By far, this is one of my favorite shows, if not favorite show I have watched over the past couple of years. When I first started this blog a week or so ago, I wanted to review this show, but I wanted to wait until after I watched the season finale, because I think it’d be smarter to assess it as a whole instead of episode by episode.
The main story of the series revolves around the main characters trying to figure out who killed a sorority girl by the name of Lila Stangard and by the end of the first episode another plot arises dealing with the murder of Sam Keating. The progression through the fifteen episodes is decently paced. Each episode typically includes flashback scenes, present scenes, a case Annalise Keating is working on, and a plot twist is usually left at the end of the episode as a cliff hanger. With all of the jumping around in time and the plot twists, it can be confusing to keep up. One of the best elements of the show is that each character has their own subplot that gets explored in different episodes and most of the outlying loose threads are tied up at the end of finale. One of the few things that I do not like about the show is how much all of the characters sleep around. While some of the sex scenes advanced the plot, others seem a little unnecessary. One episode seemed like each character had a sex scene, one right after the other. There’s nothing wrong with having these type of scenes in the show but at times it was overkill (pun intended).
The standout actress of the series is the lead, Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, who engages the audience in powerful performances in nearly every episode. She provides a strong front for most of the characters, but allows certain characters to see more of an intimate and vulnerable side of her, which is great to see all the different layers Viola can bring. While all of the characters create a great ensemble, the four main students Wes (Alford Enoch), Connor (Jack Falahaee), Michaela (Aja Naomi King) and Laurel (Karla Souza), definitely make the show more enjoyable. Each actor and actress does a brilliant job of creating a character that goes through a journey, and all four characters go through a smooth transition from seeming one way to being almost completely opposite in their characteristics by the end of the season. Also, I love being able to see Matt McGorry take on a completely different character. He is well known as playing the lovable officer Bennett on Orange is the New Black and portrays more of a playboy on this show. It’s great seeing how diverse and versatile some performers can be.
Overall, the show is visually appealing and the different scenes in time are generally spliced together well to show an interesting story and progression. The different locations made most of the scenes seem realistic and it created a pretty cohesive world that the characters live in. A good portion of the show takes place at night (the scenes depicting the night of the two separate murders both take place at night), so the lighting is dark and it’s hard to see some action that takes place.
I’d give this show a 9/10. I would recommend this to anyone that likes crime/law dramas. Compared to other shows of a similar style, I think this show goes about it in a different style. Nowadays it seems like a lot of shows that deal with murder, crime, law and all of those elements seem to follow a similar pattern. One of the refreshing elements of this series is that you know the people that Annalise defends are guilty, and you get to see how her and the team of students try to tackle the case to hopefully win it.