“How to Get Away With Murder” returned with its third season tonight, and the premiere episode was not lacking any heat — literally.
Staying true to the drama’s flash-forward format, the episode ends with Annalise (Viola Davis) standing in front of a body bag on a stretcher in front of her house burning down. Of course, the victim underneath that body bag was not revealed — thus, setting up the big mystery of the season: who died in the night of the house fire?
“It’s one of those decisions you make and then you hate yourself for it later … and then realize you have to show who is under that sheet,” creator Pete Nowalk said on a “HTGAWM” panel this week, which Variety attended.
Though Nowalk clearly did not reveal who will be killed off this season, he hinted that the body under that sheet will be a big shocker this season.
“Every episode, you’ll see more of the night of the house fire and you’ll always see more of who is not under that sheet … so you can follow along at home for who is alive,” Nowalk explained.
Before the fire, which takes place two months ahead of present time in the premiere, the episode sees the Keating Five back in the classroom, as the second year of law school begins. Annalise is teaching a pro bono class because the university fired her from her previous teaching gig, since her students failed so poorly last year — hmmmm, wonder why? (oh right, murder!) — and with the new course, Professor Keating has her students actually bring their cases to court, which nicely sets up cases-of-the-week for the season. Portraits of Annalise — with the word “killer” written across her face — are plastered in her lecture hall and all around campus upon her return.
After a major time-jump this season, Wes (Alfred Enoch) met a new love interest, Meggy, over the summer, which is one of the things we learn throughout the episode that flashes back to the Keating Five’s summer to catch viewers up on what they’ve been up to over the past four months.
While Wes has found a new lady, not everyone in the crew is so lucky in love. Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) gets hired by Annalise, and shortly after he lands his new gig, he breaks up with a broken-hearted Connor (Jack Falahee).
“I think that Connor just wants Oliver to survive,” Falahee said on the panel, explaining why Connor doesn’t want Oliver to work for Annalise. “He wants him to get out … having become complicit with these murders and having gone through what he’s gone through, I think he found a man that he loves and can hold onto and found his footing, and to then have it taken away from him I think is scary. He just wants good things for Oliver. But that might not happen.”
However, Nowalk teases that the breakup may not be definite: “It goes to a different place than you would expect in the next few episodes,” he said.
At the end of Season 2, Frank (Charlie Weber) went missing, and tonight, we learned of his whereabouts. Well, kinda sorta. Frank has shaved his head and beard and is on the run. Annalise has hired someone to find Frank, and that mystery man keeps calling her throughout the episode — turns out, when he finds Frank, he calls Annalise to let her know, only to be killed by Frank as Annalise listens on the other line.
“Charlie is so dedicated to this character,” Nowalk said, sharing that it was actually Weber’s idea to shave his own head for Frank’s new storyline. With his new haircut, Weber even went into hiding in real life, so that fans wouldn’t catch him with a new look, and wonder if the shaved head was a spoiler of sorts.
Teasing what’s to come with Frank’s storyline — which Nowalk previously told Variety is part of the central mystery of Season 3 — the creator said, “Frank goes to some crazy-a– places in this season so it’s exciting to watch.”
Drop a comment below and let us know what you thought about tonight’s Season 3 premiere. Plus, who do you think is dead under the sheet?