A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
It's a fine line between being on the side of law and order and doing unethical or at the very least morally questionable things to win cases.
Positive Role Models
Main characters are of the sympathetic-but-complicated type, with dark secrets in the past or present. The cast boasts exemplary ethnic and racial diversity.
Violence & Scariness
The lawyers and students on-screen take on various cases having to do with homicide and criminal justice; murders and/or deaths are graphically described. Dead bodies may be briefly shown on-screen. Characters enter into a pact to hide a murder.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Most of the cast members are single and willing to hook up or partnered but cheating. Expect references to sex and scenes featuring adults in bed kissing and sometimes more, such as when one man tells another man to "turn over" in bed because there's something he wants or a main character is seen in silhouette having sex on a desk. No nudity or sensitive body parts are shown.
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Some cursing: "Get the hell out of here!" There also are gendered curses such as "Stop acting like such a little bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes take place in a bar with characters and extras all drinking cocktails; one character gives another a bottle of wine, saying, "I could use a drink -- or 10."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that How to Get Away with Murder is a drama with an ensemble cast of law students who work with a powerful, complicated attorney and professor. Most of the action falls along the police-procedural spectrum; expect graphic descriptions of violence, death, and murder, occasional depictions of dead bodies, and plot twists concerning terrible deeds. Also expect references to sex as well as on-screen sexual activity, including a character shown in silhouette having extramarital sex on a desk and one man exhorting another man to "turn over" in bed. Lawyers are willing to take morally questionable or unethical actions to win cases; they are praised for doing so and receive no consequences. Many scenes take place in bars, and characters refer to needing a drink. Cursing is generally mild ("Get the hell out of here!") but can be sexist: "Stop acting like a little bitch."
Is It Any Good?
Viewers will be a bit disappointed to learn that, though How to Get Away with Murder is executive-produced by Shonda Rhimes and is made by her company, ShondaLand, Rhimes herself didn't crank out the script. Thus Murder lacks the deliriously insane spark that makes other Rhimes-penned shows such as Scandal or network stalwart Grey's Anatomy so compulsively watchable. Instead, though Viola Davis is so powerful on the small screen that she practically shoots sparks, she's working with material that's beneath her. The plot is so overstuffed with details about what seems to be a grand total of at least 10 main characters that even ultra-compelling ones such as Davis' Keating don't get enough screen time.
Still, breathless as it is, Murder is fun. The cast is cute and seems committed to the material, and taking on a case-of-the-week structure with longer-lasting story arcs about the characters' personal lives makes for a reliable source of drama. Fans of legal dramas, and Rhimes fans in particular, should at least give it a shot for the magnetic presence of Davis to see if this one merits a spot on your DVR schedule.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.