How To Get Away With Murder, based on a female criminal defence lawyer and a group of students who continuously find themselves wrapped up in some kind of murder, is a show which from the start has had viewers going crazy with its plot twists and shocking scenes. Yet, for me, what makes this show the stunning masterpiece it is and completely deserving of awards is the female lead Annalise Keating, played by the beautiful Viola Davis.
Not only do we have a female at the forefront of the show, but also Davis plays a woman of colour, aged 50 and bisexual. Not only is this inspiring but its damn well important, showing viewers that women can play roles just as significant as men, no matter our age, skin colour or sexuality.
Viola Davis’ character certainly does not hold back on her portrayal of women. She shows us the way we are: full of flaws and not perfect whatsoever. A particularly morally grey role, Davis’ character brings in themes of alcoholism, lying, cheating, murder and shows that women don’t have to conform to the perfect, suitably behaved female society wants us to be. We can be who we are and be proud of it. We can be transgressive if we want.
In equal measure to Annalise Keating’s portrayal of women’s flaws, this character draws on idea of insecurity and appearance, showing women that make up does not define us. One particular scene that is very empowering is when Keating takes off her wig and make up after a hard day at work, embracing her true appearance. It’s a scene that shows women they should and can be comfortable with who they are without judgements from others.
Let us of course not forget about the scenes where she stands, front and centre of that lecture theatre (clearly, perhaps, a metaphor for her front and central role in the show) and commands her students with strength and power. What more does a TV show want? This show is not only giving us women who can stand their own ground, but also a woman with a prototypical male job; a defence lawyer, occupied by a female! Take that anti-feminists.
Annalise Keating is the epitome of everything I as a woman aspire to be, and to have her as a main lead in a TV show will only further influence women all around the world.
So, future TV shows, take note from How To Get Away With Murder in your casting; don’t believe that every main role has to be occupied by a white male. Women are just as capable, as shown by Viola Davis and leading characters, and roles should be based on ability, regardless of gender.