Viola Davis has been blowing people away all season with her portrayal of Annalise Keating on “How to Get Away with Murder.” When she recruited Cicely Tyson to go toe-to-toe with her on Thursday’s (Feb. 19) episode “Mama’s Here Now” the two actresses gave a masterclass in acting.
“When [Tyson] said yes, it was a dream come true. It was all hands on deck with the writers, including Shonda [Rhimes], to make sure the material was worthy of these two legends,” showrunner Pete Nowalk says. “They are two actresses that can do anything. It was more intimidating because you don’t know what you can write that will live up to their talent.”
Tyson made sure everyone knew she wasn’t messing around from the second she stepped into the frame. She delivered quotable zingers and made sure that everyone in the Keating & Associates office knew that she was the one in charge. It was when Annalise and her mother got into a fight about the events of Annalise’s childhood that they caused goosebumps.
It’s obvious from the time the two are reunited that there’s unresolved tension in this mother-daughter relationship. Annalise revealing it’s because she feels like her mother ignored Annalise being molested by her uncle delivers a gut wrenching blow. Davis proved she absolutely earned that Golden Globe nomination and SAG win, but Tyson also showed that she wasn’t afraid to throw down.
“I’m glad that people responded so well. As you saw, they just know how to deliver,” Nowalk says. “We gave [Cicely] so much dialogue. She just came prepared and knew exactly how to deliver each and every [line]. I would have her in every episode if the story lent itself to that.”