The legendary actor and director also reveals he is going to be a first time grandfather.

By Rosy Cordero
April 22, 2021 at 11:00 PM EDT

Rebel (TV Show)

Warning: This article contains spoilers about Thursday night's episode of ABC's Rebel.

ABC's Rebel packed in the drama in episode 3, which ends with power attorney Cruz (Andy Garcia) laying on the floor of his office, gripping his heart after a particularly emotional day in court. Garcia spoke to EW exclusively about the events that led to Cruz's medical emergency.

"What I'm trying to explore with the character is that he has an underlying hole in his heart, and it's very fragile and could surprise him at any moment," the legendary actor reveals. "He can lose control of his emotions because of his deep love for his wife Sharon, especially after learning he lost her due to the same issues that he's representing in court. There's a ticking time bomb in his soul."

Andy Garcia in 'Rebel'
| Credit: Karen Ballard/ABC

Cruz is currently representing the plaintiffs in a class-action suit against heart valve maker Stonemore Medical, the same company that is believed to be behind his deceased wife's faulty heart valve.

"These experiences for him, in life and in court, when it comes to this subject matter can be overwhelming very easily," he shares. "What I try to provide through my work is to live as fully as I can and try to be as vulnerable, fragile, as angry, as funny, or whatever is manifesting in these moments. I let it be free without any judgment."

As the question looms in the courthouse as to whether those involved in the class action will have to find new representation due to a conflict of interest, Rebel (Katey Sagal) tells the group she believes Sharon died by suicide. The notion unnerves a very Catholic Cruz, though it does convince the class members to stick with him.

"He's a traditional character. He's not a zealot, but he's a conservative and religious man," Garcia says. "He's very old school. He is the son of a generation of Cuban exiles that came to America in the early '60s, so he comes from that tradition that was brought over, and he was raised in a Catholic school."

Credit: Karen Ballard/ABC

As the season continues, he teases more will be revealed about Cruz's wife's death and hopefully more scenes between him and his real-life daughter Daniella Garcia, who plays Maddie, a pregnant plaintiff involved in the lawsuit.

"She's part of the case, so she'll be around all season, and of course, it's such a joy to work with her," the proud father shares. "It was a great surprise as a father for me to hear from [series creator] Krista [Vernoff] and [executive producer] Adam [Arkin] that they thought she was wonderful and that they were hiring her. I didn't even have a chance to recommend her! I'm very proud of her."

Watching his daughter suffer right along with her character is especially challenging for Garcia right now, as he reveals he and his wife of nearly four decades, Marivi Lorido Garcia, are to become grandparents.

"She's pregnant in real life and this is our first grandchild," the proud soon-to-be abuelito says.

Other notable moments from the episode include Cruz and Rebel's tumultuous relationship, which brings the drama every Thursday night. Garcia says the pair are very much "like brother and sister" who "enjoy busting each others' chops." At the end of the day, he says, "Love conquers all," but that doesn't mean things will get romantic between the two.

"The moment you consummate something, the dynamic is over," he says. "The longer they withhold, it becomes like an extended sense of foreplay, in a way. I like the way things are as it is. I think their love is platonic, and they have a deeper understanding which is what makes it interesting to explore for a long period of time. I like that we're doing something that's not predictable. They're soulmates, really and they'll always have each others' back."

Credit: Karen Ballard/ABC

Before Cruz falls to the floor of his office, he was playing a melancholy song on the piano and it was Garcia, a Grammy Award-winning musician, tickling the ivories himself.

"It was my idea to put a piano in Cruz's office, and they wrote into that scene where I'm playing an original song that I wrote previously for my mother called 'La Gran Amelie.' And yes, that is me really playing," he shares. "I thought it was the appropriate song to use as sort of the theme for Cruz's wife; it has a melancholic and sweet aspect to it."

When asked whether Cruz survives his medical emergency and is still alive in episode 4 airing on May 6, Garcia says replies, "You'll have to tune in."

Rebel airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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