Shonda Rhimes’s legal drama How to Get Away with Murder has twists throughout all six seasons, and the Keating 5 are caught up in the show’s central mystery. Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) chooses the members each year from her law class at Middleton University. Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil) was once part of this group and is now Annalise’s assistant. It’s an honor to be asked, and it doesn’t appear that anyone ever turns down the opportunity. While it appears that Annalise picks people based on intelligence, there are more riveting and powerful reasons why these students make it.
The Keating 5 wind up in trouble when they kill Annalise’s husband, Sam Keating (Tom Verica), after it comes out that he was unfaithful and dated Lila Stangard (Megan West). This is an integral part of Sam’s backstory on HTGAWM and makes Annalise sympathetic, although her students are now part of her messy life. The Keating 5 works together to stop anyone from learning the truth. The group is called the Keating 4 and the Keating 3 after two members are murdered, and their lives are all altered after the fateful law school day when they are chosen. Here’s a look at each member of the Keating 5.
Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) is one of the smartest of the Keating 5 members and always provided her opinion. Initially, it seems Annalise picks her because of her intelligence and perceptive nature in class, but it’s revealed that after Laurel and Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber) become intimate, he chooses her. She plays an important part in the group, always reminding the rest that they should look out for one another. After Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch) kills Sam in one of the most gruesome HTGAWM murders for attempting to murder Wes’s girlfriend, Rebecca Sutter (Katie Findlay), Laurel is right to say that they are all guilty.
When Annalise disbands the Keating 5 in HTGAWM season 3, Laurel is hired at the D.A.’s office, but her father’s criminal ties are never far from her mind. Laurel has a memorable arc as she struggles to hide from her family while creating her own and wondering if she will ever feel truly free. She disappears in season 6 with Christopher, the infant son whom she shares with Wes, but she maintains a positive yet distant relationship with another member, Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee). The two are at Annalise’s funeral, but it’s clear that they haven’t been friends for a long time, which makes sense given the darkness they’ve experienced.
The choices HTGAWM‘s Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King) makes explain her passionate, ambitious personality, and she is another member of the Keating 5, albeit one with a lonelier and more somber ending. When Annalise studied law, she was part of the group working on Michaela’s stepfather’s fraud case, and she knew Michaela’s birth father, lawyer Soloman Vick (Ray Campbell) because he worked on the case as well. Due to this connection, she chooses Michaela to join this exclusive group, and Michaela is perceptive enough to realize that something is going on before she learns the truth.
Connor, his husband, Oliver Hampton (Conrad Ricamora), and Laurel stop talking to Michaela after Annalise is found not guilty during her trial for the murders of several characters including Sam. Michaela and Connor are arrested for the death of Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry) and decide they’ll share what happened so that Annalise is imprisoned. However, Michaela makes the wrong choice when she’s able to receive probation instead of jail time. She lies that Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch) and Annalise were intimate and that Wes shoved Sam when actually she did. While she works as a lawyer, Micaela has to live with betraying and hurting her good friends.
Connor Walsh is another Keating 5 member who thinks Annalise picks him for his cleverness, but he learns that Bonnie liked the essay he wrote when applying to Middleton. Connor stands out because he leaves law school in season 3 after Wes is killed. However, due to his sometimes impulsive and bold personality, Connor becomes a law student again when reflecting on the fact that practicing law still seems compelling to him. At the end of How to Get Away with Murder, it is decades after Connor is given five years of jail time, and he and Oliver are happily married. It seems that they have put everything behind them.
While Connor’s life is complicated by the murders that have been hidden over the years, his arc is relatable. He wonders if he and Oliver should get married and thinks about his professional future. Due to the strange, dark, and unconventional law school experience that he has had, it makes sense that he would be uncertain about whether this is the correct path. Connor and Laurel’s reunion at Annalise’s funeral is moving as they haven’t stayed close, but it’s clear that they still care about each other, and despite the pain, they have a few fond memories of the time that they shared.
Asher Millstone behaves poorly on HTGAWM, as he has grown up in a wealthy and privileged world. Annalise picks him for the Keating 5 because his father is a judge. Thanks to his overly confident and sometimes rude personality, he is the only unlikable member of the group. He has physical relationships with both Michaela and Bonnie, and it appears that he needs to mature much more if he is going to settle down with someone and truly fall in love. Asher is killed for being part of Annalise’s complicated universe, as an FBI agent targets him so that they can charge Annalise with several murders.
If Asher hadn’t died, it’s easy to imagine him turning on Connor and Laurel just like Michaela does, as he would want to save himself instead of helping the people who are supposed to be his friends. Asher is one of the least likable HTGAWM characters because he always looks out for himself. That quality could have made him a successful, ambitious, and determined lawyer if he had lived, but it doesn’t make him endearing or kind.
Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch) has the strongest connection to Annalise, as she knew Wes’s late mother, Rose (Kelsey Scott), before she died. She took her life due to tragic circumstances after giving birth to Wes as a result of Wallace Mahoney (Adam Arkin) assaulting her, which is heartbreaking for Wes to learn about. Wes is full of kindness and compassion and doesn’t deserve his fate. Dominick Flores (Nicholas Gonzalez) murders Wes in How to Get Away with Murder season 3 because Laurel’s father, Jorge Castillo (Esai Morales), doesn’t want Wes to share the sinister nature of his business dealings.
If Wes hadn’t been killed in HTGAWM season 3, he might have stayed in touch with Connor, Oliver, and Laurel. He’d never betray Annalise or the others and would choose honesty no matter what. Since he and Laurel are parents to Christopher, perhaps their intimate past would’ve turned into a serious relationship, or they would’ve at least remained friends while co-parenting. Wes is the How to Get Away with Murder character who appears the most innocent, as grief over his mother’s death has forced him to search for love and connection throughout his life, and he reminds the others they should never forget to be kind.
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