Actor Jesse L. Martin has announced that he will be leaving The Flash on the CW ahead of its renewal for season 9, and he will instead be starring in NBC’s new drama series The Irrational. The Flash on the CW is a part of the network’s larger DCTV universe, including Arrow, which concluded in 2019, along with Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Black Lightning. On The Flash, Jesse L. Martin plays police officer Joe West, father of Wally and Iris West and eventual father-in-law of superhero Barry Allen. Joe West has been a central member of the cast since the show’s premiere in 2014, acting as Barry’s father figure and main source of advice both in and out of costume. He also acts as a moral compass for the rest of the characters, a steady hand and level head expertly portrayed by Jesse L. Martin.
Since November of last year, rumors of Jesse Martin leaving The Flash have existed. Given that Joe West is the type of character in mortal peril half the time, it’s not exactly surprising that fans have been concerned they would be seeing the end of Martin’s character. When The Flash was officially renewed for season 9 last month, Deadline reports that series regulars Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, and Danielle Panabaker were approached about returning to the show, while Martin was not, leading him to sign a deal with The Irrational on NBC.
What’s New for Jesse L. Martin and The Flash
According to the Hollywood Reporter, they based The Irrational on the novel Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, centering around Alec Baker, “a world-renowned professor of behavioral science.” Baker advises high-stakes cases for governments, law enforcement, and corporations, but he meets his match in a domestic terror suspect. Jesse L. Martin is no stranger to professorial roles, having starred in the 2005 movie adaption of RENT as Tom Collins, a philosophy professor struggling with AIDS.
Although Jesse Martin’s appearances on The Flash will be limited by his new role, he will be in five episodes during the new season, allowing the show writers to give Joe West a deserved end.