|“||It could rupture whether I'm doing what I love or I'm at home playing apples to apples with my parents. I'm not gonna spend the rest of my life sitting in front of a TV. Especially when there's a decent chance it's gonna be shorter than everyone else's.||”|
— Holden Strauss
He has been very good friends with Aria since they were very little, having many play dates and get-togethers, and knows her parents very well.
He spent a year in Portugal for his father's sabbatical on the river delta. He has an abdominal aortic aneurysm and does a type of Korean martial art even though his parents forbid him from doing so because of his heart condition.
The Liars thought that he was gay at first, since he never tried to make a move on Aria, but they were wrong, as it was shown that Holden had a crush on another girl at school.
Holden and his father arrive back in Rosewood.
Holden asks Aria out on a date, unaware of her current status. Aria accepts and plans for them to attend a play at a local theatre, where her and Ezra had planned to go originally. He waits for her there, and gives her a bag of gummy bears, repayment for the candy she used to sneak him during his mother's no-sugar phase. Holden notices the way Aria looks at Ezra, and figures that they are together. He picks up on their relationship and tells Aria that he has stuff to hide from his parents too. He offers to "go out" with her again next Friday.
The Liars suspect that Holden may be gay, because of the fact that he lets Aria pretend to date him just so she can meet Ezra. However, when Aria brings up the subject, he says he isn't.
Aria and Holden go on another "date" at an arcade. There he admits that his plans had been cancelled and coincidentally also Aria's had been cancelled. They decide to bond over air hockey and pizza, and get along well. When Aria's father comes to pick them up, a man accidentally knocks Holden into an air hockey table. Aria gets a glimpse of a nasty looking bruise on Holden's stomach. When she asks him about it, he says it's due to football. Aria mentions her brother Mike also plays football, but she has never seen a bruise like that on him. Holden makes her promise not to tell anyone about it. Byron then comes, preventing Aria from asking anymore questions.
Aria finds Holden setting up for Truth Up Day at school. She questions him about his bruise and tells him how it's unfair that he knows who she's seeing and she doesn't know who he's seeing. He said that was their arrangement. Someone then accidentally knocks his backpack, from which bagged pills roll out. He quickly stuffs it inside, and leaves.
Later, Aria avoids Holden, which leads him to believe it has something to do with her seeing the pills in his bag. Aria asks him if he's doing or dealing drugs, and if he's hooked on something. He says he is not, but before he can explain, Tamborelli calls him away.
Later, Holden meets Aria in the hallways and asks if they're still on for Saturday. Aria refuses, saying she feels uncomfortable with what they're doing and can't handle it if he's hurting himself, thus, calling their deal off.
When Aria is later running to the roof to find Caleb, Holden notices her. Aria gets trapped on the roof, and then discovers someone was outside with her. She attempts to climb a ladder, and someone grabs her leg. We later find out it was Noel. Holden comes and kicks Noel in the chest, knocking him over and freeing Aria. They then leave the roof. When Aria asked how he learned to kick like that, he doesn't answer.
Holden goes to Aria to ask about their date while she's at her locker. She says she can't cover for him unless she knows what he is up to. Holden tells her he does a type of Korean martial arts, that his parents don't approve of. He tells her that the pills she saw were pain pills he hardly ever takes. He shows her bruise, which is completely healed. Holden tells her there's a huge tournament coming up and that it's a qualifying match he can't miss. Aria agrees to go with him.
Later, when Aria is talking to her mom, she tells her that Holden has a heart condition, which is actually the real reason he takes the pills.
Later, Holden and Aria have are off by Ella for their date. Once in private, Holden tells Aria that there was some weird energy in the car, and asks if Ella is starting to wonder. Aria says no, and brushes off the subject. As they part ways, Aria asks if the tournament is dangerous, and Holden says that he has a rematch against the guy who gave him the bruise, and it's gonna be epic. Aria, worried, follows him.
At the tournament, she confronts Holden about his heart condition. He tells her he has an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which can rupture any time, no matter what he's doing. So he prefers to do something he loves, instead of staying home. He says he doesn't want to live his life in front of a TV. He fights in the competition, and defeats his competitor. Aria reschedules her date with Mr. Fitz, and watches Holden's match. Aria congratulates him at the end, and agrees to go on pretend dates with him. Aria's phone then rings, and it's Byron. Aria and Mr. Fitz had decided to go to a restaurant that day. A had told Byron where they were going, and he was there to spy on her. Aria had rescheduled, and so she and Mr. Fitz had never showed up, proving A wrong. He called and talked to Holden, lying and telling him he thought Ella had lost his mom's number, just to confirm whether Aria was really with Holden.
He is seen at the church's volunteers' thank-you party. He speaks with a stressed out Emily who is searching for Hanna. He tells her to calm down and offers her a cupcake. Emily notices that Holden has a stamp on his hand. It matches exactly the same stamp in Emily's flashback of "That Night". Then we see Holden in another flashback. Emily was at the counter in a restaurant located in the corner of Riverside and State Street. Then she suddenly sees hair like Holden's and these are actually his.
Playtime He helps Aria with her wedding plans while also catching up with her.
Season 2 (6/25)
Season 3 (1/24)
Season 7 (2/20)
- Main article: Haria
Aria and Holden have been friends since they were very young. He was said to have taught her to ride a bike by "breaking her training wheels". They grew distant when he moved to Portugal and she started hanging out with Alison, but when she moves out of the country when Alison goes missing they meet again in Portugal. In Season 2, he returns to Rosewood and asks Aria out, to what she accepts to hide from her parents the fact that she was still seeing Ezra. Holden quickly notices she is in love with him when they run into Ezra during the date, so they make an agreement: they go out to Philly and they split, Aria goes with Ezra and they meet again for her parents to pick them up.
However, she soon grows suspicious of what he was doing. first, she believes him to be gay (thanks to her friends' suggestions), but later he finds a suspicious bag that she believed could be drugs. Finally, he confesses to her that he was participating in Tang Soo Do fights and was planning to enter a tournament, despite his heart condition. Aria disapproves at first, but she later goes to see him fight in the tournament and could see she truly loved what he did. Then, Aria decides to accept Holden and expresses how much she admires her friend for being so brave, but she denies another invitation to see him fight.
Holden: I was wondering if you wanted to go out tonight.
Aria: I can't ... but thanks. It's just that I'm grounded.
Holden: Really? Your father said it wouldn't be a problem.
Aria: Oh, our parents talked? Did my mom call to set us up?
Holden: No, I called to ask permission.
Spencer: What? Who even does that anymore?
Holden: My parents have been pushing this whole "Return to Kinder-Gentler Traditions" agenda.
Spencer: No, I'm not saying that it's—
Holden: Laugh now, but I'll be sending you a handwritten thank-you note for letting me interrupt your conversation!
Aria: This tournament, is it dangerous?
Holden: I get it. You're still on that bruise. Don't worry. I've got a rematch against the guy who gave it to me. It's gonna be epic. Wish me luck!
Holden [about his heart]: It could rupture whether I'm doing what I love or I'm at home playing apples to apples with my parents. I'm not gonna spend the rest of my life sitting in front of a TV. Especially when there's a decent chance it's gonna be shorter than everyone else's.