9:30am PT by Amber Dowling
6 Burning Questions for 'How to Get Away With Murder' Season 3
It hasn’t been a good summer for the Keating 5. After spending their first school year actually learning how to get away with murder (over and over again), the How To Get Away With Murder students are back at Middleton University for their sophomore year trying as best they can to achieve some degree of normalcy in Thursday's season three premiere.
When the ABC drama returns, showrunner Pete Nowalk tells THR that a big question will be answered at the outset before the series moves forward in time. “We’re going to skip over the summer of their lives and we’re going to go to the second year of law school. It’s really different,” he says. “They’re really different in their second year and it’s also weird that they’re still in law school. That’s the dilemma they’re all going to be dealing with. Do they want to be lawyers again and can they get back to normal? There’s a lot of self-interest in them trying to get back to normal.”
To refocus the show from the “study sessions” at Annalise Keating’s (Viola Davis) house and to the university, the show has hired several new characters including former Dexter star Lauren Luna Velez as the university’s president, and Brett Butler and Mary J. Blige in top-secret roles. Who they’ll play aren’t the only pressing questions on viewers' minds following a blood-soaked second-season finale, in which Wes (Aflred Enoch) confronted his father Wallace Mahoney (Adam Arkin) only to watch him get shot, and Frank (Charlie Weber) disappeared after Annalise learned he was responsible for the car accident that killed her unborn child.
Ahead of Thursday’s big return, here are six big things fans want to know.
What happened to Frank?
In the final moments of last season’s finale, Laurel (Karla Souza) went searching in Frank’s apartment where viewers half expected to find the character hanging in his closet or dead in his bathtub. Judging from the promos and the fact that Weber is still on the cast there’s reason to hope he’s still around and not “gone” as Annalise threatened to Bonnie (Liza Weil). But then again, this is a show that loves to play with time and perspective so anything is possible. It’s safe to say viewers will find out what happened to Frank pretty quickly on Thursday night, however.
Who shot Wes’s father?
Poor Wes. Every time he seems to pick himself back up somebody around him is dying. His mom. His girlfriend. And now his father. Who was it that pulled the trigger in last season’s big finale cliffhanger and how will that impact Wes? Be warned though; as with everything else on this series, Nowalk is cagey when it comes to reveals. Should viewers trust Annalise? Whether Wallace is indeed Wes’s father and if he is indeed dead are two separate questions to file under this category.
“If Wallace is actually Wes’s father, that’s a huge person in the life of our show, so I would hope that we would see him,” Nowalk teases. We’re going to see Sam (Tom Verica) again. The great thing about our show is that even though it has murder in it and we tend to kill off some of these wonderful actors, we can bring them back in the flashbacks.”
What kind of timeline should viewers brace themselves for?
Part of Murder’s ongoing appeal is the constant way the writers jump around in time in order to dangle carrots and make small reveals to keep audiences hooked. The third season is no exception to that “rule of having no rules,” as Nowalk puts it, since it plays with the past, present and future.
“I don’t like to always do what’s expected, so there are other mysteries that really propel the action,” Nowalk teases. “But the end of the first episode, you’ll see what our biggest mystery is and you won’t see it coming.”
Who will die this year?
According to ABC’s promos, “not everyone is going to make it out alive” this season. That means one of the Keating five, as well as Bonnie, Frank, Annalise, Nate (Billy Brown) and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora), are all in jeopardy of succumbing to what will inevitably be another bloody murder. Has that person already died when the show returns or is that something in store for later on? How it’s set up will obviously help determine the tone of the whole season, so it’s something to anticipate for sure.
“We get to return to the mystery within our people. I won’t say what that is but it’s about our people and who can you trust within the group and who is against who,” Nowalk says. “Sort of like how the first season was about Annalise and Sam, it was very personal with whether he was cheating on her and did he kill this girl. The third season will be a lot more personal like that for Annalise.”
Who is making up/breaking up/hooking up?
At the end of last season, the show’s main couple, Connor (Jack Falahee) and Oliver, seemed to be in jeopardy when Oli deleted Connor’s Stanford acceptance letter. Fans should rest assured that Oliver isn’t going anywhere anytime soon since Ricamora was promoted to series regular this year, but that doesn’t mean there are no bumps ahead for the couple.
“They’re going to have to deal with that. When does Conner know about the email deletion and how is Oliver going to hide that?” Nowalk says. “And if he finds out, what’s going to happen between the two of them? It’s not going to be what people expect. They’re by far the healthiest relationship on the show and we’ll see if they can be healthy through this.”
Meanwhile, with Michaela (Aja Naomi King) and Asher (Matt McGorry) randomly hooking up, and Wes and Laurel growing closer last season, it seems like anyone could get with anyone else at any given point in season three.
Who is targeting Annalise?
Nowalk and Co. are hoping for another “killer” season of the Thursday night drama; as such they’ve upped the ante by having someone personally target Annalise when the show returns. As the promos indicate, someone is plastering posters of the lawyer around the school’s campus with the word “killer” on it when the show returns, a move that’s bound to put Keating’s new criminal law clinic in jeopardy.
“A lot of bad stuff has happened to Annalise,” Nowalk says. “Her reputation has suffered over the first two seasons so we’re going to see how she’s dealing with that and maybe how she has to try and pick up the pieces again. And how she has to maybe have the students pick up the pieces again. Their fates are all tethered together.”
Well, yes. After all, there is no bond like murder.
How to Get Away With Murder returns Thursday Sept. 22 at 10 p.m. on ABC.
What are you looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below.