Dr. Isaac Roa M.D. is a supporting character on How to Get Away with Murder. He is a psychologist who works with Annalise Keating and a former heroin addict. During his sessions with Annalise, he tries hard to make her open up about what she's feeling and how she behaves.
- "When did you start?"
"It was after undergrad for me. Um I moved into New York, thinking that I was gonna be in a band or a writer. Just as long as I wasn't a doctor like my sisters. You know how it is. You're just trying whatever you have the chance to. So I-I tried things. All of them. But, um heroin It was good. 10 years later I'm pretty much homeless, I'm not talking to my family. One night, I'm in line in this bodega, and there's this girl in front of me and she's trying to return some potato chips, saying that the bag was open when she, uh, bought it. The kid, the cashier says he has to go talk to the owner, so I'm like I'm freaking annoyed now, you know? So, this girl turns around, I guess to apologize. She has this smile on her face that just, uh... It just went right through me. It hit me right there, and I-I knew I wanted something else."
- —Annalise Keating and Isaac Roa about his early life and how he met Jacqueline Roa[src]
Isaac finding his daughter's body. ("Ask Him About Stella")
During his years doing his degree at college, he tried lots of different drugs and ended up getting hooked on heroin. Around 10 years later, he became homeless due to his addiction. One night, he was in a line and he met Jacqueline. The two instantly hit it off and she helped him out by getting him off of the drugs and back to college to finish his degree. The two eventually got married and had a daughter, Stella. One night around 2013, Isaac came home and found his daughter dead on the floor of her room. He saw that she had found his stash of K-pex and overdosed. He instantly started doing CPR to try and revive her. After a while, he realized that she wasn't coming back. Isaac thought about what this would do to his wife and flushed the drugs down the toilet and sent a suicide note to her to make it look as if the death was intentional when in reality it is unknown whether she intentionally overdosed or did it by accident. He then called the police around 15 minutes after he had initially found her body. Not long after, the case was ruled a suicide under mysterious circumstances. Isaac later separated from his wife as he struggled to get over the loss of his daughter. Isaac stopped using again and begun seeing his ex-wife for therapy as he never truly got over the loss of his daughter. ("Stay Strong, Mama", "Ask Him About Stella")
- "Still, you're yelling at me like you're some victim."
"That's your narcissism talking. I diagnosed that after our first session. I-I could show you the notes. And somehow, I doubted my own instincts. I saw all those warning signs. I knew better. And here I am. I'm just sucked into your life! Look at me. You want to know how long it's been since I've gotten this low? 'Cause I haven't felt this bad since Stella died. And here I am I'm worse off now than when I was a heroin addict. But this time, I'm worse, because this time I've actually got something to lose here and I don't care about any of it! That's because of you."
- —Annalise Keating and Isaac Roa[src]
Isaac in his session with Annalise. ("I'm Not Her")
At the beginning of 2016, as ordered by the disciplinary board, Annalise Keating is forced to go to therapy in order to retain her license to practice law. During their first meeting at his office, the two introduce themselves. One of their next sessions, Annalise’s therapist Isaac took a mysterious phone call before their session. She shared that she was sober and working, as she took on a former cellmate, Jasmine, as her new client, free of charge. A convicted prostitute and drug addict. Isaac thought Annalise only connected with Jasmine because of a common history with sexual abuse, an observation she rejected. “I’m not her,” she insisted, even saying that she expects Jasmine to end up back in jail. Even after she managed to get all of her released from prison and her charges sealed. Isaac said people change, as he used to be a heroin addict. “I wish you hadn’t told me that,” Annalise responded. Annalise told Isaac that the last therapist who opened up to her became her husband. ("I'm Going Away", "I'm Not Her")
Isaac after Annalise called an emergency session. ("It's for the Greater Good")
Once Annalise got a call asking her to identify Jasmine at the morgue, she called Isaac requesting an emergency session. He suggested she withdraw from her current case that she got from the public defender's office, calling it too much to handle on top of the death. “I hate being a failure,” she said, to which he pointed out losing her license for drinking would be worse. She ultimately decided to continue working as Ben's attorney and won his case by publically exposing the public defender's office for not properly defending all of its clients. “It was for the greater good,” Annalise told Isaac of her decision to publicly expose the Public Defender's office. She ranted about the problems with the justice system and said she wanted to file a class-action suit on behalf of other possible victims of ineffective counsel. He claimed she just wanted to do something “risky” and she, in turn, said he just wanted the power back in their dynamic. He shot back, “You can’t save everyone, Annalise. Only yourself. That’s who you need to be a hero for.” She countered, “You are not going to break me.” ("It's for the Greater Good")
Reading his notes on Annalise. ("Was She Ever Good at Her Job?")
Annalise filed a counter-suit on Soraya’s behalf and then went to therapy with Isaac, where she didn’t want her “good mood” ruined. Before, she sent a report to Soraya's lawyer. Isaac again questioned the motives of her class-action suit, suggesting she was using it as a distraction from her grief and guilt from Wes’ “suicide.” She later learned she mistakenly sent Soraya’s lawsuit to the college and she was in jeopardy of losing her job as president of a university and her kids. The following morning, Isaac sent a progress report (that wasn't entirely true) to the disciplinary board along with Annalise which gave her an idea for her case. After winning her case, she explained her suit was for Wes and all the “wrongly accused,” as Isaac recorded notes saying she was at risk of relapsing “or worse” if her legal battle fails. Isaac admitted on his recording that Annalise is a “trigger” for him and then welcomed his new patient: “Julie,” who was really Bonnie. ("Was She Ever Good at Her Job?")
Isaac realising that Julie is Bonnie. ("I Love Her")
Many days later, Bonnie (Julie) runs to Isaac's door late at night, needing desperately to see him. She’s told Isaac that the woman in question who was troubling her was named May (Annalise). Bonnie tells Isaac that she saw May that night and admits that she started seeing Isaac not to get better, but to hurt May. As they talk, Bonnie begins to pour out her emotions — her confusion over whether she made up the similarities between them, her desire to be the child Annalise so desperately wanted. She wants Isaac to justify her sense of betrayal and desire to hurt Annalise. Instead, he pushes her to recollect good memories of their time together, insisting the only way for her to get better and move on is for her to admit she loves May. She finally gives in and starts to sob, “I love her,” while remembering some of the highs and lows she and Annalise shared over the years. For some time, Bonnie unleashes a fire hydrant of emotions, admitting she misses May, their house, their family, and more. And that’s where she slips: She says she wants to believe May wants to change with the class action lawsuit, and Isaac puts the pieces together. Bonnie rambles on about them both being sexually abused and continues to unfurl information that confirms Isaac’s fear. He confronts Bonnie with the fact that May is Annalise Keating and she’s the one Annalise fired — she is Bonnie, not Julie. ("I Love Her")
Isaac watching a video about his daughter's graduation. ("Stay Strong, Mama")
Days later, Annalise is back in therapy, and Isaac is violating doctor-patient confidentiality by telling her about Bonnie and her duplicity. He wants to get her onto the subject of her lost child, so he advises her to deal with her loss by writing a letter to Sam, hoping that will provoke her to open up about the other death he learned about from Bonnie. It turns out that he did all this because his own therapist, his ex-wife, advised him to do so. When he goes to see her, he argues with his therapist as she thinks he should tell Annalise to get a new therapist because she is triggering him, referencing what happened to their daughter. Isaac later visits Bonnie at the District Attorney's Office, urging her to get a new therapist because she was making good progress with him. She reluctantly assures him she will. Later, during their session, Annalise finally opens up about the loss of her baby by showing him the picture of her, Sam and her stillborn baby while also telling him that she tried to kill herself after the accident, feeling guilty and wanting to die with her son. Sam never knew; Bonnie found her after she took sleeping pills and took her to the hospital. Meanwhile, Isaac is still relaying all of this to his therapist. She insists this is yet another trigger for Isaac, warning him that he’s on the edge. He tells her she’s the only one who can help. That night, Isaac is crying his eyes out watching a video of his daughter in a graduation gown. ("Stay Strong, Mama")
Isaac perjuring himself at court. ("Nobody Roots for Goliath")
After having a session with his ex-wife, Jacqueline Roa, Annalise was persuaded by her to continue her sessions with her rather than Isaac. Annalise later told Isaac they couldn’t continue their sessions, as they were getting “too close” and she wasn’t going to repeat what happened with Sam. The next day, Isaac showed up at court after being subpoenaed by the A.G. to testify about Annalise to try and get her class action lawsuit thrown out. On the stand, he tried to get Isaac to say she wasn’t mentally competent to handle the lawsuit, as it could be a risk factor for her alcoholism. As he flashed back to some of their sessions, he lied, saying he wasn’t concerned about her sobriety. Later, Annalise confronted Isaac over his perjury at court, but he denied it, prompting her to ask if he was using heroin. She cried that she was still hurting people and demanded to know the truth: “Am I triggering you?” He insisted she wasn’t and wondered if Bonnie suggested that. “It’s not Bonnie. It’s your ex-wife,” she confessed. ("Nobody Roots for Goliath")
Isaac arguing with Jacqueline. ("Live. Live. Live.")
Isaac later confronts Jacqueline, declaring that she is putting Annalise's sobriety at risk. Jacqueline doesn't care for Annalise, she did it as she thinks that he is close to using again. Isaac confesses that he hasn't actually thought about using until the moment which she brought it up. Isaac then asks her whether she did it out of jealousy because she was still in love with him. Jacqueline reminds him that they have both moved on, however, Isaac continues with his accusations against Jacqueline until she throws it back in his face by saying that because he is saying all of the things is the exact reason why she did it. Back at his office, Annalise visits and Isaac apologizes for putting her in the situation that resulted in her feeling like she had to change therapists. Isaac asks her whether she would like to report him, however, Annalise refuses to do so as she relates to his situation. Annalise then admits that she would like to keep seeing him. Isaac explains that she cannot, to which Annalise uses to confirm what Jacqueline said was true, that she is triggering him to justify why he will not become her therapist again. Isaac explains that because she knows so much information about himself is the reason why he cannot continue as her therapist. Annalise tells him that he helps her. She then receives a phone call and leaves the room to take it. Not long after, Isaac goes to see whether she is alright, to which she replies with that she has to leave. ("Live. Live. Live.")
Isaac, speechless after Annalise's outburst. ("He's Dead")
The same night, Isaac is sleeping on the couch in his office when he receives a phone call from Annalise, informing him that Laurel has given birth and that the hospital is keeping her in a psych ward. At the hospital, Isaac overhears Annalise's and Connor's conversation that Michaela is covered in blood. After, she hands him Laurel's medical files to which Annalise claims are fabricated by her father in order for him to obtain custody of her child. Annalise then requests him to perform a second psych evaluation to which Isaac initially refuses. Annalise then blackmails Isaac by saying that she will report him and his ex-wife unless he does what she asks. Isaac then visits Laurel but is greeted by Vera Dewitt who defends the first evaluation. Laurel then wakes up and Isaac tries to call Annalise but leaves her a message. Isaac then searches for Annalise in the hospital, however, he runs into a woman who after seeing the blood, assumes that its Michaela who breaks down into his arms. He comforts her and manages to get her to open up and Michaela tells him things about Laurel until she gets cold feet and leaves. Isaac then goes back to Laurel's hospital room where Annalise, Frank and Bonnie are talking. Upon seeing Isaac, Bonnie excuses herself and Isaac request that he talks with Annalise alone. Outside, Isaac tells Annalise that Laurel should stay in hospital, however, Annalise thinks otherwise. Annalise then tells him that he is driving her crazy and that maybe that characteristic of himself is why his daughter killed herself. Isaac is speechless, however, Annalise leaves. ("I'm Not Her", "It's for the Greater Good", "He's Dead")
Isaac evaluating Laurel's mental state. ("Everything We Did Was For Nothing")
Days later, Isaac, after seeing a patient out of his office, notices Annalise waiting for him. He instantly tells her that he won't see her and to her a new one from the disciplinary board. Annalise tries to apologize for what she said about his daughter but Isaac's having none of it and rejects her apology. He calls her a basic alcoholic: manipulative and narcissistic and that he fell into her trap. After Isaac's about to shut his door on her, Annalise tells him that she isn't there for her, but for Laurel. Isaac tries to make it all about her, however, Annalise refuses to leave without getting his assistance with her and even goes as far as asking him what he would do if it was Stella in hospital. Isaac asks her why she wants to help Laurel as she isn't her daughter and Annalise says that she is doing it for herself, as it is her way of saving herself. After agreeing, the two go to the hospital where Annalise wakes Laurel and introduces her to Isaac. While Annalise and Frank wait outside, Isaac questions Laurel on how she is feeling. Laurel's response suggests that she feels bad as her child nearly died before it even took a breath. Isaac then questions her about how she feels about her father taking custody of her child to which Laurel tells him is the worst possible outcome being as her father is a criminal. Laurel admits to wanting to hurt her father but then admits to loving her child more. After, Isaac explains to Annalise and Frank that he thinks Laurel should be discharged as she doesn't pose a threat to herself or others. Laurel is later released thanks to Isaac. ("Everything We Did Was For Nothing")
Isaac questioned by Mr. Dean. ("He's a Bad Father")
During Laurel's custody hearing, Isaac is asked by Annalise, her lawyer, to testify on the stand about Laurel's condition. Before, Annalise explains outside of the courtroom that she won't go easy on him and gives him some sample questions of things that she will ask him. Isaac however, reminds Annalise that he will be fine. In court, Annalise after Sandrine Castillo finishes on the stand, Annalise calls Isaac to the stand. Isaac explains to the judge that he and other medical professionals at the hospital saw that Laurel wasn't exhibiting any of the symptoms of a drug user and also that she didn't show any signs of depression. Annalise then asks him in his opinion whether he thinks that Laurel is fit to care for her newborn baby to which he tells the judge that he thinks she is. After the defense rests, Mr. Dean, Laurel's father's lawyer, questions Isaac about his past addition to which Isaac openly admits that he is a former addict, however, his former addiction helps him better understand his clients. Mr. Dean then brings up his daughter's suicide and asks whether the same drug which was found in her system was the same drug which he used to take. Isaac reluctantly agrees which prompts Mr. Dean to reveal that he has convinced the DA's Office to reopen her case due to some irregularities which cause the judge to agree that Isaac's testimony about Laurel should be thrown out thereby causing Laurel's son to remain with her father. ("He's a Bad Father")
After court, Isaac has a breakdown in his car. He then goes to a food truck where he orders a set meal. Once back in his office, it is revealed that the set meal is a cover for heroin. He then crushes the pills and snorts them. Annalise later arrives and knocks on his office door, however, he was high; busy flashing back to the night Stella died. ("He's a Bad Father", "Ask Him About Stella")
Isaac struggling to stand as he is high. ("Ask Him About Stella")
The following morning, Isaac arrives back at his office to find Annalise who tries to reassure him the investigation means nothing until he’s charged. He is suspicious that she has Bonnie on the case, but she assures him they have worked out their issues. This leads him to confess that he was high the night before. Annalise offers to go to a meeting with Isaac. After, they enjoy breakfast at a diner afterward. They talk about how their addictions started, and Isaac explains that he began doing heroin as a young writer/musician in New York. Later, at the diner, Annalise tells Isaac that the Attorney General has moved her case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, however, she is only to submit a written brief about the suit. As they’re paying, Jacqueline calls. It’s the three-year anniversary of Stella’s death. Annalise urges him to call her back, sympathizing that she would do if it was Sam. While at the Supreme Court, Isaac texts Annalise pictures of pancakes at the diner. Later, Annalise goes straight to Isaac to tell him that the DA has dropped Stella's case. Isaac soon after goes in for a kiss, which is when Annalise realizes he’s high. They have a massive fight where they both scream, “We’re no good for each other,” and ultimately, Isaac blames Annalise for his relapse. He calls her a narcissist and says she’s made him worse off than when he was addicted to heroin. Finally, when he threatens physical violence, she calls Jacqueline and tells her Isaac has relapsed and to ask him about Stella. ("Ask Him About Stella")
Isaac visited by Annalise in hospital. ("The Day Before He Died")
After relapsing, Isaac overdoses and is found by the police. He is then transferred to the hospital where he is treated. His ex-wife, Jacqueline Roa calls Annalise telling her the news and reminding her that it is all her fault. While recovering, he reads about Annalise's class action lawsuit. A couple of days later, Isaac is then visited by Annalise. He tells her that he has been reading about her case, and he’s proud of her. He tries to reassure her that his condition and overdose were not her fault. He wanted to die and that’s why he’s here, while she continually gets back on her feet and chooses life. She insists he doesn’t need to make her feel better. She wants him to stop apologizing and just do whatever he needs to get better — but Isaac tells her it’s the last time they can see each other and then rolls over and closes his eyes. She goes out into the hallway to cry. ("Lahey v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania", "The Day Before He Died")
|"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"|