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Being Above the Law in "How to Get Away With Murder"

Analyze the issue of the show’s main characters being involved in law yet acting above it (i.e. through murders, blackmailing, theft). What are the implications of this hypocrisy and how can this form a commentary on modern society or human nature? How is the show so appealing despite the characters going against simple black-and-white laws most people have been raised to instinctively follow? How can we condemn real-life criminals, yet root for these fictional ones as they do the exact same thing? Do the characters’ backstories inform and alter our perspective of them, humanizing them so it becomes more difficult to see them as villains?

  • This is a brilliant idea, particularly in the case of Annalise. – Sonia Charlotta Reini 10 months ago
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  • I recently watched the first two seasons again after that nail-biting cliffhanger in the middle of season three. This time around I was quite impressed how the characters really struggle with what they have done. Everything is internalized and they are not as heartless as they pretend to be. They each have unique reactions and coping mechanisms, and as you pointed out, they are indeed humanized because we can clearly see that they all have a strong moral compass. I really like this idea! – AlexanderLee 10 months ago
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  • I think this is a great topic but it definately can be broadened into the appeal of anti-heroes in general and also the nature of empathy. Whether its Annalise, Dexter, or Batman- we're actively rooting for the people who are taking the law into their own hands because we've been convinced these are criminals/conspiracies the justice system simply cannot handle or wouldn't understand. We forgave the Keating five for Sam's death because he was shown to be a terrible guy responsible for the murder of a missing college student. In the same vein, Dexter was a sociopathic serial killer but because he lived by a code the audience could still be convinced to root for him. We lived in his head and understood his motivations. But if it was an episode of Criminal Minds we'd 100% be rooting for them to catch him. The characters who are humanized and relatable are easy to make excuses for. – LC Morisset 8 months ago
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  • I think the reason we tend to support otherwise morally corrupt characters is because, through seeing their backstory and, in the case of Annalise, compromising relationship with her husband, they seem more human and relatable. Another excellent example of this would be those who supported Walter Whites actions in Breaking bad, Walter was arguably one of the most morally questionable characters we've had to date blowing up nursing homes, dissolving bodies in hydrofluoric acid but when we see his motives, he is instantly humanised. We see that he, just like us is doing what he is doing for his family and this is thereby adequate justification. Its quite intriguing how we, as an audience are more inclined to support and understand a characters actions when we see just what drives them to do what they do. – AdilYoosuf 5 months ago
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