- "I'm a cheater, yes. And a slut and a bad person and now a murderer. Judge me if you want. Just do it while we're carrying the damn body!"
- —Laurel Castillo[src]
Laurel Castillo is one of the main characters of How to Get Away with Murder. She is a secret weapon in the making. A quiet, sensitive idealist who enrolled in law school after graduating from Brown University to learn how to defend the less fortunate, Laurel manages to stay under the radar, making it easy for her fellow classmates to underestimate her. With a profound attention to detail and inventive mind, she's talented and darker than anyone realizes, including Annalise.
Laurel was born in Mexico along with her brother, Adrian. Her parents divorced in the midst of her mother's emotional breakdown. She was subsequently institutionalized. When she was sixteen years old, she was kidnapped and her father didn't pay the ransom which put a serious strain on their relationship. Not only that, her father was also involved in some shady business at Antares Technologies which triggered her to leave home as soon as she could. Her father also remarried; Laurel disliked her stepmother and only came home on Christmas. She eventually got into law school in Philadelphia. ("Best Christmas Ever", "It's Time to Move On", "Always Bet Black")
Laurel tries to get help from Frank. ("Pilot")
Laurel Castillo first speaks up in class on her first day of Law School when she interrupts a one on one conversation between Wes Gibbins and Annalise Keating. Annalise is trying to help Wes answer a question, but Laurel shouts out the answer before he can get it. She's scolded for taking a learning opportunity away from him. Laurel and the rest of the students are then taken to see Gina Sadowski, a client Annalise is trying to help. She asks the students to come up with a defense for the woman as a competition. Laurel gets straight onto the task and when she reveals her idea, she makes it through to the next part of the challenge. She begins attending the court sessions and be a witness of an impressive rivalry between Connor Walsh and Michaela Pratt. After one court session, Laurel goes to the restroom and sees Gina stood in front of the mirror. She goes into one of the cubicles and spies on her, seeing her get comforted by the wife of the man she apparently tried to kill, implying they're in cahoots and she's, in fact, guilty. Laurel reveals this to Frank Delfino, but he explains that he already knew before making some misogynistic comments. Laurel is angry that these lawyers are so immoral and would let a guilty woman walk free. After the trial is over and Gina is found not guilty thanks to Nate Lahey, Annalise's boyfriend, Laurel observes more friendly behavior between Gina and the other woman. Back at the university, Annalise reveals that Laurel is one of the students who won the competition, but a smile from Frank implies that he influenced the choice. ("Pilot")
Murder of Sam KeatingEdit
Stopping Sam from hurting Rebecca. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Connor, Laurel and Wes are driving to Annalise's place. They have to drive slow as there is a massive gang of drunk people going to the bonfire. Wes tries to call Rebecca but she's not picking up. Connor comes up with scenarios of what could have happened to her. Wes is confident that Rebecca went to the Annalise's. Wes tells Connor that Sam killed Lila so that's why Rebecca is going over there as she is trying to prove it. Connor thinks that its a joke. Wes tells him to believe him and drive faster. Laurel is confused as why would Annalise represent Rebecca if she knew Sam was involved. Wes says that he would go to the police if she did. Connor laughs and says that he blackmailed Annalise. Laurel tells Connor to shut up and ask Wes if he thinks Sam killed Lila. Wes agrees. Connor's car arrives and everyone gets out and runs to the house. Inside, Michaela is trying to calm Sam down but he is not backing down. Rebecca is in the bedroom with Sam's laptop. Sam tells Rebecca that if she doesn't come out, he's coming in. Wes, Connor, and Laurel arrive in the room and tell him to stop. Sam tells them all to get out of his house. Wes tells him that once he has let Rebecca go, they will leave. Sam informs then that she took his laptop and asks them what she is trying to get. Wes tells him to calm down again and he backs away from the door. Wes walks up to it and tells Rebecca that she can come out. She opens the door. Wes tells Sam that they will leave now. Sam tells them to go as he is not going to do anything. Wes and Rebecca walk to the door when they are tackled to the floor. Sam tries to reach for the memory stick and grabs it. Wes has him pinned down and gets Laurel to get the stick off of Sam. Sam breaks free and they all run out of the bedroom door. He comes at Michaela so she pushes him over the landing. He falls onto the ground floor. Everyone stares at the body. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Sam's lifeless body. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Michaela tells them that they need to call an ambulance. Connor doesn't see the point as Sam's dead. Connor says that he was alive until Michaela shoved him over the railings. Michaela says that she was protecting Laurel. Laurel says that because they were all there, they are all at fault. Connor disagrees. Laurel says that they broke into his house and that Sam was defending himself. Michaela quietly says that she was only there to turn in the Trophy. Michaela thinks they should be calling an ambulance. Connor corrects her again and says that they need to call the police. Wes speaks up and tells them all that no one knows that they are there. Laurel reminds them that Annalise could be back any minute. Wes tells them that that's why they should leave. Everyone stops talking as Sam is strangling Rebecca. Michaela freaks out and tells everyone to do something and to get him off of her. Wes grabs the trophy and hits Sam round the head with it. Blood splatters everywhere. Sam falls to the ground, dead. Rebecca's face is covered in blood. Everyone stares at her. Wes drops the trophy. Everyone in their own way freaks out. Wes removes his jacket and tells everyone to get ready to leave. Wes picks up Rebecca and carries her up stairs where he washes off the blood. Back down stairs, Connor, Laurel, and Michaela are silently freaking out. Connor goes to the kitchen to throw up. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me") Laurel walks over to Sam's body on the floor. Rebecca is sitting in a chair when Wes wraps a blanket around her. Connor enters and demands that Michaela stands up and not cower in a corner moping. She just sits there. Connor gets a bit more violent but Laurel shouts for him to stop. Laurel crouches down beside her and tells her softly that they need to leave. Michaela is still not listening so Laurel says that everything is going to be ok. ("Smile, or Go to Jail") Connor walks over to Wes and Rebecca and says that Michaela is going to ruin it for them. Wes tells him that she will be fine. Connor quickly tells Michaela to get up again when Wes reveals that he has a plan. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
The group hear a knock. ("Let's Get to Scooping")
Laurel and Connor are to take Michaela to the woods while Wes will get Rebecca out of there. Connor is worried as Wes wants them to split up. Wes reminds Connor that Rebecca shouldn't be at the house. Just them, Asher knocks on the front door and shouts to see if anyone is inside. Everyone inside freezes but Connor goes to investigate. Asher shouts that he can see Connor's car in the driveway and carries on banging on the door. Michaela whispers that it's all her fault. Connor agrees with her. Asher continues to shout through the door and demands that Michaela gives him back the trophy that she stole. Laurel sees Asher moving round to the windows and tells everyone to get down and hide. Connor lays down beside the body and tells the corpse that he is so so screwed. ("Let's Get to Scooping") Laurel contemplates letting him in as then he will become a part of it. Rebecca suggests that they trick him into stepping in the blood. Laurel agrees but Wes doesn't as he wasn't a part of it. Laurel listens closely as she doesn't hear Asher anymore and goes to check. He's gone. Michaela appears and reveals that she texted him claiming to be at the library. ("Freakin' Whack-a-Mole")
Laurel in the woods. ("Pilot")
In the woods, Connor, Laurel and Michaela are standing around waiting for Wes to show up. Michaela gets nervous and says that Wes and Rebecca could have gone to the police and pinned it all on them. Michaela goes to call her boyfriend but Connor speaks sense to her as she can barely form a sentence. ("It's All Her Fault") Wes runs in and scares them. He opens his backpack and reveals a bloody trophy that he went back for. Michaela tells him to go and put it back but Laurel says that it was a good idea taking the murder weapon. She says that they should clean it and put it back after they bury the body. Michaela and Connor disagree because they will have to drag the body through town in the busiest night of the year. In addition, if they get the body out of the house unseen, the ground in the woods is frozen. Laurel says that they will have to dig all night if they have to. They all start at each other but Wes tells them all to stop and suggests that they decide by flipping a coin to see whether to get the body or leave it where it is. ("Pilot") Wes tosses the coin and it lands on heads which means that they go back for the body. Wes grabs his things off of the ground and tells them all to go. ("It's All Her Fault") Michaela stops and says that it makes no sense at all. She seems confused with the plan. She doesn't know what they are going to do with the body once they have it. Wes says that they will burn it. Wes says that the flames will get rid of their DNA and Connor says that the bonfire will cover the smoke. Laurel has an idea. They can go to the bonfire and use it for their alibi. At the bonfire, drunk students and teenagers are throwing wood onto the fire. Music is playing really loudly. Wes and Laurel take many selfies of them doing things that they would be doing if they were drunk so that if anyone asks, that have proof that they were there. Connor does the same. Michaela just stands there when Connor grabs her and tries to make her look like she's having fun. Michaela isn't smiling so Connor tells her to smile, or go to jail. Michaela smiles for a few selfies. ("Smile, or Go to Jail")
Laurel talking to Michaela ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
After the bonfire, they return to the crime scene. Connor asks what the plan is and offers a few suggestions. Wes tells him that they will roll him in a rug and deal with that later. Michaela phone buzzes on silent and she sneaks off into another room to answer it. As Laurel comes back with paper towels to mop up the blood, she notices her leaving. Laurel quickly puts the paper towels down and grabs the Trophy that Wes hands her and goes to the kitchen to clean it. When she gets in there, Michaela has her phone in her hand. Laurel asks her if she was about to call Aiden. Michaela claims that she wasn't but Laurel isn't convinced. So she walks over and snatches the phone out of her hand and checks. Laurel informs Michaela that if she calls him, the cell tower will place her at the scene of the murder. Michaela claims to know. Michaela snatches the phone back and tells her to not treat her like she's a child and walks out of the kitchen. Laurel then resumes washing the statue in the sink. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me") Wes and Connor are rolling the body in the rug on the floor. Michaela refuses to look or do anything. Laurel comes in and reveals that she washed all of the blood off of the trophy and the sink. Laurel asks what they should do next. Wes says that they should put the trophy back and Connor says that they should get the hell out of there. Wes, Connor, and Laurel try and lift the body but can't as it's too heavy. They all look to Michaela for help. She reluctantly walks over and grabs one end of the body. They all struggle to move the body outside. A cop appears. The cop asks them if a car blocking the sidewalk is theirs. Connor owns up and says that it's his and offers to move it. The cop asks if the house they're in is the law professor. After a pause, Michaela saves them by saying its Annalise Keating's place and that they are moving her old rug out of the house. Michaela gets out her phone and offers to call Annalise to confirm. Michaela improvises by saying that Annalise went to her mother's funeral. The cop backs down and hears a bottle smashing. He quickly apologizes and leaves to chase after a few rogue teenagers. ("Pilot")
Frank calling Laurel. ("Pilot")
After putting the body in the car, they drive out of Annalise's driveway and onto the road. Laurel suggests that they go to a gas station. Wes says that the gas station Laurel suggested was to close as they could bump into people they know and should go further away. Laurel suddenly notices Asher crossing the road directly in front of the car. Connor stops the car before he plowed him over. Connor tells them that "this is freakin' whack-a-mole" and drives off. ("Freakin' Whack-a-Mole") They drive out of town to the gas station Wes suggested. Connor tells them that they are all screwed and that Asher knew that they were in the house. On top, they also have the cop that was a witness. Connor gets paranoid with all of the things that they have done wrong. Laurel tells Connor that he has said enough. Connor "agrees" and puts on the radio. Christmas songs begin playing. Connor says "perfect" and changes the words of the song to fit their situation.("Let's Get to Scooping") Michaela begs him to stop. Wes gets into the car after going to the store. He tosses Laurel some potato chips. He said that he bought other stuff so that he wouldn't look suspicious on the surveillance video. Connor continues to sing along to the jolly Christmas song. ("Pilot") Once in the woods, they hear a couple laughing while carrying the body. They quickly take cover behind a tree and turn off their flashlights. The couple begins to get naked when Laurel's phone goes off. The couple stops and shouts "who's there." Laurel quickly gets her phone out of her pocket and ignores the phone call from Frank. The couple shouts again and flees when there is no reply. Michaela asks Laurel why Frank is calling her and that she saw the picture of him without a top on her phone. ("Pilot") Wes jumps to conclusions and asks Laurel if she told Frank about what they are doing. Michaela gets jealous because they never allowed her to call her fiancée. Laurel admits to them that she slept with Frank but she hasn't told Frank anything. Michaela asks her why they should believe her. Laurel says that she doesn't have to as they aren't friends. Connor tells Laurel that she is a cheater and she agrees. ("We're Not Friends")
Laurel and the others burning Sam's body. ("Let's Get to Scooping")
When they reach the spot far away from the bonfire where they can't be heard or seen, they unravel the body from the rug and cover in twigs and lighter fluid. Wes asks if they all agree as there is no going back. They all agree and Wes lights a match which shines a light on Sam's face. Wes throws the match on the body and it sets on fire. ("Pilot") While burning the body, Laurel gets another call from Frank. Connor makes a snide comment. Wes suggests that she answer it. Michaela agrees as it strengthens their alibi as you can hear bonfire in the background. Laurel answers it and Frank demands to know where she is. She responds by saying that she's at the bonfire and to stop calling her. Frank wants to explain but Laurel won't let him as he lied her and was using her. He tells her not to shut him out. Laurel ends the call by saying that it's too late. ("We're Not Friends") After burning the body, Connor repeatedly hits the burnt corpse, breaking it apart. Michaela looks away and covers her ears as to not hear the bones breaking. Connor stops and asks Michaela for help. Michaela tells him that she is just having a break. Connor won't take no for an answer. Wes and Laurel sit down. Connor tells Michaela that they need to see it through and to grab a trash bag and get to scooping up the bits of the body. He then resumes hitting the body and laughs at the same time. ("Let's Get to Scooping")
Getting rid of Sam's body. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Wes and Michaela carry black bags full of Sam to Connor's car. Laurel is sat in the car while Connor is sat on a rock. Wes informs the group that they have put in the last bag in the car. Connor tells everyone to get in the car when Michaela realizes that she has lost her engagement ring. She tells everyone to wait and that it's gone. Everyone stops and turns around to look at Michaela. Michaela falls to the ground and looks for it. Michaela repeats "I lost my ring." ("Smile, or Go to Jail") They all return to the woods to search for the missing engagement ring but have no luck finding it. Laurel informs Michaela that it's going to be light soon and that they still need to dispose of the body. Michaela refuses to leave until they find it. Wes questions her to see if she had her ring on when they left the house and Michaela says that she did. Connor says that they will have to cancel the wedding. Michaela cries more and Wes tells Connor to stop as they all still need Michaela to return the Trophy back to Asher. Laurel says that Michaela won't be able to do it in her current state. Connor isn't happy about this as he has done his part and it's time for Michaela to do hers. Laurel speaks up and says that she will do it. Connor questions how and Laurel says that she will figure it out. ("We're Not Friends") They all drive to a dumpster. Connor starts throwing the trash bags into the dumpster Laurel also helps. Michaela tries to stop Connor as her ring might be in one of them. Wes tells them all that throwing the body in the dumpster is a bad idea and that they need to get to an incinerator. Connor stops and says that Wes has been outvoted. Michaela grabs one and starts opening it. She puts her hand in and gets blood and parts of Sam on her fingers. She stands up and says "oh, god." Connor walks over and tells her to grow up. He grabs the last bag and throws it in. Laurel makes sure that there isn't anymore. Wes stands there for a moment as he thinks they have messed up. Everyone's ready to leave but Wes still isn't in the car. Connor tells him that the train is leaving and asks him if he's coming. Wes reluctantly gets into the car and they drive off. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Laurel taking to Frank. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Later, Laurel knocks on Frank's door. Frank lets her in and Laurel says that she should be there. Frank thinks that they should talk them through. Laurel shakes her head and asks if Frank would do anything for her. He says that he would and he is now getting suspicious of what's she wants. She takes the Trophy out of her bag and puts it on his table. She asks him for his help. They sit down and Frank looks from the trophy to Laurel's face in confusion. ("We're Not Friends") She tells him that she stole it from Asher. She says that she has been really stressed out about the exams and that she still hasn't broken up with Khan and also when she found out about Frank's girlfriend. Frank corrects as she's his ex-girlfriend. Laurel doesn't care, she just tells him that she stole it and that she doesn't want Asher thinking that she took it. Frank seems a bit disappointed it wasn't something worse. He tells her that he will take care of it. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")
Laurel having Christmas dinner with her family. ("Best Christmas Ever")
On Christmas day, Laurel visits her family in West Palm Beach, Florida. While having dinner, her father talks about bludgeoning the city commissioner after golf. Her brother comments by saying that he should wait until Laurel passes the bar. With that said, Laurel pipes up and tells him that would be charged with more than assault for that, probably aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Her family is impressed and remarks her for her talent. Her stepmother tries to change the subject but Laurel cuts in and continues talking about her work. Laurel tells them of the things that Sam has allegedly done and her brother thinks she's joking. Her stepmother is surprised that she didn't tell her but Laurel responds with that if she bothered to pick up the phone once in a while, she would know more. She then remembers that she did call her once, but only to ask about her love life. She then tells her family that she is currently dating two guys at the same time. Her father tells her to stop in Spanish. Laurel, also in Spanish, tells him that she is sorry that talking about what is actually happening isn't more interesting than always talking about golf. Her father then tells her to leave the table and to go back to whatever she calls home. Laurel graciously thanks her father for the dinner and leaves smiling. ("Best Christmas Ever")
During cover-up after Sinclair's murder at Hapstalls' apartment, Annalise tries to get Laurel shooting at her, saying that she had gone through worse times with her father. Laurel steps forward and nearly takes the gun, but then walks away saying that maybe they all should go to jail for good.
After the fire at Annalise's house Laurel was found unconscious. Later it's revealed that she was pregnant ("Don't Tell Annalise"). She ends up kissing Wes and sleeping with him several weeks before the fire ("Is Someone Really Dead?"). Eventually, the Keating 5, Oliver, Meggy, Bonnie and Frank find out about the pregnancy. Oliver, Meggy, Bonnie and Michaela find out first when they visit the hospital the night of the fire ("Don't Tell Annalise"); followed by the viewers learning that Frank knows too, as he's on the phone to Bonnie and she tells him ("Who's Dead?"); we then learn that both Asher and Connor find out when they visit Laurel another time, along with Laurel telling Asher, Connor and Michaela at that point, that the baby is Wes'. ("We're Bad People")
- Annalise: "How are you?"
- Laurel: "Good. Everyone else is good, too. Oliver started his own I.T. company. Michaela got a great internship. Asher's still looking for one. So am I. Guess those letters weren't that helpful. And Connor just decided to drop out completely. Oh, and we still don't know who killed Wes. So, yeah. Everything's great."
- — Annalise Keating and Laurel Castillo[src]
Laurel recieving a text from her father. ("I'm Going Away")
Just before starting her second semester of the second year at law school, Laurel's father comes to visit. They walk around the university campus while talking about their lives. Laurel tells her father that she was pregnant but lies him by saying that she had an abortion. Laurel questions why he had Dominic come to keep an eye on her while she was in New York. Her father claims that it was because she wasn't returning any of his calls. Laurel receives a text from Annalise, inviting her and there Keating 4 to a meal with herself and Bonnie. Once Jorge sees her phone he gets the idea of a picture and asks a stranger who was passing by to take their picture. That night, Laurel was later late to the dinner, where envelopes awaited each person. Annalise said the letters couldn’t be opened until after dinner. She revealed that she had a hearing about whether she would retain her license to practice law and that she won. Laurel said she couldn’t drink to celebrate because she was having the baby and is due in five months. Annalise then said the envelopes held recommendation letters, as she was cutting them from her team. “We’ve been given a second chance. We don’t need each other anymore. So it’s time to go our separate ways,” she told them, pointing out Wes’ absence. “I ruined him, but I’m not going to ruin all of you.” When an upset Laurel left, Michaela blasted Annalise for her unilateral decision and then stormed off, too, saying, “Have a terrible rest of your life.” Asher followed, saying, “Maybe next time, don’t invite people to a fancy dinner to dump them.” Connor was the least bothered and actually thanked Annalise. At Wes' Apartment (her new home since Wes died), Laurel checks her phone to find the picture of her and her father that he has sent. Laurel contemplates asking him why he had Wes killed but doesn't go through with it. She rubs her growing baby bump. ("I'm Going Away")
Laurel is revealed to be keeping the baby and in the first flash-forward of this season, her baby is seen to be missing when waking up at a hospital and her stomach flat ( "I'm Going Away"). She reveals the sex of the baby to Annalise when encountering her in the DA's toilet ( "It's for the Greater Good" ). Laurel realises that why Wes was killed and decides to attempt to eliminate the ability of Antares Technologies in launching their IPO with Caplan & Gold with Oliver, Michaela, Asher and Frank. ( "Stay Strong, Mama" ). Eventually, their plan goes into the wrong path with Simon accidentally killing himself, Asher arrested and Laurel soon into labour. Annalise hears her screaming while she is unknowingly giving birth to her baby and she sees the lifeless premature baby. Annalise then performs CPR on the baby successfully at the end. ( "Live. Live. Live." )
- In the original script, her name was Laurel Wilding.
- While it’s well-established now that Laurel is Latina, that wasn’t always the case. There was some discussion on how to best introduce the character. In an interview with ETOnline, Karla Souza stated, "I think that’s exactly what Pete and I were going for with people not even knowing. When I was cast, Laurel wasn’t supposed to be Latin at all. Then when Pete and Shonda [Rhimes] had that conversation about making her Latin, it was very important to have that be something that ‘could or couldn’t be,’ that wouldn’t ‘make or break’ the character, that it wasn’t the label of the character. She just happened to be Latin, and we could find it out later on.” It was later revealed that the character is Latina and additionally has problems with her father.
- Laurel was kidnapped when she was sixteen (and her father didn't care or pay the ransom).
- Karla Souza initially auditioned for the role of Michaela Pratt, then Rebecca Sutter before being asked by the show's creator Peter Nowalk to audition for the role of Laurel Castillo.
- The actress who portrays the character, Karla Souza, secretly gave birth to a baby girl on April 19, 2018. Just like her character, Souza also only told her close family and friends and eventually took to social media to announce that she had been secretly pregnant and had given birth.
- Though initially not pregnant at the start of the season, Karla Souza wore a pregnancy prosthetic bump which got progressively larger and heavier over the course of the season.
- Main article: Laurel Castillo/Gallery