29 Shady 'PLL' Characters Ranked

by Kaitlin Reilly

You know how every show has a few characters that you just know are plotting something sinister under the surface? Well, on Pretty Little Liars, those characters pretty much populate the entire town of Rosewood — heck, even the show's beloved main characters have been coined "liars." Every time you think that you can trust someone in Rosewood, the rug gets pulled out underneath you and they end up being A, A adjacent, or an ex-boyfriend of Ali's who is secretly writing a book about you and your friends. Pretty Little Liars' many shady characters are the reasons we all have trust issues.

Of course, because pretty much everyone on this show has heaps of skeletons hiding in their closets, there is a sliding scale to shadiness. If everyone was a hardcore murderer or even an A minion, the show would be pretty dull — but that doesn't mean that everyone who isn't either of those things doesn't have plenty of secrets that they would give anything to keep. That's why there've been so many red herrings for A: there's not a single person that knows the value of honesty in Rosewood.

So who are the shadiest people in Rosewood? Here's a rundown of the characters you shouldn't trust for a second, from least shady to the absolute shadiest.

29. Ashley

Ashley is definitely the best parent on Pretty Little Liars, but let's not ignore the several episodes where she was hiding her designer shoes under the sink in order to avoid being arrested for Detective Wilden's murder. Ultimately Ashley only lied to protect herself and her daughter (and it's not like she ever really killed anyone) but she still gets put on this list for being vaguely shady at one point in her life.

28. Caleb

Caleb is one of the most beloved and genuine characters on the show, but there was a time when he was seriously shady. I mean, he was a computer hacker who lived in the school air vents. Need we say more? Thankfully, he quickly breezed past shady to enter best-boyfriend-ever territory.

27. Sydney

Really, what was the point of Sydney? I'll never know, but her only real crime was not telling Emily that she and Jenna were BFFs. In reality, Sydney acted a lot shadier than she needed to. (Did she really need to dress identically to Jenna just to mess with us?)

26. Wren

Wren should be higher on this list because half of the planet was convinced he was A. But since CeCe proved to be the person behind the hoodie, I guess we can officially let Wren off the hook for that. I'm still hoping that the show makes him the next Big Bad, but just in case they don't, Wren gets shady points nonetheless for abusing his medical license to get people into Radley, cheating on his fiance with her (high school aged) sister, and generally macking on any 16-year-old he can find.

25. Jason

Remember when everyone was like, "Oh, Jason probably hit Ali with that rock and then blacked out?" Jason was the sketchiest/hottest guy in town for a full season, and kept popping in and out of Rosewood as if to purposefully raise eyebrows. The CeCe reveal finally proved that Jason wasn't a murderer, but we never did get any real answers about the N.A.T. Club...

24. Andrew

Is Andrew the biggest red herring on Pretty Little Liars? Possibly: but he does have a connection to the Campbell Farm, which means that he also might be more connected to the Big A story than he wants to admit. I'm not sure I'm buying the whole "I was just protecting you!" line he gave Aria, but he certainly hasn't given fans a real reason to be skeptical of him yet.

23. Zach

Zach may have had nothing at all to do with the A mystery, but this guy gets maaaad shady points simply for hitting on Hanna right before he was going to marry Aria's mom. He's more gross than shady, of course, since his behavior is pretty out in the open. Still, if there was a list of "terrible mom boyfriends," he'd top it.

22. Maya

Maya was never a bad person, but she did love her secrets. (Remember her password-locked website?) It's no wonder that some of her behavior sounded the alarm for the parents.

21. Noel

It's not just lines like the one above that make Noel such a suspect. He's also one of the few people who knew that Ali was actually alive, and went on to do her bidding so that she wouldn't spill some mysterious dirt she had on him. We don't know much else about Noel's history, but there's definitely a big question mark over this dude.

20. Lucas

Lucas was a pretty nice guy in early seasons of Pretty Little Liars, until it was revealed that he was actually working with Mona on the A Team. Sure, he claims it was against his will, and he did help the Liars when they wanted to dig up some dirt on Ali, but Lucas always seems like he's lying about something. Remember that episode where he was going to introduce Hanna to his "girlfriend," and then that girlfriend never showed up? Just saying.

19. Byron

Cheating on your wife with a college student makes you a bad husband, but not fessing up about being blackmailed for it by the 16-year-old girl who recently went missing is a whole other level of shady. At least he didn't actually kill Ali.

18. Mike

Mike was the only person who knew that Mona tried to fake her own death, and kept that fact on the DL even after he learned that the girls were searching for her "killer." That was after he spent the majority of the early seasons being either entirely MIA or robbing garages for arbitrary items. The kid seems more balanced now, but there was a time when Mike was one of the show's biggest wild cards.

17. Peter

So... not telling your daughters that their next door neighbor is actually their half-brother? Doesn't get much sketchier than that. Unless he really did kill Jessica DiLaurentis, of course.

16. Ezra

Not only is Ezra a teacher who started a very serious relationship with one of his students, he also did so in order to get information about Ali, the other underage girl he was hooking up with. Oh, and he didn't tell anyone this until years later. He may not be A Team, but the dude is too comfortable lying to be trusted.

15. Garrett

The show ultimately set Garrett up as way shadier than he ended up actually being, and now he's dead. Garrett held a lot of secrets close to the chest when he didn't have to: he never knew who really "killed" Ali, only that Jenna thought he was the one who hurt her. Garrett snaked around Rosewood for seemingly no good reason, and his "faux shadiness" may have actually been the shadiest thing about him.

14. Toby

Yes, we all love Toby, but let's not forget that Toby was once Big A's minion. He may have had the (mostly) good intentions of protecting Spencer and learning the truth about his mother, but he did betray the liars nonetheless. Now he's a Rosewood cop, so he's not exactly doing stellar on the shady scale.

13. Lesli

Lesli wasn't nearly as shady as she initially seemed, but since I'm going off of initial shady-level, she ranks fairly highly on this list. It may not be Lesli's fault that she spent a considerable amount of time in the mental hospital alongside Big A, or that she had a job at a very creepy, rat-filled lab, but she certainly knew how to present shadiness to the world.

12. Jenna

Jenna's hold over Toby is enough reason for anyone to not trust this girl. She may not be A or a killer (that we know of?) but she's also an extremely self-interested person who likes to keep her secrets as buried as possible. Plus, she nearly destroyed Haleb when she hired Caleb to spy on Hanna. Not cool, J.

11. Melissa

Melissa killed Bethany! OK, maybe not on purpose, but she spent the entire show covering up for the fact that she thought she buried Ali alive. That's just the cherry on top of the fact that her husband attempted to murder her sister in order to protect Melissa's secret. Melissa lies as easily as she breathes and though she may have claimed to have buried "Ali" so Spencer wouldn't be caught for the crime, I'm not convinced that was her only motive.

10. Kenneth

Who hides their child in a mental institution and then never even visits? He's clearly the ultimate villain of the show, and the only thing we really know about him is that he's a jerk with lots of secrets.

9. Detective Wilden

Did we ever get the full scoop on Wilden? Was he just a dirty cop, or a dirty cop who also hooked up with a (very young) Ali? Either way, he slept with Hanna's mom and then went on a personal mission to ruin Hanna's life after she shut that relationship down, which makes him a total creep.

8. Shana

Seriously, Shana, what was your deal? She went from being one of Ali's minions to one of Jenna's, and then she tried to actually murder Ali. You'd think that attempting to kill your supposed best friend would be as bad as it gets, but as this list proves, it can get worse.

7. Jessica

Jessica taught both CeCe and Ali how to be master manipulators, simply because lying is in her nature. She covered up the "murder" of her own daughter, told her husband that her other daughter killed herself, and then proceeded to try and have Spencer arrested for the crime. In addition to being top-tier shady, Jessica is also not a very nice person.

6. Sara

Seriously, what is Sara's deal? Is she a victim of Stockholm Syndrome, a double agent who worked for CeCe with her own agenda in mind, or something even more sinister? The fact that we still barely know anything true about Sara ranks her highly on this list.

5. Ian

This guy filmed underage girls getting dressed, hooked up with his girlfriend's much younger sister, and then tried to kill Spencer in order to keep whatever was on those N.A.T. Club tapes a secret. Who knows what other nasty business he would have gotten into had he lived?

4. Ali

Ali is the queen of secrets. She knew everyone else's but never let anyone know hers — including the small fact that she faked her own death. Ultimately she was in the dark about a lot more than she let on, but Ali was the number one suspect for Big A for a good reason.

3. Nate

Psycho Nate killed Maya! And pretended to be her cousin! He wasn't the smoothest criminal, but damn, the dude could lie.

2. Mona

Mona is our girl now, but let's not forget that she always has her own agenda. She was the Original A, and she's the very definition of calculating. As CeCe says, "She was Hanna's legit friend and she ran her over with a car."

1. CeCe

When you think about all of the little lies that CeCe has told over the years, it's really quite impressive. She pretended to be alpha girl "CeCe Drake" and got her own brother to date her in order to get close to her family. She manipulated Ali into thinking that she was helping her avoid A, when all the while she was A. She even had most of the fans believing she was a red herring and not the ultimate Big Bad. Hats off to CeCe: she deserves the title of the shadiest character more than anyone else on this list.

Rosewood, Pennsylvania: the creepiest fictional town in America.

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