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Me, Spencer, the others - we all tell lies. But you're the only one who actually knows how to live in a lie.
Hanna to Mona

The Guilty Girl's Handbook is the eighth episode of Season 4 of Pretty Little Liars. The episode aired on July 30, 2013.


Pam and Emily

At the beginning of the episode, Emily and Pam Fields are at a motel. They are staying there temporarily because of the car which drove through their living room in the previous episode. All they know is that it was a stolen car and no driver was seen fleeing the scene. Pam tells Emily not to miss the appointment she has to talk about college with Ezra.

Emily texts Spencer, Aria, and Hanna that they're okay, and also asks about how Hanna's mom is. Spencer, Aria, and Hanna are in Spencer's kitchen, waiting for Spencer's mom to come home with news about Ashley's bail. They talk about how CeCe is probably Red Coat and trying to keep them from finding out for sure. Veronica enters the kitchen and tells them that the judge refused bail. Hanna is angry, and Veronica has some more bad news - Ashley will be moved to the state prison in Muncy to await the trial. The girls all go upstairs.

Spencer and Aria try to convince Hanna none of this is her fault. They promise Veronica will win the case. Hanna doesn't want to have to move into her dad's place with the "gruesome twosome," aka Isabel and Kate. She rejects a call from Caleb, and then allows Spencer and Aria to go to school without her. 

Mike and Aria

Mike finds Aria at school and informs her that he won't be home tonight because the lacrosse team will be partying after their game whether they win or lose. Aria starts questioning him and he says he just needs to spend time with the guys because they are treating him differently since the thing happened with Connor's car and he's handling it. Aria notices Mike carrying a bag from the Tang Soo Doo studio Jake teaches at. Mike admits to wanting to learn how to defend himself. 

Ezra and Emily talk about Zoe

In his classroom, Ezra is taklking to Malcolm on the phone talking about a drawing Malcolm made for him. When Ezra notices Emily, he ends the call, and he and Emily begin talking. He is surprised she showed up to their meeting after hearing about what happened to her house. He says he's sorry and asks if they have any leads. Ezra brings up how last year Emily and her friends were dodging some serious threats which Mona ultimately confessed to, and asks if anything similar is happening again. At first Emily doesn't respond, but then denies that anything is going on and quickly changes the subject by asking about a college. 

Caleb and Spencer are walking together in the hallway at school. Caleb is worried about Hanna because she hasn't been taking his calls, but Spencer tells him that she's just dealing with her mother not getting bail. Spencer promises to check on her later and tell her to call him. Spencer hopes that everything going on with Hanna's mom and Emily's house in an indication that "A" thinks they're getting close to revealing her identity and finding Wilden's killer. She asks about the phone number Nigel was calling, but Caleb says that it is connected to three numbers in New York. That's why Toby's in New York trying to figure out who Nigel was calling. Spencer thinks it's CeCe. 

Back in the classroom, Ezra and Emily are still talking about colleges. Emily thinks she'll have a hard time getting into a good college since she can't swim anymore. Ezra says she has a better shot than most people because of the work she did in Haiti over the summer. He asks her if she's in touch with any of her old supervisors, and she says there was one named Zoe. Ezra tells her to get in contact with Zoe and get a recommendation letter.

Ashley talking to Hanna from jail

At home, Hanna receives a collect call from her mother. Ashley doesn't want Hanna to worry about anything. They tell each other that they miss each other and Ashley assures Hanna everything will be alright, then Hanna starts crying. They say "I love you" to each other and hang up. Then, Hanna gets up and starts walking to the kitchen, where it's revealed that she has invited Mona over.

Hanna tells Mona that she wants to falsely confess to Wilden's murder, so that her mom doesn't spend her life in prison. Hanna says she needs Mona's help to make this lie perfect so that the police believe she really killed him. Mona asks her why she chose her to help since she could have been the one who set her up, but Hanna believes Mona meant it when she said she never wanted to hurt her mom, and also Mona's the only person she knows who has lived in a lie, and Mona agrees to help her.

Veronica's intern: Beckett

Meanwhile, Spencer cuts school to check on Hanna, who is supposed to be at her house. She encounters strange man in a suit and asks who he is. His name is Beckett Frye and he is Veronica's intern assigned to the Ashley Marin case. Spencer offers to help him with the boxes of files which were delivered to Veronica's house instead of her office, with the intention of looking through them the first chance she gets.

Back at Hanna's house, Mona and Hanna are trying to create a perfect lie to make it seem as if Hanna killed Wilden. Mona tells her she can't just keep saying "I did it," she needs to have a motive and make every piece of evidence pointing to Ashley, point to her instead. Hanna says that Wilden was threatening her because she accused him of getting Alison pregnant, and that Wilden possibly murdered Alison. Mona smiles and says that's a really good motive.

Back at Spencer's house, Spencer searches through some boxes while Beckett's back is turned while he is on the phone with Veronica. She immediately finds a file connecting Wilden to the investigation of Toby's mother's death and takes it.

Jake and Aria

Aria visits Jake outside his studio to ask if Mike is one his students. Jake says he is and that he's really good. Aria wants to know if Mike has said anything odd, and Jake tells her Mike once said something about his teammates being against him, which causes Aria to become a little more worried about Mike. Jake tells Aria if she ever needs him, he is there for her, no strings attached.

The paper Spencer took from Beckett's boxes

Spencer walks into Radley carrying a tin of homemade cookies. She locates Eddie Lamb, saying she's there to thanks everyone who took care of her, and opens the cookie tin to reveal the file she stole.

Spencer asks Eddie about the night Toby's mom died, when he talked to the Detective Wilden. She wants to know why Wilden's notes say Marion Cavanaugh jumped from the roof while his official police report states she jumped out a window. Eddie says it makes no difference, but Spencer thinks Wilden was lying for a reason, and she wants to know why. Spencer wonders if someone paid him off, and Eddie says he was promoted from patrolman to detective awfully fast. When Eddie says it's best to forget all this, Spencer insists that she and Toby deserve answers, and so does Hanna's mother, who is about to take the fall for a murder other people had motive for.

Back at Hanna's house, Hanna and Mona continue to talk about confessing to Wilden's murder. They discuss how to explain the muddy shoes. Mona tries to make sure Hanna understands that she needs to say that she wore the shoes, and not Ashley, and that she threw them out after they wouldn't come clean. Once Hanna repeats this lie convincingly, Mona smiles and says they can move on to the next part of this confession: the gun.

A picture of Emily working in Haiti

Meanwhile, Zoe approaches Emily outside the Brew. Emiliy says it's great to see her and gives her a hug. She apologizes for losing touch, but Zoe understands and asks how she's been dealing with losing Maya. Emily still misses her. Zoe recalls how devastated Emily had been last summer, but how she threw herself into her work, and pulls out her phone to show her a picture she had taken. Zoe praises Emily's work ethic and Emily asks where Zoe will be going this summer. She says Nicaragua and asks if she'd like to come.

Caleb visits Ashley

Caleb visits Ashley in jail. Ashley thanks Caleb for coming. She tells him that she's worried about Hanna, and Caleb says that Hanna's worried about her. Ashley knows that Hanna is angry and wants Caleb to make sure that Hanna doesn't do anything stupid. She thinks that Hanna will listen to Caleb. He says he'll do what he can, and she thanks him. As they take Ashley away, Caleb tells her that Hanna loves her and would do anything for her. Ashley says that's what she's afraid of right before they take her back to her cell.

Back at the Brew, Emily tells Zoe about hurting her shoulder and not being able to swim. Zoe suggests they find a less physical role for Emily on the Nicaragua trip, but Emily says she will be fine by then. Zoe says that she could write Emily a glowing recommendation in her sleep. Pam comes to talk to Emily, and apologizes for interrupting. Pam greets Zoe before telling Emily that they won't be back in their home for months. Pam asks Emily to drop something off at the police station, and she agrees, to spare Pam from having to her former colleagues. Zoe is sorry to hear Emily is living in a hotel and has so much going on. Emily asks for the form to sign up for the Nicaragua trip next summer and Zoe happily hands it over.  

Caleb interrupting

Hanna and Mona continue perfecting her confession. Mona asks her the types of questions the cops would ask - where she got the gun, why her mother's fingerprints were on the bullets. Mona asks how killing Wilden made Hanna feel and when Hanna gets annoyed, Mona says this is the kind of question that will reveal if she's telling the truth or not. Hanna begins imagining the scene with Wilden, trying to make it as real as possible. Just then, Caleb shows up at the back door.

Aria is home alone and spooked by the sound of cars driving by outside, the incident at Emily's house still fresh in her mind. She calls Mike and his teammate picks up. He says Mike's not conscious... yet, and hangs up. Concerned, Aria then makes another phone call.

Hanna's imagination

Caleb asks why she's not with her father, and Hanna lies that he's at a work thing. Then he questions why Mona's here, and Hanna lies and says that she's here to help her deal with her mom being away. Caleb doesn't seem to believe this, and questions whether Mona really 'moves on' from things, she goes 'right through.' Hanna says that she knows he was looking for her to check in on her, and she says that she's ok, so he can go. Caleb doesn't believe anything she's saying so Hanna gets annoyed and tells Caleb to leave her alone. He says, "Sure. I'll leave you alone." and then leaves through the back door.

Spencer comes back home from Radley and Veronica tells her to meet her father for dinner at the club. As she starts to go upstairs, Beckett asks Spencer if he wants her to slip the file she stole back in the box before Veronica notices. Surprised he even noticed, Spencer says she'll take care of it, and Beckett tells her to suit herself and goes back to doing his work.

Mike's friend answers the phone

Mona continues to drill facts about Wilden's murder into Hanna's head so she gets every detail right when she confesses. Hanna goes back to envisioning killing Wilden. Standing in front of his car which had been retrieved from the lake, Hanna shoots him once, and then again when Mona reminds him he was shot twice. Then Hanna envisions her mother standing there and staring. Mona says Hanna is ready.

Later, Hanna prepares to go to the police station and confess to killing Wilden. Before Hanna can go, Caleb reveals he never left. He didn't want to let her be alone with Mona. He stops her before she can go to the police station to confess.

Aria calls Mike with Jake

Jake goes over Aria's house. He is there to help Aria figure out where Mike is. Aria remembers hearing arcade sounds when she spoke to Mike's friend, and Jake knows of an arcade near the school they played, so they decide to drive over there, but then Aria's phone rings. It's Mike. He tells her he's fine, his friend was just joking about him being unconscious, and that he's going to stay at his friend Billy's house, much to Aria's dismay. Aria is upset Mike put her through all that tonight, but Jake thinks Mike will be fine, and says he'll keep an eye on him just in case he'll tell her if Mike gets out of control. He also says he's more worried about Aria, and offers to stay. Aria agrees and asks him if he's hungry.


Back at Hanna's house, Caleb is trying to talk some sense into Hanna. He thinks Hanna's idea of confessing to Wilden's murder is crazy, and that Mona must have put her up to it. They argue as Caleb tries to convince her it was a terrible plan to begin with. Hanna asks if Caleb thinks her mom is guilty. Caleb confesses that he did, before he went to visit her in prison. Now he believes she's not guilty of anything.

Pam crying, and Emily comforting her

Emily comes home to their motel room and finds her mom has bought some groceries. Emily tells her she dropped off the insurance papers at the precint and says they are going to want her back, but Pam is going to look for other work in the meantime. Emily is excited to tell her mom about going to Nicaragua next summer with Habitat for Humanity, and Pam starts crying, probably because she's upset about Emily growing up and leaving, in combination with their money troubles and their house being damaged.

The camera follows a pair of feet walking through the police station, then pans up to reveal Mona. She asks to speak to a detective about a murder.

Aria and Jake

Jake and Aria watch TV in her living room. She apologizes for ruining his night, but he says he's happy to be there. They flip through channels until an Insidious 2 ad comes on. They make plans to see the movie next week. Aria nearly says it's a date, but stops herself, remembering that she doesn't feel like she's ready to start dating. But this hints at her interest in Jake.

Spencer comes downstairs and talks to her mother. Veronica asks how she liked Beckett, saying how he's smart and thinks Spencer should like him. Spencer asks about Hanna's mother and Veronica explains how her job will be harder with Ashley in the state facility. Spencer shows her mother the paper she took from the box. Veronica calls it useless, but Spencer insists it is important. It proves Wilden falsified the police report and shows he may have been paid off to do just that. It could prove Toby's mom didn't kill herself. Veronica says that if she wants to help Toby, she needs to help him move on. Just then, Veronica gets a surprising phone call asking her to come down to the police station. She's been informed that Mona Vanderwaal confessed to killing Wilden. This shocks Spencer.

While Aria and Jake are watching TV, her phone beeps, and she seems shocked, too.

Hanna and Caleb are still in Hanna's kitchen when Hanna gets a text from Spencer about Mona confessing. She shows it to Caleb, and both of them are surprised. They go to the police station, too.

Emily also gets a text.

Mona smiles.jpg

Emily, Aria, Spencer, Hanna, Caleb, Veronica, and Jake go to the police station. The four girls and Veronica all look shocked as they see Mona sitting in an interrogation room. Mona smiles at them as the blinds are closed, leaving them all to wonder what Mona is up to.

At the end of the episode, "A" is seen drilling holes through a floor from the underside.


  • Eddie Lamb makes an appearance in this episode, his first appearance this season.
  • This whole episode is over the course of one day, as indicated by Spencer wearing the same outfit from the beginning to the end.
  • Zoe says to Emily, "So where you been, Joe DiMaggio?" referencing a famous line from the song Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkle, "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?"
  • The promo for this episode leaked a day earlier than usual.
  • Bryan Holdman was originally set to write this episode, but things got shuffled (April 24).
  • The table read-through was on May 20, 2013.
  • Filming began early on May 21, 2013 and ended on May 29, 2013.
  • On April 16, 2013, Keegan keeked a video about getting a new Pretty Little Liars script. You could somewhat see that the title begins with a "T." Meaning that it's for this episode and they got the script on the said date. However, Keegan was not in this episode, so it could have been a different episode.

Title and Background

In this episode, Mona is working with Hanna to perfect a lie enabling Hanna to plead guilty for Wilden's murder. The title may be referring to this process, as Mona, someone guilty of many crimes, is providing her skills and knowledge (a handbook of sorts) to Hanna so she may appear guilty.

Main Cast

Guest Cast


Hanna [to Mona]: Me, Spencer, the others - we all tell lies. But you're the only one who actually knows how to live in a lie.

Mona (coaching Hanna): Motive. What's your motive?
Hanna: He was threatening me because I told people he got Alison DiLaurentis pregnant. I think he might have killed her.
Mona: That's good. That's really good.

Mona [after Hanna envisions shooting Wilden in cold blood]: Self-defense, Hanna. Remember? We're going for self-defense.

Hanna: It's complicated and I don't do complicated. Okay, if my mom doesn't get out of jail, I have to move in with my dad, his wife, her blonde tarantula of a daughter. So compared to that, talking to Mona makes all the sense in the world.

Caleb: Hanna, you're talking about going to prison, okay Prison for kids is still prison.

Featured Music

  • "Be My Cure" by The Rescues (Aria asks Jake about Mike)
  • "When We Fell" by Hot as Sun (Zoe meets up with Emily at the Brew)
  • "In Case I Go Again" by Mikey Wax (Zoe and Emily talk about volunteering)
  • "The Grind" by November (Aria calls Mike and his friend picks up)
  • "So What?" by Corey Tut (Mike calls Aria back)
  • "If You Ever Need Me" by Nate Fowler (Aria and Jake watch TV)
  • "Bend Into the Break" by Jules Larson & AG (Mona walks into the police station)
  • "Bad Things" by Meiko (the girls see Mona at the police station)


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The Guilty Girl's Handbook has a photo gallery.