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"Don't you know a ViP when you see one? Your boss came out of my V and her daddy’s P. Show a little respect for her mama."
—Ophelia[src]

Ophelia Harkness is a recurring character on How to Get Away with Murder. She is Annalise's mother who has recently been diagosed with dementia.

BiographyEdit

Early LifeEdit

"I bought that house over off peachtree when I was pregnant with you. I was so proud of that house. It wasn't much, but it was mine. Built a porch swing and tended a little garden that was just right out front. I baked up a storm on that old stove. You know the ones that you had to light with a long match? And one winter Uncle Clyde came by and said he needed a place to stay, just till he got on his feet, he said. Can't turn your back on your family. And then, one day I woke up in the middle of the night. I don't know what it was. I-I-I just woke up. I walked down the hall to look in on you, and Clyde, he came out of your room, and I knew what he had done. He was a big man. Loved his liquor and his hooch. Smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, was always stinking up the house with cigarette smoke. All the time, he would just fall asleep on the couch, a cigarette hanging out his mouth. I'd go by and put it out. Then one night, not too long after, he fell asleep on the couch drunk as a skunk, that cigarette hanging out of his mouth. I got you and your brothers and sisters out of bed, and we went over to aunt mabel's to sleep. And that night, that house that I loved so much burned to the ground, and your Uncle Clyde burned right with it. Oh, I know how how you've been torturing yourself about what went on here, baby. And maybe you did something real bad I don't know and don't much care if you did. I know if you did, you had your reason. 'Cause sometimes you got to do what you got to do Even if all you've got is a long match and a very flammable hooch."
—Ophelia Harkness to Annalise Keating about Clyde Harkness's death[src]

During her early childhood, Ophelia was sexually assaulted and even raped multiple times, even by her Reverand after choir practice. Though she didn't let this keep her down, she married Mac Harkness and had children, Anna Mae, Celestine and Thelonious. After her brother-in-law came to stay for a while, Ophelia caught him leaving Annalise's room in the middle of the night, which Ophelia, instantly knew that he had raped her. Not long after, when Clyde had passed out from over-intoxication on the couch, Ophelia removed everyone from the house and set it ablaze with Clyde inside. Everyone believed that it had been an accident and Ophelia kept the secret for the rest of her life, not telling a soul. ("Mama's Here Now", "Anna Mae")

Season 1Edit

"So Your no-count, sorry-ass husband Who I said don't marry Couldn't keep his Peter in his pants and went and slept with a white woman. Then the fool goes and kills the white woman when he finds out that she has his bun in her nasty oven. And after that, your ex-police boyfriend kills the no-good husband and gets himself arrested. And you, now, ain't got no husband, ain't got no boyfriend, and you holed up in this bed like the queen of Sheba. Does that about cover it? Oh, I'm all into this one. I have to get Lottie's grandson to pull up the stories on the Google. I know what you been up to. Calling me up, talking about "I need you". Hell yes. Running around here like you somebody. Get up! Smells like somebody's dying in here. Come on. Get your butt up out this bed and get in the shower. Get up! It's all right, baby. Come on. Mama's here now, and everything's gonna be all right, hmm?"
—Ophelia Harkness to Annalise Keating[src]
113OpheliaAnnalise
Ophelia telling Annalise about Clyde. ("Mama's Here Now")

When Annalise calls her mother one night in 2015, telling her that she needs her following her her husbands murder, Ophelia arrives at Philadelphia the following day. She is first greeted by Frank and Bonnie who assume that she is a client. Upon telling them who she really is, they tell her that her daughter is in bed. Ophelia wakes Annalise up in her bedroom and encourages her to get up before comforting her once she sees that Annalise is in pain. Ophelia tries to take Sam's suits in order to give them to her brother, however, this starts an argument, where Ophelia ends up asking if she killed Sam. While going back downstairs, Ophelia laughs at the Keating 5. Bonnie then introduces them to Annalise's mother. After going back to her daughter's room, she finds her talking to Wes and says that she only leaves a moment and already has another man in her life. The following day, Ophelia cooks for Annalise, while she is drinking vodka. The two talk about her office's current case which ends up starting another argument about Annalise being raped by her uncle when she was young. After Ophelia admits that she knew what he did to her, Annalise throws her glass at the wall and walks out. Ophelia runs after her where Ophelia tells her that even she has been raped multiple times though this doesn't help as Annalise tells her to leave. Later that night, Ophelia tells Annalise that is leaving in the morning and sees her crying in her bed. She comforts her and starts combing Annalise's hair like she did when she was young. Ophelia then tells Annalise that she killed Clyde, that the house fire that killed him wasn't an accident. The following morning, Ophelia leaves for Menphis. ("Mama's Here Now")

Season 2Edit

"Didn't I send you up here about an hour ago? [...] Anna Mae begging you to leave just so she can get her some more sleep. The answer's no. In a few minutes, you'll have some people coming up here. And you up under these covers looking like "Who shot John?" Girl, get up and get in the shower. [...] What's wrong with you? You stupid? You think we won't have a little get-together when we know you're back? Get in the shower, Anna Mae. I said get in the shower!"
—Ophelia Harkness to Annalise Keating and Celestine Harkness[src]
215OpheliaAnnalise
Annalise buries a letter to her deceased son. ("Anna Mae")

Months later, Annalise shows up on her doorstep one night and Ophelia meet her with open arms. The following morning, Ophelia invites everyone around the house to show her daughter off. During the party, all of her family fusses over Annalise. While cooking, Ophelia talks about her having to go to many funerals since they last saw one another and that she is grateful that Annalise's was not one of those since she was shot not long ago. While getting something from the fridge, Annalise notices her father hovering in the distance. Though Mac tries to make conversation with Annalise, she just walks away from him. Later that night, Ophelia comes clean by telling Annalise that she has been seeing her father again. Annalise is confused that her mother would allow him to return after leaving her so long ago. The following day, Nate visits Annalise and Ophelia and Celestine admire Nate while Annalise talks with him. Not long after, Ophelia interrupts them and drags Nate inside for dinner. During dinner, Ophelia asks Nate about his personal life to which Annalise tries to get her to stop. The conversation turns awkward as Annalise has a go at her father for leaving them. While everyone gets up and starts to dance in the living room, Ophelia talks to Annalise about her not having children. While cleaning up, Annalise comes clean that she has a son, only he died. After saying goodbye to Nate, Ophelia asks Annalise whether she would have ever told her, to which Annalise tells her that she would have if her baby would have lived. That night, Ophelia drags her daughter out of bed and has her write a letter to her baby and bury it in the back garden as a way of getting over her loss. Annalise gets emotional and the two hug. Annalise leaves the following morning. ("There's My Baby", "Anna Mae")

Season 3Edit

"All I have to do is to tell the police the truth. You didn't burn down the house. I did. [...] I'll tell them that I made sure all the kids was out of the house. And then I poured hooch all over the couch that Clyde was on. [...] They got to know what that pervert did to you. And that you're here to take the fall for your mama. I'm not gonna let you do that, baby. They want to lock me up, that's fine. The only judgment I fear is from the Lord God Almighty. And if I go to hell for burning that bastard, then so be it."
—Ophelia Harkness to Annalise Keating during her dementia episode.[src]
312Ophelia
Ophelia watching Annalise being taken away. ("Go Cry Somewhere Else")

After hearing that Annalise was arrested from Celestine, Ophelia and Mac make the trip to Philadelphia where they enter Annalise's arraignment at court. While the police take Annalise away in handcuffs, Annalise tells her mother to go home and Ophelia cries as her daughter is dragged away. While waiting in the hallway, Ophelia and Mac stop Nate and demand to know how he is going to fix Annalise's situation. Nate informs them that he is working for the DA's Office which means that he cannot help her. During visiting hours at the prison, Ophelia and Mac visit their daughter. Annalise tells them that she doesn't want them to see her in prison looking how she does. Ophelia begins to have a dementia episode as she thinks that the fire which killed Clyde is what Annalise is being charged for. Mac is surprised as he thought that Clyde's death was an accident. While Ophelia makes her way to the door, Annalise scolds Mac for not telling her about her mother's dementia. At the next visiting hours at the prison, Annalise talks to her mother about getting her help. Mac tries to reassure Annalise by telling her that he will always look after her. Noticing some hostility between Mac and Annalise, Ophelia excuses herself to use the bathroom to allow them to sort out their differences. After coming up with a plan, Annalise gets herself beaten up so that the judge will agree to bail. While being released, her family greets her, her mother, horrified by her damaged face. While having dinner, Ophelia has another dementia episode. Seeing that her mother needed some good news, Annalise fabricates a story that makes it seem that she was released from prison, making Ophelia ecstatic. ("Go Cry Somewhere Else")

Season 4Edit

"What the hell do you know about safety? You got people dying around you everyday."
—Ophelia Harkness to Annalise Keating[src]
401AnnaliseOphelia
Annalise singing to her mother. ("I'm Going Away")

A couple of months later, her daughter, Annalise came to visit her. Ophelia, her two daughters, and Mac sat down at the table to talk. Annalise and Celestine have been taking and Annalise said she wanted to use her insurance money from the fire to put her mom in a nursing home, but her mother was furious with the idea. During the night, Ophelia had a dementia episode, after which she agreed to visit the facility. Annalise’s father wanted to care for her herself, and they fought over who was to blame for her mom’s condition. Celestine assured her that it wasn’t her fault, and she confessed that the expected insurance payout wasn’t coming through. She further admitted she may be disbarred for her alcohol issues. “I’d be drinking, too, if I had your life,” her sister admitted. Annalise asked her mom point-blank what she wants to do, and the matriarch replied, “I’m going away. You know it, I know it. My mind’s going.” Noting her daughter’s past losses, she said she wanted to “protect you from losing anymore.” But since dementia can’t be stopped, she said they need to “prepare,” prompting Annalise to break down. “Don’t worry, I’ll stay as long as I can,” her mother said. Before leaving, Annalise begged her dad to “keep her safe,” at which pointed he finally apologized for the sexual assault she suffered at the hands of his brother. ("I'm Going Away")

413OpheliaOlivia
Ophelia helping Olivia fix her jacket. ("Lahey v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania")

Her daughter, Annalise, called her to tell her that she had managed to get her case sent to the Supreme Court and that she wanted her and Mac to come to D.C. to see her in action. Delighted with the news, Ophelia agreed. Once they arrived at Annalise's hotel room, she and Mac were introduced to Olivia Pope who Ophelia recognized from the 'telly.' Ophelia encouraged the two to eat with them as they had brought sandwiches. Olivia was worried that it would be a waste of their time but Annalise insisted. After their lunch, Nate arrived to which Ophelia was delighted by the surprise. In Supreme court, Ophelia was having one of her episodes when she saw Annalise about to go into the courtroom. Already late, Olivia encouraged Annalise to go inside and let her deal with her mother. Ophelia accidentally knocked over some stew onto Olivia's blouse. Olivia, again, urged Annalise to go inside as she was already late. Ophelia and Olivia then went to the bathroom where she tried to get the stain out of her jacket. They ended up having a heartwarming talk before entering the courtroom late. While at the courtroom, Annalise presented her case to the justices; one of the justices, Justice Strickland was particularly hard on Annalise and Nate Lahey, Sr. (the "face case" of the class action). After the court was adjourned, the decision of the Justices remained unknown. ("Lahey v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania")

Murders CommittedEdit

  • Clyde Harkness: After finding out that Clyde has sexually assaulted Annalise, Ophelia took matters into her own hands and covered Clyde's drunk body, who was passed out on the couch, in alcohol and set the house on fire with him in it, killing him. As the fire appeared an accident, the police never looked into Clyde's death any further. She only told Annalise what she had done for her years later. ("Mama's Here Now")

AppearancesEdit

Season 1
"Pilot" "It's All Her Fault" "Smile, or Go to Jail" "Let's Get to Scooping" "We're Not Friends"
"Freakin' Whack-a-Mole" "He Deserved to Die" "He Has a Wife" "Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me" "Hello Raskolnikov"
"Best Christmas Ever" "She's a Murderer" "Mama's Here Now" "The Night Lila Died" "It's All My Fault"
Season 2
"It's Time to Move On" "She's Dying" "It's Called the Octopus" "Skanks Get Shanked" "Meet Bonnie"
"Two Birds, One Millstone" "I Want You to Die" "Hi, I'm Philip" "What Did We Do?" "What Happened to You, Annalise?"
"She Hates Us" "It's a Trap" "Something Bad Happened" "There's My Baby" "Anna Mae"
Season 3
"We're Good People Now" "There Are Worse Things Than Murder" "Always Bet Black" "Don't Tell Annalise" "It's About Frank"
"Is Someone Really Dead?" "Call It Mother's Intuition" "No More Blood" "Who's Dead?" "We're Bad People"
"Not Everything's About Annalise" "Go Cry Somewhere Else" "It's War" "He Made a Terrible Mistake" "Wes"
Season 4
"I'm Going Away" "I'm Not Her" "It's for the Greater Good" "Was She Ever Good at Her Job?" "I Love Her"
"Stay Strong, Mama" "Nobody Roots for Goliath" "Live. Live. Live." "He's Dead" "Everything We Did Was For Nothing"
"He's a Bad Father" "Ask Him About Stella" "Lahey v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" "The Day Before He Died" "Nobody Else Is Dying"

GalleryEdit

Episode StillsEdit

Season 1Edit

Season 2Edit

Season 3Edit

Season 4Edit

Behind the ScenesEdit

Season 1Edit

Season 2Edit

Season 4Edit

See AlsoEdit