Pretty Little Liars Wiki
Pretty Little Liars Wiki
Do Mom and Dad know you're watching murder movies? Bet it would kill them to find out.

Father Knows Best is the twenty-second episode in the Season 2 of Pretty Little Liars. It aired on February 27th, 2012.


Worried and upset

Emily wakes Hanna when she returns from being questioned by Barry Maple. Apparently Maya left her parents a note and packed a bag. Emily is frustrated that she hasn't heard from Maya. Hanna thinks she should tell the cops that because every detail helps. Emily believes Maya ran away just like she said she would and just wants to get some sleep.

Melissa's confession

Spencer sits with Melissa in her car at night and tries to get some answers. Melissa says Garrett was Ian's friend and has been really kind to her since Ian's death. She needed someone to talk to because she doesn't believe Ian was capable of killing Alison. Now she worries she shared too much with him. Melissa reminds Spencer how their parents stopped fighting the day Alison went missing and tells her their father almost seemed relieved to hear the news. She recalls a night she came home and noticed Peter acting strange, but didn't think much about it because she was a wreck herself. She admits to having sent Ali anonymous texts telling her to back off Ian and stop flirting with him and telling Peter all about it. Spencer fills Melissa in on Ali's blackmail money and the possibility it came from their father. Melissa doesn't know what to believe.

Ella needs some time

Aria packs her books for school and Ella tells her Byron will be returning home today just in time for the father-daughter dance. She asks her mom to try to convince him Ezra is not a bad guy, but Ella can't promise anything. They agree to keep the conversation from the night before to themselves until Ella can wrap her head around their relationship herself.

Talking to Wilden

Detective Wilden calls Ashley at home to find out if she got any new information about that incident report from Hanna. She says she is doing what she can, but that he should also be working to find out who is targeting her daughter. When she hears Hanna coming, she tells him not to call the house again and hangs up.

Tom bailed on Hanna

Hanna tells Ashley that Tom is bailing on the dance due to a "prior commitment." Ashley offers to take her to the dance, despite it being for fathers and daughters because missing out on something Hanna is looking forward to is lamer than showing up with her mother. Hanna agrees and seems to like the idea.


The girls stand outside at school to discuss the latest text from "A." They accuse Melissa of being "A," but Spencer insists it is impossible. Aria worries that Melissa may know about the N.A.T. video. Spencer explains how devastated Melissa was to find Ian dead and continues to insist there is no way she could be "A." Hanna thinks they should turn the video over to the cops anyway because it is evidence, but the other girls all agree turning over evidence to the cops has not worked in their favor in the past. They allow Spencer to try to get to the bottom of it on her own before doing anything.


Spencer goes home to find a gift from her father waiting on the counter. Melissa comes downstairs remarking about how annoying the back-and-forth for appointments between Rosewood and Philadelphia is getting. The gift is a diamond necklace. Melissa thinks Peter is overcompensating for something and trying to cover his guilt with gifts. Spencer still believes he didin't pay off Ali, but Melissa is not convinced. Peter walks in and gives Spencer a hug and gets her to promise to wear the necklace to the dance tomorrow night.

Wilden wants Hanna's phone

Ashley meets Wilden in his car to discuss this business about the incident report. Wilden asks Ashley to get a hold of Hanna's phone to find out who she has been talking to and texting. He tells her the only way they will get answers is if she gets him that phone.


Hanna tells Mona that Caleb is in Montecito with his family as they walk down Main Street at night. Then she asks if Mona has gotten any new texts from "A." She says no and begins to complain about the community service she has to do. They spot Ashley and Wilden parked across the street talking. Hanna looks worried.

Confronting Ashley

Hanna confronts her mom as soon as she arrives home. She asks if they are back together. Ashley denies it and tells Hanna the truth. She found the stolen police report amongst Hanna's things and wants to know where it came from. Hanna pretends not to know and is scared that it may get out. Ashley says she did the right thing by giving it to Wilden because maybe he can keep her safe. Hanna walks away realizing nothing she says could convince Ashley otherwise. Ashley spots Hanna's cell phone on the counter. She starts coming closer to it but Hanna returns to retrieve it before Ashley can take a look at it.

Sibling moment

Aria catches Mike shaving at the bathroom mirror and jokes that if Byron were there, he'd be taking pictures to commemorate the event. Mike asks Aria for a ride to the dance since his friend Gavin invited him to help DJ. Aria tells him to find another ride since she's "not feeling the whole father-daughter thing lately." Mike thinks she should go to avoid suspicion, revealing he knows she is not seeing Holden, having overheard her and Ella talking about it. He asks Aria if her relationship with Ezra is so much trouble, why is it worth it. That it's impossible for things to work out. She tells him when you love someone, it is worth fighting for, no matter what the odds.

Emily tells Wayne about Maya

Emily's father, Wayne, is back in town for the father-daughter dance. In Hanna's kitchen, they discuss the race Pam just ran and how Emily was a little disappointed she didn't come to her swim team finals. When Maya's name comes up, Emily looks visibly concerned and Wayne asks what is going on. She tells him her suspicions that Maya ran away to San Francisco. He suggests they check the bus station, if only for peace of mind, and mentions that he ran away once during high school. Wayne is supportive and tells Emily Maya may come home if she knows people care for her.

Spencer wants to stay home

Peter invites Spencer to play tennis at the club, but she has to study. He senses she does not like the necklace. He says he misses her, but understands she needs some space. On his way out, he tells her he made dinner reservations at Gianni's for 7.

Searching Peter's study

As soon as Peter leaves, Spencer heads straight to her father's office on the first floor. She begins flipping through his checkbook and searching through his desk drawers. One drawer is locked. Spencer finds a folder of 2009 tax information and, inside, a stub for a check for $15,000 made out to "cash." When she hears someone coming, she quickly shoves the paperwork back into the drawer. Melissa finds her acting strange. Spencer pretends she was just looking for a stamp and hurries out of the office.

The man tells Emily what he saw

At the bus station, Emily finds the ticket agent who was working the night Maya disappeared. He is about to go on his lunchbreak and is not helpful when Emily tries to ask him questions. Wayne steps in and the man is more cooperative. He recognizes Maya's photo and tells them she bought a ticket to San Francisco. He also remembers seeing her later on, talking to someone in a dark-colored car. He is not sure if she got into the car or onto the bus.


Byron walks in on Aria trying to pick a dress for the dance. He wants to know what color she'll be wearing so he can choose a matching tie. Byron admits they have had their problems lately, but he still wants to take his little girl to the father-daughter dance. Ella overhears them from the hall.

Emily misses a call from Maya while she's in the shower. She calls her back immediately, but there is no answer and her voicemail box is full.

Hanna throws away her phone

Downstairs, Ashley gives Hanna one more chance to tell her everything she knows about that police report. Hanna still refuses to talk. Ashley demands Hanna hand over her cell phone. Hanna can tell it was Wilden's idea even though Ashley denies it. Instead of giving her mom the phone, she tosses into a sink full of sudsy water and walks out.

Wayne has to leave again

Emily meets her dad at the dance. He is wearing his dress uniform meant only for special occasions. Emily apologizes for being late because she was hoping Maya would call again. She wishes she hadn't wasted their whole weekend together searching for someone who might not want to be found. Wayne, however, doesn't care how they spend their time. Then he reveals he is being deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months starting tomorrow.


Aria dances with Byron. He says he wants to make sure they get a picture together and talks about when she was little, she would stand on his shoes to dance. She says that was a really long time ago, then spots Hanna across the room. Byron leaves to get them drinks.

Hanna tells the others about Ashley

Aria, Mona, Spencer, and Emily all converge on Hanna, who informs them her mom is "hot on the A trail." Ashley thinks the police report was sent to Hanna, not Mona, and gave it to Wilden because she think it will keep them safe. Aria is worried now that both of their mom's are looing for "A" and scared what "A" might do if they get too close. Hanna almost brings up Dr. Sullivan, but Spencer cuts her off, and says they need a creative solution to this problem. Mona has an idea. It requires a big lie and apparently she is terrible at that. She asks which one of them is the best liar and they all point to Aria. Slightly affronted, she asks Mona what lie she has to tell.

Spencer is not interested

Spencer and Peter get their photo taken, then get back to dancing. He senses something is wrong and offers to get the DJ to play a faster song. Spencer is not interested and tells him he's trying a little too hard. She admits to going through his office earlier and finding an incriminating check stub. Before he has a chance to explain, Spencer declares she wants to go home.

"I'm not your little girl anymore."

Aria finds her dad, who still wants to get their photo taken. She asks if they can leave early because Hanna needs her. Byron doesn't quite believe her and pushes again for a photo. Aria finally tells him the truth, that she is not his little girl anymore, and leaves.

Spencer goes outside for some air and sees someone on a motorcycle pull up near the school. She wonders if it is Toby, but before she can find out, they turn around and ride away.

Emily dances with her father. They try to make the most of the time they have left together. Hanna looks on slightly enviously, probably wishing her father was more like Emily's.

Aria admits that she is 'A'

Aria sits in Mrs. Marin's kitchen and confesses to sending Hanna that police report. She tells Ashley she had begged Hanna to stop shoplifting because if she were to be caught again, she could end up in jail. Aria says she made up that police report to scare Hanna straight and admits that she is A (for Aria, for anonymous). Aria apologizes and asks if there is anything else she can do, but Ashley says she can take it from here.

Photos of Ali

Peter searches through his desk while Spencer stands nearby. He opens the drawer that had been locked earlier and questions Spencer about it. Peter immediately calls the police to report his gun has been stolen. Spencer spies a file on the desk and opens it to find a bunch of different photos of Ali inside.

Mike talks for Aria

Byron walks past Aria's bedroom and sees it's empty. He goes to Mike's room and asks if he had a good time tonight. Mike says he did. Then Byron asks if he has seen his sister. Mike thinks Byron has been too hard on Aria and suggests Byron should have asked why Aria felt the need to lie about her relationship with Fitz. Byron seems to consider his words.

Confronting Peter about the photos

Peter tells Spencer a patrol car will be there soon and Spencer confronts him about the photos of Ali. He says he gave those photos to a private investigator for reference and that is who the $15,000 went to, not Alison for blackmail. Spencer wants to know why he would spend that much money to investigate Alison's disappearance, and why he would even care. Peter tells her he suspected someone he cared about might be involved. Spencer guesses Jason, but he tells her no, Melissa. He knew about the texts and threats Melissa sent Ali before she disappeared. He hired the PI for peace of mind. The police arrive and Peter sends Spencer upstairs.

Melissa invites Spencer to stay with her

Melissa sneaks up on Spencer in her bedroom, wondering why the cops are outside. She tells her about the missing gun and possible break-in and asks if she heard anything. Melissa says no, she was watching TV and fell asleep. Spencer questions her about the TV, knowing it has been broken. Melissa quickly answers she was watching on her laptop then says she has to get back to the city tonight because she is concerned about staying in the same house with her father, whom she suspects of murder. She offers for Spencer to come stay with her if she ever feels unsafe. Spencer doesn't know who to believe.

Discussing about 'A'

The next morning, Ashley makes Ella coffee and tells her about Aria's lie. She is sure the girls are all lying about something or someone (namely "A") they are afraid of. Ella reveals that "A" sent her family a letter with personal information in it. Ashley tells her to get the police involved, but Ella is hesitant because "A" knows things that could hurt Aria. Nonetheless, Ashley thinks they owe it to themselves and their daughters to get some answers. A shadowy figure moves outside. Has "A" been listening in the whole time?

Hanna arrives at Aria's room wanting to know if her mom bought Aria's story. Aria has no idea. She gets a call from Jonah, of all people, which Hanna urges her to answer.

Another friend of Vivian

Spencer's car pulls up next to some stores in Brookhaven, a nearby town. The girls all get out of the car and Aria explains that Jonah told her Alison had been getting texts from more than one number, one of which led them here. Hanna wonders if Melissa could still be "A." They stand on the sidewalk wondering where the calls could have originated from when Aria spots a "Doll Hospital," a store full of antique dolls very similar to the dolls "A" sent. When Aria says she is cold, Spencer hands her the keys to get a coat out of the trunk, not just any coat - Vivian's coat. Aria puts it on, then hears a voice call out "Vivian." She turns to see a young man staring at her.

'A' has something to do with Maya?

A gloved-individual puts two quarters in the slot and retrieves a copy of the Rosewood Observer. Maya's photo takes up much of the front page with the caption MISSING GIRL.


  • Rachel Kamerman designed the sweet set for the dance in this episode: gummy bears galore.
  • Chad Lowe has tweeted that the set in this episode "looks like Katy Perry's bedroom!"
  • Ashley and Ella learn and know about A.



  • This episode marks the last appearance of Mike Montgomery until the season 4 episode, "Gamma Zeta Die!"
  • "Father Knows Best" is the name of an American radio and television comedy series which portrayed middle-class family life in the Midwest. It was created by writer Ed James in the 1940s, and ran on radio from 1949 to 1954 and on television from 1954 to 1960.
  • "Father Knows Best" may also refer to an anthology of three novels by Judith Arnold: Father Found, Father Christmas, and Father of Two.
  • Many other television TV shows such as "Dexter" and "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." have used "Father Knows Best" as an episode title.
  • In addition, many derivatives of "Father Knows Best" have been used as episode titles as well, including "Father Knows Worst" ("The Simpsons") and "Father Knows Least" ("Everybody Knows Raymond," "Dexter's Laboratory").
  • The title is loosely related to the motif of this episode: the father-daughter dance.

Main Cast

Supporting Cast


  • Peter Gannon as Ticket Agent

Featured Music

  • "Trace of You" by Peter Bradley Adams (Aria talks to Byron while picking out a dress)
  • "Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)" by Fergie (the girls learn Ashley is on the hunt for "A")
  • "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears (Wayne tells Emily he is being deployed to Afghanistan)


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Father Knows Best has a photo gallery.

Memorable Quotes

Aria: I got chased by a hobo for nothing?

Spencer: You guys, my sister is not A. I watched her fall apart when we found Ian's body. She had no idea that he was dead. She wouldn't just text herself from her dead husband's phone and then lose it like that. Could we please just breathe?

Mona: Which one of you girls is best at hiding the truth from someone who’s close to you?
Spencer, Hanna and Emily [pointing at Aria]: Her!
Aria (slightly affronted): Wow, really? Thanks guys.

Hanna: I used to like dolls.
Spencer: I’m over it.
Emily: Me too.