Viola Davis as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away With Murder

Last week 12 million tuned in for TV producer Shonda Rhimes’ new addictive hit, How to Get Away With Murder, starring Viola Davis. Some of those viewers were immersed in the whodunit drama and murderous legal clientele; some were just in it for the clothes:

For good …

And for bad …

But we think Viola Davis can make almost anything look good. (Because she, as Annalise Keating, looks good.) Here’s The Root’s take on her most murderous looks.


1. The Jacket That Starts It All

While Olivia Pope has her virtuous light, bright and (sometimes) glaringly white outfits, Annalise Keating is a darker, more complex character. With that comes a darker, edgier, conservative-yet-complicated wardrobe.


2. Black on Black on Black

When you’re representing the reprehensible as a criminal-defense attorney and nurturing/torturing talented college students, you need an outfit that can scare both prosecutors and your students. But scare in a good way. This jacket-dress ensemble screams intimidation-by-way-of-seduction.


3. A Coat for All Devious Seasons

A lot of Annalise’s looks are a vision of contrast—how to dress conservatively when your mind is anything but. This muted, emerald green trench keeps a steely heart warm on even the deadliest of days, and pearls hide more nuanced desires.


4. Black and Blue

I’m 100 percent certain that I own this dress or some version of it. So for that reason alone, this gets points for looking accessible with, again, dark tones that give a hint at the dramatic just under the surface.


5. A Foreboding Trench for Foreboding Times

Another opposite of Olivia: While Kerry Washington’s character rocks a trench, as does Davis’ Annalise character, apparently, Annalise’s trench looks like it’s off to do something as dangerous as it is likely fun.


6. Stuff My Elderly Mom Would Like

Annalise is supposed to scream hot professor, not schoolmarm. The amount of loathing I feel toward the chunky-chain necklace and the boring, boring, boring bone-ivory-on-black outfit cannot be understated. This looks like something I could find marked down at a Talbots.


7. Black Is Now … Just Black

This was another misfire because the basic black dress and pearls, again, made her look too matronly. For a character as complex as Annalise—tough, yet struggling with a fragility she keeps cloaked—she needs a wardrobe that better reflects her dramatic flair and just barely suppressed desires.


8. No.

There’s that horrible necklace again—this time with a patterned shirt that looks like it was made from a ski-jacket print. Hate it. Burn it. Never wear it again, Annalise!


9. So Where Is All This Going?

Did who do what in the what-what with the candlestick in the library? Well, this isn’t the game Clue. A roll of the dice and some well-placed cards won’t answer your questions. Will Annalise’s dark and muted wardrobe transform fashionable Thursdays in the way Olivia Pope’s clothing choices did? Let’s hope the dresser on the show goes less conservative and more unconventional. There’s a way to balance the formal professionalism of the legal field with some fashionable hints of her far-more-interesting wild side.