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'Pretty Little Liars' Season 1 Overview

A Synopsis of Season 1 of 'Pretty Little Liars'


'Pretty Little Liars' Season 1 Overview
Andrew Eccles © 2010 Disney | ABC Television Group

Four high-school girls in an upscale town seem innocent enough, but we soon learn that they each have secrets.

The Messages

A year after Alison DiLaurentis went missing, her friends begin receiving terrifying messages that include information only Ali knew. But even after Alison’s body is found, the messages continue.

Alison was the “it girl” of Rosewood High School. She took in the eccentric Aria Montgomery; the good girl, Emily Fields; the fat girl, Hanna Marin; and the overachiever, Spencer Hastings. Because of Ali, these misfits found popularity and friendship. However, the four quickly grew apart when Ali disappeared during one of their sleepovers.

The girls awkwardly reconnect when they discover that each of them is getting mysterious notes, emails, and texts from someone who signs the messages with a simple “A.” When they don’t follow A’s instructions, some of their secrets are revealed to each other and the community.

The Secrets

Only Ali knew that Aria’s dad was having an affair with one of his students, and now A knows that Aria is having an affair with her teacher. Aria eventually tells the other girls about the affair, but continues to worry the secret will get out to her parents and the school board. A outed Aria's father by sending Ella a letter that told of his affair, and that Aria knew about it.

Only Ali knew that Emily was in love with her, and now A knows that Emily continues to struggle with her sexuality. A outs Emily with pictures of Emily and Maya kissing in a photo booth. Once Emily is out, she starts to feel better about herself, though her mother has a hard time dealing with the fact that Emily is gay.

Only Ali knew that Hanna was bulimic, and now A is threatening to out Hanna’s insecurities. Hanna's mother steals money from the bank where she works with the intention of paying it back as soon as she can. A takes the money from its hiding place in the house and blackmails Hanna into eating cupcakes and hurting people in order to get the money back.

Only Ali knew that Spencer kissed her sister’s boyfriend, and now A knows that not only did Spencer steal another of Melissa’s boyfriends, but she also stole Melissa’s school paper. Spencer tells the other girls about Wren and Ian. Spencer does not trust Ian and soon begins to suspect that he might have killed Ali and might even be A.

The Jenna Thing

Then there’s “The Jenna Thing.” Ali claimed to see the neighbor, Toby Cavenaugh, looking at them through the window. Ali was outraged and the girls watched as she used fireworks to play a prank on Toby. The prank backfired, leaving Toby’s stepsister, Jenna, blind. Ali made the girls promise never to tell anyone what really happened. Jenna and Toby left Rosewood High School, but now they are back.

First Emily and then Spencer became close to Toby. They figure out that Toby took the blame for The Jenna Thing because Ali knew that he'd had a physical relationship with Jenna. Upon investigating further, they find out that Jenna still wants the relationship and that Toby is afraid of her. Toby and Spencer suspect that Jenna is working with Ian. What they don't know is that she is in a relationship with Officer Garrett Reynolds.

The Parents
Emily's parents are Pam and Colonel Wayne Fields. They are a strict military family and Emily knows they are going to have a hard time with her sexual orientation. Wayne was stationed in Afghanistan but is home on leave. Surprisingly, Wayne seems to accept it. Pam, however, thinks it's wrong and wants to "fix" Emily. She comes around to supporting her daughter when she finds out another parent is bullying her.

Aria's parents are Ella and Byron Montgomery. He is a college professor and she is an artist turned high school English teacher. They want Aria and her brother Mike to call them by their first names. They are a happy couple until A informs Ella that Byron had an affair earlier with one of his students. Ella moves out of the house, but one thing leads to another until she and Byron are having a secret affair.

Spencer's parents are Peter and Veronica Hastings. They are high society and care very much about what other people think. Peter is all about winning. Veronica reveals to Spencer that she'd had breast cancer.

Hanna's parents, Ashley and Tom Marin, are divorced. She lives with Ashley, who struggles with money problems since her husband left. She even takes some money from the bank where she works, intending to pay all of it back. She doesn't want Hanna to get in trouble and even goes so far as to sleep with a cop to get Hanna's shoplifting charges dropped. Tom has a new girlfriend, whom he wants to marry. She has a perfect daughter who is the same age as Hanna, and Hanna feels very threatened by her.  

Next > The Friends l Who Killed Ali? l Who is A? l Ian Thomas


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