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The 10 best characters from ‘Pretty Little Liars’ ranked

Pretty Little Liars aired on freeform for 7 years from 2010-2017, based on the series of books by Sara Shepard. This memorable drama-mystery show was loved by fans during its climatic 7 year run for its secrets, lies, and plot twists, and still is. The show follows a story of a girl named Alison Dilaurentis, who went missing on September 1st, 2009. One year later, Spencer Hastings, Aria Montgomery, Hanna Marin, and Emily Fields; Alison’s best friends, begin receiving anonymous texts from ‘A’, who begins stalking them nonstop. The girls have to uncover the mystery behind Alison’s murder and stop this ‘A’ person to stop all of their secrets from getting exposed.

The characters go through lots of grief, self-discovery, and personal growth and are different people by the end of the show. Some of this growth turned them into really likable characters, and others into really dislikable characters. By the end of this article, we’ll understand which characters made the biggest impact on the show, and who is the ‘best’ character.


#10 Noel Kahn

Noel Kahn is your stereotypical high school bad boy. Tall, strong, handsome, popular, a jerk. He’s used to getting his way, as his father is an attorney, and spoils him and his older brother. In season 1 he is quickly seen as a villain, putting Mr Fiz’s job in jeopardy (Dated a student), he also has a few ties with Alison’s disappearance. Although he wasn’t directly involved, he is seen consistently helping the main villains in the show, putting Alison and her friends in danger. Most of the audience, including me, doesn’t like Noel Kahn because he’s a terrible person, but he plays his role well. He’s so careless about being disliked, most characters in the show began to immediately explain themselves and show at least a little bit of remorse when they get caught doing something, but Noel Kahn almost never did that. It’s like he was so sure that nothing bad was ever going to happen to him, so he didn’t care about getting caught, which is such an egoistic but accurate trait for a villain/antagonist.


#9 Dr Sullivan

Dr Sullivan is the therapist of main characters Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, Aria Montgomery, and Emily Fields. The girls’ parents wanted to send them to therapy after they accused Ian Thomas of murdering Alison Dilaurentis; they believed the girls were just just traumatized, and needed to talk to someone. Dr Sullivan was an amazing character despite being very temporary in the show. She was incredibly smart, helpful, and welcoming. After the girls opened up about being stalked and harassed by an anonymous ‘A’, She was able to help the girls possibly find ‘A’ because she knew who it was. Shortly after this realization, Dr Sullivan was kidnapped by ‘A’, and the girls made it their mission to rescue her, making the girls look very determined, sympathetic, and bringing them closer together.


#8 Melissa Hastings

Hostile, Bold, and Opinionated, Melissa Hastings is one of the best antagonists in the show. Melissa is first introduced as this perfect, stylish, confident woman. She is the older sister of Spencer Hastings, a main character who doesn’t get along with her sister, and vice versa. Melissa isn’t a hardcore villain, but she was seen being very suspicious and shady throughout the show, we later find out that she accidentally killed someone, dressed as the black swan at a costume party, attempted to kill Aria, and a lot more, but she still manages to keep up this innocent girl act that makes you continue to like her. She always keeps you guessing, always makes you wonder what she’s up to. She has this ‘stay out of my business’ vibe to her; similar to Jenna Marshalls (we’ll get to her later).


#7 Hanna Marin

Hanna Marin is a very outspoken, compassionate, and loyal person. She’s one of the four members of the liars. Before Alison’s disappearance, Hanna was shy, insecure, overweight, and depressed. Mona Vanderwaal, one of her close friends, took her under a wing after Alison’s disappearance, and she became her own person; popular, skinny, fashion obsessed since she no longer was under the influence of Alison. Hanna wasn’t afraid to break the law, lie, and sacrifice to protect the people she cared about. Hanna did a lot of illegal things (and got away with almost all of them), like pushing a cop car into a lake, destroying camera footage so her friends didn’t get questioned by the police, hacking into her boyfriends computer and deleting planted evidence that he would’ve went to jail for, destroying credit card evidence, etc. I deeply admired her loyalty to her friends/mother. She was truly willing to do anything to save them. Her impulsiveness made her an iconic character, and one of my favorites.


#6 Toby Cavanaugh

Toby Cavanaugh is first portrayed as a bad guy, an outcast/weirdo, even a ‘murderer’ that everyone hates, but quickly is turned out to be misunderstood. Toby is one of the best people to have on your side because he’s loyal, intimidating, a great communicator. He was so helpful throughout the show and saved the main characters from being put in danger. Toby also became a police officer in season 5 and provided useful information regarding Alison’s disappearance and used his ‘police privileges’ to protect his girlfriend Spencer Hastings, and her friends. I love this character because of the growth he went through and how strong he remained after years of bullying, being misunderstood, family troubles, being accused of murder. I love when a character grows into a completely different person than who they were in the first episode, which is the main reason Toby Cavanaugh is one of my favorite characters.


#5 Caleb Rivers

A mysterious, struggling foster kid who can hack phones, computers, and systems, Caleb Rivers had the absolute best character improvement/growth in the cast. He was first seen as shady and obscure, just a guy who charges cash in exchange for hacking into phones and computers, and became a really important character after meeting Hanna, dating her, and joining the friend group. Caleb is one of the best characters because he, for one, played the ‘mysterious’ guy so well. He turned out to be as interesting as he first seemed; intelligent, loyal, helpful, always had a solution to problems. I really love this character because I expected him to be a boring, temporary filler character, and he turned out to be the most unique, different character. 


#4 Alison Dilaurentis 

The most important character in the show, and the most evil. Alison Dilaurentis is a true mean girl. Everything and everyone in Pretty Little Liars is connected to her, which makes her disappearance so fascinating. The entirety of her flashback appearances consists of her saying vile things to and about people, bullying people in and out of school, her friends being scared of her and listening to her every word, keeping everyone guessing, and always getting her way. Once you learn what kind of person Alison was, it starts to make sense that she had people that wanted to see her disappear. She’s the glue of the series, the root cause of almost every character’s problems. Alison’s confidence and fierceness is probably the best thing about her. Her ability to make everyone pay attention to her like nothing else existed, making someone feel important just because she decided to acknowledge you, is what made me like her.


#3 Spencer Hastings

The perfectionist of the group. The girl with the most goals, the most achievements, the smart straight A student, the rich girl. Even though there are 5 main characters, Spencer Hastings is the one with the most exposure since Alison is now gone. I love Spencer because she ALWAYS has a plan and never lets things go unfinished. She’s not afraid to speak her opinion and confront someone if she doesn’t like a decision they made. When the group was working together to uncover Alison’s disappearance, Spencer had the most (and best) ideas. She dedicated hours of her time to the mystery of Alison Dilaurentis, making her arguably the most important out of the 4 liars. 


#2 Mona Vanderwaal

Another really smart character that plays an important role is Mona Vanderwaal, my second favorite character. Mona started out as a ‘loser’ with no friends, being bullied by Alison repeatedly. She’s VERY smart and excels in every school subject. She knows everyone’s secrets, a solution to EVERY problem, and can plan out anything perfectly. She’s also the most reliable person in the series, she got the liars out of lots of tough situations and was always available to them despite the fact that they didn’t really like her. I love Mona because she’s so compelling and fun to watch. It actually amazes me how good she is at manipulating people. So many people hate her but she doesn’t care. Like it or not she’s simply smarter than everyone else, and can (and has) bounce back from absolutely anything.


#1 Jenna Marshalls

Jenna Marshalls is an icon in my eyes. She has a very dark and intimidating presence, despite being blind. She lost her sight after a prank involving Alison, Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily went wrong. The firework went off, blinding her. What I love so much about Jenna is her ability to make everyone stop and pay attention, as well as her ability to get away with anything. She just has it. She’s also really smart and uses her mind as a weapon. Being in a school for the visually impaired for only over a year, and re-learning how to do everything in such a short amount of time is something not everyone can do. But Jenna has a sharp mind. She had priorities (like wreaking havoc against the liars and aiding bad people), and needed to get back to them as quickly as possible. Jenna intimidates everyone she comes into contact with. Almost every time she walked into a room, the liars looked up and immediately looked uncomfortable. 

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