This summer it was announced that Mehcad Brooks, one of Supergirl's original stars, will exit the series during the first half of Season 5. Brooks, who has played James Olsen since the series' first season on CBS is departing in order to focus on feature films, develop his own starring cable series, as well as work on a book that he is currently writing and since the announcement, fans have been wondering how Brooks -- and James -- would be departing the series. Now, in tonight's Season 5 premiere, the groundwork for that departure was laid, marking a major status quo shift for the character.
Spoilers for tonight's season premiere of Supergirl, "Event Horizon", below.
As fans have been aware for a bit now, tonight's episode introduced a new owner for CatCo Worldwide Media. Andrea Rojas (Julie Gonzalo) makes her presence as new owner known very quickly and immediately makes a major change. She's naming herself Editor-In-Chief, relieving James of that duty much to his and the rest of the staff's surprise. Unfortunately, though, it's not the only surprise regarding CatCo. Andrea later reveals that she's hired a big name reporter to come join their team and, beyond that, the entire way CatCo does news is going to change. She then declares that everything will be revenue-focused, turning the hard news outlet into a clickbait, sensationalized, tabloid outlet instead.
This doesn't work for James or most of the rest of the CatCo staff and he makes it clear that if Andrea wants to take the outlet that direction, they will all simply quit. Andrea has something up her sleeve for that, too. Turns out they are all on new, three-year contracts that contain a strict non-compete policy. If they quit, they'll never be able to work in journalism again. The staff of CatCo is, essentially, trapped into doing things Andrea's way. Troubled by this, James talks to his sister Kelly (Azie Tesfai) but she gives him the advice to consider what he really wants to do and for James that means maintaining his integrity. James soon tells Andrea that he quits and when she reminds him he'll never work as a journalist again he's fine with it. It's part of the adventure.
James leaving CatCo and the journalism profession entirely sets up a perfect opportunity for the character to move on from National City entirely. It's not yet clear exactly when or how we'll see James (and Brooks) exit the series, this situation leaves the door open for a return later on.
"We love Mehcad and we're sad to see him leave the show as a series regular, but we're excited for both Mehcad and James Olsen's future," showrunners Robert Rovner and Jessica Queller said in a statement when Brooks' departure was first announced. "He'll always be a part of our Supergirl family, and we look forward to James returning to National City at some point to visit his sister and his super friends."
Supergirl airs Sundays at 9/8c on The CW.
Are you surprised by James' status quo change in tonight's season premiere? Let us know in the comments below!