Be on your A game because my brain is steeped in vodka.
Get me some chocolate chip cookies!
Annalise Keating, Esq, born Anna Mae, (née Harkness), is one of the main characters of How to Get Away with Murder. She is everything you would hope your Criminal Law professor would be – brilliant, passionate, creative and charismatic. She's also everything you don't expect – sexy, glamorous, unpredictable and dangerous. As fearless in the courtroom as she is in the classroom, Annalise is a defense attorney who represents the most hardened criminals – people who've committed everything from fraud to arson to murder. 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.
Annaliese went to Harvard Law, where she met Eve Rothlo, with whom she would eventually start a relationship. When Annaliese 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.
Annaliese 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")
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)
This is a gallery of photographic stills released to promote the character.