With its twisted, thriller murder-mystery storylines and over the top performances from Viola Davis and her talented cast, How to Get Away with Murder has become one of network television's most beloved shows. But as the series approaches its final episodes, what will its legacy be? In addition to introducing bisexual law professor Annalise Keating and her group of students, the show has been known for its commitment to incorporating gay characters into its narrative. And for many viewers, those gay characters have been incredibly important.
It's all too common to see LGBTQ people on screen only as victims (of suffering or even death), sassy/wise sidekicks, or Mary Sue archetypes. This trend is often due to the Depraved Homosexual trope or the Hays Code, which has limited portrayals of LGBT characters to villainous ones.
However, How to Get Away with a Murder broke the mold by allowing viewers to follow Connor Walsh's journey from a naive college student to ruthless criminal mastermind and sexy first class scammer. Throughout the course of the season, Connor has proven to be one of the most authentically fascinating and complex LGBTQ TV characters, and his journey is not just an example of anti-heroism or the triumph of good over evil; it's also a powerful affirmation of the humanity of LGBT people.
This article examines the role of homicidal homosexual characters in American theater over a century and shows how, rather than being simple reiterations of a homophobic paradigm, these figures enact trenchant fantasies of empowerment and probe darker fears and desires.