I'm still here, bitches. And I know everything.

Season 1, Episode 1
Air Date June 8, 2010
Written by I. Marlene King
Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Episode Guide
The First Secret (Chronologically)
The Jenna Thing

Pilot (alternatively Popular in Life and Death) was the series premiere of Pretty Little Liars, airing June 8, 2010.


The show begins with footage of the night Alison DiLaurentis disappeared. Alison, Aria Montgomery, Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin and Emily Fields were having a sleepover in Spencer's barn. The lights had gone out before Alison had scared them by sneaking up on the other girls in the barn's doorway. They had laughed and joked about it and sipped the drink Alison brought them. Aria had woken up, followed by Hanna and Emily, to find Ali and Spencer missing. Spencer had returned to let the other girls know that Ali was missing and that she thinks she heard a scream.


Still missing

It's been a year since the disappearance of her best friend Alison DiLaurentis, and Aria has returned from her father's sabbatical in Iceland to a whole new dynamic in Rosewood. In her home, where Aria and her mother Ella unpack boxes, Aria discusses the oddness of being home at exactly the anniversary of Ali's death. When Ella leaves, Aria tell her father Byron that she intends to keep his secret...


Aria meets Ezra.

Aria drops her brother Mike off at lacrosse practice before heading to a local bar, where she spots a missing persons poster of Alison. She then spots a cute Hollis College grad named Ezra sitting a few stools down. The two talk about their travels in Europe, specifically Iceland, music, and their love of English literature. Ezra says he is teaching English, though does not specify where. In addition, Aria is vague about where she attends school. Their meeting ends with the two making out in the bar bathroom.


Emily and Aria rekindle their friendship.

At the local mall, Hanna and her friend Mona are shopping. Hanna bumps into Spencer and takes the opportunity to catch up with her. She then shoplifts a pair of expensive sunglasses, while her pal Mona shoplifts a scarf. Just then, a security guard follows Hanna out of the store, but to hand her her bag, which she forgot inside. Hanna smiles mock innocently, and her and Mona leave, scared, but relieved.


Byron and Meredith.

Byron drops Aria off for her first day back at school, and while the two are alone in the car, he tells Aria that he loves her mother and made one mistake that shall not be repeated. Just then, Aria has a flashback to the summer when her and Alison had meanly ditched then-nerd Mona only to find her father, Byron, kissing another woman inside his car.


Hanna is the new Queen Bee

Once back at high school, Emily is the first to fill her friend Aria in on what she missed while away, including the fact that the other three girls, her former friends, Hanna, Spencer and Emily have all disbanded since Alison's death. In the meantime, the formerly chubby, gawky Hanna, has become the new Queen Bee, alongside formerly nerdy sidekick Mona, who has had a glam makeover of her own.


English class meets their new teacher, Mr. Fitz

Then, Aria's fling with a cute, young college grad named Ezra goes awry when he shows up at her first day of class as Mr. Fitz, her new English teacher. She stares in disbelief. Equally shocked, he mumbles "holy crap" when he notices her, letting the students know that something is up. Just then, she gets a text from "A" letting her know that know that "A" is aware of their illicit relationship. Aria dissipates the tension in the room by mumbling "sorry" for the beeping noise so that the lesson can begin.

Meanwhile, Emily discusses Aria's return home with her own mother, Pam, who is clearly judgmental and controlling as a mother, as she makes a comment about the pink streak Aria used to sport in her hair and no less, the fact that her mother used to let her "walk around like that." Emily is then sent by her mother to bring a gift basket to the St. Germain's, the new family that moved into the neighborhood and into Alison DiLaurentis' home. While there, Emily meets the St. Germain's daughter, a spunky girl named Maya, and helps her move boxes into her new home. Both girls say they have boyfriends, but Maya kisses Emily as she leaves. Maya is even persuasive enough to get Emily to try smoking weed for the first time.


Spencer cannot move into the barn

At the same time, all-star student Spencer must contend with her sister's new fiancée, Wren. Melissa compliments her sister on her renovations of the barn that she has been working on for the past couple of months and then matter-of-factly informs Spencer that she is moving into the barn that Spencer had planned to move into, as promised by their parents. Wren is sensitive and concerned, whereas Melissa is smirking and glib. They move in as planned, anyway.


Spencer and Wren on the porch

Later, Spencer spots Wren smoking and sarcastically calls him out for knowing better as a medical student. She also correctly guesses that Melissa is oblivious to her fiancée's smoking habit. The two behave flirtatiously towards one another, with Wren going as far as to massage a bikini clad Spencer's back the next day when she displays signs of muscle aches. The two immediately disengage when Melissa enters the room, though. Spencer flirts back too, pronouncing Wren the first boyfriend of Melissa's that she's ever liked... (Well, almost...)

At school, Aria meets Ezra alone in his classroom to discuss the status of their relationship. Ezra feels Aria led him on and is unprepared to engage in an illicit relationship with a student, while Aria tries to persuade him that he feels something too.


Emaya walking.

Maya and Emily go for a walk, and Emily shares her thoughts about Alison and her disappearance. It is hard for Emily to see the tributes people left for Alison being loaded from the curb in front of Maya's house into a dumpster. The next day in the school's gym locker room after swim practice, Emily finds a note from "A" letting her know that she is aware of her previous day's kiss. Spencer closes her locker nearby, where she has just changed into her field hockey uniform, and sees Emily staring into space. She asks if everything is okay, but Emily denies that anything is wrong.


Byron and Ella kick back at home

At the Montgomery's home, Ella and Byron are making progress on unpacking. They discuss their adjustment back to Rosewood, and Byron reveals how nervous he is to lose the closeness he had with his wife in Iceland, where the two were forced to bond for lack of having other friends there. He doesn't completely reveal what he is afraid will threaten his relationship with his wife in Rosewood. Oblivious to the nuance, Ella agrees that the adjustment is hard, considering that they once again live near the DiLaurentis house, and driving past it evokes bad memories. They declare their commitment to one another, and the two embrace over a glass of wine.

Later that night, while Spencer watches Melissa and Wren kiss from her bedroom window, she receives an anonymous email from "A" letting Spencer know that she/he is on to Spencer's jealous feelings, and this wouldn't be the first time. Spencer flashes back to the summer when Melissa was dating then-boyfriend Ian Thomas. She had been standing with Alison and Hanna in her kitchen, when Ian and Melissa had walked in. Suddenly, Alison announced that Spencer had something to reveal, but Spencer denied it, annoyed and angry by her so-called friend's blunt betrayal. Spencer had counters Ali's vague threat with a threat to expose Ali's involvement in "The Jenna Thing."

Back in real time, Spencer looks timidly out the window, with the paranoid feeling of being stalked. She then catches sight of a wavy-blonde haired girl through the window in the former DiLaurentis home across the street and gasps "Alison."

That night, the police show up at Hanna Marin's doorstep, busting her for shoplifting the expensive sunglasses from the local mall. They caught her using the security tapes. At the precinct, she almost munches on candy corn to calm her nerves until "A" sends a mocking text, alluding to her overweight days. At this point, all four girls have been messaged by "A." The man on the case, Detective Wilden, has his sights more set on her newly single mother, Ashley. Hanna is waiting in the station when Ashley prompts Hanna to get up and leave. Outside the station, dozens of cop cars are seen rushing somewhere with their sirens on.


Hanna's mom is disappointed.

In the car, Ashley scolds Hanna for her mistake, reminding her daughter that Rosewood is unforgiving of damaged reputations. She gleans from Hanna that she did it to get her father's attention, not because she couldn't obtain the merchandise on her own. Ashley lets Hanna know that she will take care of the situation and tells Hanna to admit nothing.

Suddenly, the camera follows the police cars to Maya's house, where ambulances are flanking the street, and it seems the whole town has come out to watch what's going on. Emily walks past and catching sight of the scene runs toward Maya's front steps, terrified that something happened to Maya. But Maya comes to greet her, seemingly fine. She lets Emily know that Alison has been found, and Emily is excited until Maya tells her that it is her body that has been found. A stretcher with a body bag atop it is then wheeled past where they are standing. The Pretty Little Liars find one another amidst the crowd and stand together to discuss the craziness.

Back at home, Hanna sits on the couch eating ice cream, eyes glued to the television set, as the news report of Alison's resurfacing unfolds. Apparently, her body was found under the gazebo in the backyard, which had been under construction the summer before when Alison had gone missing. Suddenly, Ashley loudly enters the house... with Darren. The two kiss animalistically. She then climbs the stairs with him, leading him to her bedroom, turning to exchange eye glances with Hanna, who watches guiltily frozen on the couch.

The next day, a funeral service is held in Rosewood's local church. There, Jessica DiLaurentis greets the Pretty Little Liars and thanks them for coming. They all sit together, among hundreds of attending townspeople and reporters. Just before the service, Ezra corners Aria alone to apologize for her loss and for brushing her off. Aria gives Ezra a soft kiss, before turning to leave. He pulls her back and kisses her properly, sending the signal that he wants the relationship to continue. At the service, Hanna offers her hip flask to the other girls, and they share the fact that they have all received messages from "A." Jenna Marshall arrives, led by Toby Cavanaugh, to their utter shock and also Jessica's surprise.

After the service, Darren Wilden introduces himself to the Pretty Little Liars, though Hanna needs no introduction. He lets them know that Alison's police case is no longer a missing person's case, but a murder mystery. Spookily, he lets the girls know that he will be reviewing their statements and watching them... A message from "A" texted to all four of their cellphones lets them know that he/she will be watching too. Their biggest fear is "The Jenna Thing" being revealed.


  • Alexis Denisof of Angel was originally cast as Byron Montgomery and appeared in the unaired pilot, but was replaced by Chad Lowe in April 2010.
  • Similarly, Cody Allen Christian's role of Mike was originally given to Igor Hudacek, but the part was recast.


  • We learn in "Keep Your Friends Close" that the secret Alison threatened to expose during the flashback was that Spencer shared a kiss with Melissa's boyfriend Ian.
  • It is revealed in "The First Secret" that Darren Wilden and Ashley Marin had met over a year ago. He expressed his interest and she turned him down.


  • The term 'Pilot' is traditionally used in the entertainment industry to identify the first episode of a television series.
  • The title would have been "Popular in Life and Death" if "Pilot" hadn't been chosen. The line is spoken by Spencer in the first episode while the Liars are at Ali’s funeral. “Can you believe what a scene this is?” Hanna asks. “Ali would have loved it,” comments Aria. “Popular in life and death,” says a cynical Spence.

Main Cast

Supporting Cast


Featured Music

  • "Secret" by The Pierces* (Opening Theme)
  • "Don't Trust Me" by 30H!3 (sleepover in Spencer's barn)
  • "I Won't" by Colbie Caillat* (Aria drives Mike to lacrosse practice)
  • "Beauty Queen" by Ben's Brother* (Aria meets Ezra in bar)
  • "Happiness" by The Fray (Aria and Ezra continue chatting)
  • "More of You" by Mozella* (Aria and Ezra make out)
  • "It Girl" by Twirl (Hanna and Mona shop)
  • "Flaunt" by Girls Love Shoes (Emily meets Maya moving in)
  • "When Love Goes Well" by Michael Rossback (Ella and Byron talk)
  • "I Got Up" by Overnight Lows (flashback of Spencer, Ali and Hanna)
  • "Suggestion" by Orelia Has Orchestra* (Alison's body is found)
  • "Begin Again" by Measure (guests arrive to Alison's funeral)
  • "Hands of Time" by Rachel Diggs (girls receive text from "A")


Promotional & BTS