The night of ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder series finale kept millions of fans glued to their seats as they anxiously waited to know the fate of each character. After six seasons and almost six years of cliffhangers, questions, and tears, lovers of the popular thriller have finally gotten their answers. Many wondered how the creators could manage to answer everyone’s questions in forty-four minutes. Some were expecting a two-part or two-hour series finale. With every question fans still had answers to after the fourteenth episode of Season 6, many doubted the show’s ability to give them the finale that would leave them at peace. But the show’s executive producer, Shonda Rhimes always has ways of surprising her fans.
Created by Peter Nowalk, How to Get Away with Murder is a legal mystery television series that first aired September 25, 2014. The show centers around no-nonsense lawyer and law professor at a Philadelphia university, Annalise Keating (played by Viola Davis), as she gets tangled up in a murder schemes with five of her students, and her two employees. Davis’s performance in the show throughout the years has earned her much praise and many awards and nominations, including Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Screen Actors Guild Award, BET Award, Black Reel Awards for Television, Critics Choice Television Awards, People’s Choice Awards, and more. As of 2020, the show has made the Top 100 Most Popular Television list.
The show came to an end on the night of Thursday, May 14, and fans are all truly heartbroken. Admirers of the show have spent years following the characters through their secrets and plotting, only to have to say goodbye. Every season came with a new mystery and a new story to watch unfold. Followers have sat through the agony of waiting every week for a new episode, or months for a new season. They raised their eyebrows at the clock, wondering how an hour had already passed, and ended every new episode with mouths hung open in shock. So now that it is over, what exactly happened?
Annalise was on trial accused of nearly every murder committed over the past six seasons. This included the conspiracy to murder her late husband, Sam Keating (played by Tom Verica), first degree murder of Rebecca Sutter (played by Katie Findlay), first degree murder of Asher Milstone (played by Matt McGorry),
first degree murder of ADA Emily Sinclair (played by Sarah Burns), first degree murder of Ronald Miller (played by John Hensley), and first degree murder of Caleb Hapstall (played by Kendrick Sampson). Before the verdict, Annalise gave a powerful last closing argument to show the jury who she really was: “A 53-year old woman from Memphis, Tennessee named Anna Mae Harkness. I am ambitious, black, bisexual, angry, sad, strong, sensitive, scared, fierce, talented, exhausted, and I am at your mercy.” Hearts began racing as fans stared at their screens, waiting for the judge to announce the verdict. The looks of relief on the faces of viewers can only be imagined once Annalise was found not guilty of all charges. Besides the prosecutor, the only looks of disappointment in the courtroom came from Connor (played by Jack Falahee), Oliver (played by Conrad Ricamora), and Michaela (played by Aja Naomi King). Michaela managed to make a deal to prevent her from serving any jail time for her part in the crimes, while Connor agreed to serve five years in prison. Angry that Connor was arrested and that Michaela had gotten a deal for herself, Oliver angrily tells her that she should have been the one in jail. When she tried calling Laurel (played by Karla Souza), she realized that the number is no longer in service and that she is now alone. On the steps of the courthouse with Bonnie (played by Liza Weil) and Tegan (played by Amirah Vann) by her side, Annalise discussed her victory with the press. The celebration was cut short when Frank (played by Charlie Weber) opened fire on the governor (played by Laura Innes), who had gotten away with several murder conspiricies. Frank ended up getting shot by the authorities. As he died in Bonnie’s arms, Annalise realized Bonnie was also shot after being caught in the crossfire. Tegan watched helplessly as Annalise wailed hysterically as Bonnie died in her arms.
As a flash forward epilogue concluded the series, viewers learned of the fate of the surviving characters: Annalise’s former lover, Eve (played by Famke Janssen) gave a touching eulogy at her funeral. Fans learned that Annalise had fallen back into drinking, but ended up dying at an old age after living what appeared to be a pleasant life. Viewers also saw clips of her at her mother’s funeral, and dancing with Tegan—maybe they ended up together? Laurel attended Annalise’s funeral with her now adult son, Christopher (played by Alfred Enoch, who also played Wes). Connor and Oliver also attended the funeral, still happily married. By the surprised looks on their faces when they saw Christopher was with his mother, it appeared that the three former law students had not kept in close contact. Michaela, now with two daughters, was seen getting sworn in as a judge. Nate Lahey (played by Billy Brown), another past love of Annalise, opened up a justice center to honor his late father for the incarcerated and their families. Audiences also learned that Christopher became a law professor at the same college Annalise taught at and her students attended. “I’m Christopher Castillo. This is Criminal Law 100—or as my mentor (Annalise) liked to call it: How to Get Away with Murder.”
As “Dancing After Death” by Matt Maeson played during the epilogue, the last few minutes of this episode stirred up many emotions from fans. Many were sad that the show was over, they grieved for Frank and Bonnie, and they were happy for the remaining characters.
At the show’s Farewell Wrap Party Celebration, the cast reflected on their times on the show:
“I’m more emotional than I thought I would be. When you’re on a TV show for a long period of time, you’re just so exhausted all the time. Sometimes you can take it for granted. Then all of a sudden, it ends and then you just reflect,” said Viola Davis.
“The character that I played is very personal to me because I grew up in Niceville, Florida, which is right under Alabama. I am a gay man, and I needed to see a representation for a gay relationship—to show that it was possible, because everything around me was showing that something in me was wrong. To be able to portray this relationship and this character means the world to me,” said Conrad Ricamora.
“It’s such a wild ride! I don’t even know how to sum it up, but it leads up to an incredible episode of television that just wraps this show up perfectly and I’m so proud of what we just did,” said Charlie Weber.