Update: ABC has officially announced that How to Get Away with Murder will end after Season 6.
Even though How to Get Away with Murder's showrunner Pete Nowalk seemed pretty confident at the end of Season 5 that the show would return for another year, we were still more than a little relieved when ABC officially picked up another season of Annalise Keating's (Viola Davis) murder club exploits this spring. The Shondaland show has had a surprisingly resilient shelf-life, but we do have to wonder whether Season 6 could be its last.
One of the biggest Season 5 cliffhangers was the revelation that the FBI was working on an in-depth investigation into the string of murders that surrounding Annalise and her students, and the whole thing was ominously titled "Operation Bonfire." As we all know, the first murder to rock these characters' lives was that of Sam Keating (Tom Verica) on the night of the Middleton College Bonfire. From there, Annalise launched coverup after coverup that often resulted in more and more murders piling up on top of each other. Frankly, it's a little ridiculous it took the FBI this long to start getting suspicious.
"I think the fact that the FBI obviously has been keeping track of them we now know means that this is not going to end easily," Nowalk told TV Guide earlier this year of the ongoing FBI storyline that will pick back up in Season 6. "All of these seasons where they're like, 'OK, maybe now it's over,' it just means that someone's been making a case against them. That is the next challenge of the season. Can these people actually beat the FBI? Why hasn't the FBI charged them with anything yet? The FBI's probably just as corrupt as they are in our show. ... So yes, we're growing bigger, the stakes are higher. When that means the show ends, I don't know. I do think I'm promising that there has to be some repercussions for these people."
Now that a major law enforcement agency is so focused on Annalise, it feels like the show is coming to a major (and possibly final) climax. And wouldn't it be some strange kind of poetic justice if the first murder everyone thought they had gotten away with was the one to send them all to jail in the end?
Whether or not that turns out to be the case we'll have to wait to find out, but Nowalk did reveal he'd landed on an idea for how the show could end when the times comes. "I'm so excited to tell you I do!" Nowalk previously told us when we asked if he and his team of writers had figured out how the show would eventually end. "I wouldn't have been able to tell you that last week, but I do, and I love the idea. I haven't told anyone, I'm just sitting on it, and I would obviously like to write this show forever, but I'm also really excited that I have an ending that I think is really great!"
Given that Nowalk has previously kept mum about where the story will culminate in the end, it feels like we may be headed for a final destination at some point in the near future. If that happens to be the end of Season 6, you can bet this upcoming season will be one for the record books.
How to Get Away with Murder returns Thursday, Sept. 26 at 10/9c on ABC.