The Scarlet Letter in popular culture

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The following is a list of references to The Scarlet Letter in popular culture.


Scene from an adaptation featuring Stuart Holmes, 1917






  • 1979: The Scarlet Letter PBS miniseries, starring Meg Foster.
  • 1987: In the Mama's Family episode "Educating Mama", the book was the reason Thelma dropped out of school fifty years earlier, then has to read it for night school and is the only student who does--everyone else just reads the "Cliff Notes" ("Ray Notes" in the show).
  • 1989: Referenced in Perfect Strangers episode "Wedding Belle Blues" (Season 4, Episode 22).
  • 1990: Referenced in Twin Peaks The character of Audrey Horne uses the name Hester Prynne when pretending to be a prostitute while being interviewed by the owner of a brothel. The owner however responds "I read The Scarlet Letter in high school too, honey".
  • 1993: Referenced in Roseanne episode "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home" (Season 5, Episode 16).
  • 1997: In The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror VIII", Ms. Krabappel is shown with a red "A" on her chest.
  • 2000: Popular episode "Caged" adapts elements from the novel (Season 1, Episode 14).
  • 2004: Quoted in One Tree Hill episode "Don't Take Me For Granted".
  • 2006: Referenced in Gilmore Girls episode "You've Been Gilmored" (Season 6, Episode 14).
  • 2010: Episode 2 of season 2 of The Mentalist, the title of the episode is Scarlet Letter, it talks about an adultery.
  • 2012: Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 7; The book was referenced by Mrs Hughes as a metaphor for Ethel's life; the Dowager Countess of Grantham took great exception to the existence of the novel stating it was "most unsuitable".


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