Acting legend Glynn Turman was just as surprised by his 2019 Emmy Nominations as fans of How to Get Away With Murder. The actor is a welcomed surprise nominee in the Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series category for his heartbreaking role as Nate Lahey Sr., joining frequent nominees from the series Viola Davis (Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series) and Cicely Tyson (Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series).
The actor, who has had a celebrated career beginning in the 1960s, spoke with PopCulture.com about the nomination, his love for the ABC drama series and other projects he has on the horizon.
"It was a shock. That's what that was like," Turman told PopCulture.com August 19 of the morning nominations were announced. "I was so surprised. I really was not expecting it at all. Caught me totally off guard."
Nate Lahey Sr. was first introduced on the ABC thriller series in Season 4, when he became Annalise Keating's (Davis) main case in a big class-action lawsuit she brought all the way to the Supreme Court, and won.
Season 5 explored Nate Sr.'s unjust treatment in the judicial system even further, showing his deteriorating mental state after many years in prison as well as his evolving relationship with his son Nate Lahey (series regular Billy Brown).
Fans of the drama series will recall Nate Sr.'s storyline came to a tragic end after he was killed just before he was set to be transferred out of prison and into a mental facility to start healing from years of trauma. The character's death served as the pivotal moment that kicked off Season 5's murder mystery, resulting in one of the show's most dramatic and heartbreaking moments yet.
"We really rooted for his turnaround that he had in terms of coming to himself and finally getting some justice and some hope, " Turman said of Nate Sr.'s journey. "And then boy, what a shock at the end. We didn't know. I didn't know. And there it was at the table read. Everybody was like, "oh no!"
Looking back on his time filming the series, Turman gushed about his frequent scene partners Davis and Brown.
"Working with [Viola] is fantastic," he said. "She's an active actor, and so a diehard actor like me appreciates that kind of talent. That was an extra bonus. Of course, Bill and I got along great. Really bonded and made it easy to make that father-son dynamic believable."
Turman's nomination also comes a decade since he first won the award for the same category for his unforgettable role as Alex Prince, Sr. on HBO's In Treatment in 2008. Aside from HTGAWM, the actor has also appeared on other projects recently like House of Lies, Queen Sugar and Mr. Mercedes and the Netflix film, Sextuplets. He is also set to reunite with Davis on the screen for the upcoming Netflix film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
Reflecting on his continued professional success, Turman said he has no intention of slowing down any time soon.
"I caught myself ready to kind of wind down and instead, I'm winding up," he said. "I'm busier than I've ever been. I don't know where that's coming from, but keep it coming. It's all right with me.
He added, "I've got a fantastic team who have been out there working hard and getting me out there. So I'm thankful to all those who have contributed to making all of this happen. And I'm glad that I still enjoy doing it."
How to Get Away With Murder returns for its final season Thursday, Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. The Emmy Awards will be broadcast live Sunday, Sept. 22 on Fox.