The Grimm alum’s stay-at-home dad is a former rocker with seven years’ sobriety under his belt — and a massive secret that simply screams self-sabotage. “He’s not sure he deserves his sobriety,” Nash says of the musician’s insecurities. “His situation is complicated. We don’t know everything about Eddie yet.”
Katherine (Grace Park)
Eddie’s career-minded wife, a high-end attorney, isn’t as chilly as she first appears. “You might think you don’t like her, but you will find out stuff about her and… love her,” promises Nash, noting that Katherine personifies the plight of the working mom. “She wants to be at home and also needs to provide for the family.”
Delilah (Stephanie Szostak)
Nash wants all of the characters “to be broken in some way” — and no one is more broken in the premiere than Jon’s stunned widow, whose grief is sure to be compounded by what she was doing when he ended his life. Adds Nash: “I also want them all to be innocent and guilty in some way.”
Sophie (Lizzy Greene)
Wearing a leather jacket and strumming a guitar, Jon and Delilah’s daughter has the look of a moody teen — but her performance of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” at Jon’s funeral hints at her having the same soulful quality that set her dad apart. That may change if she learns what music teacher Eddie is hiding.
Jon (Ron Livingston)
As the glue of the group, Jon had it all: a beautiful family, a thriving career and a great outlook on life. So why does he end his? On top of whatever pain is buried in Jon’s backstory, Nash notes he fits a tragic profile in real life. “He is an affluent straight white male, and that is statistically the people who die from suicide the most.”
Gary (James Roday)
The class clown of the crew uses humor to handle his ongoing battle with male breast cancer — another illness that needs a voice, says Nash. “He’s not even in remission,” says Psych alum Roday. “That’s, like, five years down the road.” To deal with Jon’s death, Gary will need more than punch lines. Maybe someone like…
Maggie (Allison Miller)
A free spirit who meets (and hooks up with) Gary at a cancer support group, Maggie is immediately embraced by his friends after he brings her to Jon’s funeral as his date. It doesn’t hurt that she’s a clinical psychologist specializing in depression. It does hurt that she isn’t being 100 percent honest about her own health.
Ashley (Christina Ochoa)
Jon’s seemingly devoted assistant is the last one to see him alive and, because of some suspicious moves and her evasive interaction with Delilah at the postfuneral reception, the first one viewers will suspect of having something to hide. “You don’t know if she’s good or evil,” Nash says. “Christina nails that mystery.”
Regina (Christina Moses)
“In the black community, there’s more of a hesitancy to talk about depression and suicide,” says Nash, who deliberately wrote the aspiring chef character and her director husband, Rome, as African-Americans. “It’s the marriage we root for,” Nash adds, “but he feels like he can’t share what he’s going through.”
Rome (Romany Malco)
Regina’s husband, a successful but unfulfilled commercial director struggling with the angst of not being the filmmaker he’d hoped to be, turns out to have the most in common with Jon. And Rome’s problems just might kill him if he doesn’t seek help. “Episode 2 is him walking in Jon’s shoes,” previews Nash.
ABC’s new drama, A Million Little Things, about a tight-knit Boston squad rocked by a friend’s suicide, is more thirtysomething meets The Big Chill: The heartache often shares space with much-needed humor.
“Just when you think you can’t take any more, the world gives you a reason to laugh,” says executive producer DJ Nash. “You just have to be open to it.” Here’s the gang, including the one who leaves them wondering when it’ll be OK to laugh again.
A Million Little Things, Series Premiere, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 10/9c, ABC