The Leftovers

IMDB:The Leftovers

Seasons Type Genre
3 Serial Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
Scene Count
Pilot Screenplay
67 74

Signature Element


The Leftovers starts with a mystery that will stay present throughout the show. 2% of the world disappears and no one knows what happened or why it happened. The show explores the various ways people react to the unknown. Whether the show will explain what happened or not is always in the back of viewers minds, but even if it is never touched upon, there is enough drama present to stay entertaining.

What If?

The basic premise of the show is what if there was a rapture, but not everyone was taken. What would the leftover people do? The Leftover explores the themes of coming to terms with those who are gone and what life means if they were already passed over for the end of the world. Even though people just disappeared and everything else remained relatively unchanged, it brings the question of whether life is still worth living.

Family POV

The Leftovers focuses the point of view on four family members who are all reacting differently in somewhat extreme ways. Both the father and daughter hope that one day their family will reunite as a whole, but in the meantime they go about their lives trying to act like everything is normal. The father Kevin is trying to hold onto the past life by keeping his family together and continuing his job as an officer. The daughter Jill, like her father, is trying to hold onto the concept of a family, but is dealing more with the loss of her mother and family than the lost of the people who disappeared. Its as if the mother might as well have disappeared.

Both the mother and the son have found comfort in joining a group created because of the event of October 14th. Both groups are seen as a cult to the outside world especially due to the lack of communication with former friends and family and the secretive nature of the group. The mother Laurie has been overwhelmed and joined the cult the Guilty Remnant who believe the rapture has happened and everyone left behind weren’t chosen, so everyone should give up trying in life. Tom, like his mother, has joined a cult-like group who are idolizing a man named Wayne. It is unclear what their role or plan is, but from Tom’s fear of Wayne and Wayne’s persuasive act, it can’t be anything good.

Main Characters

Kevin Garvey


A MAN. Forties, but wearing them extremely well. He is handsome, but imperfectly so. The kind of face that’s seen its share of fists smashing into it. His eyes are alternately good-humored or INTENSE and rarely in between. This is Kevin Garvey. He will be our hero. Sort of.

Laurie Garvey


A WOMAN…She is probably forty. There is a lot going on behind her eyes… and a sense that she for some reason, she is willing to UNLEASH it. This is LAURIE.

Tom Garvey


A GOOD-LOOKING KID. Early twenties. Mussed hair…There is something very RELAXED about him… he seems stoned, but isn’t. We like him instantly. This is Tom.

Jill Garvey


Sixteen and still more GIRL than woman. A couple years ago, we might have described her as “sweet.” That is no longer true. This is Jill.


Pretty Redhead


Other Characters:

LUCY WARBURTON. Forty. Damaged. Sexy. Black. Bright. And the Mayor

DENNIS LUCKEY. Young Cop. More handsome than he is smart.

IS A MAN. Muscular. Middle-Aged. Black. In a Bathrobe… and we’re not entirely sure if he’s wearing anything under it. His face is serene, radiating undeniable POWER. The is WAYNE.

A LIT JOINT arcs toward a pair of POUTY LIPS. They belong to a preternaturally good-looking SEVENTEEN YEAR-OLD GIRL. Confidence oozes out of her. This is AIMEE.

AN OLDER WOMAN with frizzy gray hair sits behind a desk piled high with paperwork. This is PATTI LEVIN. And whatever the hell is happening in ths house? She’s in charge of it.

As YOUNG as she is beautiful, she lays on a TOWEL beside the pool, LARGE SUNGLASSES cover her face. An Asian LOLITA. Her name is CHRISTINE.

An impossibly GORGEOUS TEENAGER. Tall. DREAMY. His name is NICK.

Scott and Adam Frost
The passenger window slides down, revealing a pair of handsome, IDENTICAL TWINS with matching BLOND DREADLOCKS, Rastafarian Winkelvosses. This is SCOTT and ADAM FROST.

Reverend Matt Jamison
Well… he USED to be a reverend. Intense and perhaps UNHINGED, he holds a sheaf of PHOTOCOPIED NEWSLETTERS, handing them out to people in the CROWD.

From the crowd, A WOMAN steps up to the stage. Elegant. Strong. Focused. She will become very important later. This is NORA.

Character Differences

Aimee is impulsive and energetic in the screenplay. In the pilot she is much more grounded and closer friends with Jill.

The Frost twins do not have blond dreadlocks. They dress and act like two typical Caucasian preppy white kids.

Act Breakdown

The screenplay and pilot did not have any acts, so I have added act breaks to the pilot.
The structures for Act 1, 2 and 3 will be written out for comparison because the scene sequence was changed.

The Leftovers Script

Main Points

Mother loses her baby at the laundromat as the October 14 event occurs.


The entire teaser is changed from a supermarket to a laundromat apart from the final parking lot scene, everything is different.


Although the scene originally takes place in a supermarket, the message is the same. The mother is going through the motions of daily life as she tries to focus on the task at hand (Shopping/doing laundry) while being distracted (phone call and crying baby). Only when the baby disappears does her full attention go to the whereabouts of the child.

The teaser gives the audience a small glimpse of the October 14 event unfolding so there is an understanding throughout the pilot of what the characters went through.

End of Teaser

Everyone panics as they cannot find people who have disappeared.

Script Notes


Act 1
Main Points

Kevin watches a man kill a dog and tries to return the body to the owner.
Tom picks up Senator Witten and drives him to a secret place.
Laurie asks the leader permission to go on the assignment.
Kevin tries but fails to convince the mayor not to hold a memorial event for the anniversary of Oct 14.

Kevin runs and sees a man kill a dog.Kevin runs and sees a man kill a dog.
Laurie wakes up.Laurie wakes up.
Jill in classLaurie gets ready, eats and convinces Patti to let her go.
Tom picks up Senator WittenJill in class.
Kevin gets ready for work.Tom picks up Senator Witten
Laurie gets ready, eats and convinces Patti to let her go.Tom and Senator Witten drive and talk.
Kevin returns Dog CollarKevin returns the dog collar.
Tom and Senator Witten drive and talk.Jill hits a classmate during field hockey. (Moved to Act 2)
Town meeting to discuss the Oct 14 Memorial Event.Jill's coach givers her a warning. (Moved to Act 2.)
Town meeting to discuss the Oct 14 Memorial Event.

Shower scene with Laurie.
Laurie walks through the hallway.


Kevin and Jill’s scene remain in the same order with only Laurie and Tom’s scenes moved around.

Kevin is clearly lonely and longing for getting his family back together, but the masturbation scene with Kevin would have probably given the wrong idea about the show’s main character.

The script and the show both try to hide the fact that Laurie is Kevin’s wife. However, even though the show is about people disappearing, it isn’t much of a surprise that Laurie is the wife and mother of the family. Just from watching the first few scenes with Laurie and seeing the cult she is involved with, it wasn’t a stretch to think she could be Kevin’s wife. The fact that the POV was with the other three members of the family also pointed in that direction as well.

The town hall meeting was the same in both the screenplay and pilot. It was a great scene that blended much needed exposition with tension between the mayor and Kevin.

End of Act 1

Kevin storms out of a town hall meeting after the mayor tells him the Oct 14 memorial event is still happening.

Script Notes
Kevin is listening to The Clash as he runs.Kevin is listening to the radio, which is talking about the 2% of the world that disappeared.
Kevin sees a lady who waves at him as he runs.Kevin does not see a woman, and there are blue ribbons tied around poles to tribute the missing people.
Kevin keeps his distance from the dog. The dog is aggressive, and Kevin tries to calm it down with food.Kevin approaches the dog. The dog is calm and Kevin has no food to give it.
Kevin tries to save the dog as it dies after it has been shot.The dog dies right away from the shot.
Kevin lifts the dog up to end the scene.Kevin is not shown lifting the dog up.
As Laurie brushes her teeth, she stares at a rectangle on the wall where a mirror used to be.As Laurie brushes her teeth, she looks at the quote "We are living reminders." on the wall.
The quote on the wall is "We Smoke so they Remember."The quote on the wall is "We don't smoke for enjoyment, we smoke to proclaim faith."
Patti uses an Ipad to write her messages.Patti uses a notepad and pen to writer her messages.
Patti tells Laurie that people will get hurt if she goes before letting her go.Patti immediately lets Laurie go.
Aimee is not in the classroom scene.Aimee is also introduced in the classroom scene and reacts to Jill's interaction with Nick.
Tom picks up Senator Witten in a downpour.Tom picks up Senator Witten on a sunny day.
While Tom is waiting, he eats a Snickers.While waiting, Tom listens to the radio.
Tom gets a warning text that Senator Witten is incoming. Senator Witten parks 30 yards away.Senator Witten just shows up and parks next to Tom.
Kevin masturbates to porn as he gets ready.Kevin does not masturbate to porn as he gets ready.
There is a political discussion on the television as Kevin masturbates.Because the masturbation was cut, the political discussions are heard in the background of Laurie's scene with Patti.
Kevin tells the lady that the dog's body is in the trunk, but it is never shown.Kevin does not tell the lady that the dog's body is in the trunk and it is shown when Kevin puts the collar back.
As the girls play hockey, there are no Guilty Remnant watching.As the girls play hockey, there are two Guilty Remnant members watching.
Act 2
Main Points

Tom learns Wayne wants to talk to him after he’s been talking with a girl named Christine.
Jill injures another student during field hockey.
Laurie receives an assignment to recruit a new member.

Jill hits a classmate during field hockey.Laurie receives an assignment.
Jill's coach givers her a warning.Aimee and Jill talk about the party.
Tom brings Witten to Wayne.Tom brings Witten to Wayne.
Tom talks to Christie.Tom talks to Christie.
Kevin watches people enter a church.Kevin watches people enter a church.
Kevin smashes picture of his family.Kevin makes dinner and then smashes picture of his family.
Laurie receives an assignment.Aimee and Jill have dinner with Kevin. (Moved to Act 3).
Aimee and Jill talk about the party. Laurie and her friend watch a couple from the street. (Moved to Act 3).
Witten leaves and Tom learns Wayne wants to talk to him.Witten leaves and Tom learns Wayne wants to talk to him.

Exterior shot of the Guilty Remnant neighborhood.


The pilot keeps Wayne a mysterious character. When Senator Witten walks in, Wayne doesn’t move a muscle, and the scene cuts before he says anything. The script also has Wayne not talking, but Wayne moves and welcomes him. The minimal movement and the revelation about wanting to speak with Tom builds Wayne’s character before the audience can judge for themselves when he is finally shown interacting with Tom later.

End of Act 2

Tom learns Wayne wants to speak to him.

Script Notes
The Frost twins drive a white Prius.The Frost twins drive a blue Prius.
Wayne rises to greet Witten as he walks in the room. Nothing is said.Witten sits down in front of Wayne and asks for help. Wayne just sits and listens.
The guard is in a lifeguard chair watching Tom at the pool.The guard is up on top of the hill overlooking the pool watching Tom.
Kevin is drinking beer out of a can in his vehicle. Kevin is drinking beer out of a bottle in his vehicle.
Act 3
Main Points

Laurie and her friend stalk her target as she enjoys dinner with her fiance.
Aimee has sex with Jill’s crush Nick at a party.
Jill finds the dead dog in her trunk and buries it with help from the Frost Twins.
Wayne talks to Tom and tells him to keep Christine safe.

Kevin makes a meal and has dinner with Aimee and Jill.Aimee rounds everyone up to the play a game and they play.
Laurie and a friend watch a young couple.Laurie and a friend watch the young couple at a restaurant.
Jill and Aimee are at a party playing a game.Jill gets Max in the game.
Laurie and a friend watch the young couple at a restaurant.The young couple drives home and finds Laurie and her friend waiting.
Jill gets Max in the game.Jill leaves the party and finds the dead dog in the trunk.
The young couple drives home and finds Laurie and her friend waiting.Jill and the twins bury the dead dog.
Jill leaves the party and finds the dead dog in the trunk.Wayne talks to Tom.
Jill and the twins bury the dead dog.Kevin has a dream.
Wayne talks to Tom.
Kevin has a dream.

Aimee gathering everyone to play a party game.


The party screen is condensed in the pilot thanks to the decision to use an App for the party game instead of a twister spinner. With the twister spinner, there were little options for rules and although forcing the pair of Nick and Aimee together through a group vote was written well, forcing Max and Jill together through a disinterested group vote made no sense. The App solves this by explicitly stating what everyone is doing when they are chosen. Nick has to have sex with Aimee and Jill has to choke Max. There was no group vote based on a kiss, just chance and instructions from an App.

This also gave a brief moment to Jill where we see her show her true emotions while she is lightly choking Max. Jill misses her mother and now has to deal with her best friend having sex with the guy she likes. Nothing seems to be going right for her.

The POV at the restaurant stays on Meg and her fiance instead of Laurie and her friend from outside the restaurant. Their backstory is fleshed out more as the fiance tries to talk to Meg about the wedding. Liv Tyler does an excellent job displaying emotions of someone who is trying to be happy despite something being wrong. It is not mentioned in the pilot or script, but from her characters reaction, it looks like her significant other disappeared with the others. In the script she gets upset at Laurie for ruining her big night out, but in the pilot she is only upset that Laurie is following her.

Kevin’s dream is changed dramatically. Initially there is a naked man and a naked woman riding a horse trying to communicate to him in Spanish. This is changed to Kevin hitting an animal, and the animal going crazy as it dies. The suspense of Kevin walking around the car to whatever he hit provides more of a shock for him to wake up than two naked people talking Spanish and a hole in his hand suddenly appearing. It also connects with the Stag that Kevin has been seeing throughout the episode and the damage done to his kitchen by a what looks like a wild animal.

End of Act 3

Kevin has a dream that he is driving and hits an animal before waking up.

Script Notes
A spinner from an old Twister game is used to determine who is paired up. The teens then vote on what that pair does.An App is used that spins and decides what the teens paired up will do.
First pair kisses and then get a room.First pair hugs.
Jill spins and gets Nick. They kiss, but are never voted to get a room.Jill never spins and gets Nick.
Nick gets Aimee and the crowd votes them to get a room.App lands on Aimee and tells Nick to "Fuck" her.
The restaurant scene is seen through the window from Laurie's POV outside.The restaurant scene is seen through the couples POV from inside the restaurant.
Because the POV is from outside, the couple have no dialogue.Because the POV is from inside, the couple is talking about their upcoming wedding. The redhead is not too thrilled about it.
Jill gets Max, and the remaining participants vote for them to get a room so the game can be over soon.The App tells a boy to burn himself, which he does with a heated fork. Jill then lands on Max and has to "Choke" him.
Max just jerks off.Max jerks off as Jill chokes him. She cries to herself silently as she does it.
The redhead yells at Laurie for ruining her special night.The redhead yells at Laurie for following her around.
Jill only passes the room with Nick and Aimee.Jill also tries to go to the washroom, but there are two boys naked, one in the tub, that stare at Jill until she leaves.
Jill waves at women in Burkas that live across the street.There is only one woman in a Burka and Jill does not acknowledge her.
Wayne wakes Tom up by whispering until he is awake.Wayne wakes Tom up by walking in the room and turning the light on.
When Wayne confronts Tom about Christine, he doesn't grab anything.When Wayne confronts Tom about Christine, he grabs a knife.
During Kevin's dream, the radio is in Spanish.During Kevin's dream, the radio is in English, but it cuts out which distracts Kevin.
Kevin hits a speed bump which causes Kevin to stop.While Kevin is distracted by the radio, an animal smashes into Kevin's windshield, which causes him to stop.
Kevin sees a naked man standing to a naked woman on a horse trying to communicate something to Kevin. Kevin wakes up as he finds a large whole in his palm.Kevin sees the animal's leg moving and crying before he wakes up from the dream.
Act 4
Main Points

Kevin goes to the Oct 14 Memorial Event.
The Guilty Remnant show up causing a mass crowd fight.


Staging area scene of Kevin arriving on bike to the parade.
A shot of the park to capture the aftermath of the riot.

The parade and Guilty Remnant getting ready are intercut.


The fight between the crowd and the Guilty Remnant is very similar to the screenplay and it captures the chaos of the situation well.

In the screenplay it mentions that Kevin picks up Laurie without noticing her. In the pilot, it is a blink and you miss it moment as Kevin quickly picks up a woman which may or may not be Laurie because it never emphasizes who it is. The audience observes the chaos from Kevin’s POV and not from Laurie’s as a victim.

End of Act 4

Kevin and his officers hold off the crowd as the Guilty Remnant retreat.

Script Notes
Kevin finds a pile of animal shit in his kitchen.Kevin does not find animal shit in his kitchen.
The Guilty Remnant wrap protective foam around themselves before they leave the house because they expect to be attacked.The Guilty Remnant just wear their normal white clothes.
Kevin arrives at the parade on bike.It is not shown how Kevin arrives to the parade, he just shows up walking through the crowd.
Lucy asks where the girl scouts are.Lucy doesn't ask where the girl scouts are.
The band's music plays during the parade.The band is playing, but a song is used while the parade happens.
Kevin makes sure his men are all in position through his walkie.Kevin's men are already in position.
Jill tells Kevin she buried the dog.Jill doesn't mentioned that she buried the dog.
A violinist plays while the girl scouts read names. There is no violinist playing while the girl scouts read names.
Only four names are read.Seven names are read and red balloons are released in the air.
Nora is sitting in the crowd when she is introduced.Nora is sitting on the stage when she is introduced.
Nora and Kevin briefly lock eyes.Nora and Kevin never lock eyes.
The Guilty Remnant emerges from the trees taking everyone off guard.The Guilty Remnant emerges from a hill clearly in sight.
Dennis tells Kevin over the Walkie that the Guilty Remnant are coming.Kevin just sees the Guilty Remnant coming.
The crowd throws a bottle at the Guilty Remnant which hits a man and starts the fight.The crowd starts the fight by pushing and then punching the Guilty Remnant. The bottle is thrown during the fight.
Act 5
Main Points

Kevin tries to convince Laurie to come home.
Meg joins the Guilty Remnant.
Kevin meets the dog killer and sees the harsh reality of the new world.
Tom and Jill are both angry in their situations.


Jill looking at the broken family picture.
Tom swimming in the pool.


Kevin initially goes into the Guilty Remnant house, but it is changed so Laurie is standing outside after he beats up the Guilty Remnant member. It’s a strong emotional moment for Kevin and good reveal if the viewer never suspected Laurie as the mother.

The rest of the act remains the same as the script with minor changes.

Tom screaming in the water was a nice addition to just swimming around. His character is clearly having trouble adjusting just like the rest of them.

Every single member of the family ends up crying in the final act, as if they were all living in their own personal hell despite still having family alive. Kevin ends the episode shooting the viscous dogs as they eat the stag. It’s quite the contrast from the beginning of the episode where Kevin watches a dog die and tries to return it to its owner. The stag may represent Kevin’s hope for a normal life and once he sees the stag die, symbolically, so does his hope. Just like everyone else, he accepts the world is now full of chaos and nothing will ever be normal.

End of Act 5

Kevin kills the dogs with Dean.

Script Notes
On the television, the man with glasses is arguing against religion and the blond woman is arguing for religion.On the television, the blond woman is arguing against religion and the man with glasses is arguing for religion.
Kevin headbutts the guy to get through to Laurie.Kevin yells and then punches the guy several times to get through to Laurie.
Kevin finds Laurie in the house after he beats up the guy.Kevin sees Laurie standing outside the house after he beats up the guy.
Kevin tells Laurie it is time to come home.Kevin asks Laurie to just take a walk with him and then adds just come home later.
Patti doesn't say anything after she is done talking with Meg.Patti tells Meg that this would be the last time they will speak.
Jill is eating cereal in PJ bottoms as she walks up the stairs and sees the broken picture.Jill is just coming home as she walks upstairs and sees the broken picture.
Tom just swims underwater in the pool by himself.Tom swims underwater in the pool by himself and yells in anger underwater.
The stag walks towards Kevin.Kevin walks towards the stag.
Two packs of dogs catch the stag with about 30 dogs biting it to shreds.One pack of dogs catch the stag with about 7 dogs biting it to shreds.
Dean gets his rifle after talking with Kevin and then shoots the dogs.Dean already has his rifle and immediately starts shooting dogs after talking with Kevin.

Overall Breakdown

The Leftovers is a great POV script that introduces a family of four in a world trying to understand what happened. Each character is dealing with the disappearance of 2% of the population differently and the show introduces a broad cast of colorful characters to enhance each family members perspective. Although none of the family members are directly affected by the event, they have created their own personal hell in response and seem to be helpless in trying to escape it. For a show with global implications, it does a great job of keeping the story localized and focused on the family while still exploring and dropping information about the city as a whole and the rest of the world. Establishing two different cults is also well done with just the right amount of mystery and substance to give the viewer enough knowledge to understand, but keep enough mystery to keep viewers intrigued and curious.


There isn’t really any changes to how the characters act but there are added scenes or scenes taken away that emphasize how the characters feel.

Kevin misses his wife and his family being together. He still has Jill and tries to keep her happy, but it is hard given the circumstances. From the traditional family dinner to the breaking of the picture, we see Kevin has hope but is slowly losing it. From seeing the dead dog in the beginning to shooting dogs in the end, Kevin realizes the world has changed and he needs to change with it. The masturbation scene was supposed to emphasize his loneliness, but it also shows weakness as he gives in to his impulses. Kevin is who we want to root for and the masturbation scene is not needed.

Jill’s added scene of crying while choking Max gives us a glimpse that everything is far from okay. Jill’s overall character is calm naturally and generally unhappy, but seeing her cry shows she is broken inside. Her mother is gone and the only thing she had hope for, being with Nick, is taken away after Aimee is forced to have sex with him. Nothing is going right in her life and as she looks at her family picture, it is clear she wants what Kevin wants, a reunited family.

Initially at the end of the episode, Tom is just swimming in the pool. However it is added that he screams underwater in the pilot. Tom is in a shady cult-like place that has restrictions on what you can or cannot do. Tom believes in Wayne, but he also likes Christine. So it is very conflicting for him to protect her without ever trying to get intimate. It is unclear how he feels about his family, but from his lack of communication, it seems he has given up the normal life.

No scenes are added for Laurie, because all of her scenes capture what kind of life she has chosen to live. When a character is deep in a cult, the audience already knows what kind of mindset and motivation the character has. The Guilty Remnant’s MO is made perfectly clear throughout the episode and it is that they believe the rapture happened and everyone left weren’t chosen. The Guilty Remnant’s members have basically given up on life but still muster enough motivation to be organized enough to spread their message. Like Tom, it is unclear what Laurie is after, but her stance to stay even after Kevin begs her to come home gives an indication that she has made her mind up.

Verdict: No significant changes.


Acts 1,2 and 3 had the most significant changes as the sequence of the scenes was rearranged to balance out the focus on each character.
Laurie and Tom’s scenes were spread more evenly between Jill and Kevin’s to balance the episode out.

Acts 4 and 5 were the same as the pilot with the exception of inter-cutting added during the parade scene between the parade and the Guilty Remnant.

Verdict: Significant changes.

Three Biggest Differences

1. Structure and sequence of scenes.
2. The Parade and the memorial scenes are shortened.
3. Meg’s Scenes give more depth to Meg’s character.

Overall Difference

1: Significant Changes.
2: Significant changes to story and structure, but same characters and scenes.
3: Significant changes to scenes or characters, but same story and structure.
4: Minor Changes
5: Identical

Script and Pilot Difference: 2/5

Screenwriting Techniques

Scene Order

The Leftovers manages to keep all of the same scenes as the screenplay, but the order is changed in the pilot. The pilot order spreads out the story more so there is focus on each character instead of long periods of time focused on one character.

It is important to balance screen time especially if you have several main characters with different story lines.

Emphasizing the Written Word

The Leftovers uses bigger font to emphasize what is written by the Guilty Remnant. The quotes on the wall take up several lines in the screenplay and the words written by a member of the Guilty Remnant to communicate have a font to mimic it being written by hand.

Although not common, if silent characters are used it is a good way to emphasize their personal written voice.

Surprise Dream

Kevin has a dream and then wakes up from it surprised. This is a common technique in storytelling and a great example of how to write it

Radio Exposition

There is a lot of exposition given in the background on both the television and radio about the October 14th event. This is a useful way to give audience information without the use of on-the-nose dialogue from characters. The dialogue can be on-the-nose through a radio because it is not the main focus.

The key is to make the radio or television naturally apart of the scene. You can’t just put one in so you can use exposition. It has to naturally be a place where you would find a television or radio.

Character Description

The Leftovers has a very specific template of introducing it’s characters always ending with: This is Character Name.

Descriptions can be tricky to write, and using the same template for all your characters is a good starting point.

Thanks for reading and feedback is appreciated.

Next Pilot: Black Lightning