Yet this is also the biggest problem with How to Get Away With Murder. Viola Davis is just not in the series enough. When she does appear, you can’t tear your eyes away from her because she acts circles around everyone else in the room and even sells it when the material is beneath her (see: all of her scenes in last night’s episode). Unfortunately, her character doesn’t appear nearly as much as the Keating Five. (By the way, the Keating Five have their own problem: It’s become so apparent that they are the only five students in this large lecture hall who ever get called on, the five students who regularly leave with Keating when she just ups and cuts class short to work on some other case, that it’s gone from funny to just distracting. I mean, this class is basically paying for the worst education ever, huh?)
The side characters, particularly Wes and surprisingly Asher, are occasionally interesting enough to hold their own when the show explores their illuminating backstories (though HtGAWM would much prefer to explore their sex lives, especially their cheating sex lives, because just about everyone on this show cheats at some point or another) or when they prove their worth by helping Annalise get a win in court. But for law students, it’s hard to ignore the fact that they aren’t very smart. I mean, there isn’t much explanation as to why they are all caught up in this murder and why they so blindly follow Wes (a guy that they usually just make fun of). There is surface explanation about how they are all incriminated in one way or another, since they were all at Sam’s house — but it’s also pretty clear that this was self-defense, and that Sam is a potential murderer, and so on and so on.
Getting any kind of enjoyment out of How to Get Away With Murder demands suspension of disbelief (and ignorance of most basic legal strategies). You have to turn off your brains, to borrow a suggestion from one of the students in last night’s episode, in order for the show to work. And it does work, sort of, in that I’ll watch it until the very end — even if I’ll groan all the way through.