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    Professor Annalise Keating (née Anna Mae Harkness) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_annalise_7664.png
"There’s no such thing as common sense."

Portrayed by: Viola Davis

A criminal law professor at Middleton University, Pennsylvania, with a reputation for being tough-as-nails and extremely competent. She selects five students among her class to work at her firm and help her solve cases, the prize being exemption from any exam. She is married to fellow professor Sam Keating, but is initially carrying on an affair with Detective Nate Lahey.


  • The Alcoholic: She likes to drink when she's upset, especially vodka. According to her mother, she never drank before she married Sam. While initially a Functional Addict, her control slips further through the seasons, to the point that it starts to seriously interfere with her life and career. This causes her to try to give it up in the first half of season three, only for it to spiral completely out of control, and lead to her nearly losing her licence. She finally, successfully manages to kick the habit in season four, after her drinking was partially responsible for Wes dying.
  • Amoral Attorney: Annalise flat-out states that she doesn't care if her clients are innocent or guilty. She just wants to win the case. Subverted later on, as she strives to do the right thing when she deems it, as seen in episode 11 where she lies to her client so the little girl the woman was hiding could be rescued.
  • Anti-Hero: An Amoral Attorney she may be, but Annalise does try to do what she thinks is best.
  • Arch-Nemesis: To the entire state attorney office, to the point where they state that they will no longer offer plea deals for her.
  • The Atoner:
    • Everything she has done for Wes — getting him off the waitlist and into law school, putting him on her team and sticking her neck out for him more than the other students — is out of guilt for (accidentally) driving his mother to suicide (to protect Wes from Annalise's client, Wallace Mahoney).
    • Played With. It’s revealed in “I Love Her” that Annalise was the one who convinced Bonnie to go into law school and supported her throughout. Shortly before this, it was Annalise who was responsible for getting one of the men who raped Bonnie off. While her guilt played a large part in her choice, and led to Bonnie coming to believe that everything Annalise did for her was just to make herself feel better, Annalise revealed it was also because she saw genuine potential in her and similarities between the two of them, and believed going into law would help Bonnie.
  • Badass Bisexual: She is bisexual and a badass attorney.
  • Badass Teacher: The teacher of the core 6. Annalise teaches them the art of being a defense attorney, by having them work on her current case(s).
  • Berserk Button:
    • She's cool-headed and professional most of the time, but hates it when people — especially her clients and those close to her — aren't completely honest with her.
    • She hates it whenever someone messes with her cases. She coolly threatens Connor about his and the others' involvement in Sam's murder after she learns he gave the key evidence that gets her client arrested.
  • Big "NO!": After discovering Wes' burned body in Season 3.
  • Bi the Way: Annalise is revealed to be bisexual in the Season 2 premiere.
  • Black Boss Lady: Annalise is a remarkably competent lawyer. She's also black, female and the main cast's boss.
  • Brainy Brunette: An incredibly intelligent lawyer.
  • Bring It: Her challenge to the five to give her a gang drubbing has this.
    Annalise: Come at me. (nervous silence) I said 'Come at me'!
  • Broken Ace: Annalise is on of the best defense attorneys, and has a near-perfect record of getting her clients out of conviction. However, despite how perfect she seems to the outside world, Annalise has a number of personal problems: She's desperate for children, but has always had trouble conceiving with a history of multiple miscarriages. Her husband is a serial cheater. She was sexually abused by her uncle as a child.
  • Brutal Honesty: Doesn't bother with tact or try to spare people's feelings.
  • Byronic Heroine: Annalise hits all the checks, being a highly intelligent woman, who is complicated to point that even she is uncertain of her exact morality. She is heavily self-critical bordering on self-loathing. She is ruthless and amoral, yet at the same time remains sympathetic due to her past experiences and traumas while possessing a great passion and determination for her chosen profession.
  • Color Motifs: Many of the outfits she is seen wearing are blue.
  • Control Freak: As Eve so eloquently put it, Annalise tends to micromanage things.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Annalise has always possessed a disdain for the negligence, hypocrisy and failures within the legal system (especially towards marginalized groups) having often seen the problems first hand. For most of her tenure as an attorney she rarely gave it much of her attention, to avoid damaging her career and reputation, focusing more on winning each and every case whatever the cost. Come season four, with her reputation in tatters and her career hanging by a thread. She decides to reinvent herself as a crusading lawyer. She prepares to file an injunction against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania itself, partially so can feel she’s done something worthwhile with her life, partially to ease her guilt over Wes’s death.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hannah states that "[Annalise] has a history of violence". It turns out that, as a child, Annalise was repeatedly molested by her paternal uncle.
  • Death Seeker: She admits to Nate's wife that she has constantly thought of killing herself, even as a child.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": She reacts negatively when her mother calls her by her birth name, "Anna Mae," because it reminds her of her life before she married Sam.
  • Drink Order: If she wants to get drunk, she'll prefer to do so with vodka.
  • Dude Magnet: Annalise has often been complimented on her good looks by numerous men.
  • Even Bad Women Love Their Mamas: Downplayed. Annalise is an Amoral Attorney known for being brutally honest to everyone, but who does she call after going through the emotional ordeal of framing Nate for Sam's murder? She call and tells her mother that she needs her. However, Annalise isn't above calling out her mother for some of the questionable things her mother has said and/or done during her childhood.
  • Even the Girls Want Her:
    • There's Eve, her former girlfriend, who is still into Annalise despite their break-up.
    • Tegan has commented on how "hot" Annalise still is.
    • Her assistant, Bonnie, is heavily implied to be in love with her.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Annalise is an amoral attorney who has no qualms about manipulating others for her own gain, but in the Season 2 premiere, even she found it monstrous how and why Bonnie murdered Rebecca, having believed Wes was the culprit.
  • Frame-Up: She has Frank frame Nate for Sam's murder in order to protect the students.
    • Looks to be happening to her in the third season winter finale, with her being arrested for Wes' murder. Turns out its Denver and the DA's office.
  • Freudian Excuse: Annalise's inability to trust people strongly stems from being sexually abused by her own uncle and thinking that her mother always knew what he did, but didn't speak up and stop it.
  • Friends with Benefits: Decides to become this with Eve upon the latter's second appearance.
  • Guilt Complex: Develops one following Wes’s death. Despite the circumstances being well beyond her control, she still blames herself for it. It’s trying to deal with this guilt that pushes her to attempt to reinvent herself in season Four.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: An unusual example. Annalise does have a temper, but instead of being the usual "scream and shout" example, she just gives some a vicious teardown of their character with her voice only slightly raised.
  • Happily Married: Subverted. When it first looks like she and Sam have a good marriage despite the former being so busy, it's nastily revealed that isn't the case: Besides the infidelities on both sides, they both admit to only marrying each other because of the status that marrying each other would benefit from.
    • Season 2 reveals that they used to be happy, but everything started crumbling down after Annalise lost the baby she was carrying in a car accident.
  • Has a Type: Seems to like good-looking, ostensibly upstanding men who are willing to engage in an affair. She even comes very close to hitting on Wes before stopping.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Despite having been ostensibly on top of things before, she breaks down after having Nate arrested and spends "Mama's Here Now" in a funk.
    • In "What Did We Do?", The combination of Catherine gone AWOL, Nate losing his job again being directly responsible for the suicide of Asher's father, and Asher killing Sinclair, thus having to clean up another murder drives her into the deep end. It comes to a head in the climax when she begs for one of the students to shoot her in order to pull off a Wounded Gazelle Gambit, pressuring Connor with how she's ruined his and Oliver's life, then Michaela with how important her future is to her. She succeeds in getting shot when revealing Rebecca's death to Wes.
    • Suffers a much worse one following Wes’s death. She completely breaks down and even temporarily accepts being imprisoned after being falsely charged with his murder.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In her efforts to protect the Murder Quartet again in "What Did We Do?", she pressures Wes, Laurel, Connor, and Michaela each to shoot her to frame Catherine. When she fails to get Connor to shoot her despite reminding him that Oliver was endangered because of her, she manages to get Wes to do so when she reveals she lied about Rebecca leaving town, admitting that she's indeed dead.
  • Hidden Depths: She cries over the state of her marriage because she and her husband are trying and failing to have children. It's also surprising to see the stark difference in appearance between her public persona and when she's at home in her bedroom — for one thing, she turns out to be wearing a wig.
  • Hot Teacher: Since she's played by the stunning Viola Davis, this doesn't come as a surprise…
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Starts out being a respected lawyer, an accomplished professor and an overall stable woman in control of her life. She ends up having her reputation destroyed beyond salvaging, losing her job, nearly getting disbarred twice and being forced to do court mandated therapy, losing her home, most of her money, and every ounce of respect anyone ever had for her.
  • Hypocrite:
    • She hates when people lie to her, but has no problem with lying and/or manipulating them.
    • Disgusted by Sam's infidelities, but commits an affair with Nate and it's implied that she was in a relationship with Sam while he was still married to his first wife.
  • I Am a Monster: Annalise’s insecurities and guilt have bonded together into a deep self-loathing, which she shows on the occasions her control slips. When a priest offers her confession in “The Night Lila Died”, she admits she doesn’t think she deserves redemption. It gets considerably worse, when she starts blaming herself for Wes’s death. By season four she’s decided everyone else is better being away from her, causing her to fire everyone in “I'm Going Away.”
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Sure, she is confident in her skills, and often comes across as arrogant. However, when it comes to her personal life Annalise is barely holding it together, and wallows in guilt and self-loathing.
  • In-Series Nickname: Her husband calls her "Annie".
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Brutal and hypocritical as she may be, Annalise does make a good point once in a while. In "What Did We Do?", she calls out the Murder Gang on the fact that they are the catalysts of everything that's happened thus far, and that she did not have to go out her way to protect them.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's not nice by a longshot, but she does try to do the right thing.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Annalise promises to protect Connor, Michaela, Laurel, and Wes from being arrested in Sam's murder.
    • And the reason why she decides to go after Frank in season 3 is because he was responsible for the death of her infant son.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Deconstructed. Her constantly using people for her own reasons and then casting them aside leaves many of them unable to trust her. This is viciously lampshaded by Eve. Her biggest offense thus far is roping the Murder Gang back in to help cover up Asher killing Sinclair by revealing they were the ones who killed Sam, not Bonnie.
  • Meaningful Rename: In her backstory, she legally changed her name from "Anna Mae" to "Annalise" in an attempt to escape her poor rape survivor past and reinvent herself. Her mother thinks it's hogwash and continues to call her "Anna Mae," much to her chagrin.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • She nearly breaks down after realizing the extensive consequences of lying to Asher and leaking his father's criminal activities to keep him quiet — Asher murders Sinclair, and the rest of the cast has to cover it up.
    • Went through another one back in 2002. When she was working for another legal firm, she discredited Bonnie on the stand, allowing one of the men who raped Bonnie when she was fourteen to get off totally scot-free, all to secure her career and get her own office. Realising what she had done caused Annalise to immediately quit her job, and is why she took Bonnie under her wing, convincing her to go in law school and supporting her throughout.
  • Not So Different: While she hates to admit it, Annalise shares more than a few similarities with her husband Sam. They are both ruthless, selfish, and manipulative, aren’t above abusing their relationships for their own gain and treating those they’re closest to badly. Annalise can at least still claim to possess a conscience, guilt and a desire for what is right, while Sam was in the end purely selfish.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Her children with Sam were all miscarried.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her father walked out when she was a child. She still hasn't forgiven him for it.
  • Pet the Dog: Acts genuinely grateful and nice to Oliver upon meeting him for the first time, mainly because his hacking has helped save most of her cases. Compared to how she treats her actual employees most of the time, it's somewhat jarring.
  • Picky Eater: Can't stand the healthy food Nate brings with him when he moves in. When the two have a falling out a few episodes later, she gleefully throws it away and tells Bonnie to buy her "anything with chocolate."
  • The Promise: Repeatedly swears to the kids that she'll help them get away with Sam's murder and her devotion to this results in actions like framing Nate in order to protect them.
  • Rape as Backstory: Annalise was sexually abused by her uncle.
  • Sadist Teacher: She has this reputation and encourages it with her speech about placement in her class being the result of the students' bad karma, but she's actually quite reasonable (though naturally firm). Later on, a girl in her class that stutters through an answer to a substitute teacher is shown answering Annalise quickly and correctly.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: After realizing in the pilot that Wes knows virtually nothing about the class he's taking, she tells the class that in the next lecture, they must all come up with a plan to get her client found not guilty, and Wes must go last... and once a plan has been suggested by a student, nobody else is allowed to suggest that same plan. There are dozens of students in the class. By the time it's Wes' turn, all of his ideas have been suggested and he's forced to think very quickly to come up with an idea — and she ends up being impressed enough by his quick thinking that she offers him a job at her practice. (Or at least, that's what she says, though she denies that she offered him the job as a bribe to keep quiet about her affair.)
  • Stern Teacher: She's very strict about the goings-on in her class. For example, in the pilot, she releases serious venom when Laurel "steals a learning opportunity" from Wes.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Annalise is cold, emotionally distant, and is a task-master. But, underneath it all, she is someone with warmth and understanding.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: As events unfold and her husband's true colors emerge, you can't help but sympathize with her and her affair.
  • Team Mom: Lampshaded by Wes' shrink, who states that his relationship with her is very confusing and possibly very maternal.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Her life gets worse each season. First she discovers her husband is cheating on her and was responsible for the death of Lila. Then she’s hounded by the DA, who is trying to prove she was involved in his death. Then she loses control of her alcoholism, and has her licence suspended. Then Wes dies, and she is imprisoned for his murder, her reputation is ruined and has her remaining career dangling by a thread. Her mother outright lampshades how bad it is by declaring that “no one deserves to suffer as much as we have.”
  • Twofer Token Minority: African-American and bisexual.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: She has Wes shoot her in order to frame Catherine and once again protect the Murder Quintet.
  • You Monster!: She drops this on Bonnie when she realizes the latter murdered Rebecca, outright comparing her to Sam.
  • Your Cheating Heart: She had an affair with Nate Lahey while both were married.
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    Wes Gibbins 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_wes_9120.png
"This isn't about a crush, it's about doing the right thing."

Portrayed by: Alfred Enoch

A law student fresh off the waitlist, Wes is surprised to be selected as one of the Keating Five. Sweet and awkward, but the flash-forwards indicate a darker turn in personality. He is neighbors with Rebecca, and manages to befriend her despite her protests. Later, it's revealed that his real name is Christophe Edmond.


  • Adorkable: Sweet, awkward, and has been canonically called a puppy on the show.
  • All-Loving Hero: He truly believes in trying to help others.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Wes has shown to become completely fixated on a subject that others would deem normal.
  • Audience Surrogate: At first, he's the most out of depth among all the go-getters on the show due to being from the waitlist. The audience is introduced to Keating's work as he is.
  • Bad Dreams: The eleventh episode shows he's haunted by nightmares after dealing with Sam.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Grows one in the second half of season two to signify the he’s not dealing with the trauma of: discovering that Rebecca's dead, him shooting Annalise, and the revelation that Annalise knew his mother.
  • Berserk Button: Wes becomes noticeably enraged when Annalise starts talking about his mother.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Despite being by far the nicest person in the cast, he accepts Annalise's job offer while clearly understanding that working for her means he's going to have to discard at least some of his morals, given her 'Do anything it takes to win the case, legal or illegal' attitude.
    • He shoots Annalise in the stomach after she tells him that she was aware that Rebecca was murdered and she'd been lying about not knowing.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: In Annalise's words: "The quiet ones are the most dangerous". He's revealed to be Sam's killer, and also the one who shot Annalise.
  • Biggus Dickus: Discussed. In "Meet Bonnie", Connor wants to see "what the puppy's packing".
  • Blackmail: Holds the fact that he knows that Sam and Lila were having relations over Annalise's head to get her to find Rebecca when the latter takes off.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: This line in "He Deserved to Die":
    Wes: I'm allergic to peanuts, I have a really bad sense of direction, my mom killed herself when I was twelve...
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: He breaks up with his girlfriend Meggy in season three, partly because he doesn't want her to be part of the mess his life has become, and partly because he has feelings for Laurel.
  • Character Death: Revealed to be the body under the sheet in 3.09. Curiously, he died before the house fire.
  • Chick Magnet: Rebecca, Laurel, and Meggy have all been interested in him.
  • Child by Rape: Annalise tells Wes that he's a product of this in 2.14. His mother had been raped repeatedly by Wallace Mahoney, the father of her client, and that her suicide had been a last desperate attempt to protect Wes from him. Later on, it's revealed that it was Wallace's son, Charles Mahoney, that had raped her and fathered Wes.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Looks like this is going to happen, based on the flash-forwards where he goes from shocked and appalled at lying in the present to lying to his classmates about the coin flip and possibly getting them to murder Mr. Keating for Rebecca's sake. The mid-season finale reveals that he killed Sam to protect Rebecca from being choked to death, and that Annalise had a hand in how he seems to have had all the angles covered in disposing of the body.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He grew up poor and was bullied by some of the kids. His mother committed suicide when he was only 12. The ending flashback for the mid-season 2 finale reveals Wes was present in the aftermath of his mother's suicide.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Set up as the Deuteragonist of the series and the main student character, only to die in the third season.
  • Deuteragonist: He's the second main character, after Annalise.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Annalise lampshades how quick he is to throw everything away for Rebecca despite barely knowing her.
  • Fatal Flaw: Obsessiveness. He easily lets his entre life and focus be consumed by one single thing. First, Rebecca, later, the scratch marks in his wall, lastly, the case his mother was involved.
  • Foster Kid: He ended up with a foster family after his mother's death and they encouraged him to change his name.
  • Frame-Up: At the end of season three, he's made the posthumous scapegoat for the murders of Sam Keating and Rebecca.
  • Freudian Excuse: "Two Birds, One Millstone" reveals he's completely unable to trust women because they always leave them - his mother left and committed suicide, and Rebecca (albeit from his perspective) fled for the hills during the interrogation when in reality she was murdered by Bonnie. All of this does nothing but reinforce his distrust in Annalise.
  • Heroic Bastard: He's the illegitimate son of Wallace Mahoney's son, Charles Mahoney, who had been sexually assaulting Wes' mother before her suicide. But, Wes is nothing but a sweetheart.
  • Hidden Depths: Wes stays relatively cool-headed when the murder occurs, from going back for the murder weapon to getting everyone to agree what to do with the body. Also lies to his classmates about which way the coin flipped so they will deal with the body they way he wants them to. He also manages to stay focused and practical enough to destroy the evidence that Rebecca gathered, as it placed them at the scene of the crime. Annalise having seen him pick up the trophy beside Sam's dead body may have had something to do with this, though.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Waitlist" or "Puppy".
  • Morality Pet: While Annalise tends to be harsh towards all her students, Wes is the one she cuts slack the most.
  • My Greatest Failure: He feels deep regret over murdering Sam.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Because of the waitlist, he's caught flat-footed when he steps into Annalise's class.
  • Nice Guy: And he knows how to use it to his advantage when getting people to trust him. Like Rebecca.
  • No Sense of Direction: Wes lampshades this about himself: "...I have a really bad sense of direction..."
  • Not So Stoic: In 2.06, he eventually snaps over the fact that he simply cannot trust Annalise as the two enter an argument which reveals Wes' Freudian Excuse.
  • The Only One I Trust: In 1.04, Annalise hints through double meanings that she's chosen to trust him, after having it pointed out to her earlier in the episode by an old friend that she trusts nobody, not even her husband.
  • Protectorate: Annalise does what she does in order to protect him in particular, revealed in second half of season two to be because she was involved in the case that drove Wes's mother to suicide.
  • Pull the Thread: Wes kicks off the first season finale's plot by finding out Rebecca called the cops on Rudy Walters and landed him in a mental hospital despite previously claiming not to have known him. He becomes increasingly suspicious and realizes that previous testimonies were telling the truth, eventually dragging the others into it with him.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • He begins to suffer nightmares after the murder in Episode 11 and fears he's going crazy.
    • He starts to spiral after shooting Annalise in season two, and ends up in a psych ward for mandatory observation.
  • Secret Keeper: A lot of Annalise's secrets seem to find their way to his lap.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Says this verbatim regarding his relationship with Rebecca when the others accuse him of it.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Rebecca accuses him of this and, while we from a Doylist perspective know he's a good guy, he is still pulling stunts that could do serious damage to his career for a girl he's talked to all of three times and always ending with her very firmly rejecting him.
  • The Stoic: Among the least talkative and outwardly emotional of the main characters, along with Frank, Bonnie, and Laurel. As the season wide arcs wear on him, however, his stoicism is washed away while Frank, Bonnie, and Laurel tend to remain cool under pressure.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Wes pretty much always does things for a good reason, but he seems to be taking the attitude that there is no such thing as going too far for a good cause.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Between him and Laurel. They eventually do halfway through Season 3.
  • Wise Beyond His Years: A tragic example. A flashback shows a young Wes give shocking understanding that his mother is dead and that the police officer is lying because she doesn't want him to "freak out".
  • Would Hit a Girl: He's the one that shot Annalise.

    Laurel Castillo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_laurel_6866.png
"I just... I want to feel like we’re doing something good for once. Why is that so hard for everyone to understand?"

Portrayed by: Karla Souza

Another of the students selected by Annalise, Laurel is a sensitive girl from a wealthy background who attends law school in order to make the world better and defend the less fortunate. Because of her quiet nature, she is easily overlooked by the other students. She carries on a relationship with Frank.


  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Laurel is in a relationship with the snarky, cynical Frank.
    • She soon starts to develop nebulous feelings towards Wes after he shoots Annalise, and after helping him find out the truth of his mother's death.
  • All-Loving Heroine: Laurel is idealistic and believes in the doing what's right.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Hits on Michaela several times and offers to sleep with her jokingly. She also kisses her out of joy in Season 3 Episode 9, "Who's Dead?".
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Laurel has long had problems with her father, disliking his greed and habit of putting himself before the issues of his family. However, upon discovering he had Wes murdered, she grows to outright hate him, and is now obsessed with bringing him down for it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: One of the two nicest of the Keating Five (the other being Wes), but has proven to be quite ruthless when the need calls for it.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones:
    • She produces the grisly 'he's a hunter - he knows how to kill' defense that wins the second case.
    • She also played Connor and Michaela like fiddles in Episode 10 and thrashed their efforts to take her down with then in their confession to the police.
    • She's definitely all for aiming low when it comes to arguments:
      Michaela: You do realize I'm not scared to hit a bitch?
      Laurel: Oh, just throw me down the stairs. You did a pretty good job with Sam.
  • Cat Fight: Versus Michaela in the Season 2 premiere.
  • Character Development: Laurel grows from the quiet, idealistic "wallflower" in season one to the most badass student lawyer of Annalise's who has no problems letting her morals go if it means winning a case; she got so good at it, Annalise even dubbed her "new Bonnie".
  • Crusading Lawyer: Her goal is to become a lawyer to defend those who can't help themselves. Her more cynical seniors call her out on it, telling her she's not going to get anywhere with that attitude.
  • Daddy Issues:
    • And quite a few. The main one seems to be that she feels that her father values his money over her or her family, especially since he left his mom while she was in a bad place psychologically and he did not paid ransom when Laurel was kidnapped when she was 16.
    • Gets considerably worse after she discovers her father had Wes murdered. As such she now outright hates him (though ensuring that he doesn’t know it) and is obsessed with exposing him and ensuring he pays for what he did.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite being one of the most manipulative characters (and per Annalise has a sketchy family background), she quietly decides that helping cover up Sinclair's murder is too much, and maybe they should go to jail.
  • Friendship Moment: She tries to convince Wes to not give into his anger to shoot Annalise, but fails.
  • Guile Hero:
    • Evolves into this as the show progresses, tipping Frank off to have Connor's car stolen so it wouldn't be cataloged as evidence. She even managed to fool Connor and Michaela!
    • The first season finale reveals that she's been keeping Michaela's ring on her the whole time to stop the latter from tattling.
  • The Heart: Tries to be this for the other three students involved in the murder, telling them they have to try to get along if they don't want to get sent to jail. She's still more manipulative than most examples, but her heart's in the right place. Following Wes’s death, she loses this side of her character.
  • Hidden Depths: She keeps her cool when the murder occurs, enough to come up with a believable alibi for the four after the body is disposed of.
  • Hypocrite: Laurel gets upset over Frank having another girlfriend despite them being a couple, even though she's cheating on Kan with Frank.
  • In-Series Nickname: She's nicknamed "Wallflower" by Bonnie and Frank when they're discussing who of the five students would become the "shooting star".
  • Irony: Everyone's called her out on how her idealistic mindset will get her absolutely nowhere, but as the series progressed, she became the most badass out of the Keating Five. She's the most composed on the night of the murder, secretly found and kept Michaela's engagement ring in order to keep her quiet about the event. Also, when Connor and Michaela try to take her down with them in their confession to the authority, she immediately alerts Annalise which thwarts their plans instantly. Lastly, she determines the possibility of Rebecca's death in the Season 2 premiere, knowing she would've gone to the police if she was alive. She was right.
  • Jury and Witness Tampering: Does this in Episode 5 despite the whole episode being about not telling the jurors about jury nullification, even if it could save the protagonists' case. They wind up with a mistrial.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In "What Did We Do?", the culmination of everything's that happened became too much for her to bear when Annalise asks her to shoot her, and though she almost gives in, she refuses with the belief that "they might as well just go to jail".
  • Latino Is Brown: Averted. She has a light complexion, but is Mexican. Later revealed to be of mixed descent, with a Mexican father and European mother.
  • Mama Bear: After Christopher is born, her priorities shift drastically, to the point that he's basically her entire world.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Nicer than most example, but she can be just as manipulative as Annalise.
  • Morality Pet: To Frank. He's the closest to Laurel, and gradually becomes nicer to her.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Less than Wes, but she is a bit of an idealist.
  • Nerves of Steel: Stays calm, cool and collected even when transporting a dead body.
  • Nice Girl: She's nice and sweet towards people in general. Probably the reason why she gets along well with Wes, since they're the Nice Guy/Nice Girl of the group.
  • Non-Idle Rich: She specifically wants to help the less fortunate with her law degree, despite not needing the money.
  • Odd Friendship: Seems to be developing this with Bonnie in Season Three.
  • Pregnant Badass: Is impregnated by Wes in season three. She decides to keep the baby, and spends the first half of season four pregnant. However, this does not slow her pursuit of Wes’s killer in the slightest.
  • The Quiet One: So much that Frank and Bonnie's nickname for her is "Wallflower." Laurel doesn't talk much and frequently takes a backseat to the more aggressive Connor and Michaela, but she's quite talented.
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: She poses as Rudy Walters's sister when investigating him.
  • Revenge Before Reason: During the second half of season three, and all of season four, Laurel becomes obsessed with finding and bringing Wes’s murderer to justice. This leads her to almost murder a man based on circumstantial evidence that he is guilty. She manages to calm down somewhat in season four, now wanting only to expose Wes’s killer (her own father) and have him arrested, but she’s still clearly more than willing to endanger herself, her career and that of her friends to pull this off.
  • Rich Boredom: She's clearly uncomfortable with her family's wealth and insipid hobbies.
  • Skewed Priorities: In the flashforwards she calls the other students out for questioning her relationship with Frank while they're dealing with a dead body.
  • The Stoic: She's easily the most unflappable member of the Murder Quartet, even after Sam's death and while disposing his body, she was the most level-headed and aware of the consequences of any errors, even going as far as to create an alibi.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: The flash-forward of season three reveals that she's pregnant. Whether she knows — and who the father is — is yet to be revealed.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ever since the night of the murder, she's become bolder and crafty as ever. She manages to shut down Conner and Michaela's effort to take her down with them in their confession of the murder to the police by bringing in Annalise behind their backs.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Wes’ death really damaged her, making her much colder, more aggressive, unforgiving and ruthless. It reaches its peak in “Wes”, where she tries to murder Charles Mahoney, believing he killed Wes, despite having only the barest circumstantial evidence to draw the conclusion from.
  • Undercover as Lovers: She and Wes pretend to be husband and wife when checking out Rudy Walters in a psychiatric ward.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Subverted. Her taking a jab at Michaela throwing Sam down the stairs as a catty retort becomes more poignant when you remember the latter did it to protect her, but to be fair, Michaela pretty much started the whole altercation by mimicking Laurel for stealing her ring.
  • White Sheep: Her father is the main antagonistic force from late season 3 until the end of Season 4, and her mother isn't much better. Season 5 reveals that she also has a brother, Xavier, who is involved with the murder of Nate Lahey Sr.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: She's the type that goes to law school to change the world and protect the rights of innocent people. Lampshaded by Frank.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • She slept with Frank while she was dating Kan.
    • At one point, she slept with Frank while being in a relationship with Wes. It's because of this that she submits a paternity test that confirms the baby isn't Frank's.

    Asher Millstone 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_asher_919.png
"And you guys call me immature? I'm like the most grown up... grown up ever compared to your dumb asses."
Portrayed by: Matt McGorry

Another of the students Annalise selected, Asher is immature, obnoxious, and privileged, but cares where it counts.


  • The Alcoholic: Starting in "What Happened to You, Annalise?", Asher begins noticeably drinking more and getting drunk more often, using the alcohol to help him cope with his father’s suicide and his murder of Emily Sinclair. He even admits to Wes when discussing what they’ve been through that ‘whiskey helps.’
  • All of the Other Reindeer: He's complained several times about the rest of the K5 not including him. He was miffed when they went to the bonfire after they had made fun of him for wanting to go before, as well as when he learned that he had missed Oliver bringing Philip to the house after seemingly having been kidnapped by him in the beginning of episode 2x08.
  • Berserk Button: Insulting his father is a big one for him.
  • Better as Friends: While their romantic relationship ended badly, Asher and Bonnie still remain close, and have a supportive and caring friendship with each other. With the exception of Frank, Asher is closer to Bonnie than anyone else, even Annalise.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • He runs over Sinclair after she callously tells him that his father was a bad man and deserved to die.
    • He lays an outright brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Connor in “We're Bad People” after Connor makes one too many insensitive comments about Wes.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Asher is immature, not quite as quick as the others, and tries his best not to take things too seriously. But every so often, he’ll demonstrate it’s a bad idea to underestimate him, as he can be surprisingly sharp and cunning when he needs to be. Likewise, his deep, unresolved, pent up rage arguably makes him the most dangerous member of the K5.
  • Broken Pedestal: Greatly looked up to his father, a federal judge, until episode 6 reveals that he most likely got his federal appointment by looking the other way despite knowledge of perjurious testimony in order to sentence an innocent man to death.
  • Brutal Honesty: As Matt McGorry has pointed out, Asher is bluntly honest and doesn't hide much, often coming right out and saying what he wants.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Almost literally, with him being a law student. Despite Asher’s arrogance, immaturity, ignorance and gullibility, whenever he seriously puts his mind towards something he proves that he is honestly quite sharp and observant. He is likewise just as knowledgeable on the law as the rest of the K5 are. Annalise even lampshades it in “There's My Baby”, telling him that he’s a lot smarter than most people believe he is.
  • Dark Secret: Sinclair uses something from Asher's past to get him to be The Mole. It turns out he had an involvement in the gang rape of a girl named Tiffany; he wasn't directly involved, but the rape happened in his summer home and his father covered it up.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Has very many problems with his family's fortune and good standing being the result of an innocent man being sentenced to death, and is also reluctant to sleep with an obviously intoxicated Bonnie.
    • He was the most vocally against Annalise making them take a case defending a woman who helped her husband keep two young girls captive in her basement.
  • Fallen Prince: After being disowned by his mother, Asher has to rely on financial aid for his tuition fees, and gives his dorm-mates relationship/sexual advice in exchange for money.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes:
    • Even more saddening when you realize Asher isn't really considered a friend of the group, and he's evidently hurt that they went to the bonfire without him (in fact they lied about arriving there at a certain time, but only because they were disposing of Sam's body that night).
    • However, in "What Did We Do?" Michaela decides to gives her condolences to him for his father's suicide, but no one has his number, and she laments how they are indeed "the worst people" ever.
  • Happy Dance: So much; every little victory and moment of happiness in Asher's life must be celebrated with some form of dancing.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Sheds a tear and smiles, though he is quick to cover it up, when they get a mistrial in the fifth episode and manage to get a teenage client sent to juvenile court where he will most likely just get probation and counseling. This is after a whole episode of him being cynical and negative about the case.
    • He also comes up with a plausible explanation for the conspiracy in episode four that turns out to be exactly what happened.
    • Is also openly hurt and shaken up when he learns his father more than likely got his job, and the family's money and prestige, by sentencing an innocent man to death.
    • He's a straight, white, privileged male who often gives insulting gestures or comments. Yet, after finding out that Connor is gay, while he does still ask too-personal questions, Asher doesn't act homophobic towards him in any way. He arguably becomes an even better friend to Oliver, even agreeing to be his best man at Ollie and Connor's impending wedding.
    • Surprisingly enough, he is the only main character who hasn't committed any sort of crime whatsoever throughout the entire first season. Aside from not being involved in Sam's murder at all, he is also the only one not involved in any blackmail, foul play or manipulation while working on a case. The only time he came close to doing anything dubious was when he made a deal to give information about a breakthrough in a case in exchange for the trophy. While the information came through and he got the trophy, he still suffered a Broken Pedestal for his father. And quickly turned on its head when it turns out he was responsible for Sinclair's murder.
  • Innocent Bigot: Asher often says things that end up offending people and comes across as quite intolerant at times. However, it’s repeatedly shown that the majority of this stems not from malice, but simply because his life has been so sheltered he honestly doesn’t grasp that what he’s saying is offensive. A good example of this is his speech to Oliver after he discovers he’s HIV positive. His knowledge of what this means is quite shallow and he completely misses how inappropriate it is for him to talk about it with someone who is basically a stranger. However he is entirely caring and supportive.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Becomes this in season four. After he fails to find an internship due to his bad grades while Michaela manages to win a prestigious placement, he begins to worry she’ll see him as a failure and dump him.
  • In-Series Nickname: Embraces the nickname given to him by his classmates for coming off as a self-centered dick: "Doucheface".
  • Jerkass: One of the first things Asher says is a misogynist quip about the first defendant of the series being easy. This sets the tone.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: When Bonnie comes on to him while drunk, he shows genuine concern for her. Plus, see his Hidden Depths section.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: The other students aren't about to tell him that Sam isn't actually on the run and, y'know, dead, with very good reason. The fact that he doesn't know is played for irony. Annalise finally spills it in "What Do We Do?", but they're too busy covering up Asher's murder of Sinclair for him to care very much.
    Laurel: [The police] didn't find anything.
    Asher: What did you think they'd find? The bloody knife Annalise hid under her mattress? Our boss would be a better killer than that, yo.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: His increasing paranoia about his relationship with Michaela, specifically, his fear that she's cheating on him, leads him to actually stalk her in season 4.
  • Manchild: The most immature of the Keating Group, despite being an adult man.
  • Morality Pet:
    • Besides Laurel, Asher is the other member of the group that Frank is closest to.
    • Bonnie shows a sweeter side to Asher when they begin their relationship.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He's near catatonic after running over Sinclair, telling Bonnie he can't even go behind the car and check if she's alive.
  • My Greatest Failure: Asher is deeply regretful over the gang rape of Tiffany happening in his house and the fact he did nothing to help her get justice.
  • Nice Guy: By around Season Three, following all of his character development, Asher has dropped the majority of his nastier traits and become one of the more openly caring, grateful, supportive and kind members of K5.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: No matter how dark the series gets, even after his involvement in Sinclair's murder and the ego thrashing he goes through, he still manages to be the goofy one in the group.
  • Riches to Rags:
    • In Season Three, following his mother more or less disowning him, Asher no longer has his family’s financial support and is forced to live in a first year dormitory, offering sexual advice to freshmen in exchange for money.
    • Gets even worse in season four. After being fired by Annalise and failing to get himself an internship due to his bad grades, he is left utterly bankrupt, to the point he has to borrow money from Michaela. This feeds his fears that she’ll come to see him as a loser.
  • Sad Clown: Asher serves as the show’s Plucky Comic Relief, tries not to take things seriously when he doesn’t have to and attempts to always remain cheerful. He also had an emotionally abusive childhood, carries huge amounts of guilt and pain, has deep pent-up rage issues, and secretly really hates just how much the others dismiss him.
  • Sand In My Eyes: In Season 1, episode 5, after a mistrial is declared and their client walks.
    Michaela: Oh my god, are you crying?
    Asher: No, allergies.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Laurel postulates the reason Asher was brought into the firm is because his father's a rich judge. She eventually turns out to be right, but definitely not in the way she intends.
  • Shaggy Search Technique: In "Freakin' Whack-A-Mole", Asher flies into a rage at the others (who are talking down to him about his dad, a corrupt judge who helped ensure the conviction of the client of the week) and literally stumbles onto a crucial piece of evidence.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: In contrast to the other members of the K5’s normally more laidback attire, Asher’s wardrobe is formal, smart and expensive; he commonly wears a suit even when not at work or in class.
  • Shipper on Deck: A hardcore one for Connor/Oliver. He actually is bent on making them make up after their break up and is very alarmed when a guy is hitting on Oliver.
  • Token White:
    • While not the only white character, he's the only one of the students who achieves the "straight white male" trifecta.
    • Deconstructed, since he is a "straight white male", he often gets flak from the group who claim he doesn't know what they go through and that he has it easy, which, as it ends up, they are right. He tries to be more sympathetic to their issues after that.
  • Trauma Conga Line: "What Did We Do?" was not kind to him. He receives news that his father committed suicide due to Sinclair exposing him, and his own mother practically deems him a disgrace and disowns him for the gang rape he was associated with. His confrontation with Sinclair later on leads to her unapologetically bashing Asher's father to his face and stating he and the world are better off without him. His provocation that led to killing Sinclair with his car and disposing of the body led to him dealing with even more trauma.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Due to a combination of having an emotionally abusive childhood and the large amount of guilt and pain he carries and constantly supresses, Asher has deep pent up rage issues. While normally he has them under control, when he gets seriously angry he becomes legitimately dangerous. It was during a moment of pure blind rage that he killed Emily Sinclair.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Asher greatly admires his judge father and was deeply hurt by the reveal that the reason his father got his job was because he sent an innocent man to prison.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He runs over Sinclair with his car.

    Connor Walsh 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_connor_758.png
"I don't kiss and tell."
Portrayed by: Jack Falahee

One of the students Annalise selected to work with her, Connor is ambitious, cocky, and intelligent. He is openly gay and is not above using his sex appeal to get ahead.


  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: Initially Connor had no interest in long term relationships, preferring to seduce men and have one night stands. This all changed following his developing a relationship with Oliver and falling in love with him. However, while the two are temporarily broken up in season three, Connor fell back into his old habits, burying his feelings in meaningless sex with a variety of men.
  • Badass Gay: Connor's a ruthless lawyer in the making and is very gay.
  • Biggus Dickus: His username on a gay dating app is "EightIsGreat".
  • Break the Haughty: Seems to have a nasty case of this in the flashforwards. Compare the normal timeline's cocky asshole with the flashforwards' hysterical, pathetic mess.
  • Character Development: Goes from cocky, self-assured homme fatale to one of the most moral of the protagonists, largely because of Sam's murder and the fallout, as well as Oliver's influence.
  • Character Tics: Has a tendency to pick things up and hug them against his body when nervous or uncomfortable.
  • Daddy Issues: Connor and his father have a very strained relationship. It was Connor’s coming out to his family that caused his father to finally confess that he was himself gay. However, due to his handling it badly it led to Connor’s mother having a mental breakdown and him alienating himself from Connor, even shipping him off to boarding school for many years. Connor spent years hating his father, but in the present he’s more or less indifferent, wanting him to have no direct part in his life and ignoring their similarities.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Implied, as he was shipped off to a boarding school when he was very young and admits to knowing absolutely nothing about his father. He also manages to easily connect to an abusive victim, demonstrates a lot of understanding of feeling abused, and shows a previously unseen fury when her appeals court starts victim blaming her.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Reaches something close to this on the night of the murder, running to Oliver and pretty much having a breakdown. Has a much smaller one after seen Pax kills himself.
    • Has another one in Season 3 when he finds Wes dead and believes he accidentally killed him doing CPR, as well as running out and unwittingly leaving Laurel behind when the house exploded. He acts belligerent and defensively guilty for a large portion of the season, and even contemplates stepping out in front of a bus while out running.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: His arc in season four. Following all he has been through, Connor has become disillusioned with having a legal career, and following his failure to get an internship, he decides to drop out of law school. This, however, leaves him with no direction, and he temporarily buries his issues in sleeping with Oliver and partying. At least, until a meeting with his father, leaves him unable to ignore the question.
  • Dirty Coward: Admits in “Not Everything's About Annalise” that he sees himself as one, as despite all the illegal things he’s done by this point, he’s too afraid of prison to turn himself in.
  • Distressed Dude: Is kidnapped by the District Attorney Todd Denver after he discovers that Denver is the one who forged evidence implicating Annalise in Wes' murder.
  • Enemy Mine: With Michaela. This quickly evolves into Vitriolic Best Buds though.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: By Season 3, Connor's hair grows more to represent his increase in morality.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Connor was absolutely disgusted at Annalise for continuing to defend a client who she knew was a psychopathic killer.
  • Femme Fatale: A "homme fatale" example. He seduces an IT employee to get confidential e-mails for the first two cases. And also for sex. Though later deconstructed when he does the same thing to a client's PA to get more information, as it ends up doing serious damage to Connor's relationship with Oliver (whom he has grown to care about). That's aside from having witnessed said PA commit suicide after confessing to the crime.
  • Freak Out: Gets more and more unhinged the longer the night of the murder goes on.
  • Friendship Moment: Protects Michaela from Levi in "Meet Bonnie".
  • The Gadfly: Once he realizes Michaela is bothered by his sexual encounter with Aiden when they were at boarding school together, he makes sure to bring it up as often as possible.
  • Guile Hero: He sleeps with a client's PA in "Let's Get To Scooping" after trying and failing to get information from him. After he leaves, the PA calls someone he was working with and starts talking about how he just outsmarted Connor... who left a microphone behind and taped the entire conversation.
  • Guilt-Ridden Accomplice:
    • Played with. Post-murder, he's the one who refuses to trust Annalise and, along with Michaela, tries to rat out the others. However, it's not so much guilt as it is fear of getting caught.
    • Played straight in season three and four, when it becomes clear he's carrying incredible amounts of guilt. In "I Love Her" he outright admits to Annalise that all the horrible things he's done are burned into his brain and he has no idea how to move on with his life.
  • Handsome Lech: Handsome? Yes. Penchant for casual hookups and is good at getting them? Yes.
  • Has Two Mommies: Played With. Connor’s father, Jeff, is himself a homosexual and married to another man, Ted. However, he didn’t come out until Connor was twelve years old, after spending many years married to Connor’s mother, Pam.
  • He's Back: At the start of the series Connor was on track to be the best lawyer of the Keating Five. Following Sam’s death he was traumatised and became a lot less active. Then in Season three, after accidentally getting a case involving a former abuse victim who killed their abuser which everyone else believed was hopeless, he wins.
  • I Am a Monster: Starting in Season Three and becoming a lot more prominent after Wes's death, Connor displays a quite deep self-loathing. He openly encourages Asher while he’s beating him senseless, admits he belongs in prison, and urges Oliver to turn him in, telling him that he's a horrible person. It stems from him finding Wes dead, but being too afraid to tell anyone he was there.
  • I Am What I Am: It’s revealed in “Was She Ever Good at Her Job?” that Connor first came out as gay when he was twelve years old, at his family dinner. He went as far as telling his parents if they couldn’t accept him for who he was, he would outright run away to find people who could.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: A female example. Michaela stands in the way of him almost shooting Annalise and uses this argument to deter from pulling the trigger. She succeeds.
  • Jerkass: While charming, Connor is quite arrogant, and at the start of the series has no problems with sexually manipulating people. He can also be outright nasty towards to Michaela. He gets better.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Connor really does love Oliver, and while he can be arrogant and hostile, he is one of the more moral members of the Keating Five. He had the least to do with Sam’s death, point-blank refused to help defend a murderous sociopath, and outright lost his temper when his client gets victim-blamed. He’s also horribly shaken and guilt-ridden when he accidentally plays a part in Pax’s suicide.
  • Ladykiller in Love: A "maneater in love" example. Despite his protestations that he doesn't 'do boyfriends', Connor does seem to care for Oliver (the mentioned IT employee) beyond his usefulness as a resource. After Oliver dumps him for sleeping with someone else, Connor is extremely hung up over him and tries to win him back (although he isn't above sleeping around in the meantime). By Season 2 they're in a steady relationship.
  • Like Father, Like Son: As much as Connor denies that they have anything in common, it’s clear he takes a few cues from his father Jeff. They’re both charming, sociable, manipulative men who are dedicated to their lovers, but not above ignoring other’s feelings.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: To Michaela. Despite the snark they give to one another from time to time, she admits that Connor is the reason she hasn't gone crazy.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Connor sleeps with an IT employee to get emails about a witness in a case.
  • Momma's Boy: Not portrayed negatively, but its implied Connor is quite close to his mother Pam.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Connor has, as of the second episode, had one sex scene per episode. He takes a break in Episode 3 (where Michaela gets the sex scene), but is back full force in the fourth. He even gets naked in the Season 2 premiere. This eventually reaches its apogee when he gets two sex scenes in the span of one episode, the season 3 finale.
  • Never My Fault: In season 3 he scapegoats Wes for all of the problems the Keating Five have had, despite the fact that he was involved every step of the way in all that's happened.
  • Not So Different:
    • From Michaela. Both are Guile Heroes and crafty in their own ways. Also, both of their mental breakdowns began with issues about their loved ones.
    • From Annalise. As she says in "She's a Murderer," both of them are "worriers," who get through things by worrying through them.
  • Not So Stoic: He's very shocked when he sees Paxton kill himself, and after the murder, he becomes a nervous wreck and ends up fleeing to Oliver and breaking down.
  • Perma-Stubble: His face is perpetually covered in stubble in both present and flash-forwarded scenes.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • He's shown bonding with his sister's children in Episode 11.
    • Despite not really liking Asher, he is the most supportive member of the K5 towards him following his breakdown, even letting him stay with him and Oliver while he recovers and indulging his growing need for alcohol.
  • Pride: Connor initially possess a very deep pride, which proves to be something of a double edged sword. On the one hand, his confidence pushes him to an incredible drive and resourcefulness when facing problems. However, his arrogance causes him to not consider other people’s feelings, leading to him hurting them along the way. After he accidentally causes Pax to kill himself, and is involved in Sam’s murder he humbles up quite a bit. Unfortunately, as the seasons go by he ends up in a downward spiral until he’s eventually buried in self-loathing.
  • Really Gets Around: Has a pretty long list of past hookups — including Michaela's fiancé.
  • The Rival: To Michaela. They become much friendlier during season 2.
  • Sanity Slippage: Suffers this at some point before the flash-forwards, acting like a nervous wreck and cheerily singing Christmas songs and smiling like a psycho while trying to hide Mr. Keating's body.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He makes it known several times that he won't hesitate to jump ship in Season 2. When Annalise, Bonnie, and Asher show up with Sinclair's body, he and Michaela both refuse to assist disposing of the body and try to leave.
  • Straight Gay: Asher is taken completely by surprise, at least. Though, Asher is pretty self-involved.
  • Taking You with Me: During his Enemy Mine with Michaela, both decide to confess to the police and threaten to take Laurel down with them.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: During the second half of Season Three, Connor becomes noticeably colder and nastier. He rudely insults Wes hours after he died, tries to distance himself from all of the events, and constantly accuses Annalise of being involved in the events. It turns out to be him attempting to distance himself from his grief and guilt after finding Wes moments after he died and failing to resuscitate him.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: During the middle of Season Four, Connor finds new direction in life by helping Annalise with her class action lawsuit, truly invested about the potential good they can do.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Sorta. Since he never actually told they were exclusive, he cheats on Oliver with an employee of Prof. Keating's client. It doesn't end well.

    Michaela Pratt 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_michaela_1196.png
"I wanna be her."

Portrayed by: Aja Naomi King

One of the students Annalise selected to work with her, overachiever Michaela is every bit as competitive and ambitious as Connor, ensuring frequent clashes between them. She looks up to Annalise and deeply wants to earn the latter's admiration and respect.


  • Ambition Is Evil: Downplayed. Michaela is the most transparently ambitious member of K5, and is utterly ruthless in her pursuit of furthering her own career. However, while manipulative and at times immoral, she’s never presented as being a worse person than the others. Likewise, the fact that her ambition stems from having a genuinely bad upbringing and a desire to escape from a lifestyle she hates is portrayed sympathetically.
  • The Beard: What Aiden's mother intended for her to become to Aiden, which is why she's so willing to play nice with Michaela in the first season finale.
  • Beneath the Mask: She, along with the rest of her fellow classmates, has been deeply affected by the events of the first season. As such she cops to being exactly what her prospective future mother-in-law really thinks she is in the season finale: a tough, up-by-her-bootstraps girl who attempts to hide it with a mask of gentility and unflappable professionalism. Her accent even changes slightly during her confession.
  • Berserk Button:
    • She flips out upon finding out that Frank's got her pegged as the 'shooting star' of the main five, i.e. the one who'll start out shining brightly, but eventually fizzle out.
    • Insinuating that her relationship with Aiden isn't as stable as she'd like it to be is a great way to break her normally cool composure — just see how she reacts to Connor frequently bringing up their past relationship or Aiden's parents making her sign a prenup. In fact, once her mother-in-law insulted Michaela about her poor background and threatened to send her back to "that backswamp bayou" should she not sign the prenup, all bets were off and Michaela tried to slap her.
  • Birds of a Feather: She sympathizes with Caleb because she understands how it feels to be adopted.
  • Break the Haughty: Once her fiancé's mother serves her a prenup, her breakdown begins. Then the murder happens on the same night. It's a wonder she's still sane the next morning.
  • Brainy Brunette: Also, no wait list here.
  • Broken Bird: Season 3 makes it clear that all of her awful relationships have left their mark. Following being used and betrayed by three different people, Michaele has become even more unwilling to open up and let others in. The biggest obstacle in her and Asher’s growing relationship proves to be simply convincing her that he doesn’t have a hidden agenda and honestly does care about her.
  • Broken Pedestal: She initially idolised Annalise, seeing her as a role model for herself and as an important mentor. Their relationship took numerous hits following Michaela being involved with covering up the murders. It was completely shattered in “I'm Going Away”, following Annalise cutting all ties with her and everyone else, despite the fact that the damage to their careers had already been done.
  • Cat Fight: Versus Laurel in the Season 2 premiere.
  • Competition Freak: She's appalled that the others and Annalise doesn't care about the trophy as much as she does.
  • Deep South: She has a very thick southern accent that slips out when she's very mad, a trait she picked up from her white adoptive mother.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Despite her cold nature, whenever people manage to genuinely form a relationship with her, she’ll display a warmer, happier side. Her relationship with Asher definitely brings out her better self.
  • Enemy Mine: She and Connor don't like each other, but they're willing to team up and sell Wes and Laurel up the river if it means they get off scot-free for Sam's murder. It doesn't push through, but they're on better terms in the second season.
  • Fangirl: She even stated, in a dreamy-awed fashion, that she wants to be just like Annalise.
  • Freak Out:
    • The night of the murder, she's skittish and paranoid when she sees Rebecca arrive at the Keating house and it only goes downhill from there. She spends most of the aftermath bordering on hysterical. This is completely justified by the fact that prior to that she'd had an extremely stressful encounter with her future mother-in-law, and then she believed herself to be Sam's killer when she (accidentally) pushed him over the second story railing in the house, until he came to and attacked Rebecca before Wes finished him off.
    • "Meet Bonnie" has her thrown in an PTSD-esque upon discovering Levi seeing Wes behind her despite it not being on romantic or sexual terms at all, and that Levi is Eggs 911.
  • Freudian Excuse: Was adopted and raised by a pair of neglectful dysfunctional individuals, who barely did anything for her. Escaping from this lifestyle is the reason behind Michaela’s ruthless ambition, while their mistreating her caused both her self-esteem issues and her habit of being a jerk to others. She outright admits that she’s not good at relating to others because she didn’t experience much love growing up.
  • Friendship Moment: Begins bonding with Oliver and Connor in Season 2, and convinces the latter to not shoot Annalise in "What Did We Do?, even stepping in front of the gun.
  • Girly Bruiser: Has made it clear that she's "not scared to hit a bitch" when Laurel antagonizes her. The latter learns pretty quickly when Michaela attacks.
  • Go-Getter Girl: She really cares about her school work, which stands out because of the main five, she seems to be the only one who cares about the classes they have outside of Annalise's class. She also tries really, really hard to do well for Annalise - see Guile Heroine. In "What Did We Do?", Annalise uses Michaela's desire for a great future to convince her to shoot her.
  • Guile Heroine: Michaela lies to several optometrists to uncover another witness's incriminating color blindness and in the flash forward, she also manipulates a cop out of investigating the suspicious rolled up rug hiding a body the four were transporting.
  • Happily Adopted: Reveals she was adopted in Season 2. Subverted in Season 3 when it's revealed that she actually has a lot of contempt for her adoptive parents.
  • Heroic BSoD: Directly after the murder, she's almost catatonic and very unresponsive. Once they get out of the house, she's constantly panicking.
  • Hot-Blooded: Interestingly, despite her cold and aloof outlook on the world and interactions with others. Michaela often displays a very deep fiery passion buried beneath the surface; she likewise has an explosive temper.
  • Ice Queen: Due to her focusing upon pursuing her own career above building relationships, Michaela often comes across as cold and aloof towards others. She likewise tries her very best to keep a cool head in situations, although her temper can sometimes get the best of her.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: She generally comes across as incredibly arrogant, and regularly boasts about her supremacy. However underneath it all she’s really insecure, to the point she honestly believes that nobody truly likes or cares about her.
  • Insufferable Genius: Michaela is the best member of the Keating Five academically, scoring 96 in her second year midterm and being accepted into Harvard and Columbia. She likewise never misses an opportunity to remind everyone else how smart she is.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Subverted; she was also accepted into Yale and Colombia but felt that Middleton was a better fit for her.
  • Jerkass: Her unapologetic desire to be the best, coupled with her relatively short temper, selfishness and arrogance cause her to often come across as this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While she possesses a “take no prisoners” ambition and often acts smug, Michaela is at heart not such a bad person. She does value her friendship to Connor, and is very sympathetic to him during his break up with Oliver. At one point she gave an extra thousand dollars she had to a homeless person.
  • Killing in Self-Defense: Subverted. Her attempt to protect Laurel from Sam resulted in pushing him over the second story railing by accident. In her defense, she was protecting herself and Laurel, but she didn't kill him since Sam survived the fall.
  • Love Makes You Stupid: She concludes that the best way to handle the gun she and Caleb was found in the Hapstall mansion is to simply get rid of, and later convinces Caleb to leave while remaining behind on the off-chance that Catherine returns. This unfortunately gets her wrapped into another murder that needs to be swept under the rug.
  • Mommy Issues: Michaela has deep issues due to the fact that her adopted mother was neglectful, and she grew up believing herself to be a charity case. This has led to her cutting all ties with her in the present, to the point she didn’t even know where Michaela lived until Asher unknowingly gave her the address. It has also led to Michaela subconsciously trying to adopt other women she admires as her new mother figure, then causing her problems when they don’t live up to her expectations. She does this to Annalise, and later to Tegan. Annalise calls her out for it in “Was She Ever Good at Her Job?”, leaving Michaela speechless.
  • Mysterious Past : Michaela says to Connor in Episode 11 that she's remade herself several times.
  • Not So Different: From Connor. Both are Guile Heroes and crafty in their own ways. Also, both of their mental breakdowns began with issues about their loved ones.
  • Not So Stoic: She does not react well to pressure.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • She doesn't hold back when telling Wes how she really feels about him in "Two Birds, One Millstone."
      Michaela: Everything wrong with our lives is about you.
    • She delivers another one to her adoptive mother in "Who's Dead?", when she comes over to stay.
      Mother: Maybe you forgot about it, but I will never forget what it was like seeing you in that sorry-ass swamp shack, where we rescued you.
      Michaela: Social Services rescued me, then I rescued myself! You just needed to feel good about yourself. So, hey! Job well done! You did your charity work, saved your little black baby. And now I'm asking you to leave.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Both she and Connor bail out of disposing Sinclair's body and Annalise's Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Most of the time Michaela is cool and impersonal with others. But in situations where things are going very well for her, or she’s with people she is genuinely close to (boyfriends especially), she’ll display a deeper, more cheerful side. She outright denounces the idea she is “cold” in “I'm Not Her”, claiming she is just a product of her upbringing.
  • Stepford Smiler: In Episode 11, she comes back from holiday break seemingly more stable than she was before, but later confesses that her paranoia over Aiden's sexuality and falsely accusing him of sleeping with another man who turned out to be a business partner led to the postponing of her wedding.
  • Taking the Bullet: Almost. She stands between Annalise and a gun-wielding Connor in order to prevent the latter from shooting the former.
  • Taking You with Me: During her Enemy Mine with Connor, both decide to confess to the police and threaten to take Laurel down with them.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In "What Did We Do?" she deters Connor from shooting Annalise by leaping in front of the gun, protecting Annalise in the process. Comparing her to her past self with the first murder, that says she's learned how to keep it together within chaotic scenarios.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Her love life isn't the best: her fiancee' turned out to have had a past fling with her co-worker and eventually calls off the wedding when her suspicions of his supposed bisexuality prove too much for him. It begins to improve once she starts seeing Levi, until she learns not only that he's been seeing Wes behind her back which sends her back into her biphobic ways in a PTSD-episodic breakdown, but that he's Eggs 911. The only time the girl actually gets a break is when she finally hooks up with Caleb in "Hi, I'm Philip" after his and Catherine's case gets dropped. And even that turns out badly when the season finale shows that Caleb was the murderer all along.
  • The Unsmile: Her smile in Connor's selfie during the bonfire is obviously uncomfortable and strained. Justified, of course, as the two of them were in the middle of covering up a murder.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: When she catches Simon mocking Asher over his father’s suicide in “I'm Not Her”, she point blank tells him if he ever does it again she will seriously hurt him.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: A student-teacher example. Michaela desperately wants Annalise's approval.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: She calls Wes out in "Meet Bonnie" for letting her enter into a relationship with Levi, despite him knowing he was the "Eggs 911" they were all fearing.
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    Bonnie Winterbottom 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_bonnie_9538.png
"It’s for Annalise. I’d do anything for her."

Portrayed by: Liza Weil

One of Annalise's associates. Bonnie works round-the-clock to help ensure Annalise's victory and that the students are doing their job. Despite appearing sweet and kind, Bonnie is as tough as Annalise is and is not afraid to lay down harsh truths.


  • Affectionate Nickname: Asher took to calling her "Bon-bon" while they were dating. Despite their breaking up, he still normally refers to her as such as a sign of their close friendship.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Both Frank and a lawyer on the opposing council imply she's into women. She is at least attracted to men, as shown by her sleeping with Asher on the night of the murder. In the first season finale, she hints to Asher that she and Annalise share a complicated relationship; she becomes silent and stunned when Asher off-handedly makes a joke about her having a lesbian interest in her superior.
    • Annalise is revealed to be bisexual in the Season 2 premiere, so it's not implausible that they've been involved romantically.
    • After it's also revealed that she was the one who killed Rebecca, she reveals had feelings for both Annalise and Sam, which was why she did the deed.
    • Bonnie and Annalise also finally kiss in season 3, episode 9, "Who's Dead?"
    • She finally admits in season 4, "I Love Her" that she does love Annalise.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Gives a quiet one to Annalise in "Is Someone Really Dead" though it's unclear whether it was romantic or platonic.
  • Berserk Button: Anyone revealing her past sexual abuse. Annalise doing this to Asher causes Bonnie to become noticeably enraged and turns against her.
  • Better as Friends: Has had this happen to her twice so far:
    • After Bonnie found out he agreed to cover up a young woman being raped at his party, her relationship with Asher was wrecked beyond repair, to the point she tried to cut him entirely out of her life. She forgave him following his father’s suicide and his breakdown, but admitted they could never get back together. Despite this, the two of them managed to maintain a mutually supportive and caring friendship.
    • Following years of being Vitriolic Best Buds, Bonnie ends up sleeping with Frank after they support each other over their respective traumas and being forced to share a room. However, due to him being on the run for murder and dealing with his own guilt and pain, Frank ends up abandoning her without even saying goodbye, leaving Bonnie feeling betrayed. She chooses to forgive him, and manages to talk himself down from killing himself. They presently even live together, and have managed to return to their old bickering relationship.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She tells Laurel outright that she may look nice, but she's not, and she has virtually no interest in Laurel wasting her time with personal questions when both of them should be helping Annalise.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Her idolisation of and loyalty to Annalise took a very severe hit following Annalise revealing and using the fact Bonnie was sexually abused to manipulate Asher. In "I Want You to Die", she outright tells Annalise that she is a horrible person, who keeps using her past misery to justify everything she does rather than moving on with her life as Bonnie did. They recover over time though.
    • A much worse version happens in the season four premier, when Annalise fires Bonnie and cuts all ties with her. Feeling betrayed after over ten years of loyally following her around, Bonnie now outright despises Annalise.
  • Brutal Honesty: Much like Annalise, Bonnie rarely shies away from harsh truths, like bluntly telling Laurel to actually do something to make Annalise notice her instead of fretting about her not and deadpanning to Frank: "Stop. Screwing. The students." The finale has her dress down four of the Keating Five for not being appreciative of Annalise 'saving your asses' (supportive Asher gets none of that scorn).
  • But I Read a Book About It: Downplayed. Bonnie is a very intelligent, resourceful woman, and is a legally qualified lawyer who is quite knowledgeable in legal matters. But due to having worked for Annalise, doing all the background work and helping her cases since before she passed law school, she has not had much actual practical courtroom experience during her career. On the occasions she does have to practice it becomes clear that she’s either out of her depth throughout the proceedings, or playing catch up.
  • Consummate Liar: Able to lie to even Annalise.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Bonnie was sexually abused by her father and he would make videos whenever he abused her. As “I Love Her” reveals, he also forced her into prostitution when she was fourteen, letting numerous different men rape her. This caused her to fall pregnant, but she never saw the baby due to blacking out, and her father claimed it died in child birth.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Participates in this after getting fired by Annalise.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite coldly killing Rebecca, Bonnie was quite disgusted and enraged when she learned about a gang rape happening at Asher's house and he did nothing for the victim.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Towards Annalise. While Annalise is the best at winning cases, due to a combination of her strategic intelligence, gravitas and manipulation. Bonnie excels at paperwork and the preparation side of being a lawyer, being an accomplished bureaucrat and having been doing most of that side of the job for Annalise since before she left law school. This causes Annalise struggles with both the workload and the preparation in season four, when she longer has Bonnie’s help.
  • Hypocrite: Scolded Frank for sleeping with the students even though, as later episodes would show, she ends up sleeping with Asher. Frank even lampshades it.
  • Ice Queen: Bonnie is cold, impersonal and tries her best to stay calm and distant from others. Aside from her occasionally moments of misery, she rarely displays that much emotion. It stems from the numerous times in her life that people took advantage of and abused her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: On a bad day, she's quite the mega-bitch, but most of the time when she is one, it's mainly justified. See Brutal Honesty above.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Immoral and cold as she is, Bonnie is outright devoted to Annalise, and is deeply caring towards Frank and Asher. Overall, once you manage to develop a relationship with her, she’s a lot more willing to open up and show her softer side.
  • The Lancer: To Annalise, and from "She's A Murderer", she's temporarily taken her place in the courtroom in terms of handling the case. However, as Connor states in "Mama's Here Now", she's no Annalise.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: She and Asher are the only main characters who don't know that Wes killed Sam and Conner, Michaela, and Laurel assisted in disposing of his body — although unlike him, she's quick to piece together the truth.
  • Love Epiphany: After prompting from Doctor Roa, Bonnie finally confesses in "I Love Her" that she loves Annalise.
  • Love Martyr: For Sam and Annalise, which was why she murdered Rebecca.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • She has a complete emotional breakdown while telling Annalise that Sam knew about Lila's pregnancy, and when Annalise fires her.
    • In "No More Blood", when Annalise is screaming at Frank to commit suicide, she's tearfully begging him not to do it. She even appeals to the night they spent together in the following episode.
  • Rape as Backstory: Was sexually abused by her father. It’s later revealed that he also let numerous other men rape her as well.
  • Rescue Romance: The flashbacks in 2x11 reveal that Annalise got her out of trouble, and even referred her to Sam for therapy. It's heavily implied that her feelings for both of them started from there.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Bonnie often comes across as cold and uncaring, but as the series goes on it becomes more and more clear that is mostly just her way of dealing with all the abuse she’s suffered throughout her life.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Heavily leaning towards the Ice side, but in her few happier moments, such as during several periods in her relationship with Asher, Bonnie can display a more playful laid back side to her personality.
  • The Stoic: Doesn't show a lot of emotion with the notable exception of Sam. Unlike many instances of this trope, it heads into pure Nightmare Fuel territory when she murders Rebecca without a flicker of emotion.
  • Tranquil Fury: On the rare occasion that she gets angry, Bonnie never shouts or even gets aggressive. Instead she seemingly gets calmer, crueller and her clear contempt becomes blatantly clear to those present.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Annalise. She breaks down when Annalise fires her, and after figuring out her role in Sam's death, doesn't ditch her or rat her out but advises her to throw the murder quartet under the bus. That loyalty gets seriously tested when she finds out Annalise told Asher about her sexual abuse for her own ends.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Has this dynamic with Frank, it would seem. The two snark at each other almost 24/7, but by Bonnie's admission the two tell each other everything and they actually work very well together, it would seem. The two eventually sleep together in Season 3, but settle on being just friends.

    Frank Delfino 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_frank_1941.png
"I can’t stop thinking about you. It’s freaking annoying."

Portrayed by: Charlie Weber

Another of Annalise's associates, loyal, cynical Frank is armed with plenty of shady connections that Annalise doesn't hesitate to take advantage of. Has a penchant for sleeping with the students.


  • Ambiguous Disorder: Frank displays noticeable signs of having something wrong with him. He possesses a very high intelligence, a noticeable desensitization to violence, a contradictory sense of empathy, is very manipulative and deceptive, but at the same time carries an extreme amount of guilt and self-loathing, as well displaying Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour when he was younger. In-verse Frank spent years believing he was a sociopath; however it’s demonstrated on multiple occasions and outright confirmed by Sam that he isn’t, as he can feel remorse and is able to develop meaningful relationships with others.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Gives one to Annalise in "No More Blood", though it's unclear whether it was romantic or platonic.
  • Assassin Outclassin': When Annalise hires a professional hitman to kill him, Frank manages to overpower and kill the man.
  • Beard of Evil: Inverted. Frank shaving off his beard at the start of Season Three cements the darker path he has begun, sheading more charismatic, cheerful shell, to reveal his inner demons. This ends up leading to him committing several murders throughout the season, and coming dangerously close to killing himself.
  • Better as Friends: Has been very close to Bonnie for over ten years. Following his attempts to redeem himself they meet up and end up sleeping together in “It’s About Frank”. However, due to the unstable nature of events and Frank’s own demons, he abandons her immediately afterwards, deeply hurting Bonnie. The two do manage to patch up their relationship, with Bonnie talking him down from killing himself. But despite living together in season four, it’s clear their relationship remains platonic.
  • The Big Guy: Serves as this for Annalise, in a way. He isn't a lawyer, and is often delegated to performing less than legal actions, usually planting evidence or covering for the students.
  • The Chessmaster: It’s not demonstrated often, but in "Meet Bonnie", it’s revealed he expertly crafted a false trail as a countermeasure on the off chance anyone investigated into him disposing of Rebecca’s body. With a little prompting his plan goes off without a single hitch and not only permanently removes Levi from the picture, but destroys the faith and interest of the others in the investigation, all the while keeping the fact that Rebecca is dead secret.
  • Chick Magnet: Besides Laurel, Frank has had a number of flings. He has shown to be able to successfully seduce women. And Bonnie is attracted to him.
  • The Cynic: He tells Laurel that she won't really be making a difference with her law degree, will probably end up working for a firm she hates, and start a family just as an excuse to stop working.
  • Dark Secret: In 2005, Frank got seduced by a woman working for Wallace Mahoney and got talked into planting a bug in Annalise's hotel room to get a mistrial. However, Annalise decided to go to the police, resulting in Wallace instigating the car crash that claimed her unborn baby's life. Frank confessed to Sam, who later used this knowledge to force Frank to kill Lila.
  • Driven to Suicide: Annalise is screaming at him to do this in "No More Blood". However, it remains unclear if he actually went through with it. In the end, he decides not to shoot himself.
  • The Gadfly: In “Hello Raskolnikov”, he takes a lot of pleasure out of leading Asher along with an obviously fake story of his relatives ordering a hit on a guy and it happening right in front of him when he was a child. All because Asher both ignorantly and innocently asked, as an Italian-American, if he had any relatives in the Mafia.
  • Genius Bruiser: Though not well educated like the others, Frank is very intelligent and cunning, proving to be an impressive tactician. He’s likewise Annalise’s muscle.
  • Hopeless Suitor: To Laurel; despite leading him on to some degree, she finally tells him that their relationship doesn't have a chance. However, it's possible that Bonnie's earlier talk with Laurel about her relationship with Frank possibly hurting Annalise, as well as the fact that Bonnie was there when Laurel declared the relationship over, was the real reason behind the rejection.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: To Annalise. A combination of his many not all together legal contacts, high strategic intelligence and physical abilities means he can either get hold of nearly anything she needs, get rid of anything she doesn’t want, and implement the stages of her plans. It’s made clear in season three, when she no longer has him to help, that winning cases and pulling off shady deads becomes a lot more difficult.
  • Hypocrite: He is disgusted over Laurel being involved with Sam's murder, even though he murdered Lila, a relatively innocent person.
  • I Am a Monster: Spent years believing he was a sociopath and outright hated himself following trying to kill his own father.
  • Important Haircut: In Season 3.
  • Jerkass: He often delivers insults and cutting lines to Laurel, despite actually being in a relationship with her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • After Laurel gets the trial in episode 5 declared a mistrial, the judge decides that the case will go to juvenile court, where the client will most likely get a much lighter sentence if convicted. Laurel initially thinks she's won, but Frank points out that all she did was get a mistrial — the rest was sheer luck.
    • He was in the right for calling out Laurel for only using when it was convenient for her (usually for sex), treating him akin to a "gigolo". He then states that if she wants to have sex with him, she has to get to know him as a real person.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his jerkass moments (see above), he does genuinely respect Annalise and seems to care about the Keating Five in his own way, as seen in his newfound friendship with Asher and the fact that he is often covering for them.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Seems to be, at least. He calls Laurel on the night of the murder, begging for forgiveness and telling her he'll do anything to make it right.
  • Manly Tears: He has these when Annalise confronts him over the death of her unborn son in "No More Blood", and then screams at him to shoot himself.
  • The Nicknamer: He's given nicknames to all of the main five students (excepting Wes): Asher is "Doucheface", Connor is "Hairgel", Laurel is "Wallflower" and Michaela is "Prom Queen".
  • Not So Stoic: See Manly Tears above.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Does this in season 3 in order to get back into Annalise and Bonnie's good graces, killing the man responsible for the death of Annalise's child and Bonnie's abusive father.
  • Professional Killer: He's actually a hitman who takes care of threats deemed too big to accomplish via deceit.
  • Redemption Quest: Self invoked, after it came out that it was he who killed Lila on Sam’s orders and that he was involved (indirectly) with the death of Annalise’s unborn son. Frank takes it upon himself to win Annalise (and to a lesser extent Bonnie) back during the third season. Unfortunately, due to going off the rails, he does this by murdering Wallace Mahoney, then by killing Bonnie’s abusive father, before finally rallying himself into a mania during which he comes within seconds of shooting himself to please Annalise. He manages to calm down somewhat thanks to Bonnie’s influence during the second half of the third season, but still tries to invoke it by trying to take the blame for Wes’s death, ensuring his own imprisonment and potential death to help Annalise.
  • The Sociopath: Calls himself one, despite there being plenty of evidence that he isn't one and it's just part of his act when he just pretends to be a jerk.
  • The Stoic: Frank has the most control over his emotions and hardly lets anyone know what he's really thinking.
  • Student Teacher Romance: He has a penchant for sleeping with the female students. Bonnie calls him out on it, despite getting into a relationship with Asher later on in the first season. Frank eventually gets to knock Bonnie down a peg or two for her admonishments.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Frank planned and attempted to murder his father for trying to discipline him as a child. He spent years of his life hating himself for it to the point that until he met Sam, he outright refused any attempt to get paroled from prison.
  • Undying Loyalty: Towards Annalise. After she tells him about Sam's death, he actively covers up any involvement by the main characters. This is deconstructed over the course of the show, Frank’s loyalty in large part stems from his guilt over causing the death of Annalise’s unborn son, and his own mental problems. Likewise, his devotion towards her extends to the point of outright fanaticism, so much so that even Annalise is scared by it. Following her discovering his involvement in her son’s death, his obsession to please her leads to him going off the rails into a murder spree and coming dangerously close to killing himself at her wishes.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Ten years ago, he used to be Annalise's somewhat guileless secretary. Subverted, as it’s later revealed this was recently after he was released from prison.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Has this dynamic with Bonnie, it would seem. The two snark at each other almost 24/7 and appear to annoy each other at first glance, but by Bonnie's admission the two tell each other everything and they actually work very well together it would seem. The two eventually sleep together in Season 3, but settle on being friends afterwards.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He certainly has no problem with killing girls, as shown by him strangling Lila to death. Much later on in Season 2, he knocks out Catherine with chloroform, drugs her, and dumps her in the woods.
  • You Owe Me: On the night of Lila's murder, Sam calls Frank and uses these words as the reason for why he must get rid of Lila for Sam. The second season finale reveals that Frank owes Sam because Frank unwittingly caused the death of Sam and Annalise's unborn child.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Manages to have a steady girlfriend despite his Student Teacher Romances. She seems to take them in stride.

    Detective Nate Lahey 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_nate_7766.png
"This is your job talking. It's making you see bad where there is none."

Portrayed by: Billy Brown

A devoted local detective who works tirelessly to uphold the law but is fired during the Lila Stangard investigation. Initially carries on an an affair with Annalise.


  • Amicable Exes: Zigzagged. After fully breaking up with Annalise in season three, Nate overall wants nothing to do with her (and not without good reason). As such, while he tries to be cordial in their interactions, and often does agree to continue helping her, he still carries a lot of resentment towards her, which occasionally slips out.
  • Chick Magnet: Besides being married, Annalise had an on-and-off affair with him, a brief fling with another legal worker, and both Annalise's mother and sister have complimented him on his looks.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: His overall problem throughout the series is his conflict over whether to stay loyal to Annalise (despite all the problems this will bring him) or not. In the first season, it ends up costing him his job as a detective. It becomes even more serious when he becomes lead investigator for the DA’s office. While trying his best to avoid Annalise in season three and simply focus on himself, he eventually agrees to help her, as it becomes clear the DA’s office is meddling with the investigation into Wes’s death to frame Annalise.
  • Fair Cop: Zigzagged. Played straight at the start of the series. Over the course of Season 1, thanks to Annalise and Bonnie, he's still fair, he's just not a cop. Then in Season 2, he plays this straight again.
  • Frame-Up: Has Sam's murder pinned on him in "She's A Murderer". He's acquitted of it in S2E2 with the help of Eve.
  • Friend on the Force: Nope. He's fired because Annalise used their connection to her advantage.
    • He's become reluctant one to Wes in Season 2 when he becomes a cop again, but eventually (and understandably) stops bothering with Wes altogether in S2E5. However, the flashforwards reveal that for reasons unknown, assists the Murder Quartet in fleeing the Hapstall estate.
    • Played straight after he and Annalise reconcile towards the latter half of Season 2.
  • I Lied: Annalise begs him to investigate her husband's alibi, because she thinks he might have been involved in Lila Stangard's murder. Nate finds out that Sam actually doesn't have an alibi, but he tells Annalise that Sam does. In the fifth episode, he reveals that he lied to hurt her.
  • It's Personal: His reasoning for why he has such a continued interest in the Lila Stangard case amounts to being solely because the case got him fired.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While he’s rarely nice when he brings it up, virtually every one of Nate’s criticism’s towards Annalise (her out of control drinking, habit of using other people, ends justify the means attitude or the fact she always ends up dragging people in and making their lives worse) are spot on.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Kills Miller with nothing more than his fists, the same weapon his ex-boxer father used to kill a man in jail.
  • Mercy Kill: In Episode 6 of S2, he gave his dying wife the pills Frank gave Annalise, who was the one requested by Nia herself to do the job.
  • Never My Fault: After giving his wife a Mercy Kill, he blames Annalise for distracting him from cherishing his last moments with her, despite the fact that it was his own choice to have an affair with her.
  • Nice Guy: Considering the amount of illegal and morally questionable things he’s done by this point, Nate is a surprisingly friendly and overall decent person. While he knows helping Annalise and the others with their investigations will often cost him, he nearly always goes back to her as he knows that for better or worse, it’s generally the right thing to do.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He is a massive hunk, and throughout the series we get to see him nearly naked quite a few times. When Annalise's mother and sister meets him, they remark and converse on how hot he is.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Delivers one to Miller resulting in Miller's death
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a scathing one to Annalise in S2E6.
    "I don't hate you. I just don't care about you."
  • The Scapegoat: Annalise has him framed and arrested for Sam's murder.
  • Token Good Teammate: After he takes a job for the DA’s office as an investigator in season three. While Nate is still morally questionable, he is so far the only DA official to appear who isn’t corrupt or willing to manipulate cases for their own benefit.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Upon Season 2, he's actually become much nastier towards Annalise, though to be fair he's been framed for a murder he didn't commit by her and thus had to go through several trials to claim his innocence. And just as it seems to get a bit better, he finds himself mercy killing his wife in her final stages of breast cancer. In general, it's understandable given all that he's gone through while involved with Annalise and given her true nature, you can't blame him. However, in the latter's defense, he ends up throwing himself into her cases despite his disdain for her, when no one is forcing him to.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Cheating on his wife with Annalise.

    Oliver Hampton 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/oliver.png
"Usually I require dinner before I agree to illegally hacking into a rich old lady's computer."

Portrayed by: Conrad Ricamora

An IT employee Connor seduces in order to obtain incriminating details about clients and their associates. He is Connor's boyfriend, and as of Season 2, the Sixth Ranger of the Keating Five.


  • Adorkable: A shy, insecure, nice guy.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Called "Ollie" by Connor.
  • Amicable Exes: With Connor in season 3, though they are still trying to make it not awkward and Connor still doesn't consider him a "friend" exactly.
  • Ascended Extra: In Season 1, it was almost believed he was a One-Shot Character seduced by Connor to gain information about clients. He continued to make a few appearances from there on, but has become more present as the Keating Five's new ally and Connor's official boyfriend.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Ricamora is of Filipino descent and Oliver is a whiz with computers even beyond the requirements of an IT department.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He came off as rather passive and submissive to Connor at first, but when he found out Connor had slept with Pax, he immediately kicks him out. Season 2 proves again every now and then that Oliver will call Connor out on something.
  • The Cracker: Connor tends to use him in this capacity, hacking e-mails to reveal incriminating details about cases in exchange for rewards. Now that he and Connor are official, he lends his skills to the Keating Five as a Sixth Ranger.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Twice in Season 2:
    • The first example happened offscreen in Season 1, but Oliver revealed that he contracted the HIV virus from a hook-up he was pressured into by his friends after his breakup with Connor. The second time was him hacking into the computer of Helena Hapstall's killer, who was actually watching Oliver and Connor through the webcam.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: He gets easily distracted upon seeing Connor shirtless. Subverted later on, when he is more comfortable with it.
    • In Season 3, this happens to him with Nate, who gets in the office sweaty and wearing an open jacket. Annalise actually has to ask Nate to leave so Oliver can focus on the situation at hand.
  • Friendship Moment: He and Michaela actually have become rather chummy in S2E2, and the latter actually tells Asher to shut it about the former being HIV-positive.
  • Get Out!: After discovering Connor had slept with Paxton, he kicks him out of his apartment and ends their relationship.
  • Ill Boy: The first season reveals he's HIV-positive. To make it worse, S2E2 reveals that he was pressured into sleeping with a guy he met at a bar by his friends to "get back out there" and he did so most likely do so out of anger at Connor, which led to him contracting the virus.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Seems to think that Connor is too handsome for him.
  • In-Series Nickname: Either referred as "Hacker" by Michaela or "That IT Guy" by Wes.
  • Morality Pet:
    • Oliver is the sole person in the series that Connor treats with kindness. Even with his cheating, Connor was guilt-ridden and even attempted to patch things up. In fact, Oliver's influence is partially responsible for Connor's Character Development.
    • Michaela treats Connor with genuine kindness.
  • Nice Guy: Is without a doubt one of the nicest guys in the show, going through with whatever Connor wants him to no matter the legality of their actions with little complaint... until he finds out that Connor slept with someone else. He even still treats Connor with kindness after the murder, taking him in for the night and willing to hear Connor out about what happened.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In Season 1 and early in Season 2, he was well-aware of the consequences of his hacking and assistance in the Keating Five's cases, most likely imprisonment, and Connor has confided that he doesn't want Oliver to get involved any further in S2E5 once things begin to get dicey. Come Episode 6, he begins to enjoy being a part of the Keating Five and out of excitement eventually hacks into the database of Helena Hapstall's killer, not knowing the killer himself is watching Oliver and Connor through his desktop.
  • Sixth Ranger: To an extent, has become this to the Keating Five in Season 2 as his skills become high in demand in their recent cases.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Wears circular glasses and is an expert hacker.
  • They Do: He and Connor get back together in "She's A Murderer". It doesn't last, though. But then they get back together again in "Wes"
  • Twofer Token Minority: He's half-Filipino and gay.

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Family Members and Love Interests

    Professor Sam Keating 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sam_keating.png
"You want the truth? You're nothing but a piece of ass. That's what I saw when I first talked to you in the office that day. 'Cause I knew you'd put out. That's all you're really good for: dirty, rough sex that I'm too ashamed to tell anyone about. That's how foul you are, you disgusting slut."

Portrayed by: Tom Verica

Annalise's husband, also a professor at Middleton. Revealed to be the corpse the students are trying to cover up in the first episode, and the identity and motivations of his killer is one of the Driving Questions of the first season of the series.


  • Asshole Victim: He lies to and takes advantage of Annalise and Bonnie so things play out the way he wants to. He's killed by Wes while attempting to choke Rebecca.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Initially appears to the audience as a pretty decent person who loves his distant wife. Later episodes only disprove this more and more.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: The students roll his body in the carpet and put it in Connor's car when they go to dispose of it.
  • Character Death: He's the dead body in the flash forwards.
  • Consummate Liar: Able to lie to his own wife, a seasoned attorney.
  • Disposing of a Body: The students burn his body so he'll end up unidentifiable.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Back during the early years of their marriage, Sam was a genuinely caring and well intentioned man. By the present, he’s a selfish cold hearted sociopath.
  • Fake Guest Star: For the bulk of the first season, Verica was the top-billed guest star, getting more screentime and plot relevance that certain main cast members in some episodes.
  • Foregone Conclusion: He's dead as a doornail in the first episode, so any actions we see him take might only contribute to his murder.
  • Happily Married: Subverted. When it first looks like he and Annalise have a good marriage despite the latter being so busy, it's nastily revealed that isn't the case: Besides the infidelities on both sides, they both admit to only marrying each other because of the status that marrying each other would benefit from.
  • In-Universe Nickname: Lila's codename of sorts for him was "Mr. Darcy". When Rebecca finds out about their relationship, she continues to call him this.
  • Jerkass: Sam's entire character can be described by one word: "Unlikable".
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He's no doubt an asshole, but Sam was right on calling Annalise a "hypocrite" for getting upset about him for his affair, while having an affair of her own.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: His children with Annalise were all miscarried.
  • Railing Kill: Subverted. Michaela pushes him off the second floor railing in self-defense and the audience is treated to a nice crunch as he hits the ground, but he managed to survive that. It's Wes hitting him on the head that finally does him in.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: What ends up being his last words to his wife — including such choice words as calling her nothing more than "a piece of ass".
  • The Sociopath: He's a skilled liar and showed no remorse for ordering the murder of Lila despite her being pregnant with his child, and after coolly lying to her that they'll be together.
  • Student Teacher Romance: With Lila. He admits in flashbacks that he truly does love her and not Annalise. It turns out that he was lying and was only appeasing Lila before making a phone call to Frank to kill her for him.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Initially, Sam truly was a loving and supportive husband towards Annalise. However, a combination of them losing their unborn child and failure to conceive any more caused their marriage to start to sour. It appears that living through years of unhappiness brought out Sam’s crueller and more selfish side to the point that in the present he is a manipulative, abusive sociopath.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: As flashbacks show, while always somewhat manipulative, Sam used to be an honestly loving and supportive husband to Annalise, and seemed to be an overall good person.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Attacks Annalise and Laurel and tries to strangle Rebecca twice the night he was murdered.
  • You Owe Me: As the first season finale revealed, these are the words Sam tells Frank during a phone call to get him to murder Lila, despite the anguish Frank displays after the deed is done.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • He sent sexual pictures to the dead girl, Lila, and slept with her. According to Annalise he's had affairs with students before.
    • Annalise also implies in "We're Not Friends" that he cheated on or left his first wife for her. In "She's a Murderer" she refers to herself as having been "Sam's mistress" in the past.

    Kan 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/khan_3.jpg
"I'm Kan. I spend my 80 hours a week at legal aid."
Portrayed by: Arjun Gupta

Laurel's boyfriend who works for Legal Aid.


  • Nice Guy: He certainly seems friendly and willing to help Laurel with her cases.
  • Put on a Bus: Kan has yet to make a reappearance in season 2.
  • Romantic False Lead: Most of the scenes involving him and Laurel also involve how Frank is jealous about their relationship.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Not given characterization beyond "Laurel's nice boyfriend."

    Aiden Walker 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aiden_walker.png
"I love you. I'm not gay."
Portrayed by: Elliot Knight

Michaela's fiancé. He had a sexual fling with Connor back in their all-boys' boarding school.


    Mary Walker 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mary_walker.png
"You sign, or I will make sure you go back to that nasty backwood bayou swamp you came from, you stubborn bitch!"
Portrayed by: Lynn Whitfield

Aiden's mother, and Michaela's future mother-in-law. She's the one who issued the prenup to Michaela.


  • Badass Boast: She dishes one out when Michaela tries to slap her, and effortlessly catches her hand before stating that she's willing to fight Michaela right then and there in the middle of a fancy restaurant.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Though it had something to do with the events of the murder, Michaela eventually signs the prenup. It's subverted in the Season 1 finale when Michaela calls off the wedding and refuses to marry Aiden when Mary asks her to cover up her son's bisexuality.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She appears to be friendly... until we see her have dinner with Michaela. She plays up the act again when she tries to get Michaela to actually marry Aiden to conceal his bisexuality for publicity reasons.
  • Black Boss Lady: She's one of the higher-ups (if not, the head of) in her company.
  • Mama Bear: Her proposal of the prenup was out of protecting Aiden.
  • Not So Above It All: She was willing to enter a Cat Fight with her future daughter-in-law in the middle of a fancy restaurant while in her expensive clothes and well-done hair. However, considering Michaela backed down after Mrs. Walker challenges her, it was possible she was trying to call her bluff.
  • Not So Stoic: Mildly — she was composed when her confrontation with Michaela, but when Michaela refuses to sign the prenup, her anger slips out. Just see her quote on the right.
  • Rich Bitch: She's not afraid to flaunt her wealth in front of Michaela.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: As mentioned, she's the one who dropped the prenuptial forms on Michaela. Michaela is well aware she's this, as she sees right through Mrs. Walker's attempts to get them back together.

    Hannah Keating 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/marcia.png
"She's a murderer!"
Portrayed by: Marcia Gay Harden

Sam's sister, who comes to town in the aftermath of his death.


  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In "Best Christmas Ever" she puts on a concerned (if prying and suspicious) sister-in-law act for Annalise. By the next episode she's actively trying to get Annalise arrested for Sam's murder.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Annalise accuses her of this, as she's been "obsessing her entire life" over Sam.
    Annalise: How's the saying go? Incest is best, put your brother to the test?
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite her Bitch in Sheep's Clothing attitude, Hannah was genuinely distraught over her brother's murder.
  • Kick the Dog: She rubs Nate's arrest right in Annalise's face, even though the latter was the one who framed him.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She'll say anything to the DA if it means Annalise's arrest.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Hannah never liked Annalise, and now that Sam is dead she tries everything to orchestrate her downfall.

    Ophelia Harkness 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ophelia.jpg
"Anna Mae?"
Portrayed by: Cicely Tyson

Annalise's tough, no-nonsense mother.


  • Brutal Honesty: Like Annalise, she doesn't shy away from the harsh truth.
  • Cool Old Lady: Blunt and to the point sure, but Ophelia is still a sensible, supportive and loving woman, who gives her daughter a lot of sound advice. She’s also very quick witted never letting anyone get one over her, and is proven to throw pretty great parties for her family.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: She was sexually assaulted many times throughout her life.
  • Does Not Like Men: Ophelia firmly believes that men were put on the world to take things from women. Downplayed as the series goes on. She proves to like individual men just fine, even getting back together with her ex-husband after years of being estranged.
  • Freudian Excuse: The reason behind her not liking men? Many of the men in her life sexually assaulted her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Immediately after berating Annalise for all of the problems she has because of her decision to marry Sam, Ophelia comforts her. Later on, she reveals that she set fire to Uncle Clyde's old house with him inside. Why? Because she found out that he was sexually abusing her daughter.
  • Lack of Empathy: Downplayed, but still present. While she does feel sorry for others, the amount of misery she’s suffered during her life has left her somewhat apathetic, meaning her first response isn’t always as caring as it perhaps should be.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: It's pretty evident where Annalise gets most of her personality from.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: She had no clue about Annalise's pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage. When she finds out, she's heartbroken for the weight Annalise has been carrying.
  • Mama Bear: After she discovered Uncle Clyde was sexually abusing Annalise, she set his house on fire, while he was still inside.
  • Old Flame: With her ex-husband Mac. The two’s relationship fell apart when Mac left them while Annalise was still a teenager. However, sometime during season two the two reconnect and decide to get back together with Mac even moving back in with her.
  • Rape as Backstory: She tells Annalise that she was sexually assaulted by many men in her life: Her reverend, the first man she worked for, and some of the men she dated.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Develops dementia sometime before season three. While she still is mostly lucid, this causes her to mix up the past and present, such as confusing the fire that killed Wes for the one she started to kill Clyde. It gets worse in season four, to the point that they seriously consider putting her in a home, but Annalise’s financial problems means she can’t afford to. Ophelia assures Annalise that she’ll hold on for as long as she can for her daughters sake.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: She doesn't waste time snarking at Frank and Bonnie or berating Annalise.

    William Millstone 
Portrayed by: John Posey

Asher’s father, William is a respected wealthy federal judge who inspired Asher to pursue a career in law.


  • Abusive Parents: William was often emotionally abusive towards his son, raising him to revere him. His response to his son politely asking him to confirm he didn’t frame an innocent man was to start insulting and belittling him. He also is the one who pressured Asher into covering up the gang rape that happened at his party.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: William tries his hardest to present himself as an upstanding official of the law and a caring father. In reality he is a corrupt man who often used and pushed his son around. It’s best displayed seeing them go from happily watching the football game together, to William insulting and accusing his son of being ungrateful for asking him to confirm he didn’t let an innocent man die to further his career.
  • Consummate Professional: Dedicated to his job, he meticulously recorded every single day of his career in a series of journals, except for the one day he let an innocent man be sent to the electric chair. This one discrepancy later clues his son to what he did.
  • Driven to Suicide: After Annalise reveals all his illegal dealings and cover ups to the press, completely ruining his career, William hangs himself in his study.
  • Happily Married: Overall it seems William is very close to his wife, as she is distraught over his death.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: William is a calm, meticulous professional man. Asher is easily excitable, goofy, immature and rarely takes things seriously. William likewise proves to be an immoral selfish man hiding beneath a mask of charm and respectability. Asher meanwhile hides a caring and highly moralistic nature beneath a veneer of arrogance and entitlement.
  • The Judge: Is a highly accomplished federal judge. Initially appears to be an upstanding version, but proves to in fact be quite corrupt.
  • Self-Made Man: William personally made at least the majority of his family’s fortune through his career as a federal judge. However, it’s later established he got a lot of his money through abusing his position and making illegal deals.
  • Slave to PR: William invests a lot of his time and effort into cultivating the appearance of a respected and reasonable figure; as such his first priority is protecting his image. He decided to cover up the gang rape that happened at Asher’s party, despite the fact that Asher himself had nothing to do with it or even knew that it actually happened to afterwards, and it being a clear open and shut case, simply to avoid any negative publicity affecting his family, and thus himself. This ends up backfiring on him, as he’s forced to continue pressuring his son into more deals throughout season two, to keep what he’s covered up secret until Annalise reveals all of his illegal deals to the media. His reputation destroyed, he kills himself, knowing it’s over.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: A respected local figure, and seen by many around as an important federal judge, Asher grew up idolising his father. This is despite his many cases of corruption, emotional abuse and legal manipulation.

    Eve Rothlow 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/famke_janssen.jpg
"What? Still don't like surprises?"
Portrayed by: Famke Janssen

A lawyer specializing in death row cases and Annalise's ex-girlfriend.


  • Badass Gay: She's openly gay and proved her lawyer skills when she gets the charge against Nate for murdering Sam acquitted even though he had a lot of evidence piled against him.
  • Color Motifs: Many of the outfits she is seen wearing are red.
  • Dark Secret: She and Annalise had something to do with the death of Wes' mother.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While she may have agreed to take Nate's case for Annalise, she will not break his confidentiality.
  • Friends with Benefits: Decides to become this with Annalise upon her second appearance.
  • Married to the Job: Besides other relationships with women, Eve also "buried herself in work" to get over Annalise.
  • Meaningful Name: "Eve" is Hebrew for "Living, life, lively". Notice that every time she's around, Annalise appears more lively.
  • Morality Pet: Annalise has described her as the "most beautiful thing to happen to her". Anytime that Annalise is around Eve, the former is openly vulnerable and gentle.
  • One Head Taller: Thanks to actress Famke Janssen, Eve is a good head taller than Annalise.
  • Only Friend: To Annalise. Eve is the sole person that Annalise trusts and is genuinely happy to be with.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Despite being in other relationships with women, Eve has never gotten over Annalise.
    Eve: Part of me is still in love with you. It’s pathetic, I know. And yes, I’ve been with other women, buried myself in work, but… you show up again in my life, Annalise, and I’m just done. You still have me and I hate it. I don’t hate you but I… I hate how you make me feel. Because I can’t have you.

    Levi Wescott 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/how_to_get_away_with_murder_eggs_911_levi.jpg
"Excuse me, my phone died can I borrow one of yours?"
Portrayed by: Matt Cohen

Rebecca's foster brother.


    Rose Edmond 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/51635.jpg
"Protect my boy."
Portrayed by: Kelsey Scott

Wes' mother, who moved from Haiti to Ohio with her son when he was a child. She committed suicide when he was twelve years old. Season two reveals that there was more to her death than appears.


  • Dark and Troubled Past: She was repeatedly raped by her employer, Wallace Mahoney. Which resulted in the birth of Wes.
  • Dark Secret:
    • She was involved with a federal homicide case, in that she was Annalise's sole witness who could prove that her client Charles Mahoney was not the murderer. She agreed to testify, only to flee the court before her witness. Why she refused to testify (and why she was so afraid of the Mahoneys) isn't revealed at that point.
    • Episode 2.14 reveals that she had been serially raped by Charles Mahoney's father Wallace, and had been coerced by him to perjure herself to keep Charles from prison. The reason she killed herself was to keep Wes — Wallace's illegitimate son — safe from him.
  • Driven to Suicide: She killed herself when Wes was twelve. The midseason two finale reveals that Wes discovered her body. And that both Annalise and Eve may have had something to do with her death. It turns that while neither had a direct cause of her suicide (since Rose did in fact commit suicide), they both indirectly caused her to do so.
  • Mama Bear: The flashback reveals that the reason Rose committed suicide was to keep him free from the Mahoneys.
  • Missing Mom: Rose committed suicide when Wes was 12.
  • Posthumous Character: By the start of the series, she's dead.

    Wallace Mahoney 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hqdefault_1_9.jpg
"Why would you think that?"
Portrayed by: Adam Arkin

Wallace Mahoney is a successful businessman based in Cleveland. Ten years ago, his son Charles was arrested for the murder of his fiancée, and hired Annalise to represent him. He claims that his aloof, cold and clinical behavior comes from wanting to protect his son, but it's clear that he's hiding a few secrets of his own. Namely, that he had been raping Annalise's key witness — Rose Edmond — and had threatened her into perjuring herself on Charles' behalf, with the unsaid threat that he would go after Christophe/Wes — also his biological grandson.


  • Asshole Victim: A racist and child murderer who gets killed in the Season 2 finale.
  • Bait the Dog: In his first scene he comes across as arrogant and snobbish, but still appears to be a caring father and an overall reasonable man. With more appearances, it becomes more and more clear just how unpleasant a human being he truly is.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Mysteriously sniped by a headshot in the Season 2 finale before Wes can fully confront him.
  • Dark Secret: Subverted. He raped Wes' mother and had threatened her to lie in court so his legitimate son doesn't go to jail. However, while he was willing to kill a young Wes, he didn't rape Rose, it was Charles.
  • Disappeared Dad: Subverted. To Wes, but Wallace is his disappeared grandfather. It was his son, Charles, that fathered Wes.
  • Jerkass: The first moment he talks, it's made very clear that he's an unlikable man.
  • Karma Houdini: He's still very much in business and making money despite everything he's done. However, this is averted in the second season finale. See Boom, Headshot! above.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: He is Wes' father through the rape of his mother Rose. Subverted, as it turns out he's really Wes's grandfather, and his son Charles is Wes's father.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: He made the call that led to Annalise's supposed car accident, after he learned she was going to the feds to protect Wes from him.
  • Offing the Offspring: He has no qualms about threatening Wes to get Rose to do his bidding, even though he's aware that Wes is his biological grandson.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He tells Annalise to her face that the only reason he hired a black, female, pregnant lawyer was because the jury was mostly made of non-white people, and that her gender and pregnancy would make her seem more human and believable to them. He ends his speech by warning Annalise to not give her race 'a bad name'.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He openly threatens Wes in front of Annalise, and the second season finale reveals that he engineered the car crash that took the life of Annalise's unborn son.

    Meggy Travers 
Portrayed by: Corbin Reid

Wes's girlfriend in Season 3.


  • Nice Girl: She's very kind and supportive towards Wes, at least until they break up. She even gives Laurel a hug soon after they first meet in the Season 3 premiere.

    Jorge Castillo 
Portrayed by: Esai Morales

Laurel's father, the charming wealthy owner and CEO of a telecommunications company who has a strained relationship with his daughter. Jorge is truthfully a lot darker individual than he first appears.


  • Archnemesis Dad: To Laurel. Their relationship had been strained for years but his organising the murder of her boyfriend and father of her unborn child (so he wouldn't implicate Laurel were he to confess his involvement in Sam's murder to the police) cemented this status. This causes her to become obsessed with exposing him.
  • Big Bad: In season four, it was he who had Wes murdered, and the season is about Laurel trying to bring him down.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: A wealthy businessman, Laurel’s investigations reveal that for years Jorge has been under suspicion for embezzlement, managing offshore accounts, the mysterious death of his employee Tent Stockton, stealing other countries' resources and tax evasion. At the very least, we know he had Wes murdered and is implied to have Denver in his pocket.
  • Domestic Abuse: After Laurel's mother suffers a breakdown, Jorge has her immediately institutionalized, then promptly abandons her. This was one of the first straws in the breakdown of his and Laurel’s relationship.
  • Greed: Laurel reveals that when she was sixteen and got kidnapped, Jorge refused to pay the ransom for her. His conversation with Laurel about how "rich" they were going to be when his company went public was also telling, wherein she points out that they're already rich and he dismisses this since they're not as rich as they could be.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Jorge is selfish and not exactly a nice guy, but every so often he'll have a kinder moment that suggests he really does want to reconnect with his daughter and does care about her wellbeing. Only for him to ruin it moments later by revealing he has an ulterior motive. His relationship to his grandson, Laurel and Wes' baby, is also like this for much of Season 4; he seems to actually care about him, constantly visiting him in the hospital and claiming to take him from Laurel for his own safety (and he even asserts he wasn't the one who killed Wes, the baby's father) but of course then he turns around and uses the baby as leverage against Laurel, multiple times, to try and get what he wants. And while he didn't kill Wes himself, he still ordered his death.
  • Knight Templar Parent: His rant to Annalise suggests that at least in his mind he's doing everything he does out of love for Laurel, to build up a commercial empire where she's fully protected and doesn't ever have to want for anything. He also despises Annalise for "stealing" Laurel away from him. It's notable that Annalise persuades him to grant Laurel custody of her child again by pointing out that everything he's done has hurt Laurel exactly the way he claims to be hurting now.
  • Moral Myopia: He claims to be the victim of the situation in season 4 because not only has Annalise "stolen" Laurel away from him, but he suspects that Laurel is responsible for the disappearance of her own mother, the alleged love of his life. Annalise promptly points out that Jorge actually stole Laurel's baby from her, and actually had Wes killed, the love of Laurel's life.
  • Pet the Dog: In the season finale, he realizes that all he's doing is just hurting Laurel and finally recants his testimony against her, allowing her to have custody of her son. It's downplayed since he also thought he'd gotten what he wanted with the hard drive, but it was Annalise's "Reason You Suck" Speech that finally convinced him to let Laurel go.
  • Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: On the surface Jorge seems to just be a charming, very successful businessman. However, in truth he is in fact a corrupt murderous man who cares about no one but himself.

    Mac Harkness 
Portrayed by: Roger Robinson

Annalise’s father. After walking out on his family many years ago, he ends up reconnected with his ex-wife and rekindling their relationship, to Annalise’s displeasure.


  • Disappeared Dad: Walked out on his family when Annalise was still a teenager. This is something she has never forgiven her father for.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Had no idea that his brother Clyde molested Annalise, or that Ophelia murdered him for doing so, until many years later when Annalise told him. When Ophelia started talking about it due to her onset of dementia, he initially thought she was making up stories.
  • Old Flame: With his wife Ophelia. Their relationship went sour when he left her many decades earlier. However, sometime during season two they reconnect and decide to get back together, with him even moving back in with her.
  • Parents as People: Mac comes across as genuinely friendly and cheerful man, however he is the first to admit that he failed as a father, and claims he simply wasn’t suited for it.

    Jeff Walsh 
Portrayed by: D.W. Moffett

Connor’s father, a lawyer himself, who has a very strained relationship with his son.


  • All Gays Love Theatre: Upon arriving in Philadelphia, he and his partner go to see no less than eight separate musicals in a span of a few days. Outright lampshaded by Oliver, asking Connor if Jeff really has so much trouble admitting he’s gay as he claims.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Downplayed. Jeff overall comes across as a charming and friendly man who greatly admires his son. However, while he is honestly well intentioned, much like Connor, Jeff has a manipulative and selfish side to his personality. He is also subconsciously trying to live the life he wanted through Connor.
  • Envy: It’s clear from their interactions that Jeff carries quite a lot of subconscious envy towards his son always being so confident in his sexuality compared to him, as well as living through more understanding times. His encouragement for him to dump Oliver and go back to his former life style of sleeping around, is implied to partially due to Jeff’s wish that he could have lived his youth that way.
  • Gayngst: Spent years struggling with his sexuality and was deeply in the closet for nearly forty years, not coming out until after he had already been married to a woman and had two children. Even in the present, despite being out for over ten years and happily married to his partner Ted, as Connor states, he still doesn’t like associating himself with anything stereotypically gay except for when it concerns Ted.
  • Happily Married: Despite his problems with his sexuality and the trouble he caused by mishandling his coming out to his family, Jeff is nevertheless very close and loving towards his husband Ted.
  • It Runs in the Family: While it’s never acknowledged, there are more than a few obvious similarities in looks and personality between Jeff’s husband Ted and Connor’s boyfriend Oliver.
  • Like Father, Like Son: As much as Connor tries to deny it, he and his father do share a lot of traits. They’re charismatic, cunning, manipulative and bit selfish. They’re both devoted lovers, but have a habit of inadvertently hurting others as collateral damage.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Jeff has absolutely no idea about all the murders Connor has helped cover up and the illegal things he’s done with Annalise. This causes him to assume that the dramatic change in Connor’s personality and his decision to drop out of law school is due to Oliver’s influence. This is one of the reasons he encourages Connor to leave him.
  • Nobody Over Fifty Is Gay: Averted. Jeff is somewhere in his early to mid-fifties, and has been out of the closet for just over ten years by this point.
  • Parents as People: Jeff comes across as a friendly and well intentioned man, who really does regret his past mistakes and wants to fix his relationship with Connor. However, his not knowing about what Connor’s been through, and subconsciously projecting his wants onto Connor leads to him advising him to dump Oliver and go back to a lifestyle of meaningless sex that he no longer wants.
  • Straight Gay: Just like his son. Aside from seeing a few musicals with his husband, Jeff displays absolutely no camp traits. Connor points out he honestly still has a few problems being truly open that he’s gay even after coming out ten years previously.

    Christopher Castillo 
Portrayed by: Adrianna and Jasmyne Jones

Wes and Laurel's son, born after the former's death.

  • But Not Too Foreign: Each of his grandparents hails from a different country: Charles Mahoney is American, Rose Edmond is Haitian, Jorge Castillo is Mexican, and Sandrine Castillo is French. Overlaps with But Not Too Black as only his Haitian paternal grandmother is black.
  • Children Are Innocent: Michaela reassures Laurel of this, claiming to have been told that at the age of 2 she'd witnessed her birth father kill her birth mother, but she had no memory of it, after Christopher witnesses Miller's death before he was even a year old.
  • Cross-Cast Role: A Type 4 example, with a pair of female twins portraying the male infant Christopher.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Not an exact replication, but Laurel makes it clear that his name is Christopher after Wes's birth name, Christophe.
  • Morality Chain: To Laurel. Losing Wes did a number on her, and it's pretty clear that her son is the only thing keeping her from going off the deep end.
  • Morality Pet: Frank explicitly says that he doesn't care if Laurel doesn't want to get back together with him, Christopher is his guy and he'll do whatever is needed to protect him.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: His father was murdered in November of 2015 and he was born in April of 2016.

    Nate Lahey Sr. 
Portrayed by: Glynn Turman

Nate's father, a former boxer who was wrongfully imprisoned and later committed murder after being driven mad in solitary confinement. Annalise makes him the face case of her class-action lawsuit. She wins him his freedom, but he's murdered by a prison guard before he can be released.

     Interim District Attorney Ronald Miller 
->Portrayed by: John Hensley

Todd Denver's replacement in the Philadelphia D.A.'s office on a temporary basis and the leading candidate for the permanent job, he falls for Bonnie. She's initially suspicious of him, but eventually comes to love him back. Things don't stay rosy for him, however.

  • Adorkable: Writes love "letters" to Bonnie via Post-it notes and uses an outdated phone that can barely hold a charge.
  • Amoral Attorney: [[spoiler: Subverted. He's truly a good guy, which makes his death all the more tragic.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In the most literal sense. His frequently-dying cell phone leads him to use a pay phone to make a certain call, essentially a low-tech answer to a burner phone, which is all the evidence that Nate needs to assume the worst about the contents of that call and kill him for revenge.

Case-Related Characters

    Rebecca Sutter 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_rebecca_6233.png
"I have a high IQ, a wide range of general neuroses and a slight tendency towards paranoia."
Portrayed by: Katie Findlay

Wes's next-door-neighbor, a bartender and drug dealer who doesn't take crap from anyone. This backfires when she's declared prime suspect in Lila Stangard's murder.


  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Brunette and not much with the emoting or interacting with others.
  • Ambiguously Bi: She says she's really good at flirting with girls and comes across as rather infatuated with Lila in flashbacks, and Connor describes the end of her friendship with Lila as "breaking up". She's also involved with Wes.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: Gets blood all over her face the night of the murder. In "Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me," revealed to be thanks to Sam being on top of her and strangling her while Wes hit him on the head with the trophy.
  • Bound and Gagged: In the first season finale, the students tie her up and duct tape her mouth when they learn that Sam might have been innocent. It's also how she goes out when Bonnie tapes her mouth and suffocates her with a plastic bag.
  • The Confidant: Seems to have been this to Lila; they are clearly shown to be close before the latter was murdered and Lila would tell Rebecca the sordid details of her relationship with Sam.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Wards off people with plenty of sarcasm.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She's closed-off, aloof, and stoic, but eventually warms up to Wes and to the other students to a (far) lesser degree.
  • The Gadfly: By her own admission, she likes to make other people feel uncomfortable.
  • Goth: Rather cynical, dresses in dark colors, nose and lip piercings, the works.
  • Kick the Dog: She induced a mental breakdown in Rudy Walters so he wouldn't become a witness in Lila's murder investigation.
  • The Lost Lenore: To Wes and Levi in Season 2.
  • Mysterious Waif: If this show was a Film Noir, Wes would be the detective and Rebecca would be the Femme Fatale that gets him mixed up in the investigation of Lila Stangard's murder. Yet Rebecca isn't a femme fatale in the context of the show, with Wes being drawn in despite her clear desire for him to butt out, hence this trope. She might qualify in the flash forwards, since she and Wes enter a relationship that has him murdering Mr. Keating to defend her.
  • Odd Friendship: She and Lila Stangard are probably the last two characters you would have expected to be friends, but the brief scenes we see of them interacting suggest that they genuinely enjoyed hanging out together. Subverted, as it turns out while Rebecca liked her, Lila was a False Friend towards her.
  • Parting Words Regret: Her last conversation with Lila was an intense fight. Rebecca then seduces Griffin just to spite Lila and is all "I-told-you-so" when Lila catches them in the act. Next, she discovers Lila's body in the water tank and, panicked, lets off a series of little nos.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When she realizes Annalise's house is where the dick pics on the phone were taken and assumes Annalise is in on it all, she skips out on it all, only telling Wes that she did so.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Despite her one-night stand with Griffin, Rebecca develops an extreme liking to Nice Guy Wes.
  • Slut-Shaming: When it's revealed that co-defendants Griffin and Rebecca were about to have sex the night Lila was murdered, everyone is fully aware that only Rebecca's reputation will be tarnished. Annalise rightfully calls the court out on this.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: She was the tough-acting, punk Tomboy to Lila's saucy sorority Girly Girl.

    Lila Stangard 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/how_get_away_murder.png
"Ever since I met you, I started going crazy."
Portrayed by: Megan West

A Middleton student murdered at the beginning of the series. The identity of her killer is one of the Driving Questions of the first season.


  • Asshole Victim: Lila was eventually revealed to be quite a jerk before her murder, which widens the list of suspects.
  • False Friend: It's eventually revealed that on the day of her death, Lila admitted that she only hung out with Rebecca because she felt sorry for her and because she wanted a distraction from her stressful life. She ends their friendship by stating that she's too good for Rebecca, a "trashed-out druggie whore", to hang out with.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Sam pressured her into visiting an abortion clinic before she died in order to get rid of his child. According to the receptionist, she really wasn't comfortable with it.
  • Hypocrite: She got noticeably upset when seeing Griffin having sex with Rebecca, even though she was having a secret affair of her own.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: She was six weeks pregnant at the time of her murder, with Sam's baby.
  • Jerkass: Revealed to be quite a mean person.
  • Kick the Dog: The mean things Lila said to Rebecca on the night of her death clearly hurt her.
  • The Mistress: She seemed thrilled at the prospect of being in a relationship with a married man, and confides in Rebecca as much.
  • Never My Fault: Lila angrily admits that she blames her life going wrong — the drugs, breaking up with Griffin, entering into a relationship with Sam and getting pregnant as a result — on her friendship with Rebecca, who points out that Lila chose to make those decisions, not her.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: No matter what case of the week the protagonists are tackling, Lila's murder and the legal drama surrounding it is always in the background and drives much of the plot of the first season. Specifically, it kickstarts a chain of events that culminates in Sam Keating's murder and in further intrigue when it's revealed that Frank was the one who killed her.
  • Posthumous Character: Since she dies at the beginning, we learn about her through flashbacks and the people involved in her murder such as Rebecca.
  • Student Teacher Romance: With Sam.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Carried on a sexual relationship with Sam Keating despite having a virginity vow with Griffin.

    Griffin O'Reilly 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/griffin.jpg
"Lila..."
Portrayed by: Lenny Plat

Lila's boyfriend, a student at Middleton, and the other major suspect in her murder.


  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Griffin.
  • Big Man on Campus: Certainly seems to be, what with how the Middleton higher-ups scramble to defend him after he is accused of murdering his girlfriend.
  • Control Freak: Implied. Rebecca mentioned that he could be this in regards to his religion.
  • Frame-Up: Pins the murder on Rebecca. Subverted in the first season finale when it's revealed that he was being completely honest. Rebecca didn't commit the murder, but her actions just beforehand would reasonably lead Griffin to believe that she had.
  • Holier Than Thou: According to Rebecca, his religiosity made him controlling.
  • Jerk Jock: Varsity quarterback who acts badly towards Rebecca — although, as the first season finale reveals, he did genuinely care about Lila and was completely honest about everything on his confession.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Griffin is a Jerk Jock and a Control Freak, but it's shown that he did genuinely love Lila.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Despite having a virginity vow with Lila, he was about to sleep with Rebecca the night Lila was murdered.

    Rudy Walters 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rudy.PNG
"Wet..."
Portrayed by: Jack Mikesell

The former occupant of Wes's room and the one who left the ominous scratches on the wall. He was a law student at the time.


  • Driven to Madness: Rebecca claims he had a nervous breakdown. Wes and Laurel investigate it, eventually finding Rudy himself at a psychiatric ward thanks to a drug-induced mental breakdown courtesy of Rebecca.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason Rebecca gave him dangerous drugs was because he'd witnessed her fight with Lila, a testimony that could incriminate her.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He only appears in two episodes and only says one word in the present timeline ( "Wet" when showed a picture of Rebecca, referring to seeing her dripping wet — she'd just come out from hiding in the water tank where Lila's body was hidden) but it's enough to make Wes suspicious and reopen Rebecca's case, kicking off the first season finale's plot.

    Caleb and Catherine Hapstall 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bal_how_to_get_away_with_murder_season_2_premi_004_1748x984.jpg
Portrayed by: Kendrick Sampson and Amy Okuda, respectively

Introduced in Season 2 as Annalise and her team's new major clients, they are accused of murdering their wealthy adoptive parents in cold blood, murdering their aunt for testifying, and having a sort-of incestuous affair with each other.


Tropes applying to both siblings:

  • Alliterative Family: Adoptive siblings, but still named Caleb and Catherine.
  • Berserk Button: Insulting their adoptive parents or the other sibling in front of them. This leads them to secretly recording the students badmouthing them behind their backs and requesting Annalise to tell them to stay away.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Rumored to be in an faux-incest relationship with each other, which is being used by investigators and the prosecution against their case. Confirmed in the second season finale.
  • Happily Adopted: Both of them claim this, but it's ambiguous due to the fact that they keep hiding secrets from Annalise and the students.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Both of them were adopted by the Hapstalls, and may or may not be in a relationship.
  • Siblings in Crime: How the prosecution and the media see them, although it is currently unknown if they actually did kill anyone. The second season finale reveals that it was Caleb who murdered their parents. Catherine was innocent all along.

Tropes applying to Caleb only

  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Shares the role with District Attorney Todd Denver for season two. While Denver is the one who targets Annalise and K5, it’s his crimes which bring about the events of the season.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Caleb is quick to protect Catherine from slandering statements and accusations, which leads to fueling the flame of the Brother–Sister Incest rumors. When Sinclair offers a plea deal, Caleb is willing to double his time if it means Catherine will walk. The season finale reveals he was faking this all along, as he was attempting to manipulate events and people so that Catherine and Phillip would end up in jail and he would inherit everything.
  • Driven to Suicide: Once the DA accepts the evidence Annalise provides regarding the Hapstall murders, he slits his wrists in a bath tub to avoid arrest.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: More like "Glad To Not Having To Go To Jail Sex", Caleb with Michaela in "Hi, I'm Phillip".
  • Greed: Killed his parents so he could get his hands upon their millions.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Calem is an expert at using charm and seduction to get others to do what he wants. He seduces Michaela to help ensure he is found not guilty of his parents murder, and he also manipulates Catherine to provide him an alibi for the murders.
  • The Sociopath: Annalise describes him as a "sociopathic liar" to the DA when negotiating for immunity concerning the Hapstall murders and Sinclair's murder. Considering how he pretended to love his adoptive sister while framing her and Philip for the murder of their adoptive parents, and how convincingly he was able to feign concern for her, this may not be too far off the mark.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He's tall, African American, and muscular — not to mention he may have been involved in the murder of his parents, so he gets Troubled, but Cute points too.
  • Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Calem comes across as charming, easy going and kind hearted young man and a caring brother, who simply got caught up in a horrible crime happening to his family. In truth, he’s a greedy, murderous sociopath.

Tropes applying to Catherine only

  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Implied. Catherine does question Michaela if the latter is interested in her brother.
  • Damsel in Distress: One of the flashforwards in Season 2 reveals an unconscious Catherine in Frank's back seat before being dropped off in the woods before coming to the next morning. The 'damsel' comes into question when we learn that Catherine's in league with Philip.
  • Guile Hero: In "Two Birds, One Millstone", Catherine intentionally leaves her tablet on the table where the Keating Five are sitting before Laurel realizes Catherine had not only left it on to record their conversation, but placed a passcode so that they couldn't delete the recording.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: She provided Caleb's alibi when their parents died because she was in love with him.

    Assistant District Attorney Emily Sinclair 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/emily_sinclair_620x374.jpg
"That's quite a temper, Miss Keating. Looks like you're more than capable of murder."
Portrayed by: Sarah Burns

The prosecutor assigned to Sam Keating's murder case and the Hapstall siblings' case who has strong suspicions regarding Annalise's involvement.


  • Anti-Villain: She does have noble goals — to find out the truth of Sam's murder and to bring the killer to justice — but she commits numerous ethical violations in order to reach them. In "Hi, I'm Philip", she arranges meeting with the Hapstalls behind the backs of Annalise and the judge in order to establish plea deals, coercing Caleb and Catherine to plead guilty to the murders of their adoptive parents and aunt.
  • Arch-Enemy: Of Season 2, to Annalise, the Keating Five, and to a smaller extent, Eve.
  • Asshole Victim: Throughout her time in Season 2 she makes a point to intentionally antagonize members of the Keating 5 and others, including Nate, hoping to trip them up. This makes it harder to quess who exactly murdered her in the mid-season finale. She's ultimately done in by being an asshole to Asher about his father committing suicide, although contrary to what Asher believed she was actually innocent of leaking his corruption.
  • Blackmail: Emily's aware that Asher covered up the gang rape of a girl named Tiffany by his fraternity brothers, and is using it to coerce him into gathering incriminating evidence against Annalise.
  • The Dreaded: No matter how much the Keating Five gets accomplished or how many times she's constantly out-maneuvered, she's one step ahead, and is completely ruthless when it comes to opposing Annalise in the courtroom and achieving her goals. She was the prosecutor in Nate's case against Eve in proving his innocence in Sam's murder, and blackmailed Asher and used his relationship with his father to arrange a plea deal in the case of the gang rape of a girl named Tiffany. She also planted a mic inside Annalise in the guise of a pen, and almost succeeded in having the Hapstalls agree to the plea deal, thus forcing the Keating Five to save them from themselves and Sinclair.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite her being a ruthless, smug Anti-Villain she does have her standards.
    • She was genuinely disgusted at Asher and his father for covering up the brutal gang rape of a girl named Tiffany.
    • She is not a racist.
  • Foregone Conclusion: As revealed in the flash-forwards, she dies the same night Annalise gets shot in the Hapstalls' home.
  • Hate Sink: Any of her positive qualities gets brought down by how self-righteous and smug she is. From resorting to blackmail (and not as a last resort), to planting illegal bugs in a suspect's home, to eagerly baiting people by pushing their berserk buttons (especially Asher's), and her consistent self-satisfied smirk, she's the easiest character to hate on the show.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: She's mislead by the very same device she placed in Annalise's home when the gang spout fraudulent information into the mic, motivating her to initiate a search warrant at the Hapstall mansion the same day she gave them the plea deal. However, she realizes that the time duration to confirm the deal had ran out, thus nullifying the arrangement altogether. Subverted at first when Catherine meets her to take the deal, but evidence arriving to the courtroom made her reconsider, knocking down Sinclair once again when the case is immediately dropped.
  • Is That a Threat?: Says this word for word to Annalise in the 7th episode of Season 2.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While it got her killed by Asher, she wasn't wrong on how Asher's dad was a bad man, seeing as how he was a corrupt judge and an emotionally abusive father to his own son.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Called Annalise to the stand in "She's Dying" and antagonized her enough to eventually (and coolly) receive a rather abrasive verbal lashing from Annalise, thus proving to the courtroom that Annalise does have anger issues which incriminates her further in the investigation of Sam's murder.
  • Pride: Her Fatal Flaw. Basically, she is a Manipulative Bitch that thinks that she is a Magnificent Bastard. She believes herself to be way above everybody else and most of the time, doesn't even consider the possibility that the Keating 5 are actually very intelligent and capable of plotting against her. She also tends to get her pride on the way of her plans, tending to sometimes forget her plan to attack Annalise or Nate, this is what will often break her plan apart, such as, during Nate's trial, attacking Annalise so much, the judge is forced to assume she doesn't really have a case, nor is sure whether Nate or Annalise were the culprit.
  • Smug Snake: She's constantly seen with a self-satisfied smirk when dealing with Annalise or with Eve, and seems to think of herself as a better lawyer. However, she's constantly out-maneuvered.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In "Hi, I'm Phillip", once she's knocked down by Annalise one too many times and the Hapstall case is finally dropped, she begins to crack a little. Annalise gleefully takes the pleasure in mocking her for it.

    Philip Jessup 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/philip_jessup.png
Portrayed by: Jefferson White

A grocer whom the main characters theorize could also be involved in the Hapstall murder somehow.


  • Blackmail: Philip uses footage of the K5 at the Hapstall house the night Analise was shot, and sends it to Connor, threatening to send it to police unless they produce one million dollars by a set time.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: The product of it, between Grant and Helena Hapstall.
  • The Cracker: Philip is accomplished at computer hacking, good enough to rival Oliver. He uses this first to catch Oliver when he tries to hack him, and later in his attempts to blackmail the K5. It’s through this talent that he manages to prove his half-brother is the real murderer.
  • Good All Along: The season finale reveals that he and Catherine had been set up for the murders by Caleb. After giving Annalise the proof of Caleb's guilt, he gives himself up to the police so his name can be cleared.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Invoked by the main characters, who discuss using his loner tendencies as a way to make the jury unsympathetic to him.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Ironically, he shares a name with Philip Jessup, a lawyer and professor.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Upon his return, he begins stalking members of the Keating Five and filming them, then sending them the videos to show that he’s not messing around.

    District Attorney Todd Denver 
Portrayed by: Benito Martinez

The new local district attorney, who wants to put an end to Annalise to further his career.


  • Ambition Is Evil: His main goal is to further his own career, hence why he went after Annalise in the first place. In season four, he’s running for Attorney General.
  • Amoral Attorney: Denver goes from being ruthless and immoral in season two to outright being corrupt in season three when he interferes with the investigation into Wes’s death to further make Annalise look guilty. He more or less kidnaps Connor, and threatens to have him arrested and sentenced on trumped up charges unless he incriminates Annalise.
  • Big Bad: Of season three, it is he and his office that are pushing for Annalise to be arrested for Wes’s death, and it turns out trying to frame her for it.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: In season two he shares the role of main antagonist with the Hapstall murderer. While the killer’s crimes are severe crimes which kick off the events of the season off, it is Denver who targets Annalise and the K5.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Denver initially seems a charming and a friendly boss. Truthfully, he’s a self-serving, ruthless and corrupt man who couldn’t care less about anyone else.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Annalise. They’re both accomplished and hardworking legal experts with a win at all costs mentality and aren’t above breaking the law to get results. The difference is that while Annalise does care more about her career than what is right she is jaded rather than uncaring and does have lines she won’t cross. Denver is only in it for himself.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Downplayed. Denver tries using manipulation to get what he wants several times throughout the season; however his success rate isn’t that high and he normally has to resort other tactics. His attempts to use it on K5 in “There's My Baby” utterly failed.
  • Know When To Fold Them: In the season three finale, when it becomes clear he won’t be able to get Annalise sentenced without her dragging him down too. He accepts her offer of a truce, scapegoating Wes and has her charges dropped.

    Lisa Cameron 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lisa_cameron.jpg
"So, you want to change your life, or are you happy just to stay Annalise Keating's bitch?"
Portrayed by: Emily Swallow

An employee of Wallace Mahoney, who bribed Frank into spying on Annalise for her employer, and was responsible for the car accident that killed Annalise's unborn son. She first appeared in Season 2, but her name was revealed in the Season 3 episode "No More Blood".


  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She has a daughter that she genuinely cares for.
  • Frame-Up: She gets framed by Frank to make it look like she has been secretly keeping contact with Charles Mahoney, who is in prison for his father's murder.
  • Honey Trap: She slept with Frank in order to get him to plant a bug in Annalise's house.
  • The Mistress: To Charles Mahoney, though she claims it was never serious as she didn't introduce him to her daughter.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: She worked for Wallace Mahoney and made the call that caused the car accident which killed Annalise's unborn son on his orders, and later she provides Charles' alibi for his father's murder.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never learn what happened to her after she was framed by Frank.

Other Characters

    Simon Drake 
Portrayed by: Behzad Dabu

A fellow student to the Keating Five. He's introduced in Season 3.


  • Eating Lunch Alone: By the Keating Five, after the word about the flyers got out. Ironically, not by Annalise, who understands why he did what he did was so he could live a better life.
  • Jerkass:
    • He's not a very pleasant person, especially towards the Keating Five.
    • This is especially true when it's revealed that he posted the flyers of Annalise around the school.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He states that the Keating Five are only around because Annalise is willing to let them stay, which is supported when it is revealed that they are in the bottom ten percent in terms of class performance.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: At first, he was actually friendly and cooperative with the Keating Five and Connor's (ex-)boyfriend Oliver, especially at the legal clinic meetings. That is, until the flyers. Even after, he would, for instance, help the clinic colleagues with a case they were solving.

    Jasmine Bromelle 
Portrayed by: L. Scott Caldwell

Annalise's cellmate during a portion of Season 3, a woman who's been in and out of prison for her whole life ever since she was charged with prostitution at thirteen. She proves an ally to Annalise during a difficult time and Annalise helps her out in turn during Season 4.


  • Abusive Parents: Her prostitution started because of her father forcing her into it when she was a child.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Her criminal charge is prostitution (albeit not really by choice) and she's Annalise's only friend while she's locked up for her alleged hand in Wes' murder, defending her from the other inmates.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Her first conviction was when she was an underage child and when she should by all rights have been treated like the victim of the situation, but she was treated unfairly for her race. Annalise uses this fact to get her cleared of her entire criminal history.

    Soraya Hargrove 
Portrayed by: Lauren Velez

The new principal of Middleton University introduced in season three, leading to several clashes with Annalise following the fallout of the previous two seasons.


  • The Alcoholic: Formerly. Soraya is a recovering alcoholic. She managed to snap out of the problem when she temporarily endangered her children while drunk, but still goes to AA meetings in the present.
  • Black Boss Lady: Is an African-American woman who is also the new principal of Middleton and technically Annalise’s boss.
  • Broken Ace: A rich and successful businesswoman turned principal of a respected university, Soraya seems to have everything in order, and is even one of the few people to stand up to Annalise and get away with it. In truth the stress of her former job drove her to drink, her marriage has failed, and she’s lost custody of her children.
  • False Friend: Visits Annalise while she’s in prison and tries to be supportive and helpful to her. In truth, she’s working for the DA’s office to find evidence so they can ensure Annalise goes down for Wes’s murder.
  • The Mole: Agrees to help the DA’s office with pinning Wes’s death on Annalise, in exchange for them helping her regain the custody of her children.
  • Slave to PR: While Soraya is well intentioned and often sympathises with Annalise, she has to put what looks best for the university first and foremost.

    Doctor Isaac Roa 
Portayed by: Jimmy Smits

Annalise's court mandated therapist, who she sees twice a week to ensure she's sticking to not drinking. Isaac is implied to be hiding a few secrets of his own, and it's gradually shown that he's not the objective analytical therapist he tries to be.


  • Dark and Troubled Past: It's gradually revealed that he has a lot of past traumas that his sessions with Annalise are bringing back to mind. He was a former addict who kicked the habit and had a loving wife and daughter. One day his daughter found his stash of drugs and overdosed, and he walked in and found her dead. He sets it up to look like a suicide and the incident has haunted him ever since.
  • Happier Home Movie: As Annalise's problems trigger him more and more, he spends a night sobbing as he watches a video of himself, his now-dead daughter Stella, and now ex-wife during happier times.
  • Off the Wagon: He reveals to Annalise that he's a former addict. His sessions with Annalise trigger his past traumas and starts a chain of events that lead to him taking heroin again. Ironically, his ex-wife believes that he's taking heroin again earlier on due to the events of the season but he admits he hadn't even thought about it until she brought it up.
  • The Shrink: Isaac is court mandated to help Annalise through her recovery from alcoholism and specialist in addiction therapy. He comes across as either a well-meaning, but dopey and ineffective shrink or awesome shrink. He definitely seems to want to help Annalise, and does make several very accurate analyses and points about her. On the other hand he's not above trying to get a rise out of her, and it's eventually revealed that he is identifying far too personally with his sessions with her and may be harming himself by refusing to refer her to another therapist. He also starts seeing Bonnie in “Was She Ever Good At Her Job?” and helps her come to realize she does love Annalise in "I Love Her".

    Tegan Price 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/htgawm_4x4_3_710x569.png
Portrayed by: Amirah Vann

Tegan is a leading and well respected lawyer for Caplan and Gold, who takes Michaela as her intern in season four.


  • Ambiguously Gay: Her sexuality is presently unclear; however, she openly calls Annalise "still hot" in "Was She Ever Good At Her Job?" No longer ambiguous as she tells Michaela of her former lover, a woman named Cora, in "Stay Strong, Mama".
  • Badass Gay: Tegan is a gay woman who is just as a good of a lawyer as Annalise.
  • Benevolent Boss: Strict and demanding though she is, Tegan does reward good work and loyalty, even buying Michaela a very expensive pair of high heels as a reward for all her good work in "I Love Her".
  • Heel–Face Turn: Downplayed, since it's her client Jorge Castillo who's the season's main antagonist, but she appears to support him completely until the end of Season 4, where she helps Annalise get him arrested by the FBI.
  • Married to the Job: Tegan was committed to her job to the point that her girlfriend left her.
  • The Mentor: After being disillusioned with and fired by Annalise, Michaela tries to adopt her as her new role model. Tegan is aware of this and seems willing to go along with it, but at the same time she’s not giving it too much of her attention.
  • Shadow Archetype: Tegan shares a lot of traits with Annalise, especially as she was introduced in season one. They’re both highly intelligent, respected lawyers, both arrogant and self-serving yet charismatic women able to enthrall others. While they don’t focus on it, they are both well aware of the difficulties that exist under the surface which woman of colour face in this career, as well as dedicated to never bending to the odds. The difference is that Tegan doesn’t seem to have any of Annalise’s trauma or inner turmoil. Both of them have also taken on some very dodgy clients, but while Annalise actually quit her law firm after helping her dodgiest client, one of Bonnie's rapists, Tegan has continued with her law firm while serving the extremely corrupt Jorge Castillo (albeit even she fights back against him in the end.)
  • Teen Genius: Formerly, she passed the bar to become a lawyer at the age of sixteen, making her the youngest person to do so at Caplan and Gold. When this is brought up, she outright calls herself a "prodigy".
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