Follow TV Tropes


Characters / The Leftovers

Go To

    open/close all folders 

The Garvey Family

    In General 
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Garvey's father is crazy, his wife is in a cult, his step-son is off the grid with another cult, and he's raising his Bratty Teenage Daughter alone. On top of that, Kevin has to deal with the pressures of the Guilty Remnant and his own possible insanity.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Downplayed. Laurie was a psychologist prior to the Sudden Departure, and Tom is shown to be struggling with the aftermath of possible abuse at the hands of his birth father. But he's well supported by his family. Then the Sudden Departure hits, Laurie utterly loses faith in her profession, and her children and husband spiral into Sanity Slippage and grief.

    Chief Kevin Garvey Jr.
"Nobody's ready to feel better. They're ready to fucking explode."
Played By: Justin Theroux

Mapleton's chief of police and a father of two, he is trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy in this new world. The way his family has fallen apart since The Departure, (or in some cases, were falling apart even before the Departure) puts more and more of a strain on him. He's secretly terrified that he might go mad the way his father has, and the fact that he's having blackouts where he's implied to function normally for hours but is completely unable to remember any details afterward isn't exactly helping...

  • The Alcoholic: Functional, but he still drinks more than he ought to.
  • Amicable Exes: With Laurie by late S2, having been very negative towards her in the past. He's finally accepted he needs her and they're friends by Season 3, though.
  • Asleep for Days: He has blackout periods where he apparently can function and interact normally with people for hours at a time, but remembers absolutely nothing from them. They can last long enough that he can drive from Mapleton to the town of Cairo and back, (which is described as a drive of several hours each way) and has apparently had many interactions with Dean while blacked out and cannot remember any of them.
  • Badass Beard: In season 3, he's gone from stubble to a full beard, which along with joining the Miracle police force shows he's really getting himself back on track.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Is quite willing to abuse his power both in and out of uniform, and falls for the GR Batman Gambit that allows them to steal pictures of the Departed town wide as a set up to their future gambit of creating ultra lifelike dolls of the Departed. That said, he's still far more competent than his main deputies, who are almost a stereotype of a backwoods, dim bulb cops, (one in a well meaning, likeable way, the other as just a straight up jerk) and does try to protect even people he doesn't like, such as the Guilty Remnant.
  • Beard of Sorrow:
    • In the first season, while suffering from a broken family, he always has about a week's worth of Perma-Stubble in spite of being a police officer. He apparently gets away with it because he's the Chief.
    • Grows a beard in the third season, and he's just as damaged as ever, though a flashback reveals that he did so on Nora's request.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: He has them.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For/Irony: Before the Departure, he was aching for some bigger, grander meaning and purpose in his life. Ever since the Departure, he's been frantically trying to deny such a purpose and just live as close to a normal life as he can.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: A lot of Garvey's issues stem from the fact that his family is more than a little messed up. His father is seemingly crazy, his wife left to join a cult, his step-son just up and disappeared (and is also in a cult, but Garvey doesn't know that), and his daughter is taking the whole thing about as well as he is, in no small part because of how he's taking it.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: It's implied in "International Assassin" and "The Most Powerful Man in the World (and his Identical Twin Brother)" that he's very well endowed. A guard frisking his groin congratulates him, and there's a rather solid thump when he uses the penis scanner.
  • The Chosen One: Deconstructed. Neither Kevin nor anyone else is really aware of why he is able to come Back from the Dead and talk to dead people. It's possible that these are all variations of Dying Dreams that he suffers while under the physical strain of near-death.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: There are hints that he tends to always want to be saving people from difficult or challenging situations. It's implied that he was dying to Jump At The Call before the Departure, when he voiced a sense of frustration and disappointment that there wasn't greater purpose to his life, more to do. Laurie alludes to this near the end of "The Garveys At Their Best" when she essentially notes that Kevin's need to save something, (in this case a deer wandering into buildings and causing property damage) is more important to him than an urgently needed talk about their marriage.
  • Cool Shades: A pair of nifty shades that he wears on duty.
  • Da Chief: Kevin is the Chief of Police.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Probably the snarkiest character on the show with the possible exception of Aimee.
  • Dead Person Conversation: With Patti in Season 2.
  • Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life: Before the Departure, he wanted a grander purpose and felt overshadowed by the wealthier and more successful Laurie. He got it.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Toils for many, many years trying to find Nora in Australia after he leaves her. Finally succeeds in the Distant Finale and they appear to get together.
  • Fair Cop: Meg refers to him as 'the hot cop'.
  • Functional Addict: He drinks too much and has become a bit of a pill popper since the Departure, but it's not at the point where it interferes much with his work or impairs his basic functioning. He gives up the pills when he starts to wonder if they're responsible for his blackouts.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Kevin is short-tempered and irritable, but he does care about the town and doing the right thing.
  • Henpecked Husband: He was feeling increasingly like this just before the Departure.
  • Hot-Blooded: He is constantly on edge.
  • Hypocrite: He initially refuses Laurie's offer of a divorce, citing their vows. He admits in the same episode that he cheated on her, which just so happened to be right at the moment of the Great Departure. It's unclear if he ever admitted as much.
  • In the Blood: His father hears voices, and Garvey's experiences have him questioning whether or not he's losing it, too. However, ultimately partially subverted, because while both Kevins share mystical powers, Kevin Jnr's appear to be much stronger. Lampshaded by Kevin Snr in Season 3.
    If I could do this for you, I would. But I can't.
  • It's All My Fault: No matter how many times it is shown otherwise, Kevin still seems convinced that things like Laurie joining the Guilty Remnant is his fault, and that he wasn't "taken" in the Departure because of his personal failings, despite being good friends with a guy who collects facts on how many of the people taken by the Departure were thieves, rapists, and general degenerates.
  • It's Personal: Laurie's involvement with the Guilty Remnant puts him further at odds with them than he would be otherwise.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Has them regarding his blackouts, although sometimes afterwards he can recall brief flashes from them. It just adds onto his fears that he's losing his mind.
  • Masochism Tango: He and Nora go through periods of being happy, but they can't help hurting and abandoning each other.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Appears to be inheriting whatever visions his father had. Are they real? Are they not? The show has been aggressively coy on the subject, but Kevin is inclined to believe he's losing it.
  • Messiah Creep: He starts out as the Chief of Police in Mapleton, NY, but by season 3 he is considered by Matt as the new born Christ.
  • My Greatest Failure: Feels this way about abandoning Nora in Australia.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Pump him full of poison, bury him in the ground, shoot him, but Kevin Garvey will not die.
  • Oh, Crap!: His reaction to waking up from one of his blackouts to learn that he assaulted and kidnapped Patti, drove her to a remote location several hours away from his home and that he's come there before during his blackouts while being completely unable to remember any of it is perfectly understandable. Freaking out is exactly the reaction one should have.
  • Papa Bear: He beats up Tom's real dad for mistreating him in "The Garveys at Their Best".
  • Perma-Stubble: Throughout the first season, he maintains a week's worth of stubble at all times, even though he's a cop.
  • Sanity Slippage: Throughout, but most evident in Season 2, after he implicates himself in the
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Patti's "ghost" is driving him out of his mind playing a part in destroying his life, but when he's about to get rid of it for good he almost can't go through with it because he feels so sorry for Patti and all the misery she endured in her life.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With the Mayor, with whom he shares a mutual dislike, in S1. Goes through periods of it with John and Virgil in S2.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Kevin sees things and people that no one else seems to see including the ghost of Patti. It's doubtful that we will get confirmation as to whether he's prophetic or just suffering from a mental breakdown. Thus far, nothing Patti has told him is out of the realm of things he couldn't otherwise know himself.
  • The Unfettered: Kevin is pretty badass, but he becomes increasingly more determined and leans in to his legacy in the second half of the third season.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Because of the gaps in his memory from his blackouts. There are all sorts of things around him and that he's doing which he's not consciously aware of, and it skews his perceptions.
  • Ultimate Job Security: He is clearly not emotionally stable at times. He's always seen with a week's worth of stubble, sometimes appears drunk in public, and is frequently bungling police actions. He's also quite young for a police chief with such a large and experienced staff. However, it's never suggested that his job security is at risk. It probably helps that he lives in a small town, his father was the previous chief, and he's tight with the mayor.
  • What Did I Do Last Night??: A very dark example throughout Season 2. He blacked out right next to Evie's abandoned car after she vanished into thin air, and left his handprint behind on it. He's constantly haunted by the fear that he could've hurt her, whether supernaturally or otherwise, and constantly attempts to evade John's increasingly desperate attempts to locate him.
  • Vision Quest: Goes on one in Season 2 in a desperate attempt to do something about seeing Patti's "ghost".
  • You Wake Up on a Beach: Wakes up on a beach in "The Most Powerful Man in the World (And His Identical Twin Brother)."

    Laurie Garvey
"I think I'm supposed to stay broken. Maybe we all are."
Played By: Amy Brenneman

Kevin's wife and Tom and Jill's mother. Before the Departure she was a successful psychologist, but she abruptly left her entire life behind shortly after the Departure to join a nihilistic cult called The Guilty Remnant. Eventually it's revealed that she was in the early stages of pregnancy just before the Departure only for the fetus to Depart while still in utero, and she could see it happening due to being in the midst of an ultrasound appointment.

The events of the first season, particularly the near death of Jill leads her to leave the Guilt Remnant and begin working on a project to rescue other members, give them deprogramming, and help them reintegrate into society.

  • Agent Scully: Turns into one in season three, where she rejects the idea of supernatural causes and Kevin being a messiahs. Garvey Sr. calls her Doubting Thomas at one point.
  • Amicable Exes: She tries this with her husband. Garvey doesn't go for it. By late in Season 2, though, Kevin has suffered from so much Sanity Slippage that he finally accepts he needs her, and by Season 3, they are good friends. She crosses Australia to find him when she discovers he's hallucinating again.
  • The Atoner: Tries to be this during Season 2, but there is some overlap with Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Berserk Button: Don't scratch too deeply at her feelings while she was still with the Guilty Remnant.
  • Create Your Own Villain: During her time in the Guilty Remnant, Laurie was given the job of mentoring Meg and making sure Meg would stay in the cult. After Laurie leaves the cult in Season 2, Meg becomes the leader of an extremist splinter faction that is willing to go further than the rest of the Guilty Remnant is willing to, and something of an arch-enemy for Laurie.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Both Kevins view her as having this, but it's a (somewhat) unfair description. She will often deceive them to get them the medical help she thinks they have. However, they think they're beset by supernatural problems, so you can hardly blame Laurie for trying to bring them back to earth. Similarly, she hides the fact that Kevin thinks he's seeing Evie in Australia, but only to protect him.
  • Cult: Laurie joined one, the Guilty Remnant, sometime after the Great Departure. The events of Season 1 caused her to leave it and dedicate herself to pulling out others who had been sucked into it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: There are hints that something went very badly wrong with her first marriage. Tom says that her first husband "Shouldn't get to pretend it never happened", and Kevin's absolute fury at the prospect of the man having "touched" Tom during their confrontation may be a hint of past violence or sexual abuse. Watching a baby she was pregnant with Depart couldn't have done any favors for her either.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Off Ramp" and "Certified" are focused on her.
  • Defector from Decadence: Is aggressively done with the Guilty Remnant and tries to deprogram former members during Season 2.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Patti tells Garvey that Laurie joined for this reason.
  • For Your Own Good: Laurie attempts to do this multiple times, notably when she hides the truth about their mental health issues from the Kevins. They don't appreciate it, but other characters understand her reasoning.
  • Happily Divorced: Eventually with Kevin. While not as evident as some examples of this trope, they were Unhappily Married post-departure, and unlike in the past, he often calls on her when he needs psychiatric help. Which is fairly often.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: In her efforts at fighting the Guilty Remnant in Season 2, she has become willing to lie, cheat, and steal, run over members of the GR, and after her attempts to get her book about them published fails, she intentionally fabricates a faux cult and uses her son as its figurehead. Tom points out that last one is especially ironic, as in order to finance her efforts against a nasty but apparently sincere cult that believes what it preaches, she has created a fake cult that acts an awful lot like a typical con job, with the aim of doing some good for people but also using their mandatory "donations" for basic expenses.
  • Hypocrite: Prior to the Great Departure, Laurie apparently placed a lot of importance on honesty and openness in her marriage and family life; she considered not telling Tom that he isn't Kevin's biological son to be the same as lying about it, and becomes upset with Kevin after he declines to tell her about a violent confrontation Tom had with his biological father, rejecting Kevin's reasoning that it was Tom's place to tell her about it, not his. All the while she was concealing the fact that she was pregnant and considering an abortion from Kevin. Furthermore, it seems she never told him about the pregnancy after the fetus Departed. Indeed, she doesn't confess what happened with her pregnancy to Kevin until the antepenultimate episode of Season 3.
  • Irony: In the house she had before the Departure and joining the Guilty Remnant, nearly every single surface and wall is gleaming white.
  • Magic Versus Science: Tries to convince Kevin his problems are caused by science (specifically psychology), and all have a Mundane Solution.
  • The Mentor: She's selected by The Guilty Remnant to be a mentor for Meg Abbott.
  • Missing Mom: To her family; she abandoned them and her entire life to join the Guilty Remnant. She comes back after S1, though, although she never really stops being estranged with them until the Distant Finale.
  • Moral Myopia: She has a real problem with the whole "It's wrong if other people do it, but it's ok if I do it" thing.
  • Only Sane Man: Deconstructed in many ways, played straight in others. Laurie is a firm believer that nothing supernatural is happening to Kevin, and that he is only suffering from (dangerous in themselves) delusions and severe mental health issues. She also is trying to destroy the Guilty Remnant. She is prepared to take care of Kevin in these events, but she often behaves in a way that is erratic or desperate as a result of her attempts to bring sanity back to the post-Departure world.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: She breaks her vow of silence in the last episode of the first season to warn Kevin that Jill is trapped in a burning building. Nothing short of that life and death situation had moved her to do so.
  • The Quiet One: Enforced by the cult she's apart of. Even when Patti offers her a "day off" to say whatever she wants, she sticks to it. She breaches it for a brief moment in the Season 1 finale, long enough to shout "Jill!" so Kevin realizes their daughter is trapped in a burning building.
  • Quirky Curls: Has them.
  • Rank Up: She took something of a leadership role within the Mapleton chapter of the Guilty Remnant, at least unofficially, after Patti disappears. The results of the Remnant's actions, however, and Jill nearly dying, caused her to leave it behind.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Is trying to become a better person and reconnect with Jill and Kevin in Season 2, but has met with little success. She seems to be welcomed back by the Distant Finale.
  • Secret Keeper: As a result of her role as psychiatrist that she's often asked to play for her family and friends, she becomes this for Patti, Kevin, and Nora at separate points.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Season 2 sees her transform into one, as during her attempts to fight the Guilty Remnant, she embraces increasingly underhanded and morally ambiguous tactics.

    Tom Garvey
"You want me to trust you? You want me to give my life for that girl? You need to let me know why!"
Played By: Chris Zylka

Laurie's son from Laurie's previous marriage, who has been adopted by Kevin, who treats him as if he were Kevin's biological son in all ways. Prior to the first season, he had dropped out of college and taken refuge with a mysterious guru called "Holy Wayne". While at Wayne's compound Tom operated as Wayne's go-to man for many tasks and errands, despite the fact that he never quite embraced Wayne as thoroughly as most other members of the group.

After Wayne's compound is attacked by the government, Tom escapes and is given the task of body guarding Christine, one of Wayne many groupies/followers who Wayne slept with, and is now pregnant with Wayne's child. Months in isolation with little word from Wayne only increases Tom's doubts and questions about the man. This comes to a head when he discovers another man looking after another one of Wayne's pregnant followers, who had been given the exact same spiel, nearly word for word, that Tom had. After Christine gives birth and then leaves him and the baby, Tom travels back to Mapleton and leaves the child on his father's door step. While there he encounters Laurie.

In Season 2, Tom has joined Laurie in her efforts to save people from the Guilty Remnant cult, by infiltrating different chapters of the cult, find members who don't appear to fit in or be able to go along with the cult's rules, then getting them out and into Laurie's therapy. The stress of doing this is taking quite a toll on him, however, and he has turned to drinking heavily to get by and appears to be under chronic depression and expresses a sense of missing the certainty of being in a cult.

  • The Alcoholic: Had a habit of getting drunk and showing up at his biological father's house to confront him before the Departure. He seems to have kicked the problem in the first season, but it comes back with a vengeance in Season 2.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Downplayed, but still a much straighter example than his sister Jill. He appears traumatised by his relationship to her biological father in Season 1 and then in Season 2, despite his mental vulnerability, Laurie unwisely convinces him to go undercover in the Guilty Remnant. This is a direct result of her job, too, as she's attempting to free as many Guilty Remnant members as possible. This leads to several extremely violent and terrifying experiences for Tom.
  • Cool Big Bro: Was a loving big brother with a good relationship with Jill prior to the Departure.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: It's hinted that the time before Laurie and Kevin got together was one for both Tom and Laurie. In the middle of dealing with that the Great Departure hit. Surviving a suicide attempt at college (alongside someone who presumably did not) seems to have been his last straw and sent him looking for answers elsewhere, leading him to Holy Wayne.
  • Give Me a Sign: Tom nearly gives up on Wayne's cult in "B.J. and the A.C.", insisting that Wayne call the phone he was given with some kind of explanation. The phone rings... but it's just a telephone ad. He sticks around anyway.
  • Happily Adopted: He isn't Kevin's biological son; he's Laurie's son from a previous relationship that went very badly. Kevin adopted him later, and he tells Nora that he only wishes Kevin was his biological father. He's also the main reason for Lily becoming this with Nora and Kevin, because he leaves Lily with him.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Tom is able to walk back into a hospital he ran out of while pursed by cops by disguising himself as a member of the "target on head" cult. People pay more attention to the target and the lack of shoes than their faces.
  • Like Father, Like Son: While Kevin isn't his biological father, Kevin thinks of him as his son. Like Kevin, he takes care of Lily (and trusts Kevin to raise her after Christine abandons them). Becomes even more pronounced after he takes up his father's mantle as police chief in Season 3.
  • Only Sane Man: Tom seems to be stuck between loyalty and rationality, clearly being loyal to Wayne and at the same time either unwilling or at least reluctant to believe in his supposed powers. He's also this to Christine, specifically, since she often fails to consider the bigger picture while the two are off the grid. When he discovers that Wayne has at least one other couple like himself and Christine, he realizes that Wayne's probably full of crap and smashes the phone Wayne gave him.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted big time when Meg rapes him as punishment for his actions against the Guilty Remnant.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Adopted son. He becomes a police officer in Jarden/Miracle and is seen doing it just before Kevin leaves for Australia.
  • Put on a Bus: Only has a brief voice cameo after his family, bar Jill, leaves for Australia.
  • The Reliable One: Wayne acts as though Tom is this to him, but when Tom finds out there are who knows how many other dupes out there, having been led to believe the same thing, he is furious and breaks with Wayne. However, he still sticks around to protect Christine and Lily.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Going undercover in the Guilty Remnant has taken a toll on him, and made him miss the certainty and belief of being in a cult. Averted however, as the actions of Meg and her splinter group drive him away from them and send him to finally reunite with Kevin and Jill.
  • Stepford Smiler: Prior to the Departure he apparently put on a happy face regarding the issues he had as a result of his biological father, and in Wayne's Community he's constantly in situations where he is suppressing what he really thinks and feels to fit in. His major release seems to be diving into the Community pool and then screaming underwater ao he can let off some steam where no one will hear or know.
  • Take Up My Sword: Claims to be doing this for Holy Wayne to give hope to former members of the Guilty Remnant.

    Jill Garvey
Played By: Margaret Qualley

Kevin's teenage, straight-A student daughter who has a difficult relationship with him. She seems to be living in a state of pained depression and sees the world around her as hollow and meaningless.

  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: When she grows out of her more acting-out tendencies in Season 2, she becomes this more thoroughly, though she still had a strong streak of this with Aimee in Season 1.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Jill has this in common with her father.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Has been acting out ever since her mother abandoned the family. She disobeys her father, gets into fights at school and is generally moody. To be fair, her father isn't the easiest person to get along with. Even Aimee says there's no "ok" with Jill. She gets a lot better in season two.
  • Break the Cutie: It turns out that the Departure and the disintegration of her family in the years afterward did this to her.
  • Broken Bird: Very, very much so.
  • Brutal Honesty: She mostly keeps her thoughts to herself, but she's more than willing to cut loose with the brutal honesty on occasion.
  • Cheerful Child/The Cutie: When we see her pre-Departure, she was a happy, relentlessly cheerful, upbeat young girl. Things have changed...
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Averted. Her mother, Laurie, is a psychologist, and when they live together pre-Departure, Jill appears to be happy and well-adjusted. However, both Laurie and Jill spiral into suicidal depression after the Departure, and Laurie joins the Guilty Remnant as a direct result of her losing faith in her profession, and then Jill follows her mother's bad (if not entirely unreasonable) example in joining the Guilty Remnant and nearly dying.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Constantly.
  • Emo Teen: In attitude and dress.
  • Hot for Preacher: Starts going out with Michael in Season 2, who is religious and involved with the local church,
  • Irony: Her first appearance in "The Garveys at Their Best" is her singing the lyrics "Without you, I'm paralyzed". Yeah, she certainly is somewhat paralyzed by depression with her family having disintegrated in the present.
  • Not So Stoic: Had a brief breakdown when she thought Kevin was coming to tell her that Laurie had been killed.
  • Opposites Attract: With Michael, who is much more emotionally engaged and religious than she is.
  • Pull the Thread: Jill seems to have a compulsion to first Spot the Thread in people around her and society in general, and then pull on it hard. This was true even before the Departure, as she confided to Tom that she believed that Kevin was on the edge of leaving Laurie, which Kevin was wrestling with.
  • Put on a Bus: Appears once after going to college in Season 3, and has a brief voice cameo. She's much more Out of Focus than Tom, for example, who also has a reduced role in Season 3.

    Kevin Garvey Sr.
Played By: Scott Glenn

Kevin's father and the former police chief. After the Departure he began hearing voices and burnt down a library, after which he checked himself into a mental institution.

  • Big Damn Heroes: When he rescues Jill, who is suffocating inside a locked refrigerator.
  • The Cassandra: Whether he actually is this is unknown, but he is constantly trying to pass along messages that he receives, none of which are believed (at least in Season 1), and are treated with major doubt even in Season 2 and 3.
  • Cool Old Guy: Kevin Sr is a witty old fellow who loves his son. He is a muscular old man and a former police chief. He's still considered very dangerous at his age and even beats up a younger police officer.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: He seems less crazy as the show goes on, particularly in light of the events of "International Assassin".
    • Swings back somewhat the other way by the time of Season 3. He's shown as being seriously dangerous and encouraging Kevin's ideas/delusions about his magical powers, which leads to danger for them both. Especially noticeable in "The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)", when he convinces Kevin to keep trying to drown himself, and even the dead Christopher Sunday thinks he's delusional.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Views himself this way. He knows that some of his behaviour can be insane, but he believes this is the only way to save the world.
  • Hearing Voices: This, suddenly answering the voices he's hearing (even in the middle of a conversation with another person), and the occasional sudden burst of violence are the main symptoms of his (apparent) insanity.
  • Irony: Kevin Sr. spends a good bit of his time trying to convince his son that he(Kevin Jr.) is being called to a higher destiny, with Jr. rejecting it out of duty to his family. The Garvey's at Their Best shows that the last conversation Sr. had with Jr. before the Great Departure was one where he told his son (who was undergoing a midlife crisis at the time) that he shouldn't obsess over the idea of having a higher purpose in life, because being a good family man is enough.
  • Jumped at the Call: Post-Season 1. He's implied to not want to hear voices, but once he leans into them, he has complete conviction in his actions.
  • Magic Versus Science: The "magic" to Laurie's "science".
  • Mask of Sanity: He's released from the institution in the second season. He admits to Kevin that he still hears voices, only now he's listening to them instead of lashing out in anger.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Either he's crazy, or there's something deeply strange going on and he has a line to the bigger picture.
  • May–December Romance: Was having a relationship with Lucy, who's young enough to be his daughter.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: A couple of times in Australia.
  • Resigned to the Call: In Season 1, although he gets better/worse once he starts believing in the voices he hears.
  • Sanity Slippage: Although he says otherwise, he's widely considered to have gone crazy. Burning down a library didn't earn him any points on that front, and he checked himself in after doing it.
  • Silver Fox: Was actually his call sign when he was chief of police.
  • The Unfettered: Now that he's started listening to the voices, this is much, much more evident. He borderline bullies Kevin to follow what they believe to be his destiny. Especially noticeable in "Crazy Whitefella Thinking", when he doesn't let Christopher Sunday being killed stop him from his mission.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He thinks only he can prevent the apocalypse, and it justifies his actions.

The Guilty Remnant

    In General 
A highly nihilistic cult that is obsessed with The Departure and seems to be set on never letting anyone move past it. Fully initiated members dress entirely in white, chain smoke (likely as an attempt to slowly kill themselves), sever all attachments to outside society, and refuse to speak, communicating solely through the written word. They also try to recruit further members by stalking people, especially those affected by the Departure. That last one earns them the ire of many, many people, and they are frequently attacked for this and other antisocial actions.
  • Apocalypse Cult: Extremely downplayed in Season 1, but part of the reason they smoke constantly is because they believe the best thing they can do is die. Meg raises the stakes on this with her increasingly violent attacks, especially those on Jarden. When Kevin goes to the hotel in "The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)", he learns that they plan to directly bring about the end of the world via nuclear attack.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Guilty Remnant's policy is to never target children (and they never attack people physically unless the others attack first). Meg has no such scruples.
  • Evil Is Sterile: Not literally (a lot of their members are parents), but invoked in their aggressively white, minimalist lifestyle.
  • Expy: They appear to be one for the Westboro Baptist Church: showing up uninvited to sensitive group events to provoke people through offensive protests.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: They are required to smoke as part of their very cynical philosophy. It helps characterize them as seedy and vaguely threatening even when they're just standing around. Sympathetic characters who smoke, like Kevin and Nora, do so because they subconsciously want to die.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: After the Guilty Remnant buys his church, Matt shifts his operation from exposing the Departed to exposing the members of the Guilty Remnant, using the same tactics they do to remind them of the families they've abandoned. It succeeds in getting Meg to freak out and attack him, hypocritically decrying him for doing what they do. To a lesser extent, it also makes them spend energy trying to counter him, rather than sticking to their normal routine.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: They finally lose their karmic protection for good in the first episode of the final season after taking over and wrecking the town of Miracle in the season finale prior. And by "losing it for good" we mean "the United States Government finally gets fed up with their shit and vaporizes the whole lot of them with an airstrike".
  • Light Is Not Good: And how. They're obsessed with white, and very, very evil.
  • Not So Stoic: In the first season, members of the Guilty Remnant occasionally break their code of silence under extreme duress:
    • Gladys pleads for mercy as she's stoned, even though Patti claims that she was "okay with" being killed.
    • It takes a few false starts before Meg fully commits to remaining silent.
    • Even Laurie breaks her iron silence when Jill gets trapped in the burning GR headquarters. She whimpers while being dragged out of the house, then screams "Jill!" at her husband to get him to rescue her.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: The cult devotes all its resources to their goal of reminding people of the Great Departure, yet are somehow able to bankroll their nationwide operations with little to no trouble, which includes buying up property whenever they can. In particular, they're able to afford a truckload of corpse dolls made up to look like Mapleton's Departed residents. Each one of these things has a $40,000 price tag, and Mapleton has 100 Departed. Even if one charitably assumes the truck only has the two dozen or so shown, that's still nearly half a million dollars they blew on a stunt.
  • Straw Nihilist: Their Establishing Character Moment is to stand near a prayer vigil for the Departed with boards that read together "STOP WASTING YOUR BREATH!" and they only get nastier from there.
  • Survivor Guilt: It's what drives their philosophy.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: "B.J. and the A.C." has the Guilty Remnant move up from public harassment to breaking and entering homes and stealing family photographs. This is the first time we see them do something overtly illegal. This is part of a larger operation to make dolls of the Departed individuals in the photographs and set them up in the homes of their families, which causes the entire town to completely lose it and take out all their frustration on the GR.
  • The Voiceless: The Guilty Remnant forswear speaking and communicate only through writing, though higher-ranking members are apparently allowed to speak whenever they feel it appropriate.

    Patti Levin
Played By: Ann Dowd

The leader of the local chapter of The Guilty Remnant in Mapleton.

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Even though she spent the entirety of Season 2 antagonizing Kevin, her final scene before Kevin kills her makes you feel nothing but pity for her.
  • Asshole Victim: Kevin confesses to kidnapping Patti and burying her body. The police refuse to even investigate, and he's allowed to walk away without a form being filed.
  • Batman Gambit: In "B.J. and the A.C.", a library fundraiser is held. Garvey tries to ask Patti nicely to leave the event alone. She refuses, so he arranges to have them arrested once they show up. When they do, he realizes that most of their members aren't present. The whole thing was a cover so the other members could go around stealing family photos from houses in the middle of the night.
  • Big Bad: Of Season 1.
  • Cassandra Truth: Before the Departure she had apparently been haunted by a sense of something terrible about to happen, which no one listened to. Laurie suggested that Patti's psychological baggage and the abuse she suffered was the real cause of those feelings.
  • Cult: She's the leader of The Guilty Remnant chapter in Mapleton.
  • Evil Old Folks: Whether she's genuinely evil or simply a jerkass operating under Blue-and-Orange Morality is somewhat uncertain, but she's more than willing to act the part as head of the Guilty Remnant.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: She was one of Laurie's patients who wound up as the leader of the local Guilty Remnant chapter.
  • Jerkass: The entire purpose of The Guilty Remnant is unclear aside from harassing people, but she certainly makes an effort to be smug in her efforts to be uncooperative. This includes taunting Garvey about his wife.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: As a ghost she wears the same white clothes she died in.
  • Jerkass Woobie: "The Garveys At Their Best" reveals that prior to the Departure she had been emotionally abused, seemed horribly beaten down by life in general, and was quite possibly being haunted by vague visions or at least a sense of what was to come.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • While not a precise prediction, she had premonitions of something happening prior to the Great Departure. Although Laurie points out that Patti had claimed to have similarly vague bad feelings before and nothing happened.
    • In the season finale, she appears in one of Kevin's hallucinations in a way similar to Kevin Sr.'s real life possibly imaginary friend. And she keeps appearing in Season Two.
  • Motive Rant: Gives one to Garvey about the purpose of the Guilty Remnant.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Her default expression.
  • The Quiet One: As enforced by her cult, although she is seen to speak at times. She's possibly allowed to due to her high rank.
  • Secret Test of Character: After Laurie has a panic attack, Patti takes her to a hotel and gives her some regular clothes so they can have breakfast together as normal people, speaking included. Laurie wears the clothes but doesn't budge on talking, at the end of which Patti explains that going back to how things were would be the easy way out.
  • Slashed Throat: How she kills herself.
  • Spirit Advisor: Kevin kills her in Season 1. She appears throughout Season 2, though, whether as a ghost or a hallucination.
  • Thanatos Gambit: She intentionally tries to get Kevin to kill her because, by her reasoning, it would make sure he would get the point of what they do. When he refuses, she kills herself instead.

    Megan 'Meg' Abbott
Played By: Liv Tyler

An engaged woman whose mother died the day before the Departure, it's strongly hinted that shed spent the years since in something of a Heroic BSoD, unable to move on with anything in her life (including ever actually marrying her fiancé) as time went past. She was one of the people stalked incessantly by the Guilty Remnant, and eventually went to see what they were all about and became a member.

  • The Bad Guy Wins: Her plan in Season 2 works perfectly, and she ends the season triumphant.
  • Berserk Button: Her mother, who died the day before the Great Departure. As Matt puts it, "her grief was hijacked," and she spent a long time afterward not getting over it.
  • Big Bad: Of Season 2.
  • Bus Crash: She is suddenly killed off via drone strike in the opening of Season 3.
  • The Chessmaster: Masterminds an elaborate and successful method to storm Jarden, smash the town with no Departures, and set up an extremist chapter of the Guilty Remnant there.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Season 2 shows that she's definitely... off, and doesn't have all that firm a grip on the world around her.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Laurie helped her get into and progress in the Guilty Remnant. As of Season 2, Laurie's out of the cult and working against it, and Meg is leading an extremist faction going further than the Guilty Remnant ever has before, and the two are bitter enemies.
  • Cult: She's targeted by The Guilty Remnant, and she eventually joins them.
  • Determinator: Described as such by her mother in a Season 2 flashback.
    Megan, you are the most relentless person I've ever known. When you have a cause, there's no stopping you.
  • Didn't Think This Through / Thanatos Gambit: It's unclear which, but she and the Guilty Remnant Extremists under her command are all killed mere days after her plan to invade Jarden, when the government launched a drone strike that destroyed the visitor's center they were occupying. It's not clear whether Meg was aware this was going to happen before hand and the entire plan was to martyr herself and her followers, or if she didn't expect such a sudden and final response.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It's implied she targetted Jarden not specifically for the symbolic purpose of striking at the one place everyone believed was "safe", but because she personally tried to find closure there regarding her mother's death by asking a local psychic what her last words were and being unsatisfied with his answer. What's more, it's strongly implied he was the real thing and his answer was true, it just wasn't profound enough to fill the hole inside of her. This prompted a petty grudge against the town for not living up to her expectations and fixing her problems that escalated to a full on terror attack.
  • False Reassurance: Season 2 sees her use these over and over.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: She has the starkest change, from a depressed fiancee to a borderline psychotic member of the Guilty Remnant who is willing to throw fake grenades onto school buses to scare kids. Even other members of the cult find her methods repulsive.
  • Hypocrite:
    • She flips out at Matt Jamison in "Cairo" for turning his operation into a sort of anti-Guilty Remnant, distributing fliers on all of them to remind them of what they left behind. Her specific complaint is that he's following them everywhere, which is exactly what they do to their targets. Later on, she defends attacking him by claiming that he won't stop unless he's attacked, then immediately segues into how they're attacked on a regular basis for the same reason. The irony that it has failed to dissuade them from continuing seems to be lost on her.
    • When Kevin asks about "my wife", Meg is quick to remind him that Laurie isn't his wife anymore, but when Garvey accepts this, gets a divorce and moves on to Nora, she treats it as if it were an enormous betrayal and infidelity, to the point of trying to make Laurie do something about it. Apparently Laurie isn't Kevin's wife, but he's supposed to live the rest of his life being her faithful husband, regardless. It seems fair to say she has something like Protagonist-Centered Morality, where anyone and any decisions made by the side she's on are right, and those by any other side are wrong.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: In Season 2, she takes the GR's mission of reminding people about the Departure and twists it into a terror campaign. For example, she hijacks a school bus, tosses a fake grenade into the aisle, then locks the kids in. She also arranged the disappearance of the kids from Jarden both as an elaborate revenge plot on the town and to allow the Guilty Remnant to be able to set up shop in the one place that would seem to be perfectly suited to resisting them.
  • Kick the Dog: A random guy stumbles onto the site where her faction has its base set up to launch their plan against Miracle. The plan is happening the next day, the guy probably hasn't seen anything important, has no chance to stop anything from happening, and by the end of the next day it won't matter what he's seen, as it'll be done anyway. Her own follower suggests that they just hold onto the guy for the next 24 hours and then let him go. She has him stoned to death anyway.
  • Naïve Newcomer: To the Guilty Remnant in Season 1, and then very, very subverted.
  • The Power of Hate: She seems to be channeling this as she becomes more involved with the GR, seemingly to the consternation of Laurie, who seems to think that being The Stoic is more of what they should be striving for.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: While she's not as important to the overarching plot in a lot of ways than the Garveys, Nora, or Matt, she functions as our eyes into the Guilty Remnant. She rebels against the rules (which Laurie doesn't), and lashes out at Matt, throughout Season 1. However, after Patti dies and Laurie leaves, Meg is shown to have assumed a major role in the Guilty Remnant and becomes the Big Bad of Season 2.
  • The Quiet One: Not at first, but in "Gladys" she goes full silence. She has trouble with it in "Cairo", when Matt digging into her past and bringing up her dead mother presses her Berserk Button. Averted in Season 2, as she has come to think the staying silent part of the Guilt Remnant is stupid and useless, and regularly speaks and encourages others to do so as well.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the book, Meg commits suicide. This is subverted when she dies in the Season 3 premiere.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: She is blown up along with the rest of the Guilty Remnant at the beginning of Season 3.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In season two. She's just fresh meat for the GR in season one, but by season two has become a confident, manipulative schemer and a power player in the GR hierarchy.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Slowly but surely, getting more involved with the cult turns her into a bigger jerkass. Her last speaking line before switching to writing has her acting like a jerk to Garvey about his ex-wife, when all he wants is to make sure Laurie is safe. She's also since developed a vitriolic grudge against Nora, and eagerly hoped to inflict pain on Nora during a stunt the Remnant has planned. Oh, and she rapes Tom in Season 2... and has a man stoned to death simply because he was by the barn containing the "disappeared" girls. He didn't even see anything. Not so much Took A Level In Jerkass as Became A Professor Of Jerkass.


Holy Wayne's Community

    In General 
Holy Wayne's Community is an isolated cult that includes Tom Garvey. Wayne's specialty lies in somehow taking away the pain of people by hugging them (for a modest fee), and considering how many people are in pain after the Great Departure, that means business is going well for Wayne. Unfortunately it's going a little too well; when his clientele starts including government figures, it becomes feared that he will use his influence to pry secrets and confidential information out of them, and his cult becomes a target to be eliminated in the name of national security. As of the end of Season 1, Wayne has been killed, and the survivors of his cult scattered and cut off from each other, so the cult is effectively gone.

    'Holy' Wayne/Wayne Henry Gilchrist Jr.
Played By: Paterson Joseph

An enigmatic cult leader who lost a son (hinted to be a young child) during the Departure. He has people convinced that he can take their pain away with magic hugs. While Wayne has many people, both members of his cult and outsiders, proclaiming that he's the genuine article, he also displays behaviors that seem like classic examples of a con man cult leader taking advantage of his followers, not the least of which is that he sleeps with multiple young Asian girls to "recharge his powers".

  • Ambiguously Evil: He started off this way, and somehow managed to stay on the fence all the way until his death. Somehow he managed to keep a tenuous balance between petting and kicking the dog, having both good and loathsome moments all the way through the first season.
  • Bald of Evil: He's as bald as Paterson Joseph and creepy and dangerous to boot.
  • Broken Pedestal: To Tom, who seems to be trying to suppress his suspicions of Wayne in order to Hero Worship him like the rest of the cult. But finally Tom acts on his suspicions and finds proof of Wayne's scheming.
  • The Cameo: Makes several in Season 2, despite his death in Season 1, first with footage of him preaching, and second, as part of Kevin's elaborate Vision Quest/Inn Between the Worlds experience.
  • Cult: The leader of his very own.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Wayne is seen kissing a dead man, yet regularly sleeps with female Asian teenagers to "recharge" his powers.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Kevin Garvey finds him bleeding to death in the bathroom of a burger joint, implicitly shot by the authorities, in the first season finale.
  • Ephebophile: He has a thing for teenage Asian girls.
  • Evil Brit: Paterson Joseph retains his accent.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Has a thing for Asian girls.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He was an ephebophile street preacher who somehow moved up to cult leader having meetings with U.S. senators.
  • I Love the Dead: He kisses the body of a gas station attendant who he is implied to have personally murdered. He even says the guy would never have let him do it while he was alive.
  • Magical Negro: Although a darker version than normal, also a surprisingly uncritical example. He exhibits a mysterious and disturbing hold over people in the series, whether he met them mere minutes ago (as is the case with Nora and Kevin) or for a while, as with Tom.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Whatever the truth of his "powers", it cannot be denied that Wayne is incredibly perceptive, able to size people up almost at a glance. He can't do this with Tom, which he finds interesting. He also keeps a whole network of girls and willing followers, and knows what buttons to push on all of them to get them to accept him and his leadership unquestioningly.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Both the man himself and his cult. Wayne certainly seems like the sort of character that would be a sham in most stories due to his strange demeanor, sexual depravity and self-interested ways. Despite all that he still seems to have some kind of preternatural sense and ability, although it could just be coincidence. His ability to "hug away" a person's pain also appears to work both times it's demonstrated. In his dying moments Wayne himself admits to Kevin that even he's not sure if he's for real or a sham, and is afraid of being the latter. To try and prove himself, he tells Kevin to make a wish silently. Kevin does, and Wayne tells him it will be granted. Given all the focus Kevin had on his family just moments before, wishing for a reunion or to have a family again was almost certainly his wish, and after Wayne's death Kevin's family is finally on the edge of a possible reunion at the very end of the Season 1 finale. Whether he's for real, everything is a coincidence, the result of him being an exceptional con artist or some combination thereof is still undecided.
  • Murderers Are Rapists: A murderous cult leader that habitually statutory rapes Asian teenagers.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Maybe. It's also a case of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane. He tells Tom that he has dreams of his son who was taken, and in them his son warns him that three years after the Departure terrible things will happen. Wayne's cult is attacked by government agents shortly thereafter, and the Guilty Remnant starts stepping up their activities (at least in Mapleton), but otherwise it doesn't exactly seem like huge forces are in motion... yet.
  • Scary Black Man: Wayne is a deeply creepy man, complete with a Slasher Smile, bizarre tangents, strange behavior and an undercurrent of menace that accompanies him.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: He at least claims to have an interest in Tom Garvey, saying that he's unable to figure Tom out like he does everyone else. Now, whether that was true or part of an effort to manipulate Tom...

Played By: Annie Q.

One of Holy Wayne's many followers/groupies/lovers, but apparently she's got a special and mysterious meaning for him. She's also a friend of Tom's, who is obviously attracted to her but unable to act on it.

  • Asian Babymama: Not so much in Season 1, but invoked when she returns in Season 3. Having abandoned Lily, she more or less demands to have her back from her loving (white) adoptive parents, Kevin and Nora.
  • The Bus Came Back: She abandons Tom with Lily and absconds. After Nora and Kevin have spent several years raising Lily and adopted her, she returns and takes her back.
  • The Chosen One: According to Wayne, who is not an excellent source of information or truth. "Solace for Tired Feet" reveals that he's hedged his bets, so to speak. Tom finds another couple under the exact same circumstances as himself and Christine. The other girl is quite pissed when she learns the truth.
  • Cult: A member of Holy Wayne's unnamed cult.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Apparently had a dream of a bunch of white bodies on the road. This comes true when her bus is forced to stop because of an overturned truck full of corpse dolls made to look like departed individuals.
  • Living MacGuffin: She's special, according to Wayne. She's pregnant with his child. Then it turns out he has at least one more of those and has been feeding the same line to that other couple.
  • The Load: More or less a complete burden on Tom while he's waiting for Wayne to call. Justified, though; cults tend not to attract rational thinkers (Tom being an odd exception), and she's a hormonal teenager who is also pregnant.
  • Parental Abandonment: She ditches her child after having learned of Wayne's other children. Tom ends up taking the child back to Mapleton and dropping her off at his father's house.

Mapleton townspeople

     Matt Jamison
"If we can no longer separate the innocent from the guilty, everything that happened to us, all of our suffering, is meaningless."

A priest and editor of a self-published tabloid that aims to show that the Departure was not the Rapture and that those who were taken generally weren't better than or any more special than those left behind. In the early episodes his family's privately owned church is in major financial trouble and in danger of being lost, while Matt also has to deal with being The Caretaker for his wife, who was injured in a car accident in the middle of the Departure due to having to be his designated driver.

Prior to the start of the second season, he travels to Jarden, Texas, a town that is the only one of its size in the world to not suffer a single Departure. The first night there his wife Mary woke up, (before relapsing to her comatose state the next day) which convinced Matt that Jarden really is different, that it's blessed or protected somehow. He shared this information with Nora, which made her determined to go there herself, and led to the Garvey's being present for all the upheaval of Season 2.

  • Angst? What Angst?: Matt often buries the guilt he feels deep, so he appears unaffected, such as when Mary leaves him in Season 3.
  • As the Good Book Says...: He is never short of quotes from the bible.
  • The Atoner/Guilt Complex: Blames himself for the car accident that turned his wife into a vegetable, as he had just gotten some good news at the doctor's office, responded by going out to drink, and thus his wife had to be his designated driver in the middle of the Departure.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: When he was a child, he was jealous of all the attention that Nora was getting and prayed to God for a way to get that attention back. He ends up getting diagnosed with leukemia.
  • Berserk Button: Very rare that anything makes Matt truly angry, but we see a couple of examples throughout the series, which are notable for being very unusual (unlike Nora or Kevin's, for instance). It only really comes out when he thinks God has abandoned him, and when Nora accuses him of lying to her in S3.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When someone tries to steal the casino winnings meant to save Matt's church, Matt surprises even himself by going apeshit on him.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Deconstructed but ultimately played straight, at least from his perspective. He hurts Nora deeply, but often does so out of a belief that he's somehow helping her (such as when he reveals her husband's infidelity). He becomes very upset when she accuses him of lying about their parents not suffering.
  • Broken Pedestal: He makes it his mission to do this to the Departed, considering that murderers, thieves, drugs dealers, and many equally unworthy people were among those taken.
  • Butt-Monkey: Things rarely go right for Matt, starting with the 'Departure' which pushed his faith to the limits and placed his wife in a coma. From there on his role in the community has been diminished, he frequently has money troubles due to the cost of caring for his comatose wife, everybody treats him like either a joke or a nuisance, he's assaulted from time to time, (albeit this is his own fault) the Guilty Remnant have targeted him for harassment, and he has to watch the place he believed to be blessed and protected overrun by the Guilty Remnant and other in Season 2, although at least he has Mary back too. It gets better in some ways and worse in a lot others by Season 3, when Mary leaves him due to his obsessive fear of anything happening to her.
  • The Caretaker: To his wife, who was in a car accident that turned her into a vegetable during the Departure.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: When his sister Nora was born, he was jealous of her and so prayed for more attention. He got getting cancer. His parents died in a fire while he and Nora stood outside, and he became a lowkey Parental Substitute to her. Then she lost her whole family, and his wife was in an apparently permanent coma.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The episodes "Two Boats and a Helicopter", "No Room at the Inn" and "It's a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World" are focused entirely on him.
  • Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life: As other characters notice, Matt needs the Departure to not be the rapture so he won't lose his faith.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Matt's near-unshakeable faith gives him this. Especially noticeable when he's very happy to help Kevin clean up Patti in Season 1.
  • Divorce Is Temporary: Mary leaves him between Season 2 and 3, but it's implied that they got back together before his death.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He actually is a nice, caring man, but his commitment to proving that the disappearance wasn't the Rapture has him digging up dirt on people who have Departed and airing them out in public. This greatly upsets many people, to the point that he regularly gets beaten up by relatives of those he's targeted. He is, however, in all other respects a very nice man.
  • Good Shepherd: In spite of all of his trials and hardships, he is still deeply committed to being a righteous man and doing well by his community.
  • Ill Boy: "The Garveys At Their Best" shows that he has suffered from an unspecified malady since he was a child, (implied but not outright stated to be cancer) and has to be checked at least every few years to make sure that it's still under control. It eventually comes back in Season 3 and he knows it'll be fatal.
  • Killed Offscreen: When we last see Matt, he says goodbye to Nora as, regardless of what happens to her when she enters the tank, he knows they'll never be reunited, because he's almost certainly dying from the cancer that he had as a boy. We find out later in "The Book of Nora" that he did die, but had a huge funeral.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: when he stops by the roadside to help a GR member victim of aggression, he ends up with a concussion, stays three days in coma and loses his church. In Season 2, he stops to help a car stranded in the road, and the driver attacks him and steals his and Mary's wristbands. It's a common theme in all of Matt's episodes that he'll be faced with this kind of Test Of Faith.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Christopher Eccleston is a great actor, but he's not as great at maintaining an American accent.
  • The Pollyanna: A rare male example. It's not that Matt isn't hurt by the many hardships he undergoes - both physically and mentally - but his faith is so strong that he, although in a completely different way to any other character, is The Unfettered.
  • Redemption Quest: Seems to have turned the idea of helping and/or saving the members of the Guilty Remnant into one, to make up for the guilt he feels about "causing" his wife's condition and losing the family church.
  • Related in the Adaptation: To Nora. They're not related in the book, but they are in the adaptation.
  • Secret Keeper: He's the only character who knows what really happened to Nora on the 7th anniversary of the Departure. He takes the secret to his grave.
  • Secretly Dying: his disease comes back in full force during the Time Skip between seasons 2 & 3, although he only admits it once Mary has left him and he's on a boat to Australia in "It's A Matt, Matt, Matt World".
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: His sister Nora is grounded, logical, relatively areligious, and frequently has the urge to run away from her problems. Matt is completely devoted to religion, will follow his beliefs without the need for a logical reason for them, and won't back down from his faith when challenged.
  • Stepford Smiler: Almost always responds to setbacks calmly, before the Departure his wife says that no matter what he's really thinking or feeling, he knows how to put on a good face.
  • Trauma Conga Line: And how! Starting from when he was young. Matt got cancer (and blames himself as he prayed for more attention after Nora was born), their parents burned to death, Matt took care of Nora, then his wife, Mary, was put in a vegetative state in a car accident during the Sudden Departure. Things finally look up for Matt at the end of Season 2, after Mary wakes up from her coma, reveals that he didn't rape her, and safely gives birth. But he's still affected by fear that something else terrible will happen to him, so he eventually drives her to leave him and take their son because he won't leave Jarden. At the end of Season 3, he reveals that his cancer has come back, and it kills him in the Time Skip during "The Book of Nora".
  • Turn the Other Cheek: He refuses to press charges against the people who assault him because of the things he writes about their Departed relatives, The Guilty Remnant bought his church out from under him and has been harassing him for even longer, but he's always polite to them. He even holds a vigil for Gladys, one of the two following him who was brutally murdered; for his trouble, Laurie ran out and started blowing a whistle in his face, which he just took in stride.
  • Undying Loyalty: To his wife, and to Kevin Garvey, who he goes out to help in the wake of Patti's Thanatos Gambit, no questions asked, and with his only requirement being that Kevin read a Bible passage as they bury Patti. Also views himself as having this towards Nora, but he's only finally able to make up for revealing her husband's affair when he keeps her own secret.
  • Weirdness Magnet: More like Kevin than Nora, Matt has a tendency to attract people who think completely different to him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Throughout S3, he knows that he's making Mary miserable by panicking if she leaves Miracle, but he can't stop himself because he's so afraid of what might happen to her if she does. He also jeopardises his close friendship with Kevin multiple times in Season 3 because he believes that Kevin is The Chosen One.

    Nora Durst
Played By: Carrie Coon

A wife and mother who is suddenly neither after the Departure as her husband, son, and daughter were all taken. Prior to the Departure she was interviewing for a position on Lucy Warburton's election team, she now works interviewing people who lost loved ones in the Departure for the government, as a step those people have to go through to be financially compensated for the Departed. (And with the agenda of trying to find some pattern among those who were taken.) She's also Matt's sister.

After beginning a relationship with Kevin Garvey in the first season, season 2 sees selling her house for a large sum of money to people researching the Departure, and convincing Kevin and family to move to the town of Jarden in Texas, the only town in the world of its size or larger to not suffer a single departure, after Matt raves about the town. She uses most of the money she made from selling her house to buy a house in Jarden when her and Kevin's initial plan for a six month lease doesn't work out, because, as Jill points out, Nora desperately needs someplace that she can feel safe. Between events in Jarden, Kevin's growing instability, and Matt's problems, however, she is soon feeling very overwhelmed.

  • Broken Pedestal: The first episode has her give a speech about her lost husband and children. Matt later tells her that her husband was fooling around with the kindergarten teacher.
  • Berserk Button: Religion/the supernatural. She especially loathes the idea that the supernatural is responsible for the Departures, and is willing to immediately shut out people who get too heavily into talking about the supernatural or to smash a radio playing a religious call in show. About the only person who doesn't immediately get shut out for talking about religion or the supernatural is her brother Matt, who seems to talk a lot less about those subjects when Nora is around.
  • Broken Bird: A husband and two children lost in the Departure, (complete with the guilt that results from knowing that the last thing she did before the Departure was scream at them all and wish they were gone) years of depression, being a target for a cult... yeah, Nora has plenty of reasons to be broken.
  • But Now I Must Go: Twice in Season 3. First, she listens to Kevin when he tells her she should "go be with her children" as she'll never get over their loss. So she does. Secondly, she finally gets to be with her children in the other world...only to discover that they're the lucky ones in this universe and all she'll do is upset them further. So she returns to the other world.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Guest" is focused on her. So is "The Book of Nora".
  • Despair Event Horizon: Twice. Once when her family disappears right in front of her during the Sudden Departure, from which she is still recovering when the series starts. Then at the end of Season 1, when the Guilty Remnant sneaks into her house and places "replacements" of her husband and children inside.
  • Determinator: Go ahead, try to get in her way. She'll walk right through you.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: She is led to Wayne, who takes away her pain with his hugging. She comes out of it much more personable and seemingly less broken than she had been.
  • Howl of Sorrow: She has a couple when she's completely overwhelmed by grief, notably in the Season 1 finale when she sees her children's mannequins and "Guest", when she confronts a fame-seeking writer.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Before Wayne gets to her, she is rather moody and prone to outbursts on the subject of her lost family. Despite that, she tries to be nice most of the time.
  • No Place for Me There: How Nora feels about her post-Departure life for long swathes of the series due to her grief. However, she realises that while this is true for her in her world, it's also still true for her in the world where her children survive, because they are the lucky ones there, just as she is unlucky in her world. This leads her to return home, although she still stays in Australia and tries to avoid Kevin.
  • Masochism Tango: What her relationship with Kevin deteriorates into at points due to the immense psychological stress of Nora's grief and Kevin's delusions. They do still seem to love each other though, which is confirmed by "The Book of Nora".
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Her job is interviewing the families of the Departed and giving them very lengthy surveys as part of a government program to find a common thread between them. One of the questions is whether or not the family members believe the Departed are in a better place. Most interviewers get mixed results on this question, but for some reason, out of the hundreds of interviews Nora conducted, every family answered "yes" to that particular question, until the first interview that she conducted after Wayne hugged her pain away.
  • Mood-Swinger: Although she tries to project a sense of something like normality, Nora is deeply depressed and affected by the Departure, so sometimes it can be a very thin line between where she seems to be alright and where she's definitely not alright.
  • Odd Name Out: The rest of the Jamisons that we see have religious names: Matt(hew), Mary (although she's Matt's wife), and Matt's son, Noah. This may relate to that she isn't initially a Jamison in the source material.
  • Power Hair: Her haircut in season 3. It underpins her shift into a more edgier character.
  • Related in the Adaptation: She has no relation to Matt in the novel. Here, they are brother and sister.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • At the end of Season 1, this is subverted. Her reaction to the Guilty Remnant's scheme is to leave Mapleton and its memories forever, but then she finds the child of Wayne and Christine and seems to change her mind.
    • The suggestion that the Great Departure might happen again convinces her to move to Jarden with Kevin, Jill, and the baby, believing it to be a safe place.
    • This shows up later in Season 2 when Kevin finally tells her how he's seeing the "ghost" of Patti constantly, and this proves to be a bridge too far for Nora. However, she stays in Jarden and during the season finale winds up returning home to Kevin and the family.
    • In season 3, she flees her life to live under an alias in Australia for many years before Kevin finally tracks her down.
  • Second Love: Downplayed, as neither couple is particularly happy, but Kevin is this to her after her husband departs. He also gets his own second love in the Alternate Universe that she visits.
  • Self-Harm: She hires prostitutes to shoot her in the chest while wearing a bulletproof vest, perhaps in the hopes of provoking a Near-Death Experience. As this is a bizarre request by any measure, most aren't willing to do it more than once, if at all. She stops doing it after her visit to Holy Wayne.
    • One of the signs that all is not well between her and Kevin in Season 3 comes when she breaks her own arm to hide the tattoo she got (to cover the tattoo she already had dedicated to her Departed children).
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Her brother Matt is completely devoted to his religion, and will follow his beliefs without needing a logical reason to do so, and won't back down from his convictions, while Nora is firmly grounded in the material world, has developed a major Berserk Button when people blame the Great Departure on the supernatural, and struggles with her urge to run away from her problems.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Nora's default setting, understandably so after what happened to her.
  • The Stoic: Especially later in Season 1 and onwards until the middle of Season 3. The Guilty Remnant really wants her, and she really won't give in.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: For long periods of S1 (and then S3), all she wants to do is go be with her children. Kevin saying this to her prompts a Heroic BSoD that results in her attempting it.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Even aside from the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane entry, odd things happen to Nora. Checkouts don't recognise her. Doors don't open.
  • The Woobie: Quite a few people feel this way about her In-Universe, at least in Mapleton where the enormity of her loss is fairly well known. By the time of Season 2, she crosses over to Iron Woobie, as even the continuing horrible things that happen to her - losing her adopted daughter, Lily; Lily forgetting her; her and Kevin's relationship troubles - don't dent her as much anymore after what she's been through.

Played By: Emily Meade

A free-spirited high schooler, friend of Jill's, who seems unfazed by the rapture.

  • All There in the Manual: The book explains much more about her backstory, elaborating that her mother was a Departure and her stepfather was emotionally abusive (possibly as a result of the Departure, or just in general), which is why she lives with Kevin and Jill.
  • Did They Or Didn T They: the show stays a littel ambiguous whether she may have slept with Kevin during one of his blackouts. Her response to Jill sound like a big "F... you!", but it still could be a Sarcastic Confession ...
  • Free-Range Children: She regularly sleeps over at Garvey's house, and there hasn't been so much as a word about her parents. "Solace for Tired Feet" indicates she lives at Garvey's place full-time. "Cairo" implies that her parent/guardian was a Departure.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She's been seen walking around in her underwear twice. The first time was in a weird dream Garvey had, the second was in reality but still in his house.
  • Put on a Bus: After the Garveys leave Mapleton, she disappears permanently from the series. Even before that, she's out of the picture following her argument with Jill.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Jill's blue.
  • Stacy's Mom: She's implied to have a crush on Kevin, and Jill even asks is she slept with him during one of her more abrasive moments.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She and Jill appear to never talk again, even when Jill leaves Mapleton for Texas, and so nothing more is ever known about her relationship with Jill or Kevin.

    Lucy Warburton
"They're heroes because nobody's going to come to a parade for "we don't know what the fuck happened" day."
Played By: Amanda Warren

Mapleton's take-no-prisoners mayor.

  • Black Boss Lady: The bossy mayor of Mapleton.
  • Brutal Honesty: While normally she tends to finesse things over, when called upon she tends to deliver very blunt and to the point answers to questions. She has something of a talent for both the Armor-Piercing Question and Armor-Piercing Response as well.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: She essentially plays a version of this with Kevin, where she lets him be the rough, in your face enforcer, and then she smooths things over.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lucy can be irritable and mildly bitchy, but she's a good sort on the whole.
  • May–December Romance: She was in a relationship with Kevin's father, who's a generation her senior. Eventually his mental illness advanced to the point where she was forced to end it.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Very downplayed, but Nora tells her in the flashback that she won't win the election unless something major happens. Then there's the Departure, and the people suddenly need someone new.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: She's more politically-savvy than Garvey, who at times would rather just do things his own way than worry about the blowback. Even so, she helps buffer him against that as best she can.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Seems unable to utter a sentence without at least one f-bomb.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Kevin. They frequently disagree and butt heads, but because she was romantically involved with Kevin's father, they're almost family.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She is never mentioned past Season 1.

Played By: Michael Gaston

A man who seems to understand that times have changed and addresses it head-on—often violently.

  • Affably Evil: Assuming he is evil at all, he certainly is unfailingly polite.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Everything about Dean is a mystery; where he comes from, who he is, what he's a great big question mark. His capacity for violence certainly marks him down as an intimidating character.
  • Back for the Dead: Absent in season 2 since Kevin moved to Miracle, only to show up in season 3 and get shot by Tom when he tries to kill Kevin for betraying him, since Kevin told him that he was crazy.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: In Season 1, he's very ambiguous and dangerous. By season 3, he's still extremely violent and dangerous, but his motives have completely slipped into nonsense and he tries to kill his former ally, Kevin.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: His advice generally tends to consist of this.
  • My God, You Are Serious: When a panicked Kevin confesses about his blackouts to Dean, Dean is highly skeptical at first but eventually has this reaction.
  • Mysterious Stranger: He's a very enigmatic individual, that's for certain. While he certainly is real, he only seems to show up when Garvey is or will be involved in some fashion, even describing himself as a guardian angel. Patti admits to having looked into him, only to find that no record of him exists anywhere. Despite this, he seems to have no trouble acquiring whatever resources he needs.
  • No Name Given: He goes unnamed for many episodes and is implied to be a supernatural being for a while but it's eventually established that he's just a crazy man named Dean.
  • Poisonous Friend: Seems to exist only to egg on all of Kevin's worst impulses.
  • Red Right Hand: His swollen cheek. It's gone in season 3.
  • Villain Decay: In-universe. For Season 1, he's a poisonous influence on Kevin precisely because he's so persuasive and seemingly reasonable. When he appears in Season 3, he's extremely irrational and believes in a Mind-Control Conspiracy via dogs.

    Adam & Scott Frost 
Played By: Max Carver & Charlie Carver

Identical twin brothers and happy-go-lucky types whose upbeat demeanor brings levity to a grave situation.

  • Plucky Comic Relief: They're responsible for the lighter, funnier moments in a pretty bleak series.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Recur throughout Season 1 and have a prominent role in most of Jill's storylines. However, their last appearance is in "Cairo", which signals the end of Jill and Aimee's friendship, and Kevin's murder of Patti, and they're never seen again after that. (Justified in that nobody from Mapleton appears post-S1, but they also don't appear again in Season 1.)
  • Those Two Guys: Always seen together.

Miracle townspeople

    John Murphy 
Played By: Kevin Carroll

A neighbor of the Garveys when they move to Miracle. He is in charge of the volunteer fire department, and is also something of a vigilante who intimidates or worse people who try to claim supernatural influence or such in Miracle.

  • Abusive Parents: Virgil was probably this to him, as it's implied he may have raped John, but it's never confirmed.
  • The Cynic: "There are no miracles in Miracle." Something happened to make him refuse to believe that there's anything special about the town, and to get extremely petty when people claim otherwise.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: He burns down the home of a psychic that he believes is manipulating and scamming people. He appears to regularly beat or intimidate people who are claiming to do things such as faith healing and the like.
  • Freudian Trio: In Season 2, the "id" to the main and surviving Murphys.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Particularly towards the men of Miracle and Erica.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Has no kind of faith at all, and seems to resent Erica's attempts to have this.
  • Jerkass: He refuses to help Matt get back into Miracle when he's mugged, since he believes Matt's story about his comatose wife waking up is a lie and can't get Matt to renounce it. Plus the above-mentioned Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Knight Templar Parent: After Evie's disappearance.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: This in spades in the Season 2 finale, first when he shoots Kevin for telling him Evie faked her Departure only to find out Evie is not only alive but joined the Guilty Remnant.
  • Pair the Spares: His relationship with Laurie has shades of this.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: He's mellowed out a lot during the Time Skip between Season 2 and 3.

    Erika Murphy 
Played By: Regina King

In Season 2, John's unhappy wife who hates it in Miracle but feels unable to leave. After the stress of Evie's death, she and John divorce for good and she largely leaves the series.

  • Animal Motifs: Associated with birds.
  • Awful Wedded Life: With John, in Season 2.
  • Freudian Trio: The "ego" who mediates between John and Michael in Season 2.
  • Put on a Bus: After she and John divorce, although she briefly comes back to comfort Nora before Nora leaves for Australia.
  • Good Parents: Tries to be this to Michael after Evie's disappearance, but struggles.
  • Mundane Solution: While Michael and John, entangle themselves in punishing Kevin for his possible role for Evie's disappearance, and then in seeing if she's still alive after her death, Erika grieves normally and is able to return to some degree of normal life.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: To John. She's much calmer and level headed than him, but it's also taken to extremes in that his anger issues push her away from him. She's also revealed in Season 3 to have coped much better with Evie's death, that even Nora marvels at her poise.
  • Taking You with Me: Inverted. She prevents Evie's plans for a terrorist attack because she refuses to leave her side ever, even if it means she'll die.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Attempts to do this out of maternal instinct when Evie threatens to commit a terrorist act on Jarden's bridge.
  • Women Are Wiser: An interpretation of her behaviour.

    Michael Murphy 
Played By: Jovan Adepo

  • Freudian Trio: The "superego" to his father's "id" and mother's "ego", although this may be subverted (making him the ego to Erica's superego) when he participates in Virgil's (attempted?) murder of Kevin.
  • Opposites Attract: Has some Unresolved Tension with the wilder and more hopeless Jill, although it's never entirely clear how it gets resolved between Seasons 2 and 3.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Michael is kind, softly spoken, religious, and moral in comparison to Evie's empty nihilism.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He's Easily Forgiven for helping Virgil to kill Kevin and bury his body, but on the other hand, he did think that Kevin murdered his sister.

    Evangeline "Evie" Murphy 
Played By: Jasmin Savoy Brown

  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Dies in a drone stroke on Jarden in the opening minutes of Season 3.
  • Emotionless Girl: After she comes back from faking her disappearance, as befitting her role in the Guilty Remnant.
  • Evil Counterpart: For Jill. Jill is also a former Emo Teen who struggled with the Departure and (briefly) joined the Guilty Remnant, but Jill only wanted to punish herself (and join her mother) while Evie wanted to separate herself from her family and punish everyone.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: She wears a pair of little glasses and joined the Guilty Remnant so she can punish Mapleton.
  • The Lost Lenore: How her parents and brother respond about her when she's missing. It gets brutally subverted when she returns with no compassion for them.
  • Not Quite Dead: Kevin spends the whole season worrying about if he hurt her. He didn't — she comes back alive and well at the end of Season 2.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Doesn't believe in anything and is extremely ruthless and manipulative in comparison to Michael's kindness.
  • Take a Third Option: Evie's disappearance is treated as if she has either Departed, been kidnapped, or died. It's none of these things: she ran away to join the Guilty Remnant.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's extremely hard to discuss any aspect of Evie's arc without revealing a great deal about the outcome of Season 2.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: She disappears in the first episode, but this trope is mostly played straight in how her disappearance is assumed to be either magical or a kidnapping. This brings up how little her motivations are understood by the people around her.

    Virgil Murphy 
Played By: Steven Williams

  • The Atoner: He considers himself this. He wants to atone for horrific acts he committed as a younger man by helping an increasingly unhinged Kevin find peace.
  • Driven to Suicide: After letting Kevin die. He seems almost happy to do it now that he's helped John avenge his granddaughter's (he thinks) murder.
  • Magical Negro: Lampshaded by Patti in "A Most Powerful Adversary".
    Patti: What would you have done if I told you that the solution to all your problems was a magical black man sitting out on the edge of town?
  • Meaningful Name: Not immediately apparent, but after he kills Kevin and then himself, he leads Kevin through the hotel, like Virgil does to Dante in The Inferno.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell / Fate Worse than Death: After he drinks the water, which he's repeatedly told Kevin not to drink, he's stuck in the hotel.


    Grace Playford 
Played By:' Lindsey Duncan
A mystery woman hunting for Kevin Garvey in Australia.—
  • Apologetic Attacker: To the other Kevin as she drowns him. In her defence, she thinks he'll come back. He doesn't.
  • Evil Stole My Faith: Subverted before being played straight. She believed her husband and children departed together, which leaves her happy. Then she discovers that her children didn't depart, but died, and completely loses faith and falls into despair.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Literally. If she'd just listened to the other police chief Kevin, she wouldn't have killed him.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: With Kevin Garvey Snr. They think exactly the same, despite her previous intention to kill him.

    The Playfords 
Grace's family, who died in the outback after leaving home to find her post-Departure.—
  • Armour-Piercing Question / Armour Piercing Reply: A unique version of both of these examples happening at once. In the alternate world, Kevin finds them and asks them, at Grace's request, why they left their shoes behind. Grace's youngest response leaves Kevin visibly shaken.
    What does it matter?
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Played for Drama, surprisingly. They left their shoes behind.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: We never see Grace's husband, and we only see her children once, extremely briefly, but they set off the entire chain of events in Australia.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: