‘A Million Little Things’ Finale Has Been ‘A Secret’ Since the Pilot

A Million Little Things on ABC
(Image credit: ABC)

The fifth and final season of A Million Little Things premieres on ABC February 8. The show is about a circle of friends that deals with a member of their group committing suicide. 

DJ Nash created A Million Little Things. At the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour last month, he spoke of knowing how the show would end way back when it began. “When we were shooting the pilot, I talked to the EPs about, ‘This is my plan for where we're going,’ ” he said. “Whenever I write a pilot, I like to know what the finale is so that you know what you're writing towards.”

He mentioned the finale as “a secret that was held between the EPs and the writers for a long time.”

The cast includes David Giuntoli, Allison Miller, Romany Malco, Grace Park and James Roday Rodriguez. 

The final season sees Gary, played by Rodriguez, dealing with his cancer diagnosis. “It feels like a bookend in some ways, that the friend group is going to rally around Gary and be there for him as he struggles with the diagnosis that he just got at the end of season four,”  Terrence Coli, showrunner and executive producer, said. “And that‘s what this friend group has always done and has always done best, which is be there for each other and show up through all the trials and tribulations.”

Nash spoke of the importance of casting the right actor for a tricky character such as Gary: “I knew that finding the right Gary was essential because in the pilot Gary, right in the funeral, says as the daughter is about to get up and play a song for her dad, Gary says, ‘If she plays something by Bruno Mars, I'm going to burn this place down.’ And just the idea that we could put jokes anywhere, telling the audience that we are going to cry but we‘re going to laugh even more, I think that was essential.”

Rodriguez said Gary‘s primary coping mechanism is cracking a joke. “I think his default is to cover everything with humor,” he said. 

Grace Park‘s Katherine is a different story. Park said she enjoyed playing a character that is not necessarily “funny or sexy or cool or likeable.”

She credited A Million Little Things for talking about things that people don’t talk about all that much in real life. “I think the show reflects a lot of different people in situations, in areas in life, that were not necessarily previously talked about,” she said. “And so it really offers a lot of movement and conversations and changing the stigma of things. I think that's one of the wonderful legacies of A Million Little Things." 

Nash, Coli and Aaron Kaplan are the executive producers. The season five premiere is called, fittingly, “The Last Dance.”

Nash said the writers, producers and cast have always aimed for authenticity on A Million Little Things. “The show being authentic and feeling like you're really watching a group of friends, that's always been our priority,” he said. “As we go into this last season, we're going to take you on a journey. Hopefully you love it. And hopefully it feels like, I know these people, and that's how I'd respond.” ■

Michael Malone

Michael Malone is content director at B+C and Multichannel News. He joined B+C in 2005 and has covered network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television, including writing the "Local News Close-Up" market profiles. He also hosted the podcasts "Busted Pilot" and "Series Business." His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Boston Globe and New York magazine.