Starling City is a television series that takes place before Oliver Queen became Green Arrow. In fact, in the show he is still only a child, and the show's main character is Quentin Lance. It's set in the same universe as The Knight of Gotham and exists on Earth 41 in the Arrowverse.
In the first season, a new recruit in the Starling City Police Department named Quentin 'Larry' Lance is paired with veteran detective Tobias Church to solve one of Starling City's highest-profile cases: the murders of Robert and Moira Queen. During his investigation, Lance meets the Queens' son Oliver who is now in the care of his butler Edward 'Eddie' Fyers. Meeting the younger Queen further compels Lance to catch the mysterious killer. Eventually, Lance forms an unlikely friendship with Oliver, one that will help shape the boy's future in becoming Green Arrow. Along the way, Lance has to deal with a series of events that are being secretly orchestrated by Slade Wilson and his foster daughter Isabel Rochev as as part of an elaborate plan to take over Starling City as the new Mayor of Gotham City, which involved Mayor Freddy Dreyfus' abduction and exacting revenge against the Queens Family with help from the Church of Blood. Things get worse when Slade becomes Death Stroke There are many doppelgangers of the Earth 1 characters such as a low-level gang member named Warner Zytle, conspiring mobster China White, medical doctor Dinah Drake, crime lords Adam Hunt and Daniel Brickwell. There also other heroes that Lance teams up with such as Rene Ramirez AKA Wild Dog and the surviving Robert Queen AKA The Hood.
Joseph Lance-Levitt as Quentin 'Larry' Lance
Chad Coleman as Tobias Church
Ty Simpkins as Oliver Queen
Sebastian Dunn as Edward 'Eddie' Fyers
Seth Gabel as Warner Zytle/The Count
Kelly Hu as "China White" Na Wei
Brian Markinson as Adam Hunt
Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson/Clinton Hogue/Death Stroke
Kevin Alejandro as Sebastian Blood/Brother Blood
Josh Holloway as Robert Queen/The Hood
Vinnie Jones as Danny Brickwell/The Brick
Season 1 (2011-2012)
- "Pilot"-Rookie detective Quentin Lance and his partner Tobias Church are assigned to the case of the murder of Robert and Moira Queen, who died when their boat went down on their honeymoon and it was discovered to be sabotaged. Lance meets with the Queens' son Oliver, promising them that he will find the killer. Their investigation leads them to a criminal named Eric Dunn. Church shoots him when he flees and attacks Lance. They discovered that Dunn had been framed, leading them to Triads leader China White, an associate of Don Adam Hunt. China has them captured, but Hunt spares them upon his arrival. Hunt orders Lance to kill Warner Zytle, a low-level thug who has been stealing money from his drug trade. Lance fakes Zytle's death, and tells him never to return to Starling. Lance and Church are celebrated as heroes, but Lance confesses the truth to Oliver and the Queens' butler Edward Fyers. As Lance leaves, he is unaware that he is being watched by an unnamed man.
- "Strike Force"-The new captain of the SCPD arrives to clean up department and end corruption. With Lance's assistance, they recruit several aspiring police trainees from the Police Academy in order to form an elite team to accomplish that goal. Clinton Hogue kidnaps Hunt's son Michael and blackmails Hunt into murdering all of the other candidates so that Hogue can run for mayor unopposed. Meanwhile,Warner Zytle takes refuge in a rented trailer after his faked death, plotting his return to Starling City.Shortly afterwards, Oliver meets with Hogue and Hogue promises to help Oliver discover the truth to who murdered Robert and Moira Queen. Oliver also meets Wilson's niece Isabel Rochev, whom he takes a liking to.
- "Hannibal Bates"-Oliver returns to school, where he has some trouble with the students, including Lex Luthor (Aidan Fink), by assisting Tommy Merlyn in bullying Lex and his friend Duncan Allenmeyer since he is disappointed about the death of his parents. Eddie decides to teach Lex how to fight after learning about how Duncan dies upon getting hit by a car while fighting Lex. Lance is investigated for the disappearance of Warner Zytle, who returns to Starling to get revenge on China White. He gets a job at Daniel Brickwell's restaurant, where he is befriend by Brickwell himself. Meanwhile, Lance tracks a meta-human named Hannibal Bates, who can shape-shift into anyone he touches. Things get worse when Bates frames Lance for killing innocent civilians meaning that Lance has to now run from the law in order to clear his name. Lance stops Hannibal in the end with help from Tobias and medical examiner Dinah Drake. At an apartment later, Lance gets a visit from Zytle himself.
- "Blackgate"-Lance learns of the Blackgate Plan when he visits Oliver Queen, where Eddie mentions that Adam Hunt and Mayor Dreyfus are backing the project that will improve the Blackgate District. A hit man named Mr. Blank (J. August Richards) has been targeting the city council members involved in the Blackgate Project. After an attack on Brickwell's restaurant by three masked men, Zytle is promoted to restaurant manager by Brickwell, following his action of saving a bag of money and the death of the previous manager. Mayor Dreyfus holds a conference about the Blackgate Plan, announcing that Hunt will handle small housing development projects and Brickwell will be refurbishing the Asylum. Later, Zytle kills the three masked robbers who had attacked Brickwell's restaurant, who it turns out had been hired for just that purpose by Zytle himself, by serving them poisoned cannoli.
- "Hangman"-A vigilante shows up in Starling City and is nicknamed the Hangman, due to the fact he hangs corrupt citizens of Starling by the neck. Meanwhile, Zytle tells Brickwell about Adam Hunt which is why Brickwell decides to have a few of his men find Hunt's associate Ishmael Gregor and kill him while Gregor is plotting to takeover his boss' criminal organization. After this, Brickwell also has them beat a waiter to a bloody pulp since he was active with China White. After investigating, Quentin finds out Hangman is an office clerk who became Hangman due to the fact Starling City was doing nothing to help children who where left to suffer on the streets. Quentin and his partner save Lionel Luthor when Hangman attempts to kill him. Zytle confronts Hunt revealing that the two men are actually allies. Hunt let Zytle live in exchange for Zytle taking out Ishmael Gregor and China White since the two were plotting to takeover the organization. Hunt couldn't allow that to happen since he still has to rescue his son from Hogue.
- "Anarky"-Hunt investigates Clinton Hogue's past with help from Zytle and discovers that his real name is actually Slade Wilson. The Wilson family built Starling City before they were removed and erased from existence by Oliver's ancestors who were in the Queen family. Oliver and Eddie attend the Starling Children's Hospital Gala and things get worse when everyone gets taken hostage by Lonnie Machin, a deranged assassin hired by the blackmailed Adam Hunt. Dinah tries to call Quentin only to get captured by one of Hogue's henchmen. Hogue kills Machin and is perceived to be a hero much to the dismay of Mayor Dreyfus; he announces his candidacy for mayor. Several Starling citizens see Machin's actions on television and begin having mental breakdowns.
- "Legacies"-Lance and Church get approached by Walter Steele, who wants to help the police stop a group of bank robbers. Lance refuses since he wants to investigate Adam Hunt for killing several candidates for mayor, however he agrees finally. Lance 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, Walter offers Derek a job, but learns his family are going to rob another bank. Lance tries to stop the family only for an annoying rookie officer to accidentally shoot Derek. Meanwhile, Zytle discovers the location to where Michael is being held and Hunt begins to rally a rescue party to rescue his son.
- "Sins of Thy Father"-Zytle leads Hunt to the location of his son, where Slade Wilson's enforcer Death Stroke is waiting. Zytle betrays Hunt and Deathstroke kills his son, though Hunt manages to escape, vowing to kill Zytle and Slade in revenge. Wilson, now elected mayor, convinces the SCPD and the public that Hunt assaulted him and has a warrant put out for Hunt's arrest. Lance suspects that Slade is trying to frame Hunt and confronts Zytle about it. In an interrogation, Zytle reveals that Slade is framing Hunt and that he had Death Stroke murder his son. Later that night, Slade attends his victory celebration where the strike force secretly is. Hunt arrives with his mob to get revenge on Slade. Slade tries to get Lance to shoot Hunt after Lance ambushes him, but Hunt escapes. Lance informs Slade that he is determined to expose his corruption.
- "Tonight Is The Night"-Slade Wilson gives Carrie Cutter permission to kill Lance and also offers Oliver a proposition: Oliver sells his controlling position in Queen Consolidated to Slade and, in return, Slade gives Oliver the information about his parents' killer and the culprits responsible. Barbara walks inside the SCPD and Lance suggests he risk himself to find more information about Slade. While en route to an unknown location on Carrie's instructions, the squad car is assaulted by Deathstroke and her crew. Lance wakes up in Gotham Cathedral, where he and Barbara were going to have their wedding before their break-up. The Strike Force discovers Lance's location, thanks to the help of Church. While the Strike Force engages Deathstroke's crew and rescues Dinah (who was somehow kidnapped by Deathstroke), Lance briefly fights Carrie, leading to Carrie hanging outside the church and falling, resulting in severe injuries. Following information obtained by Carrie, SCPD rescue Freddy Dreyfus from his abduction. Oliver declines Slade's proposition just as Lance arrives and arrests Slade, who destroys the evidence on the Queens' killer.
- "Left Behind"-With Adam Hunt missing, Brickwell plots to takeover the Glades. Oliver tries to get information about his parents' killer from Isabel, but is stopped by Eddie, who orders Isabel to stay away from Oliver. When Oliver tries to sneak out, he is stopped by Eddie, who claims he has evidence that Isabel is not who he claims to be.Lance discovers Brickwell's plan, to secure all the evidence against street enforcers so they are released and forced to join his crew, and heads to the police warehouse with Church and the Strike Force to stop him. However, Brickwell manages to escape. Meanwhile, Hunt is in hiding because of his old friend Noah Kuttler. Noah convinces Hunt to move on from the death of his son and the both of them kill one of Slade's kidnapped henchmen in celebration.
- "Midnight City"-Isabel and Oliver are kidnapped by Tom "The Knife" (Tommy Flanagan). He manipulates Isabel into seemingly revealing the name of Oliver's parents' killer after being paid by Oliver and Eddie. She says that the killer's name is "S. Dover" but later claims that she lied. Lance warns Rene Ramirez to stay off the streets after Church has to bail him out of a fight. Brick kidnaps the city's aldermen, killing one during a rescue attempt. In exchange for the remaining aldermen, Brick demands that all police presence evacuate the Glades for good. The team is able to locate the aldermen and successfully rescue them, but the Mayor still agrees to remove the police after Brick reveals that he has targeted every legislative body member.
- "Uprising"-Robert Queen returns to Starling City and kills a man whom he believes destroyed the Queens' Gambit. With the police out of the Glades, Lance decides to join forces with Rene to fight Brick's men against the orders of his superiors. Robert reviews the evidence that Lance has against Brick and discovers that Brick was the one who blew up the Queens' Gambit. Lance and Rene rally the citizens of the Glades to take on Brick and his men. As the Hood, Robert overpowers Brick and is about to kill him before Lance saves Brick and has him arrested. With the Brick gone, that leaves Zytle free to take control of his criminal empire. The Church of Blood arrives to Starling City.
- "A Better Pill To Swallow-Isabel goes to an underground killer agency and pays to have Quentin Lance assassinated. Lance and Robert search Slade's condo for evidence. The killers arrive; Lance and Robert manage to fend them off, but Lance is severely injured. Police reinforcements arrive, but are eliminated by another hired killer named Eduardo Flamingo (Raúl Castillo). After coming close to killing him, Robert turns Flamingo in, but, before being placed in his cell, Flamingo kills another officer. Lance promises Robert that he will help him find the people responsible for his wife's death and decides not to tell the Queen family about Robert being alive. Meanwhile, Sebastian visits Mayor Dreyfus and threatens to kill him unless he testifies that Adam Hunt had him kidnapped and tortured.
- "Scarification"-Isabel makes arrangements for the Count to bring in a kidnapped Frank Chen. Isabel removes one of his eyes. Meanwhile, the SCPD Strike Force, led by Lance, busts one of Adam Hunt's money laundering house, where they're nearly killed by a man with a rocket-propelled grenade. Isabel then has Zytle hire arsonists. Lance and Church ambush Bridgit on a would-be robbery, where their brothers abandon her. While she tries to back off, officer Luke Garrett (Lenny Platt) tries to restrain her, but she accidentally burns him down. She escapes with a girl named Sin. Meanwhile at the trial, Mayor Dreyfus falsely testifies that Adam Hunt had him kidnapped and tortured which angers Lance. However, Lance gets captured by corrupt officers led hired by Slade himself, who reveals his family's history.
- "By Fire"-Lance wakes up in Noah Kuttler's house only to learn from Hunt that he is now a fugitive from the law for assaulting Slade Wilson. After moving away from the Pike brothers and in with Sin, Bridgit Pike is abducted and further abused by the Pike Brothers after attempting to leave Starling City. Bridgit snaps and murders the other Pike Brothers, beginning a crime spree. After a visit to Sin's hideout, Lance and Church arrive at the Pike Brothers apartment where they find them dead. Bridgit Pike is incapacitated in a struggle with the SCPD strike force, publicly announced to be dead much to the dismay of Sin. Slade breaks into Queen Mansion and kidnaps Oliver, as part of the Church of Blood's plan to "cleanse" Starling City.
- "Worse Than A Crime"-After learning from Eddie that Oliver has been kidnapped, Lance and Hunt make plans to break in Slade's residence and save Oliver. After finding Lance, Dinah tries to convince Lance to leave Starling City with him by revealing she is pregnant. Lance, Church, Eddie, Hunt, and his gang arrive at Slade's residence just as Sebastian Blood and the Church of Blood are about to kill Oliver. During a clash between the Church and Hunt's gang in which the Order is defeated, Slade and Isabel begin to make their escape. Slade escapes, but leaves Isabel behind. Later, Lance finds Dinah and proposes to her. Slade, angered at everything that has happened, goes to his secret lair and retrieves his Death Stroke suit.
- "Death Stroke"-Lance decides to turn himself over to the law against Dinah's advice. Meanwhile, Slade, now revealed to the audience as Death Stroke, tries to takeout Lance for revenge. Dinah goes to see Oliver to see if he is suffering from any trauma due to his recent abduction, but Oliver assures Dinah that he's fine and that he felt alive the whole time. Meanwhile, Lance is imprisoned until the lights flicker and Death Stroke shows up, killing a few officers and making an unsuccessful attempt on Lance's life. Lance and Nudorcerdo flee to the roof, where Nudocerdo fights Death Stroke with a pipe, breaking his sword, and knocks off his mask, revealing Death Stroke's identity. In the end, Nudocerdo is sent to the hospital and Lance goes home, watched by Death Stroke from a distance.
- "Unleashed"-Lance is called in for questioning and is reinstated in the SCPD. As Captain Nudocerdo is in the hospital, Tobias Church becomes the new captain. Oliver, realizing that Death Stroke is still out there, goes with Eddie to speak with Isabel, who reveals that the sword Death Stroke used was fake and that real one is located in her grandfather's tomb. They later arrive at Starling cemetery, where they steal the sword. Death Stroke arrives, killing Isabel and escaping with the real sword. Eddie and Oliver return to the Queen Mansion where they set a trap for Death Stroke. Lance arrives and shoots Death Stroke several times, but remains undefeated until Hunt and his henchman Butch arrive. Bruce fires an RPG, killing Death Stroke.
- "Jay Garrick"-During a prison transport from Blackgate Penitentiary to St. Mark Psychiatric Hospital, insane bomb maker Jeffrey Coopersmith (Leslie Odom Jr.) is taken by the the Count and his men, who have formed an alliance with China White to takeover Adam Hunt's empire. Meanwhile, Lance meets with Jay Garrick, a speedster who accidentally traveled back in time while dealing with the Black Flash. Lance and Church find Coopersmith at the abandoned metal factory, they are ambushed by mobsters who make off with Coopersmith. Manipulated by China White, Zytle and his crew target Hunt's cache of money, but a police standoff ensues, the Count's armored truck explodes with a remote control operated by China White. Fortunately, Jay arrives and is able to save everyone from getting injured before returning to his time. The Count vows to get even with China White for her betrayal.
- "Rouge's Gallery"-Jack Gruber and Aaron Danzig escape from Blackgate and rampage through Starling City. Quentin Lance promises Dreyfus that he will arrest Gruber within 24 hours. Noah Kuttler learns Gruber is a former Mafia bank robber who was betrayed by Warner Zytle. Lance and Church put Zytle under protect custody to use as bait to attract Gruber to the police station. Gruber and Danzig attack the station, but Lance thwarts them by shorting out Gruber's electrical apparatus with water. Zytle begins having members of his gang go after members of China White's gang. That's why Robert confronts Lance in the end requesting for his help in stopping the gang war since it's bad for the city.
- "It's Never Too Late"-The mob war between the Count and China White escalates. Zytle attempts to kill Hunt himself, but Lance intervenes. As China White's men approach, Lance and Robert take Hunt, Zytle, and Joe Cracker to a safe house, but China White's new gang (with Sin among the recruits) take them captive. The Werewolves of London street gang arrives, however Zytle manipulates their leader and White into a dispute over mob leadership. White shoots the gang leader dead causing there to be a shootout. Lance, Robert, and Hunt escape in the ensuing chaos. Zytle fights and throws White off the roof into the water, becoming Starling City's new crime lord. Dinah leaves Lance a Dear John letter and leaves to begin a relationship with Liza Warner. Hunt retires from the mob. Robert begins to tell Lance about the List.