The Leftovers (TV series)

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The Leftovers
The Leftovers 2014 Intertitle.jpg
Genre Drama
Created by
Based on The Leftovers 
by Tom Perrotta
Composer(s) Max Richter
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Peter Berg
  • Sarah Aubrey
  • Tom Perrotta
  • Damon Lindelof
Producer(s) Nan Bernstein Freed
Location(s) New York
Austin, Texas
Cinematography Todd McMullen
Running time 51–58 minutes
72 minutes (pilot)
Production company(s)
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original channel HBO
Original run June 29, 2014 (2014-06-29) – present
External links

The Leftovers is an American television drama series created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta airing on HBO. It is based on Perrotta's novel of the same name.[1] The pilot was written by Lindelof and Perrotta, and directed by Peter Berg.[2] The series stars Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Ann Dowd and Carrie Coon. It premiered on HBO on June 29, 2014.[3] On August 13, 2014, HBO renewed The Leftovers for a second season.[4]


The Leftovers takes place three years after a global event in which many people disappeared, known as the "Sudden Departure", which caused the unexplainable disappearance of 140 million people, 2% of the world's population. The story focuses primarily on the Garvey family and their acquaintances in the fictional town of Mapleton, New York. Kevin Garvey is the Chief of Police. His wife, Laurie, has joined a cult called the "Guilty Remnant". Their son, Tommy, has left home for college while their daughter, Jill, is acting out.[1]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Justin Theroux as Kevin Garvey, Jr., Mapleton's Chief of Police and father of two who is trying to maintain some semblance of normality in this new world. The breakup of his family (none of whom—except his unborn daughter—were taken in the Sudden Departure) puts more and more of a strain on him.
  • Amy Brenneman as Laurie Garvey, Kevin's wife and Tom and Jill's mother, who left her entire life behind to join a mysterious cult called the Guilty Remnant.[5]
  • Christopher Eccleston as Matt Jamison, a former reverend and current editor of a self-published tabloid that outs sinners. He struggles with his inability to accept that he, a good Christian, was not taken in the Sudden Departure while many sinners were.[6]
  • Liv Tyler as Megan Abbott, a woman about to get married when she becomes the target of the Guilty Remnant.[7]
  • Chris Zylka as Tommy Garvey, Laurie's son (whom Kevin has raised as his own), who has recently dropped out of college and taken refuge with a mysterious guru called "Holy Wayne".[8]
  • Margaret Qualley as Jill Garvey, Kevin's teenaged, straight-A student daughter who has a difficult relationship with him.[9]
  • Carrie Coon as Nora Durst, a wife and mother who lost her husband, son and daughter in the Sudden Departure. She is Matt's sister.[6]
  • Emily Meade as Aimee, a free-spirited high schooler, friend of Jill's, who seems unfazed by the rapture.[5]
  • Amanda Warren as Lucy Warburton, Mapleton's take-no-prisoners mayor.[6]
  • Ann Dowd as Patti Levin, the leader of the local chapter of the Guilty Remnant.[6]
  • Michael Gaston as Dean, a man who seems to understand that times have changed, and addresses it head-on—often violently.[10]
  • Max Carver and Charlie Carver as Adam and Scott Frost, respectively. They are identical twin brothers and happy-go-lucky types.[11]
  • Annie Q. as Christine, one of Holy Wayne's many "groupies", for whom she apparently has a special and mysterious meaning. She is also a friend of Tommy's.

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Paterson Joseph as Henry "Holy Wayne" Gilchrest, Jr., a post-Sudden Departure savior who “heals” people of their burdens.
  • Frank Harts as Dennis Luckey, a police officer who works with Kevin.
  • Scott Glenn as Kevin Garvey, Sr., Mapleton's former chief of police who has been committed to a mental health institute.
  • Janel Moloney as Mary Jamison, Matt's wife, who became paralyzed after an accident during the Sudden Departure.
  • Marceline Hugot as Gladys, a member of the Guilty Remnant.

Development and production[edit]

HBO acquired rights for series development with Perrotta attached as writer/executive producer and Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger as executive producers in August 2011, shortly before the book came out.[12]

In June 2012, Damon Lindelof was announced to be developing the series alongside Perrotta, and serves as the series' showrunner.[1]

The pilot was ordered in February 2013.[13] On September 16, 2013, HBO announced that they were taking The Leftovers to series, ordering a 10-episode first season.[14] The Leftovers is the first HBO series to be acquired from an outside studio, Warner Bros. Television, and not solely produced by HBO.[15]

The first season covers the entirety of the book; the second season will be completely original material.[16] In April 2015, it was reported that the setting for the second season would shift from Mapleton, New York to a suburb in Texas.[17] The series will shift filming locations from New York to Austin, Texas, with principal photography commencing in late April.[18]


In June 2013, casting announcements began. Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler, Christopher Eccleston, Ann Dowd, Amanda Warren, Michael Gaston, and Carrie Coon were announced to star in the pilot.[6][10][19]

For the second season, 6 of the 14 main cast members from season one have been confirmed as returning, with Liv Tyler, Ann Dowd, Emily Meade, Amanda Warren, Annie Q., Max Carver, Charlie Carver and Michael Gaston's status all currently unknown. If not returning as main cast members, those stars returning in guest roles are a possibility.[20] In April 2015, casting began for an African-American family made up of father, ex-convict John Murphy, his hearing impaired doctor wife, Erika; and their teenage children Evie, an outgoing athlete, and Michael, a pious Christian.[17] The role of Erika will be portrayed by Regina King.[21]


Season 1 (2014)[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
U.S. viewers
1 1 "Pilot" Peter Berg Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrotta June 29, 2014 (2014-06-29) 276070 1.77[22]
Kevin Garvey is a police chief in Mapleton, New York, working to keep order after the mysterious Sudden Departure, an unexplained event that occurred three years prior which saw the disappearance of many of the town's citizens. His wife, Laurie, has left him to join the Guilty Remnant (GR), an organization with unknown motives and members dressed in all-white who communicate by writing notes as they have taken a vow of silence. His son, Tom, has also left him to become a follower of Holy Wayne, a messianic figure. Kevin's daughter, Jill, lives with him and is in high school, but the erosion of her family life leads her to act out. Kevin is in conflict with Mayor Lucy Warburton about her plan for a parade to honor the victims of the Sudden Departure. His prediction that the GR will hold a protest during the parade that will result in violence with the angered townspeople, unfortunately comes true. Afterward, Kevin begs Laurie to return home with him, but she refuses to speak to him. Bride-to-be, Megan "Meg" Abbott, shows up at the GR house asking if she can stay there for a few nights.
2 2 "Penguin One, Us Zero" Peter Berg Damon Lindelof & Kath Lingenfelter July 6, 2014 (2014-07-06) 4X5702 1.55[23]
When an ATFEC (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives, and Cults; formerly the ATF) team attacks Holy Wayne's hideout, Tommy kills somebody for the first time in order to protect Christine's life. Meg has been living at the GR residence for weeks and becomes frustrated at her apparent lack of progress into their ranks. Following his night shooting dogs with Dean, Kevin's stability is questioned by his deputies and Lucy. He later visits his institutionalized father when he himself feels his sanity unraveling. Tommy's guilt is exacerbated by his growing animosity towards Wayne. Jill, Aimee and the twins spend the day following Nora after Jill spots a pistol in Nora's purse.
3 3 "Two Boats and a Helicopter" Keith Gordon Damon Lindelof & Jacqueline Hoyt July 13, 2014 (2014-07-13) 4X5703 1.38[24]
Reverend Matt Jamison is steadfast in his belief that the Departed have all been less than Heroes, despite the abuse this earns him from the public. Matt faces foreclosure on his church. Following an apparent sign from God, he wins enough money at the casino to buy it back. Encountering an unknown assailant throwing rocks at members of the Guilty Remnant, Matt tries to help, only to be hit by a rock himself, and knocked unconscious. Upon waking he learns he has missed the foreclosure deadline by two days; it is revealed that the Guilty Remnant have bought his church.
4 4 "B.J. and the A.C." Lesli Linka Glatter & Carl Franklin Damon Lindelof & Elizabeth Peterson July 20, 2014 (2014-07-20) 4X5704 1.62[25]
Christmas comes to Mapleton but not without its problems. Kevin is tasked with finding the baby Jesus from the town's nativity scene, which was stolen by his own daughter Jill, unbeknownst to him. Eventually the twins leave the baby Jesus on Kevin's doorstep, but another doll is placed in the nativity scene before Kevin can return the doll. Tom takes the pregnant Christine to a hospital. On the night of the Christmas ball, GR members sneak into Mapleton residents' homes and remove pictures of the departed.
5 5 "Gladys" Mimi Leder Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrotta July 27, 2014 (2014-07-27) 4X5705 1.59[26]
Gladys, a devout member of the Guilty Remnant, is brutally stoned to death. As the rest of the GR goes on lockdown, Patti takes Laurie to a diner and tests her faith. As Kevin investigates Gladys' murder, he resists pressure to hand the case over to the ATFEC whose remit apparently has expanded in the wake of the Sudden Departure. While calling them to cancel a Federal inquiry, he learns that he has the option to let the government simply exterminate Patti's chapter of the GR. Reverend Jamison holds a vigil outside the GR's safe house, but is personally rejected by Laurie.
6 6 "Guest" Carl Franklin Damon Lindelof & Kath Lingenfelter August 3, 2014 (2014-08-03) 4X5706 1.47[27]
Kevin and Nora have an interaction in the Mapleton courthouse. Nora attends a departure related conference in New York City as a panelist and discovers someone is impersonating her on her panel. Unable to officially attend, she wanders the hotel, spending time at a party where she kisses a departure replica, then encountering Holy Wayne, who hugs her, seemingly purging her anxieties. Returning to Mapleton, she takes Kevin up on his offer.
7 7 "Solace for Tired Feet" Mimi Leder Damon Lindelof & Jacqueline Hoyt August 10, 2014 (2014-08-10) 4X5707 1.58[28]
Kevin and Nora have a date interrupted by the Guilty Remnant. Kevin's father escapes from the mental hospital, and the MPD make his re-capture a priority. Tom discovers that Wayne has impregnated another young girl, whom he also said "she means everything". After an encounter with the girl and her caretaker, Tom begins to question his devotion to Wayne, who seems to be growing increasingly unglued. Kevin's father insists he read an issue of National Geographic. Kevin and Nora spend the night together. Christine gives birth to Wayne's child.
8 8 "Cairo" Michelle MacLaren Curtis Gwinn & Carlito Rodriguez August 17, 2014 (2014-08-17) 4X5708 1.64[29]
Patti arranges for a major move by the GR on Memorial Day. Kevin invites Nora over for dinner with Jill and Aimee. Jill and Aimee have a falling out, and Aimee moves out of the Garvey residence. Jill later shows up at the GR's house. Kevin and Dean attempt to deal with Patti, whom they kidnapped the night before. In Patti's absence, Laurie takes charge of the Memorial Day plan. Patti speaks candidly to Kevin about the GR and their motives, and tries to persuade Dean, then Kevin, to kill her. When Kevin refuses, and decides to release Patti and face the consequences, she commits suicide.
9 9 "The Garveys at Their Best" Daniel Sackheim Kath Lingenfelter & Damon Lindelof August 24, 2014 (2014-08-24) 4X5709 1.85[30]
A flashback recounts Mapleton residents' experiences during the days leading up to the Departure. A surprise "Mapleton Person of the Year" victory party is thrown for Kevin's father. Laurie is revealed to be a psychiatrist, and Patti her patient, who senses an upcoming apocalyptic event. Tom has a violent confrontation with his biological father; Kevin then attacks the man. Jill prepares for a science fair. Nora spends time with her family and interviews for a job working for a mayoral candidate. Kevin pursues a deer that is wreaking havoc around Mapleton. He chases it to a house where it flees and is hit by the car. The driver is an attractive woman who invites him to her hotel room. During the Departure, Kevin is having sex with the woman when she disappears; Nora snaps at her family right before they disappear; Jill and Tommy form a circuit at the science fair when one child in the circle disappears; Laurie has an ultrasound and witnesses the disappearance of the fetus.
10 10 "The Prodigal Son Returns" Mimi Leder Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrotta September 7, 2014 (2014-09-07) 4X5710 1.53[31]
Kevin seeks Matt's help in disposing of the evidence from the previous night's events. Meanwhile, The Guilty Remnant places the life-like burial dolls of the Departed townspeople where they disappeared causing a riot back home. Tommy finds his way back home after Christine leaves him with the baby. Wayne dies after granting a mysterious wish to Kevin.


Critical response[edit]

Season one of The Leftovers received positive reviews from critics. Metacritic gave the season one a score of 65 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[32] Rotten Tomatoes gave the season a rating of 70%, based on 60 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Its dour tone and self-seriousness may make for somber viewing, but The Leftovers is an artfully crafted, thought-provoking drama that aims high and often hits its mark."[33]

IGN reviewer Matt Fowler gave consistently high scores throughout all the episodes of season one, including two perfect 10 scores for "Two Boats and a Helicopter" and the season finale "The Prodigal Son Returns."[34] He then gave the entire first season a review score of 9.4 out of 10, particularly praising the character-centric episodes, Max Richter's score, and the performances, particularly Carrie Coon's.[35]


The Leftovers was listed with six others for the Critics' Choice Television Award as one of the Most Exciting New Series of the year.[36] For the 67th Writers Guild of America Awards, the series was nominated for Best Long Form Adapted for the pilot episode.[37] For the 19th Satellite Awards, The Leftovers received three nominations, for Best Genre Show, Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film for Ann Dowd and Best Supporting Actor for a Series, Miniseries, or TV Film for Christopher Eccleston.[38]


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External links[edit]