“How to Get Away with Murder” revitalizes the crime show

Jeannie Williams, Floater Editor

In the first moments of the new television series, four characters were faced with a question: “What do we do with the body?” Should it be left at the scene of the crime? Or hidden in the woods? Viewers across America shivered as they pondered what they would do in the situation. It was the first of many times when Shonda Rhimes’s new series “How to Get Away with Murder” would cause audiences to question their own judgment and morals, presenting a new look on the classic crime show.

The show centers around a Criminology class, led by professor Annalise Keating, a lawyer who takes on five promising students as interns at her firm to gain experience defending alleged murderers. Instead of following the basic murder-solve-arrest plot that half of shows focus on these days, “How to Get Away with Murder” continues the story with what happens after the arrest is made and the case goes to trial.

At first, the idea of law students fighting for internships to defend accused murderers seems reminiscent of the 2001 movie “Legally Blonde,” but “How to Get Away with Murder” avoids this association by throwing in delicious side stories that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

The most recognizable of these is the flash-forwarding that makes up a third of each episode.  Flashbacks are frequently used in Shonda Rhimes’s other shows, but the mold is broken with her new show, which uses flash-forwards to create an ongoing plot and suck in viewers for another ten episodes. At the end of the semester, three months from the first day of class, four main characters become involved in covering up a murder. At the end of each episode, a crucial detail is expertly added to the story that changes the course of the next episode and creates the classic cliffhanger scenario.

Another side story focuses on a student who went missing before the start of the show. Her face is plastered on every bulletin board and flashes up on every news broadcast along with footage of her weeping boyfriend. This side story also leaves viewers with a tidbit of information, ensuring they will tune back in next week. Both leave them with the burning question, “Why?” latching them onto the show until the whole story is revealed.  The writing of the show ensures that “How to Get Away with Murder” will not be the type of show where people can say, “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.”

Between the interesting angle on defending criminals, to the murderous schemes taking place on the sidelines, it is safe to say that “How to Get Away with Murder” will become victim of increasing popularity.