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The Real Reason Jesse L. Martin Is Leaving The Flash

The CW superhero series "The Flash" follows Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), a crime scene investigator who, after gaining superhuman speed, becomes The Flash and uses his abilities to fight crime. It is based on the DC Comics character of the same name, and also exists within the universe of the CW's "Arrowverse" (named after the network's other superhero series "Arrow"). "The Flash" premiered in 2014 and is now in the midst of its 8th season, which will air its season finale on June 29, 2022. Additionally, the series has already been renewed for a 9th season, as reported by Collider.

"The Flash" may be returning after its current season, but there's one key cast member who won't be coming back: Jesse L. Martin (via Deadline). Martin plays Joe West, a detective who took in a young Barry after his mother died and his father (wrongfully) went to prison. Martin is one of the few cast members who have stuck with the series up until this point, alongside only Gustin, Candice Patton (who plays Iris, Joe's daughter and love interest to Barry), and Danielle Panabaker (who plays Caitlin Snow aka Frost).

Fans of Martin's character are likely devastated that he won't be returning and curious as to why the actor decided to leave. Well, there seem to be a couple of reasons — here's what we know.

Martin's contract was up, and he signed on for another project

According to Deadline, the contracts of the four original main cast members ended with Season 8. Grant Gustin has already inked a new deal to return to the series, while Candice Patton and Danielle Panabaker are reportedly currently in negotiations to return. However, Deadline notes that Jesse L. Martin was not asked to return (for reasons that have not been made public), which opened the door for him to pursue other projects.

And, as it happens, one of those new projects panned out: Martin will star in "The Irrational," a new series written by Arika Mittman ("Timeless," "Dexter") and based on the book "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely. According to the official synopsis, "The show centers on Alec Baker (Martin), a world-renowned professor of behavioral psychology with a unique insight into human nature who lends his expertise to an array of high-stakes cases involving governments, corporations and law enforcement. However, he meets his match in a female domestic terror suspect who turns his world upside down."

There's no need for fans of Martin's "The Flash" character to fret, however, as Martin is expected to appear in about five episodes of "The Flash" Season 9 — so it's not a complete goodbye to Joe West.