TV Review: How To Get Away With Murder , Season 2 (USA, 2015)

How To Get Away With Murder‘s first season was an electrifying blend of legal and college melodrama with a fun leading performance by Viola Davis and tight writing.  The second season remains fun but suffers a little as the the show both doubles down a little too much on the melodrama and gets a little tied up by its own plot twists.

Following the disappearance of Rebecca (Katie Findlay)  at the end of the first season, Annalise Keating and her students (Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Aja Naomi King, Karla Souza and Matt McGorry) move onto a new case centering on the newly-orphaned children (Kendrick Sampson and Amy Akuda) of a pair of rich philanthropists.  There are some unexpected turns here but overall it lacks the elegance and punch of the first season’s mystery.

As a result, the drama here doesn’t feel as tight as the first season – nor as smart. However, one area where the series remains at the top of its game is its presentation. The direction, cinematography and scoring are as stylish as ever and the series’ technique of using different color pallets to establish and cut between different time periods remains compelling.

The chemistry and performances of the cast are also a highlight, though it feels like Annalise, Frank (Charlie Weber) and Bonnie (Liza Weil) get the lion’s share of the screentime and development in Season 2. If there is any big shift on this front it’s that Season 2 re-positions Annalise as a more-flawed figure, with the her students turning against her as a result. McGorry and Falahee’s character also get some fun moments together and it’s quite impressive how effectively the writers have moved their pieces across the board by the season’s end.

For better or worse, How To Get Away With Murder‘s second season hits a lot of the same notes as its first. It’s still fun but it lacks the dynamic feel of the first season.

Review score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)