After far too long of a hiatus, How To Get Away With Murder returns to ABC tonight. That's the good news.
But here's the bad news: only six episodes remain in Season 1 of this mesmerizing drama, which concluded 2014 by revealing the identity of Sam's killer.
What can fans expect from tonight's How To Get Away With Murder Season 1 Episode 10? Where will things on this Viola Davis-anchored drama possibly go next?
I spoke to creator Peter Nowalk for to deliver some exclusive scoop to fans who have been saying all day long: TGIT, TGIT, TGIT...
TV Fanatic: When we talked about the first part of the season, you said you didn’t totally have everything planned out early on as far as getting to kill night and how you were going to do all that.
Peter Nowalk: No, we did not. I think some people, when they write, they know everything that’s going to happen, and I’m not one of those people. I wish I was sometimes, but I think what’s been really fun about writing this, and all the writers would say this, is we’ve just been figuring out these twists and exciting ourselves with them just of the audience experience of them. So it really helps us not to know what happens because it keeps us honest about what’s exciting and then what wouldn’t be exciting. You know, it’s like when someone has an idea in the room and it’s...Annalise.
When Wes went back for the trophy, Annalise was there, and when someone pitched that you’re like, ‘what?!’ That’s not something I knew when I wrote the pilot and I loved it and I think the audience, luckily, liked it, too. So we’re just like the audience basically.
TVF: So is that how you approached these last six? Just kind of went with it and went with where your thoughts went?
PN: Yeah. Follow the story basically. It sounds really airy-fairy but the story lays out for you and you just go where it’s most interesting in that moment. So, you know, it’s nice that we can do that because we only have those six more. So it’s really nice to be able to think in a smaller arc like that versus 20 more of them. We know what we wanted to solve and where we wanted to get to by the finale and then hopefully it will feel like a twisty ride.
TVF: For the return episode, do we pick up pretty much right after murder night has happened or is there a time jump?
PN: We pick up in the same day. So, murder night happened. They went to Annalise’s house the next morning and her husband’s missing. So there’s a lot that has to be reported to the police and things have to happen. Since the beginning, I’ve always loved the immediate terror of what happens if you’ve committed a crime. I think there’s a lot of immediacy to getting away with it. So we get into the minutiae of how they’re going to get away with it in the direct aftermath of that act.
TVF: Going into these last episodes, who would you say is the person we should not underestimate?
PN: I’m going to say the character I would've said in the pilot too. That’s Laurel. I’ve always identified with her and I think if you’re quiet and maybe a little bit of a wallflower, people will underestimate you and I think that’s her. And I think that definitely comes across in our first episode back. She is maybe a lot more complicated and surprising than you might think on the surface.
TVF: How would you characterize the relationship between Annalise and Wes? Because, in some ways, they’re the two that know more than anybody else.
PN: They’re closer than ever, whether they like it or not, but they’re definitely interwoven in each other’s lives. I think they both need each other in strange ways. I think Wes definitely needs Annalise if they’re going to get away with this, and I think she also feels very responsible for him. There’s definitely a weird version of a mother-son relationship there.
TVF: Kind of like a Bates Motel mother-son thing.
PN: You're exactly right. That’s a good comparison, but yeah, she doesn't have any children. So they’re definitely a very central relationship to the show, and we’ll see if that evolves for the rest of the season.
TVF: I love the way Connor really unraveled. We saw a lot of that in those last episodes before we took the break. Where’s Connor going?
PN: What’s been fun for all the characters is to show their reactions, like, after murder night. It changes them all. You know, they were all on one path, and Connor’s worry, a lot for the first half of the season, is like, ‘how am I going to get laid?’ And now that he’s been through this horrific experience and done something really bad, I guess his goal has changed a little bit, and they’re all under super, super amounts of stress.
Besides school, obviously, now they have to worry if they’re going to get away with this and they have to also struggle with the morality of do they want to get away with it? Should they? So he needs people. He pretended that he was a lone wolf and he didn’t need people, but in this time, he really needs to feel safe, and I think that’s been really fun to explore how his relationship with Oliver would now feel really different based on how Connor has changed. I’m excited to show different sides of him.
TVF: I’m going to give you an easy yes or no question. Will Michaela's engagement ring show up again before the end of the season?
PN: That’s a spoiler I don’t want to give away, but what I’m going to say is, in some way, yes. In some form, yes…might not be the way you expect.
TVF: Where do we find Rebecca in the new episodes?
PN: We will see Rebecca early in the next episode. She’s a very pivotal part of the [premiere] episode.
TVF: Tell me about Bonnie a little bit, because she and Asher slept together and, knowing him, I can’t believe he’s going to keep his mouth shut about this.
PN: They’re going to have a lot to talk about between the two of them and a lot to deal with. Obviously, she was in a certain inebriated state when she went to his apartment. So we’ll figure out how much regret she has about that or how much she enjoyed it and also his surprising reaction to that night.
TVF: How does Frank fold into all that since he and Laurel definitely had a thing together?
PN: I think the question immediately for the audience is does Frank know anything about what happened that night? It’s all who knows what? We know Annalise now knows something but we’ll figure out how much everyone knows and the questions that I want the audience to be asking is what does Frank actually do at this law firm? What is his actual job, and how does he help Annalise? And I think we’ll get a few more insights into that through the rest of the season.
TVF: I think he just stands in the back of the room and looks good. That’s what I think.
PN: I know. He definitely does that.
How To Get Away With Murder Season 1 airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.