8:30am PT by Paige Phelan
'How to Get Away With Murder's' Karla Souza: The Stakes Get Higher With a "Shocking Arrest"
The murderous students of Middleton University should have known better than to ignore the advice of Annalise Keating (Viola Davis).
Last week's episode of ABC's freshman hit How to Get Away With Murder found law school back in session and the Keating Five trying to move forward from the events of Murder Night. Well, that was until the twisty legal procedural dropped another bomb: Sam's (Tom Verica) remains — the ones the conspiratorial pupils were supposed to burn — were discovered in a landfill.
"[Just as] they start feeling like everything is OK and they have Annalise on their side and everything's starting to seem like they could get away with this, of course the body is found," Karla Souza, who plays the duplicitous and pragmatic Laurel Castillo, tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I got various calls from my family asking what the hell was going on because they thought that reveal would take a whole season."
The discovery of Sam's body was the latest twist in a season filled with countless OMG moments, and, according to Souza, things are only going to get "crazier."
"The genius of the writers is that they're not scared to write themselves into a corner and surprise us all, and they really keep this monster moving forward," Souza said of the Peter Nowalk-led staff. "They're really plowing through every extreme case and high circumstance that the students could take before they probably have a seizure."
So what's awaiting Laurel and the rest of the Keating Five over the few remaining episodes of its freshman run? Souza divulged that the tenuous relationships among the group will all be pushed to the breaking (up?) point.
"For all we know, behind the scenes, people could be doing things. You have no idea who you can trust," the actress said, pointing out that the Keating Five has already had to deal with some underhanded dealings with Connor (Jack Falahee) and Michaela (Aja Naomi King). "We really start to crumble, and some of us are definitely going to crack."
However, the careful balance of trust isn't just fragile among the Keating cabal, but also with Annalise, as the students begin to wonder if their professor is really on their side or just saving herself. "What gave us that sort of breath of normalcy was the fact that Annalise, one of the best [criminal defense] attorneys we know, was on our side, and suddenly [it's like] this one person — who you've seen win so many cases you thought she couldn't win — could become our worst enemy," she says.
So how will Laurel fare once the ish really starts to hit the fan?
"She's proven herself to be really good in the high-stakes circumstances," Souza says of her character, who has grown from questioning her place at the firm and having Annalise not even know her name to taking charge and, as a fellow #TGIT character may say, handling the situation.
"Once you give Laurel some confidence, she can become a very strong, sort of pragmatic thinker," notes Souza, who previously studied acting in England and starred in movies in Mexico City before jumping to Murder. "She feels she can hold her own on the team, and it's not a question of whether or not it's because of Frank (Charlie Weber) or not. She's knows it's because of her ability and because of the level that she's reached and what's she's been able to prove."
It's this evolution, Souza explains, that has pushed Laurel's on-again, off-again relationship with the mysterious associate Frank into new territory.
"She's really holding her ground, so that table is turning in a way that I feel gives [Laurel] more of an opportunity for an actual relationship, perhaps as adults, with Frank," Souza says of the complicated back-and-forth between the two now that Frank no longer has an upper hand. "[Their] relationship could have purely been physical, but now, in the next episode, you'll see that it's a meeting of the minds."
A meeting of the minds might be exactly what Laurel and the rest of the team needs in these next few episodes as more than just Sam's body hits the light of day.
While careful not to disclose too many secrets, Souza let slip that "another clue" is going to be found in those fateful woods, and there will be consequences.
"A surprising arrest happens that really changes everything," she teases. "It's going to be a shocking, shocking twister again for these [last few episodes.]"
Cheekily, she adds: "The stakes get higher than ever."
Excited for Thursday's episode? Wondering what piece of evidence they find in the woods? Who is going to get arrested? Sound off in the comments below with your theories.
How to Get Away With Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.