How To Get Away With Murder

I was going to go into some more detail on How to Get Away With Murder, but there are a couple of factors that give me pause. For one thing, Rhimes’ connection with it is far less involved then the others — — she only has a producer’s credit. For another, Rhimes is many things, but the one thing she is not is a plagiarist, and the main construct of this series is a borderline ripoff of a far better show that was unfortunately not seen by as many people, Damages

Because the similarities are too close to be coincidental — — a high profile attorney takes on a group of younger students as her mentees, and, through a series of flashforwards, we see them involved in the death of someone close to them. In Damages, the central character is a civil attorney, and she only takes on one student, but both student and teachers are far too close in methods for my comfort.

Then the second season started and it rapidly became very clear that the series had no intention of backing away from its Damages roots combined with the usual Rhimes sex overload. The first episode revealed that Rebecca, the woman who spent most of season 1 wrongly accused of murder was in fact killed by Annalise’s second-in-command Bonnie (Liza Weil, can’t you find any better roles). Considered that it was revealed in the season one finale that her other assistant Frank committed the murder that started all of Season One’s chaos, it seems that once again we are in that ‘ethics-schmethics’ world that is at the center of all Rhimes’ series. Now Annalise is forced to lie about Rebecca’s fate, something you know is going to come back to bite her.

Trying to distract the ‘Keating Five’ from looking in, she has them get involved in yet another murder where two adopted siblings are accused of murdering their wealthy parents. Of course, they weren’t her clients, but she fixed by having the attorney’s credibility impeached by a placing false evidence. Of course, she didn’t do it herself, she forced one of her students. Looking at how Annalise does business, I can’t help but feel I’d rather have one of David Kelley’s more ethically shady attorneys — — Bobby Donnell or Alan Shore working for me. They might commit antics in the courtroom, but at least they stayed just on the side of the ethics, and they were doing for the right reasons. Annalyse just does it — — well, I still don’t know why.

And of course, there’s the murder of Sam to be dealt with, in which Annalise got one of her old law school classmates (Famke Jannsen) to defend another ex-lover for his murder. Naturally, it was revealed that they were also lovers. Some would call this is a daring move; this reviewer just sees it as another way to increase the options of bedmates, with about the same level of reality. One wonders how Annalise can even look herself in the mirror. And one of the few strengths about this series is that she is now beginning to have doubts about just how poisonous she seems to be the people around her. And we know it’s going to come back to bite her — — the flashforward this season revealed her to be laying on the ground, apparent dying of a gunshot wound. Which would be interesting if you didn’t know that she was going to survive.

Viola Davis is the series greatest strength. Her acting is still one of the pillars in network television today, and it’s more than clear that there are a shortage of roles for black actresses. My question is, considering what we have seen in series such as Orange is the New Black, Empire, and American Crime, do they all have to be like this? This series has some intriguing elements to it, but frankly still reminds me of Damages with a lot more sex. It’s running out of time to establish an identity, unless it accepts the TGIT one it’s brands suggest. That’s still something of a tragedy.

Written by

After years of laboring for love in my blog on TV, I have decided to expand my horizons by blogging about my great love to a new and hopefully wider field.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store