The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: How to Get Away with Murder, “It’s a Trap” – Season 2, Episode 12

On How to Get Away with Murder, “It’s a Trap,” Philip threatened Annalise and the Keating Five, and while they (Annalise and three of the Keating Five) subsequently lost their shit, Wes and Laurel investigated Rose’s involvement in a past court case.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“It’s a Trap” did not pass the Bechdel test but it did pass the Russo and race test.

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Annalise waits on her witness, Rose.

There were several named women in “It’s a Trap” and there were a couple of instances where some of these named women talked to each other, but the episode did not pass the Bechdel test, and “It’s a Trap” did not pass this test because men were always mentioned whenever named women talked to one another. As to the Russo and race test, “It’s a Trap” passed both of these diversity tests.

There were three LGBTI characters in “It’s a Trap,” Annalise, Connor and Oliver, and the episode easily passed the Russo test because all three of these characters met the Russo test’s requirements – they, for example, were not solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., Annalise was also defined as being a lawyer, Connor was defined as being a student and Oliver was defined as being an IT guy) and their removal from “It’s a Trap” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot as Annalise played a  large role in this episode and Connor and Oliver roles in “It’s a Trap” furthered the season’s overall storyline.

In the case of the race test, “It’s a Trap” passed this test because there were a couple of instances where non-White individuals (of which there were several in the episode) talked to each other without mentioning anyone White.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

**The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The show contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a show passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in television. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the show.

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