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Pretty Little Liars was one of those television shows that garnered something of a cult following, and since it went off the air in 2017, a fervent fandom has kept it relevant. The drama of the show focused on a crime mystery, but the real draw was the friendship between its ensemble cast members.

As the show ran for a total of seven seasons, viewers got to see the characters grow from teens into young women, and the transformations in their relationships kept fans coming back year after year. What some viewers may not know is that one of the major characters who ended up being part of the entire series wasn’t supposed to be on the screen that long at all. In fact, he was supposed to die in the very first season of Pretty Little Liars.

‘Pretty Little Liars’ explores a mysterious crime

The Liars and others standing together
Pretty Little Liars | Freeform

Pretty Little Liars premiered on  ABC Family (now known as Freeform) in 2010. The show centered around four teenage friends who were investigating the disappearance of one of their other friends while simultaneously fighting off an anonymous enemy threatening to expose their deepest secrets.

The four friends — Aria, Hanna, Emily, and Spencer — had gone their separate ways after the strange vanishing of Alison, their clique’s leader. However, they were brought back together a year later by the anonymous texts from “A” that threatened to unravel their lives.

The show takes a dark turn when the friends find out it’s not Alison pranking them as they had initially suspected. In fact, Alison’s body is discovered, upping the drama and suspense as the friends try to figure out who it is that’s haunting their lives.

The final solution to the mystery wouldn’t come until the very last season. Fans of the series then got to see a little more of the drama unfold in a spinoff that ran for a single season. 

The show is based on a series of books

Pretty Little Liars takes its plot from a young adult book series of the same name. Written by Sara Shepherd, the books have a lot in common with the series, but there are also some serious differences between the two, as Screenrant explores

For one thing, the book was set three years after Alison’s disappearance while the show is set only one year later. Other changes include characters who survive in the book but died early in the show (like Maya).

One major change has to do with the character of Toby. Portrayed by actor Keegan Allen in the television series, Toby becomes a major love interest for Spencer. Fans really liked Toby’s character and rooted for the “Spoby” relationship. 

Toby was supposed to die in Season 1


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Toby ended up playing a major role in the television series and was definitely a fan favorite, but he was never supposed to be around that long. In fact, he was originally supposed to die in the sixth episode. This would have made Toby’s role more closely match the books.

As Screenrant explains, the books had Emily suspecting Toby of both killing Alison and being the anonymous “A.” The pressure of these accusations and some other dark ties to his past led Toby to end his own life by drug overdose. 

Just like in the books, Toby starts out as a pretty creepy character with a potentially dark past, but the show provides more depth and development for the teen. Luckily for Spoby fans, the show decided to take a different route and keep the fan-favorite around much longer. Instead, Toby and Emily end up in a relationship and the character sticks around for all seven heart-pounding seasons.