Why you should watch How to Get Away with Murder

The new series from Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, stars Viola Davis and will have you hooked from the very first episode

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Fans of Shonda Rhimes, the considerable TV brains behind Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, won’t want to miss How to Get Away with Murder, her newest offering, which premieres on Universal tonight.

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This time Rhimes is executive producer rather than creator (that’s Peter Nowalk, who worked with Rhimes on her previous shows), but everything that viewers have come to know and love about both the deliciously melodramatic Scandal and the, well, equally deliciously melodramatic Grey’s Anatomy is very much present.

There’s the formidable, complicated, high-achieving female lead, law professor Annalise Keating (an all-conquering Viola Davis); her staff of well-groomed, impertinent youngsters; and her class of students, even younger pretenders, equally impertinent but rougher around the edges.

Keating outsources her cases to these bright young things, offering them the chance to join her firm should they impress. Among them is Brit Alfred Enoch (Harry Potter’s Dean Thomas) as the bumbling Wes, who must redeem himself after he gets off to a less-than-auspicious start. And there are some other familiar faces, including Liza Weil – aka Paris in Gilmore Girls – and Orange is the New Black’s Matt McGorry, who plays prison guard Bennett.

So far, so interns v residents in Grey’s Anatomy. But there’s a twist. Flash-forwards three months into the future show that the wide-eyed young students we see arriving at law school don’t remain that way for long. They get caught up in (yep, you guessed it) a murder, very close to home for Keating and her students, which threatens everything they’re all working for.

TV snobs might turn up their noses – it’s no True Detective – but the glossy finish doesn’t mean it’s lightweight, and I defy anyone not to be sucked in by the first episode’s very juicy setup. Plus there’s serious crossover potential: if Keating ever gets into real trouble, she could always call Olivia Pope…

How to Get Away with Murder starts tonight at 10:00pm on Universal

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Watch executive producer Shonda Rhimes introduce Viola Davis’s character Annalise Keating