- "I don't know what terrible things you've done in your life up to this point, but clearly your karma is out of balance to get assigned to my class. I am professor Annalise Keating and this is Criminal Law 100 or as I prefer to call it "How to Get Away With Murder""
- —Annalise to her students[src]
Annalise is a self-sufficient and confident woman. She seemed to have a perfect life and was respected for being a great lawyer and a great criminal law professor, whom her students both fear and admire. Annalise is a woman with two faces; one of them, a strong woman, that she shows the world, while the other, a sentimental and destroyed human being, was shown to Nate and Wes. Annalise seems like she has it all – a successful career and a loving husband, Sam – but soon she will be forced to confront secrets about her life she never saw coming.
Little is known about Annalise's childhood, however, her mother has revealed some information. As a child, Annalise grew up very poor, but her mother made sure she "was fed, had a roof over her head and clothes on her back." As a child, Annalise was sexually abused by her uncle Clyde Harkness. When one night, Ophelia caught Clyde exiting Annalise's room, knowing what he had done, she burned their house down while Clyde was asleep, presumably killing him.
Annalise went to Harvard Law, where she met Eve Rothlo, with whom she would eventually start a relationship. When Annalise started seeing a therapist, Sam Keating, she fell in love with him, left Eve and later married him moving into his house. Sometime after graduating Annalise changed her name from Anna Mae and started her law office. After starting her law office she became a professor, and started the tradition of taking 4 students to come work with her every year. The only student that has stayed with her past the year was Bonnie Winterbottom.
Annalise and Sam were happily married for 10 years, but Annalise had several miscarriages. After Annalise was finally able to carry a child to full term, she was struck by a car while driving and this caused her to lose that child aswell. Annalise and Sam spend 10 more years unhappily married. Sam cheats on Annalise with his students, including Lila Stangard, and Annalise cheats on Sam with police officer Nate Lahey.
Annalise welcomes her students to her class, 'Criminal Law 101'. ("Pilot")
Annalise Keating first meets her students on their first day of law school. After welcoming them to the class, she asks them facts on a case called "The Aspirin Assassin". During this she gets to know Connor, Asher, Michaela, Wes and Laurel. She reveals to the class that the case is one she's working on now, so takes the students to see Gina Sadowski, the defendant. As a challenge, Annalise tasks the students to come up with a defense for the case, promising the winners a job in her firm. After hearing all the students ideas, she decides to take a select few to the court hearings. During the first sessions, Annalise questions Linda Tanner, the assistant of the victim. With help from Michaela, who found some vital information, she's able to discredit her testimony. That night, Annalise prepares to have sex with detective Nate Lahey in her office, but she's caught by Wes who came with a suggestion for the trial. In the next court session, Annalise is able to point the blame onto someone else with help from Connor, who obtained an email that incriminates another colleague, Lionel Bryant. Annalise attends a formal party that night with her husband, Sam Keating. She confronts Wes, who promises not to tell, and she explains that her marriage is strained because of baby troubles. When Annalise returns to the office with her husband, she's unaware of the jealous looks Bonnie gives when she kisses her husband. The next day in court, incriminating evidence is shown against Gina on a tape, putting their position in danger. Annalise scolds Gina for not telling them she bought aspirin and in a last ditch effort, she brings her love Nate into court and forces him to lie about videotapes being forged with. This finally allows them to win their case and Gina walks free...although guilty. Back in class, Annalise reveals the winners of the competition and the ones who'll work at her firm: Connor, Michaela, Asher, Laurel and Wes. Wes questions the legitimacy of him winning, but she insists she liked his idea when he presented it. That night, when missing girl Lila Stangard's dead body is found, Annalise comforts her husband as she was one of his students. She then finishes by commenting that she bets the boyfriend did it. ("Pilot")
Annalise asks Nate for help when she believes Sam killed Lila Stangard. ("It's All Her Fault")
Annalise reads an article on Lila Stangard one morning and finds it odd when Sam comments that her body being in a water tank would’ve destroyed most evidence. Later on, during a lecture, Annalise introduces the next case she’s working on. She takes her chosen students to visit Max St. Vincent’s house where he preserved the murder scene of his wife. She tasks them with coming up with something to help win the case. When they head back to the office, Annalise takes Wes aside to give him a personal task for the case. The other students comment how odd it is that he was even picked. Wes completes the task, but points out a discrepancy. Annalise uses this to discredit a witness in the case, Jake Dorsey. She then uses information gained by Connor to discredit any motive to kill. And finally, with help from Asher raiding bins, she’s able to come up with an alibi for Max. After a court session, Annalise runs into Nate. She tries to apologize for embarrassing him on the stand, but he threatens to reveal everything if she speaks to him again. That night, at home, Annalise goes through Sam's phone and discovers that he'd been messaging Lila. The next step for Max's case is introducing a character witness, they bring in his daughter, Eloise who shows she'd happily let him die if he ended up being guilty. However, in the courthouse, it's shockingly revealed that Max's first wife had also been murdered in a similar fashion to his second wife. Annalise scolds Max for keeping this fact a secret. Back at the office, Annalise asks Sam if he was sleeping with Lila. However, he insists he didn't. The next day at court, thanks to Laurel, Annalise proves that even though Max killed his first wife, he didn't kill the one he's on trial for because of the differences in the two killings. This ends up winning her case for her. Back at home, Annalise checks Sam's phone again and discovers he deleted messages from Lila. She is then is forced to sleep with Sam to prove she trusts him, however, afterwards she begins crying. She then sneaks out to find Nate and she asks him for help, claiming she thinks Sam killed Lila. ("It's All Her Fault")
Murder of Sam Keating
Sam strangling Annalise. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
At her house, Annalise is packing Sam's things. She tells him that he is stupid as he told Bonnie that he got Lila pregnant and Bonnie would tell Annalise everything he said. Annalise walks down the stairs with a suitcase full of Sam's things and throws it out the door. Sam tells her to stop for a second but just Annalise tells him to get out of the house. Sam begins to beg for her not to give up on him. She tells him that she already has. Sam is still not moving so Annalise threatens to call 911. He walks over to her and angrily snatches the phone out of her hands and throws it at the wall. Sam tells Annalise that he is not a violent man but she tells him that everyone can be violent given the chance. Sam continues to deny that he is a violent man. Moving to the kitchen, the two stand on opposite sides. Sam claims to still be the man she married. Annalise thinks otherwise. Sam tells Annalise that she is some scared little girl who pretends to be strong but who is really just weak and selfish. She claims to have done everything that she could to protect him. Annalise comes clean about screwing Nate. She taunts him by telling him everything they have done together. As Sam walks away, she continues to tell him things that they do together and that the only reason she was able to stand Sam having sex with her was that she used to think of Nate. He grabs her by the neck and pins her to the wall and says that he used to think of Lila when they were together. Annalise asks him is he did kill her. Sam releases his grip on her neck and tells her that she is a monster. Sam asks her if she wants the truth and tells her that she's nothing but a piece of ass, that was what he saw when he fist talked to her because he knew that she would go for him and that's all she's really good for. Annalise tells him that they are finally speaking the truth to each other and walks out, gets into her car and drives away. Rebecca is across the street and watches as she leaves. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Annalise goes to Nate. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Annalise is sat in her car crying. She is at the police station but doesn't go in. She then goes back to her house and finds her husband's dead body on the floor with blood all over the house. Not long later, Wes enters and starts to clean up the body when he realises that Annalise is sat across the room watching his every move. Wes tells her what happened and she vows to help him and the others cover it up. As an alibi, Annalise goes to Nate's apartment. When he opens the door, Annalise says that she knows that she can't be there, but she doesn't have anywhere else to go. She tells him that she went to the police station as she was going to tell them everything. She walks in and closes the door. Annalise tells Nate that he was right. She thinks Sam killed Lila. She tells him that Sam lied to her about everything, that he knew Lila was pregnant. Nate sits beside her on the couch and asks her if she has told anyone. She tells him that she has only told him and that she told the D.A. to run DNA tests on all the men in Lila's life, even her teachers. Annalise thinks that she should leave. Nate asks her where she will go and Annalise doesn't know. She tells him that she will probably go to a hotel and tells him not to worry as she won't go back to the house. Nate stands up and tells her that she is too upset to go anywhere and tells her that she needs to stay until she has calmed down. Annalise reuses but comes round to the idea. Annalise calls Sam to see if he picks up but he doesn't. Annalise tells Nate that its probably better that he didn't answer anyway. She looks over and sees a photo of Nate and his wife's wedding. She asks Nate if he thinks they're terrible people. Nate leans forward and grabs her hand and tells her that he doesn't know and it depends on who they ask. Annalise goes to pull away but Nate pulls her onto his lap and kisses her. They start removing each others clothes while kissing. Nate lifts her up and they start to have sex on a wall. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Annalise calls Bonnie about Sam. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Annalise quietly leaves Nate's apartment after having sex, gets in her car and drives home. She calls Sam again and leaves him a voice message. She tells him that she didn't think that he would pick up. She tells him that she's still got a lot to say to him but she doesn't want to do it by phone but she has no other choice. She tells him that they built a life together for 20 years. She tells him that she didn't mean all of the horrible things that they have said to each other and to forgive her. Annalise doesn't want things to end that way. She wants them to work through it and she wants them to be together and that she will stand by him through all of it. She tells him to come home so that they can be together. She then calls Bonnie where she cries over the phone. She asks Bonnie if she is with Sam and Bonnie says no as she isn't and asks why. Annalise tells her that something terrible has happened. ("Freakin' Whack-a-Mole") She tells her that they fought last night after she left and that the D.A. was going to find out that the baby was his. He thinks he is going to go away for the murder. She says that he isn't answering his phone and she's worried that he might have done something stupid. Bonnie tells her to stay right where she is and that she will be right over. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
In season two, Annalise is accused of killing Sam and framing Nate. It is also shown in several flashbacks that she has been shot and is in critical condition. It is also revealed that Sam was cheating his first wife with Annalise and that he was her therapist.
Annalise and Eva are in a bar drinking and 2 male lawyers approach them. Later she gets home and is somewhat tipsy so Nate has to help her. The next morning she passes off the case to Asher to handle. Things come to a halt in the courtroom when she is informed that her law license has been suspended due to "gross misconduct." A video of Annalise slapping her previous client across the face was leaked, which is what led to her license suspension. Later, Annalise reveals to Eva she used Sam's life insurance money to hire a hitman to find Frank because she wants to make him pay for indirectly killing her baby. After yelling at the board president, Annalise also finds out that her tenure has been nullified. When she goes home she gets in a fight with Nate, calling him a "little bitch" and yelling at him to hit her. At her preliminary disciplinary hearing, she claims that she's become an alcoholic to deal with Sam's death, the shooting and the flyers, but she will enter treatment if it gets her her license back. Afterwards she tells Eva and they kiss but Eva pulls away and tells her that she has a girlfriend who wants her to move to San Francisco. Annalise urges Eva to do it and they embrace. Towards the end of the episode, Bonnie tells Annalise that her pedophile father was dead and that she had been listed as his next-of-kin. ("Don't Tell Annalise")
In a series of flash forwards it is shown that Annalise's house has burnt down and that someone has been found dead inside it. As the season progresses it is revealed that it was Wes that was found inside the house dead. This is likely to cause tremendous pain in Annalise's life since she had done so much to protect him only for her to lose him. ("Who's Dead?")
- In an original version of the "Pilot" script, her name was Annalise DeWitt.
- Annaliese is bisexual. (it's complicated)
- Her character has been mentioned in the show called "Scream Queens".
- She is from Memphis, Tennesssee. (S2x15)
- Annalise also had a strong son like relationship with Wes Gibbins