Being friends with Superman may have its disadvantages.
On CBS' Supergirl (Mondays, 8/7c), James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) may have some undefined feelings for his friend and co-worker Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), but acting on them is not an option... for now.
"There's a sort of unrequited, mutual attraction at this point in time," Brooks tells TVGuide.com. "But let's be honest. If your best friend is Superman, and Superman is in Metropolis and says, 'Hey, James, I want you go to National City [to] take care of my cousin,' there's a bro code. If you think about what Superman could do to you if you break that bro code, I'm not crossing that line right now 'cause if James dates Kara, it has to be real."
Bro code or no bro code, James may not be that focused on Kara since his ex, Lucy Lane (guest star Jenna Dewan-Tatum) just arrived in National City. And it sounds like she wants to rip the bandage off of their nasty breakup. Sounds fun!
Check out what else Brooks has to say about James' love life, his backstory and more:
James' ex Lucy shows up. So what does that do for James? How does that upset the apple cart?
Mechad Brooks: Lucy Lane complicates things for James because they were in love. That was his fiancée. Things didn't work out. So now she's traveled cross-country to sort of stake her claim in some ways, and that's a difficult thing for James because he just got over her. He's moved on with his life and he's trying to find himself as a man in every way. And obviously there's an attraction between James and Kara, so Lucy kind of throws the whole monkey wrench in there for a second.
So he's going resist Lucy at first?
Brooks: Yeah, you're heartbroken, you gotta resist, baby!
But do you think he's able to do that long-term or do you think maybe he'll have to change his mind on that as we go along?
Brooks: James is heartbroken. We find that out later; you don't know that he is but this is why he's a little somber and very serious at first. Lucy broke his heart, so he's treading lightly. I've been heartbroken before, I know what that's like, and you can't just jump right back in there. Sometimes the ocean looks fine but it's full of knives, my friend. So, he takes his time and he has to sort of weigh his options between the attraction that he has for Kara and also like sort of falling into this comfort zone with someone that he knows that he has already loved before.
We know that Kara is going to be babysitting Cat's son Carter (Levi Miller) in Monday's episode. Does Kara call on James to help with any of that?
Brooks: James' superpower is not raising children. So in that episode, James has a lot on his plate as well because the reason that Cat (Calista Flockhart) needs Kara to watch her son is because she's going somewhere. So, James kind of takes the office over and starts to run the company for a little while.
How does that go for him, that taste of power? Does he enjoy it? Or do things kind of fall apart under his watch?
Brooks: James is not an office guy. He is behind a desk right now, but if you know the canon, he's always out there in the field with Superman. He's his best friend, he's taking the pictures. In our version, he's won a Pulitzer Prize for a photograph of Superman, and he loves being out there in the field. So, when you put him in a corporate environment, it's not quite exactly what he signed up for.
How aware is James of how Kara feels for him?
Brooks: James is just like anybody else who knows aliens. [Laughs] James has moved cross-country, he's starting a new job. It's a step in the right direction for his career. He's also left his fiancée because she was too focused on work and he was focused on saving the world. He also has this sort of attraction - this mutual attraction to Kara which is palpable between both of them. At the same time he's got a lot on his plate. Does he have time? Is he in the right position to start something new? Is he in the right position to hold her feelings in a respectful place? He's just a busy guy at this point.
We saw James sort of blab a little bit to Winn (Jeremy Jordan), about Clark's identity. Is Kara's secret safe with James or is he a little too mouthy?
Brooks: James obviously can keep a big secret. He's not told anybody in the media or anybody elsewhere that Clark Kent is Superman, right? So obviously Kara knew that. Now, Kara, with [her own identity], she told Winn, she told her sister. Obviously James saw all this. I just figured Winn already knew, right? So it's almost like keeping the secret among the Super-friends. If we're going to work together and really try to save people, you have to really be honest.
What else, if anything, are we going to learn about James' time at The Daily Planet?
Brooks: We're going to get into the history of his family... We're definitely taking a character I think that's been underdeveloped, and developing him a lot more. In 1940, when Jimmy came along, it's a very monochromatic experience in our society, right? We had segregation. People weren't thinking of intermixing races. Now, let's say that Jimmy was created in 2015. Who's to say that he would not look like me, or you, or my friend over here? I think we're righting some of the inequities of the past. We're able to play on topical events and things that have affected our society, things that have affected me in my life, whether it's with racism or whether it's with politics and social interactions that I've experienced in my life.
You mentioned family. What aspects of James' family come into play?
Brooks: James, like many successful men, has some daddy issues. If your father is successful or heroic or brave, many times we're in that shadow until we try to achieve who we are as men. I'm not going to get into his and his father's past, but I will say that there is some sort of unresolved issues there for sure. It's caused him to really just attack his manhood and really try and be the caretaker for people, especially Kara. I think fans are going to really like it. His dad is a hero in his own right, and James has some big shoes to fill.
In terms of the danger, are there things coming that he's not even prepared for given his history? Or is it all just old hat to him?
Brooks: It's a bit of both. Once you think you've seen it all, you see something new, right? He's definitely seen a lot being by Superman's side, but one thing he never saw for sure was the sensitivity coming from a superhero. That's one thing that I think Kara has that Clark doesn't have. That's an incredible quality for a superhero to have, to show some sort of vulnerability, to show that "Hey, maybe I need some help here. Just because I'm a superhero doesn't mean I can do all of this by myself." And that's a new thing for James for sure. So, he feels more needed, he feels more wanted, he feels more appreciated in some ways, and I think that's a woman's touch when it comes to a superhero.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)
Additional reporting by Adam Bryant
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