HTGAWM season 5 pitted Annalise against Governor Birkhead and the FBI. Here’s everything you need to remember about the season.
Annalise vs. The Governor
Not everyone was happy about Annalise’s Supreme Court win in How to Get Away With Murder season 5. In fact, Governor Birkhead was pretty pissed off about it, with the retrials and bad PR having huge implications for her office.
She got to work early on in HTGAWM season 5 trying to sabotage Annalise’s efforts to try her Supreme Court cases. First, she convinced all of the law firms that were eager to hire Annalise that it would not be in their best interest to do so. She ended up at the only firm that would have her, which happened to be the very same firm where all of the drama in season 4 went down. Caplan & Gold.
Governor Birkhead’s next attack was targeted at the students in Annalise’s clinic, who were helping her with the Supreme Court cases. The students of the clinic, which included Michaela, Connor, Laurel, and Gabriel Maddox (notably not Asher), were forced to pass an ethics test to keep working with Annalise. Luckily, they all passed.
Caplan & Gold was a great fit for Annalise. She was able to work with her students on her cases, even though she had to take on the occasional big client to help out the firm. She became very close with both Emmett and Teagan. Maybe even more than friends close, but that remains to be resolved.
When the Governor’s early attempts failed to significantly hinder Annalise’s progress, things got more sinister. Governor Birkhead thought the best way to stop Annalise in her tracks would be to make Nate Sr. lose his retrial. Step one was for Xavier Castillo to try to replace Annalise as his lawyer. When that didn’t work, they had Nate Sr. shot when he was being transferred to his care facility in what was probably the most heartbreaking moment of HTGAWM yet.
The season ended with Annalise and the Keating crew putting the pieces together and confronting Xavier about Nate Sr.’s murder. He told Governor Birkhead that they were onto him, and she issued a public statement about the investigations against her. She claimed that the accusations were untrue, and she pointed the finger at Annalise’s boss, friend, and admirer, Emmett Crawford. She had some doctored phone records to backup her claim, too.
We’ll have to see how this turns out for Emmett in How to Get Away With Murder season 6, because he was last seen lying on the floor of his office, clutching his heart! This happened soon after he told Teagan that he was considering running for DA and that she would be the new managing partner.
As for Xavier and the Castillos, we still haven’t seen the last of them. After a disturbing phone call and a mysterious baptism gown that Laurel presumed to be from her mother, she received her scalp in a gift bag! Xavier didn’t seem to know anything about it, so it looks like either Jorge still has some people doing his bidding, or someone else has it out for the Castillo women.
The Keating crew, who now all live together (again, minus Asher), were mad at Laurel when they thought she was considering taking an immunity deal from Telesco without them, so they took the evidence to the FBI even though she was scared that the culprit would come for her and Christopher next. Turns out, she was right, because she and Christopher are officially missing as of the How to Get Away with Murder season 5 finale.
I now pronounce you, murderers
A lot of HTGAWM season 5 took place in the DA’s office. Nate and Bonnie both worked there, Bonnie’s boyfriend, Ron Miller, was the interim DA following Denver’s death, and Asher was hired on as an intern to replace Laurel.
Nate found a note about Bonnie’s baby being alive in Denver’s files, and chased down that lead despite Annalise’s prompting. He found footage of Bonnie’s own sister stealing the baby. When Bonnie confronted her estranged sister about it, she told her a few strange and conflicting stories. We don’t know exactly where Bonnie’s son is, now, but we’re assuming he’s out there somewhere.
This wasn’t the only time Nate and Bonnie teamed up in How to Get Away with Murder season 5. The season’s big flash forward surrounded the wedding of Connor and Oliver, where believe it or not, a murder took place.
After receiving convincing evidence that Miller made the call to have his father murdered, Nate lost his cool and beat Miller up to the point of near death. Seeing his suffering and hearing Nate’s pleading, Bonnie finished the job with Christopher sitting nearby. This made Laurel concerned for her son’s well being, but she was eventually able to forgive Bonnie.
When Miller’s body was found, Agent Telesco immediately suspected Annalise. She had a whole board full of clues and theories linking her to everything bad that’s happened in the series so far. The Keating crew discovered this information after Oliver’s computer was seized by the FBI and he checked his handy program that takes a picture of anyone trying to access his encrypted files. Teagan put her womanly wiles to work to get Telesco taken off the case, which took some heat off of Annalise.
Unfortunately, we now know that Bonnie and Nate got the wrong guy. Xavier tried to use Miller to order the hit, telling him he could help him become the DA, but Miller couldn’t be bought. He tried to get Nate Sr. transferred early, but Xavier was one step ahead of him. Interestingly, Bonnie still doesn’t know that Miller was innocent, since Annalise and Frank decided to have the prison guard lie to her. She’s blissfully ignorant, and Nate is in jail for beating up the prison warden. We’ll see how the new dynamic duo fares in season 6.
Frank was back to his old tricks in HTGAWM season 5, spying on Gabriel Maddox, the intriguing prodigy in Annalise’s clinic. Whenever Frank wasn’t playing father to Christopher and having his marriage proposal rejected by Laurel, he was trying to figure out what Gabriel was up to.
Sam Keating is the problem that just won’t go away in How to Get Away with Murder, and now he’s popping up by way of his son, who is, you guessed it, Gabriel Maddox. Gabriel is the son of Sam and the woman he was married to before Annalise.
Most of Frank’s surveillance involved trying to discover what Gabriel knew, and what he planned to do with it. This wasn’t Frank’s first experience with Gabriel. In a flashback episode, we saw Sam reaching out to his ex-wife about the child (and about still loving her) right after Annalise lost her baby.
Frank found out about the email through Eve, and threatened Sam to delete it and to be there for Annalise in her time of extreme need. Eve also made an appearance in present day HTGAWM to help Annalise deal with the Gabriel situation.
It turns out Gabriel did know about Sam, and came to the school to get information. He also didn’t fully believe that Wes was responsible for Sam’s murder, or that Sam was a bad guy, despite being told so repeatedly.
Throughout the season, we were never really sure if Gabriel could be trusted, or not. At one point he’s working with Miller to get information on Annalise, then Telesco is charging him with domestic terrorism, then he’s helping Annalise by getting the information about her trying to adopt Wes in the FBI’s hands in the right way.
Just as he feels like he wants to stay at Middleton, Telesco offers him an ultimatum. She has evidence that his mom’s drugs killed her ex-boyfriend, and uses it as blackmail to get Gabriel to help her take down Annalise. The Keating crew get Telesco fired for not keeping Sandrine Castillo fired, but not before Gabriel admits to Michaela that he might have had something to do with the ex-boyfriend’s murder. And then they hooked up.
All of the Gabriel parent talk made Michaela curious about her own birth parents, and when she went looking for them, they discovered that her birth father, who killed her mother, knew Annalise. It always comes back to AK!