SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched Season 3, episode 3 of “How to Get Away With Murder,” which aired Thursday, Oct. 6.
After two seasons of teasing Laurel’s (Karla Souza) super wealthy, super jerky father, Mr. Castillo was finally introduced in the world of “How to Get Away With Murder.”
Laurel goes to Miami to see her father, solely to find out where Frank (Charlie Weber) is. He has that information because as an executive at a multi-billion dollar telecommunications company, “he has the best software for intel,” according to Souza, who tells Variety, “This is a person who if he wants to find something out, he’s going to.”
Turns out, Laurel’s father does end up telling her where Frank is, but only in exchange for Laurel essentially writing her life away by using her name on his new business venture. She reluctantly agrees to the deal and learns of Frank’s whereabouts. However, when Annalise (Viola Davis) asks her if she was able to find out about Frank, she lies and says no.
Laurel’s meeting with her father also reveals shocking new details from her childhood: he left her mother while she was struggling with mental illness, and Laurel was kidnapped at the age of 16 and her father would not pay the ransom to get her back.
In non-Laurel news, in the final moments of the episode during the flash-forward to the night of the house fire, we learn that Bonnie (Liza Weil) is alive, in addition to Oliver (Conrad Ricamora). However, we also learn that in addition to the mysterious dead body underneath the sheet, there is also another body found in the basement of the house — but according to firemen on the scene, there’s a pulse.
Here, Karla Souza tells Variety about Laurel’s father, more about her backstory, and if she’ll set out to find Frank…
We finally meet Laurel’s father. Did you always know their storyline or had you made up a storyline in your head, prior to this episode?
This has all been cooked by the writers, Pete [Nowalk], and I. From Season 1, Pete was always asking me where I think Laurel comes from. I always thought she would want to work for the UN and she has a father who has an illegal sort of task that doesn’t help the world to become a better place, and that’s why she took it on herself to do the opposite. I remember telling Pete that I really didn’t want to do the stereotype of having him related to any drug cartel at all. I said I know of people who are very powerful and they’re filthy rich and they do some pretty shady things as well, but they have nothing to do with drugs. I told Pete, let’s just not hit the stereotype once again with that.
Laurel says that she was kidnapped when she was 16. That’s terrifying. What was your reaction to learning that?
I pitched her being kidnapped. I pitched that because unfortunately growing up, I had three people in my life who were kidnapped — friends and people who I knew — and it’s a real thing. So for me, that fact that the father wouldn’t pay the ransom sounds terrifying to me, and that’s the reason why she’s so bitter toward him. I envisioned the hatred that she had toward him, and then yet, falling for someone like him, like Frank, is the worst and makes it all the more interesting.
Laurel’s father left her mother when she was in the middle of battling a mental health disorder. How did that storyline come about?
I’m campaigning for network TV to touch upon subjects like mental health disorders, so for her mom to have that, that’s something that I feel like a lot of people can relate to, so it was very important for me to have that and the fact that Pete allowed that, I was very grateful.
The mention of the kidnapping and Laurel’s mother’s mental health disorder was quickly brought up. Will we get to see more of that backstory in Laurel’s early years?
I don’t know when, but I’m sure we’ll go back to that. Nothing is just gratuitous — Pete is so good at mentioning things for a reason. The pasts of the Keating Five have always been sprinkled around. I’m sure we will end up re-visiting it.
Why did Laurel ultimately decide to sign the paperwork for her father? Is that a sign of just how much she loves Frank?
It’s not so much about loving — she’s desperate and loyal. You could probably do the worst thing to Laurel and she will still be loyal to you in some way. She’s been blackmailed by her father, and she didn’t have to sign that paper — the reason why she signs that contract is the need to know where Frank is. She’s taking matters into her own hands. The addiction that she has with Frank is that desperation and that need to give into being blackmailed by the one person that she hates the most, which is her father.
What exactly was she signing for her father, and will it impact her life?
He has a new business investment that he wants under Laurel’s name. That was something that Pete wanted to allude to — these people that have way too much money that create bank accounts with their children’s name and involve their children that way.
Will we see more of her father in future episodes?
The character of my father is present, whether he’s mentioned or present through flashbacks. So yes, he’s going to be definitely present throughout because now we know that he’s someone who can find out these things.
Laurel lies to Annalise about knowing where Frank is. It seems that Annalise always finds out the truth — will that come back to bite her in the butt?
The fact that Laurel knows this and Annalise isn’t given the information, it gives the audience something that she doesn’t know. Who knows if she’ll be able to keep it that way.
Now that Laurel knows where Frank is, what is she going to do with that information? Will she go to get Frank by herself?
I can’t tell you [laughing]. First of all, Laurel knows her father is now bugging her phone so she’s now in a situation where she can’t tell Wes [Alfred Enoch], she can’t tell Annalise, she keeps this to herself — so how is she going to get to Frank or find out more about Frank without anyone’s help? So that’s why you’ve got to watch episode 4!