John Rowland (Desperate Housewives)

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John Rowland
Jesse Metcalfe as John Rowland.jpg
Jesse Metcalfe as John Rowland
Desperate Housewives character
Portrayed by Jesse Metcalfe
Duration 2004–07, 2009
First appearance "Pilot"
1x01, October 3, 2004
Last appearance "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues"
6x04, October 18, 2009
Created by Marc Cherry
Occupation Restaurant owner
Hotel Executive

John Rowland is a fictional character portrayed by actor Jesse Metcalfe and created by television producer and screenwriter Marc Cherry for the ABC television series Desperate Housewives. The character is introduced as the teenage gardener of one of the titular housewives, Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria), with whom she has an affair and cheats on her husband, Carlos Solis (Ricardo Antonio Chavira).

Development and casting[edit]

Before Jesse Metcalfe was cast as John Rowland, actor Kyle Searles originated the role in the unaired pilot of the show.[1] In June 2004, ABC called for three starring cast members to be recast.[2] Metcalfe replaced Searles as John Rowland, as producers wanted to add more sexual appeal to the role "to justify why (Gabrielle) was having an affair."[3] Metcalfe had previously read for the role during the initial casting process.[4] He began playing the seventeen-year-old gardener when he was twenty-five.

Metcalfe was a regular cast member during the first season. However, after the affair is revealed to Carlos in the first season finale by John himself, Metcalfe left the regular cast. Since his departure, he has made several guest appearances in subsequent seasons.


Season 1[edit]

John Rowland is employed by Gabrielle and Carlos Solis as a gardener. Gabrielle, having become bored with her husband never being with her, decided to seduce her teenage gardener. The pair embarked on an illicit affair which encountered several difficulties. The most prolific of these difficulties came when Gabrielle's mother in law, Mama Solis, arrived to Wisteria Lane, called out by her son to find out if Gabrielle is in fact cheating on him. Consequently, Juanita struck out on a mission to learn the truth. However, she was hit by a car driven by Andrew Van de Kamp after discovering the affair. The hit and run placed Juanita into a coma. John became overwhelmed with guilt and confessed the affair to Father Crowley. John's mother, Helen Rowland, overheard a conversation between her son and his friend Justin, in which they alluded to the fact the John was sleeping with a housewife. Helen suspected of Susan Mayer, but then Gabrielle confessed to her and she promised that it was all, to which Helen replied by saying "It's not even close to being over". Afterwards, when the police arrive at the Solis house to arrest Carlos, Gabrielle thinks they have come for her, sent by Helen. Weeks later, in the episode "Your Fault", the Rowlands meet with Gabrielle to tell her John has moved out and they expect her to help them move back into their house. Gabrielle meets with John, and he proposes to her. Gabrielle is forced to reject him. It is later revealed that Danielle Van de Kamp has a crush on John and wants to give him her virginity, but her mother Bree stopped that from happening. John becomes entranced once again by Gabrielle and may have conceived her unborn child. He demanded to see Carlos but Gabrielle refused, explaining to him that Carlos is the father of the child no matter what because he can provide.

Instead of backing up, John arrived at Carlos's gay hate trial in the season finale and told him "he got the wrong guy". "Didn't you think it was strange that you had the only lawn on Wisteria Lane that needed to be mowed three times a week?", he said. Carlos went mad and attempted to attack John but it looked like he was attacking Justin – the gay person he beat up previously. Carlos was then arrested. While discussing the courtroom scene in which Carlos attacks John, Ricardo Antonio Chavira commented: "People can see the full rage that is in my character. I'm yelling at him, 'I'm gonna kill you' ... Then I broke into Spanish: "Te voy a matar!" ... I just went for it ... Then I looked, and Jesse [Metcalfe] had the most honest look of sheer terror. I think I scared the living shit out of him."[5] Another scene between Gabrielle and John was also cut for time.[6]

Season 2[edit]

After what happened at the court in the previous season, Gabrielle breaks up with John. John goes and look for new housewives to be with intimately, and starts having an affair with 41-year-old Joan. Upon finding this out, Gabrielle destroys Joan's garden, and shuts John out of her life.

The beginning of Gabrielle's affair with John is first seen in the second season finale in flashbacks. After their first sexual encounter, Gabrielle tells John that this was the only time it would ever happen.

Season 3[edit]

John is not seen again until early in the third season. According to his dialogue in episode 3.03 (A Weekend in the Country), he is doing well and is very rich and successful with his gardening company. He is engaged to the daughter of the Sinclair Hotel owner, Tammy Sinclair. John and Gabrielle hook up in this episode, but John explains to her later that he is not planning on risking his marriage by having an affair with her. About half a year later, in episode 3.17 (Dress Big) Gabrielle tells Edie Britt that John is married.

Season 4[edit]

In the fourth season, John meets Gabrielle at a hotel owned by his father-in-law and realizes that he still loved her. He constantly fights with his wife over the fact that she wants to lead his life. He tries to get back with Gabrielle, but she refuses because his wife is pregnant and she is married to Victor Lang but having an affair with Carlos. Carlos, who eavesdrops this, soon realizes he is not unlike John used to be and finally forgives him. John then just asks if he thinks Gabrielle is happy. And Carlos replies "I think she is".

Season 6[edit]

John reappears in the sixth season, set six years after the events of the fourth season. He is divorced from Tammy, but managed to get a huge amount of money from the divorce, so he now owns a restaurant. John sees Gabrielle in the restaurant, along with Carlos, their daughters and their niece, Ana Solis. While Gabrielle looks a mess, John notices how beautiful Ana is and is surprised that she is from Carlos's side of the family. When Gabrielle fixes herself up, Carlos suspects that she still has feeling for John. John offers to hire Ana as a waitress and Gabrielle declines, Carlos says that this is because she was jealous. After consulting Carlos, John hires Ana. Gabrielle sees John drop her off from work, she is furious with John for trying to flirt with Ana and concludes that she will now be picking Ana up from work. Gabrielle finds out that Ana bought condoms as she is in love with John and she goes to his restaurant to tell him to leave her alone. John believes that Gabrielle still has feelings for him and kisses her after expressing that he can provide for her now, she declines him yet again. Ana sees them kissing and Gabrielle tells her of the affair that happened many years before.


John Rowland was viewed as a sex symbol for the show during its first season. John, who USA Today described as "buff 'n' sweaty", became popular with mothers who watched the show and helped Metcalfe become established as "the [show's] hottest sex symbol".[3] Longoria attributed John's appeal to the fact that he was seen shirtless in every episode, also describing him as "a really innocent young kid who hasn't been tainted by the world. And I think that's very endearing to people who watch."[3] While reviewing the first season finale, Ann Hodgman of Entertainment Weekly stated that her interest in the Gabrielle and Carlos storyline was ruined by John telling Carlos about the affair rather than Carlos discovering it himself.[7]


  1. ^ “Development Update: March 4”. The Futon Critic. March 4, 2004. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  2. ^ McDougall, Charles (January 5, 2005). "Desperately seeking a ratings hit". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Keck, William. "Desperately seeking Metcalfe". USA Today. November 18, 2004.
  4. ^ Touchstone Television, p. 67
  5. ^ Touchstone Television (2005). Desperate Housewives: Behind Closed Doors. New York City: Hyperion. pp. 142–143. ISBN 1-4013-0826-0. 
  6. ^ Audio commentary on "One Wonderful Day" with Marc Cherry and Larry Shaw. Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season. [DVD]. Touchstone Pictures.
  7. ^ Hodgman, Ann (May 23, 2005). "Tidy Endings". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 11, 2011.