Claire Hotchkiss is a main character in the television series Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists on Freeform. She is portrayed by Kelly Rutherford.

The matriarch of the Hotchkiss family, Claire along with her husband is the founder of Hotchkiss Industries and the well-respected Beacon Heights University. She believes perfection is attainable and is the person who pulls the strings behind the scenes to get what she wants.


Claire lived the picturesque life as the perfect wife of Peter Hotchkiss, and the mother of Taylor and Nolan Hotchkiss. Claire and Peter built their family empire, Hotchkiss Technologies, from the ground up. They later founded Beacon Heights University together, and became a fast-growing and wealthy family that quickly brought media attraction. Claire did several press interviews that depicted her family as stunning in every way. She never allowed either of her children to be imperfect in any shape or way.

One night, her husband was walking home when he turned into an alley where an altercation was already taking place. Peter was subsequently shot and died, leaving Claire a widow and single mother. Afterward, she built Hotchkiss Technologies as a way to ensure that no one else suffered her husbands' fate. After HT was established, she guided Taylor through college and her first few years of work while also pressuring her son to take on more classes and workloads.

It wasn't until Taylor's alleged death that Claire realized that her family could be in danger from targeted attacks. This pushed her to change the security around campus and found Beacon Guard, the school and towns highest-quality security system. With Beacon Guard, Claire has access to a multitude of cameras and people. While this keeps people safe, she misused it often to spy on her a select number of students. Her desire to be perfect was heightened significantly after daughters' "death".


Driven by an innate desire to be perfect, Claire pushes herself and her son to be the absolute best versions of themselves. Noted for her calm and collected mannerisms, she is nonetheless controlling and thrives for perfection, believing that it is possible and settles for nothing less. She secretly uses Beacon Guard to spy on her students and faculty under the guise that she is "keeping them safe". Her obsession with safety is driven by her grief over Taylor's believed death.

Physical Appearance

Claire is a beautiful woman in her forties with long, straight blonde hair and green eyes. She has a slim build and soft features, who wears expensive jewelry and designer clothing.



Claire was first mentioned by Nolan after his English class. Nolan quietly informed Alison that even though his mother claimed Alison was hired because Ali reminded her of Taylor, it was more than that. He left immediately after he commented, and Alison watched him go, more confused than ever. Nolan and his friends walked outside and gathered in front of the building. He then told Caitlin he needed her at his parents' place for dinner. Caitlin attempted to reason with him as she would already be at Claire's welcome back party. Nolan insisted to the point where she couldn't say no.

Chrome UgCZUpXI0E

Claire stood on the balcony of the Hotchkiss mansion waiting for her son to come inside. When he finally did, she mentioned that she met Ava on her way out. Nolan insisted she was just a friend that he had a couple of classes with. A relieved Claire said that he didn't need her family's drama either way. She continued to talk about his coach who wanted him to lead an extra practice this weekend. Nolan began to say that he didn't have time but Claire, surprised, informed him he had worked so hard to be captain. She assured him that he didn't want him to throw it all away. Nolan expressed his desire to have some time for himself, but his mother dismissed it and assured him he could handle it.


As Nolan headed upstairs Claire said she wanted to speak to Ava at the party. As soon as Nolan was gone, Claire took out her phone and dialed an elusive number. She demanded active surveillance on BH-5. The caller hesitantly reminded her that BH-5 was the code for her son, to which Claire insisted that she was always sure that was what she wanted.

At the Hotchkiss welcome back party that afternoon, Alison found an office where she watched over the party. She was interrupted by Claire, who remarked that her daughter used to love coming to the same area to watch their parties. Alison tried to introduce herself, however, Claire already knew who she was. She was quite impressed by her scholarship application too. Alison asked why, to which Claire noted there were many, including her journey from mean girl to mentor. Alison noted that the students at BHU are under a lot of pressure, and she hoped to help them navigate their lives. Claire noted that was the same reason her daughter became a teacher. She added that Alison reminded her of Taylor. Flustered, Alison gave her condolences for the loss of Taylor. Claire responded by saying that her daughters' death inspired her to keep her students safe. She added that Alison would be safe at BHU too, much to Alison's discomfort.

Later that evening, Claire announced a group picture in front of the mansion. She gathered Caitlin, Dylan, Nolan and even Ava for the picture. Claire, however, noticed that Ava tried to hold Nolan's hand. He tucked his hand away in his pocket hoping his mother hadn't noticed - but she already did. The group disbanded after the picture was taken.

Sex, Lies and Alibis

Appearances (8/10)

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists

Season 1


  • Claire is the first Perfectionists parent to be introduced.
  • She used Mona's program to scan potential job prospects and bring the most similar person to Taylor to Beacon Heights, in the hopes of locating her daughter.

Book Comparisons

  • In the books, Nolan’s mother is a minor character, while in the show, she is one of the main characters and has a major storyline.
  • Claire's book counterpart is also a US Senator, however, in the television adaption, Caitlin Park-Lewis' mom is US senator.
  • In the books, Nolan's mother name is never stated. In the TV series, she has Claire Coldwell's first name, whom she might have possibly been inspired by.
    • Claire Coldwell is Mackenzie Wright's scholarly rival and best friend. Mackenzie and Claire are often at odds over who controls their plans while competing with each other to claim Julliard's sole spot for a Beacon Heights student.


Camera Icon-Gallery

Claire Hotchkiss has a photo gallery.


Claire: I want active surveillance on BH5.
Caller: That's your son... You sure?
Claire: I'm always sure.

Claire: People plan, and God laughs.

Claire: I'm getting drunk in your living room, Alison, you can call me Claire.


Characters (The Perfectionists)