Tim McPhee was a comfortable, smart, confident and kind guy who grew up in an affluent household and went on to study at Columbia University. He is the older brother of Jack and Andie, who characterise him as the quintessential older brother, to whom things came very easy and who would get along with most people, in most situations.
Tim is a quarterback at University and, to Jack, the quintessential All-American type, whom their father favoured. After one of his games, driving back home with the family they get in a car accident, with Tim, Jack and Andie's mother, Andrea, at the wheel. Tim sadly dies in the accident and it tears the family apart. Tim's mother slowly loses her grip on reality, feeling responsible for her son's death, and Andie starts having mental health issues. Tim's father buries himself in his work, neglecting his children who are forced to look after their ailing mother alone.