How to Get Away with Murder Wiki
How to Get Away with Murder Wiki

"He was so good with us. That's because he was us."
Annalise Keating to Bonnie Winterbottom about Sam[src]

Samuel "Sam" Keating is the posthumous overarching antagonist of How to Get Away with Murder,and a pivotal character throughout the series. He was a professor of psychology and the husband of Annalise Keating for over 20 years until his death. Sam had an affair with Lila Stangard, and then had her killed by Frank Delfino after she got pregnant so it wouldn't come to light. Rebecca Sutter's search for proof Sam committed the murder led to his death at the hands of her boyfriend, Wes Gibbins. Sam was the main murder charge in Annalise's indictment.


Early Life

In his childhood, Sam and his sister Hannah were neglected by their parents and starved for love, this led to an incestuous relationship between the siblings that possibly started as abuse as Hannah was older and could have began when Sam was a boy. Hannah became pregnant in her senior year of high school and gave birth to Sam’s child, a son named Frank who was given up for adoption. ("What If Sam Wasn't the Bad Guy This Whole Time?")

Around the time of their divorce, Sam and his first wife, Vivian conceived a child. Vivian gave birth to a son named Gabriel Maddox. Due to a bad breakup, Sam stayed away from Vivian and their son. Sam later married Annalise Keating. ("He Betrayed Us Both")

Sam and Annalise moving in to the Keating House. ("It's About Frank")

In 1999, Annalise and Sam were moving into the Keating House when Sam comes up from the basement holding a bottle of his dad's alcohol that he hid when he lived in the house. Annalise takes one look at it and refuses to drink it. Sam pours her a glass and asks her if she wants to toast their first night in the house with water. With that said, she grabs the glass and downs it along with Sam. She despises the taste and comments that it is the foulest thing that she has ever tasted. Sam agrees and vows to never again drink it. The bottle then goes into the alcohol cupboard where it remained. The two then kiss. It's 2001 and Annalise is in the bathroom. Sam calls from the landing, asking if she is still up with having dinner with the dean. He then walks in and finds her bleeding from her vagina with a toothbrush in her mouth. Annalise realizing that she is probably going to have another miscarriage, starts to cry. Sam tells her that he will call the doctor as if he is in no hurry. ("It's About Frank")

Sam and Annalise talking about her new job. ("It's About Frank")

In 2002, Annalise is working for a law firm. Her client, Councilman Louis Lindgren was charged with rape. At home, she reads through the documents of the case. Sam enters and gives her the fertility medicine. She questions their method when they could just adopt. Sam changes the subject to the case and reminds her that she doesn't have to do what her partner says, she can quit. She brings up her uncle and how the case reminds her of what happened to her as a child. The following day after work, Sam arrives home and Annalise informs him of her victory with the case with a drink in her hand. Sam comments that she is drinking alcohol when she shouldn't be. She then tells him that she quit her job because she was pressured into crossing a rape victim, Bonnie Winterbottom. Sam then sits beside her and Annalise tells him that she wants them to help her. Sometime later, Annalise approaches Bonnie. Annalise tells her that she thinks that she is capable of so much more and offers to get her into a law school, Bonnie agrees. Later, Bonnie shows up on Annalise's doorstep and Sam and Annalise invite her in. Not long after quitting her job at the firm, Annalise goes for a job at Middleton University. Sam and Annalise discuss the fact that everyone will hate them on campus. Annalise reminds him that they only hired her as an assistant professor. Sam tells her that that position is only temporary as she will get tenure eventually. Annalise makes a cocky remark and Sam smiles. The two kiss and presumably have sex. ("It's About Frank", "I Love Her")

Sam talking with Frank. ("It's About Frank")

Around 2004, his sister brings Sam Frank's case. One day, Frank is in prison when the guards visit his cell and tell him that he has a visitor. The two guards then led Frank into the visitation room where Sam is waiting. Unaware who Sam is, Frank asks for his name and Sam tells him it's Dr. Keating and tells him to sit as he does. Sam tells him that his aunt Bev knew his sister in high school and that Frank's family is worried about him. Sam asks why he won't allow anyone to see him and Frank tells him that it is because he is in solitary confinement. Sam reminds him that he is no longer in solitary confinement, and he hasn't been in it for 2 months and asks him again why he hasn't seen his family. Realizing that Frank isn't going to answer, Sam tells him that he has worked with many people in his situation. He tells him that Frank's family has told him that he is up for parole in the next couple of months and that with the help of his wife, Annalise Keating, a lawyer, they will have a really good shot at getting him out. When Sam gets home, he brings up Frank's case with his wife. She reads his charges out loud to Sam and Sam realizes that by the tone of her voice that they don't have a chance. Sam brings up the fact that he helps Bonnie because she asked him to and that she should help Frank because he asked her to. He asks her that there isn't any harm in going to see him for herself before she makes up her mind. ("It's About Frank")

Sam talking to Frank. ("It's About Frank")

Once home again, Annalise tells her husband that Frank lied to her. That he is committing these crimes so that he doesn't have to deal with the real world. She tells him that she has a hard enough time trying to get the people who want to get out of prison out. Sam asks her if she says in him what he saw. Annalise tells him that she thinks Frank was in need of a father figure. The two start to argue and Annalise brings up that ever since she had refused to have IVF that he won't even touch her. Sam walks over to her and holds her and tells her that she is all that he needs and that if he has made her feel that way that he is sorry. Sam later returns to see Frank and tells him about what is happening with Annalise and that he will try and get her back on his side. Frank tells him not to worry about it but Sam tells him that he will. Coming to the conclusion that Frank doesn't want to fight to get out of prison, he tells him that he is scared to get out. Frank tells him that that's stupid. Sam then asks him why he keeps messing up in prison if he wants to get out. The only thing that Sam can think of is that Frank is doing it as he still can't forgive himself for what he did. Sam tells him that it was an accident. Sam looks up at him as asks him if his parents told him that. Frank tells the story of what happened the before he killed the guy. Sam tells him that he didn't know what he was doing but Frank tells him that he was planning it for weeks, waiting for the perfect moment to run him over. The guy was screaming under the car "like an animal in a trap." Frank then asks Sam if he thinks that he should still get out of prison. Sam nods and tells him that he deserves to get out and that he is there to help Frank see that he deserves to get out. He then talks Annalise into taking the case and Annalise later ends up winning the case. ("It's About Frank")

The Mahoney Case

Sam with Bonnie. ("There's My Baby")

Annalise became pregnant in 2005 while teaching at Middleton University. Sam and Annalise were happy, and Sam manages to convince Annalise to hire Frank Delfino, although the latter accepts reluctantly. One of the directors of Middleton University manages to convince Annalise to take the Mahoney Case, a millionaire family made up of Wallace Mahoney, the father, and owner of the company "Mahoney Hedge Management"; His wife Sylvia Mahoney; And their son, Charles Mahoney, who is accused of murdering his fiancee, Vicky. Annalise then flew to Cleveland, Ohio for the case, leaving Sam at the house. Not long later, Sam was with his patient Bonnie when he got a call from the hospital in Ohio regarding an accident involving Annalise. Sam quickly got on a plane and arrived at the hospital. After having an emergency c-section, the baby still dies. The doctor gives her baby to Annalise and she hugs him. Annalise apologizes to her lifeless baby, and then Sam arrives. Annalise tells him that it is all her fault and that she shouldn't have taken the case. Sam tells her it was just an accident, and that it is no one's fault. A nurse interrupts them to ask if they want a picture of the three since other couples usually want at least one picture before leaving their baby. Sam accepts and after the photo, Annalise tells Sam to take the child once the picture is taken. ("She Hates Us", "It's a Trap", "There's My Baby")

Sam and Annalise hold their stillborn baby. ("There's My Baby")

Still at the hospital, Eve approaches Sam while he is getting a snack from the snack machine, and tells him that she does not know her but that she is a colleague of Annalise in the Mahoney case, and that she wanted to know how Annalise is. Sam tells her that Annalise is fine, but the baby did not survive. Sam tells Eve to tell the Mahoney that she is out of the case and he will take her home. Eve tells her she will, and Sam leaves with Annalise. In the room, Sam gives a bottle of water to Annalise and tells him that they will be well and survive all this, but Annalise does not seem to be well. Not long after Sam discovers that Frank was involved in the accident but decides not to tell Annalise anything because the news would destroy her. ("There's My Baby")

Arriving back in Philadelphia, Sam showed Annalise Keating into their house. Annalise is still weak from the surgery and the loss of her child and goes to bed upstairs. Frank Delfino and Bonnie Winterbottom are there to comfort them. Not long after they got back, Annalise convinced herself that she wanted to adopt Christophe. Sam instantly turned her down but she went along with the adoption without his blessing. The adoption fell through and Annalise took an overdose while Sam was out. Bonnie found her and the two never told Sam. While this was happening, the loss of the child triggered Sam to email his ex-wife, Vivian in order to tell her that he was sorry and that he wanted to know his son after 11 years. Despite his heartwarming email, Vivian didn't respond which causes Sam to take matters into his own hands and go to Chicago where he knocked on Vivian's door. Gwen answered and she wasn't happy to see him and informed him that Vivian didn't want to see him either. On the way out of the building, Sam bumped into a teenaged boy who he appeared to instantly recognize as his son, Gabriel Maddox. The boy had dropped his ball and Sam handed it back to him then the boy knocked on Vivian's apartment door. Gwen answered and greeted him, not knowing that Sam was still there. Once seeing him, Gwen hurried the boy inside. Once back home, Frank had discovered what Sam was up to and suggested to him that he delete the email and forget about Vivian and their son so that he could be with his wife, Annalise. He did. ("He Betrayed Us Both")

Time passed and Annalise and Sam's marriage was never the same as before the loss of their baby. The two became emotionless towards one another until Annalise suspected that he was cheating on her with someone else, which was in fact true. Around June 2014, he had started having an affair with Lila Stangard, a student. ("Pilot", "There's My Baby")

Assassination of Lila Stangard

Sam talking to Lila. ("It's All My Fault")

As his relationship grew and grew with Lila, she accidentally got pregnant. Months past, without her telling him about the baby. Sam eventually wanted to break up with her after a couple of months. Lila talks to Sam about her baby as a ploy to make him stay with her and tells him that she wants to keep it. Since Sam does not want to leave Annalise, he manages to convince Lila to go to a clinic to get an abortion, which she doesn't end up going through with. While on a work trip in New Haven, Sam gets out of his car in the hotel parking lot and gets a call. On the other side of the line is Lila, who tells him that she has tried to have sex with Griffin to make him believe the baby was his, but Griffin did not want to have sex. Sam tells her to calm down, but Lila asks him to tell Annalise everything and hangs up. Lila tells Sam that she found Griffin having sex with Rebecca. Lila, affected, tells him that maybe everything would be easier if she just ran away, and Sam tells her to go there. Lila hangs up when she starts to hear screams: It's Griffin, who is looking for explanations but Lila is hiding in the water tank. While Griffin is leaving. ("Pilot", "The Night Lila Died", "It's All My Fault")

Sam calling the hit on Lila. ("It's All My Fault")

Sam comes to the roof and talks to Lila, she goes down and Sam asks if she went to her house and told everything to Annalise, but Lila tells him that she only said that to get him to come because she knows that all he cares about is Annalise. Sam tells her that it is not true, but Lila tells him that every time he told her that he loved her was a lie. Sam, although not very convinced, tells her that he loves her and that everything will be fine. Sam tells Lila that he no longer loves Annalise and that he loves her, Sam says that things between him and Annalise were wrong since long before he met Lila, and that he has not felt the way he feels with Lila for a long time. Sam kisses Lila passionately and tells him that he has to go because he needs to tell Annalise right now and to call her when he has done it. Moments later, Sam goes to a phone booth where he rings Frank and tells him to murder Lila. Sam uses the fact that Frank played a part in murdering his son and blackmails him into doing it. Frank then goes up to the rooftop and strangles Lila to death. He then places her body into the water tank where she is eventually found by Rebecca not long later. ("The Night Lila Died", "It's All My Fault")

Season 1

Sam was introduced in the show as Annalise's husband, a professor at Middleton. He tells them that they should not doubt his knowledge just because he doesn't teach law.

Night of the Bonfire

Sam strangling Annalise. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")

At her house, Annalise is packing Sam's things. She tells him that he is stupid as he told Bonnie that he got Lila pregnant and Bonnie would tell Annalise everything he said. Annalise walks down the stairs with a suitcase full of Sam's things and throws it out the door. Sam tells her to stop for a second but Annalise just tells him to get out of the house. Sam begins to beg for her not to give up on him. She tells him that she already has. Sam is still not moving so Annalise threatens to call 911. He walks over to her and angrily snatches the phone out of her hands and throws it at the wall. Sam tells Annalise that he is not a violent man but she tells him that everyone can be violent given the chance. Sam continues to deny that he is a violent man. Moving to the kitchen, the two stand on opposite sides. Sam claims to still be the man she married. Annalise thinks otherwise. Sam tells Annalise that she is some scared little girl who pretends to be strong but who is really just weak and selfish. She claims to have done everything that she could to protect him. Annalise comes clean about screwing Nate. She taunts him by telling him everything they have done together. As Sam walks away, she continues to tell him things that they do together and that the only reason she was able to stand Sam having sex with her was that she used to think of Nate. He grabs her by the neck and pins her to the wall and says that he used to think of Lila when they were together. Annalise asks him if he did kill her. Sam releases his grip on her neck and tells her that she is a monster. Sam asks her if she wants the truth and tells her that she's nothing but a piece of ass, that was what he saw when he first talked to her because he knew that she would go for him and that's all she's really good for. Annalise tells him that they are finally speaking the truth to each other and walks out, gets into her car and drives away. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")

Sam talking to Michaela. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")

Sam is drinking shot after shot in the kitchen when Michaela comes in looking for Annalise. He tells her that she isn't there. Michaela asks if he has any idea when she will be back. He says no and tells her that she should go. Michaela is persistent and offers to stay until she gets back as she really needs to turn the trophy in to get out of her exam. She walks over and sits on the couch. Sam tells her to leave it on her desk but Michaela tells him that its a bit more complicated than that. Michaela sees Rebecca sneaking in the house. She stops and Sam looks at her. Sam asks then what they are doing and thinks there's a connection with them both. Michaela denies it and says that she is just there to hand in the trophy and asks if something is wrong. Rebecca tells her to call Wes and runs up the stairs. Sam chases after her. She gets to a bedroom and locks the door. Michaela calls Wes, who is still in the car with the others. She tells him that there's something going on between Rebecca and Sam. Wes asks if Annalise is there but Michaela says no. She tells Wes that Rebecca has locked herself in Annalise's bedroom. Wes tells her that Sam killed Lila and Rebecca is trying to prove it. Michaela is confused and asks him to say it again. Wes tells her that she can't leave them alone and to tell him what is happening. Michaela tells him that Sam is just screaming through the door. In Annalise's room, Rebecca has a laptop and is downloading some files. Sam breaks down the door. Michaela freaks out and tells them that they need to get there now. Rebecca retreats to the bathroom with the laptop and again locks the door. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")

The group kills Sam. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")

Michaela is trying to calm Sam down but he is not backing down. He tells Rebecca that if she doesn't come out, he's coming in. Rebecca is still waiting for all of the files to download. Wes, Connor and Laurel arrive in the room and tell him to stop. Sam tells them all to get out of his house. Wes tells him that once he has let Rebecca go, they will leave. Sam informs then that she took his laptop and asks them what she is trying to get. Wes tells him to calm down again and he backs away from the door. Wes walks up to it and tells Rebecca that she can come out. She tells him to give her a second. She then opens the door. Sam asks her what she did. Rebecca claims to have done nothing and that she didn't find anything. Wes tells Sam that they will leave now. Sam tells them to go as he is not going to do anything. Wes and Rebecca walk to the door when they are tackled to the floor. Sam tries to reach for the memory stick and grabs it. Wes tries to stop him but Sam hits him in the face. Wes has him pinned down and gets Laurel to get the stick off of Sam. Sam breaks free and they all run out of the bedroom door. He comes at Michaela so she pushes him over the landing. He falls onto the ground floor. Everyone stares at the body. When everyone starts panicking about Sam's "dead" body, Sam takes advantage and strangles Rebecca. Michaela freaks out and tells everyone to do something and to get him off of her. Wes grabs the Trophy and hits Sam round the head with it. Blood splatters everywhere. Sam falls to the ground, dead. Rebecca's face is covered in blood. After a lot of contemplation, Sam's body was burned in the woods and broken into pieces and then thrown into the garbage bin. However, not long after, pieces of his body were found in the dump. ("Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me")

Following this, his body was eventually discovered in Nayatt landfill site around a month later on December 31, 2014 by workers.[1] His body was later officially identified via DNA tests and his death was branded a homicide. ("She's a Murderer")

Murders Committed

  • Lila Stangard and her Unborn Son: Ordered Frank Delfino to strangle Lila on top of a roof, which Frank carried out, killing her unborn son as well. Frank did this as he owed Sam for the part he played in killing his son. Lila was killed as Sam didn't want to be with her anymore and she was becoming reckless as she was about to tell Annalise about their affair. ("Pilot", "It's All My Fault", "Anna Mae")



Season 1
"Pilot" "It's All Her Fault" "Smile, or Go to Jail" "Let's Get to Scooping"
"We're Not Friends" "Freakin' Whack-a-Mole" "He Deserved to Die" "He Has a Wife"
"Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me" "Hello, Raskolnikov" "Best Christmas Ever *" "She's a Murderer *"
"Mama's Here Now" "The Night Lila Died" "It's All My Fault"
Season 2
"It's Time to Move On" "She's Dying" "It's Called the Octopus" "Skanks Get Shanked"
"Meet Bonnie" "Two Birds, One Millstone" "I Want You to Die" "Hi, I'm Philip"
"What Did We Do?" "What Happened to You, Annalise?" "She Hates Us" "It's a Trap"
"Something Bad Happened" "There's My Baby" "Anna Mae"
Season 3
"We're Good People Now" "There Are Worse Things Than Murder" "Always Bet Black" "Don't Tell Annalise"
"It's About Frank" "Is Someone Really Dead?" "Call It Mother's Intuition" "No More Blood"
"Who's Dead?" "We're Bad People" "Not Everything's About Annalise" "Go Cry Somewhere Else"
"It's War" "He Made a Terrible Mistake" "Wes"
Season 4
"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"
Season 5
"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"
Season 6
"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"

Note: "*" denotes archive footage.


Episode Stills

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Behind the Scenes

Season 1

Season 2