The meaning behind Rutledge on A Million Little Things

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS - "Pilot" - ABC/Jack Rowand -- Acquired via Disney ABC Press
A MILLION LITTLE THINGS - "Pilot" - ABC/Jack Rowand -- Acquired via Disney ABC Press /

After five seasons, A Million Little Things has come to an end. There was a codeword used in the final episode. What did Rutledge mean?

I hope you had the tissues ready for the A Million Little Things series finale, because you certainly needed them. This was a heartfelt series that ended just the way it began: friends coming together in a time of need.

With Gary facing his final days and unable to speak, he decided it was time to end his life on his own terms. Assisted suicide is a heavily debated topic, and this episode showed the importance of it for those dying a slow and painful death. Gary didn’t just want to end his suffering; he wanted to die with dignity. It took some time for Rome and Eddie to be on board with that, but they eventually were.

How would they know it was time for Gary to take that step? Gary decided they would use a codeword: Rutledge.

What did Rutledge mean in A Million Little Things?

Fans of the series from the beginning would immediately recognize the term. This was the name of the person who inspected the elevator that the four friends ended up trapped in way back when. It if wasn’t for that elevator breaking down, the four would never have become the friends they were.

It was a term used previously in the series, too. When Jon took his own life, he had an envelope that said Rutledge. Jon’s assistant Ashley initially hid the envelope. We later learned that it had his life insurance details that listed Rome, Eddie, Gary, and Barbara Morgan as his beneficiaries. It wasn’t immediately revealed what Rutledge was back then, but it all came back to us with the mention of it in the series finale.

The series finale had a lot of call backs to earlier episodes in the series. That’s what a good series finale does. In fact, while a lot of shows have struggled with final seasons recently, A Million Little Things did it just right. I’m not crying…it’s just allergies…

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A Million Little Things is available to stream on Hulu.