Post Mortems

HTGAWM Boss on How [Spoiler]'s Absence Impacted the Final Season

HTGAWM Series Finale

The following post contains minor spoilers for How to Get Away With Murder‘s series finale.

Annalise Keating faced some serious criminal charges in How to Get Away With Murder‘s final episodes — and the one person who could prove her innocence never even made an appearance in Season 6.

As Annalise’s trial wore on, it became clear that Hannah Keating — the older sister of Annalise’s late husband, Sam — was the only potential witness who could get Annalise acquitted. But despite Hannah’s agreement to appear in court, she died via gunshot wound to the head before she could ever take the stand.

Though Marcia Gay Harden previously appeared as Hannah in four Season 1 episodes, she didn’t return for the final season due to a scheduling conflict. And according to series creator Pete Nowalk, the Hannah-heavy trial storyline happened because of Harden’s absence, not in spite of it.

“We always talk about who’s available and who’s not, and it’s so complicated with schedules. To me, it was like, ‘Oh, that person happens to not be available,'” Nowalk tells TVLine, adding that Harden’s busy schedule ultimately allowed him to write in Hannah’s death as a narrative curveball.

“I don’t remember what [the conflict] was with Marcia, but I thought, ‘Ooh, let’s use that to our benefit.’ Annalise thinks she’s won her case, and then Marcia Gay Harden’s not available to come do the show,” he continues with a laugh. “Crap, we have to come up with a new solution. For me, I find those things to be inspiration for writing a hurdle into the show.”

The May 14 series finale (which averaged an “A-” from TVLine readers; click here for our full recap) never explicitly revealed who killed Hannah, though Charlie Weber’s Frank — aka Hannah’s son — emerged as a strong possibility.

“I actually don’t think that’s entertaining — to watch everything be explained, every little detail,” Nowalk previously said of his decision to leave some Season 6 twists ambiguous. “There’s some questions I could probably answer, plot-wise, where I could say, ‘Yeah, this is what I think happened to Laurel’s mom specifically,’ or, ‘This is who I think killed Jorge.’ There’s definitely hints, just in case people are very worried about it. But in the mess comes the magic.”