We are free little liars. Free from A’s grasps! Marlene King didn’t lie when she said this would be the summer of answers. But did those answers make you happy? Finding out who A was actually made me feel quite stupid. Stupid because the answers were in front of me the whole time… and at times, I totally contemplated the theory… thought it through. I was so close! Either way, I’d like to thank the bottle of wine for accompanying me on this finale journey. I couldn’t have done it without you!
*** IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE SUMMER FINALE OF PLL, DO NOT READ. SPOILERS AHEAD***
Who Is A? Finally, we have an answer! Cece Drake is A. Charles is also A. Cece and Charles are the same person. It’s true, Charles was the eldest DiLaurentis. When Alison was born, Charles grew a liking to her and like Mr. D said, one day almost drowned her in a bathtub. But that’s not the whole story. See, Charles loved Ali a lot. When she was crying, he wanted to make it better the only way he knew how. Unfortunately, that meant that he almost killed his baby sister and Mr. D forced him to go to Radley. Charles was never mentally insane, but he was transgender.
All Roads Lead Back To Radley- Throughout his time at Radley, Charles knew that his father would never accept him. He had one friend, Bethany. She stuck by his side, until one night, he was rocking a dress on the roof, when Mrs. Cavanaugh came out. He asked Bethany to take care of her because he was scared she’d see him in a dress. Bethany pushed Toby’s mom off the cliff and killed her. Then, she blamed all of it on Charles. Charles lost a friend and Mrs. D ended up paying off Radley to cover up the death and rule it a suicide. The cop on the case- Wilden. Ha, didn’t see that coming did you?
The Death of Charles- After Mrs. Cavanaughs death, Charles was allowed to leave Radley one time for a funeral.. Charles’s funeral. At that point, Mrs. D, being the good mother that she was, accepted her son as her daughter Charlotte. (It now makes sense why Jason would call her Charli.) She dug up a grave for Charles in the yard of her Aunt Carols, which we saw earlier this season. Eventually, with good grades, Charlotte was able to get into UPenn and free herself from Radley. But really, is there every a way to get away from Radley?
DiLaurentis Family, Meet CeCe– One day, Charlotte decided to call in a bomb threat and snuck back to Rosewood, where she ended up running into Jason. He was instantly attracted to her (gross) and the two began dating. Yep, Jason dated his frickin’ brother. Nothing is off limits on PLL. And you thought Jason dating Hannah’s mom was gross. If it makes you feel any better, they never did it… because you know, boundaries. Anyways, that’s how CeCe began and how she formed her relationship with Ali. When Mrs. D found out that CeCe was coming with them to Cape Cod and that she was dating her sibling, she freaked out a bit, but like any loving mother, kept the secret… especially from Mr. D, who would never accept any of this.
Bethany Is Evil- Bethany found out that Mrs. D was having an affair with her dad, so she stole her clothes and took advantage of the out privileges. Clearly the people working at Radley, a mental institution, were really bad at their jobs. Thank god that place closed down. Anyways, she was going to go and kill Mrs. D so CeCe went to save her mom. Unfortunately, instead of bashing Bethany over the head with a rock that night, CeCe actually bashed Ali. Mrs. D was horrified and buried her “dead” daughter… as we know, alive. Ali was later dug up by Mrs. Grimwauld and disappeared per Mona’s advice.
Mona’s A Killer- Mona is actually the one who killed Bethany thinking it was Ali. And of course, we know Spencer was in the area and Melissa thought her sister killed Ali so she buried Bethany. Yep, this whole night was a disaster and if we’ve learned anything it’s that communication is key. Also- Radley needs better security and no one should ever dress alike.
Back To Radley You Go- Mrs. D banished CeCe back to Radley and Wilden was paid off to pretend neither of them were in Rosewood the night Ali died. CeCe lost everyone at that point and kind of went crazy…. Thankfully, she found a friend to keep her company- Mona. Mona was placed into Radley as we know after trying to kidnap Spencer and run her BFF Hannah over. She was apparently so high off the meds and crazy pills that she thought Ali was visiting her, so CeCe played on it and visited her to get information on the liars, which she hated because she thought they were happy that Ali was dead. That’s when CeCe stole the “A” game from Mona… CeCe was never ‘A’ to begin with. Mona initially started the hate texts that led to that night in Spencer’s backyard because of her hate for Ali.
Targeting The Girls- With Ali “dead” CeCe started tormenting the liars (who knows how she got a phone at Radley.) That’s when she realized someone in a red coat was always following them. She thought it was Ali, but honestly, that didn’t make sense because she killed Ali. She knew if her “fake” friends were in danger, Ali would come and save them. So, she staged that whole plane incident and sent in a decoy redcoat… Sara Harvey. Otherwise known as A’s main minion. Ugh, we knew it. Sara was always up to no good! How did these two meet though? Was she forced to do stuff for A? That night, Sara failed to be a good decoy and Ali ended up saving the girls, proving that she was still alive.
Who Killed Wilden?- Yup… that was also CeCe. He found out Alison was alive and wouldn’t let her come back to tell her story, so CeCe ended him. Remember the black widow at his funeral? Yep… Sara Harvey working for CeCe. Don’t you feel dumb? But don’t worry, CeCe didn’t enjoy killing Wilden, despite thinking he deserved it. And she never killed the liars because she loved all of her dolls. This moment clearly establishes that while we have every right to feel sorry for A, she was still off the hinges.
Au Revoir- With Shawna dead, the girls thought A was finally gone. CeCe had a passport and a clean slate and everything could have ended right there… but that compulsive disorder and the thrill of the game brought her right back. She loved being good at something and she needed to feel the power… to feel justified.
That Night In New York- Before CeCe met the girls in New York (you know, after Hannah chose not to shoot A on that rooftop), she went home and found Mrs. D dead in front of their house. We don’t get much out of this scene other than A was really distraught about losing mommy. No matter if you loved or hated Mrs. D, she was always there for her kids. Anyways, we don’t find out who killed Mrs. D or who buried her… although we do have theories (we’ll get to a little later).
The Liars- They find all of this out after being locked inside A’s lair at the Carissimi group. The place looks like it came straight out of Star Trek. This is also where they see Ali come face-to-face with CeCe and when they see Mr. D and Jason “almost dead.” We never fully find out what happens to them two… the liars leave the lair in order to find Ali, who is trapped in Radley. Mona stays behind to “hear the rest of the story” but honestly, like A said, we never know where her loyalties lie.
Red Coat- Once inside, the liars set off an alarm, which detonates CeCe’s “bomb trigger.” Red Coat aka Sara Harvey is inside setting up the bombs. The girls overpower her (because yeah, 4 against 1) and take charge of the situation… mostly Em, who punches the crap out of Sara for “leading her on.” I’ve never been prouder of Ems. Shame on Sara for taking advantage of a girl who just wants to frickin’ help everyone!
A’s Suicide Mission- Ali meets up with the liars and begs them to for help talking CeCe down from the roof. Will she commit suicide like Toby? Nah… CeCe drops the mic in a total “Game Over” move. And that’s the last we see of her. Did she get committed again? Arrested? Dead?
The Big Goodbye- The girls finally get a breather from all the ‘A’ drama. Seriously, time to just sip wine and get the hell away from Rosewood and all the baggage that comes with it. Each girl has decided to go away for college- Emily goes to Malibu (possibly to reunite with Paige?), Aria goes down to Savannah, Spencer goes to Georgia and is going into politics, Alison stays in Rosewood. Spencer calls Hannah “Hannah Banana” and we all die from cuteness. Sara is released from the hospital and Ali says “what happened to Sara that night wasn’t our fault.” What happened to Sara? There’s also a big Winnie the Pooh joke from Spencer, which I guess is supposed to make us all feel better. And just like that the girls, are off on their own…. and I cry because I feel like I’m losing my best friends.
Flash Forward 5 Years- We kick off the time jump with Alison in a (English?) classroom writing her new name, Mrs. Rollins, on a chalkboard. Who did she marry? Lorenzo? That would be pretty cute don’t you think? Although a quick glance at his nametag reveals that his last name was Calderon. Also E! News reports that Rollins is a new character and a psychologist. That’s definitely someone Ali needs in her life. But before we get into the what happened in the last 5 years, the liars bust through the classroom door and warn their BFF that “he’s coming for her.” “We have to go… now, Alison,” Hannah orders. “We came back for you Alison, so move it,” Emily warns. Spencer runs in last and warns, “It’s too late, he’s already here.” Alright, who is he? And why is he coming for Alison? And why do the liars know before she does? Why are we playing this cat and mouse game again?! Could this be innocent? The music tells us, definitely not!
New Theory- We don’t know who this new “A” is… or if we can even call him that, but it leaves only a few “he’s” open. It could be Toby and we’re sticking with this theory. We don’t yet know who killed Mrs. D but we do know that Toby has motive. After all, he would be pretty mad at her if he found out that she covered up his mother’s death to protect her own son! Maybe that’s why he got so close to Spencer? She’s Ali’s sister so he was always in the loop. Once he got rid of Mrs. D, he could get rid of Ali? Also, he’s been ‘A’ once before, remember? Other suspects- Mr. D cause he’s always been fishy, Ezra just because of the book thing, and Rhys Matthews! All we found out about the Jason look alike was that he was a “decoy” hired by CeCe when the girls were onto the whole “Charles” theory. Maybe he’s got something more to do with the story? Why was he at the DiLaurentis household that one day?
Questions Left Unanswered
- Who did Ali marry? Who is Mr. Rollins?
- Who killed Mrs. D?
- Did CeCe get a complete sex change?
- Where did Hannah end up going to school after all the ‘A’ drama was said and done?
- What happened to Sara?
- What happened to Mona?
- Did anyone ever let the parents out of the basement?
- Who is Rhys and why is he important?
- What happened to Mr. D and Jason?
- How did Sara and CeCe become friends?
- How is Jenna connected to this whole story? Was she just the kickoff to the bigger picture? What did she know?
- Jenna and Shawna were dating… isn’t that important?
- Who killed Ian in season 1?
- How are Melissa and Wren connected to all of this?
- What ever happened to Lucas?
And lastly, what happened in those 5 years? What are the liars doing? Have they kept in touch? Who are they dating? How does everyone still connect to the story?
8 Murder Mystery TV Shows to Watch and Solve
Do you fancy yourself a little crime sleuth? Well, throw on your trench coat, grab your magnifying glass, and set out to solve the biggest murder mysteries to hit networks and streaming services!
The murder mystery genre, while always popular, has been skyrocketing in recent years, with plenty of new TV shows and movies to capture the thrills and chills.
There’s nothing like a whodunnit to get you through the day and keep you on your toes. But while some classics date as far back as the 1985 Clue movie or all the Agatha Christie novels now getting new life as films (Murder on the Orient Express or A Haunting in Venice, for example), others, like Knives Out and Glass Onion have revitalized the genre and gave us some of the most captivating shows.
There’s no shortage of content for mystery enthusiasts to enjoy—but here’s 8 of our favorites!
High Seas – Netflix (3 seasons)
Netflix allows audiences to dive into the world of suspense on the high seas with its Spanish mystery series set on a luxury cruise ship in the 1940s. A web of love, deceit, and, of course, a string of murders will keep you on your toes as two sisters investigate all passengers onboard and try to piece the clues—and plot twists—together.
Nancy Drew – The CW (4 seasons)
Who killed Lucy Sable? That’s the question on everyone’s lips as Nancy Drew kicks off its first season with Kennedy McMann taking on the iconic role of the teenage detective. As the seasons continue, she and her Drew Crew become the lifeline to solving crimes in the mystical small town of Horseshoe Bay (much to the dismay of local officials). The intrigue is elevated with supernatural elements and plot points that bring the beloved character into the 21st century.
Only Murders in the Building – Hulu (3 seasons… so far)
What happens when you mix murder with comedy? Thankfully, the series has tapped the right people to find out with Selena Gomez, Martin Short, and Steve Martin making up the brilliant (though not always the brightest) trio of true crime podcast enthusiasts-turned-amateur-sleuths who set out on a suspenseful journey to find the killer. The quirky series has become such a global phenomenon that it’s even been able to nail some rather impressive guest stars, like Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep.
Death and Other Details – Hulu (Premieres Jan. 16, 2024)
The newest addition into the fold is Hulu’s mystery drama that takes place on a lavish Mediterranean ocean liner amongst the glamor of the “global elite” (we’re getting some Knives Out and Death of the Nile vibes, but we’re not complaining) and finds Imogene Scott (played by God Friended Me’s Violent Beane) at the wrong place and the wrong time, becoming the prime suspect in a murder mystery. To prove her innocence, she has to partner with the world’s greatest detective, Rufus Cotesworth (Mandy Patinkin), whom she, by no coincidence at all, despises.
The Traitors – Peacock (1 Season – Second Premiering Jan 12, 2024)
Murder mystery games are a party hit, so naturally, they’re a fit for reality TV. The competition, hosted by Alan Cumming, features 20 contestants, a mix of famous people and everyday Americans, as they work through missions in an ancient castle in Scotland. Amid those “Faithfuls” are “Traitors,” who try to eliminate the good guys for the top prize.
Pretty Little Liars – Freeform (7 Seasons)
If you by some chance missed the pop culture phenomenon that was teen drama Pretty Little Liars (where have you been?)–and you consider yourself a very patient person–then it’s time to give it a whirl. The series follows four best friends whose deepest darkest secrets not only come to light but are used against them by someone calling themselves “A” when investigating the death of their good friend, Alison.
The Outsider – HBO (1 Season)
Based on the chilling best-selling novel by Stephen King, the HBO series finds a detective investigating the gruesome murder of a young boy, with all clues pointing to a family man played by Jason Bateman, all before the case takes a supernatural twist, adding horror and paranormal to your typical murder mystery.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – ABC (3 Seasons)
The Australian drama series infuses the murder mystery genre with glamour and 1920s charm. With a flair for solving crimes and an impeccable sense of fashion, detective Phryne Fisher and her pearl-handled pistol take on murder cases that baffle the police, all while making sure Murdoch Foyle, who she thinks is behind her sister’s disappearance, stays behind bars.
Whether you prefer classics, those with a modern twist, or a dose of comedy with your crime, these shows are sure to keep you guessing until the very end!
WATCH: The New ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Is Dark AF
‘A’ is not messing around in the Pretty Little Liars spinoff Original Sin.
If you thought we’d seen the last of ‘A’… think again. The masked stalker is back to torment a new group of little liars on the HBO Max series.
The ten-episode season will debut Thursday, July 28 with three episodes. Two new episodes will follow on August 4 and 11, with the final three episodes debuting on August 18.
A new teaser for the series reveals the tone is going to be much darker than the original ever was, and that’s likely thanks to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) who serves as writer and co-executive producer.
Check out the teaser — complete with a new version of the intro song “Secret.”
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin synopsis: Twenty years ago, a series of tragic events almost ripped the blue-collar town of Millwood apart. Now, in present day, a disparate group of teen girls — a brand-new set of Little Liars — find themselves tormented by an unknown Assailant and made to pay for the secret sin committed by their parents two decades ago…as well as their own. In the dark, coming-of-age, horror-tinged drama PRETTY LITTLE LIARS: ORIGINAL SIN, we find ourselves miles away from Rosewood, but within the existing Pretty Little Liars universe — in a brand-new town, with a new generation of Little Liars.
We Don’t Need a ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Reboot
Pretty Little Liars, which premiered in 2010 on ABC Family (now Freeform), took fans on a rollercoaster ride. The twists and turns were so dramatic and exaggerated, halfway through the show’s 7 season run, many fans began to taper off.
Dedicated fans, however, stuck it out despite the fact that the show was rapidly going off the rails. Why? Because they desperately needed to know the identity of “A,” and later, “AD,” once and for all.
And the glorious day came on June 27, 2017. As we sat huddled up in front of our TV screens, we were filled with a mix of emotions ranging from confused, misled, and finally, relieved.
“Relief” is a strange emotion to feel when a show ends. Most fans tend to feel a sadness wash over them when the curtain falls, but with PLL, the finale was a sign that the madness was officially over.
The journey with the liars is one we’ll never forget, but let’s face it – most fans are not clamoring for more, especially not a mere three years after the finale. Heck, some of us are still trying to piece that ending together in a way that makes any rational sense.
We’re living in a time where reboots are hailed by TV executives as a sound and sure-fire idea. There’s plenty of examples of success: Dynasty, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Charmed, and Roswell, New Mexico. Even revivals that have honed a place in society with shows like The Conners and Fuller House both leading the pack.
But the one thing that these reboots have in common is that the original shows aired a decade or more ago. The key to a successful reboot is nostalgia; they aim to hook the original fans while also appealing to a brand new generation.
Reboots may either reimagine a familiar story with a modern spin and new characters or reunite fans with characters years later a la catching up with friends years after college.
It’s obvious that PLL does not fall into the category of a show that warrants a reboot. Not yet, at least. There’s no sound argument when one could argue that enough time has passed to try to take a stab at this overly complex teen mystery drama once again.
One of my biggest gripes with the PLL reboot, which was officially announced as an HBO Max original, is that it doesn’t center around the original liars.
I’m firm in my belief that had it not been for the popularity, relatability, and dynamic of Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Troian Belissario, Sasha Pieterse and Shay Mitchell, the show wouldn’t have found a cult-like following or lasted as long as it did. The ladies made the show worth watching and managed to sell us on every single outrageous storyline.
Many of us stuck with the series because of our love for the liars. But the reboot, billed as “set miles away from Rosewood” in a new town, with a new set of characters, strips the very identity of PLL.
How can you have a show without any involvement from Aria, Emily, Hannah, Spencer, and Alison? They are the pretty little liars. There is no show without them. No one is interested in watching a new generations of teens get tormented by threatening cyber-stalker who knows too much about their life, which was fun to watch partially because it paralleled the rise of technology and the fears surrounding privacy that came along with the emergence of social media.
Even if the ladies considered (and I use that term loosely — they are over here working on their careers and expanding their families, after all) returning for a reboot, not enough time has passed for a proper reunion.
There’s been talk of a potential movie sequel involving the original liars, and truthfully, that’s an idea fans of the original could get behind. It would be a one-time thing, it wouldn’t overstay its welcome or feel forced, and it would hopefully gives fans the follow-up they’ve been dying for.
Earlier this year, Hale said she wouldn’t “rule anything out” but ultimately, they’d “need a little more time to pass.”
“I feel like we would get more out of it if we were, like, 10 years down the road,” she explained to Entertainment Tonight, adding that she’s protective of the show. Hale worked with Roberto Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa on the short-lived Katy Keene, so I’m truly curious to see what she thinks about this upcoming reboot. Note: none of those involved with the original have weighed in or commented yet.
Honestly, much of the pushback that I’ve seen about this rumored reboot is for that very reason — fans, even the ones who thought the finale came out of left-field and was a total dumpster fire — are also super protective of it. We don’t want anything or anyone to taint the show’s legacy.
We also cannot ignore there’s the fact that PLL’s Marlene King attempted her own reboot of sorts shortly after the series concluded and even centered the storyline around two familiar faces, Alison DiLaurentis (Pieterse) and Mona Vaderwaal (Janel Parish), to drum up support and interest from the core fandom. That didn’t work.
PLL: Perfectionists lasted a whole ten episodes before Freeform pulled the plug leaving any fans that submitted themselves to yet another A-like mystery in the dark. It’s a shame the series wasn’t give a real chance because it had potential if it stayed true to the books and veered away from trying to make it so much like it’s predecessor. In this case, a complete overhaul could’ve worked if done right.
And it’s probably better if I don’t mention Ravesnwood, the second PLL spinoff that centered around Caleb Rivers (Tyler Blackburn), which saw a lot of people seeing dead people in the neighboring town. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the show’s ten-episode run, but it’s yet another example of the franchise trying to reinvent the wheel and failing miserably.
If King couldn’t make these shows work while PLL was at its height, maybe it’s because the audience needed to take a break from the world of A?
Which brings me to my next point… Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa. You may not know the name, but if you love teen dramas, you’re familiar with his work. He’s the brains behind The CW’s successful and oftentimes disturbing teen thriller Riverdale.
One fan on Reddit noted that “PLL walked so Riverdale could run,” and let’s be honest, plenty of fans (and critics) have called the show a hot mess. However, that’s what we’ve come to love about Riverdale; it’s wacky, weird, and only tolerable when you suspend all disbelief.
He’s also proven himself in the reboot-realm with Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. CAOS is an entirely different ballgame; it’s a dark twist on the 90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch that pulls much of its inspiration from the Archie comics. It offers up an entirely new world featuring new takes on some beloved characters. Not to mention Sabrina wrapped its run in 1996 meaning enough time has passed; the world was ready for the Spellman’s once again.
As I mentioned, CAOS is ending with its upcoming season while Aguierre-Sacasa’s other series, Katy Keene, was cancelled after just a season at The CW.
I’m not questioning Aguierre-Sacasa’s qualifications — I’m a fan of his shows — but I don’t think jumping into and revamping a still-fresh franchise is necessary right now.
Apparently, neither does Twitter. One person commented that he should “stick to one show and make that good.” I’d prefer HBO Max gave Katy Keene another try rather than investing into this PLL reboot.
The reboot seems to be hoping to capitalize on the the original fandom (the brief teaser features the same imagery as the original right down to the logo), but the fandom has opposed a reboot from the start. And they’ll be further alienated with the reboot’s description of a “horror-tinged, coming-of-rage” version.
Aguierre-Sacasa’s strength lies within creating shows permeated with twisted mysteries that have a campy, horror vibe, which is tonally different than the psychological mind games we’ve come to expect from PLL.
There’s room for another teen thriller, obviously, but maybe it would be best to leave the franchise alone and call the show, which is shaping up to be its own entity anyway, something else entirely? “Original Sin” minus the “Pretty Little Liars” would have given the series a fresh-slate without any comparisons.
Here’s the show’s description so you can decide for yourself: “Twenty years ago, a series of tragic events almost ripped the blue-collar town of Millwood apart. Now, in the present day, a group of disparate teen girls — a brand-new set of Little Liars — find themselves tormented by an unknown Assailant and made to pay for the secret sin their parents committed two decades ago. as well as their own.”
I’ll watch merely out of curiosity and because I’ve made television my job, but man, I haven’t even had time to miss PLL yet.
If you really need to feel the PLL-void in your life, the best thing to do is just stream the original episodes, because I think we can all agree that some things are better off left alone… at least until enough time has passed to revisit them through a new lens.
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