Jesse L. Martin, who plays Detective Joe West on The Flash, is taking a break from the show for medical reasons. According to EW, Martin suffered a back injury during the hiatus between Seasons 4-5, which is why regular viewers might have noticed that he's been seated for the vast majority of his scenes in the just-started fifth season.
Now it seems that the injury has to be addressed in a way that necessitates Martin stepping away from the CW/DC superhero series. It's unclear how long he'll be off the show, but his absence will be addressed (and presumably explained) during the course of the season.
A statement from The CW said simply, "Jesse Martin is taking a medical leave of absence from The Flash. We wish him a full and speedy recovery and look forward to his return as Detective Joe West."
The 49-year-old Martin has been with The Flash since its 2014 premiere. His Joe West is a detective with Central City's police department — where he heads up its metahuman task force — and is father to Iris West (Candice Patton), Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) and now Jenna West, whom he and fiancee, D.A. Cecile Horton (Danielle Nicolet) have recently brought home from the hospital.
West started the series as foster father to lead hero Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and is now his father-in-law, while his yet-to-be-born granddaughter — Nora West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy), the future daughter of Barry and Iris — is a speedster as well.
Martin himself has had a long and varied career, starting out mainly in theater. He originated the role of Tom Collins in the smash 1996 Broadway musical Rent, reprising the role in the 2005 movie version. His other credits include a 12-episode arc on Ally McBeal, a nine-year stint on Law and Order (1999-2008) and a guest appearance on The X-Files in the episode "The Unnatural."
The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on The CW.