How to Get Away With Murder EPs Defend Un-Tweetable Title, Tease an Unexpected Direction for Series

How to Get Away With Murder Preview

The cast and executive producers of ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder were put on trial Tuesday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour. First order of business: the murder mystery’s incredibly long title.

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Creator/executive producer Pete Novalk said the title was always his “first instinct,” because that’s how Viola Davis’ professor character refers to her class. “It’s a little controversial on purpose,” he admitted.

As far as tweeting is concerned — #HowToGetAwayWithMurder appears to be ABC’s hashtag of choice — executive producer Shonda Rhimes said social media didn’t affect the naming whatsoever.

“We don’t consider a hashtag when we’re writing,” Rhimes stated. “The audience will decide what it wants to call the show. … Twitter makes it own decisions. Twitter makes stuff up, and that’s far more interesting.”

RELATED Fall TV First Impression: ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder

How to Get Away With Murder PreviewAnother major question looming over the ABC drama series is whether or not it can exist beyond the initial mystery introduced in Season 1.

“I don’t think the show is going to go where you expect it to go,” Novalk said. “We’ve always had a plan to launch it into Season 2 with a really cool storyline. … I wouldn’t want to do it unless it could go many seasons.”

Part of that plan, Novalk said, is in keeping with the show’s theme: “No one is who they seem to be.” (Novalk specifically pointed to Liza Weil’s character, Bonnie, as one who will evolve over time.)

The other part will be how the momentum is maintained throughout the season.

“I think we’re going to catch up to the murder a little before the end of the season,” Novalk revealed. “I want to keep the plot moving.”

As for why star Viola Davis took on this project? That’s no mystery.

“I wanted to be the show,” Davis admitted. “I wanted to have a character that took me out of my comfort zone.”

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20 Comments
  1. S says:

    This is one of the few new shows I’m looking forward to and I really, really hope it doesn’t disappoint.

    And props to Shonda for her comment regarding Twitter. Fandom of any show rarely follows the hashtags the networks try to get us to use.

    • Angela says:

      Agreed. I understand networks trying to utilize new technologies for promotion, and that’s fine and good, but the way so many shows do it with the hashtag thing just comes off…silly. And for those of us who don’t have Twitter accounts it doesn’t make a difference anyway. Let the shows speak for themselves, that’s the best promotion of all.
      I am glad that they addressed the issue of having to keep a show going beyond its initial mystery. So many shows have that struggle-coming in with an idea that’s really cool and fun…but which can logically only go so far, and then they try and stretch it and it becomes too convoluted and messy. So here’s hoping they’ll be able to figure out how to avoid that trap here. A new mystery each season could be a fun way to keep things interesting, perhaps.

  2. androme3 says:

    I’m so excited to see Viola Davis on my TV every week. She is a great talent and will work great on a Shondaland show.
    (and no, I don’t work on the show.)

    • Angela says:

      I really liked her in the promo that was shared on here last week. She knows how to grab viewers’ attention right off the bat-that’s part of the reason I’m so intrigued about this show.

      • androme3 says:

        So did I. This show is gonna be good. And with Shonda Rhimes as a producer, you know it’s gonna be great.

  3. JJM says:

    Because people just didn’t think to hashtag it as #HTGAWM. -.-

  4. ChicagoDan says:

    Because “HIMYM” never took off as a hashtag. That’s kind of sad that there is that much play over the title rather than learning more about a promising series with a great star! I think S2 will likely involve the murder of one of the students…..

  5. Rachel says:

    I am so excited for this show. In fact, it might be the one I’m most excited about… can’t wait for September!

  6. bj says:

    I’m not sure if I’m interested in this. The premise is good but this woman seems to be showing students how to get people off if they commit a murder, regardless of what it takes. It’s a uni course and kids seem to be committing crimes to pass it. I don’t want to watch a show where a law professor is teaching students how to break the law.

    • bj, you shouldn’t watch it. i will. but you aren’t interested.

    • Gus T.T. Showbiz says:

      Isn’t the class some kind of criminology class? I thought that she was teaching more how to look for clues at a crime scene and why crimes are commited than how to kill people. Part of the class naturally would touch on how people get away crimes but, I don’t think the class is supposed to be How to be a Serial Killer 101. I could be wrong but, those are my impressions of the show.

  7. guy says:

    #HTGAWM obvs.

  8. Joe says:

    Who cares about Twitter? That definitely should NOT be a factor when conceiving a TV series. Hopefully Twitter will go the way of Myspace and meet its end soon.

  9. AJ says:

    #HowIMetYourMurder

  10. Ally Oop says:

    I absolutely HATE the title, so much so that I’m giving the show a pass. The trailer for it was okay, just not good enough to keep on my long list of new shows to check out in the fall. For the record, I plan on checking out 12 new shows in the fall–Constantine, Jane the Virgin, State of Affairs, Red Band Society, A to Z, Mohawk Girls, Gracepoint, Gotham, Selfie, Scorpion, The Honourable Woman and Strange Empire. There are just way too many shows to watch between American network tv, Canadian network tv, cable and Netflix that I’ve decided to only watch the promising pilots this year–in past year I tried to watch every pilot I could. Also, out of the 12 new fall shows, I’ve decided to only stick with 6 of them. With 16 returning fall shows, I want to keep my list at 22 for the fall. There’ll be an additional 8 shows returning in the winter, along with 17 new shows worth checking out so I have to start being more fussy when it comes to new shows.

  11. Buddie Ames says:

    I was very disappointed in this new show but that is what ABC likes. Sex…………sex

  12. Mike Schwed says:

    Read “How To Get Away With Murder In New York” on the Kindle for a true learning experience.

  13. judi case says:

    Wonderul show/Viola Davis so fabulou. Also, I use to watch “Gilmore Girls” recognize a character from that long ago show, she is so good.Only complaint? Just one/ don’t enjoy the dark screen in flashbacks. I will continue to be a faithful follower!

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