The CW’s Arrow is back after ending the first half of its season with the reveal of Barry Allen’s origins as superhero The Flash. Now fans of the show will have to follow that particular subplot out of Arrow and into The Flash, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg’s spinoff series that has been in development since last summer.
Character descriptions for the TV versions of Detective West and Iris West were uncovered last year, to the usual assortment of grumblings about character race changes, and as Berlanti, Kreisberg and co. gear up to produce the pilot episode of The Flash with Grant Gustin playing the lead, another name has been added to the cast.
That name is Jesse L. Martin, according to a report by Deadline. Martin, best known for playing homicide detective Ed Green on police procedural and legal drama Law and Order, is sticking with familiar ground by taking on the role of Detective West. He was apparently approached for several pilots before settling on The Flash, which has not yet been given a full series order and therefore has a lot riding on the standalone pilot episode.
According to the character description, Detective West has acted as a surrogate father to Barry Allen ever since his mother’s murder and his father’s imprisonment. West believes Barry’s account of the night of the murder and supports Barry in his mission to find his mother true killer, so it’s possible that West helped to cover for Barry during his sojourn to Starling City. He’s described as an “honest, blue-collar cop” who is also a “soulful, funny and caring” father to Iris West, who in The Flash will be a grad school psychology student and Barry’s best friend since childhood.
Giving Barry close ties to the Central City Police Department (where he also works as a forensic scientist) provides a convenient way for him to obtain details local crime activity and fight against it as The Flash, and the fact that his surrogate father and mentor is a cop reinforces his motivation to clean up the streets of Central City. The search for his mother’s killer also provides a strong backbone for a series story arc, so all in all there’s plenty for the showrunners to work with.
Now that casting announcements have begun, expect news on who will be playing Iris West very soon.
The Flash will most likely premiere on The CW in late 2014.