Thirtysomething’s Kill Switch

In Flashbacks on February 12, 2011 at 12:00 am

Gary Shepard (Peter Horton) takes one last spin on his bike in “Second Look.” (Screen cap)

On February 12, 1991, ABC aired Second Look, the thirtysomething episode in which Nancy (Patricia Wettig) underwent surgery to see if she had beaten cancer.

Before the broadcast, rumors flew the critically adored show was planning to kill off a main character, so fans who tuned in were prepared for the worst.

But in a cruel twist of plot, Nancy was given a clean bill of health – right before shaggy-haired Gary (Peter Horton) died in a car wreck.

“If it seems like a sleight of hand, it’s because people often are looking at the wrong things in life,” producer Edward Zwick said the next day.

Second Look is often named thirtysomething fans’ favorite episode; it also ranked 34th on TV Guide’s 2009 list of television’s top episodes.

See for yourself: Second Look, part of the thirtysomething: The Complete Fourth and Final Season DVD collection, can be streamed at Netflix.


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