'How To Get Away With Murder' Review: Season 1, Episode 4

By Mark Wilson, Esq. on October 17, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Episode 4 of "How to Get Away with Murder" teased that we wouldn't believe Professor Keating's last nine words -- and the folks at ABC's marketing department didn't disappoint! After an episode full of tantalizing securities fraud, we got precious little of the overarching "Mr. Professor Keating will be dead in seven weeks" story line. In case you missed it, check out last week's Episode 3 recap. Oh, and spoiler alerts. Obvee.

The crime of the week this week is -- surprise! -- insider trading, not murder. Remember: Keating teaches a criminal law class, not murder class, and insider trading is some kind of crime, so there you go. Anyway, Elizabeth Perkins (of "Big" and "Weeds" fame) owns a securities firm and she's accused of trading on inside information. (Oddly missing is a discussion of the different theories of insider trading, but I guess not everyone is as interested in "misappropriation" as I am. Go figure.)

The Mystery of the Students' Schedule, Solved!

For the past three episodes, we've wondered whether the students in Keating's clinic-slash-class have any other classes. Finally, in this episode, we learn that not only do they have other classes, but they have exams in both property and torts! In three days!

The students fret over outlines and make half-hearted attempts at sabotage, but in the end, Guard from "Orange Is the New Black" comes through with outlines. (You know this isn't real because they talk about "curves"; at the elite law schools, not only are there no curves, but there aren't even grades. You get a pass! And you get a pass! Everybody gets a pass!)

Modern Criminal Procedure: Sexy Sex, Deceit, and 'Perry Mason'

Once again, Connor's preferred method of obtaining evidence is hooking up with the person who has it. In this case, he discovers -- by planting his smartphone in the copy room after they hook up in there -- that Elizabeth Perkins was set up. She didn't make those trades, after all! After the hooked-up-with assistant jumps out the window, there's a deposition (for some reason) in which the other assistant gets trapped in a lie and gets arrested by the U.S. attorney. It's "Perry Mason" for the 21st century!

And, in Goth Girl News ...

Goth Girl gets released on bail after a Brady violation; Keating's associate has to somehow get a tape of her confession, showing (apparently) that her confession from the last episode was coerced. And that means her bail gets reduced? Sure, why not. Plus the judge is so indignant he orders a sua sponte investigation into the department's interrogation practices.

Episode Superlatives

Best Quote: It's a toss up. It could be: "This is a marathon and we have six more miles to go, so quit dilly-dallying, grab a shovel, and let's start scooping." Or, it could be those nine tantalizing, episode-ending words I was promised: "Why is your penis on a dead girl's phone?"

Most Objectionable Legal Practice: Once again, it's the prosecutor's failure to turn over exculpatory evidence -- in this case, the tape showing that Goth Girl's confession was coerced. (Pro tip: It doesn't matter if you plan to introduce the evidence or not, you gotta turn it over.)

Most Backstabby Act: Was it Keating finding her husband's photos in flagrante delicto on the dead girl's phone? Connor "cheating" on Oliver (because Oliver doesn't know how hooking up works)? Elizabeth Perkins' employees doing some insider trading and then framing her? It's hard to say.

It's quite a decision to start a show with murder and then move to insider trading. Generally, it goes in the other direction. Tune in next week, when Professor Keating's top students learn How to Get Away with ... Check Fraud!

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