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Arrow is a superhero action series television series that aired on The CW from October 10, 2012 to January 28, 2020. The series ran for a total of eight seasons, and was the network's most-watched series during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 season, before being supplanted by The Flash in the fall of 2014.

Due to the considerable success in the series' performance, it has spawned multiple spin-off series, including The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, and Superman & Lois.[1]


The series follows Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), billionaire playboy of Starling City, who is discovered on the mysterious island of Lian Yu five years after he and his father were shipwrecked. Upon his return to Starling City, he is reunited with his mother, Moira Queen(Susanna Thompson), his sister, Thea Queen (Willa Holland), and his friend, Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell). The first season focuses on Oliver rekindling his relationships and spending his nights hunting down and sometimes killing wealthy criminals as a hooded vigilante, following a list of names he discovered in a notebook belonging to his father. He uncovers Malcolm Merlyn's (John Barrowman) conspiracy to destroy "The Glades", a poorer section of the city that has become overridden with crime. John Diggle(David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) assist Oliver in his crusade. Oliver also reconnects with ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), who is still angry over his role in her sister's presumed death. The first season features flashbacks to Oliver's time on the island, and how it changed him; flashbacks in subsequent seasons continue to show how Oliver spent his time and gains the skill-set that shapes him into the vigilante he is.

In season two, Oliver has vowed to stop crime without killing criminals. His family and allies come under attack from Slade Wilson(Manu Bennett), a man from Oliver's time on the island who returns to destroy everything important to Oliver. Oliver accepts aspiring vigilante Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) as his protégé, and begins to receive assistance from Laurel's father, Detective Quentin Lance(Paul Blackthorne). Oliver also gains another ally; a mysterious woman in black, who is eventually revealed to be Laurel's sister, Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), who like Oliver survived her ordeal at sea after the yacht sank years ago. Flashbacks depict Oliver's continued time on the island with Slade, Sara, and the archer Shado (Celina Jade), as well as the origins of his feud with Slade.

In season three, Arrow has become a public hero in Starling City following Slade Wilson's defeat. Queen Consolidated is sold to wealthy businessman, scientist and aspiring hero Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh). Oliver struggles to bring his family back together, an old enemy returns, and Oliver becomes embroiled in a conflict with Ra's al Ghul (Matthew Nable). After a tragic event and a rocky start, Laurel sets out to follow in Sara's footsteps as the Black Canary. Diggle struggles with his new role as a family man, as Oliver no longer wants John in the field after the birth of his child. Meanwhile, Felicity starts a new career as Vice President of Palmer Technologies (formerly Queen Consolidated). In flashbacks, Oliver is forced to work for A.R.G.U.S. leader Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) in Hong Kong; he and Tatsu Yamashiro (Rila Fukushima) work together to stop corrupt general Matthew Shrieve (Marc Singer) from unleashing a deadly pathogen, which Ra's al Ghul eventually acquires in the present.

In season four, Oliver becomes "Green Arrow". He and his allies fight against the terrorist organization H.I.V.E., headed by the mystically enhanced Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), who is attacking Star City (formerly Starling City). Over the season, John Diggle discovers that his brother Andy (Eugene Byrd) is alive and a H.I.V.E. soldier; Thea works alongside Oliver under the alias "Speedy", but struggles to control her violent temper; and learning of the existence of the mystical Lazarus Pit, Laurel hatches a plan to resurrect her sister Sara. Oliver's life as Green Arrow and his relationship with Felicity are complicated by both his mayoral run and the revelation that he is father to a nine-year-old son. Oliver ultimately discovers that Damien plans on detonating nuclear weapons and ruling a new world over the Earth's ashes. In flashbacks, Oliver returns to Lian Yu to infiltrate the organization Shadowspire on behalf of Waller, and has his first encounter with the mystical idol used by Darhk in the present-day narrative.

In season five, Oliver trains up young heroes Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), Mister Terrific (Echo Kellum), Artemis (Madison McLaughlin), and Ragman (Joe Dinicol) to join him in his war on crime following Laurel's death and Thea's resignation. He subsequently recruits a new Black Canary as well: metahuman vigilante and former police detective Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy). Supported by new allies, Oliver tries to balance vigilantism with his new role as mayor. He is also threatened by the mysterious and deadly villain Prometheus(Josh Segarra), who has a connection to Oliver's past. In flashbacks, Oliver joins the Bratva in Russia as part of an plot to assassinate Konstantin Kovar (Dolph Lundgren). There, he meets and is trained by one of Ra's al Ghul's daughters, Talia al Ghul (Lexa Doig), as a hooded archer, before eventually returning to Lian Yu.



  • Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/The Hood/The Arrow/Al Sah-him/Green Arrow/The Spectre (seasons 1-8)
  • Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance (Earth-1)/Black Canary (seasons 1-4 & 6-7, special guest season 5, special appearance season 8) & Laurel Lance (Earth-2)/Black Siren/Black Canary (seasons 6-7, special guest season 5, special appearance season 8)
  • Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn (season 1, special guest seasons 2-3 & 7-8)
  • David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan (seasons 1-8)
  • Willa Holland as Thea Queen/Speedy (seasons 1-6, special guest seasons 7-8)
  • Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen (seasons 1-2, special guest seasons 5 & 8)
  • Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance (seasons 1-6, special guest seasons 7-8)
  • Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak/Overwatch (seasons 2-7, recurring season 1, special guest season 8)
  • Colton Haynes as Roy Haper/Arsenal (seasons 2-3 & 7, recurring season 1, special guest seasons 4, 6 & 8)
  • Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (season 2, recurring season 1, special guest seasons 3 & 5-6)
  • John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer/Ra's al Ghul (seasons 3-4, recurring seasons 1-2, special appearance season 5, special guest seasons 7-8)
  • Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific (seasons 5-7, recurring season 4, special guest season 8)
  • Josh Segarra as Adrian Chase/Prometheus (season 5, special guest seasons 6 & 8)
  • Rick Gonzalez as Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog (seasons 6-8, recurring season 5)
  • Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary (seasons 6-8, recurring season 5)
  • Kirk Acevedo as Ricardo Diaz/The Dragon (season 7, special guest season 6)
  • Sea Shimooka as Emiko Adachi/Green Arrow (season 7, special guest season 8)
  • Katherine McNamara as Mia Smoak-Queen/Blackstar/Green Arrow (season 8, recurring season 7)
  • Ben Lewis as William Clayton (season 8, recurring season 7)
  • Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke (season 8, recurring season 7)
  • LaMonica Garrett as Mar Novu/The Monitor (season 8, guest season 7) & Mobius/Anti-Monitor (season 8)

Series overview

Season No. of episodes Originally aired Time slot Average ratings
First aired Last aired Rating
Viewers (millions)
1 23 October 10, 2012 May 15, 2013 Wednesdays 8/7c 1.1 3.21[2]
2 23 October 9, 2013 May 14, 2014 0.9 2.62[3]
3 23 October 8, 2014 May 13, 2015 1.0 2.76[4]
4 23 October 7, 2015 May 25, 2016 0.9 2.49[5]
5 23 October 5, 2016 May 24, 2017 0.6 1.76[6]
6 23 October 12, 2017 May 17, 2018 Thursdays 9/8c 0.4 1.27[7]
7 22 October 15, 2018 May 13, 2019 Mondays 8/7c 0.3 1.09[8]
Mondays 9/8c
8 10 October 15, 2019 January 28, 2020 Tuesdays 9/8c 0.84[9]
Tuesdays 8/7c



On January 12, 2012, The CW was preparing a new series centered around the character Green Arrow, developed by Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim. A week later, the series, now known as Arrow, was ordered to pilot, which was directed by David Nutter, who also directed the pilot for Smallville, a series following Clark Kent on his journey to become Superman. At the end of the month, Stephen Amell was cast in the titular role of Oliver Queen. When developing the series, producer Marc Guggenheim expressed that the creative team wanted to "chart [their] own course, [their] own destiny", and avoid any direct connections to Smallville, which featured its own Green Arrow/Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley), opting to cast a new actor in the role of Oliver Queen. Unlike Smallville, the series does not initially feature super-powered heroes and villains. Instead, the team took inspiration from Smallville, as one of the main themes of Arrow was to "look at the humanity" of Oliver Queen, as Smallville had done with Clark Kent. The decision not to include superpowers was, in part, based on the executives' desire to take a realistic look at the characters in this universe. Production on the pilot began in March 2012 in Vancouver, which would continue to act as the primary filming location for the series. The series' skyline shots use a combination of footage from Frankfurt, Germany, Center City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Maryland, Back Bay, Boston, and Tokyo, Japan. The series was given a full season pick up on October 22, 2012.



Arrow's premiere episode drew 4.14 million viewers, making it The CW's most-watched telecast of any show on any night in three years, and The CW's most-watched series premiere since The Vampire Diaries in 2009. In its second episode, Arrow became the only new network drama in the 2012–13 season to hold its ratings in both adults 18–34 and adults 18–49 from its premiere to its second week. In Australia, the premiere received 1.32 million viewers, making it the third most-watched broadcast on the network that night. The UK broadcast was the highest-rated telecast of the week on Sky 1, with 1.85 million viewers. In Canada, the first episode got 1.32 million viewers, making it the fourth most-watched airing of the night and the twenty-third of the week.

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