Supergirl: Who Is Hank Henshaw?


One of the interesting easter eggs of the first season of Supergirl has focused on the character of Hank Henshaw. In the series, Henshaw is the leader of the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO), a shadow government agency set up to protect the Earth from extraterrestrial threats.

Their primary focus on the show at this point is to help monitor and round up all the extraterrestrial bad guys that escaped from Fort Rozz, the Kryptonian prison that crashed on the planet. However, when Henshaw and the DEO detect Supergirl in action, they make her the top priority.

Henshaw, the DEO, Supergirl and Kara’s sister Alex are now all part of the same team hunting down these threats from the stars. However, things can never be so simple. In the last two episodes, the makers of the show have dropped a pretty significant hint that Henshaw is more than meets the eye (pardon the pun).

Beware, potential spoilers ahead.

The past two episodes have featured Henshaw sporting glowing red eyes. And in the most recent episode, in addition to the new look, Henshaw was able to somehow know that Alex was in the DEO headquarters from many rooms away. It’s never made clear just how that happened, but it adds some info to the potential theories of who Henshaw is.

The first and most logical theory is that Henshaw is going to reprise his character from the comics as Cyborg Superman. He is a fairly well-known Superman villain, possessing most of the same powers of Superman in addition to being able to manipulate various types of machines.

We haven’t gotten a ton of Henshaw’s backstory on the show to this point, so the writers have a blank slate to incorporate as much or as little of Henshaw’s comic history as they want. In particular, there has been no mention of Henshaw’s wife. In the comics, Henshaw becomes a villain seeking revenge on Superman for the death of his wife. It would make sense that he would be the leader of the DEO as part of a bigger plan to eventually catch and kill Superman.

This theory gained a lot of momentum with episode 4. Look for my full recap of “Livewire” later in the week, but here is an early spoiler: the writers introduced a relationship between Henshaw and Kara’s dad, Jeremiah Danvers.

In a flashback, Henshaw is seen knocking on the Danvers’ door to bring in Kara as an alien. Jeremiah negotiates with them to leave Kara with her foster family in exchange for Jeremiah coming to work for the DEO. Why? Because of all his research on Superman.

There was some thought that Henshaw might be the Martian Manhunter in disguise. I was originally on board with this theory as well, but recent events have really squashed that. Henshaw’s connection with the Danvers family and Jeremiah’s intimate knowledge of the Man of Steel definitely make Cyborg Superman a more plausible choice for his alter ego.