Pretty Little Liars: Every ‘A’ Ranked

From Uber A to the original and all the lackeys in between, here's every 'A' from Pretty Little Liars.

Pretty Little Liars Reboot
Photo: Warner Bros. TV

This article contains spoilers for the TV series Pretty Little Liars.

Several characters took on the villainous mantle of ‘A’ across Pretty Little Liars’ seven seasons. Some were the true masterminds behind the plans for the Liars’ downfall, while others served as minions on the ‘A’ Team, there to do ‘A’s’ bidding and keep tabs on what the Liars were up to. Not every ‘A’ or member of the ‘A’ Team is equal though, with some being significantly more terrifying than others.

Here’s every person who was officially part of the ‘A’ conspiracy ranked by general scariness as blackmailers, stalkers, and criminal masterminds and by how satisfying their reveal was in the series.

13. Lucas Gottesman, Melissa Hastings

Lucas (Brendan Robinson) and Melissa (Torrey DeVitto) are tied for last place because both really only joined the ‘A’ team because they were being blackmailed themselves. Lucas does work with Mona to try and stop Allison’s return later in the series, but he doesn’t ever really do anything to physically harm the Liars like others on this list have.

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Melissa may have been antagonistic toward Spencer (Troian Bellisario) on numerous occasions, and had every motivation to join the ‘A’ team for real, but even though she doesn’t always get along with her sister, joining the ‘A’ team actually proves that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Like Lucas, Melissa never really does anything that puts the Liars in danger, she mostly dresses up in costumes to get them off ‘A’s’ trail.

12. Spencer Hastings, Aria Montgomery

Spencer and Aria (Lucy Hale) have both been members of the ‘A’ team at different times, with Spencer working during Charlotte’s turn and Aria during A.D.’s, but both did so under duress and to find out more information about their adversaries. Spencer was trying to find Toby (Keegan Allen) and learn the identity of Red Coat while Aria was trying to keep a file about her and Ezra’s (Ian Harding) relationship from going public. Yes, Aria does destroy Emily’s nursery and hide a body, but neither of them are particularly believable as criminal masterminds. They wouldn’t betray the other Liars for real so easily.

11. Toby Cavanaugh

Toby is a bit more believable as a member of the ‘A’ team, given his past with Alison (Sasha Pieterse). He took the fall for the accident that blinded Jenna and became a pariah in their small town because of it. But by this point, he and Spencer have already begun to develop feelings for each other, and it’s hard to believe that he would give that up for revenge on someone that, at the time, almost everyone believes is dead. His motivation to join the team in the first place is to keep Spencer safe and uncover information, and it’s hard to blame him for doing the exact same thing she is.

10. Sydney Driscoll

Sydney Driscoll (Chloe Bridgers) was never much more than a pawn in A.D./Uber A’s game, and didn’t really do much to harm the Liars either. Sure she admits to being the one who shot Spencer, but A.D. later reveals that Sydney was lying in an effort to convince Aria (Lucy Hale) to join the team and was a “one off” who happened to fit the signature ‘A’ hoodie. Her relationship with Jenna (Tammin Sursok) makes her a bit of a wild card, but nothing more than the Liars can handle.

9. Darren Wilden

Sure, Darren Wilden (Bryce Johnson) was also blackmailed into joining the ‘A’ Team, but he is also a grown-ass man getting caught up in the drama of teenage girls. He is the epitome of a dirty cop, and honestly deserved his fate. His position on the police force makes him more dangerous than the previous entries on this list, because he proved that the Liars couldn’t trust law enforcement to take their side and had to handle all of the threats, stalking, blackmail, psychological torture, etc. themselves. He also slept with Allison the summer she went missing when she was only 14 or 15, adding to Wilden’s creep-factor.

8. Wren Kingston

Don’t let his charming accent fool you. Wren (Julian Morris) is just as much of a creep as Wilden, if not worse. He not only kissed Spencer, the sister of the woman he was actually dating, while she was still in high school, but also later fell in love with her secret twin that was conspiring against her. He willingly donated his sperm in a plot to impregnate Alison after her return. He shot Alex at her behest so that she would have the same scar as Spencer. He’s not higher on the list, because he did try to talk Alex out of her maniacal plot to take over Spencer’s life. He tried to convince her that she didn’t need revenge, because they had each other. But he was too blinded by love to see that he wasn’t much more to her than a tool for revenge, and ended up paying the ultimate price.

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7. Mary Drake

It’s really not a surprise that the troubled twin sister of Jessica DiLaurentis, Mary Drake (Andrea Parker), would have a stake in the ‘A’ game. As the biological mother of Charlotte, Spencer, and Alex and aunt to Alison, of course she would want to find her way back into their lives. Of course you’d think there would be easier ways to do that than helping two of your daughters with their elaborate plot to torture and manipulate you other daughter and her friends, but this is Pretty Little Liars after all. She helps Alex kidnap Spencer and hold her captive, proving once again how dangerous it is for mothers to play favorites.

6. Alex Drake

You’d think that one of the three big ‘A’s’ in the series would be higher on the list, especially the final “Uber A,” as she was sometimes called. But after waiting seven seasons to find out who the ultimate mastermind of mastermind’s was, discovering that A.D. was Spencer’s secret evil twin was a bit much, even by Pretty Little Liars’ standards. The series had already done the evil twin thing with Mary Drake, Jessica DiLaurentis’ troubled sister, so to do this again felt repetitive and unsatisfying as the series was coming to a close.

5. Noel Kahn

Noel Kahn (Brant Dougherty) was always a bit of a jerk, but rarely did he seem to be much more than your typical privileged jock. But not only was he a part of the ‘A’ Team, he also took part in torturing the Liars while they were held captive in Charlotte’s “Dollhouse.” His part in Charlotte’s plan was one of the series’ best reveals, and even had the Liars thinking that he took over and became Uber A after her death. It turns out that the journey from privileged jock to murderous creep is more of a slippery slope than one might expect.

4. Jenna Marshall

While never fully taking on the mantle of ‘A’ herself, Jenna has always had it out for the Liars. Which makes sense considering that they blinded her attempting to pull a prank before Alison’s disappearance. Her involvement with various ‘A’ teams isn’t a surprise to the audience or the Liars, but she remains one of their best foils. Jenna joined Charlotte’s team because she promised to fund a surgery that would help her regain her sight, but I’m sure it didn’t take too much convincing for her to help work toward the Liars’ downfall.

3. Sara Harvey

Like Alison, Sara Harvey (Dre Davis) went missing and wound up in the clutches of ‘A.’ After spending two years locked up in her “Dollhouse,” she gained the sympathy, support, and even affections of some of the Liars, and became a trusted ally as they worked to uncover the identity of the person who held them all captive. But unbeknownst to them all, Sara was secretly working with Charlotte the whole time, claiming that Charlotte saved her. Even though she does try to warn the Liars about the bomb that Charlotte planted in Radley, it doesn’t excuse her actions. As Charlotte’s right hand, Sara Harvey is one of the Liars’ most formidable adversaries. If there was a gold medal for manipulation, Sara would win, hands down.

2. Cece Drake a.k.a Charlotte DiLaurentis

The Cece Drake/Charlotte DiLaurentis (Vanessa Ray) reveal remains one of the series’ best, but also the series’ most problematic. Charlotte kidnapped the Liars, tortured them in her “Dollhouse,” and tried to kill herself and Alison by blowing up the Radley out of some misguided attempt to reconnect with her sister (who is actually her cousin). But it’s not necessarily her deeds that make her a problematic villain, it’s the fact that her backstory falls into the villainous queer trope. Charlotte didn’t have to be trans to make her story more compelling or shocking. There’s of course nothing wrong with her being trans, but the fact that the show uses that as part of her villainous motivation is. It plays into the (very wrong) idea that queer and trans people are inherently unstable and dangerous, and honestly undercuts how badass and terrifying she is as a villain on her own.

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1. Mona Vanderwaal

It’s hard to beat the original ‘A’ Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish). Aside from blackmailing Lucas and Melissa into doing some of her bidding, she did most of the psychological torture, stalking, manipulation, etc. of the Liars all on her own. She didn’t need an entire legion of lackeys to make them suffer, all she needed was a burner phone and a dream. Because Mona was the first ‘A,’ it’s also almost impossible to fully trust her again. Even after she goes to Radley (pre-hotel transformation) and acts like she’s healed, it’s hard to tell if she wants to help the Liars to make amends or for her own ulterior motives. Mona was the first person to try and break the Liars out of revenge for how they treated her in the past, and for that, she’ll always be the best.