TV Review: 'How to Get Away with Murder' May Be Fall's Best New Show

Scandal producer Shonda Rhimes has another hit on her hands

Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Shonda Rhimes has done it again.

From Grey’s Anatomy to Private Practice to Scandal, the 44-year-old producer has created some of the most dynamic female characters on television.

And now she’s added How to Get Away with Murder to her family of must-see shows.

Created by Peter Nowalk (a former writer and producer on Grey’s and Scandal), HTGAWM bears all the signatures of a Rhimes-produced show. A strong, female character at the top of her game? Check. A diverse cast of unique supporting characters? Double check.

But HTGAWM doesn’t stop there. It actually improves upon the successful formula by downplaying any romantic entanglements, which, at times, have weighed down the leads of Rhimes’s other shows.

Already married and successful, HTGAWM‘s Annalise Keating (Academy Award nominee Viola Davis) is seemingly devoid of the insecurities that plague Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) on Grey’s and Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) on Scandal.

As a powerful and demanding lawyer and professor, Annalise (and Davis) commands every room she’s in and elevates the talents of anyone close enough to bask in the glow of her regality – including the young, overachieving students she selects to intern at her firm.

Thanks to a series of flash-forwards, the audience gets to enjoy the younger members of the cast as both fledgling lawyers-in-training and the cunning crisis-solvers they quickly become.

Orange is the New Black fans may be surprised to see Matt McGorry embrace his smarmy, collar-popping side as one of Keating’s overachievers (alongside Jack Falahee, Aja Naomi King, Karla Souza and Alfred Enoch). But the entire cast holds their own against the formidable Davis, particularly Enoch (of Harry Potter fame), whose character catches Annalise in a rare vulnerable moment during the drama’s first episode.

As a producer, Rhimes is not infallible. Her last attempt to produce a show she did not create (2011’s Off the Map) lasted only 13 episodes.

But with a series of twists and Scandalous shockers in store, I suspect How to Get Away with Murder will beat the odds.

Annalise wouldn’t have it any other way.

How to Get Away with Murder premieres Thursday (10 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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