A Million Little Things Finale: EPs, James Roday Rodriguez Discuss How Gary's Fate Was Determined in Season 1 (2023)

This story contains spoilers from A Million Little Things‘ series finale. Proceed accordingly.

A Million Little Things broke its audience’s hearts into a million little pieces Wednesday when Gary took his last breath during the show’s final episode ever.

Though James Roday Rodriguez‘s character had been diagnosed with incurable lung cancer at the start of the season, the disease wasn’t what killed him. Instead, Gary chose assisted suicide, borne of a desire to die with dignity. His shocked friends initially fought the idea but eventually helped him get everything he needed, and then they gathered for a memorial dinner while Maggie handed her husband the drug-laced tea that ended his life. Then, an episode-ending time jump gave us a glimpse of how everyone was doing 15 years later. (Read a full recap.)

Once we recovered from the emotionally gutting hour, TVLine chatted with Rodriguez, Nash and executive producer Terrence Coli. In separate interviews Monday, the men discussed what went into the decision behind Gary’s decision. Read on to hear their thoughts.

TVLINE | James, you co-wrote this episode with DJ. Why did you want to take on that duty, in addition to acting, for the last hurrah?
JAMES RODAY RODRIGUEZ | I didn’t. I was approached by DJ pretty late in the game, and he was like, “Hey, man, I think we should do this together.” And at that point, after however many episodes we had shot and all the stuff we had been through, it felt kind of like a Butch and Sundance situation that I needed to say yes to. We have known that this is how the show was going to end for a long time… So, for us, it was like seeing through something that we had been talking about on and off for four seasons. Doing it together, once I thought about it, made some sense. It was also a chance for us to, I guess, reconcile and process the last five years, give each other a shoulder squeeze and go out like people that had grown and evolved.

A Million Little Things Finale: EPs, James Roday Rodriguez Discuss How Gary's Fate Was Determined in Season 1 (1)TVLINE | When you say that you knew how this was going to end for a while: You knew specifically that Gary was going to make the choice to end his life on his terms?
RODRIGUEZ | Yeah. It was a concept that we both felt was absolutely dependent on whether or not we earned it over four seasons, and if we hadn’t felt like that, then we wouldn’t have done it. Whether you love it or hate-watch it or whatever your relationship is with it, for a network show we’ve tried really hard to reflect the human experience as authentically as we can. And the truth is we had two people that were suffering from this horrible disease, and one of them beat it, and the way that we know that life works is that a lot of people don’t get that lucky. So it felt like, in order to balance the scales and reflect the two different experiences that people could have with this rattlesnake of a disease, we had to go the other way.
DJ NASH | I knew from the beginning I wanted to have a series start with a suicide that should not have happened and end with assisted suicide, which was the humane thing to happen. And I love the idea of a series following two friends, Rome and Gary, who both have diseases, and one is able to beat their disease and one is not. So, that was always the plan. I think I told very few people, certainly no actors, and then at one point I told James because there’s a couple things that we were doing, story-wise, that he was pitching that were really smart, but I needed to let him know I didn’t want to do that yet. I let him in on that, and then it became this sort of rite of passage whenever the writers’ room started.
TERRENCE COLI | I started in Season 3, and I remember we were on Zoom, early days of the pandemic… You laid it out, and it was remarkably close to the episode that just aired as the finale. Even then, I was like “That’s what we have to do…” So, we stuck to the plan.

TVLINE | Let’s talk about Maggie not getting clued in until the plan has been put into motion. Although I understand it from a story perspective, as a wife, I’m like, “She’s his partner! She should’ve been in on this from the beginning!” Talk to me about why you decided that it would be the guys dealing with this until the last minute.
NASH | It’s a really great question. Candidly, when I saw the first cut… I was like, “Ooh, this feels a little too much like this was put upon Maggie and we took her power away.” And I found an ADR line that we put in [during post-production] that really kind of changes the effect of that. But I think a couple things —It was only plan Z. It wasn’t the plan. If you look back at the episode with the birthday party, Maggie needed Gary to beat this, and the whole reason he was going to go to Mexico was so that she could feel like “I did everything else.” I think having her know about this other plan would’ve been off the table for her.
COLI | And I’d just add to that: I think it would’ve affected the time that they had left together, right? It would have been a constant thought in Maggie’s mind for the time that they did have left, and I think Gary knew that he needed his friends, who could compartmentalize it a little bit in a way that perhaps Maggie could not.

A Million Little Things Finale: EPs, James Roday Rodriguez Discuss How Gary's Fate Was Determined in Season 1 (2)TVLINE | James, was Gary’s ultimate choice in your head all season, as you were performing? When, in your mind, does he come to the decision?
RODRIGUEZ | I personally tried not to start thinking about it until the end of Episode 11. I think Gary’s responsibility for both his wife and his baby and all of his friends was to remain as positive and hopeful as possible. When he coughs up blood at the end of 11 is when he realizes that things probably aren’t going to go his way. So, that’s when for me, I started sort of letting the mortal coil stuff sort of seep in for sure.

TVLINE | Whose idea was it to have Gary unable to communicate verbally at the end?
RODRIGUEZ | That was definitely DJ, but the reason for it is two-fold. One, we have this consultant who’s been with us from the very, very beginning and she laid out all the things that could happen with someone with Stage IV lung cancer, and that was one of the things that she said is possible. And then in order to sell the death-with-dignity thing, we needed to check certain boxes so that you don’t have everybody watching going, “Well, he’s fine. Like, why wouldn’t he want a few more days or a few more weeks with the most important people in his life, you know, if he can still do this, this, this, or this?” So, it was really about threading the needle and trying to find, like, what is the balance? Like, if someone says they don’t want to be confined to a bed with everybody waiting for them to take their last breath, what does the tier above that actually look like?

TVLINE | What was the toughest part of the episode for you to get through shooting?
RODRIGUEZ | Honestly, watching my co-star Allison Miller have to carry the emotional burden of everything that was happening. To be completely honest with you, I feel like I got off easy comparatively— except for all the time I had to spend in the makeup chair.

TVLINE | How many hours was that?
RODRIGUEZ | Well, it would’ve been worse if I hadn’t shaved my head, which is why the first thing I said was, “I’m shaving my head.” But also I just felt like, I don’t know, as much as we can as actors, it’s like, don’t be a fraud. You know what people go through when this happens. Like, they don’t have bald caps on. So shave your head… But I feel like, Allison really did have to carry the water. And she’s such a good, honest actress that I knew she was suffering, and that was hard to watch.

TVLINE | DJ, I know the character of Maggie was partly inspired by your aunt Madi, who died of cancer. You’ve talked about how you wanted Maggie to survive because Madi didn’t. Was there ever a temptation to pull the ultimate TV happy ending and have things work out well for Gary, as well?
NASH | The answer’s no, but… We were really aware that people are invested as though [the characters] were real and that we had a responsibility, to not give everyone a happy ending, but to make sure everyone was OK. And so that is why, in the premiere of the season, we made it very clear that one day Gary will die from cancer… He accepts that. He is OK with it. Maggie just wasn’t, and Maggie represents the fan group, you know, the same way she represents the viewers in the pilot, where she’s the person who’s introducing us to the group of friends. So, Act 6 of the finale is all about that. We could’ve ended the series with the dog moan [Laughs]— no, we couldn’t have — but we wanted everyone to see that Javi’s okay. Maggie’s okay. They’re all moving on, and just like the lesson I learned when I lost my dad, your relationship with your father isn’t over. It just changes.

What did you think of the finale? Sound off in the comments!

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, dial “988” for the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

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What happens to Gary in A Million Little Things? ›

Did Gary die in the series finale of A Million Little Things? Sadly, yes. In the series finale, “One Big Thing,” co-written by D.J. Nash and James Roday Rodriguez, Gary dies before the episode's end.

What happened in the season finale of A Million Little Things? ›

Who was in the final scene of A Million Little Things? ›

In one of the final scenes of the series, Javi is walking to his seat at a Bruins game when a stranger (A Million Little Things creator D.J. Nash!!!!) smiles at him. He takes his seat alongside Danny, Theo, and Tyrell, and they raise their glasses to “the band of dads.”

What is Gary's last name on A Million Little Things? ›

Cast and characters

James Roday Rodriguez as Gary Mendez, a friend of Eddie, Jon, and Rome, and Maggie's love interest who also survived breast cancer. His birth name is revealed in season 3 to be Javier Mendez, Jr.

Does Gary keep Colin in A Million Little Things? ›

There was an emotional goodbye. At one point, Gary even looked like he was going to decide to keep the dog. It was only when Colin answered to Wesley that Gary knew what he needed to do. Maggie was the one to take Colin back to his original owner, though, knowing how hard it would be for Gary.

Is Gary the main character in A Million Little Things? ›

Gary Mendez, born as Javier Mendez Jr., is a main character on A Million Little Things.

Is tonight the final episode of A Million Little Things? ›

The series finale of A Million Little Things (aka Season 5, Episode 13) premieres on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. (That's today!)

Will there be a season 6 of A Million Little Things? ›

A Million Little Things debuted as part of ABC's fall lineup in September 2018, and five seasons and nearly 90 episodes later it's time to bid the drama farewell. Back in November 2022 D.J. Nash confirmed that A Million Little Things would end with Season 5, which means Season 5, Episode 13 is the series finale.

Does Maggie get chemo in A Million Little Things? ›

At the end of the episode, we see the room in which Gary used to receive chemo treatments, but it's not Gary inside it this time. It's Maggie. She finally decides to get treatment, although her text to Gary goes unanswered. — Rome had a pretty good storyline this week, too.

Do Maggie and Gary end up together? ›

NEW YORK -- "A Million Little Things" is back for its fifth and final season on ABC this week. Now that Gary and Maggie are back together, they are having a child despite going through a difficult fertility journey.

Do Gary and Maggie have a baby on A Million Little Things? ›

As Gary and Maggie's (Allison Miller) son, Javier, takes little steps around the living room, Gary makes a joke about his kid's ability to walk -- unlike his wheelchair-bound friend.

Why did Katherine leave on A Million Little Things? ›

They bake cookies together. However, that night, Katherine makes the decision to leave, as she is unable to deal with Eddie's news.

Does Gary sleep with Ashley on A Million Little Things? ›

Then there's Maggie who refuses to get treatment, and it's been just another thing that Gary does not know how to face. All this confusion and emotional turmoil led to Gary sleeping with Ashley.

What secret is Eric keeping from Maggie on A Million Little Things? ›

What is Eric hiding on 'A Million Little Things'? He's been lying to her this whole time! When Eric takes his shirt off after Maggie leaves the room, it is revealed that he in fact does not have any scars over his chest, which means he is not the recipient of her brother's heart transplant.

Is PJ really John's son? ›

Even by A Million Little Things' standards of heart-wrenching drama, tonight's Season 2 fall finale packed quite an emotional punch. In it, PJ's paternity drama came to a head, with him confronting his parents, Barbara and Mitch, over the DNA test results he had found that revealed Jon as his father.

Why is Delilah absent from A Million Little Things? ›

Szostak lives in Connecticut.)” That led first to her being written out of most of the third season, the TVLine report said. When it came time to start the fourth season, Szostak asked not to be in all the episodes so she could be with her family more in Connecticut, and her status and storyline changed.

Is Jackie on A Million Little Things a man? ›

Jackie confirms that she's transgender in the scene between her and Eddie in rehab as they play cards.

Who is Gene Grant A Million Little Things? ›

David Marshall Grant is a writer and executive producer of ABC's A Million Little Things. He is also one of the actors of the series, portraying the role of Gene Grant.

Did Katherine and Greta have a baby? ›

Greta and Katherine have a daughter together as the gang gather to celebrate Javi's 16thg birthday.

How many episodes are in the final season of Million Little Things? ›

But the fifth and final season of A Million Little Things will feature 13 episodes.

How many seasons was A Million Little Things? ›

Who is the new guy on Million Little Things? ›

Christopher Lloyd, King Of Cameos, Appears On 'A Million Little Things' Hours After 'The Mandalorian'

Who is Nicole in A Million Little Things? ›

Rachel Nichols is one of the actors of A Million Little Things, portraying the role of Nicole.

Is A Million Little Things ending after season 5? ›

When it was announced that the ABC drama was ending after season 5, it was promised that A Million Little Things would wrap its run with a bit of heartache. The series finale delivered in that respect, as a major development involved an exploration of assisted suicide.

Is Gary the father of Maggie's baby? ›

After a difficult labor, Maggie (Allison Miller) and Gary (James Roday Rodriguez) have a new baby.

What did Gary say on Rome's camera? ›

And when Rome was checking the camera's memory ahead of Tyrell's graduation ceremony, he saw something he wasn't supposed to see: Gary's videotaped message to his future child, in which he mentioned that he might not be alive by the time the kid came into the world.

Do Maggie and Gary break up on A Million Little Things? ›

There was this immediate connection and a relationship that was sort of built on the fact that they both were dealing with cancer and after Maggie was free of her cancer, they struggled with what their life would be after cancer. That was in fact the whole basis of their breakup.

Do Gina and Rome get a baby? ›

'A Million Little Things' Season 2 Finale: Rome and Gina Lose Their Baby, Eddie Gets Hit by a Car. One wedding — well, vow renewal — and a baby.

Will Eddie walk again? ›

The fact that Eddie will never walk again was a conversation that the character had with son Theo in Season 4, and again in the current season, when his daughter Charlie was surprised to see him walking in pictures from the day she was born.

Is Maggie in love with Birdie? ›

Maggie opens up to a man she has a brief, whirlwind romance with: “She made me feel safe, and I think I made her feel more courageous” The editors weave together this montage of Maggie's flashbacks as she describes her love of Birdy to him.

Whose baby is Delilah A Million Little Things? ›

A Million Little Things first introduces an abortion storyline in the sixth episode of Season 1, “Unexpected.” After Jon's widow, Delilah Dixon (Stephanie Szostak), learns she got pregnant from an affair with her late husband's best friend, Eddie (David Giuntoli), she decides it would be too difficult for her and her ...

How did Gary know Maggie was pregnant? ›


| Gary is walking Maggie to his apartment, where she'll stay during her time in Boston, when he hits her with the big question: “Are you pregnant?” (Remember, he noticed her drinking water at dinner in the previous episode.) She confirms that she is, and that Jamie is the father.

What did Rutledge mean in A Million Little Things? ›

Over time, Rutledge became a sort of code word for taking care of each other's family, which is why Gary using it in the finale hit so hard. Gary wasn't just asking Rome and Eddie to help him find peace, he was asking them to take care of Maggie and Javi once he found it.

Why did Ashley leave A Million Little Things? ›

In the Season 1 finale, “Goodbye,” Ashley admitted using Jon's secret life insurance policy to cover his debt. Then, Ashley left Boston for Spain, and the conclusion shows Jon bought Ashley a one-way ticket before he died.

Do Katherine and Greta get married? ›

They get married, with Greta wearing Katherine's father's wedding tuxedo after a mishap (and they have to go from a ceremony on a boat to a redecorated nautical-themed bar).

Did Sophia leave A Million Little Things? ›

Lizzy Greene, the actress who plays Sophie, hasn't said she is leaving the show. Lizzy Greene is the actress who plays Sophie on A Million Little Things. The good news is that she hasn't released an official statement about parting ways with the show. According to her Instagram, everything is as normal as ever.

What does Rutledge mean on A Million Little Things? ›

Over time, Rutledge became a sort of code word for taking care of each other's family, which is why Gary using it in the finale hit so hard. Gary wasn't just asking Rome and Eddie to help him find peace, he was asking them to take care of Maggie and Javi once he found it.

Who was Katherine pregnant with? ›

In the season four finale of The Vampire Diaries, Graduation, Katherine slept with Niklaus Mikaelson and conceived her daughter, Adyelya.

Who is the child Katherine gave birth to? ›

Nadia was Katherine's only child. Katherine gave birth to Nadia onscreen, though these were in flashbacks in the episodes Katerina and 500 Years of Solitude. Both turned themselves for specific purposes, Katherine as a way to save herself from being sacrificed by Klaus and Nadia so she can find her mother.

Do Katherine and Eddie get divorced? ›

Note: Katherine and Eddie are divorced. Katherine's aunt is mentioned in "No One Is to Blame", but it is not known if she is her father's sister or her mother's.

Whose baby is Maggie carrying in A Million Little Things? ›

A Million Little Things' Maggie and Gary's Baby Is Born — So Why Is Eddie Suddenly So Upset? Read Recap!

Why did Lila leave A Million Little Things? ›

After giving birth to Eddie's baby, Charlotte/”Charlie,” Delilah left town at the beginning of Season 4, and fans haven't seen much of her since. When she left Boston to care for her aging father in Paris, it was unclear how long she would be gone.

What is Ashley hiding from Delilah? ›

After Jon's death, Ashley took the note that he left for Delilah and opened it herself. It revealed a secret folder marked "Rutledge" that contained a life insurance policy made out to Jon's three best friends and a mystery woman named Barbara Morgan.


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