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TV Series Review

So just how do you get away with murder?

Step 1: Hire a killer lawyer, preferably one long on IQ points and short on ethics. Someone like Annalise Keating.

Step 2: Get out of her way.

Annalise's very successful at her job, no question. Was her client standing over a dead body clutching a bloodstained knife? Annalise would argue her client was framed, just like in North by Northwest. Was her client heard shouting, "I'm going to kill you!" to the recently deceased shortly before buying an economy tub of strychnine from Sam's Club? Well, the client had a pretty horrific rat infestation, Annalise would claim, and the threat was misheard: The poor, innocent lady simply wanted to bill the recently deceased for overtime. Keating could get Dexter off on a technicality and posthumously clear Breaking Bad's Walter White by framing his wife. Would she feel bad about it? Not one little whit. After all, she's supposed to get her clients off the hook—and she'll resort to any means to do so.

Casing the Joint

When not grilling witnesses in court, Annalise is terrifying students at Middleton Law School. She tears into freshmen like a lion at a fresh kill. But for those who have the stomach for Annalise's withering looks and icy retorts—for those who show intelligence, creativity and a certain willingness to overlook all manner of ethical concerns—she dangles a carrot: an internship at her own prestigious firm, where up-and-comers can learn to be just as ruthless and conniving as she is.## Her latest class of lucky lawyer wannabes include Connor Walsh, Michaela Pratt, Laurel Castillo and Wes Gibbins. They're all, to varying degrees, willing to lie, cheat and sell their bodies and souls to help Annalise win her cases.

Oh, and one other thing: They're involved in their own little murder schemes, too. Which turns Annalise's pet name for her class—"How to Get Away With Murder"—into a sort of tragic double entendre.

Guilty as Charged

This ABC show, fronted by the superlative Viola Davis, is a salacious, schlocky ... and compelling drama. Guilty pleasures don't get much guiltier, really, what with every episode filled with sex, murder and all sorts of folks acting really, really badly. To call Davis' Annalise an antihero does a disservice to the term. Annalise and her cohorts don't do bad things for good reasons as much as they do bad things to just win, baby—at any cost.

How to Get Away With Murder isn't meant to be aspirational television. Except that, in a way, it is. No, the show isn't condoning murder. But when Michaela watches Annalise dance and jab in the courtroom and utters a breathless, "I want to be her!" we're meant to nod in agreement. Just as there's a certain visceral beauty in a shiny dagger or a pack of wolves on the prowl, Annalise's underhanded virtuosity is meant to trigger respect, even admiration. We're to be enthralled by her skill. Even as her students grow to question her methods and despise her flaws, we, the viewers, are asked not to forgive her for her ethical lapses as much as praise her for them.

I guess, then, that we're also to be captivated by the violence and sex that comes along for the thrill ride. Will viewers really learn How to Get Away With Murder? Probably not. But there's no question this show gets away with nearly everything else.


Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

How to Get Away With Murder - Nov. 12, 2015 "Hi, I’m Philip"
How-to-Get-Away-With-Murder: 9-25-2014



Readability Age Range



Viola Davis as Annalise Keating; Charlie Weber as Frank Delfino; Billy Brown as Nate Leahy; Alfred Enoch as Wes Gibbins; Jack Falahee as Connor Walsh; Katie Findlay as Rebecca; Aja Naomi King as Michaela Pratt; Matt McGorry as Asher Millstone; Karla Souza as Laurel Castillo; Liza Weil as Bonnie Winterbottom; Tom Verica as Sam Keating






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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