‘A Million Little Things’: James Roday Rodriguez on Gary & Maggie’s Future Together

James Roday Rodriguez as Gary in A Million Little Things
Spoiler Alert
ABC/Darko Sikman

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for A Million Little Things Season 4, Episode 8 “The Things We Keep Inside.”]

When one door closes, another opens. Is that the case for Gary (James Roday Rodriguez) after the A Million Little Things winter finale?

First, he gets closure on his relationship with Darcy (Floriana Lima) when her son Liam (Mattia Castrillo) shows up at his apartment and his father Stephen comes to pick him up. Then, as Gary’s packing away all his Darcy things, he finds the “I’M IN” post-it from Maggie (Allison Miller) … and ends up going to join her on her trip to see her stalker (a former patient’s mother).

Rodriguez takes us inside Gary’s head.

It seems as though Gary has closed the door on Darcy and that life he wanted with her with Stephen and Liam’s visit. How’s he feeling about that whole situation? That seemed like a definitive goodbye with Liam in a way…

James Roday Rodriguez: I wouldn’t say Gary closed the door. I would say it was closed for him very firmly, and rightfully so. I think he’s feeling the effects of that, knowing that no matter how hard he pushes or jiggles the lock, it’s not going to open again.

Having another moment with Liam, while perhaps somewhat painful, I think could be constructive. He got to say goodbye to the kid one more time [and] he got to sort of see that the man that Darcy’s going to end up with is a decent man who cares about her and who cares about Liam. And just to get that closure, like you said, where you can’t lie in bed at night and wonder what if. Getting it served to you like that is a kick in the pants and maybe can help accelerate the transition to whatever the next chapter holds. So ultimately I would say while it was a surprise, it was probably a good thing.

James Roday Rodriguez as Gary in A Million Little Things

ABC/Jack Rowand

Speaking of the next chapter, he found the “I’m In” post-it and seems ready to maybe re-open that door to Maggie … just as she’s said “I love you” to Camden [Ryan Hansen] and Gary’s going on this road trip with her to see her former patient’s mother. How’s he feeling about Maggie right now?

It’s tricky because the two of them have a very unique relationship. They’re obviously bonded sort of in a next level way because they’re cancer survivors and what they lived through together is not something that you can imagine unless you’ve done it. And I’m speaking for myself as someone who hasn’t done it. So I would never question what that bond might be.

But on the other hand, I think we all have a tendency to reach for something familiar and warm when faced with the reality that the future is very uncertain and he’s coming out of a relationship, has no idea what his life is, has lost Sophie [Lizzy Greene]. It’s a brand new day and that’s scary, especially to someone like him. I’m not surprised that finding that post-it was digested in the way that it was because yeah, in some ways it just feels better to think that there’s something out there that’s still palpable and maybe serendipitous and maybe in Gary’s case, it is.

I just know that for most of us it’s usually a defense mechanism. It’s a coping mechanism to end a relationship and then start going through all of the people that came before her and hey, are any of them single these days? That’s what we do. Gary and Maggie are their own animals. They did go through something very specific. So I want to be fair and respectful in that.

Does he even know how he feels about her at this point?

Because of the way that relationship ended, I don’t think it’s the kind of love that you can just flip a switch and turn off. He wasn’t done with the relationship. He was actually ready to take it to the next level. I think it’s the kind of thing that hibernates more than it is the kind of thing that goes away because he certainly never got any closure in that regard. I’m sure there are feelings in there, 100 percent, that could be reactivated.

James Roday as Gary Mendez, Allison Miller as Maggie Bloom in A Million Little Things

ABC/Robert Trachtenberg

But what I would think, and I don’t know because I’m not master [DJ] Nash, is that if Gary and Maggie were to get back together, that could happen exactly one more time and it would have to be right and it would have to be thoughtful and it would have to be nuanced and they would both need to recognize, “Hey, if we screw this up again, we’re definitely done.” So, whatever he’s feeling, I hope he’s feeling it with a certain degree of caution and evolution and maturity. And if you watch our show regularly, you know we are all steeped deeply in all of those things. [Laughs]

What can you preview about what’s coming up on this trip?

Gary has no idea. He hasn’t even been that much a part of the stalker storyline. So I think for him, it’s a great unknown. His protective instincts, I’m sure, kick in, and he would rather be going with her than have her go alone. But I think he’s in store for surprises and hearing things that he’s never heard before which will probably provide some additional insight into who Maggie is and why she is the way she is. But I think it’s all new information that’s coming down the pipe.

We know that Gary is in therapy. So how much is that going to be part of his storyline going forward? Will we actually see him in a session?

Maybe. If the story heads in a direction where Gary is having to make pivotal decisions and he’s leaning into his therapy and his therapist in order to do that, that would make some sense. We’ve got other therapists on the show, we’ve got other people in therapy on the show, so it also comes down to the practicality of how many times can we show that when we’re not In Treatment. We’re an ensemble where you got to jump around a bunch, but I hope that it’s not just a device and it’s not just something that’s thrown out there and then let go of, because the dude needs therapy and in the worst possible way.

James Roday Rodriguez as Gary, Lizzy Greene as Sophie in A Million Little Things

ABC/Darko Sikman

Then there’s the Peter [Andrew Leeds] of it all … especially with Eddie [David Giuntoli] dating Anna [Erin Karpluk]. Is that going to stir up old feelings for Gary?

How could it not? The world always has to be so small. In this particular case, it just feels absurdly small. But at the same time, you gotta take Eddie’s reality into account and you want everybody to find whatever it is that they’re looking for and I’m sure there are even more disturbing meet cutes than this one out there somewhere. First and foremost, Gary’s mantra is to be a good friend, so I’m sure he’ll give it his best shot.

Gary and Sophie’s relationship is rough right now, to say the least. But as Eddie pointed out, it wasn’t that long ago that his relationship with Sophie was, too. So what’s it going to take to heal the rift between Gary and Sophie?

It’s heartbreaking. And the reason I think it’s going to be more difficult and more nuanced is because I don’t think Sophie ever trusted Eddie the way that she trusted Gary. With everything that had happened and her mom [Stephanie Szostak’s Delilah] going away and the pandemic hitting, she really trusted him and that relationship really became elevated. And as a result, the betrayal is much greater and runs much deeper and caused a lot more damage. I think she expected more of Gary. I think she expected something closer to what she would have gotten from her father, and he failed epically.

So I just think it’s a much deeper hole to dig out of than Eddie had to — especially in Eddie’s case, she got to blame half of it on her mother too. So it was sort of split down the middle. This is all Gary all the time, and it’s tough because he has zero control over it. He’s going to have to face the music that you make a series of choices like he made, and the consequences are very real and you don’t get to steer them. You don’t get to decide if she forgives you or not. So it’s a tough pill to swallow for sure.

Is there anything coming up with Gary’s family this season?

Gary’s family essentially is represented by one character. We very smartly made him a truck driver. He can pass through whenever we want them to, and if there’s a reason, I would not be surprised if we saw Javi Sr. again. That was fun, and Paul [Rodriguez] is a good man. So maybe.

I really liked seeing a different side of Gary in those scenes.

I agree. And it was important to his backstory as well, to have someone in his life that didn’t abandon him and treat him poorly. He had a good dad and that’s nice.

A Million Little Things, Wednesdays, 10/9c, ABC