'How to Get Away With Murder': Viola Davis on the Final Season and Who Deserves a Happy Ending (Exclusive)

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How to Get Away With Murderis coming to an end, but there's still plenty of mysteries ahead -- even for series star Viola Davis!

"I'm flying by the seat of my pants. I really am," the actress told ET's Leanne Aguilera of the final season of the Shondaland thriller -- which kicks off Thursday -- earlier this month. "I mean, there's some things that I do know, but I have a feeling that Pete [Nowalk, series creator] never wants to tell me anything because I'm terrible with keeping secrets."

Keeping secrets has been the name of the game for Davis' HTGAWM character, Annalise Keating, and her close-knit group of law students: Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry), Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza), and the dearly departed Wes Gibbins (Alfred Enoch). Over the course of the show's five seasons so far, they've weathered more than just murder -- from Supreme Court showdowns to fatal family drama. According to Davis, season six is "just gonna sew everything up."

But will that mean a happy ending for what's left of the Keating 5? And what about the supporting players in Annalise's shady dealings, like associate Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil), whom Davis called out as committing the worst crime the series has seen so far? ("When she put the plastic bag over Rebecca's head in the basement, you gotta admit, that's pretty bad.")

"Everybody deserves a happy ending," Davis insisted. "Everybody deserves some glimmer of hope, or at least, I think everybody deserves to fight for it. I think no matter who you are, or no matter how despicable you are, you're fighting for that happy ending."

"It's like someone put the most intelligent -- but not very street smart -- people in the same room and got How to Get Away With Murder," she said of her onscreen students turned cohorts. "But I think at the end of the day, they're all fighting for their joy and their hope. We'll see if they get it."

No matter how the series ends, How to Get Away With Murder has been a history-making turn for Davis, who became the first black woman to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2015. 

"The redefinition of the leading lady. That's what it meant," she said of her character. "For me to approach a black woman realistically as a leading lady, who is dark skin and wide nose and big lips, you know, who the culture has given that look a stigma of not beautiful, not sexual, not the leading lady, not powerful -- all of those adjectives that associate it with being feminine, OK? -- and the fact that Shonda [Rhimes], Pete Nowalk, Shondaland created that character, I think meant so much."

"It meant so much to women in general, because she's also messy, and I think sometimes people don't want women messy, but really it meant a lot to the brown skin women, 'cause sometimes we really are left at the bottom of the barrel. We really are, in every single way. So for me, that's what meant the most to me, and that would have been if anyone won. The presence of Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington and Gabrielle Union and Issa Rae and Rutina Wesley, you know, all of the people who are on television leading the fray, women of color, it gives me a lot of hope."

While Annalise as a character may not have been the best role model in terms of morality, Davis has certainly rocked some enviable fashions over the course of the series run. But she has a surprising favorite when it comes to what she enjoyed filming in the most.

"I love everything, OK? I do. I love the Alexander McQueen stuff. I love the coats, the yellow coats, my black coat that had leather. All of that. But my favorite looks are always when I have no makeup, the wig is off, and I have my pajamas, and you know, my sweater. And I love it."

"I love it for me, Viola. Because once again it's freeing and once again I'm just one of those actors. I like to see something different and me without the wig and no makeup and all of that for me is different, so I love it." Plus, she added, "And it's an easy day."

So, what's she planning to swipe from her wardrobe closet or the HTGAWM set as the show winds down?

"I'm one of those people, I am always trying to collect something for free, but -- everything," Davis laughed. "Everything in my apartment, which is beautiful -- I mean, the set design for the entire six seasons has been great. I put dibs on my car, all the costumes, all the wardrobe, the Tom Ford coats, and the Alexander McQueen, and the Armani, and the Max Mara, absolutely, Escada, everything. Everything. "

How to Get Away With Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.


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