Throughout the premiere of ABC’s biggest fall drama bet, A Million Little Things, the entire remaining cast wonders why their loved one, Jon Dixon (Ron Livingston), died by suicide. Everyone questions how such tragedy could befall “perfect Jon.” During Jon’s wake, his wife Delilah (Stephanie Szostak), asks her late husband’s assistant, Ashley Morales (Valor alum Christina Ochoa), if she has “any idea why” Jon is dead. Later in the episode, Jon’s friend Eddie Saville (David Giuntoli) asks Ashley if she has “any idea why” Jon is dead.
Ashley says no both times. But a flashback proves Ashley, at minimum, knows more than everyone else who cared about Jon. If fact, she might know the entire story behind the family man's death. In Ashley's first flashback, we learn she found a folder with a mysterious note waiting for her at the scene of Jon's death. It's the closest thing John left to a suicide note. Then, in one of the last scenes of the pilot, Ashley deletes all of the major financial documents related to Jon’s real estate company, Rutledge. The folder is sitting right next to Ashley during her late-night information purge.
Immediately, A Million Little Things’ biggest mystery is born: What did those Rutledge documents have to do with Jon’s death?
While viewers may be racking their brains for answers and scouring the episode for clues, creator D.J. Nash doesn’t exactly want fans to throw on their detective hats just yet. Instead, the writer would like you to simply sit back and enjoy the ride.
“What I want to do is a character-driven piece,” Nash told Refinery29 in between editing his ABC drama. “One where our viewers are hopefully so invested in these characters and what’s happening in their lives that that’s why they’re tuning in.”
This is why the writer hopes the “card flips” of his series — like the premiere reveal of Ashley’s folder secret or the fact that Eddie and Delilah were having an affair behind Jon's back— only enforce the internal lives of his characters. “My dad always said, 'Just when you think you know someone — you don’t.' So just when you think this is what’s going to happen [in the show], something else happens,” Nash continued. “Those card flips hopefully accentuate that authenticity we’re going for.”
It’s possible Nash is also cautioning viewers away from focusing on the how’s and why’s of unraveling Jon’s suicide simply because it may remain a mystery for the rest of the series. As the the TV veteran said, “In terms of the mystery element, there’s certainly [a point] where we wonder, ‘How could Jon have done this?’ But, true to life, that question is not always answerable.”
A Million Little Things is truly about a million things — just maybe not explaining the unexplainable.
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