Ranking All The A-Team Members From Pretty Little Liars

Imagine it's 2010, and you're scrolling through channels and land on ABC Family. There, you watch a show that'll change your life forever. That's right, you just stumbled upon one of the most popular teen dramas, "Pretty Little Liars."

A group of girls grapples with the disappearance of their friend Alison (played by Sasha Pieterse), and soon begin receiving anonymous texts from someone only known as "A". Of course, they think these texts are from Alison — you know, because of the A. That and the fact that the texts include secrets only Alison knew.

This "A" would go on to be an absolute menace who was hell-bent on torturing them for seven seasons. "A" didn't work alone, though — they had help from the aptly named A-Team. There were quite a few A-Team members, so we think it's time to rank them and what they brought to the team. 

Obviously, there will be spoilers, so if you haven't watched it, you've been warned. 

Alex Drake

If you've seen the show, it should come as no surprise that Alex Drake is at the bottom of our list. Yes, it was a shocking reveal, but that's only because no one knew this character existed.

So who exactly is Alex Drake? She's Spencer's evil British twin. We'll give you a second to process that. An evil British twin is the last person you'd expect to be "Uber A", especially since it sounds absolutely insane.

Her sole reason for torturing the Liars was to avenge the death of her half-sister Charlotte (via MTV), who we'll talk about later. In a way, it's sort of a reasonable motive, but the character just came out of nowhere. At times, Alex would pretend to Spencer, but somehow no one noticed. Jenna Marshall, who's blind, was the first person to figure out that something was off about Spencer; the second was a horse.

The Alex Drake reveal brought a level of disappointment similar to the final season of "Game of Thrones." One fan tweeted, "Pretty Little Liars was literally the biggest waste of seven years of my life ... I'm so upset."

Sara Harvey

Next up is Sara Harvey. Sara disappeared the same night Alison did and was held hostage by "A" for five years in the Dollhouse. (If you've never seen the show, please watch the Dollhouse episodes, because they're a straight-up masterpiece.)

Seeing that she was with "A" for so long, Sara got Stockholm Syndrome and began working with them to torture the Liars. She was revealed to be "Red Coat" and the "Black Widow," but she has nothing on Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow. Honestly, Sara is a disgrace to the name Black Widow.

The show would be better off without her, and we wish the writers would've seen that as well. Instead, we had to suffer through her endless showers, bizarre alliances, and a death scene that no one grieved over (via Vulture). We think it's safe to say she's one of the most hated characters on the show.

Sydney Driscoll

Sydney Driscoll was introduced in Season 5 as the newest member of the Rosewood High swim team — and that's really all we know about her. She made her debut in Season 5 and just disappeared until making a random reappearance in Season 7. Our biggest gripe with Sydney is how many loose ends there are with her character. Her relationship with Jenna? Barely explained. Her ties to Mona? Forgotten by the writers. Why did she come back out of the blue for Season 7? No one really knows. 

Seeing that there's so much we never get to learn about her, it's unclear why her character even exists (via Screen Rant). Don't get it twisted, even if we knew more about Sydney, we still wouldn't want her. One fan summed it up perfectly, "She reminds me of that girl in 'Mean Girls' where Damien said, 'She doesn't even go here,'" (via Reddit).

Shana Fring

Where do we even start with Shana Fring? She claimed that she and Alison were childhood friends since they were 3 years old, so she agreed to go to Rosewood and spy on Jenna and the Liars. Then she double-crossed Ali because she met Jenna and fell in love with her, but Mona would reveal in the Season 4 premiere that Shana and Jenna knew one another prior to her moving there — so if someone would care to explain, we'd appreciate it (via Reddit). Mona also says that Shana and Jenna were scared of Melissa, but it's never explained why.

Did we mention she straight-up shot Ezra and then pointed her gun at the Liars? Where'd this gun come from? YouTuber Mike's Mic made a valid point in Part 2 of his 'Pretty Little Liars' deep dive when he asked, "Shana, girl, don't you have school?" He's not wrong — in case you forgot, these girls are all in high school and are somewhere between 16 and 17 years old, so this is just a lot.

Noel Kahn

Noel Kahn is just (insert audible sigh here) something else. While his presence in Seasons 1 and 2 of Pretty Little Liars is believable, he's mad at Aria for ditching him to be with her English teacher Ezra Fitz, a relationship we won't even touch on. After that, his character is evil just to be evil, and it never felt like he had a clear motive other than being the worst. 

In Part 3 of his recap series, Mike's Mic says, "I'm convinced that Noel's character had no reason to stay in the beyond Season 1, but they wrote him into the plot lines to keep the actor on the show because the actor's hot" — and we couldn't agree more.

It's also later revealed that he helped Charlotte torture the Liars during their all-expenses-paid trip to Charlotte's demented underground dollhouse (via Refinery29). Like, Noel, don't you have anything better to do? Also, where does he find the time? After all, he's still in high school.

Darren Wilden

Speaking of awful Rosewood men, Detective Darren Wilden was also a part of the A-Team at some point. This is the one that really irks us. You're a grown man, why are you tormenting high schoolers? Not only that, but he's a part of the Rosewood Police Department and spends a great deal of his time harassing the Liars instead of trying to solve literally any case ever (via Screen Rant).

Wilden working with the A-Team is on brand, seeing that he's a rotten piece of scum. If you don't know, Wilden had a creepy and very illegal relationship with Alison. He was also sleeping with Hanna's mom Ashley because she didn't want him to prosecute Hanna for theft (via Teen Vogue).

It was confirmed that Wilden was on the Halloween train, and took part in putting Aria in a crate and then tried to throw said crate off the train. Other than that horrific crime, it doesn't look like Wilden took part in any other plans cooked up by "A."

Lucas Gottesman

Lucas was a part of the OG A-Team led by living legend Mona Vanderwaal, but only because Mona was blackmailing him (via Latin Times). It's implied that Lucas was the one who drugged Emily on the night that Alison's grave was dug up after Aria found the pills that were slipped into Emily's flask in his camera bag (via Hollywood Life). In the Season 4 premiere, Mona confirms that Lucas was the one to give Emily the creepy "A" massage.

His time on the A-Team, along with Mona coming back to school, led Lucas to be homeschooled. This is probably why he dropped off the face of the Earth plot-wise, though he would make a brief cameo in Seasons 6-7.

Lucas' involvement with "A" and the Liars was short-lived, and in comparison to things other A-Team members would do to the girls, Lucas is harmless. That doesn't mean we're excusing the things he did, because they were awful and he should definitely be in jail — but when you look at the big picture, he didn't leave a mark.

Melissa Hastings

Spencer's big sis Melissa was one of the biggest suspects when the Liars were trying to figure out who "A" was. This might have something to do with Melissa's boyfriend Ian having yet another illegal relationship with Alison. That being said, you can imagine that she would have beef with Alison — and she did.

However, Melissa wasn't "A.D." She would've been a better reveal, but the writers chose violence and decided that an evil British twin made the most sense — and we can't forgive them for that. That doesn't mean Melissa was entirely innocent — she was also blackmailed into being on the A-Team (via Bustle).

Here's some context: Melissa was pregnant and then miscarried, but she still pretended to be pregnant and then had a fake miscarriage. Naturally, "A" (aka Mona) found out and sent Melissa the infamous Black Swan dress, telling her to wear it or else everyone would find out about the baby (via HuffPost).

Charlotte Dilaurentis

Charlotte Dilaurentis was the second major "A" reveal, and it was slightly problematic. We're first introduced to her as CeCe Drake, before finding out that she's actually Alison's sister Charlotte, who was born as a male named Charles. This raised a lot of upset from fans because the show's first transgender character was handled so poorly. One fan tweeted, "#PrettyLittleLiars why did you make a trans woman the villain and display her transition in a negative way? UGHHHHHHHH."

In another tweet, a fan wrote to PLL Director Norman Buckley, "@norbuck No conversation about trans identity — just using that identity as a reason for a psychosis. That's [why] it's damaging & offensive," to which Buckley responded, "@rhanley83 for me good drama is not a polemic. It's a singular story. that's all. themes are inferred."

Buckley stood by the writer's choice to make Charlotte "A," even though he knew there were several plot points that wouldn't add up to that outcome. On the "Pretty Little Liars" Reddit page, a fan said, "Charlotte's story was riddled with plot holes ... If it was always the plan to have Charlotte be A, why didn't they lock down the story elements so that it made sense ahead of time?"

Aria Montgomery

If you're a hardcore PLL fan, it's likely that you've come across the 'Aria is A' theory. Aria being "A" would make a lot of sense, as out of all the Liars, she didn't face the full wrath of "A." Not to mention she's the one who does the "shh" in the opening credits, and when she was talking to Adam Lambert on the Halloween train, she wrote her name on the window with a big A (via Latin Times).

Fans weren't the only ones who thought Aria would be "A" — Lucy Hale always expected it would be her character. "Honestly, I thought it was Aria. I thought for the whole eight seasons that they were eventually going to make Aria 'A'. There were so many things that, like, led up to it. She was always missing in action. I was wrong," she said (via BuzzFeed).

Though she wasn't "A," Aria did have a brief stint on the A-Team in Season 7. "A.D." had a file on Aria that she didn't want to get out, so she met up with irrelevant Sydney and dawned the black hoodie. Aria would have made a great villain — talk about wasted potential.

Jenna Marshall

When Mike's Mic referred to Jenna Marshall in his recap as a "Thanos level threat," he might've been onto something.

Jenna Marshall is a character you'd expect to be on the A-Team from the jump, but she doesn't officially join until Season 7. The thing is, Jenna was awful to the Liars in all seven seasons. We understand where Jenna's coming from, seeing that Alison and the Liars blinded her making anti-Ali and anti-Liars (via Popsugar).

How did "A.D." get Jenna to join the A-Team? Turns out Alex promised to pay for surgery for Jenna to regain her sight, but being blinded by the girls should've been enough. Jenna's had a surgery like this before that was successful for a while, but she eventually lost her sight again.

Actress Tammin Sursok wanted her character to be "A," seeing that she's the No. 1 Alison hater. "I would love to be 'A.' That would be such a fun experience for me to have done the show for seven years and to finish being 'A,'" said Sursok (via Seventeen).

Toby Cavanaugh

Now, this was an amazing A-Team reveal. In Season 3, Toby Cavanaugh reveals to Spencer that he's joined the A-Team. Jaws dropped everywhere, but executive producer Oliver Goldstick said it shouldn't be a big surprise. "Toby's had an ax to grind since Season 1 ... he still had a lot of anger toward the girls. His darkness isn't coming out of nowhere," he noted (via Popsugar).

That anger stems from Alison forcing Toby to take the fall for the "Jenna thing," or else she'd tell everyone about his inappropriate relationship with his stepsister (aka Jenna). We later find out it was Jenna who was forcing him to be with her, but Alison didn't care so long as she had something to hold over him. (Have we mentioned that Season 1 Ali is a horrible human being?)

We eventually find out that Toby only joined the A-Team to keep Spencer safe (via Refinery29). Even though he had good intentions, Toby still deeply hurt Spencer while he was on the A-Team; she was absolutely distraught during that time.

Spencer Hastings

Speaking of Spencer, she joined the A-Team shortly after Toby did. Mona led her to believe that Toby had died and Spencer snapped, landing herself in Radley Sanitarium, Rosewood's local psych ward. While at Radley, Mona offered Spencer a spot on the A-Team in exchange for information about Toby — specifically, whether he's really dead or not (via Screen Rant). This wasn't the first time Mona had asked her to join the A-Team — she made the same offer in the Season 2 finale after Spencer figured out she was "A."

Once Spencer joined, she was all in. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, executive producer Oliver Goldstick said, "This is the ultimate sacrifice, that she's willing to go undercover and do something dark. That was sort of the idea of kidnapping Malcolm, to prove to Mona that she's serious, that she's willing to wreak real havoc between Aria and Ezra." 

Spencer eventually used her spot on the A-Team to become a spy on the inside for the other Liars so they could figure out who 'A' was and stop it once and for all.

Mona Vanderwaal

It's time to talk about Mona and why she's the best "A" the show had. You'd never suspect her and that's why it's so iconic. Mona had them all fooled and right under her thumb. Her greatest strength was the way she was able to play dumb when in reality she was a genius (via Bustle). She comes across as this vapid popular girl, only for us to find out that her plan had been in motion for years. 

Mona really put the Liars through it, but it didn't start off that way. Author Sara Shepard, who wrote the "Pretty Little Liars" novels, wrote a short story titled "It's Not Easy Being 'A,'" explaining what led Mona to don the black hoodie. It turns out that all Mona ever wanted was to be friends with the Liars — but everyone, except Hanna, shunned her. Ultimately, Mona couldn't let go of what Ali put her through, and that's when she decided she wanted revenge (via Teen Vogue).

Overall, Mona had an amazing character arc that felt consistent and fully thought out — unlike Alex and Charlotte, whose plots were all over the place.