By Samantha Highfill
March 20, 2013 at 08:09 PM EDT
Eric McCandless/ABC Family
  • TV Show

If, by some miracle, you thought you knew what was going on in Rosewood, last night’s season three finale probably proved you wrong … or at least presented you with a few new puzzles to solve. The bad news? The answers to those puzzles are months away. The good news? I might have something that will help you with your theories.

This morning, after my head stopped spinning with questions of motives, teams, and trunks, I spoke with PLL executive producer Oliver Goldstick about all things red coat, Toby, the arrival of a new suspect, and more:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: At this point, is the red coat mystery supposed to be solved, or is that still up in the air?

OLIVER GOLDSTICK: It will still be up in the air. We knew we threw something at the audience. We called it the “Is She or Isn’t She” episode, because we threw something at audience that we felt like a lot of the audience suspected was happening already and whether to confirm their suspicions or at least throw some spin on it, we wanted to bring the girls up to speed with where the audience was. The audience was suspecting that Alison was alive; we certainly wanted the girls to come into the fourth season with the same theory.

But red coat is definitively the person in charge of the “A” team and behind all of this?


Last night, Mona claimed she didn’t know the identity of red coat. Had she not met her in the season two finale while she was in Radley?

Mona later said that was a vision. Because no one else saw that. Remember when the doctor came in, there was no one sitting in that chair. That was a manifestation of her imagination.

Will we learn red coat’s motivation? What’s the time frame on that?

You’ll get that soon. You’re going to get that very soon. We’ve been hinting at a lot of things. We sort of threw something out there last week as well about CeCe. Everyone thought that she was Alison’s mentor and there was some kind of big sister relationship, and then Dr. Wren told us that actually Ali got CeCe kicked out of college. There was no love lost between those two.

Were the individuals behind last night’s fire part of the “A” team?

That’s a great question and that’s the same question the girls have when we enter the fourth season, because Emily obviously was privy to something last night, which was explosive. There were three of them — Melissa was talking to the other two, to Jenna and Shana, so there’s a trio of harpies here we have to worry about. And the girls are all aware of that now. Is it the “A” team? Are they minions? Is one of them in charge?

Are we going to learn more about this Shana and Jenna relationship?

Yea. We’ll learn more about it when we come back. We were hinting last night at Jenna’s sight situation; the operation was not a success. We sort of presaged that last year when we said they weren’t certain it’d be successful.

Let’s get to this Wilden’s car, is-it-a-dead-body situation …

It’s going to be something juicy. That’s all I can tell you. It’s very juicy and game-changing for us.

No matter what is in that trunk, dead body or not, did the fact that Hanna and Aria pushed it into the river affect what is in that trunk?


Moving to the flashback, we’re back to the hand coming out of the ground. What is the timeframe on learning who that is?

That comes back to haunt us on several occasions. We’re already up to episode five of the fourth season, and there’s something in the second episode that will give some insight into what that hand was about. So you’ll learn some things early on in season 4A — why that hand popped out of the ground like that.

NEXT: Toby, Wren and Mrs. DiLaurentis

Did we finally learn Toby’s motivation last night? Is that settled? 

You sort of have but he’s not done with “A.” When you get to season four, Toby’s got a lovely arc coming up, which is starting right now. “A” is not done with Toby, and it will be really interesting how he might be lured back, in some ways, into the “A” world.

Are we saying Toby might not be 100 percent good?

No. We’re not saying that. His intentions were clear. He’s Toby. We can’t do that to Toby. What’s so great about a series where you have the liberty or license to have this many episodes is people forget where we started with that character because they’ve come to love him. But they have to remember those first couple episodes when he was our Boo Radley and really had a turbulent history with Alison and a lot of motivation to want to see her dead given what she did to him. We have more coming up. There’s a Toby-Alison flashback coming up, which is really cool, in the beginning of season four.

Are we going to see more of Melissa next season?

You will be seeing more of her. She’s in episodes three and four of next season early on, so you’ll definitely be seeing more of Melissa.

Now that Ezria is done, at least for now, is Wesley going to come back into the picture?

Not immediately. Not right away. He’s actually doing a film right now and is not even available to us … we have to work around their schedules, and when we hear that an actor is unavailable for three months we say, “OK, we’ll make that work.”

I’m still on the fence about Wren. Is he good or bad?

Again, I will bring up the same thing with Toby, to go back to the fact that the first couple episodes of this show, he was a sleezebucket. And what happens is we, hopefully, have dimensionalized these people so we’ve redeemed them sometimes, we’ve made them go, “Oh you know what, I love him.” And then all of a sudden you go “Wait a minute!” First impression, go back to him cheating on his fiancé with her little sister. That’s how we met Dr. Wren. So we feel like he’s a pretty little liar as well and that’s something we play with on this show is that everybody has got something to cover, has some kind of secret.

Do you all know how many members of the “A” team exist?

It’s not a small country. It’s not a team where it gets to be like some people are benched waiting for their chance to throw something at the girls. It’s a circle. If anything, it’s a tight circle. And I’m saying “if” because it could be one person still. You saw last night Mona said they were taking orders, so “A” has graduated to a place where they have minions. They’ve got people doing their bidding for them.

Byron had that creepy stint and then he seemed to be good again. Is he definitively good or bad, or are we still up in the air about Byron’s involvement in all of this?

I think Byron’s sins are what they are. We know them, and I think he’s clearly a flawed character, but we’re not going to the place certainly in the fourth season where Byron is perpetrating evil deeds against the girls.

A couple cast members have posted photos from the set of season four with what looks like younger versions of the girls. I assume that’s a flashback?

It’s actually not. I’m not going to tell you anymore, but it’s not a flashback. That I can definitively say.

I’ve heard rumors around Mrs. DiLaurentis. What can you tell me about that?

Yes, she returns Mrs. D. She’s part of the season in a big way and a suspect, a really cool character. Let’s just say she’s clearly not back because she wants to redesign the garden. Jason is gone, and she seems to have some weird motives. She also wants to be gathering the girls close to her for some reason, and it’s really mysterious or intriguing as to why she wants these girls to be hanging at the DiLaurentis house and drawing them close.

When you say she’s a suspect, is that in terms of the “A” team?

I’d say a suspect in everything, in Alison’s death. I’m not saying she perpetrated. I’m saying she might know things. That’s more what it is: She knows things. Whether she’s protecting somebody. She might be somebody who has an ulterior motive for coming back to — not might, does — for coming back to Rosewood, and she will have to spin her own mythology now about what happened that night, etc.

Finally, why would red coat save the girls from the burning building?

That’s the big question starting season four. That is the big question that looms over the first couple episodes of season four. If this in indeed the person, why would we be saved by this person? Saved for what? Saved for what?

Now it’s your turn, Liars fans! What were the Liars “saved for?” And could Hanna and Aria have accidentally committed murder when they pushed Wilden’s car into the river? Spin your theories in the comments below! I will see all of you on June 11, when season four kicks of and we, hopefully, get some answers.

Read more:

‘Pretty Little Liars’ finale react: ‘All things truly wicked start from innocence’

‘Pretty Little Liars’ season 4 gets a premiere date

‘Pretty Little Liars’: How should the series end? The show’s stars and producers weigh in

Episode Recaps

Four little liars and a being named “A” (who may or may not be the fifth little liar) try to live their lives in Rosewood. It’s complicated.
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  • 7
  • TV-14
  • 06/14/11
  • In Season
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