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Perfect secrets in 'Pretty Little Liars'

THE SHOW "Pretty Little Liars"

WHEN | WHERE Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC Family

REASON TO WATCH Second-season launch for teen soap based on Sara Shepard's book series.

CATCHING UP Four pals in fictional Rosewood, Pa., grow closer after the disappearance of a friend, queen bee Alison, later found to be murdered. But this friendship is of necessity; you see, Ali blinded Jenna Marshall (Tamsin Sursok), and the girls have been covering up this secret and a few others. But who murdered Ali, and who is the mysterious "A" who sends them texts, knows their every move and every secret?

Last season ended with the apparent murder of Ian (Ryan Merriman), husband of Spencer Hasting's (Troian Bellisario) sister, Melissa (Torrey DeVitto). Sure, he was one creepy dude, and the girls assume he was the one who offed Ali, and has been watching them all along -- as that flash drive they found in the lockbox appears to prove. But why did "A" want him dead, if he is dead, and what happened to the $10,000 they were going to entrap him with? In fact, what happened to Ian's body? It's gone missing. Meanwhile, Ezra's (Ian Harding) ex suddenly shows up. His girlfriend, Aria (Lucy Hale) is not pleased.

TUESDAY'S EPISODE Spencer, Aria, Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Hanna (Ashley Benson) are ordered to see a shrink to deal with their trauma. But what will they tell the good doctor? Hanna's ex Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) is back; no surprise there. And you won't believe what happens at Emily's house. I would like to tell you, but ABC Family will kill me.

MY SAY The obsession continues. What is it about this show that has consumed so much attention -- a vast amount -- among young fans? In a word, formula. Everyone has a secret. A murder has been committed, now two, and almost all of Rosewood has a motive, or could have one. There's a deep mystery, too, and just like with "Gossip Girl," we all have a theory who "A" must be -- but don't hold your breath waiting for an answer this season. Also, everyone really is pretty, as the title says. There must be a sign outside Rosewood that says "Ugly People will be Prosecuted." Best of all, there's a villain who wears black gloves. Perfect!

BOTTOM LINE Competent soap, and the new season is frothier than ever.


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