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How to Get Away with Murder Season 5 Premiere: Who's in the Snow?

The showrunner dishes on murders, proposals and secret babies!

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Lindsay MacDonald

Shockingly enough, the Season 5 premiere of How to Get Away with Murder featured what appears to be... a murder! What are we on now, murder number 18?

Despite the joyous opening at Connor and Oliver's wedding, the fun can't last more than a few seconds on this show, which is why Frank (Charlie Weber) had to show up and tell Annalise (Viola Davis) something terrible. Whether that terrible thing was that someone outside the wedding tent was bleeding out in the snow next to a crying baby Christopher, we'll have to wait and see.

Right now, the only person we know it's not is Bonnie (Liza Weil), who showed up at the end of the episode (in a snazzy looking cocktail dress, by the way) to regretfully place her hands over the dying person's mouth to smother him or her. Bonnie! Did you learn nothing from the Rebecca (Katie Findlay) situation?!

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Three months earlier, Gabriel Maddox (Rome Flynn) beat out Asher to make it into Annalise's new trial skills class, Laurel (Karla Souza) turned down Frank's marriage proposal, and Nate (Billy Brown) confirmed that whoever's DNA is in those files is, in fact, Bonnie's son. But is it Gabriel?

After a special screening of the Season 5 premiere, creator and showrunner Pete Nowalk offered reporters a few teases about who knows what, and where all these mysteries are headed this season on How to Get Away with Murder. Keep reading to see what he had to say!

Jack Falahee, How to Get Away with Murder

Jack Falahee, How to Get Away with Murder

Richard Cartwright, ABC


What's the hashtag for this season? What's this year's #WhoKilledSam?
Pete Nowalk:
Honestly, I've never written those. They just have come from maybe you guys or the fans or ABC, but I think, for me, [it's] who is Gabriel and then who's in the snow.

Is the snow mystery revealed halfway through or is that a full-season mystery?
Nowalk:
We'll catch up to that wedding night, now that you know that's Connor and Oliver's wedding... We always try to catch up before we go on our winter break and give you a lot of answers, including who this guy [Roman] is. And then after that we'll keep going.

In the wedding scene, was it supposed to feel kind of foreboding that the cake topper fell over?
Nowalk:
Nothing can ever go right on this show... So yeah, I think that's a sign of crap to come and as you saw, a lot of crap happens in the snow. So, yes, you're right.

Asher is kind of left out in the cold this year, how will that affect his storyline?
Nowalk: What's exciting about Asher's arc is, Annalise says, "You're playing the clown. You need to step it up." And I think he did get lost as a character and just wanting to people-please Michaela (Aja Naomi King) and people-please the rest of them. It's fun to see him come back into his own this season and now, we're gonna see him get a new job, and we're gonna see him make a new friend. There's a lot of new stuff. What's exciting to write is that Asher's growing up and becoming the person he was meant to be.

Structurally, is it complicated for you to find ways to work him in with everybody else?
Nowalk:
No, because as you saw, the kids all live together. We have fun with that, that he feels a little left out. That's what most endearing about Asher to me is that he forces his way in whether people want it or not. He's the best man and the wedding, so he's there.

What's next for Flaurel on How to Get Away with Murder?

How worried should we be about Frank now that Laurel has rejected his proposal?
Nowalk:
I wouldn't say I'm worried about Frank, I'm more worried why he's not telling any of the characters who Gabriel is. That's his big dark secret, and he's made this mistake again, so he has to have a really good reason why to keep this from whoever the mother is. Whatever he knows about Gabriel, it's a little bit like "What is Frank hiding?" Obviously it ends up in a slap, but I think that's only the beginning.

Have you purposefully made it ambiguous how much even Gabriel knows about his identity and its significance to the group?
Nowalk: Yes. The whole point is to wonder about him, and he's a mystery box. I've told Rome some things about who his character is... But I think, yeah, we want you to pay close attention and try to unravel him. Be like, "Does that make sense with what I thought?" So yeah, pay attention.

Why did you decide to drop this hint that Laurel's mother might be alive in so soon?
Nowalk:
I think one of the things we, the writers, like to do is to give some answers or at least some clue. So we know you have been waiting however many months since the last episode and that is a cliffhanger. We did this the first season: Rebecca was dead and then you came back an episode later and you found out who killed her. I think maybe it was because you didn't expect it. That, we like to play with that. And also Laurel's family was a pivotal part of last year's storyline, and we like to move around on this show. So, we wanted to sort of give you a little, "OK we can stop worrying about that and worry about these new things." Not to say that it won't come up again, hopefully we can just keep getting some... but for now we are just like, that is our best way of telling you we are going to pause on Laurel's family for a second.

Is there any chance Marcus Walker's (Cornelius Smith Jr.) schedule might clear up in the future letting him make another cameo?
Nowalk: That's always possible. What I think we were excited about -- I loveMichaela being "fabstinent." I think that's just, it's time. She's had some messy relationships, to me that felt kind of fun and real, so we'll see.

How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.