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19 March 2012

Everyone's a Suspect

Officially, my favourite TV shows consist of: The Good Wife, Mad Men, Have I Got News for You (when I remember) and The Apprentice (BBC version, of course). I say "favourite" when actually, they are pretty much the only programmes I watch, other than the occasional BBC mini-series. And when I say "officially," there are usually one or two other shows I watch--my token guilty pleasure(s). The cycle of these went something like: Dawson's Creek > The OC > Gossip Girl > Pretty Little Liars. I've blogged about some of these before, but PLL is the newest, although season two is nearly at a close. Even though it's highly trashy and silly, I'm actually quite excited to find out what happens in tonight's episode.

I found out about PLL randomly--a blog I read did a post about the style of the four lead actresses and I was intrigued enough to watch the pilot, which, in turn, caught my attention enough to check out the other six or seven episodes of season one that had aired to date. PLL is a cross between Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl. I watched the former for a couple of seasons but I hated the fact that every time a small mystery was solved, you wouldn't care any more because there were three new mysteries that were far juicier. PLL is similar, although perhaps being able to watch seven or eight episodes over the course of a few days, rather than having to wait a whole week between episodes, helped to hook me in.

The plot is this: in a small town in Pennsylvania, four girls who used to be friends--the goth, the prep, the jock and the queen bee--are reunited when, a year after the disappearance--and, it soon transpires, murder--of a fifth friend, they all start to receive threatening notes, texts, IMs and general bad-ass cyber-bullying abuse. Each of the four PLLs has her own secrets but so does everyone in town. As Randy in Scream put it, "There's a very simple formula: everyone's a suspect." At first, the girls think they are being harassed by the same person who killed their friend Alison, and this may be true, but nearly two whole seasons in and although we have plenty of guilty-looking people and people with motives, we still don't know who killed Alison or who is "A," the girls' pseudonymous cyber-bully.

Tonight, though, A will be revealed--revealed to the audience and to the PLLs--and the season finale will set up a whole new mystery for next season. Interestingly, the producers and writers have known from the beginning who A is and clues have been placed along the way, which means people like me, who like solving puzzles, keep rewatching earlier episodes in search of clues. Meanwhile, executive producer Marlene King and others, keep dropping hints on Twitter and in interviews. There are now so many clues (some of which are probably misleading) that no suspect seems to fit perfectly. Each time you think you've cracked the mystery, you will remember that other hint you were given.

At this point, I'm giving up the guessing game, although if pushed, my money would be on Maya, not least because Bianca Lawson seemed old for a teenager when she was in Dawson's Creek, back in 1999, and that was last millennium. But the most important thing is that the revealed A makes sense--and has a good motive. Knowing PLL, however, the cliffhanger ending will probably mean that I'll be far more interested in the new mystery than the implication's of A's identity.

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