“Rutledge” Will Never Look the Same After ‘A Million Little Things’ — What Does It Mean?

Elizabeth Randolph - Author

May 4 2023, Published 1:48 p.m. ET

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for A Million Little Things.

For five seasons, A Million Little Things proved that you don’t have to share the same blood to be someone’s family. Gary (James Roday Rodriguez), Rome (Romany Malco), Eddie (David Giuntoli), and their beloved friend, Jon Dixon (Ron Livingston), chose to be a significant part of each other’s lives from the beginning to the ultimate end for several characters.

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Season 1 of A Million Little Things began with the friend group mourning Jon’s death. The rest of the series shows Rome, Gary, and Eddie uncovering why Jon died by suicide in the pilot while also remembering their memories with their pal.

One core memory, "Rutledge," returned to the forefront in the A Million Little Things series finale. So, what is Rutledge? A Million Little Things fans should already know the answer, but if not, we’ve got the scoop below.

(l-r): David Giuntoli as Eddie Saville, James Roday Rodriguez as Gary Mendez, and Romany Malco as Rome holding hands in the 'A Million Little Things' series finale.
Source: ABC
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What is Rutledge in ‘A Million Little Things’?

In the series finale of A Million Little Things, “One Big Thing,” Gary came to terms with the fact that his lung cancer had worsened and that he wouldn’t survive his diagnosis. The finale showed that Gary knew his chemotherapy treatments might not take as he and Maggie (Allison Miller) had hoped, so he developed a plan B that involved his boys, Eddie and Rome.

The episode began with Eddie stopping by Gary and Maggie’s place to help him. By this point, Gary could no longer speak and had to communicate with everyone by writing on a dry-erase board. While using the board, Gary wrote to Eddie while Maggie was in the kitchen, to which Eddie replied, “Are you sure?” Rome asked, “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

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(l-r): Romany Malco as Rome and David Giuntoli as Eddie looking away while sitting in Gary's living room.
Source: ABC

In a flashback scene, we discover why Eddie and Rome are upset by what Gary wrote. While Gary underwent the chemo he hoped would save his life, he shared with his friends that he planned on beating his illness.

However, if his health declined further, Gary requested that Rome and Eddie help him end his life with lethal prescription medication. He also informed his friends that he and his chemo nurse, Kevin (Jordan R. Coleman), planned for Kevin to have the pills ready if and when the time came.

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Rome and Eddie’s response understandably went from thinking Gary was joking to a solid objection to his request. Eventually, Gary had to call “Rutledge,” the same phrase he wrote on the whiteboard to Eddie, signaling the time to say goodbye was now.

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Rutledge was the name of Jon’s secret trust account. When he died, Jon left the money to Eddie, Gary, Rome, and his old friend Barbara Morgan, the mother of his childhood friend’s son. The name of the trust held a special place in Jon’s heart, as it was the last name of the man who inspected the elevator where Eddie, Gary, and Rome met.

After hours on the stalled elevator, the men became BFFs, and "Rutledge" became their code word for caring for Jon’s family. It’s a sentiment that Gary reminded his friends while preparing to end his own life. Eddie and Rome honored Gary’s wishes and vowed to care for Maggie and their baby, Javi, long after Gary is gone.

Re-live all the drama with A Million Little Things Seasons 1-5, available for streaming on Hulu.

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call, text, or message the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Dial or text 988, call 1-800-273-8255, or chat via their website.

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