'How to Get Away With Murder' Creator Teases "More Complicated" Season 4

"We've hinted at things but I think we now need to tell the audience what's really going on," showrunner Pete Nowalk tells THR.
Richard Cartwright/ABC

[This story contains spoilers from the season three finale of ABC's How to Get Away With Murder.]

The season three finale of ABC's How to Get Away With Murder finally revealed who, exactly, was responsible for Wes' death — but in true HTGAWM fashion, there isn't exactly a clean-cut explanation. It turns out that Wes was killed by a man named Dominic (Nicholas Gonzalez) — who was in touch with both D.A. Denver and none other than Laurel's father (Esai Morales). 

Creator Pete Nowalk tells The Hollywood Reporter that his plan to make Laurel's dad the murderer took shape early in the season, but solidified during the second half. "Laurel's dad was always an option," he explained. "That's why I really wanted to introduce him this season — not that I even was sure that Wes was dead at this time, but since the beginning of the show we've been talking so much about Laurel's father and we've always dropped hints that he was a big and powerful man."

"What I'm excited about is that him being the murderer really opens this door to a whole new world that I have been excited to explore, something that takes us out of Annalise's little world and puts us into [the world of] this big powerful telecommunications czar and all the power that wields," he added.

Below, Nowalk talks with THR about what the expanded HTGAWM world will look like in season four and addresses some of the major revelations from the season three finale, including Annalise's (Viola Davis) breakdown, Connor's (Jack Falahee) trauma and Laurel's (Karla Souza) big realization.

How much does Laurel know about her father's business dealings?

She knows a lot of bad things about his business and, like any child when you see that your parent is a bad person, maybe she tried to escape it and just turn a blind eye because she knew there was nothing she could do about it. But he will not let her turn a blind eye, it turns out. I think what's so great about Karla Souza's performance in that last moment is that you're seeing all of that go across her face in silence. You're seeing her be like, "Wait a second, this is weird. Wait a second, did I have the wrong person? Oh my god, is my dad behind this?" I think you can see all of that in the one second that she reacts. She's so smart and I think she knows how dangerous he is that she knows this is now possible.

Does that mean we'll be expanding the HTGAWM world in season four?

I don't know all the things about season four, but we've opened a door and we owe the audience more information about that, so yes. We've hinted at things but I think we now need to really tell the audience what's really going on. How does Dominic know D.A. Denver? Does that mean Laurel's father knows D.A. Denver? Is it possible that they know about the Mahoneys? It's much more complicated than anyone realized.

Will we see more of the Mahoneys?

It's possible. There's a lot of baggage between Annalise and Silvia, and if Laurel wonders whether her dad knew the Mahoneys — I think all of that is possible but really it's the Castillo family that's going to be our major world we're entering next season.

What about Dominic?

I hope so! That's a big question we need to answer. He seemed like a really friendly guy with Laurel so we'll see what she thinks of him and what the history is and if there's a future for them. There's a lot to dive into there.

Will the structure be similar to season three's?

I'm very worried about coming up with something that I think works as well as the 10 Little Indians in reverse. But each season we've kind of done something a little bit different. It works for the show and sometimes I'm like maybe one time we won't do that in the same way. What's important to me is the story tells me what it needs to be. And I don't know exactly what the story is yet.

Does pinning Sam and Rebecca's murders on Wes mean the rest of the group is finally absolved, or will that still come back to haunt them?

It definitely puts it away for now — as long as Denver feels threatened enough to not pursue this. That doesn't mean someone else won't take up the mantle of the investigation. But Annalise had no other choice and it was brilliant and smart of her. For her sake and for the rest of them I hope it works, but that remains to be seen. I think a little break from all the baggage of the past, this gives them a little bit of a break and allows them to pursue life in other ways.

Annalise called Wes "my son" when she broke down in her AA meeting. What does that mean for her going forward?

It's very hopeful, that moment, for Annalise — at least the way I see it — because she's acknowledging her pain. That's probably the first step. It's so vulnerable in a group of strangers to say something that she could never even say to herself. I don't even want to say that much about the moment because I think Viola's performance speaks volumes better than anything I could ever say about it, but I do think it shows that she wants to get better and I think that's very courageous.

How is Connor going to cope with his guilt over Wes' death, then his kidnapping, and now a proposal?

I don't know if Oliver's timing was the best but I think that's how these people live. They're just trying to survive. Connor, I think it's smart when he didn't answer Oliver right in that moment. I think he needs time to process things and I think he's really grown up. He's so distrustful and he knows that about himself, but I think the last two episodes really showed him trying to do the right thing and it didn't work out the way he wanted it to. I'm excited because I feel all the characters are growing up. Even Michaela saying "I love you" to Asher is her growing up in a way. I think they've had to grow up really fast, and I think that's what this finale really was about for me — growing up for the better and the worse.

What did you think of the How to Get Away With Murder finale? Sound off in the comments below. Click here to read more from Souza

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