In season 1 episode 13, "The Nuclear Man" of The Flash, Joe West and Cisco Ramone discover two fifteen-year-old blood samples at the scene of Barry Allen's mom's murder.

At this point in the series, it's common knowledge that Barry's mom was killed by someone with super-speed powers similar to Barry. We also know by now that she was killed by the Reverse-Flash. We ALSO know the identity of the Reverse-Flash:

Reverse-Flash is Harrison Wells, so obviously we know that Joe's suspicions have merit.

My question is below, in the spoiler tag.

It's considered a foregone conclusion by both Joe and Cisco that the blood samples belong to two "speedsters". But Joe immediately asks Cisco to check them against Harrison Wells. Obviously Joe is suspicious of Dr. Wells, and with good reason, but, even leaving aside possible motive, why did he have any cause to suspect that Wells had speed-powers fifteen years before the accident that, as far as anyone knows, created metahumans? Did Wells give anything away to Joe that I missed?

  • You didn't miss anything, but the reason why is actually answered a few episodes before that. Joe notices that Wells doesn't have a past or any records before the night Nora Allen was murdered. He first became suspicious of Wells due to something someone told him, I don't remember exactly who it was. Not to mention, it's not hard to see that Wells is hiding something. Combined, these things would set of even an amateur detective's alarms. So naturally, the first person West is going to suspect is the shady guy who seems to know everything and is obviously hiding everything.
    – Robert
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 0:49
  • Plus there's the fact that Wells said that he was near the glass wall the Pied Piper shattered in Wells' home, yet Wells didn't have a scratch on him. Anyone that just had been covered in glass would have some remnants of the glass and/or have cuts/scratches from the glass.
    – Robert
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 0:51

3 Answers 3


No, you didn't miss anything significant. Joe is a detective and has to consider no matter how unusual the request might appear to Cisco, Wells is a man with secrets. Joe is a detective working from his gut instincts and to him, something isn't adding up.

Joe's thought process might look like this:

  • Wells' technology created the events which brought metahumans to Central City. He may not be to blame for the problems created by his technology, but the fact he is at the center of the web of events makes him stand out as a potential suspect for a number of issues.

  • Well's technology (much of which Joe admits to NOT understanding) is both fantastic and frightening in its scope and effect. Barry's powers alone push the boundary of what Joe believed was possible and bring a degree of credence to the stories Barry told him when he was a child. Joe's suspicions are such he even went and gathered up all the previous information and quietly began working the case again.

  • Given the preponderance of metahuman activity around Wells, Detective West is right to suspect that Wells has kept secrets from him and his staff at Star Labs. The Pied Piper was a former employee with a grudge and the intellectual capacity to stymie Wells, at least from Detective West's perspective.

  • What tipped West something wasn't right about Wells was the attack on Well's home by the Pied Piper. Wells didn't reveal the cause of the problem and only Barry's forensic acumen tipped Detective West there was more going on that Wells was revealing.

While Joe can't work out the motive, yet, he still thinks it would be best if he could eliminate the man whose technological expertise could render him a suspect even if it happened fifteen years ago, even if he has seen the Reverse-Flash and Wells in the same room at the same time and even if his suspect is apparently trapped in a wheelchair because Wells makes him decidedly uncomfortable both in his capabilities and his contacts.

  • And for the record, we don't know for certain that Wells is the Reverse-Flash. We only suspect him. At this point, its circumstantial, at best. Having the gun doesn't necessarily make you the shooter, after all.


- Yes, the actor Cavanaugh (playing Harrison Wells) says in an interview he is the Reverse-Flash but I think this ties the story up a bit too easily. I think there is more to this story. In fact, I believe Harrison Wells is actually a time-traveling Barry Allen.


- If you remember when Wells is in his house and its attacked by the Pied Piper, Wells is forced to move from his chair. Note the super-speed energy depicted is RED not YELLOW. It is only a brief flash of red but enough to make me a bit suspicious. Wells is tall and lanky just like Barry is.

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He's also fond of dark, long sleeved shirts...

- What if the yellow suit is more of an exoskeleton, helping Wells to be able to use his speed powers for more than a few seconds without whatever that debilitating issue he is seen suffering from? The suit may have the ability to offer speed powers to whomever is wearing it as well. Hence Cavanaugh's cryptic remark that there is only one Reverse-Flash. What if the Reverse-Flash is whoever is wearing the suit in the future...

And most curiously...

- Last clue: Cisco says the blood on the wall belongs to Barry Allen. An older Barry Allen. We may have been given a "red herring" to make us believe it is OUR Barry Allen when in fact it may be an even OLDER Allen, perhaps even Wells, attempting to ensure the existence of the Flash in the future.

  • 1
    In an interview he confirmed he's the Reverse Flash. Now, if he's the only Reverse Flash yet alone the one we see in Allen's mother's murder... that's another story. Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 22:03
  • 1
    If Wells is future Barry, then at some point he changes his blood type, since Cisco and Joe found 2 blood types.
    – user1027
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 2:28
  • 1
    The attack on Wells' house is a good point, which I'd forgotten about. I think I need to re-watch that episode now Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 2:43
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    @Thaddeus I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind your spoilery speculation. When Barry speeds, he creates a red blur surrounded by yellow lightning. When the Reverse Flash shows up, he creates a red lightning -- the "reverse" of The Flash. That implies that Wells is the Reverse flash, doesn't it?
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 16:15
  • 1
    I think we've seen on a couple of occasions that Wells has figured out how to "absorb" the Speed Force, like a battery; he has a limited store of speed available to him, and he appears to be gathering up technology to try and improve that. In the Pied Piper episode, I believe, we saw him run out of juice and collapse onto the floor.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 17:27

At this point in the show, Joe knows (or suspects) the following about Harrison Wells:

  • He's not the benevolent scientist he appears to be
  • He has some shady gaps in his past
  • He exhibits some measure of control or influence over Barry
  • He may be faking his paralysis

Given these suspicions, it's not a great leap of logic to assume that Wells may be involved in the murder, even to the point of being "The Man in Yellow" himself.

Either way, Harrison Wells is still Suspect #1 as far as Joe is concerned.

  • This is a good answer, and I agree that it makes sense for Joe to be suspicious of Wells, but it seems like a ridiculous leap in logic to go from "Harrison Wells is hiding something" to "Harrison Wells is a metahuman" Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 2:42
  • @JasonBaker I agree, but that seems to be the leap that Joe is making. Thaddeus' answer basically says the same thing, albeit he expands on it quite a bit.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 15:14

Joe knows there's something wrong about Harrison Wells after the events of S1E6, The Flash Is Born. In that episode, Joe reveals that he knows that Wells came to town around the same time frame as Nora Allen's murder. Joe and Wells had a discussion that showed that Joe didn't trust Wells' answer. And then shortly afterwards, the Reverse Flash showed up to threaten Joe with Iris' death if he didn't stop the investigation into Nora Allen's death. So since then, Joe has known that the Reverse Flash is likely linked to Wells somehow, but he doesn't have all the pieces.

Given the new evidence they discovered at the crime scene, Joe then sought to compare it against Wells, who he may not believe is Nora's murderer, but at least suspects is up to something related to it. Checking Wells' blood is at the just competent police work.

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