[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Thursday's episode of How to Get Away with Murder. Read at your own risk.]
What's in the bag? Not Wes.
Nate (Billy Brown) and Laurel (Karla Souza) made a shocking discovery on Thursday's How to Get Away with Murder, when they unzipped Wes' (Alfred Enoch) body bag in the morgue to see that another corpse has been chilling (literally) in there for who-knows-how-long.
Where is Waitlist's body? According to Atwood (Milauna Jackson), someone had requested a transfer of his body to another morgue, and that someone, per a signature, was... Nate.
Is Nate being set up just like Annalise (Viola Davis), who is now released from jail after antagonizing her cellmate to beat her to a pulp? And if he is being set up, who forged his signature? We caught up with Brown to get the scoop.
How to Get Away with Murder: Who killed Wes? Ranking the suspects
This doesn't look too good for Nate. But is he being framed too?
Billy Brown: I think he's not surprised. I'm always watching my back with respect to Bonnie (Liza Weil) or Annalise. I've got my suspicions with Atwood and Denver (Benito Martinez), so I've taken a taken a steadfast position that I'm an island all to myself until those around me can prove their worth of character. Because up to this point, to continue the metaphor, the storms that continue to pummel my island and its surrounding foliage, they come from all angles — from smiling faces and scowls alike.
He's sort of like a double agent. He's working for the DA, but he's keeping his options open. After his development, which side does he trust more?
Brown: There is no trusting more or less in these relationships. Annalise has burned me, maybe justified in her own mind, one too many times. I've been far too open and subjective myself to that kind of skullduggery, if you will. Her minions — her students — are no better. And I've got my own motives with respect to the DA's office, with Atwood and Denver. That relationship within those "walls of justice" is ironic. I've got my own motives; it's not just about finding who killed [Wes]. So that emboldens me to move forward on the trajectory that I've set, not one set by them, irrespective of where my signature lies. That doesn't faze me. That's amateur hour. [Laughs]
He already thought something was fishy with the medical examiner amended cause of death to say Wes died during the fire. Does this confirm to him something is up? What's his next move?
Brown: Nothing's confirmed yet until it's closed. The missing body and the signature support his suspicions. ... As a detective, as a Philly guy, nothing's confirmed until it's closed and done, and right now things are still fluid. It emboldens him stay the course, as our former president would say, because unbeknownst to them, amateur hour is one to be witnessed. This guy is not a jackass. He knows what's going on, so try and pull that over his eyes. And the M.E., even her body language when she was approached by Nate with Wes on the table — he's a poker player. There were all sorts of tells from her to him and that's all he needs to know something's going on. He's like, "OK. This is where I need to be. They're way out of my league. Go f--- 'em!" [Laughs]
Obviously Nate could've still signed it and had his reasons. Assuming it is a forgery, when will we find out who signed it and when will Wes' body be recovered?
Brown: So here's what's going to happen. [Laughs] All those things will be resolved to some degree, but it may not be everything you want as you want it. But in due time, you will find out more than you bargained for.
Nate has been stepping up with this case. Do you think part of it is because he wants to reclaim his integrity since he has been burned so many times by Annalise and the Keating 5, and now Atwood may have ulterior motives too?
Brown: That comes from me going into [showrunner] Pete [Nowalk]'s office and stomping my feet and screaming. [Laughs]
Brown: [Laughs] No, I'm kidding. Pete and I had a conversation about that. That's credit to Pete Nowalk that the character development of a former detective has taken on this path. From the first moments where I am being thrown completely under multiple buses and a train in the pilot episode, and all that befalls me from that point forward until now, you get to see that what has been misinterpreted as someone who could've been walked over has always had a steel spine. He was choosing his moments and weighing those options against what would better serve him in the long run, not short-term games. From a casual observer, that would be easily missed. He's always known who he is, how he's going to get it done, what he needs to do, irrespective of the treachery or the personal justification from Annalise regarding her own actions.
Ophelia (Cicely Tyson) tells Nate that Annalise needs him and she thought he was a good man. Does that, coupled with the missing body and the transfer request, change how he approaches the investigation? Will he be willing to help Annalise out more now that she's out of jail?
Brown: That moment with Miss Tyson as Miss Ophelia — it's one of the few times Nate's guard is penetrated, and that's just because of the love of a mother for her daughter. It won't change in and of itself how Nate approaches his next moves regarding Annalise and whether or not she does need his help as Ophelia was begging me to do. But it is a definite moment where Nate takes a step back and lets that register how high the stakes are and how deep the hole is that Annalise has put herself and her family in.
How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.