10 Best ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Characters, Ranked

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For seven seasons, Pretty Little Liars kept viewers on the edge of their seats with its story of revenge, as an anonymous person threatened to expose a group of four friend’s deepest secrets in the aftermath of the disappearance of their best friend. The series premiered in 2010 on Freeform, then known as ABC Family, and was based on a series of novels of the same name written by Sara Shepard. It was followed with spin-off Pretty Little Liars: Summer School, previously titled Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, following a new set of characters.



Pretty Little Liars featured an ensemble cast of characters, from the group of friends to their enemies. Each had their own secrets and flaws, which could make them fascinating to watch and either root for or hope to see taken down. But no matter which side they were on, the best characters in the series were memorable for their complexity.


Pretty Little Liars

Release Date
June 8, 2010

Seasons
7


10 Toby

Played by Keegan Phillip Allen

Keegan Allen as Toby in Pretty Little Liars
Image via Freeform

Toby was Jenna’s older stepbrother, and she blackmailed him into having a sexual relationship with her. Toby was a suspect in Alison’s murder and was also briefly thought to be “A,” and while that ended up not being the case, he did eventually join the A Team, although only as a way to protect Spencer. He later became a cop with the Rosewood police force and married Yvonne, who ultimately died.


Toby was shy and quiet, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t capable—and suspected— of doing some terrible things, especially considering his relationship with the Liars was strained in the beginning. That also meant being deceptive, although he was far from the only character who was, and often used his deceit as a way to get information and protect the people he loved. He also had a sensitive side, whether he was being romantic in his relationships or being vulnerable with others.

9 Jenna Marshall

Played by Tammin Sursok

Tammin Sursok as Jenna Marshall in Pretty Little Liars
Image via Freeform

Jenna was a nemesis of the Liars. She was Toby’s younger stepsister. She was the victim of a prank by the Liars—the threw a stink bomb into her garage, which led to her becoming blind. The group referred to this as “the Jenna Thing” and feared it would be revealed early in the series. After leaving in Season 5, she returned for Season 7, and while she claimed she returned because of Toby’s engagement, she wasn’t being honest.


Jenna was ruthless and manipulative, having been described by Toby as “someone who gets whatever she wants.” Due to the Liars’ prank against her, she held a deep grudge against them, although she later forgave them—or at least, so she claimed. But she was one of the most complex characters on the series, and the qualities which made her a horrible person to the Liars and others around her made her a lot of fun to watch.

8 Spencer Hastings

Played by Troian Bellisario

Troian Bellisario as Spencer in Pretty Little Liars
Image via Freeform

Spencer was one of the Liars. Although she was the biological daughter of Mary Drake due to a one-night stand between Mary and Peter Hastings, Spencer was raised by Peter and his wife, Veronica, in Rosewood, along with their daughter and Spencer’s half-sister, Melissa. She had a long-term relationship with Toby, then later had a brief relationship with Caleb. She spent some time in a mental hospital after discovering a body she believed was Toby’s.


Spencer was charming and intelligent, making her known for being the brains of the group—and also making her their leader of sorts. Her quick thinking and ability to piece information together meant she often uncovered clues on her own, and it made her indispensable. But her smarts didn’t mean she couldn’t admit it when she was wrong. She also sometimes kept things from the others, carrying heavy burdens all on her own.

7 Emily Fields

Played by Shay Mitchell

Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields in Pretty Little Liars
Image via Freeform

Emily lived in Rosewood with her parents, until her father moved to Texas for a military job while Emily and her mother stayed behind. Emily was considered the jock of the Liars due to the fact that she was a competitive swimmer. She struggled with her sexuality throughout the show’s early episodes, and after coming out, her mother had a difficult time accepting her, which damaged their relationship. Still, Emily had a relationship with Maya.


Despite Emily’s mother’s reaction to her coming out, Emily found unwavering support in the Liars, and she was just as loyal to them in return. She was also quick-witted, with memorable one-liners and at times displayed a fierce attitude, but at heart, she was kind and caring, especially when it came to her friends. But like the other Liars, she had been through a lot, leading to her at time being anxious and overly emotional.

6 Lucas Gottesman

Played by Brendan Robinson

Brendan Robinson as Lucas Gottesman in Pretty Little Liars
Image via Freeform

Lucas was blackmailed into becoming a member of the A Team and eventually became Mona’s second in command. He had been bullied in school by Alison and Mona, then became friends with Hanna, who he had a crush on, and Caleb, who was his roommate for a brief period of time. Within a few years after finishing high school, he became a tech millionaire, and although he was suspected of being villain A.D., he was not.


Lucas had a bit of a nerdy personality and interests, such as comic books. His history of having been bullied made it easy to understand why he tppl sides with the A Team, and things only got worse from there. Although he could be a nice, kindhearted person, he had secrets of his own and was suspicious and distrustful from the start, and he only became darker and crueler as the series went on.

5 Aria Montgomery

Played by Lucy Hale

Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery in Pretty Little Liars
Image via Freeform

Aria’s father had an affair with a college student, which Aria had been asked to keep secret it—but Alison also knew about it and used it as a way to control Aria. After Alison’s disappearance, Aria lived in Iceland with her family for a year before returning to Rosewood. She had a secret relationship with her English teacher, Ezra Fitz, who was later revealed to be a writer working on a true-crime book about Alison.


Aria was very smart with an artistic side to her and had a more alternative style than the other girls, shown through pink streaks in her hair early in the series and her sense of style. She handled Alison’s disappearance better than some of the other Liars. She could also sometimes be selfish and inconsiderate, especially when it came to Ezra—although she truly cared about him, she was often motivated by her desire to keep him, and by extension, herself, out of trouble.

4 Alison DiLaurentis

Played by Sasha Pieterse

The girls of Pretty Little Liars, Lucy Hale's Aria, Ashley Benson's Hanna, Shay Mitchell's Emily, Troian Bellisario's Spencer, and Sasha Pieterse's Alison, hugging in the series finale.
Image via Freeform

Alison grew up being spoiled by her parents, and as a teenager, she was one of Rosewood’s popular students and was best friends with the Liars. Her disappearance and supposed murder kicked off the plot of the series. It was ultimately revealed that she hadn’t been killed and was really alive the whole time. Most importantly, she knew everyone’s secrets and used her knowledge to blackmail many of Rosewood’s residents.


Alison was known for being mean and vindictive, especially following her disappearance. Although she was generally caring towards her friends, she was also still often cruel and manipulative, as shown through her behavior throughout the series. Her bad behavior was often a way of maintaining control, but after the reveal that she was alive and her subsequent return, she became much calmer and more likable and to an extent redeemed herself.

3 Caleb Rivers

Played by Tyler Blackburn

Tyler Blackburn as Caleb Rivers in Pretty Little Liars
Image via Freeform

Caleb grew up in and out of foster care and had a complicated past, with few memories of his actual parents. At the start of the series, he spent a lot of time at Hanna’s house without her mother knowing, and on top of that, he was working undercover for Jenna. He had a longterm relationship with Hanna throughout the series. For a brief period of time, he had a drinking problem, leading to an intervention.


Caleb’s upbringing made him a bit of a bad boy with street smarts, but he was an interesting character who was easy to like. He was intelligent, and he used his skills to help the Liars. He could be protective of Hanna and believed they were meant to be together, although he wanted her to be happy above all, even if that meant she wasn’t with him. His sweet, romantic side often came with Hanna.

2 Mona Vanderwaal

Played by Janel Parrish

Janel Parrish as Mona Vanderwaal in Pretty Little Liars
Image via Freeform

When she was younger, Mona was a bit of a nerd and was known as “Loser Mona,” a nickname given to her be Alison. Alison often bullied Mona, but despite this, Mona idolized Alison. Mona was also Hanna’s best friend. She was the original “A” in the series and stalked and blackmailed the Liars, and although she ultimately redeemed herself, her dark side remained with her until the very end.


Given Mona’s role and actions as “A,” she had a cruel, vindictive side to her, to the point that she was a sociopath—and the plotting all of it took was a testament to her intelligence and skill. And while she was guilty of a lot of horrible things, it was also easy to understand her motivations, especially because of the way she reinvented herself after Alison’s disappearance. All of this made Mona one of the most fascinating characters in the series.

1 Hanna Marin

Played by Ashley Benson

Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin in Pretty Little Liars
Image via Freeform

Hanna was a shy, overweight teenage girl who Alison took under her wing—and, similar to the other girls, Alison bullied Hanna over her weight and gave her the nickname “Hefty Hanna.” After Alison disappeared, Hanna lost weight, befriended Mona and became one of the most popular girls in school. She was in a relationship with Caleb throughout the series. She also had a great sense of fashion, which she turned into her career later in the series.


There was more to Hanna than it seemed. She was also intelligent, even if it didn’t always seem that way. But above all, she was known for her snark and outspoken nature, but she was also a loyal, supportive friend, especially when it came to Emily and her sexuality. She was also very protective of her friends, a trait that was crucial in the midst of their torture at the hands of “A.”

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NEXT: ‘Pretty Little Liars’: The 11 Best Love Interests, Ranked From Maya to Caleb



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