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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.

Biography

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, Peter and Taylor were walking home when they turned into an alley where an altercation was presumably taking place. Peter was subsequently shot and died, leaving Claire a widow and single mother. Afterward, Claire's daughter, Taylor, built Beacon Guard as a way to ensure that no one else suffered Peter's fate. Claire watched her daughter obsess over the Beacon Guard until she wasn't eating or sleeping. She decided to send her daughter to psychiatric care and locked Taylor out of Beacon Guard.

Now in charge of the company, Claire established Hotchkiss Technologies as a cover for Beacon Guard. The company spread and soon became BHU and Beacon Heights' highest-quality security system. With Beacon Guard, Claire has access to a multitude of cameras and people. While her involvement keeps people safe, she misuses it often to spy on a select group of BHU students. During this time, Claire guided Taylor through college and her first few years of work while also pressuring Nolan to take on more classes and workloads. Her desire to be perfect was heightened significantly after daughters' "death".

Personality

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 has a way of quietly controlling people and the world around her. She thrives for perfection, believing that perfection is possible and refuses to settle for anything less than perfect. 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 fake death.

After Nolan's death, Claire became hypervigilant and threw herself into getting justice for her son. Her morals could be considered hypocritical during this time. She had an affair with a student, yet fired one of her teachers for doing the same. She also had no qualms with Dana Booker misusing her authority and tormenting a group of students to get justice for Nolan. Claire seemingly believes she is immune to repercussions.

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.

Series

Pilot

Claire was first mentioned by Nolan after 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. Nolan and his friends were gathered outside the English building when Nolan told Caitlin he needed her at his parents' place for dinner that night. Caitlin attempted to reason with him as she would already be at Claire's welcome back party.

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Claire stood on the balcony of the Hotchkiss mansion waiting for her son to come inside from the pool. When he finally did, she mentioned that she met Ava Jalali 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. 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, however, a surprised Claire informed him he had worked 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.

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As Nolan headed upstairs Claire stated that she wanted to speak to Ava at the party. Once Nolan was upstairs, Claire dialed an elusive number on her cell phone. She demanded active surveillance on BH-5. The caller hesitantly reminded her that BH-5 was the code for her son and if she was sure, to which Claire insisted that she was always sure.

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. Claire remarks that she was quite impressed by her scholarship application. 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 states 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 death 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 visible 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 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.

The next day, Alison is Googling the Hotchkiss family. Images and articles with Claire can be seen.

Sex, Lies and Alibis

At Nolan's funeral, a grieving Claire embraces Caitlin. Claire tells her she should sit up front, as that's what Nolan would have wanted. She nods as Dylan and Ava follow her. In the back of the church, Mason Gregory arrives. He apologizes to Claire for her loss and not being there for Nolan. She gives him an understanding hug, explaining that despite not being close this past year, childhood friends are lifelong friends. A man tells everyone to be seated. Claire and Mason walk up the aisle until Claire departs.

Dana Booker introduces herself to Ava, Dylan, and Caitlin, explaining that she left the F.B.I. and was hired by Claire as BHU's head of security. Later in the day, Ava explains that Claire must have given her free reign to do whatever was necessary to solve Nolan's murder.

Alison arrives home that night and hangs up her coat. She feels the breeze of a window she did not leave open. Investigating further, she's startled by a lamp switching on, revealing Claire drinking in the dark. "I hope this isn't a bad time," Claire remarks. Claire explains that the home was her daughter's house before she went missing. She corrects herself by saying "before she took her life". Alison apologizes for not speaking to her at the funeral and calls her Mrs. Hotchkiss. Claire comments she's getting drunk in Alison's living room, therefor Alison could call her by her first name. Offering her some, Claire gives Alison a drink. Claire says Taylor loved the house, and she came here to feel closer to her.

She notes they should have had "THEY'RE WATCHING" painted over despite having a new wallpaper. Alison asks if Taylor wrote the message on the wall. In a hesitant answer, Claire states that everything came easy to Taylor when she was younger. However, when she started teaching, she became paranoid and even delusional. Claire thought she didn't like the job and tried to get her help, but she didn't trust her or Nolan. Alison asks if she and Nolan were close, to which Claire replies they were even when they were young. Alison questions if there's anything she can do for Claire. Claire requests that she doesn't waste her time being something she's not - if she's here to help the students, she should be herself.

...If One of Them is Dead

In Claire's office, Dana shows Claire Beacon Guard footage of The Perfectionists' going their separate ways twelve-minutes before Nolan's murder. Claire isn't convinced they did it, but Dana insists they look suspicious. Claire asks why would they want her son dead. Dana explains that Nolan wasn't perfect and used ways to get them to do what he wanted. Claire is sure Caitlin didn't do it, but Dana reminds Claire that Caitlin lied about where she was the night of the murder. Claire offers the possibility they went thereafter they disbanded and were at Alison's when Nolan was murdered. Dana doesn't believe it, as she knows a liar when she sees one. She affirms that they're covering for each other. Claire demands she find out why and use what she has to get them to talk. She insists, however, that Caitlin will come to her for help as the person she trusts at BHU. Dana questions if Caitlin will tell her the truth, to which Claire replies she won't risk her family's future to protect Dylan or Ava. "It's not in her DNA," Claire explains.

Appearances (8/10)

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists

Season 1

Trivia

  • 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.

Gallery

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Claire Hotchkiss has a photo gallery.


Quotes

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.

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Characters (The Perfectionists)
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