The Surprisingly Connected Worlds of The Leftovers and Deadwood


At first glance, there couldn’t be two more different shows in the history of television than The Leftovers and Deadwood. One is a modern mystery, the other a western noir. But is it possible that the shows are actually connected in ways we wouldn’t expect? In the end, both shows are not so much about the significant event that has impacted the town as the relationships among those living together in that town. If you’ve become a fan of either show, you owe it to yourself to check out the other. Here are a few of the significant links between the two shows.

 Link 1

Tormented Sheriffs

Sheriff Kevin Garvey vs. Sheriff Seth Bullock

Both The Leftovers and Deadwood revolve around the stories of sheriffs in small towns. Both sheriffs spend their lives separated from their wives. That absence from their wives acts as the primary sources of pain for both men. Both often feel conflicted about their roles in the towns where they live. Both occasionally must work with people they are suspicious of – Bullock must sometimes work with Al Swearengen and Garvey with Rev. Matt Jamsion, Dean, and the GR.

 Link 2

Strong Widows

Nora Durst Vs. Alma Garret

Nora and Alma have both suffered the loss of their husbands. Both women flirt with the idea of making the town sheriff their new beau. Both are fighting to not be defined by the tough exteriors their pain has caused them to develop. Both take on new occupations after the death of their husbands, despite being financially secure. Both begin to rely on mind-numbing substances to ease their pain.

 Link 3

Struggling Reverends

Rev. Matt Jamison vs. Rev. H.W. Smith

Mapleton and Deadwood both have spiritual leaders without congregations or church buildings. Jamison and Smith both struggle with a “thorn in the flesh.” Smith struggles with a mortal disease and Jamison with his wife’s physical incapacitation. Both men are seen as diluted and perhaps crazy by many townspeople. Both have good relationships with the town sheriff that are later tested. Both also seem to have soft hearts toward the people responsible for their afflictions – Jamison for the GR and Smith for the townspeople responsible for passing their disease to him.

 Link 4

Bad Girls

Jill Garvey Vs. Calamity Jane

Jill and Jane are both beloved by the sheriff of their town. However, both occasionally take actions that would challenge the sheriff’s feelings for them. Both women don’t fit in well with their peers and feel more at home with the town outsiders. Both are no strangers to causing offense to more conservative members of the town. Both are plagued and greatly motivated by the loss of someone close to them – Jill by the loss of her mother and Jane by the loss of her friend Bill Hickock.

 Link 5

Recovering Towns

Mapleton Vs. Deadwood

Both Maplewood and Deadwood are towns that experienced a major life-shifting event a few years prior. Mapleton is, of course, still trying to find its way after The Sudden Departure three years ago. Deadwood is finding its way after the gold rush that caused the town’s creation a few years earlier. Both towns are protected by strong sheriffs who are trying to keep the peace in the midst of competing antagonistic forces.