Murder! Mean girls! Romance! The Liars are back and prettier than ever. But ABC Family's hottest drama ain't so little anymore. Thanks to mondo ratings and the crazy chemistry of stars Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario and Shay Mitchell — not to mention some killer twists — the ladies of Rosewood have returned with bigger secrets, bolder story lines and enough addictive drama to have even the mysterious "A" saying OMG! Here's why Pretty Little Liars has gotten us — and millions of other fans — hopelessly hooked.
The Plots Are Thickening
Picking up right after last winter's allegedly fatal church-belfry showdown between Spencer (Bellisario) and her icky brother-in-law Ian (Ryan Merriman), Season 2 is already firing up new mysteries. Dead Alison's brother Jason (Drew Van Acker) is back in town with a shady agenda, former prime "A" suspect Noel Kahn (Brant Daugherty) has a startling new ally, and with Ian's body missing, so is all proof that he was a homicidal maniac... which is causing a load of trouble for TV's hippest clique. "The girls know what they saw, but there is no body, no evidence. They've become the pretty little liars in the eyes of the whole town now," says Bellisario, whose character is now in therapy — along with BFFs Aria, Hanna and Emily — to deal with what their parents suspect is unresolved grief over the death of frenemy Alison (Sasha Pieterse). So is Ian actually dead? A shocker at the end of the season premiere has us thinking not, but exec producer Marlene King warns against taking anything at face value on this show. "Thematically, Season 2 is 'There's more to the story,'" she says. "[You'll find] there's more to what happened the night Ali disappeared... and there's more to the girls' individual mysteries. Each episode comes back to that theme."
The Couples Are Heating Up
The show is shaking up the ladies' love lives, too. For Benson's Hanna, that means a long and winding road to forgiving Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) for conspiring with bitchy blind classmate Jenna (Tammin Sursok). "He comes back to town and she's a little impressed, but she's not ready yet... he has to earn it!" teases Benson. Meanwhile, Mitchell says her out-and-proud Emily will continue "having fun meeting new girls," but family pressures threaten to tear Spencer and Toby (Keegan Allen) apart, and Aria (Hale) will finally go public with dreamy English professor Ezra (Ian Harding). Before you scream "Statutory!" Hale points out that this kind of teacher-student conference is OK in the eyes of the law. "In Pennsylvania, where the show is set, it's not illegal," she says with a smile. "Age of consent is 16. I think people did some research before we took that step." Still, she predicts the duo will "have real adult relationship issues this season," especially with the return of Mr. Fitz's ex-fiancée and his new teaching gig at the local college... alongside Aria's daddy (Chad Lowe).
"A" Is on the Attack!
Whether "A" is a she, a he or a they, fans can expect the unseen stalker behind all those threatening texts — and occasional attempts on the girls' lives — to step it up in the devious department. "'A' has a master plan," says King, and it now involves folks close to our foursome. Fellow executive producer Oliver Goldstick reveals that Ezra "will be messed with in the second season" after Aria considers telling him about her tormentor, while Benson spills that she thinks "A" may be sending messages to Spencer's family. "Everybody is involved," she says. And everybody is a suspect, too, which is the giddy fun of trying to figure out who "A" might be... even for the spoiler-savvy cast. "We don't know if 'A' is the person who killed Alison, and if it's not, do they know who killed her or are they just playing around with us?" asks Mitchell. "You could find out who 'A' is, but does that mean you know who killed Alison? Maybe not." Adds Hale, "I've heard people guessing it's my mom... but I have also heard a few people think it could be one of the girls, which would be so cool."
For more on Pretty Little Liars, pick up this week's issue of TV Guide Magazine, on newsstands Thursday, June 16!