vulture lists

Who Has Actually Committed Murder on Pretty Little Liars?

Photo: Eric McCandless/Freeform

If there’s a single word synonymous with Pretty Little Liars, it would, understandably, be lying. (Or liars. You get the idea.) But throughout all of the sinister text messages and black-hoodie-sporting shenanigans that have encompassed the show’s past seven seasons, fans seem to be blissfully forgetting a grim fact: Some of our favorite PLL characters are bona fide, cold-blooded murderers. Were some of those killings accidental? Sure! But others, not so much. As the series races toward its final episodes, let’s revisit all of the murders that occurred at the hands of our Liars. They’ve committed a lot more serious crime than you might remember.

In an act of self-defense, Aria struck Shana with a gun after Shana made it clear she would be killing Alison and all of the Liars to avenge her lover Jenna’s blindness. (Oh yeah, Shana also caused that Thornhill Lodge fire that almost killed them all.) Knocked into the orchestra pit, she hits her head and dies immediately.

Also in self-defense, Emily kills “Nate St. Germain” (real name: Lyndon James) when it’s revealed that he actually wasn’t Maya’s cousin, but rather the deranged stalker who killed her. Taking Emily to a secluded inn, he had Paige bound and gagged in their room with the intent of killing her so Emily could experience how he felt when when she “took” Maya away from him. She escapes, runs away to a lighthouse, and manages in the ensuing struggle to lethally stab Lyndon with a knife to the stomach.

Let’s rule this one as a happy accident. Elliott Rollins (real name: Archer Dunhill) got run over and struck dead by Hanna’s car, shortly after PLL revealed that his whole persona was a sham and that his whole plan was to avenge Charlotte’s death by marrying Alison and declaring her legally insane. To further complicate matters, the Liars also buried his body.

Detective Wilden
While we’d usually be meh about one corrupt cop killing another, Wilden shot fellow Rosewood police officer Garrett Reynolds on that infamous Ghost Train, after Garrett decided to change for the better and admit to Wilden’s (and his own) dirty antics.

Charlotte kept busy! While she kidnapped Mona and faked her death — among other tortuous schemes she set up for the Liars over three seasons — she also shot Wilden to death after he “betrayed” her, despite all they had done for each other. The breaking point seemed to be when Wilden was willing to hurt the secretly alive Alison, which Charlotte, her biological sister, wouldn’t allow.

Mona and Melissa
In perhaps the show’s most complex murder, Mona hit Bethany — who snuck out of Radley Sanitarium to seek revenge on Jessica because of her affair with her father — in the head with a shovel, believing she was actually Alison. (In other words, Mona wanted to kill Alison.) When Mona fled the scene, Melissa stumbled upon the unconscious body and buried Bethany, who was technically still alive, because she thought Spencer did it and wanted to protect her sister. Also, for those keeping track: The identity confusion occurred because Bethany stole Charlotte’s clothes, who dressed and looked very similar to Alison.

Hanna and Emily
While one could argue that Noel Kahn brought his decapitation death on himself, we have to admit that it wouldn’t have happened without Hanna and Emily’s completely necessary self-defense. Their push prompted him to fall, which caused his head to land upon an ax, which thus birthed the most gruesome scene in Pretty Little Liars history.

A mentally ill Bethany killed Toby’s mother, Marion, by pushing her off the roof at Radley Sanitarium when she was a child. A young Charlotte was with Bethany when the murder occurred, which led Bethany to pin it on her since nobody would believe “the boy in the dress.”

Who Has Actually Committed Murder on Pretty Little Liars?