Who killed Sam on How to Get Away with Murder? According to Liza Weil's unscientific — and unsolicited — poll, Bonnie did.
"I know that a lot of people think it's Bonnie and it's funny," Weil tells TVGuide.com with a laugh. "I have people from my past that I haven't spoken to [lately] or have lost touch with and I've been getting emails from them that just say, 'I think that you did it.' People just feel a real need to reach out to me and let me know that they think I'm the murderer! It's exciting and it's really fun to be part of something where there are theories and it can change week to week."
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That will likely change again after Thursday's episode (10/9c, ABC), which picks up right where last week's episode left off, seconds after Bonnie revealed to Annalise (Viola Davis) and Sam (Tom Verica) that Lila was six weeks pregnant at the time of her death. As Annalise grills her two-timing hubby about the paternity, Bonnie does some digging of her own, resulting in a few unforeseen consequences.
"Bonnie is searching for answers too because she looks [up] to Sam, she holds him up, and I think she really needs to know if that [admiration] is indeed validated," Weil says. "That answer is going to question her loyalty to Annalise. [These next two] episodes for Bonnie [are] where everything picks up for her, story-wise. She's sort of been observing and lurking and calculating in the background, and she's definitely more a player in the activities of the plot in these. The blowback from that is going to rock her. There is a huge moment in [Thursday's episode] between Bonnie and Annalise that is going to completely question their entire relationship before Murder Night. Everything is going to change between them. It's going to make her question her loyalty to Annalise and her role and her purpose in the firm and who she is."
And who is Bonnie Winterbottom? After seven episodes, she remains a steely eyed, take-no-prisoners, impeccably dressed ball of mystery. She's an ice queen who will leave your high-five hanging, but will make a booty call on Murder Night. ("I'm pretty sure Asher [Matt McGorry] is happier with a booty call than a high-five," Weil quips.) She's incredibly devoted to Annalise, yet blatantly undresses Sam with her eyes. Weil herself doesn't really know what Bonnie's true colors are, and says she created the character's backstory on her own, after she landed the part.
"I think she is somebody who always puts work first and is always immersed in work, so other aspects of her life might be underdeveloped," she says. "I think she has a bit of arrested development socially and maybe more in terms of romantic liaisons. I think Sam and Annalise are her core people. I don't know if Bonnie really has family she can turn to or a core group of friends. I think she's been so dedicated to working with Annalise and really has a desire to be Annalise's person that the fascination with Sam was a bit of distraction for her to get through her day. It started out innocently and it became more and more inappropriate without her realizing it. That's been interesting for me to play because I think she looks to them as these parent figures and it gets almost Oedipal sometimes."
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But have Bonnie and Sam actually hit the sheets, like Annalise clearly believes they have in the flash-forward? That will also be addressed on Thursday. "[The writers] done a really smart job with leaving that open-ended. It's unclear whether he's reciprocating that," Weil says. "It's a very interesting story point that Annalise is aware of it and does let it happen. Whether it's part of her manipulation or something she knows Bonnie needs in order to do what she needs to do is really intriguing. For the rest of the season, what I'm understanding is, [the writers are] going to develop more of who Bonnie is. I think she is somebody who romantically had a very clear vision of what she wanted and finding her partner and what that person is gonna look like, I think that whole model is going to change."
Weil says she enjoys hearing people's theories about the show, from the identity of Sam's murderer and the nature of Sam and Bonnie's relationship to the question of how and why Bonnie and Asher ended up in bed on Murder Night and what Bonnie's motives are. The consensus on Team Bosher is that Bonnie did kill Sam and is using Asher as an alibi. "That's a good one," she says. "We catch up to that night [in the fall finale next week] and you see what made that hookup happen."
Then there are those who think Bonnie is Sam's first wife — aka the woman he cheated on with Annalise. If that is the case, why would Bonnie work for her? "In general, I think Annalise Keating is an extraordinary woman, being able to operate the way she does and accomplish the things she does. I think Bonnie really looks up to her and respects her," Weil says. "I think there's also probably a bit of resentment and jealousy tied into that, too. Like, 'I'm not gonna be as good as you.'"
Might that resentment manifest in an unhealthy obsession? What if Bonnie is actually in love with Annalise and not Sam — which would give her motive to kill him — and is speaking the truth when she tells Annaliese that the shady things she does are in fact in Annalise's best interest? "I think that's an interesting theory. That's tough for me to comment on," Weil says. "I think that you're right to see that there may be a level of Bonnie's loyalty and dedication to Annalise that skews in an unhealthy way. There's going to be a whole lot of rewiring that Bonnie's gonna have to do to get back to a functioning mode."
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She continues: "Bonnie is somebody who's probably not operating on a great level of self-esteem. You'd never guess that from what you've seen. I think a lot of confident people or people who present as confident people — that's a bit of a mask. It's like, 'You fake it 'til you make it.' I think that's definitely something you see Annalise doing, too. She has a confident persona and she's a completely different person privately. I think Bonnie will become a little more accessible and human after this episode. That's my hope! If I've done my job correctly, I think she becomes more humanized."
And no longer her friends' top murder suspect? "Not sure. Probably not!" Weil says, adding that none of the cast correctly predicted who killed Sam, which will we'll learn next week as well. "It got to the point where we kept trying to get information out of writers and at a certain point, they were like, 'I can't believe you guys haven't figured it out yet. It's right in front of you.' I don't think it's super obvious. I think it's one of those things where if you go back and binge-watch through Episode 9, it probably will be clear."
How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.
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