Cicely Tyson Will Reprise Her 'Pivotal' Role in 'How to Get Away with Murder'

She has three Emmy nominations for her role as Ophelia Harkness

It will be a family affair on How to Get Away with Murder!

After three Emmy nominations for her role as Ophelia Harkness on Shondaland's hit series, Cicely Tyson will return as Annalise Keating's (Viola Davis) feisty mother.

As the tension and investigation into Miller's murder starts to widen in the upcoming episode, the mother and daughter will reunite. Annalise gathers everyone together for the holidays while she wrestles over a difficult decision about her future.

"Our season never feels complete until we have Ophelia make an appearance," Pete Nowalk, the show's creator, tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Mitch Haaseth/ABC

The reoccurring cast member, whose character was diagnosed with dementia, continues to serve as a lively presence on and off set.

"Ms. Tyson was transcendent! She elevates every scene, every word with an artistry that cannot be explained or taught," Viola Davis tells PEOPLE. "She is not even aware of it. She is truth."

The pair's mother-daughter relationship has been a force in the show, and Ophelia has been present for some of the darkest and most major shake-ups, including helping Annalise after her husband's murder.

Mitch Haaseth/ABC

When Annalise angrily confided to her mother about being raped by her uncle, Ophelia revealed to Annalise she set their house on fire that same night and left him drunk on the couch to die.

This plotline returns and becomes one of the indicators that Ophelia is suffering from memory loss, when she mistakenly thinks Annalise is being charged for her crime of setting the fire.

"The air changes every time she walks onto stage. I am constantly in awe of her soul and grace," Liza Weil says of the legendary actress returning to the show for a guest appearance.

In November, the beloved actress took home an honorary Oscar just a month before she turns 94.


The iconic performer — who has starred in projects like Fried Green Tomatoes, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Help and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was previously nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 1973 Academy Awards for her work in Sounder.

Before returning for its 2019 debut, HTGAWM left viewers with plenty of questions, including a lot of speculation about how much Gabriel Maddox knows and the motives behind his arrival.

HTGAWMairs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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