HBO's 'The Leftovers' Features Buddy Garrity of 'Friday Night Lights' — Your Eyes Are Clear As Ever
Veteran character actor Brad Leland has been around the block during his three decades in Hollywood, appearing in TV shows like Walker: Texas Ranger, CSI: Miami, and Veep, as well as films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Inside Man, and Hancock. But he's undoubtedly best known for his role as Buddy Garrity on NBC's critically-acclaimed Friday Night Lights . Leland appeared in 73 of the show's 76 episodes as the lovable-but-flawed owner of the town's car dealership. Though he often caused friction with affairs and bad investments, his enthusiasm for the football team was infectious, and often instrumental in their success. (Leland also appeared in the 2004 film the series was based on in the similar role of John Aubrey.)
Now, three years after FNL dimmed its lights for good, Leland is back on TV in HBO's newest drama, The Leftovers . There's a bit of mystery around his role on the series: He plays Congressman Witten and while we won't spoil the pilot episode for you, you should know that then Leland is playing a new character invented for the series and not someone from the original source material. And since Witten didn't appear in Tom Perrotta's novel the writers can pretty much do whatever they want with his character.
So, will Leland be a local politician who's integral to the plot? Or will he be making occasional cameos via the television, like Edward James Hyland's Senator Borge, glimpsed in the trailer dispensing information on the findings of a congressional commission? This remains to be seen, but we're certainly hoping for as much Buddy Garrity as humanly possible.
Interestingly, Leland actually has a connection to the world of The Leftovers, which probably has something to do with his appearance on the show. The pilot of the new show was directed by Peter Berg, and if that name sounds familiar to you, there's a reason: Berg was not only the creator of the Friday Night Lights series, but he also wrote and directed the film it was based on. Although he only personally helmed the pilot of the TV show, he remained on board through all five seasons as an executive producer. (Berg is also an occasional actor — he guest starred in FNL 's Season 2 finale as Mo, a hotshot real estate agent and Tami's former high school flame.)
Knowing that Berg directed The Leftovers' pilot episode, is there a chance we could see other FNL stars cameo on the show? How great would it be to see Jesse Plemons pop up unexpectedly in a pivotal role? He recently proved that he can be more than hapless Landry with his disturbing role as Todd on AMC's Breaking Bad . In the absence of any news surrounding other FNL faves appearing on the show, we'll just keep our eyes peeled for Congressman Witten, and keep our fingers crossed that it's a juicy role worthy of Leland's talents.
Images: NBC; Getty