Where is Justin Theroux on 'The Leftovers' This Week? Missing: One Distressed Hot Cop

Among the most memorable aspects of The Leftovers , HBO's newest drama, including the über-bleak tone, the creepy cults, and the multiple incidents of dog murder, Justin Theroux has stood out with his surprisingly compelling performance. Although the show is undoubtedly an ensemble piece, Theroux's Kevin Garvey is nominally the lead. As Mapleton's Chief of Police, Kevin has been at the center of a lot of the action, including riots, missing persons investigations, and — yes — even those aforementioned dog murders.

Who knew Jennifer Aniston's boy toy was such a good actor? Theroux has proven himself more than capable of carrying the weight of a highly-anticipated HBO drama on his broad shoulders, turning in a performance equal parts fearless and vulnerable. And then, just as we're getting excited about watching him every week... he goes missing. That's right, Kevin is barely featured in this weekend's episode of The Leftovers , titled "Two Boats And A Helicopter."

So what is the third episode about, if not our hot cop and his missing bagels and his early morning jogs? Let’s look at the official description provided by HBO:

Ahh. So we’re taking a week off of Kevin and his perpetual scowl in favor of focusing on one of the cast’s many fascinating supporting characters. You may not remember the name Reverend Jamison — he’s had a fairly small role so far. In the first episode he was seen passing out fliers at the Heroes’ Day ceremony, and in the second Jill spied him hugging Nora Durst outside the coffee shop. So who this Reverend?

Matt Jamison is played by Christopher Eccleston, which should have been our first clue that he would become an important character before too long. Eccleston is best known as the Ninth Doctor on the BBC’s Doctor Who. (He also recently played villainous elf Malekith in Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World.) He’s too good an actor to simply hand out pamphlets on the periphery of the show — so it’s about time he got some attention. I'm excited to see more of the Reverend’s story, even if it comes at the expense of my new favorite eye candy.

So what is the Reverend’s story? We’re not sure yet how the onscreen iteration of the character may differ from his literary counterpart, but we can look at Tom Perrotta’s novel for some clues on what might be in store for him.

Mild book spoilers ahead.

In the book, Matt Jamison is a disgraced preacher who has made it his life mission to prove that the Sudden Departure wasn’t the Biblical Rapture by supplying evidence that those who disappeared were actually terrible people. He self-publishes a newsletter that exposes the dirty secrets of Mapleton’s Departed, an endeavor that has turned him into a social pariah, lost him his job, and driven away his wife and children. (Although his wife is unseen in the novel, she’ll be played on the show by The West Wing actress Janel Moloney.) End spoilers.

It’s exciting to see that showrunner Damon Lindelof continues to expand his fascinatingly morose world by shining the spotlight on characters that have thus far existed on the edges of the show. It remains to be seen if these character-specific pseudo-bottle episodes will be a permanent fixture of the series, or if this is just a one-off to give Eccleston a proper chance to shine. Whatever the case, you can breathe easy: Kevin will be back in full force next week, in an episode called “B.J. And The A.C.” (hopefully wearing that snug-fitting MPD t-shirt again... or any snug-fitting t-shirt for that matter):

So Chief Garvey gets one week paid vacation before coming back to deal with the Christmas crazies. See you next Sunday, Kevin!

Images: HBO (4)