Frankly, this is one of those shows that shouldn’t have taken that long, proving that you can only get away with a concept like “Murder” for that long. The series had to keep inventing improbable turns and crazy cliffs to generate interest, with additional contortions to keep the various law students in the orbit of their imperious professor Annalize Keating (Davis).
As the arches were built on top of each other, they became increasingly ridiculous, as they added layer upon layer of government corruption. That culminated in Annalize’s murder trial, which unfolded in the final episode after a mocked shooting on the court steps and glimpsing Annalize’s funeral, leaving the implication that she had found a premature and violent end.
But no, that was not what happened. Instead, the bullets caught Annalize’s tormented partners, Bonnie (Liza Weil) and Frank (Charlie Weber), after Frank shot Governor Birkhead (Laura Innes). Annalize, in fact, was being commemorated after what seemed like a good long life, as her former students (with very poor old-age makeup) remembered her wistfully.
It was melodramatic and more than a little manipulative: descriptions that were applied to the show from the start, but were more tolerable before the novelty of its serialized mystery format disappeared.
That said, the ending wasn’t entirely redeemed, thanks to the showcase he provided Davis. Annalize has always been an overly complicated character, admitting here during her court summary that she is a “bad person”, but not a murderer.
“I am ambitious, black, bisexual,” she told the jury, amid a long list of attributes, before concluding, “And I am at your mercy.”
It was also nice to see one more scene between Annalize and her mother, played by Cicely Tyson, 95, who always rates the joint, keeping her promise to never quit.
Although Annalize was acquitted and survived, the blood-soaked finish felt like a way for series creator Peter Nowalk to make her pay a price, while tying up a few extra loose ends as time passed to tend to the large cast of characters.