Governor Lynne Birkhead is a supporting character on How to Get Away with Murder and the current Governor of Pennsylvania. Birkhead is doing everything she can to prevent Annalise Keating's class-action plaintiffs from being released from prison, despite the possibility that they could have been innocent or unlawfully imprisoned due to ineffective counsel.
When Annalise Keating files a class action lawsuit against Pennsylvania and Birkhead personally, she sends Attorney General Anderson Chase to court and have the case dismissed by decertifying the case. When the that failed they conspired to have the case remanded from trial court to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court so it will be easier to dismiss. It works but Annalise appealed the verdict and managed to get the case heard before the Supreme Court of the United States with help from Olivia Pope. The Supreme Court justices rule in favor of the plaintiffs and orders Birkhead to provide better funding to the Public Defender's Office and retry all the plaintiffs' cases. ("Nobody Roots for Goliath", "Ask Him About Stella", "Lahey v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania", "Nobody Else Is Dying")
Following Annalise Keating's victory in the Supreme Court of the United States, her plaintiffs have the chance to get their cases retried. Lynne used her power as governor to try everything that she could to prevent and delay her plaintiffs from getting a retrial. During the time when Annalise was trying to get a job in order to pay for her plaintiffs' cases, Birkhead called each of the law firms who offered Annalise a job and threatened them in order to drop their offer. Despite her work, Annalise still got hired at Caplan & Gold. She then used her power to get a new executive order introduced to prevent Annalise from using her non-lawyer students at her Legal Clinic from assisting in the cases involved in the class-action. This order, however, also failed as the students had to take an ethics test in order to continue participating in her cases which all 25 students passed. ("Your Funeral", "The Baby Was Never Dead")
Under torture, Xavier Castillo admits that he set up the murder of Nathaniel Lahey, Sr. under Birkhead's orders. Xavier explains that Birkhead wanted to prove that Annalise's Supreme Court win would put dangerous felons onto the streets, enraging Nate that his father's murder was all over politics. Xavier also confirms that Agent Denise Pollock was working for the governor who was calling all of the shots and that Xavier's father ordered him to help Birkhead. ("Let's Hurt Him")
During Annalise Keating's trial, Birkhead is called to the stand where she denies conspiring to set Annalise up or knowing Xavier Castillo and Hannah Keating. On cross-examination, Annalise plays a recording Hannah made of a phone call between herself and Xavier where they discussed the murder of Nathaniel Lahey, Sr. and the governor's involvement in it. Annalise presses Birkhead for an explanation, but the governor remains firm that she has no idea what they're talking about.
At a press conference after Annalise's win, the press question Annalise about what should be done about Birkhead. Annalise states that there needs to be either an independent council investigation into the governor's actions or they need to impeach her right away. One of the reporters reveals that Birkhead is at the courthouse meeting with the Attorney General and Annalise suggests that Birkhead is concerned that she will be charged with conspiracy along with Agent Lanford. At that moment, Frank Delfino ascends the courthouse steps as Birkhead emerges and shoots the governor several times, killing her. Frank and Bonnie Winterbottom are killed by return fire from courthouse security guards as bystanders futilely attempt to tend to Birkhead's wounds. ("Stay")
- Nathaniel Lahey, Sr.: As revealed by Xavier Castillo, Birkhead had Xavier set up the murder of Nathaniel Lahey Sr. in order to prove that Annalise's Supreme Court win would put dangerous felons back on the street. Xavier gave the order to C.O.s Paula Gladden and Jim Wagner to assassinate Nate and make it look like it was a justified kill. During transport to a psychiatric facility, Nate was shot in the head. However, the official story is that Nate attacked Paula when she tried to take his letter off of him before transport. Nate became agitated and stabbed Paula in the leg with a pencil which forced C.O. Wagner to shoot Nate in the head. The death was ruled a justifiable death. ("We Can Find Him", "I Got Played", "Make Me the Enemy", "Let's Hurt Him")
- Asher Millstone: Beaten to death by Agent Denise Pollock on Birkhead's orders to frame Michaela Pratt and Connor Walsh and force them to testify against Annalise Keating. ("Are You the Mole?", "The Reckoning", "Let's Hurt Him")
- She is most likely the successor to Francisco Vargas, the previous Governor of Pennsylvania and a character on Scandal, since it has been established that the two shows exist in the same universe.
- She was likely elected on the same day of the Vargas assassination or sometime after since it was stated that she was elected.
- Laura Innes, the actress who portrays Lynne, is also a director for How to Get Away with Murder. This marks the first time in which a crew member has been cast in a role on the show.
- In "Was She Ever Good at Her Job?", before Laura Innes was cast, Governer Birkhead was initially believed to be male given as a male pronoun was used when talking about her.
|"Your Funeral"||"Whose Blood Is That?"||"The Baby Was Never Dead"||"It's Her Kid"||"It Was the Worst Day of My Life"|
|"We Can Find Him"||"I Got Played"||"I Want to Love You Until the Day I Die"||"He Betrayed Us Both"||"Don't Go Dark on Me"|
|"Be the Martyr"||"We Know Everything"||"Where Are Your Parents?"||"Make Me the Enemy"||"Please Say No One Else Is Dead"|
|"Say Goodbye"||"Vivian's Here"||"Do You Think I'm a Bad Man?"||"I Hate the World"||"We're All Gonna Die"|
|"Family Sucks"||"I'm the Murderer"||"I Want to Be Free"||"Are You the Mole?"||"We're Not Getting Away With It"|
|"The Reckoning"||"Let's Hurt Him"||"What If Sam Wasn't the Bad Guy This Whole Time?"||"Annalise Keatings Is Dead"||"Stay"|