Don’t expect to be able to solve the mystery of “How to Get Away with Murder” Season 3 because, according to showrunner Pete Nowalk, even he doesn’t know what’s coming yet.
We spoke with Nowalk about what’s in store for Frank and Annalise in the new season, which characters we’ll be learning more about and whether fans should be worried for the sake of Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) and Connor’s (Jack Falahee) relationship after the Stanford debacle comes to light.
What can you tease about the new mystery in Season 3?
Pete Nowalk: They mystery is probably the most serious and ground-breaking for our characters. I’d say it’s a game-changer for the entire show and for all of the characters.
Has anyone on the cast figured it out yet or are they pumping you for information?
No, they are very respectful. To be honest, the writers and I are always changing our minds about where it goes. A lot of the time, I think the best ideas we figure out when we’re specifically working on that episode that shoots in a few days … we’re just following the story.
For me, I just want to surprise myself. That’s how I know it will surprise the audience. That’s why I kind of just let it happen. If they can’t figure it out that’s because I haven’t even figured it out.
Can Frank find his way back into his little lawyer family or is he persona non grata?
That is the big question for him. The Annalise (Viola Davis) and Frank (Charlie Weber) secret of last year and their relationship imploding is a major arc for this season. Where did Frank go and what is he doing is a very big mystery, and what’s going to happen to him. We’re going to find out a lot in the premiere. Can Annalise forgive him and does she want to and is there any moving forward for him? And does he want to move forward? That is a big story for us this year.
Are we going to get any new information on Laurel’s backstory?
Yes. In fact, we’re going to get a lot of backstory on a lot of characters.
I think Wes (Alfred Enoch), we told a big part of his history last year, and then obviously then we met a father, and now he’s dead. The goal was to do that with all of the characters. We’ve been breadcrumb-ing little things about Michaela’s (Aja Naomi King) backstory through the series if you pay attention very carefully. We know she’s adopted, we know her once mother-in-law told her she was from bayou trash. So that is a character we’re going to be finding out more about.
We’re going to be finding out more about Laurel (Karla Souza) and her family. What does her father do? Who is he? She said he’s not a good man, what does that mean? We’re going to find out more about that early in the season.
Another person we’re really going to find out more about is Frank because he’s a big question mark for us this season. We’re going to sort of delve into his origin story with Sam and Annalise especially.
Where do Frank and Laurel stand now?
We left with [Laurel] going into Frank’s apartment and he wasn’t there, so the question is going to be where did he go? Does she know? Are they going to stay together? Is her allegiance with him or Annalise? And that is going to really be delved into in the first episode. She’s between a rock and a hard place. Her heart’s telling her one thing, her head’s telling her another.
What about the new characters? What can you tell us about them?
We have a new recurring student character. The character’s name is Simon, and he’s played by Behzad Dabu. He’s kind of a really fun addition to the group. He’s sort of an antagonist for our little cult of students.
We have Luna Velez, once known as Lauren Velez from “Dexter.” She’s playing the new president of the university, and Annalise this season is going to be very much focusing on teaching and getting back to normal. She’s trying to return to her roots, and that involves teaching a new class this season. She’s going to be interacting a lot with this president. There’s going to be a lot of conflict there, but there’s also going to be a lot of personal conflict.
We have some other great guest stars like Amy Madigan and Esai Morales. We even have more that I can’t confirm yet that we’re very excited about.
How quickly can we expect the Stanford situation between Connor and Oliver to blow up?
I think it will be surprising to everyone how we handle that. Obviously those two are very connected to each other. Connor obviously relies on Oliver for some sort of normalcy and emotional support that’s very loving, and Oliver is on his own path right now, so we’ll see if those two can ride it out together.
You said this season was a game-changer. For which character does the game change the most this year?
I’m going to say all of them, honestly, because that’s why it’s such a game-changer. It affects them all equally. That’s how big of an impact it is. As a writer, you’re always looking for a way to drop the stone in the pond and have it ripple effect across all of your characters, and this does that.
“How to Get Away with Murder” premieres Thursday (Sept. 22) at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.