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How to Get Away with Murder's Season 3 Mystery Is the "Most Game-Changing One Yet"

Make sure you watch until the end of the premiere

Joyce Eng

Where's Frank? Who shot Mahoney?

Those were the two biggest questions from the How to Get Away with Murder Season 2 finale, and you won't have to wait long to get answers to both in Season 3, creator Peter Nowalk promises.

"You'll find out in the first episode," Nowalk tells TVGuide.com. "We're not going to drag it out. Frank (Charlie Weber) is a big mystery for us for much of the season, but not in terms of not knowing his whereabouts. He is a big part of Season 3."

Needless to say, unlike Wes' (Alfred Enoch) dad (Adam Arkin), who got his brains blown out, Frank is not dead. But is the clock ticking on him? After learning that Frank was complicit in the loss of her son 10 years ago, Annalise (Viola Davis) told Bonnie (Liza Weil) in the finale that Frank "needs to go." So has she actually put a hit out on him, or does she just want him out of her firm?
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"I think all of those things are true," Nowalk says with a laugh. "What did she mean by 'He needs to go'? She might be feeling one way one minute and something the next. But we'll get an answer to that very early in the season. We'll see how their relationship will proceed, if it can proceed, and how it will change."

Adds Davis: "I think Annalise always has a hard time cutting people out of her life. I think she has a tough exterior of it being easy, but I think she attaches herself to people way more than she is willing to admit."

That's an understatement. Annalise is still looking out for the Keating 5 in Season 3, which will jump to their second year of law school. So, yes, they're out of Annalise's Intro to Criminal Law class, but they're now in her new pro bono clinic. "I'm going to give them a chance to step into the courtroom and find out what it means to be me," Davis says. "She's going to interact with them the same way she has in the past, but she's going to approach it more like, 'Let me see what they can do' type of thing, not so much controlling them."

The pro bono class has ties to the new Middleton University president, played by Dexter's Luna Velez, who will recur this season, along with Mary J. Blige in a top-secret role. "They're going to be colleagues," Nowalk says. "Annalise and [the president] are peers. Teaching is going to be a really big thing for Annalise this season, so she's going to be dealing with the president a lot. She's kind of on a different side, but it's going to feel much more personal than a past adversary."

Speaking of adversaries, who is Annalise's? If you've seen the promos, you know that someone's been plastering posters all over campus of Annalise's face with the word "killer" scrawled in blood red ink on them.

Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder

Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder

Mitch Haaseth, ABC

"I think the main thing is, everything is very personal this season. Annalise has allies but also enemies. We're focusing on all of the relationships and really digging into the psychological struggle of the characters," Nowalk teases, adding that Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) secretly deleting Connor's (Jack Falahee) acceptance into Stanford will be dealt with early as well. "We're going to see if Connor finds out about that and what his reaction is. That's what we're doing more of. We're not really doing a case of the season, per se, this year. We're going to spend more time with the characters and focus more on what their emotional states are now.

"We skip over the summer, so we're going to see what that means, if having distance from the first two seasons, which was one school year, could allow them to get back to normal and if that's even possible," he continues. "That's a very big storyline: Is it possible for us to be normal people?"

Translation: It could be anyone targeting Annalise. And that will set up the new season-long mystery that completely floored Davis and the cast when they read the script.

"You should definitely watch 'til the end [of the premiere]," Nowalk says of the new whodunnit. "It impacts everyone and it's the most game-changing one yet for the show."

Season 3 of How to Get Away with Murder premieres Thursday at 10/9c on ABC.