11:03am PT by Ryan Gajewski
'Pretty Little Liars' Boss Talks the "Nightmarish" Christmas Special, Mona's Killer, More
Christmas arrives Tuesday on ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, and because this is Rosewood, Santa Claus won't be the only one who watches you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake. Ah, the joys of "A."
The Liars will be trying their best to stay merry during the show's holiday special, titled "How the 'A' Stole Christmas," despite Mona's death in the midseason finale still casting a shadow over the holidays. As executive producer Marlene King tells The Hollywood Reporter, the Liars will receive a gift of sorts in the episode that sets them on the path toward discovering Mona's killer.
King also told THR which of the show's couples is about to encounter a big "twist" in their relationship, which characters will be returning and what's next for the heroes after Big "A" is finally outed.
What can viewers look forward to in the Christmas special? Will the Liars still be grappling with Mona's death?
Definitely grappling with Mona's death. It's sort of the central theme of the episode and how the Liars are taking it. Hanna is impacted the most by it — she had the closest relationship to Mona and feels in many ways responsible for her death.
Will the episode reveal who killed Mona?
No, but I think people will start to have their ideas as to who killed her. There's a lot of information that is revealed that helps point the finger at the killer.
It sounds like Mona will appear in flashbacks to reveal a clue about her death.
She definitely left behind a plan in the event of her demise that would help the Liars track down her killer. It's kind of a treasure map, so to speak, that is delivered to Hanna at the beginning of the episode, and how that treasure map really gives the Liars hope that, No. 1, they'll be able to clear Spencer for Bethany's murder, and No. 2, find out who killed Mona.
Will this episode be as spooky as the Halloween specials have been?
There are some nightmarish Christmas elements to it. It's festive and fun and romantic, but it also has a lot of scary moments, too. I would call the episode A Christmas Carol meets Rear Window. We haven't paid homage to [Alfred] Hitchcock in a while on the show, and this episode really pays homage to Rear Window.
Are any of the romantic relationships going to be in turmoil in the episode?
There's especially an interesting revelation [for Emily and Paige] during the episode. I don't want to give away what it is, but there's a twist in that relationship during the episode for sure.
Will we see the return of many familiar faces in the rest of this season?
Well, if I tell you, it might ruin some reveals, so I can't tell you! In season five, we're going to see more of Mona in flashbacks, and she's going to help us put together the puzzle of her demise. That's really exciting. We're going to see more of Jason, which is really exciting. Lots of familiar faces coming back — Cindy and Mindy, the twins, who I love.
You said recently that "A's" identity will be revealed prior to the start of season seven. Is that still the plan, and will this be the final "A"?
It's definitely the plan that "A's" identity will be revealed before season seven begins, and that's very much a part of the beginning of the end of the story that we want to tell.
Will that make it difficult for you to know what to focus the rest of the series on, or have you already started mapping that out?
We already know what that is, and we can't tell that story without revealing Big "A's" identity. The two really go hand-in-hand, and it opens us up in a very exciting way.
You're already renewed through season seven. Do you see that as being the end of the series, or do you think the show could go beyond that?
I think there's a potential for the series to go on past season seven, but I think the story of this "A" will be over by the end of season seven.
Pretty Little Liars' Christmas special airs Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.