8:00pm PT by Paige Phelan
'How to Get Away With Murder' Postmortem: The Evidence Grows as Keating Five Falter
[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the midseason premiere episode, "Hello, Raskolnikov" of ABC's How To Get Away With Murder]
How to Get Away With Murder has finally entered the era of "AMN" — After Murder Night — but the problems are just beginning for ABC's most complex law professor and her students.
Thursday's midseason return was a night of big reveals and tested loyalties: the late Sam (Tom Verica) is revealed to be the father of Lila's baby; Rebecca (Katie Findlay) is no longer on trial; and Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) was far more involved in the Murder Night than that initial "thank you."
In a one of the final flashes to the climactic Murder Night, Annalise tells Wes (Alfred Enoch) exactly how to dispose of her cheating husband's body and proceeds to create her own narrative, a dalliance with her boyfriend Nate (Billy Brown) — tearful phone calls included.
The investigation into Sam's disappearance also has Annalise pointing a finger at her presumed-missing husband as Lila's killer, prompting the team to work tirelessly to prove Sam is the baby's father ("No one’s this relieved when they find out their husband knocked up a dead girl," Frank (Charlie Weber) tells an almost joyful Keating) and get the charges against Rebecca (Katie Findlay) dropped.
Meanwhile, police investigating Sam's the disappearance prompts a rattled and unraveling Connor (Jack Falahee) and Michaela (Aja Naomi King) to flip on their guiltier peers, only to be stopped just short of confessing by Annalise with a promise: she will help them get away with it.
However, even with the legal help of their professor, there are still four pieces of evidence standing in the way of the Keating Five's freedom. The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the cast to sound off on the evidence that connects the Keating Five to Sam's slaying — and how that plays into the remainder of the season.
Michaela's Engagement Ring
For the Keating Five, everything seemed to be going along as planned, until Michaela realized she lost her engagement ring. It was the first in a series of missteps for the ragtag crew and one of the most incriminating, for Michaela at least.
"If I remember correctly there was a random night, you know, this is where it all began, those gray gloves that I had — those black gloves with the little bedazzled diamonds on them that I wore all through Murder Night — I couldn't fit my fingers in them with my ring on," King says. "So I think I said to Pete [Nowalk, series creator] when we were shooting one night like, 'Oh, what if I don't have my ring? What if something happened to it and we plant a little Easter egg in here where I take my gloves of at some point and my ring's not there?' " For eagle-eyed Murder viewers, however, that's old news as the plot point could have been detected within the first two episodes of the series.
Astute viewers may also have noticed a slight difference in the justice trophy the students vie to win each week and the one that was used to murder Sam — the hanging scales are missing. "I don't know if you noticed, but Justice lost its scales, so they sort of wrote that back in," Karla Souza (Laurel) explained. "Things happen without us even planning it."
Of course, with Laurel in charge of returning the trophy to Asher and enlisting Frank's help, is it possible that the trail leads back to one of them? "If we [told you] we wouldn't have a job," Souza joked. Added King: "We are all aware of the heightened circumstances in our lives and need to find some solutions for them."
Sam's Wedding Ring
After following Annalise's instructions nearly to the letter, Wes returns to give his professor one last memento of her marriage: Sam's wedding ring.
"It's not a straightforward relationship and it never will be," Enoch says of Wes' strangely intimate relationship with Annalise. "He realizes they're bound together."
Davis, on the other hand, thinks that their connection goes beyond just the events of that night. "For me, Wes just represents her looking at herself," the SAG Award winner explains. "People who have had a hard path, once they get in a position of power, they, especially a teacher […] see in someone else who's had that hard path, there's a connection that's higher than your teacher-student connection. It's almost a maternal one. If she were in a healthier state of mind, she could be a really great mentor to Wes."
However, with the ring hidden in her vanity, Annalise is at risk of another man in her life discovering the token — her ex-cop boyfriend Nate (Billy Brown). Would he risk his relationship with Annalise to pursue the truth? "The detective in Nate has to balance the man to discern what part of the truth I hold on to [… but] Nate's driven by discovering the truth and going to any lengths to find that truth," Brown said.
The biggest loose end still out there is also the most damning for the Keating Five. Rather than throwing the body in an incinerator as they were instructed, the killer students disposed of the body in a Dumpster. If every Law & Order episode is to be believed, it's not a question of if the body will be found but when.
"If you watch real murder TV shows, people plan, for months a murder, and even those people either get caught or miss a little thing here," Souza said of floating results of their savage deed. "It's just a matter of time." While the cast would never spoil a major plot point like Sam's body potentially being discovered, Souza would only laugh off the idea: "I think, maybe!"
Of course, there is one new person who will likely spearhead the search for Sam and his remains: his sister, Hannah — played by Marcia Gay Harden, who made her debut Thursday. "She's a woman who never really embraced [Annalise] in the family," Davis says. "She's the wrench."
What did you think of How to Get Away With Murder's return? Sound off in the comments section, below. Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.