May 13, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15 Trailer Review: ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder”



YouTube Preview Image


THE FACTS:  The new wing to the Shonda Rhimes Thursday that’s about to be a cornerstone of the ABC line-up.  In case that name wasn’t enough, try this one:  Viola Davis, starring as a brilliant, enigmatic criminal defense attorney who teaches a law school class with the same title as the show.  Every year, she chooses a few special students to work with her on a real case, and they compete ruthlessly for the honor.  This year, they get embroiled in their own real-life murder.  The writer is Peter Nowalk, who’s been on the staff at both the Shondaland flagship shows.

WHAT IT’S SAYING:  Gladiators in law school, and a protagonist who’ll rival Olivia Pope for determination and the unerring ability to dig clients out of their deepest problems–no matter what it takes.

WHAT IT’S REALLY SAYING:  Viola Davis finally has the kind of central, magnetic role the movie studios have never been willing to give her, and watch out, Claire Danes–she’s gunning for your Emmy.  There’s enough plot in the 2:52 of the Murder trailer to fuel half a season of a mere mortal’s TV series.  The only question mark is whether the law students will emerge as distinctive individuals, or if they’ll just be interchangeable types (nice one, sexy one, vicious one).

THE OUTLOOK:  Airing against Parenthood and (probably) Elementary, and with Scandal as its lead-in, How To Get Away With Murder is about as safe a bet as any new show on any network’s schedule.  The only thing that could bring it down is if the series itself doesn’t live up to expectations.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."