The Flash: Who Is Patty Spivot?


This week on The Flash, we were introduced to an ambitious police officer named Patty Spivot, played by Shantel VanSanten. She promises to be an integral member of the cast thanks to her insistence on joining the anti-metahuman task force run by Joe West — motivated by her father’s murder at the hands of Mark Mardon, the Weather Wizard — and the immediate chemistry she displayed with Barry Allen.

The series’ creators didn’t create Spivot out of nowhere though. Not only has she been around in DC Comics since 1977, she’s been close enough to Barry on more than one occasion to raise the question of whether those sparks between her and Barry were no accident, and she even came close to becoming the Flash herself (or Ms. Flash, because this was the Silver Age) during her very first appearance.

Let’s tackle that last story first because it’s the most interesting. Spivot’s first comic book appearance came as Barry’s lab assistant in 5-Star Super-Hero Spectacular #1 in a story called “How to Prevent a Flash.” In that story, a lightning bolt almost strikes the same chemicals that gave Barry his super-speed in a silly even for comics case of lightning literally striking thrice — as Wally West had already been turned into Kid Flash the exact same way.

As the tale plays out, the Flash has a daydream at super-speed pondering what would happen if he doesn’t make it to Patty before the lightning hits, and it’s not good. She does indeed become a speedster and dub herself Ms. Flash, but she refuses any advice from the Scarlet Speedster, figuring he’s just feeling threatened by the possibility of competition form a woman. Unfortunately, extra chemicals in the lab make her speed controllable and cause her to emit dangerous radiation when she runs that starts blowing up Central City, and Barry has to kick it into high gear to pull her away from what would have been a tragic origin story. You can check out the entire story on the Diversions of the Groovy Kind blog as proof that I’m not making this up.

Spivot wasn’t used all that much as a supporting character over the years, though she did eventually graduate to a full time position as a forensic scientist for the CCPD. She also developed feelings for Barry that were never returned, because he was destined to end up with Iris West.

Still, she did get a chance to become a super hero in her own right for a brief period of time.

Hot Pursuit

Hold on, because this is about to become comic booky in a hurry. The original Hot Pursuit was a Barry Allen from a parallel world who was able to tap into the Speed Force only with the help of his Cosmic Motorcycle. Call him the Fastest Rider Alive. His stated purpose was to warn the Flash about the Flashpoint event that would rewrite DC history, but he was unsuccessful in the sense that it happened anyway.

During Flashpoint, Patty took alternate Barry’s costume and motorcycle from the CCPD evidence locker and became Hot Pursuit in her own right.

Alas, her second chance at super heroics ended badly as well, as she was able to aid then-Kid Flash only briefly before being killed by Brainiac. Maybe she just wasn’t meant to be a super hero, but if she ends up getting a code name of any sort on the TV show, perhaps with the help of Cisco Ramon’s technological wizardry, the Hot Pursuit identity is definitely one to keep in mind.

New 52 Patty Spivot

When Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato relaunched The Flash in DC’s New 52 continuity, they made a fairly drastic change from the past by reducing the role of Iris West greatly and establishing Spivot as Barry’s co-worker and main love interest. In fact it’s fair to say it was a complete role reversal since there was always the sense that there was a connection between Barry and Iris but neither of them ever followed up on it because Barry was with Patty.

More from TV

If you guessed this was another super hero love story that ended up going awry, you win the prize. A more cynical Flash from a possible future ended up working his way back through time, killing Rogues as he went in order to prevent even more people from dying, or something to that effect. Once he made it to the present, he ended up fighting the Flash and Wally West (also from the future, because comics!)  and ended up winning the battle due to his ruthlessness and experience, tossing our Barry into the Speed Force and assuming his life.

Yes, that meant shacking up with Patty too. Except since she’s a sharp one, she eventually discovered the ruse and helped him kind of, sort of atone for his misdeeds. Present-day Barry eventually returned, but Patty decided to end their relationship, unable to reconcile the idea that the man she loved could even possibly end up as the killer the Future Flash became. We’ve not really seen her since.

What About Patty on TV?

It’s almost impossible to say which of these factors might come into play with VanSanten’s version of Spivot at this early juncture. The writers and producers of The Flash are experts at picking whatever tidbits from the comics they think will work on television and tossing what won’t. Already, two big changes have been made with her working as an actual police officer instead of a forensic scientist like Barry and her new motivation.

Nearly every fan expects Barry and Iris to end up together, but with the former giving the latter space after the death of Eddie Thawne, Barry and Patty hitting it off a la their New 52 history is certainly possible. And with the multiverse very much in play during Season 2, maybe we’ll see some take on either Ms. Flash or Hot Pursuit show up from an alternate world. Stay tuned …

Next: The Flash: Romance Between Caitlin Snow and Jay Garrick?

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