A day ahead of its Season 4 finale, How to Get Away With Murder’s creator and showrunner Pete Nowalk has revealed that should a Season 5 proceed at ABC, the series is bound to have a brand new and exciting mystery, adding that he knows “all the backstory, and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to change my mind, but I’m just not going to tell you.”
Speaking at a special finale preview screening at the Sunset Gower studios on Wednesday, Nowalk told press he’s also already mapping out the Season 5 flashforwards that characterize the show, even though ABC has not officially announced one yet. They’re expected to be “twisty, and more fun,” he said. “They’re a different tone, and it’s something that we’ve set up.” The speculation is that HTGAW is expected to get a Season 5 order.
Another thing Nowalk teased for his Season 5 plan is the wedding of Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee) and Oliver Hampton (Conrad Ricamora). “I will say I personally kind of hate weddings,” Nowalk said. “And I hate the trope of it, so we’re going to do it in our own fun way.”
Central to everything HTGAWM is, of course, Viola Davis’ lead character of Annalise Keating. We’ve seen her rise from the ashes of addiction this past season, and it seems there’s hope for her future in that department. “I haven’t made any specific decisions,” Nowalk said. “But what I do love for Annalise is she’s really doing well right now with her sobriety, and she shed a lot of her own self-hate. I think the Isaac therapy actually really helped her, and she’s in a good place.”
However, in a Season 5 we would flashback to more of her relationship with her late husband, Sam Keating (Tom Verica), Nowalk said. “I loved Tom Verica the actor, and I love when he comes back, so we actually have a really good flashback episode idea for next year. There’s so much of their marriage that we didn’t explore, and before they met each other, so that’s definitely a story goldmine for me.”
But before all that happens, there’s still the Season 4 finale. We will see the fruits of the Scandal/HTGAWM crossover episode, in which Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Keating brought a criminal justice reform class action case before the Supreme Court. So we’ll find out what happens there, and what that means for Keating’s life choices next season.
The crossover episode also yielded fans of the connection between Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King) and Scandal’s Marcus Walker (Cornelius Smith Jr.) Nowalk said, especially since it looks like the relationship between Pratt and Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry) is in serious trouble in future. “I think it’s going to be a long road for Asher to forgive Michaela,” he said. “They’re not going to have a lot of time to sit down and have couples therapy right now.” Will we see more of Walker next season, especially now that Scandal is over? “I’m not counting anything out,” Nowalk said. “Cornelius is a very in-demand actor, so a lot would depend on him. But I think that story isn’t over.”
But perhaps the most pressing topic for viewers right now is the fate of Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil) in this Season 4 finale. In the penultimate episode of this season, we saw a car crash and a potentially bleak end for her. While Nowalk shied away from any finale spoilers, he did say he wasn’t above killing off main characters, as we’ve already seen from Wes’ death this season.
“It would make sense for Bonnie to be dead,” he said. “She’s been worried about it for many episodes, and I think at the beginning of the season, the audience response I would get a lot is, ‘Screw Bonnie! She should have been the one burned in the house!’ Because anytime someone’s going against Annalise, people don’t like that. So it’s definitely set up that she’s dead. But is she? What’s good is the audience will find that out very early in the episode.”
All in all, Nowalk said, “I’m excited about how we ended this season. It feels fresh to me.”
Nowalk does, he said, have a plan to take the story to a conclusion in the future. “I have an idea for the last season for sure,” he said. “Obviously that’s hard, because you don’t know when that last season’s going to be.” But he certainly would not be content if Season 4 were to be the last. “Not at all. I don’t want to end on a mystery. I’d want there to be answers. I guess we’d have to make a movie or something. I’d do it on my iPhone if I had to.”
The How to Get Away With Murder Season 4 finale episode will air on Thursday, March 15, at 10 PM on ABC.