‘A Million Little Things’ returns for season 2 on Sept. 26 and will pick up right where the show left off. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with creator DJ Nash about the fallout of Eddie’s reveal, another major death, and more.
The first season of A Million Little Things introduced us to an incredible group of friends who are forever bonded by the loss of their beloved friend. Over the course of season 1, we fell in love with all of the characters as they coped with loss, experienced the highs and lows of relationships, and looked ahead to the future. The season ended with Delilah going into labor, Maggie learning she’s in remission, the entrance of the mysterious PJ, the reveal of Jon’s connection to Barbara Morgan, and Eddie getting ready to finally tell Katherine that he’s the father of Delilah’s baby. Season 2 will start just moments after the finale and the AMLT crew will be faced with new challenges in the episodes to come.
HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with creator and executive producer DJ Nash about the aftermath of Katherine learning about Eddie and Delilah’s baby. He revealed that Katherine will hit her “breaking point” and will be in a “really difficult place” as she tries to figure out what she wants from Eddie. As for Eddie, he’s going to “suffer” this season as he seeks to right his wrongs. Maggie and Gary are moving in together and will be redefining themselves as they try to “figure out what their life is without cancer.” DJ also discussed the “surprising” death of a “significant person” from the show, as well as Rome and Regina’s struggles about the subject of having a child.
ABC released those first few moments of the season 2 premiere where Eddie telling Katherine about the baby. What can you say about how Katherine continues to cope with this latest punch to the gut?
DJ Nash: Well first of all, just some interesting little anecdote: We got picked up for season 2 really, really early and normally you go in and you pitch season 2 and then you get the pickup. But they picked us up before and I went in to then tell them what I would do for season 2, and I had secretly shot that scene. We shot the scene at the bumper for the finale. The morning of, I gave David and Grace the pages for Eddie and Katherine for the scene. I was like, “Look, we’re already here. We’re set up, let’s do this.” And they’re like, “Wait, I haven’t seen that.” I said, “No, I want you to be off guard.” And so what you’re seeing in the performance is so phenomenal. I love them both in that scene. They’re a little on their heels because we sprung it on them. That was a really fun moment for us. Before I knew the actors, I had arced out stories, hopefully, because they were compelling. Once we started having great scenes on camera with Grace, I very quickly went with, “How do I put Grace Park in an uncomfortable situation? Because she’s phenomenal.” So really it was like, “How do I put her in these horrific places?” So that’s where we are starting season 2, with her discovering that her husband has a baby with another woman. Ever since she found out about the affair, Eddie’s done exactly the right thing. He really has. He offered to move out. He then came back. He’s just done everything, including the fact that he was coming home for that dinner and he wanted to be honest with her. Katherine’s in a really difficult place because, if we’re looking at the past, she can’t have that future with him. Or is she going to forget the past in order to have that future with him? We’ve seen Katherine be so unbelievably understanding last season with helping Delilah save her home. And yet everybody has their breaking points. In season 2 we find Katherine’s breaking point.
It’s one thing to have to deal with just Delilah, but the baby is the biggest piece of evidence of the affair.
DJ Nash: It’s not like an affair that’s in the past. This baby is very much in the present. And so you can’t hide it. Every day there’s going to be a reminder of what your husband did.
What is Eddie’s next approach with Katherine? How is going to be handling her response to everything?
DJ Nash: I have an incredible writing team, and one of the writers this year made a point, which is we haven’t seen Eddie suffer enough. I think part of the reason that when you’re watching, you’re sort of still mad at Eddie is because he hasn’t suffered. So at the beginning of the season, we see him suffer. He’s going to have to make it up to her. How do you do that? I think it’s just by doing whatever she wants.
How is this latest revelation going to change Katherine’s dynamic with Delilah?
DJ Nash: There is a speech that someone very close to Katherine gives her. It sort of is a game-changer where she suddenly sees the world in a different way. When I talk to Grace about this shift, it is this moment. The show always looks at these ideas that everything happens for a reason, and there’s a reason this person is in Grace’s life and makes this speech to her. It’s a person who has her ear in a very unique way and really does make her look at this relationship and this baby in a different perspective. But it’s a challenge. I think what happens with any affair when people try to reconcile is there are good days, and there are bad days. There are days where you go, “Okay, I love how it is now.” But there are days where you remember how it was and the pain you were forced to endure.
Speaking of Delilah, how is she going to be dealing with motherhood his season? She’s been through it twice before, but it’s been a while. This time, she’s doing it without John and Eddie’s involvement is also an issue.
DJ Nash: I have two kids myself. I cannot imagine now bringing the third one in without my spouse’s help. My mom did it with five kids and it’s incredible. I think it’s kind of a perfect controlled experiment. She looks at the way things were with Danny and Sophie, and anything that’s different this time around is probably because John’s not there and the father is Eddie. I think she will very quickly see that things have changed and things are different this time around. She can’t help but wonder if it’s because of the guilt she’s carrying and because of the burden of holding the secret.
Maggie is cancer-free now. What can you say about the direction that she takes now that she knows she’s out of the woods, but knows it could always come back?
DJ Nash: Gary says in the pilot, “It’s not that I don’t have cancer, it’s that I don’t have cancer right now.” Maggie, not only did she have cancer, but she had resigned herself to dying. When we meet Maggie in the pilot, she’s prepared to just live out the life that she has on her terms. Then because of this group of friends and falling in love with Gary and sort of forgiving herself for her brother, she does fight it. She gets this road that she never thought she’d have. I think with that comes some survivor guilt. I think with that comes some anxiety, as you’re pointing out, that it might come back. I think it’s interesting that with Gary and Maggie, their whole story is about cancer. They both have breast cancer. Gary is uniquely able to understand her in a way that very few men could possibly understand her. When they hook up in the bathroom, she’s hesitant to take off her shirt and he’s unwilling to take off his because he understands that vulnerability. All first season, when it was a story about love, it was about cancer, and when it was a story about cancer, it was about love. At the end of the season, that’s gone. The cancer’s gone and obviously, we hope and expect the love to remain, but now they have to redefine themselves. They’re trying to figure out what their life is without cancer, as she is trying to figure out what her life is without cancer. I think that’s a challenge. Gary and Maggie will struggle this season to figure out what their life alone and together is without cancer.
Jason Ritter is coming onto the show and I know that he is going to shake things up. How will his entrance impact Maggie?
DJ Nash: In every single way. It hits her in her core. When Jason comes into the world, even from his very entrance, it’s a shocker to Maggie because who is this guy? Why is my mother with this 35-year-old man? What’s going on? As we wonder and try to figure out part of the mystery of the first part of the season — who is this guy and why is he in my mother’s life? –Maggie discovers he’s a big part of her life as well.
At the end of last season, Rome and Regina found themselves on the opposite sides regarding kids. Will that be the biggest source of tension for them this season?
DJ Nash: When my wife and I got married, we both agreed to no kids. No one was having any procedures, but it was really discussed and it was a very thoughtful part of our conversation before we got married. So the story comes from a very real place. In fact, when my wife and I changed our minds, we were buying an SUV. We’re in the car dealership. That scene from 117 is exactly what happened in my life. The difference is we both changed our minds, and with Rome and Regina, that’s not the case. We will see Rome and Regina in sort of an impossible situation because they agreed to no kids, but if Rome wants one and they have one, Regina may resent Rome for the life they have. If they don’t, Rome might resent Regina for the life he could’ve had. It’s really a very impossible situation. That is a dilemma that I’m sure many couples have. But then you add Regina being worried about Rome and his depression and how that might affect parenthood, as well as Regina having her own issues of her childhood. You know, interestingly enough in the first season, between Regina being a survivor of child sexual assault and Rome coping with and admitting his depression, they both had issues that brought them closer together. Now they have a common issue that could potentially tear them apart.
Could PJ maybe provide sort of that fatherly dynamic that sort of Rome is searching for?
DJ Nash: Yeah, maybe he could. At the end of the finale, we learn that PJ is Barbara Morgan’s son for sure, and someone’s son on the guys’ side. It’s not Mitch. It seems like we say it’s Dave. Is it Dave? Could it be Jon? What’s happening? I’ve heard some fan theories that they think it’s Jon. The whole purpose of seeing a 20-year-old unaware of his paternity and struggling with the fact that he’s been lied to is very intentional. It sets up this cautionary tale for Delilah and Eddie, who are also keeping a paternity secret. Throughout the season, we will be paralleling those stories and having our group of friends watch PJ struggle with just wanting to know the truth. It was at first Ashley and then Gary knocking on Barbara’s door that brings the secret out in this family. I mean, PJ was at the hospital where Rome was and read his script. Is that a coincidence? We never found out why he was in the hospital. So there obviously is something going on there, and that’s the other side of the mystery we’re following in the first half of the season. As Rome is sort of itching to be a dad, his first chance to do that is as he helps and sort of is a father to PJ, who is struggling to figure out who his real father is.
Will that mystery be solved by the end of the season?
DJ Nash: Yes. It will be addressed, and it actually makes for a beautiful midseason finale.
My final question is, you mentioned in another interview that there will be another death this season. How will this impact the group?
DJ Nash: Anytime we lose someone, it reminds us of people we’ve lost in the past. I don’t go to a cemetery and not think of burying my father-in-law or burying my grandparents or burying my friend from eighth grade or burying my aunt who died of cancer, who Maggie is based on. I think we experience these losses again and again. For us, this death that happens, and it is a significant person from our show, someone you’ve seen in multiple episodes, that death is sort of a reminder. As someone says at the funeral, “I can’t believe we’re back here again.” I think that funeral is done to move us and to affect the story. But it’s also a barometer for how all their lives are different since the last time they went to a funeral. If you think about all of those characters, Maggie had just met them and Rome, it should’ve been his funeral. It just is a barometer for how they are. It’s a really moving episode that I just loved because the death is surprising. You don’t see it coming. We did an episode that led up to it that, at the time, you don’t realize related to it. They compliment each other beautifully. I’m really proud of that story and the writers who wrote it.
When I lost my dad, I lived in a fog for an entire year. It wasn’t really until that one year anniversary that it almost made it more real, even though I was farther away from it. Will the anniversary of Jon’s death be acknowledged this season? Will we continue to see the kids and how the other characters continue to come to terms with it as they get farther away from it itself?
DJ Nash: I’m really sorry for your loss. You know, we’ll be in the writers’ room and we’ll be watching a table read or even when we’re pitching a story because the stories come from a real place with the writers’ lives and the compliment the show gets that means the most to me is it’s authentic. The reason is because pretty much every single thing that happens here on our show happened to someone in the writers’ room. Thankfully, not the same person because that would be too much. But when we’re writing these stories, we’ll often be crying and I’ll say something like, “These are fictional characters, these aren’t real people.” But I think there’s something very real about what they’re going through, and it reminds us of what we go through. When I hear from fans or incredible journalists who cover the show and something that is fictionalized in our show relates to something that’s really happened to someone, even a season and a half into it, it still like hits me like a board on the face about how impactful our stories have the potential to be, and for some, have been. So in answer to your question, I do think it does. In some ways, it can be harder because you don’t have that safety net that you had. Everyone goes, oh, it’s the first Christmas without dad or it’s the first Father’s Day or it’s the first daddy-daughter dance. But after that, the expectations that you’re going to be resilient return, even though the resilience may not. And I think we will certainly see that with this whole group of friends. As we get to the one year anniversary, we will mark that. It’s interesting, our stories are told one day after the other. So in our show, it’s still like August. So the timeline of the year anniversary and being true and authentic is happening. It kind of would be perfect if that were happening with our season premiere, but it doesn’t happen until halfway through the season. I think it’s a thing that you mark. And just like with you losing your dad, we lost my father-in-law, and I lost my friend, and so all of these deaths that happen, you still think about them, and they hit you in different ways than they hit you in the first year. A great story that we’re telling is, in that first week that you lose someone, people come to the funeral, they come over to the house, they bring lasagna, there’s a whole bunch of awareness. Then you hit the second wave of people that you don’t encounter until there’s that next thing. Like, the next time you do a family photo and that photographer who took your family photo before comes over and doesn’t even know that dad’s gone. We’re doing that story. And to see our family have to, in a humorous dark way, support this guy who is more emotional than they are because he’s just processing this for the first time. Richard Kind comes to our show to tell that story and it’s really, it’s really special.