Tom Verica on Fan Hate, Juggling ‘Scandal’ and ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ (Video)

Director and executive producer for ABC’s “Scandal,” Verica also stars as Viola Davis’ husband Sam, the murder victim at the heart of the first arc

Last Updated: November 21, 2014 @ 11:45 AM

Tom Verica is very busy in Shondaland, serving as an executive producer and director on “Scandal,” while also starring in a main role on “How to Get Away With Murder.” On “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Thursday night, he said that while he wasn’t sure how he was going to manage it all when Shonda Rhimes first approached him about the “HTGAWM” role, he couldn’t say no to her.

Verica’s character Sam Keating, who was revealed to be dead in the series premiere of “Murder,” has been at the center of the first major mystery on the Viola Davis-led drama. The first eight episodes of the series jumped around in time, so Verica had plenty of scenes to film before his death, so there was more to do for him than just lie there.

It was a combination of the darkness of the character and the fact that he was dead that helped convince Verica to jump on board.

“When Pete Nowalk, who’s the creator of ‘How to Get Away With Murder,’ started talking about the character and what it was, he said we’re gonna turn this character pretty dark and do some things that may not make him likable,” Verica said. “As an actor, and knowing that I have a day job at ‘Scandal,’ I knew there was an endgame and my run would be pretty limited.”

It was a short role, but one that Verica was able to sink his teeth into, as he’s played plenty of nice guys in his acting career. He said he gets a slew of mean tweets and has even had some negative encounters with fans of the show while dropping his son off at school.

“I guess that is a good compliment for an actor for people to hate you wherever you go,” Kimmel pointed out.

Sam’s killer was revealed on the midseason finale of “How to Get Away With Murder.” The ABC drama returns on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 10 p.m. ET. “Jimmy Kimmel Live” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.

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