Justin Theroux kept his tattoos on show in 'The Leftovers' because he didn't want lengthy make-up sessions.

The 43-year-old actor shocked fans by displaying a number of inkings in his many shirtless appearances on the programme and admitted he was happy to have them worked into his character, police chief Kevin Garvey, rather than undergo a long and boring cover-up process every day.

He said: ''Those are my tattoos, correct. I've been concealing them for years.

''But it was really more a question of, 'Hey, you're doing a TV show -- do you really want to get to the makeup chair four hours before everybody else at five in the morning and go to the trouble of removing them all with make-up?'

''Let's just say that this guy has some tattoos and leave it at that. Which actually worked out, because the kid playing my son is has tattoos, too, so thematically, it kind of works.''

Justin - who is engaged to Jennifer Aniston - is enjoying watching the show unfold because he made a decision early on not to find out what would happen to his character throughout the season and as a result he understands fans are still left with unanswered questions more than halfway through the series.

Asked if he understands why fans are asking what is going on, he told Vulture: ''I get that. It's exactly the same question that I had when I would get scripts.

''I was getting scripts one at a time and at the beginning of the season [showrunner] Damon [Lindelof] asked me, 'Do you want to know the super-arc of your character?' You know, there's the arc of each episode and then there's the super-arc of the season.

''And I think smartly, I said, 'No, I'd probably rather find out in real time, in my own way.'

''That paid dividends in that, as we filmed it, I was able to watch the show [unfold] in sort of the same way everyone else is now watching it. ''