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TV Review: ABC’s ‘How to Get Away with Murder’

Academy Award nominee Viola Davis plays Annalise Keating, a criminal defense lawyer and professor, teaching a class on how to get away with murder. The show, created by Peter Nowalk, will be the third hour of Shonda Rhimes-produced shows on ABC Thursday nights, following Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. How to Get Away with Murder debuts Thursday at 10 p.m. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

How To Get Away With Murder faces some of the same issues many Shondaland properties have faced: a weakness for melodramatic plotting that sacrifices emotional complexity for clichés and mere complication. But it has excellent bones, grounded in an outstanding pedigree and Rhimes’ demonstrated ability to keep an audience hooked from scandal to scandal. It’s not perfect, but it’s never boring.”
—Sonia Saraiya, A.V. Club

“Viola Davis is such a commanding screen presence that her involvement alone should pique interest in How to Get Away With Murder, the cherry on top of ABC’s Thursday-night all-Shonda Rhimes sundae. Yet the jury’s still out on this latest drama ...”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“The series manages to maintain a certain melodramatic tension, at least from the evidence of the pilot, but it could be hard to overcome the sledgehammer cynicism and mess of nefarious plot turns. Getting away with murder might well be easier.”
—Dorothy Rabinowitz, The Wall Street Journal

Murder is obviously not a docudrama, but even for a fictional crime drama, it pushes believability to the max at several points. But more than likely, even real-life lawyers in the audience won’t object. Entertaining writing and performances overrule credibility gaps this time. Case closed.”
—David Wiegand, The San Francisco Chronicle

“Murder approaches information overload, then pulls back to a character reveal or jumps into a flash-forward. The pilot is ingenious but at moments maybe a little too smart for its own good. That's OK -- Shondaland probably has another success.”
—Verne Gay, Newsday