Shonda Rhimes continues her one-woman quest to dominate primetime. The brains behind Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal returns with a new show, How To Get Away With Murder. Set to make its debut after Scandal‘s fourth season premiere, the show stars Viola Davis as the charismatic, calculating, take-no-prisoners criminal law professor Annalise Keating, a woman who, despite a successful career and loving husband, isn’t above making questionable personal or professional decisions.
If that sounds more than little like Olivia Pope (save for the loving husband part), you’re not off base. Annalise appears to be a flawed, complicated, “ends justify the means” kinda gal. However, unlike Ms. Pope, Annalise’s stomping ground is not the political pressure cooker of Washington D.C., but the fictional campus of Middleton Law School, where she schools her students in the ways of bending—or in some cases, breaking—the law. Rounding out her team are Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber), a blue-collar Philly native with a penchant for bedding undergrads, and Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil)—ah, you can just smell the waspy-ness wafting off that last name—her sweet-but-not-really associate who handles the casework and helps guide the students.
Each semester Annalise offers four students the chance to work for her if they can prove themselves worthy of handling a court case. Among those willing disciples are Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), a scheming, ambitious heart breaker all too willing learn Annalise’s underhanded tricks of the legal trade, and Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), an overachieving fangirl who idolizes her new professor. Others vying for a spot include trust-fund baby Asher Millstone, (Matt McGorry a.k.a. Bennett from Orange Is The New Black) and introverted idealist Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza). Then there’s Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch), a plaid-shirt wearing outsider and sheep to Annalise’s big bad wolf, one whose innocence gets snuffed out with every dark new secret he learns.
Judging from the trailer, fans will find plenty of Rhimes’ familiar motifs—infidelity, corruption, bed hopping, backstabbing and double dealing—in her latest endeavor, along the showrunner’s trademark blend of glamor and violence. It’s that potent mix of glitter and grime, along with the chance to witness Viola Davis eat the scenery each week, that will likely make the show a darkly addictive, must-see melodrama.