Jesse L. Martin To Leave ‘The Flash’ As A Series Regular
by Erik Amaya
Another rite of passage will occur for Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) in the ninth season of The Flash — his quick access to surrogate father Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) will disappear.
Deadline reports the actor is leaving the program as a series regular to headline a new series on NBC called The Irrational. He is expected to make a handful of appearances as a guest star in The Flash‘s ninth season, though. So, at the very least, Joe will get to offer Barry some sage wisdom at truly key moments. But in one other quirk, the site reports Martin was not approached to extended his season eight contract. Gustin secured a ten-episode contract some months ago with remaining original cast members Candice Patton and Danielle Panabaker presumably in negotiations to return.
But the end of Martin’s contract will presumably bring to a close the saga of Joe West’s many departures. The character first took a leave of absence when Martin injured his back in the summer of 2018. Although it was always characterized as a vacation for Joe, the character never really came back to full force when Martin returned. Joe also got an inordinately showy sendoff in Season 6 as he went into witness protection, but that was almost immediately reversed a few episodes later. The current season even opened with Joe dead for the previous six months, but this soon turned out to be time-travel trick caused by the Reverse-Flash.
Much of Joe’s role as Team Flash’s parental member transferred to Cecile Horton-West (Danielle Nicolet) during Martin’s recovery back in 2018. She retained a lot of that function after Joe returned, so Martin’s eventual for real departure always seemed inevitable.
It is still unclear if Season 9 will The Flash‘s last, but with more of the original team signing off, it may prove to be Barry’s final hours on television.