TVNZ have created a reality-warping online game to promote TV2’s new investigative drama How to Get Away With Murder. Alex Casey learns just how difficult the titular task really is. //
It all started a few weeks ago when I got sent a mysterious looking package from Nancy Maher Attorney-at-Law that shook me to the very core.
One thing was clear: there was a serious fake task at hand. Without knowing it, I had been fictionally accepted into Nancy Maher’s criminal law firm and my ongoing fictional employment relied completely on how I handled this upcoming fictional murder trial. As someone who already had a real job, this was stressful news. Plus, I had already seen the first episode of How To Get Away With Murder and was terrified of Annalise Keating. I was having too many PTSD flashbacks about getting asked pop questions in University lectures to really enjoy myself when watching the premiere.
I knew it wasn’t real, but the lines had already started to blur. Having a dictaphone address you by name is too bloody real:
I got cracking into the game, relying on my astute legal knowledge from years of forcing my primary school friends to play Judge Judy with me (I was the Judge and a tree stump was my mighty bench) and watching Legally Blonde essentially all the way through my adolescence. This should be a piece of murderous cake.
The game opens with an intimate vlog from Tim Carter, he’s proposing to his girlfriend via Youtube?! I’m all ready to start gently weeping and googling more videos of gallant proposals when there is a heavy knock at the door. The video cuts out and we are told this is the last video of Tim Carter alive.
My freaking cellphone starts ringing, and it’s only NANCY MAHER ATTORNEY AT LAW ON THE BLOWER. Sure, she sounds like a robot, but I don’t get calls very often so I’ll take it. It’s time to rip into this case, and bring Tim Carter’s romantic-proposal-video-ruiner and, on a lesser level, murderer, to justice.
The first task at hand is to present Tim’s best bud Mick as the key character witness. Tim’s girlfriend Hilary is the prime suspect at this stage, and we’ve got to arm up big time if we have any shot of defending her (I don’t know what I’m talking about). He seems like a solid bloke, voted Ladykiller of the Year in 2013 (murderer of women? nice one mate – keeping that on file). He doesn’t take a lot seriously apart from cricket, so needs to get a good grilling if there’s any hope of getting a good deposition from him.
I read all of the case files and make in-depth notes for future use:
Now it’s time to get serious about saving Hilary Finn’s ass from jail. David Caine, Nancy Maher’s assistant-at-law tells me to figure out a new suspect and NOW. The prosecution’s case is that Hilary was covered in blood when the ambulance arrived, and also that she wasn’t the one to make the 111 call. I watched her emotional statement video, and actually welled up a bit. Such a tragic fictional tale of fictional young love fictionally lost.
Hilary claims that a man in a spooky mask bashed his way in with a baseball bat and hit Tim repeatedly. I mean, use a cricket bat to send a more powerful message! Beat him at his own game! Not that I’m the murderer… oh my god, am I the murderer?
Mick Sharpe claims that Hilary is a “saint” and that we better “catch the devil that did this.” For a guy who doesn’t take anything seriously apart from cricket, he sure worked hard on that heaven/hell metaphor. I think there’s more to Mick than meets the eye. Keeping that on file.
Now it’s time to find another clue online – they’ve stashed evidence all over the internet. I’m sent on a wild goose chase throughout ZM Online. It’s hell. I can’t find it anywhere and I keep getting distracted – Jamie Dornan is not going to be in the next 50 Shades of Grey?! Wouldn’t be the first time he’s… pulled out. Athangyou. I go a little deeper and start searching for things like “murder” and “hiding evidence” on the site. Very ready for the police to storm my laptop at any moment.
The search engine yields nothing, and suddenly I’m looking at ticket prices for the Backstreet Boys and admiring the spoils of the ZM ‘Random Stuff’ category:
And applauding the genius selection of tags.
I got a clever idea and started listening to a Fletch, Vaughan and Megan interview with Viola Davis. Surely they wouldn’t bury a clue this deep, but I’m determined as hell. The interview comes with an excellent preamble of Fletch, Vaughn and Meggo trying to figure out which character Viola Davis is in The Help without sounding racist. It’s good value, but doesn’t provide the insight I’m looking for. I swallow my pride and send an email to the good people at TVNZ for help.
Halfway through reading a ZM exclusive about a five year old who eats McDonald’s for the first time, I’ve found the clue! I tap it in excitedly, very eager to please my fake lawyer boss.
With a week’s worth of evidence collected, I now have the option to leak it to a blogger, or bury it. I have no idea what to do, leaking evidence sounds bad. I choose to bury it, and fail immediately. To make up bonus points, I am invited to humiliatingly text my friends and family about my failings.
I will stop at nothing to gain kudos at my new fake job.
I’ll be keeping on this for the next few weeks, stay tuned to see me inevitably lose both my fake job and my real job.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.