Tom Cavanagh Interview: ‘The Flash’ Season 5 and Sherlock Wells

When the CW’s The Flash returns for its fifth season, Tom Cavanagh will once again be embracing a new version of Harrison Wells. Season five will find Cavanagh portraying a Wells who’s reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, but with a The Flash twist.

During our interview at the San Diego Comic Con, Tom Cavanagh discussed taking on different versions of Wells and directing the show’s upcoming 100th episode.

The Flash season five premieres on October 9, 2018 at 8pm ET/PT.

What can you say about the character you’ll be playing in season five?

Tom Cavanagh: “Characters. I can tell you about one which we’re debuting shortly. As you know, one of the things we try and do when creating a new character is see what gaps we might be missing and what we can fill. I was Reverse Flash in the first season and we weren’t going to do that in the second season, but I thought, ‘You know what? He was like a giant antagonist in season one. It might be nice to have a daily antagonist.’ Enter Harry who was like a bit of a jerk. Social graces, didn’t have them. Kind of mean but ultimately a good guy. Helpful. And then the next season we thought, ‘You know what? We can amp up the comedy a little bit,’ and I was H.R. who Harry hated because he thought he was an idiot. H.R. thought Harry was the best thing ever.

And then this year we thought, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a combination, but I think there’s room for that comedic element as well as room for the intelligence that Harry has. One thing you could rely on was Harry – you could trust him. He didn’t care what anybody thought. He was just going to do what was right.

So, if you had a guy that could be that with that level of intelligence and maybe not do always what’s right or not always be trusted all the time. So, it’s a Sherlock Wells character but we’re trying to put that trope or myth, whatever you want to call it, sort of on its ear a little bit. So, it’ll be called Sherlock Wells. I don’t want to get ahead of myself because maybe you’ll see it and judge it and go, ‘Oh, that’s terrible,’ but I’m looking forward to doing it.”

Is it difficult playing so many different versions of the character?

Tom Cavanagh: “No. It would be obnoxious to go (indicating exasperation and annoyance), ‘Oh, I just have to keep them separate.’ No. If you’re fortunate enough to be on a long-running show which The Flash is, generally you’re going to be assigned a character. What’s nice about being on a show that’s part of this superhero genre is there are kind of no rules. We have a multiverse; we created that idea of a multiverse that allows us free rein and for me in particular to get to do character after character after character.

The show is the same, the guys all have the same name, but the character reinvention or invention is something that I, being in this business for almost 30 years, is something that I’ve never had. I’ve never seen anything like that. For myself to be able to check that box is spectacular. It’s a real privilege.”

Are we going to see you directing this season?

Tom Cavanagh: “Yeah. I’m going to direct the 100th episode.”

How nice. Congrats.

Tom Cavanagh: (Laughing) “Say that after you see it. But I’m very much looking forward to it. My overall rule when directing the show is like basically they’re all so incredible, they’re such good humans and they’re so incredibly talented, essentially it’s like try not to mess it up. Point the camera at them and get out of the way. So, I’m looking forward to that.”

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