Season 1
Region 1 DVD cover
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes23
Original networkThe CW
Original releaseOctober 10, 2012 (2012-10-10) –
May 15, 2013 (2013-05-15)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of episodes

The first season of the American action television series Arrow premiered on The CW on October 10, 2012, at 8:00 pm (ET) and concluded on May 15, 2013, with a total of 23 episodes, after the network ordered a full season on October 22, 2012. The series is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, a costumed crime-fighter created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, and is set in the Arrowverse, sharing continuity with other Arrowverse television series. The showrunners for this season were Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg. Stephen Amell stars as Oliver Queen, with principal cast members Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance, Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen, and Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance.

The series follows billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who claimed to have spent five years shipwrecked on Lian Yu, a mysterious island in the North China Sea, before returning home to Starling City (later renamed "Star City") to fight crime and corruption as a secret vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow. In the first season, Oliver returns to Starling City and is reunited with his mother Moira (Susanna Thompson), his half-sister Thea (Willa Holland), and his friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell). Oliver rekindles his relationships, while spending his nights hunting down and sometimes killing criminals as a hooded vigilante, known as The Hood.[1] He uncovers Malcolm Merlyn's (John Barrowman) conspiracy to destroy "The Glades", a poorer section of Starling 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, Sara's, presumed death, while her father, Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), suspects Oliver being the vigilante. The season features flashbacks to Oliver's first year on the island, and how it changed him, while trying to stop a mercenary force targeting the Chinese economy. After being saved by The Hood, Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) attempts to find him so he will train him so he can help others.

Production on the pilot began in March 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Filming for the rest of the season began on July 18, 2012, and ended on April 18, 2013. The season was generally well received by critics, and averaged 3.68 million viewers each week. Amell's portrayal of Oliver Queen / Arrow drew comparison to Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, while the season itself was found to be still looking for its own identity. The season would go on to win multiple awards, including twenty-one nominations in various categories. The season was released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 17, 2013. The series was renewed for a second season on February 11, 2013.[citation needed]


See also: List of Arrow episodes

Arrow, season 1 episodes
No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
U.S. viewers
11"Pilot"David NutterStory by : Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim
Teleplay by : Andrew Kreisberg & Marc Guggenheim
October 10, 2012 (2012-10-10)2968184.14[2]
Billionaire playboy Oliver Queen, missing and presumed dead after a shipwreck that claimed the life of his father, Robert, is discovered alive after five years on a remote Pacific island. He is welcomed home to Starling City by his mother Moira, stepfather Walter Steele, younger sister Thea, and best friend Tommy Merlyn, but they sense he has changed. Moira assigns John Diggle as Oliver's bodyguard. Oliver hides the truth about the man he has become, and tries to reconcile with his former girlfriend, Laurel Lance, whom he cheated on with her sister Sara (who died in the shipwreck). While reconnecting with those closest to him, by night Oliver secretly masquerades as a hooded vigilante archer, attempting to fulfill his dying father's request: to right the wrongs of his family. Oliver's first goal is to take down corrupt millionaire Adam Hunt, who has scammed millions from various people in the city. Laurel's father, police detective Quentin Lance, becomes determined to arrest the vigilante and works with Adam to stop him. In the end Adam's security guard, Constantine Drakon, and many other henchmen were killed. Meanwhile, it is revealed Oliver's mother has an agenda at odds with her son, having orchestrated a kidnapping to determine what Robert told him after the shipwreck.
22"Honor Thy Father"David BarrettStory by : Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim
Teleplay by : Andrew Kreisberg & Marc Guggenheim
October 17, 2012 (2012-10-17)2J73023.55[3]
Laurel brings a civil suit against millionaire Martin Somers, who is also one of Oliver's targets, for taking part in drug trades with the Chinese Triad that ultimately led to the death of a young woman's father. As the vigilante, Oliver threatens Somers to make him confess to the murder as penance for all of the wrongs he has done to the city. Instead, Somers contacts the Triad, who send the assassin Chien Na Wei to kill Laurel. Oliver saves Laurel from Chien; he later obtains Somers' confession and gives an audio recording of it to Quentin. Meanwhile, Moira and Walter push Oliver to take a position at the company. Oliver stymies their efforts by using the opening of the company's new applied sciences division to publicly opt out of the position, knowing that he cannot simultaneously honor Robert's request to fight for the city and be the man Moira wants him to be. She is revealed to be conspiring with a man affiliated with a symbol that exists in Robert's book possessed by Oliver. A flashback to Oliver's time on the island shows him being attacked by an unknown hooded figure wielding a bow and arrow.
33"Lone Gunmen"Guy BeeStory by : Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg
Teleplay by : Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg
October 24, 2012 (2012-10-24)2J73033.51[4]
Oliver tracks down another millionaire from his list, before the latter is killed by an assassin known as Floyd Lawton. Oliver decides to build a new dance club above his hideout as a cover for his nighttime disappearances. While comparing the competition, he finds Thea, who reveals that Laurel and Tommy had been involved during Oliver's absence. Laurel becomes suspicious when Oliver does not react to it, and concludes he already knew. She and Tommy start dating again. Meanwhile, Oliver enlists the help of IT technician Felicity Smoak to learn that the venue for Floyd Lawton's next assignment is an auction, which will be attended by many influential businessmen including Walter. As the vigilante, he enlists the help of Quentin to prevent Lawton's plan. Oliver succeeds, apparently killing Lawton in the process, but Diggle is shot during the fight. In order to save Diggle's life, Oliver is forced to reveal his dual identity to him. Flashbacks reveal that the Asian archer who attacked Oliver was actually trying to help him; Oliver misunderstands and escapes; and is revealed to be pursued by an unknown group of armed men.
44"An Innocent Man"Vince MisianoMoira Kirland & Lana ChoOctober 31, 2012 (2012-10-31)2J73043.05[5]
Oliver offers Diggle a chance to fight at his side and help the city, which the latter refuses. Later, Oliver discovers a connection between Peter Declan, a death row inmate, and Jason Brodeur, one of the men on his list. As the vigilante, he enlists the help of Laurel to prove Declan's innocence. Working together, the pair uncovers the truth, but Brodeur has his mercenaries stage a prison riot so that they can have Laurel and Declan killed before the truth is revealed. Oliver sneaks into the prison dressed as a guard and saves the two, with her realizing that the vigilante is merciless. Declan is exonerated while Brodeur is arrested. Diggle meets with Oliver and agrees to work with him so that he can both protect the city and protect Oliver from losing his humanity. Quentin arrests Oliver on suspicion of being the vigilante. Meanwhile, Walter discovers that Moira has been keeping the salvaged and sabotaged family yacht hidden in a warehouse. Flashbacks show that the archer forced Oliver to kill a pheasant for food, making it the latter's first kill. He was also taught to forget Laurel.
55"Damaged"Michael SchultzWendy Mericle & Ben SokolowskiNovember 7, 2012 (2012-11-07)2J73053.75[6]
Oliver hires Laurel as his attorney and his bail is accepted. Given Oliver's time on the island, the District Attorney offers an insanity plea with indefinite treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in a psychiatric facility. Oliver declines, instead offering to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence, which he passes. While remanded under house arrest, Oliver throws a prison-themed party, maintaining his bachelor playboy facade. He has Diggle pose as the vigilante and stop a German arms dealer who is in the city to sell automatic weapons to the city's gangs. The plan works and the charges are dropped after Quentin kills a man who was sent by Moira's co-conspirator to kill Oliver. However, Laurel begins to suspect Oliver. Moira threatens her associate to stay away from her family. Walter leaves the house after confronting Moira on her lies. Flashbacks show Oliver caught and tortured by the armed men, led by Edward Fyers, for the location of the archer, who is revealed to be a former military officer, before being saved by the latter.
66"Legacies"John BehringMoira Kirland & Marc GuggenheimNovember 14, 2012 (2012-11-14)2J73063.83[7]
Oliver begins preparing to attack another individual from the list, but Diggle argues that he should expand his work and help the police stop a group of bank robbers. Oliver initially refuses, believing that it detracts from his mission to right Robert's wrongs, but agrees finally. Oliver deduces that the robbers are actually a family unit, and that the leader Derek Reston worked for Queen Industries before Robert outsourced 1500 jobs to China and the Reston family lost their home as a result. Feeling guilty, Oliver tries to persuade Derek to right his own wrongs, but learns that the family are going to rob another bank. During Oliver's confrontation, Derek is fatally shot. Meanwhile, Tommy throws Laurel a fundraiser to support her law firm, CNRI, hoping to prove his love for her that way. Oliver and Moira manage to regain their emotional connection. Flashbacks show Oliver having a dream of Robert blaming him for his idleness and reveal how Oliver first discovered the target names in his father's notebook.
77"Muse of Fire"David GrossmanStory by : Andrew Kreisberg
Teleplay by : Geoff Johns & Marc Guggenheim
November 28, 2012 (2012-11-28)2J73073.74[8]
Moira is almost shot by a mysterious assailant who was attempting to assassinate an associate of mob boss Frank Bertinelli. Oliver attempts to infiltrate Frank's business to discover the identity of the attacker. Frank blames Chien and the Triad gang for the murders of his people. Oliver learns that the attacker is Helena Bertinelli, Frank's daughter, with whom he had just been on a date. Helena reveals that she is looking for revenge against her father, who she blames for the murder of her fiancé, who according to Frank was gathering evidence against him to give FBI. Helena and Oliver are abducted by Frank's right-hand man, Nick Salvati, in connection to the deaths; she reveals that she was the one gathering evidence and kills Salvati after learning he was the one who killed her fiancé. She also deduces Oliver's identity as the vigilante after witnessing him fight Frank's henchmen. In the end, Helena and Oliver share a kiss. Meanwhile, Tommy is cut off financially by his father, Malcolm, who is revealed to be Moira's co-conspirator. Laurel sticks with him, stating that she does not want him for money. Walter returns home.
88"Vendetta"Ken FinkBeth Schwartz & Andrew KreisbergDecember 5, 2012 (2012-12-05)2J73083.35[9]
Oliver decides to teach Helena that there is justice outside of revenge after witnessing her try to kill the head of the Triad. Diggle expresses his disapproval, but to no avail. She dresses as a purple vigilante and the duo has another man from the list arrested. Helena starts to buy into the idea, but leaves him after finding out that Laurel was his former girlfriend and believing that they are still together. Helena goes after the Triad, killing their leader. As a result, Chien and her men go after Frank, believing him to be responsible, but Oliver gets there in time to stop them. Oliver also stops Helena from killing Frank, who is arrested; and she threatens to reveal his identity if he tries to come after her in the future. Meanwhile, Tommy finally tells Oliver about Malcolm's action and asks for a job at the club that Oliver is attempting to build, which is accepted. Using Felicity's help, Walter learns more about the secret organization that Moira is a part of, finding a notebook containing the list.
99"Year's End"John DahlStory by : Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim
Teleplay by : Andrew Kreisberg & Marc Guggenheim
December 12, 2012 (2012-12-12)2J73093.11[10]
Hunt is killed by a mysterious archer. Quentin deduces that a copycat is at work, but his superior publicly blames the hooded vigilante. Oliver plans a Christmas party at the mansion to bring back the spirit of the holidays to his family. He saves some hostages from the archer, and the two archers are injured after fighting, with Oliver realizing that Robert wasn't the author of the list. The archer escapes and is revealed to be Malcolm. Walter finds out about the vigilante's objective and is kidnapped by one of Malcolm's associates. The organization's plan is revealed to be starting six months later, when thousands of people will die for what it believes to be for the greater good. Flashbacks show the Chinese archer, Yao Fei, capturing Fyers, who tells Oliver that the island was a prison for dangerous criminals and that his unit was tasked to exterminate the inmates, including Yao, after the program was shut down. Yao is captured by the unit while leading Oliver to a possible escape from the island; and the latter escapes.
1010"Burned"Eagle EgilssonMoira Kirland & Ben SokolowskiJanuary 16, 2013 (2013-01-16)2J73103.06[11]
Six weeks after his fight with Malcolm, Oliver avoids any activities as the vigilante, despite insistence from Diggle. When a firefighter is killed in the line of duty, Laurel suspects that he was murdered and steals the phone the vigilante gave Quentin in order to contact him for help. Tracking down the suspect, Oliver is overpowered during the confrontation, but discovers that the murderer is a former firefighter. Oliver learns that the murderer is Garfield Lynns, a firefighter thought to have died in a massive fire several years prior, but survived with severe burns. Lynns shows up at a fundraiser held for support of the victims in order to kill the fire chief. As the vigilante, Oliver saves the chief before Lynns commits suicide. The media calls the vigilante a hero while Oliver decides to continue his hunt of the list members. Moira decides to take over for Walter as C.E.O. Quentin plants a listening device on the phone to monitor Laurel's communications with the vigilante. Flashbacks show Oliver killing a mercenary, wearing his uniform and recovering his tools, including a map.
1111"Trust But Verify"Nick CopusGabrielle StantonJanuary 23, 2013 (2013-01-23)2J73113.14[12]
After an armored truck is robbed, Oliver believes that one of the thieves is former Marine Ted Gaynor, from his target list. Diggle dismisses Oliver's assumption, as Gaynor was Diggle's commanding officer during his time in Afghanistan. Oliver finds Gaynor and steals encrypted data, as Diggle prevents Oliver from getting any information directly from Gaynor. The data is revealed to be plans for robbing armored trucks, which Oliver uses to track the thieves. Diggle learns that Gaynor was the mastermind behind the robberies, and is forced to join Gaynor's team, but backs out of helping them. Oliver arrives in time and kills Gaynor. Meanwhile, Thea tells Oliver her belief that Moira and Malcolm are involved as she believes they were together before Robert's death. Oliver asks Moira, who states Robert was the unfaithful. Tommy refuses Malcolm's request to sign the paper of selling the clinic established by his mother, who died when he was eight, and reveals that Malcolm left him for years subsequently. Thea is arrested by the police after having a crash as a result of drug use. Flashbacks show Oliver being captured by the mercenaries as Yao was apparently working for them.
1212"Vertigo"Wendey StanzlerWendy Mericle & Ben SokolowskiJanuary 30, 2013 (2013-01-30)2J73122.97[13]
The judge dismisses the plea bargain of Thea and orders the charges brought to trial. Helping Thea, Oliver begins working on tracking down the supplier of the drug, which is known as Vertigo; he discovers that the supplier is called "The Count", and arranges a meeting through his contacts with the Solntsevskaya Bratva. The meeting is broken up by the police, and the Count injects Oliver with a dose of Vertigo. While showing the effects of overdose, the latter still continues his investigation. He uses the ingredients to track the location of the Count. As the vigilante, Oliver is able to confront the Count and inject him with Vertigo, causing irreparable damage. Laurel persuades Quentin to get Thea community service and two years of probation, which she begins serving at Laurel's legal office. Felicity shows Oliver the list of names that Steele discovered, and informs him that they came from Moira. Flashbacks show Yao overpowering Oliver in a mandatory duel and making him appear dead. His body is thrown to a waterfall, where he wakes up and finds an upgraded map, planted by Yao.
1313"Betrayal"Guy BeeLana Cho & Beth SchwartzFebruary 6, 2013 (2013-02-06)2J73132.96[14]
Moira denies knowledge about the list. Diggle decides to investigate her daily activities. Laurel enlists the help of the vigilante when criminal Cyrus Vanch is released from prison. Using the microphone inside the phone, Quentin and his team intercept the vigilante, who manages to escape. Vanch kidnaps Laurel. Quentin and the vigilante team up to save Laurel, as Quentin realizes that Vanch has contacts on the police force and that was how he learned of her. The duo saves Laurel, the vigilante only barely stopping Quentin from murdering Vanch in a blind rage. Laurel demands Quentin to stay away from her for betraying her trust. In order to protect her, Oliver decides to cut his contact with her as the vigilante. Diggle presents evidence to Oliver that his mother is connected to the group he is hunting, and that she also knew of Robert's yacht. Oliver decides to interrogate his mother as the vigilante. In flashbacks, Oliver meets Slade Wilson, an Australian Intelligence operative who came to the island to free Yao Fei. It is revealed that the masked mercenary who tortured Oliver was Wilson's partner; and Wilson has the same mask. He starts training Oliver to get him ready to infiltrate the airfield, the only apparent way out.
1414"The Odyssey"John BehringStory by : Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg
Teleplay by : Andrew Kreisberg & Marc Guggenheim
February 13, 2013 (2013-02-13)2J73143.29[15]
Oliver is critically shot by Moira and escapes. He exposes his secret to Felicity, and asks her to take him to his hideout. With Diggle's help, the bullet is removed and Oliver is stabilized. Felicity refuses to join Oliver's fight, but decides to help them find Steele. Oliver convinces Diggle to stop investigating Moira until they find out more about the organization. Flashbacks show Oliver being trained. Wilson reveals that his former partner is Billy Wintergreen, who was sent with Wilson to find out Fyers' mission. Their plane was shot down and they were captured by Fyers' men. Wintergreen accepted Fyers' offer to change sides. After infiltrating the airstrip, Wilson reveals plans to send in an airstrike to wipe out all of Fyers' operation. Oliver heads out to save Yao, but is recaptured by Fyers. Before he can be executed, Wilson arrives, rescuing Oliver and killing Wintergreen. Although they miss the supply aircraft, Wilson and Oliver decide to continue to work together to get off the island, with Wilson stating that Fyers is hired by another party for a purpose. Yao is revealed to have changed sides because his daughter, Shado, is held captive by Fyers.
1515"Dodger"Eagle EgilssonBeth SchwartzFebruary 20, 2013 (2013-02-20)2J73153.15[16]
Oliver learns of a jewel thief named "Dodger", who uses hostages tagged with bomb collars. Felicity suggests that Oliver bug the phone of Detective McKenna Hall, an old friend of Oliver's, to gain information on the Dodger. She also convinces Oliver to ask Hall out on a date so that he can have some down time. Through the wire tap, Oliver determines the Dodger's next location, but is stunned by a bomb thrown by the thief, who gets away. To draw out the Dodger, Oliver donates antique jewels to an auction. It works; but when Felicity confronts the thief, he places a collar on her to ensure his getaway. Oliver manages to stop the Dodger and deactivate the collar. Diggle starts dating his former sister-in-law, Carly. Thea has a run-in with a thief named Roy Harper, and Moira attempts to make a deal with Chien to have Malcolm killed, so that she can leave the secret organization, whose plan is called the "Undertaking". Flashbacks show Oliver trying to treat Wilson's infected wound by finding the herbs Yao used. He is intercepted by a wounded man who asks for help, but Oliver leaves him, believing it to be a trap.
1616"Dead to Rights"Glen WinterGeoff JohnsFebruary 27, 2013 (2013-02-27)2J73163.17[17]
Oliver kills a hired gunman, and realizes that the latter's target is not safe yet. Chien hires Lawton, who is revealed to have survived Oliver's attack, to take out Malcolm after the previous gunman's death. Malcolm asks Tommy to attend an award ceremony where Malcolm will be receiving a humanitarian award; Tommy is persuaded by Oliver to attend. At the last moment, Oliver discovers that Malcolm is the target and races to the event to save him. Although he is almost caught by Hall, Oliver manages to get Malcolm away from Chien's men. Malcolm is shot with one of Lawton's poisonous bullets, and Oliver is forced to reveal his identity to Tommy so that he can save Malcolm's life. Malcolm and Tommy reconcile. Malcolm tells Moira about his belief that someone from the organization attempted to kill him. Laurel is confronted by her mother, Dinah, who states that Sara, Laurel's sister, might be alive. During a flashback, Oliver is shown repairing a damaged radio, which Wilson uses to tune into the radio communications of Fyers. They find out that Fyers possesses an advanced anti-aircraft missile launcher.
1717"The Huntress Returns"Guy BeeJake Coburn & Lana ChoMarch 20, 2013 (2013-03-20)2J73173.02[18]
Helena returns to Starling City to kill Frank after she learns that he plans to make a deal with the FBI for witness protection. Oliver opens his nightclub and refuses her request for help; she attacks Tommy to force his assistance. Helena is captured by the police's trap. Oliver breaks her out to protect his secret and demands that she leave Starling City. Instead, she forces Felicity to find Frank's location. Oliver manages to stop Helena from killing Frank, but when Hall arrives, Helena shoots her and escapes. In the hospital, Hall breaks up with Oliver, announcing that she is moving to Coast City for her physical therapy. Meanwhile, Tommy's knowledge of Oliver's secret affects his relationship with Laurel; however Tommy reconciles with Oliver. Dinah presents her evidence of Sara's existence to Quentin and Laurel. Thea and Roy get closer. In a flashback to the island, Oliver and Wilson steal the circuit board of the anti-aircraft missile launcher, which the latter states can start a war, and offer Fyers a trade of the board with a way out of the island.
1818"Salvation"Nick CopusDrew Z. Greenberg & Wendy MericleMarch 27, 2013 (2013-03-27)2J73182.65[19]
Another vigilante appears in Starling City and kidnaps one of Oliver's targets, a slumlord who had charges dropped against him because he was able to pay off the District Attorney. The new vigilante, who is identified as Joseph Falk, kills the slumlord over a live broadcast. Falk kills several prosecutors the same way before going after Harper. Diggle finds out that Falk is using an abandoned subway car, and Oliver is able to catch the car and kill Falk. Oliver realizes the secret organization's plans involve The Glades, a neighborhood filled with crime. Laurel proves to Dinah and Quentin that Sara is not alive. It is revealed that Dinah knew of Sara's plan to escape with Oliver. Malcolm contacts the Triad to find the traitors. Moira turns over her co-conspirator, Frank Chen, to Malcolm, who kills Chen, believing her to be innocent. Flashbacks to the island show Oliver and Wilson freeing Shado, but at the cost of Fyers reacquiring the board. She claims to know Fyers' scheme.
1919"Unfinished Business"Michael OfferBryan Q. Miller & Lindsey AllenApril 3, 2013 (2013-04-03)2J73192.92[20]
When a girl dies after using a new form of Vertigo, Oliver sets out to interrogate the Count and determines the latter has lost his mind from the Vertigo overdose. When news reports state that the Count escaped the asylum, Oliver suspects that the Count was faking his mental illness. Meanwhile, Quentin finds loose connections between Tommy and Vertigo, and attempts to uncover the truth, which almost leads him to discovering Oliver's hideout. Oliver realizes that the Count's psychiatrist is behind the re-emergence of Vertigo. Oliver kills the doctor, and opts not to kill the Count, who has truly lost his mind and was the scapegoat of the doctor's actions. Tommy quits the club after realizing that Oliver suspected him with the drug dealing. Malcolm gives him a job. Oliver decides to help Diggle find Lawton, who killed Diggle's brother. In a flashback, Shado reveals that Yao Fei took the blame of a massacre committed by the Chinese government and was exiled to the island. Now Fyers is using him as a scapegoat for his schemes. She begins training Oliver to use a bow.
2020"Home Invasion"Ken FinkBen Sokolowski & Beth SchwartzApril 24, 2013 (2013-04-24)2J73203.10[21]
Laurel represents the Moore family who are suing a corrupt businessman, who puts a hit on the family, and the couple's young child is the sole survivor. Laurel takes the boy into her custody and is saved by the vigilante from the hitman's attempt. Tommy suggests that they go to Oliver's for protection. An operation headed up by A.R.G.U.S., a government organization, is set to capture Lawton, but Oliver chooses the Moores case. As a result, Lawton escapes and Diggle decides to leave Oliver, who forces the businessman to confess his crimes, leading to the latter's arrest. After killing the latter, the hitman comes to the Queen residence to kill all remaining witnesses, but Oliver manages to kill him. Tommy decides to leave Laurel, believing that he could never compete with Oliver should she discover that he is the vigilante. Elsewhere, Roy starts searching for the vigilante; and Thea agrees to help. During a flashback to the island, Shado continues teaching Oliver to use a bow before Yao Fei brings Fyers' men to their hideout.
2121"The Undertaking"Michael SchultzJake Coburn & Lana ChoMay 1, 2013 (2013-05-01)2J73212.89[22]
Oliver tracks down an accountant of the secret organization and steals his laptop. While decrypting it, Felicity uncovers a link to Walter—a money transfer was made to Dominic Alonzo, an underground casino owner who was hired to kidnap Walter. The pair infiltrate the casino and Alonzo claims that Walter was killed. Oliver informs his family and Moira confronts Malcolm, who proves to her that Walter is still alive. Oliver, who was listening in, discovers that Malcolm is heading the secret organization, and uses Felicity to ascertain Walter's location. As the vigilante, Oliver frees Walter. Meanwhile, Laurel asks Tommy for the truth about why he left, and Tommy states that Oliver still loves her, a claim he confirms. Oliver asks Diggle to help him stop the "Undertaking". In a flashback, Robert is shown disagreeing with Malcolm's proposed "Undertaking", which would involve leveling the Glades with a machine, which will be built in five years, and killing thousands of people in order to rebuild the area. As a result, Malcolm has a bomb planted on the Queens' yacht just before Robert boards it to head to China for his plan to stop Malcolm.
2222"Darkness on the Edge of Town"John BehringDrew Z. Greenberg & Wendy MericleMay 8, 2013 (2013-05-08)2J73222.62[23]
Malcolm kills the scientists who worked on the device. Diggle, disguised as the vigilante, kidnaps Oliver and Moira, in a ruse by Oliver to attempt to uncover the truth. The plan works and Oliver's team breaks into Malcolm's company for information. Quentin finally approves Laurel's feelings for Oliver, who realizes that he could cease being the vigilante if he stops the Undertaking. Thus, Oliver reconciles his romance with Laurel and the two make love, which is witnessed by Tommy. Malcolm has the device moved. Oliver attempts to kill him, and Malcolm reveals that he is the other archer; the two fight until Malcolm gets the upper hand, discovering Oliver's secret. Meanwhile, Walter files for divorce, revealing to know Moira's involvement in his kidnapping. Roy wants to be trained by the vigilante and pushes Thea away from himself. In a flashback, the man Oliver chose not to help is revealed to be working for Fyers, who reveals that he plans to cripple the Chinese economy by blowing up commercial planes going into the country. His employer is revealed to be a woman. He murders Yao Fei after forcing him to take credit for the attacks via video recording.
2323"Sacrifice"David BarrettStory by : Greg Berlanti
Teleplay by : Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg
May 15, 2013 (2013-05-15)2J73232.77[24]
Malcolm imprisons Oliver, who later manages to escape. He confronts Moira about the Undertaking, which prompts her to hold a press conference and reveal to the city her involvement with Malcolm and the plan to destroy the Glades. She is arrested while Malcolm confirms her claims to Tommy and reveals that he is the other archer. Quentin, with help from Felicity, is able to dismantle the device. Diggle and Oliver go after and mortally wound Malcolm, who reveals that there is a second device shortly before he dies. The device activates and begins to level the east side of the Glades. Thea goes into the Glades to save Roy, who decides to stay and help others. Laurel is trapped in her office; but Tommy arrives and helps her escape before being trapped himself. Oliver arrives too late, as Tommy had already been mortally wounded by debris. The two tearfully make amends with each other before Tommy dies, leaving Oliver grief stricken. In a flashback, Fyers fires a missile at an approaching airliner, but Oliver and Shado manage to override the coordinates and destroy the missile. Afterward, Oliver kills Fyers, revealed to have gained relative skill with bow.

Cast and characters

Main articles: List of Arrow characters and List of supporting Arrow characters





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.[25] 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.[26] At the end of the month, Stephen Amell was cast in the titular role of Oliver Queen.[27] 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.[28] Unlike with Smallville, the series does not initially feature super-powered heroes and villains. Instead, the creative still 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.[29] The series was given a full season pick up on October 22, 2012.[30]

"I think the idea is to—not all the time, and not with a set regularity—but I think it is critical to explore how he went from the person that he was when he left the island—which is extremely different: he's spoiled, he's entitled, he's a bit of a jerk—and he comes off it something very, very different. So we're going to explore how he gets there."[29]

—Stephen Amell on the use of flashback storytelling.

The series develops relationship triangles: some love triangles, others designed to catch characters in "philosophical debates".[31] Kreisberg provides one such example: "Every week, Oliver will be facing a bad guy, but the truth is, his real nemesis is Detective Lance, who's trying to bring him into justice.[...] His daughter is going to be caught in the middle, because she loves and respects her father, and she's always believed in what he believed, but at the same time, she's going to see this dark urban legend out there that's actually doing a lot of good; the kind of good that she wants to be doing in her role as a legal aid attorney."[31] Learning from previous experiences working in television, the producers worked early on identifying the major story arcs for the series, specifically the first season, including "mapping out" how to accomplish them. Taking inspiration from Christopher Nolan's Batman film series, the creative team decided to "put it all out there" and "not hold back" from episode to episode.[31]

The team strives to include various DC Comics characters and aspects of the DC universe. Guggenheim cited Big Belly Burger, a restaurant franchise introduced in the Superman comics, which appears in Arrow's third episode and onward. Kreisberg said, "There are so many characters in the DC Universe who haven't gotten their due in TV and film. We're so excited to reach into [the DC comics] roster and take some of these lesser-known characters that are beloved by fans, and do our spin on the characters."[32]


On January 31, 2012 Stephen Amell became the first actor to be cast, having previously appeared on other CW dramas such as The Vampire Diaries and 90210.[33] Fan reaction to Amell's casting was mixed, with many fans wanting Justin Hartley to reprise his role from Smallville.[34] Amell was one of the first actors to audition for the role of Oliver Queen, and Kreisberg felt that he "hit the target from the outset" and "everyone else just paled in comparison".[28] Arrow's pilot script was the first Amell auditioned for during pilot season, having received multiple scripts at the start of the year.[35] 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 who was portrayed by Hartley. Instead, they opted to cast a new actor in the titular role.[28] Amell, who was already in shape from Rent-a-Goalie, did physical fitness training at Tempest Freerunning Academy out of Reseda, California. He received archery training as well, which included watching a video on how archery has been displayed inaccurately or poorly in television and film before learning the basics of shooting a bow.[28] For Amell, the appeal of portraying Queen was that he saw multiple roles tied to the same character: "There's Queen the casual playboy; Queen the wounded hero; Queen the brooding Hamlet; Queen the lover; Queen the man of action, and so on."[28]

Developing chemistry

Amy Brenneman made a point of really befriending me before we started shooting [Private Practice] [...] I was really taken with how she connected with me, person to person, before we tried to connect, actor to actor. So, I made a real point to do that [with the Arrow cast] [...] I think that you can see that [we hit it off] [...] If you have to put your hand on somebody's shoulder, if you've done it before, it makes it easier to do. Sometimes it's imperceptible, but I think it's what takes things from good to great, or from 2D to 3D.

Amell interview with Collider[35]

A week later, David Ramsey was cast as the original character John Diggle, named after the Green Arrow: Year One writer Andy Diggle.[36] Ramsey enjoyed the fact that he did not have to worry about matching the comic books. It allowed him to "just kind of take [his character], and run with it".[37] On February 14, 2012 Susanna Thompson was cast as Moira Queen.[38] The following day, Katie Cassidy and Willa Holland were announced to play Laurel Lance and Thea Queen, respectively. Laurel Lance is an attorney and Oliver's ex-girlfriend, named after Dinah Laurel Lance, who "may or may not end up being the Black Canary with time".[39] Cassidy said she was drawn to the show by Berlanti, Nutter, Kreisberg, and Guggenheim, whom she called smart, creative, and edgy.[40] Hollands' character is described as "Oliver's celebutante younger sister who's testing the boundaries of acceptable behavior".[41] She is partially based on the character Mia Dearden, sharing her middle name, using Mia as an alias in Season 3 and taking the codename "Speedy" in the season 3 finale. Subsequently. Brian Markinson was cast as guest-star villain Adam Hunt, described as "Hunt is a corrupt businessman who is ripping off some people – behavior that has gotten the attention of Dinah Laurel Lance and her CNRI firm".[42] On February 21, 2012, Colin Donnell was cast as Tommy Merlyn, named after Green Arrow's archenemy Merlyn. He is described as "Oliver's best friend, a playboy "trustafarian" who assumes the good times will roll again now that Oliver has returned, only to learn Oliver is a changed man".[43] On March 2, 2012, Paul Blackthorne and Jamey Sheridan were cast as Quentin Lance and Robert Queen, the fathers of Laurel and Oliver respectively, with Blackthorne being the last regular cast member to be cast.[44] Jacqueline MacInnes Wood was cast as Sara Lance, Laurel's sister, for the pilot. However, when the character returned in the second season, Wood was replaced by Caity Lotz.[45] In August, it was announced that John Barrowman would be joining the series in an unspecified recurring role.[46] In the same month Emily Bett Rickards was cast in the role of Felicity Smoak[47] initially as a one-off guest star,[48] but confirmed as a series regular in January 2013.[49]


"Arrow, we really wanted him urban, and sexy, and you could almost wear the costume down the street and it would look cool in today's world. That was a big goal with Arrow and the way the story was set up with his character."

 –Costume Designer Colleen Atwood[50]

The realistic approach to the series included the costume design for Oliver's vigilante persona, created by Colleen Atwood.[51] According to Amell, it was important for the suit to be functional, and the best way that he knew for that was if he could put the costume on by himself: "If I can put it on by myself, I think that people will buy it. And that was our idea. That's our world. My boots are actually Nike Frees, which is kind of cool. It's leather and it's tight and it's aggressive, but I can move in it. People will like it."[29][52] David Nutter, the director of the pilot episode, said that "We're creating a real, believable world in which Oliver Queen can do incredible things. Colleen Atwood's great work on the Arrow costume reflects that effort."[53]


Production on the pilot began in March 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.[54] The series features two distinct timelines which requires more specific planning in the filming schedule. Filming for the island flashbacks takes place in Vancouver's Whytecliff Park area, near beachfront homes. The production team is tasked with keeping the buildings out of camera frame.[32] Additionally, producer Marc Guggenheim finds the process arduous: "Stephen [Amell] has to wear a wig, and his look has to be changed... there's a lot. It's actually incredibly ambitious to do these flashbacks every week, every single episode. Because like Andrew [Kreisberg] said, it's almost like it's its own show."[32] Hatley Castle, located in Royal Roads University was used for exterior shots for the Queen family mansion. Hatley Castle had previously been used as the Luthor ancestral home in Smallville.[55] Vancouver's Terminal City Ironworks Complex doubles as the exterior for Queen Industrial, Inc, in which Oliver sets up his hideout and later his club Verdant.[56] It has also been used on several other occasions, such as the warehouse in which Oliver and Tommy are kidnapped in the pilot episode, or the base of operations for the Chinese Triad in episode 108 "Vendetta".[57]

Filming for the rest of the season commenced on July 18, 2012, and finalized on April 18, 2013.


Arrow – Original Television Soundtrack: Season 1
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedSeptember 17, 2013 (2013-09-17)
LabelWaterTower Music
Blake Neely chronology
Arrow – Original Television Soundtrack: Season 1 Arrow – Original Television Soundtrack: Season 2

To compose the score for Arrow, executive producer Greg Berlanti invited Blake Neely, with whom he had first worked with on Everwood, Neely created a score that combined electronic and orchestral cues, varying between action themes and romantic ones.[58] Berlanti told Neely the series would be dark, and the music should be as well. After reading the pilot script, Neely went away to start composing on his own.[59] According to Neely, "Of course, Oliver has his main theme but also sub-themes for the many layers of his character. He and Laurel have a love theme. Mom had a theme for the Undertaking. The bad guys all have themes, which makes it sad for me when one of them dies. So I try not to become attached to bad guy themes. Diggle has a theme. Even the Island itself has a theme."[58] The soundtrack was released on September 17, 2013. It was composed by Blake Neely.

Arrow – Original Television Soundtrack: Season 1 tack listing
1."Five Years"1:54
2."Returning Home / Scars"2:53
3."City in Ruin"1:20
4."Setting Up the Lair"2:27
5."Loss and Regrets"2:38
6."On the List"1:40
7."Vigilante Justice"2:10
8."Honor Thy Father"1:45
9."Inhospitable Island / Deathstroke"2:09
10."I Forgot Who I Was"4:00
11."Train and Hunt"2:38
12."Betrayed By Those You Love"1:51
13."Chasing the Hood"2:27
15."The Dark Archer / It Is I Who Failed This City"3:31
16."Working Together But Alone"1:53
17."The Count"2:02
18."Friends in Arms"2:36
19."Trust But Verify"2:37
20."Join Us"1:55
21."Trusting a Friend, Saving an Enemy"1:57
22."Sins of the Father"1:27
23."I Can't Lose You Twice"3:17
24."Search for Salvation"3:29
25."Shado Sees an Emerging Hero"1:57
26."Unfinished Business / Saving Walter"2:29
27."A Way Off the Island"2:15
29."Oliver Queen Suite"9:47
Total length:1:17:35



The season began airing in the United States on The CW on October 10, 2012, and completed its 23-episode run on May 5, 2013.

Home media

Arrow: Season 1 was released as a 5-disc DVD set and as a 9-disc Blu-ray and DVD combo pack set on September 17, 2013, in the United States and September 23, 2013, in the United Kingdom. The DVD and Blu-ray box sets contain additional features, including making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reel, and highlights from the Paley Fest 2012.[60]


Critical response

The first season received favorable reviews, with a Metacritic score of 73 out of 100, based on reviews from 25 critics, making it the highest rated CW show in five years.[61][62] Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes calculated an approval rating of 85%, based on 36 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "The CW nails the target with Arrow, a comic book-inspired series that benefits from cinematic action sequences, strong plotting, and intriguing characters."[63]

Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times called the series an interesting setup with a quality look, describing Amell as "a poster boy (no doubt literally) for the Katniss Everdeen set."[64] Brian Lowry at Variety described the series as a "handsome but stiff surrogate for Batman that could benefit from sharper execution."[65] In reviewing the final episode of the first season, Alasdair Wilkins of The A.V. Club gave the season as a whole a rating of B+, noting that the show "hasn't quite figured everything out yet, but it's had some standout episodes."[66]


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.[30] The first season finished as the 130th ranked show, with an average viewership of 3.68 million.[67] In Australia, the premiere received 1.32 million viewers, making it the third most-watched broadcast on the network that night.[68] The UK broadcast was the highest-rated telecast of the week on Sky 1, with 1.85 million viewers.[69] 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.[70]

Viewership and ratings per episode of Arrow
No. Title Air date Rating/share
1 "Pilot" October 10, 2012 1.3 4.14[2] 0.4 1.7
2 "Honor Thy Father" October 17, 2012 1.3 3.55[3]
3 "Lone Gunmen" October 24, 2012 1.1 3.51[4]
4 "An Innocent Man" October 31, 2012 1.0/3 3.05[5] 0.5 1.5[71]
5 "Damaged" November 7, 2012 1.3/4 3.75[6]
6 "Legacies" November 14, 2012 1.2/3 3.83[7]
7 "Muse of Fire" November 28, 2012 1.3/4 3.74[8]
8 "Vendetta" December 5, 2012 1.1/3 3.35[9]
9 "Year's End" December 12, 2012 1.0/3 3.11[10] 0.5 1.5[72]
10 "Burned" January 16, 2013 1.1/3 3.06[11] 0.5 1.6[73]
11 "Trust But Verify" January 23, 2013 1.1/3 3.14[12]
12 "Vertigo" January 30, 2013 0.9/3 2.97[13] 0.5 1.4
13 "Betrayal" February 6, 2013 1.0/3 2.96[14] 0.5 1.5[74]
14 "The Odyssey" February 13, 2013 1.1/3 3.29[15]
15 "Dodger" February 20, 2013 0.9/3 3.15[16] 0.5 1.4[75]
16 "Dead to Rights" February 27, 2013 1.0/3 3.17[17]
17 "The Huntress Returns" March 20, 2013 1.0/3 3.02[18]
18 "Salvation" March 27, 2013 0.9/3 2.65[19] 0.5 1.4[76]
19 "Unfinished Business" April 3, 2013 0.9/3 2.92[20] 0.4 1.3[77]
20 "Home Invasion" April 24, 2013 1.0/3 3.10[21] 0.5 1.5[78]
21 "The Undertaking" May 1, 2013 0.9/3 2.89[22]
22 "Darkness on the Edge of Town" May 8, 2013 0.9/3 2.62[23]
23 "Sacrifice" May 15, 2013 0.9/3 2.77[24] 0.4 1.3[79]


Award nominations for Arrow season 1
Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2012 IGN Awards Best TV Hero Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) Nominated [80]
Satellite Awards Satellite Award for Best Television Series – Genre Arrow Nominated [81]
2013 Broadcast Music, Inc. BMI Television Music Awards Blake Neely Won [82]
Canadian Society of Cinematography Awards TV Drama Cinematography Glen Winter ("Pilot") Won [83]
TV series Cinematography Glen Winter ("Vendetta") Nominated [83]
Leo Awards Best Casting Dramatic Series Coreen Mayrs, Heike Brandstatter ("An Innocent Man") Nominated [84]
Best Cinematography Dramatic Series Gordon Verheul ("Lone Gunmen") Nominated [84]
Glen Winter ("Pilot") Won [84]
Best Dramatic Series Joseph Patrick Finn, Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, Melissa Kellner Berman, Drew Greenberg, Jennifer Lence, Wendy Mericle, Carl Ogawa Nominated [84]
Best Production Design Dramatic Series Richard Hudolin ("Pilot") Won [84]
Best Stunt Coordination Dramatic Series J. J. Makaro ("Pilot") Won [84]
J. J. Makaro ("Vertigo") Nominated [84]
Best Visual Effects Dramatic Series Jean-Luc Dinsdale, Pauline Burns, Andrew Orloff, Dave Gauthier ("Burned") Won [84]
NewNowNext Awards Best New Indulgence Arrow Nominated [85]
Cause You're Hot Stephen Amell Nominated [85]
People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Drama Arrow Nominated [86]
Saturn Awards Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television Arrow Nominated [87]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Breakout TV Show Arrow Nominated [88]
Choice Breakout TV Star Stephen Amell Nominated [88]
Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor Stephen Amell Nominated [88]
Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress Katie Cassidy Nominated [88]
Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show Arrow Nominated [88]
UBCP/ACTRA Awards Best Newcomer Emily Bett Rickards Nominated [89]


  1. ^ In addition to an uncredited role in "Year's End", Rickards also co-starred in two episodes.
  2. ^ Laing co-starred in two episodes before she was promoted to recurring in the ninth episode.
  3. ^ Also credited as a co-star in two episodes.


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