. After Scandal’s Olivia Pope, it is now time to meet the even more fascinating Annalise Keating (Viola Davis). Keating is a successful defence attorney and criminal law professor at a very prestigious, albeit fictional, law school. From her criminal law class she selects an exclusive group of extremely ambitious students who work with Keating in her law firm. This group consists of transfer student Wes (Alfred Enoch), hypercompetitive Michaela (Aja Naomi King), rich kid Asher (Matt McGorry), Casanova Connor (Jack Falahee) and finally Laurel (Karla Souaza), the seemingly smart and quiet one. In the first class of Keating these students learn the rules to win a case: discredit the witness, find a new suspect and finally bury the evidence. Soon enough, however, they have to apply these rules a little too literally when they get entangled in a murder plot themselves.

The exact circumstances of this murder, however, remain a mystery. Through flashbacks the viewer is given the answer piece by piece, but the puzzle doesn’t come together until the midseason finale. During the first few episodes you see the same flashback multiple times, which I found confusing at first and also slightly boring. The further you go in time however, the more secrets of the disastrous night are uncovered. Slowly but surely you get a better picture of the events that occurred that particular night of the bonfire at which the murder happened. As a result you also keep changing your ideas on who the victim and murderer is and what possibly could be the motive. This frame of flashbacks is a perfect device to awaken interest and it will leave you wanting more answers. Within this frame you see the events that happened before and led to the murder. These events consist mostly of Keating and her most ambitious students trying to win cases. The murder case of Lila Stangard is an especially important and might get just a little too personal for Keating.

True star of this series is the amazing Viola Davis. Her acting is again outstanding and her unpredictable character never gets dull. You get to know Annalise Keating as the badass, tough as nails lawyer that she is. Although quickly you will meet her more vulnerable side, which she even shows to her students. This makes her character extremely difficult to read, since you never truly know what she is up to or what you can expect. One of my favourite moments so far is the time when Keating puts off her wig and removes all of her makeup. She almost literally shows her naked self and it doesn’t get much more vulnerable than that. Consequently Keating seems a very complete and real human being, much more than Olivia Pope in Scandal for example whose character seems very one-dimensional in comparison. Furthermore the acting skills of Kerry Washington, who portrays Pope, are nowhere near the level of Davis. With Washington I can’t help feeling that I have seen all her tricks multiple times already. Apart from Davis the rest of the cast is on point as well. Personally I loved to see Matt McGorry, who I and perhaps more of you might know better as John Bennet in Orange Is The New Black, in the role as rich kid Asher. Especially because he is rather dumb and ignorant when it comes to the world around him, which is actually rather funny. Also it is completely different than his role as Bennet. Furthermore it’s such a delight to see how another Harry Potter alumni, namely Alfred Enoch, is finding work in Hollywood.

Thus this amazing cast filled with diverse characters is a true blast. It’s great to see how Rhimes is able to create such different personality types that might be unconventional, especially in the US. For example Casanova Connor who is gay instead of the typical womanizer. I also think anyone will be able to relate to at least one of the characters because they are all so different. Furthermore the compelling storyline keeps you hooked, especially because you cannot help but wonder from the first second onwards how a group of such intelligent people get mixed up in a murder plot. But I also like to see badass Keating working her magic in court. As a result How to Get Away With Murder is certainly my favourite new show of this year. This Thursday (January 29) the series will return for the second half of its season. After two months of waiting I’m more than ready to see how this murder mystery will be unravelled.

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