There are a lot of secret siblings on television.
Plenty of TV shows tend to build their foundation on common tropes such as the cringe-worthy love triangle trope and the long lost sibling trope.
If you need to stir up some drama, especially in a campy teen series, there’s no better way than by bringing in a secret sibling that’s jealous, scorned, vengeful, broken, betrayed, looking for a family, or all of the above.
Some secret siblings are introduced in a sensical way with the serious laying some breadcrumbs leading up to the introduction.
Other reveals come out of left field and frustrate audiences by appearing as mere plot devices thrown in for the sake of it.
And sometimes, the trope works well as the secret siblings become pivotal to the storyline and the main character’s development.
We’re looking back at some of our favorite secret siblings on television. Which ones would you add to the list?
Chic/Charles – Riverdale
On Riverdale, Betty and Jughead’s first half brother (yes, they’re still dating), Chic, was a poser but stirred up enough drama to make the fandom collectively hate him.
Eventually, we met the real Charles, an FBI agent, who bonded with Betty over her mother’s time at The Farm.
Unfortunately, Charles turned out to be just as crazy as Chic. The two were revealed to be lovers who are plotting something against the family that abandoned them.
Scott Rosson – Gossip Girl
Scott appeared in the second season of Gossip Girl as the love child of Lily van der Woodsen and Rufus Humphrey, thus making romantic couple Serena and Dan half-siblings.
Everyone tried to keep Scott a secret for as long as they could, but eventually, the secret sibling was outed by the one and only Gossip Girl.
Adam – Dynasty
Adam, the kidnapped child of Blake Carrington and Alexis Carrington, appeared early on in Dynasty but was quickly revealed to be a fake hired by Alexis to get her hands on the Carrington money.
The real Adam Carrington made his way to the Manor, though, and he’s equally as deranged and way more dangerous as his predecessor.
He had his brother, Steven, committed in Europe after thinking he was having “hallucinations,” shoved his mother’s face into the fireplace, and continued to sabotage his half-sister, Fallon, daily all while hoping to gain his father’s love.
Ari and Ziva – NCIS
After Ari murdered NCIS agent Kate Todd, everyone believed that Ziva David was simply his Mossad control officer.
It’s only after Ziva kills Ari to save Gibbs that we find out that he was her half-brother.
It’s a storyline that took place during NCIS Season 3 and has had repercussions that have lasted until present day NCIS Season 17!
Zelena – Once Upon a Time
Zelena, aka the Wicked Witch of the West (from the Wizard of Oz), arrived in Once Upon a Time Season 3.
She was Regina Mills’ (the Evil Queen) half-sister, abandoned as a child. She had wished dearly for a family.
Her jealousy over Regina consumed her and led to plenty of magical wars before the sisters mend their relationship and lived happily ever after.
Anezka – Jane the Virgin
Yael Groblas pulled double duty on Jane the Virgin to portray the main character Petra and her long lost twin, Anezka.
Anezka was a “shy mouse” who grew up in an orphanage in the Czech Republic before being brought to America by their evil mother, Magda.
Though it seemed like she wanted a genuine relationship with Petra, she was later revealed to be conspiring with Magda to steal Rafael’s money and flee the country.
Maggie and Meredith – Grey’s Anatomy
In the Grey’s Anatomy Season 10 finale, we learned that Maggie and Meredith are half-sisters. Their mother, Ellis, had a fling with Richard when Meredith was very young.
They put Maggie up for adoption, but when she got older, she learned her late mother was a top-notch surgeon at Grace Seattle Hospital.
While the sisters had a strange relationship at first, they later came around and developed a friendship.
Adam – Supernatural
Adam was revealed to be John Winchester’s son on Supernatural.
But it was more shocking to find out that John was actually a better father to Adam than our boys, Dean and Sam.
It’s no surprise that they left him in hell. The resentment is real.
Wally – Flash
The Flash Season 2 introduced us to Wally, who was revealed to be Iris’ long lost brother from her estranged mother.
Wally hesitated to embrace the familial unit, but eventually joined Team Flash and becomes Kid Flash.
Alex Drake – Pretty Little Liars
The PLL family tree was more complicated than the one from Game of Thrones , and there were plenty of surprise sibling reveals including Alex Drake as “AD” in the series finale.
Alex was the daughter of Mary Drake and Peter Hastings, and Spencer’s identical twin sister.
While Spencer was given to her biological father and his wife, Alex was given up for adoption to an orphanage in the UK where she plotted her insanely complex revenge.
Charlotte DiLaurentis – Pretty Little Liars
Like I said, the family tree is very complicated. Charlotte was born “Charles” and transitioned into the character we know as CeCe.
Though she was the biological daughter of Mary Drake and Pastor Ted, she was adopted by Jessica and Kenneth DiLaurentis (Jessica’s sister is Mary).
That made her Alison and Jason’s biological cousin and adoptive sister (and she had a romantic relationship with Jason!), and also, the biological half-sister of Spencer Hastings.
Derek – One Tree Hill
In yet another case where we meet the “fake” secret sibling before meeting the real one, a deranged and broken man named Ian posed as Peyton’s half-brother, Derek, to get close to her.
When fake Derek realized that he’s losing Peyton, he tried to rape her, but thankfully, Lucas and her real brother, Derek, a US Marine, came to her rescue.
Patrick – Revenge
Patrick (played by This Is Us’ Justin Hartley) was Victoria Grayson’s long-lost son on Revenge, a child she had after being raped by a neighbor and gave away to a trusted nun at the convent.
She paid him $5 million so that he’d stop searching for her but when they reunited, he was the only child who didn’t resent her.
Their relationship was borderline incestual.
Diana – The Secret Circle
After arriving in Chance Harbour, Cassie Blake began to unravel her family history and learned that her mother was a witch and her father specialized in dark magic and sired several children together thus making her new friend, Diane, her half-sister.
This added to the awkwardness already stemming from the fact that Diane’s boyfriend was “destined” to be with Cassie.
For a series that lasted a mere one season, they managed to squeeze in two popular tropes!
Dawn – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Dawn simply turned up in season 5 as Buffy’s never before seen younger sister.
Later it was revealed that the girl was actually a mystical “key” to unlocking dimensions and was made into Buffy’s sister so the Slayer would protect her.
It was an incredibly odd game-changer that continues to mystify many fans.
Sutton and Emma – The Lying Game
The premise of The Lying Game found two identical sisters finding out that the other exists.
Upon meeting, they agreed to switch lives for a few days.
But when Sutton failed to show up at the designated meeting place, Emma was torn between coming clean about her identity or figuring out what happened to her sister and the truth behind their separation.
Hermosa – Riverdale
Up until Riverdale Season 4, it was believed that Veronica Lodge was an only child.
After all, she’s simultaneously the apple of her father, Hiram Lodge’s, eye and the thorn in his side.
But in a plot twist that was a little too convenient, Hermosa came to town to be there for her father when he got out of prison and briefly took the throne as his “new favorite daughter” thus making things messier between Veronica and Hiram.
The introduction didn’t make much sense and left many fans scratching their heads.
At least it wasn’t as big of a disaster as the Chic/Charles storyline.
Morgana – Merlin
Morgana was revealed to be Arthur’s sister instead of just Ward of the King.
That was a bit odd, though, since early in the first season there was a tad of romantic tension.
Thankfully, it quickly died and was transformed into brotherly/sisterly love.
Paige – Charmed
During Charmed Season 4, Piper and Pheobe found out that their mother had an affair with a Whitelighter and that they had a younger half-sister, Paige, who was the most powerful of them all.
They’re united after the death of their eldest sister, Prue.
Emiko – Arrow
Emiko showed up on Arrow Season 7 and was revealed to be Oliver’s half-sister who was abandoned by his father.
It was the major storyline for the season as Emiko was the “big bad” and took his position as the Green Arrow.
Her goal was to destroy Oliver’s legacy by destroying Star City and framing him for it.
Bridget and Siobhan – Ringer
Sarah Michelle Geller plays estranged twins Bridget Kelly and Siobhan Martin on Ringer.
Bridget Kelly was a recovering drug addict and stripper who was under witness protection after witnessing a murder and testifying against her crime lord boss.
When her wealthy, elitist sister appeared to have committed suicide, she assumed her life seamlessly as the family never knew about her existence in the first place.
Missy Cooper – The Big Bang Theory
Missy Cooper only showed up for two episodes in The Big Bang Theory’s whole run.
Still, her first appearance was a surprise to Sheldon’s friends and was quite disruptive as Leonard, Wolowitz, and Raj competed for her attentions.
Freya Mikaelson – The Originals
Freya became a fan favorite, so it’s easy to forget that she wasn’t part of the family until The Originals Season 2.
Esther told Mikeal that their firstborn daughter died of the plague but instead, gave her to Aunt Dahlia as payment for doing a fertility spell using Dark Magic.
Dahlia put Freya under a spell that locked her in a house and forced her to hibernate and preserve her youth, but she escaped and reunited with her siblings.
Nadia Santos – Alias
Nadia was the daughter of Arvin Sloane and Irina Derevko making her Sydney Bristow’s half-sister.
She was taken from Irina right after birth and grew up in an orphanage in Argentina where she eventually got a job working for Argentinian authorities before her sister sought her out.
Jack Hunter – Boy Meets World
Jack appeared on Boy Meets World Season 5.
It was the first time he’d reconnected with his father, Chet, and his half-brother, Sean.
It took a bit of adjusting for Sean, but eventually, the two bonded and become brothers.
Claire and Jack – Lost
Both Claire and Jack are survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 on Lost when they find out that they are half-siblings.
After Carole, Claire’s mother, recovered from a coma, she told her that she had a relationship with Christian, Jack’s father.
While Almost Family didn’t see much success, it centered on only child Julia Bechley who finds out that her father, a fertility doctor, helped hundreds of women get pregnant using his own sperm.
That means Julia had plenty of secret siblings, including the online dating guy who she hooked up with (yikes), but the focus remained on her new half-sisters, former friend, Edie Palmer, and retired Olympic athlete, Roxy Doyle.