TV News

Jesse L. Martin Cast as Barry Allen’s Surrogate Father Figure on The Flash


As revealed in December by Bludhaven Banter, the regular cast of the CW’s Arrow spin-off centered around Grant Gustin’s Barry “The Flash” Allen will feature not just Allen’s long-time love interest from the comics, Iris West, but also her father except instead of being Caucasian (as in the comics) they’ll be African-American:

IRIS – 22-28 – African-American – As smart as she is beautiful, Iris is in grad school studying psychology. She’s also Barry’s mile a minute, fast-talking, quick-witted best friend. Her father, Detective West, took in Barry when his mother was murdered, and his father was wrongly accused and imprisoned for her murder. In a tough childhood for Barry, she was the one “not tough” thing. She’s unaware of Barry’s strong feelings for her. 

DETECTIVE WEST – Late 40s to Early 50s – African American -Detective West is an honest, blue-collar cop who’s seen it all. A soulful, funny caring father to Iris, and a surrogate father to Barry, West came up through the foster system himself. He took in Barry after his mother’s murder and his father’s imprisonment. He believes in Barry and supports Barry’s efforts to prove his father’s innocence.


With casting ongoing they have yet to find their Iris West, but Detective West is going to look very familiar to Rent! and/or Law & Order fans: Jesse L. Martin.  As per The Hollywood Reporter, Martin has been cast as Detective West after having spent 198 episodes playing Detective Ed Green on Law & Order.

Martin fits the character description of Detective West perfectly, and is kind of a surprising get for this forthcoming CW show if his character will indeed end up as a regular (as opposed to recurring or killed off).  For one thing, Martin is one of those New York resident/actors who tend to do a lot of Broadway and TV shows that film in New York (Law & Order, Smash).  He hasn’t done so exclusively, appearing on California-shot shows like Ally McBeal, but if he’s a regular on Flash he’d presumably have to move to wherever the show shoots (probably Canada) for part of the year.  For another thing, he’s actually someone who’s been in some really big things.  Generally speaking, CW shows don’t cast well-known actors but instead use their shows to make stars out of their actors.   However, Martin was in the original cast of modern Broadway musical classic Rent! and its eventual film adaptation as well as in Law & Order for a long ass time.  He’s currently attached to star as Marvin Gaye in the biopic Sexual Healing, which may or may not still be happening after it encountered financing difficulties last June.

So, in Jesse L. Martin Flash just cast someone who can do basic, standard police procedural work:

AND this:

You know what this means, right?  As befits the fate of any show which casts the star of a notable Broadway musical, there will be the occasional whispers of, “So, are they ever going to do a musical episode?”  A musical episode of a super hero show?  Actually, it’s been done, by Batman: The Brave & The Bold which, granted, was an animated series.  That would be harder to pull off in a live setting, especially if Flash in any way feels tethered to reality the way Arrow claims to.  However, they just added Jesse L. Martin as the only confirmed cast member alongside Grant Gustin, who everyone seems to be crushing on just as hard as Felicity is on Arrow after his adorable turn as Barry Allen.  What’s Gustin’s primary claim to fame prior to Flash?  GLEE:

Of course, this means nothing.  Detective West may not be a regular character at all, killed off in the course of the pilot.  West could just be a recurring character, and Martin could be-recast after the pilot for a variety of reasons.  However, this pilot now has two cast members, and both of them are dudes that can sing and dance.  I couldn’t resist pointing it out.

The Flash is being co-created and produced by Arrow writer/DC Chief Creative Office Geoff Johns and Arrow co-creators/executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg.  They should start filming the pilot around March, and while CW seems high on it there’s no guarantee it will be picked up to series or when it will air should that happen.  Recent rumors indicate the cast will be filled out with Detective Eddie Thawne and Francisco Ramon, aka the comic book villain Professor Zoom and hero Vibe respectively. 

What do you think of this casting choice?  Let us know in the comments section.


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