pretty Little Liars aired on Freeform from 2010 to 2017 and ran for seven seasons and a total of 160 episodes. Based on a series of young adult novels by Sara Shepard, this mystery-drama-style series follows a group of four friends who are known liars. The TV version largely retains the same premise and characters, with Spencer, Hanna, Aria, and Emily struggling with the disappearance of their group’s leader, Alison. The teens also receive strange messages from an anonymous person named “A” who is blackmailing them and threatening to reveal their deepest secrets.
The series was a huge hit, becoming one of the most watched shows on the network during its run and inspiring four different spin-offs. Several characters took over or assisted in A’s role over the seven seasons, creating a twisted game of cat and mouse for their friends and those closest to them.
There have been four active As’s throughout the series: OG A, Big A, AD (aka Uber A), and Millwood A by Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. In addition to these primary A characters, there is also the A team that works for the A leader to blackmail the group.
Here’s every character that played A pretty Little LiarsRank.
9 Alex Drake (AD)
A shocking and unusual character revealed as A is Alex Drake, “AD”, played by Troian Bellisario. Alex is the final A-revelation of the series, but ultimately drew a lot of criticism from viewers for the confusing choice and even more confusing motives. Alex Drake is Spencer’s surprising identical twin who has lived most of her life in England. This character is not only closely related to Spencer, but also to the DiLaurentis family, adding complexity to an already complex storyline.
Despite the backlash, “Alex Drake” is a unique ending to the long-running show. Jealousy and revenge are classic fuels for evil, and Alex is filled with both of those emotions. She feels she must avenge her sister Charlotte’s murder, while also feeling bitter about the life Spencer grew up in. Alex is one of the weakest ones, but still helps close the story.
8th Shana Fring
Another supporting character working for and impersonating A is Shana Fring. Shana grew up living in the neighborhood of Alison’s grandparents, which formed a childhood friendship between the two. When Alison asks her to go to Rosewood to investigate her attempted murder, things spiral out of control for Shana.
She ends up falling in love with Jenna and wants revenge on the friends group for the fireworks incident that blinded her. This causes Shana to start stalking the girls during her trip to New York City, where she eventually shoots Ezra. Her reign is short-lived as she is eventually killed in the theater by Aria.
Shana is another revelation that seems a bit confusing as she appears to have several unrelated reasons for her plan. It seems like this character quickly went from being a small piece of the puzzle to being a villain, which feels like a substitute for a lazy writing effort.
7 Noel Kahn
Noel Kahn is a character who appears in almost every season of pretty Little Liars, but his affiliation with A was a long time coming. He’s always been a nervous, elusive character who seems to waver between siding with the liar and siding with his enemies.
In some seasons the girls suspect him of being A while in others he has a relationship with Aria and Mona. However, his true intentions are revealed when it is revealed that Noel has been working with Charlotte to spy on Alison and keep the girls captive in the dollhouse.
The decision to add Noel to the senior team is a predictable decision given his development over the season, but the lack of a motive makes it difficult to come full circle. Why did Noel decide to help Charlotte? What did the liars do to him that would make him seek revenge?
6 Spencer Hastings
One of the more logical and understandable characters to join Charlotte’s A-Team is Spencer Hastings. As one of the biggest liars who has seen the wrath of A, it is surprising that she turns to her.
However, she had her reasons for working with the A-Team because she was desperate to find out if Toby was really dead. Spencer also wanted to spy on the group and find out if Mona or Alison were working as A. She was struggling with the grief of losing Toby, so it’s understandable why she decided to temporarily switch sides to get more information.
Spencer develops into one of the strongest characters over the course of the series, so it’s no surprise that Mona feels comfortable enough to put her on the senior team. Her time on the dark side was short-lived and she was thrown out when they found out she was a spy.
5 Sarah Harvey
Another character who appears to be coming out of left field is Sara Harvey, who appears to be working as The Black Widow and Red Coat on Charlotte’s A-Team. She has no real connection to any of the Liars other than looking like Alison and the two disappear around the same time.
Sara was actually kidnapped by Charlotte and kept in the dollhouse. Her trauma eventually led her to submit to A and form a partnership. She has a dark side but is not only evil as she has had an extremely hard life
Even knowing this, it’s hard to understand why she was willing to outsmart the liars and work against them when she actually has no connection to them at all. Maybe she had to stay on Charlotte’s side because she had nowhere else to go, but overall her plot seems muddled.
4 Aria Montgomery
Another liar who turned to the dark side is Aria Montgomery, played by Lucy Hale. It’s surprising that, like Spencer, she turned on her friends over Ezra, but she felt the need to protect him and his reputation. ADVERTISEMENT
(Alex Drake) is the A who blackmails Aria and Ezra in season 7, but what makes this situation different from Spencer’s is that Aria hasn’t been upfront with the other liars about what she was doing. She was heavily criticized by her friends for her decision, even though she saved her then-fiancé from prison.
It’s interesting to see how one of the series’ protagonists turns around and starts experimenting with the dark side. This is especially true for Aria, who had become a fan-favorite character last season. The revelation that Aria is working with A is as surprising as seeing how much she’s changed as a person throughout the show.
3 Charlotte DiLaurentis
Charlotte DiLaurentis, also known as CeCe Drake, was a strong A-player who played against the Liars for three seasons. Charlotte’s past is complex as she is Alison’s biological cousin, although she was initially believed to be her siblings. Charlotte was classified as male at birth, but converted to female during childhood, much to the disappointment of her father, Kenneth. She was sent away to live in the sanitarium so Alison and her brother had no memory of their adoptive sister/cousin.
Essentially, Charlotte tormented and abused the Liars because she felt like they were glad Alison was gone. This motive appears to be a cover for her troubles and the crimes she attempted to commit, including attempted murder and kidnapping.
She was one of the A-characters who tried to push the game too far, specifically by locking people in the dollhouse. Overall, Charlotte is a character who seems to have psychopathic tendencies and an obsession with Alison that causes her to be a nuisance to almost everyone around her.
2 Toby Cavanaugh
The revelation that Toby was working with A was one of the more intense and unexpected revelations of the series. Toby joined the A-Team in Season 3, claiming he did it to protect his girlfriend Spencer. This betrayal was too much for her and was one of the main reasons why she decided to join the A-Team as well.
While Toby tries to make it seem like he has only good intentions, there are so many questions about his motives. What was he trying to protect Spencer from? How would joining them give him more information about his mother?
The interesting thing about Toby’s time on the A-Team is that he didn’t accomplish much other than drive Spencer insane. He didn’t learn who was behind the Red Cloak, nor what he felt he needed to protect her from. It seems like a nice thing for him, but in the end it does more harm than good.
1 Original A: Mona Vanderwaal
The best A on pretty Little Liars is certainly the original Mona Vanderwaal. Mona is the first A to be revealed in Season 2. She claims that Alison’s relentless bullying and fear of losing her best friend Hanna pushed her to work as A. Her insecurities and obsession with Hanna essentially led her to insanity and eventual involvement at Radley Sanitarium. Mona is extremely smart and funny, but all of her inner issues lead to her downfall as A.
What makes Mona the strongest A is that her story comes full circle. She starts out as an antagonist, stalking Alison before she disappears and blackmailing the liars, but eventually ends up on the other side. It was learned in later seasons that Mona’s death was faked and she was being held in A’s dollhouse. She is unpredictable and sometimes evil, but develops into a valued character over time.