'The Flash's' Rick Cosnett on the Mystery of Eddie Thawne: Things Unravel Fast

"Let's just say, things happen very quickly within the first nine episodes"
The CW
'The Flash'

Just two episodes in, The CW's latest comic-book drama The Flash has seen a fast ascension. The Flash's Oct. 7 premiere soared to 6.42 million viewers in live-plus-three ratings, making it the network's most-watched launch ever. And The Flash isn't showing any signs of slowing down. "It's full on," Zimbabwe-born actor Rick Cosnett, who plays the charming Central City Detective Eddie Thawne, told The Hollywood Reporter recently as he geared up for a long night shoot.

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The 31-year-old Cosnett — no stranger to The CW (he was Dr. Wes Maxfield on The Vampire Diaries for a dozen episodes; "I was amazed I lasted that long!") or vocal fans — had a gut feeling things were going to turn out well early on. "I had a feeling about it once I saw Grant Gustin as the Flash on Arrow for research. He has this wonderful imagination, and I think he's such a great actor," he said, also crediting the aggressive marketing efforts. "I had a feeling it could be something special. But we didn't know how great the chemistry would actually be with all the actors and the producers and the way they've created this beast. It really is magical."

Though still early in The Flash's run, Eddie Thawne has thus far been a mystery (thankfully not to Harrison Wells levels). At the moment, he's Detective Joe West's squeaky-clean, well-to-do partner, who happens to be secretly romancing his daughter Iris, a wrinkle only Barry Allen is aware of. That particular secret comes to the forefront in Tuesday's episode, "Things You Can't Outrun." Ask Cosnett what producers have told him of their roadmap for Eddie and he tiptoes around the question, cognizant of stepping into spoiler territory.

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"I hate to say too much," he said with a laugh. "I'm always dancing around what people really want to hear because it's really intriguing, the whole mystery and history behind Eddie Thawne. I have a clear trajectory. The writers have dropped bombs on me as we've sort of gone along, but Eddie is very much the opposite of Barry. The audience is very much in the dark and Eddie, at the moment, is very much in the dark. It's fascinating to play the state of not knowing."

Careful not to mention any DC Comics counterparts, be it Reverse-Flash or Professor Zoom (Eddie Thawne is strikingly similar to the latter's civilian name Eobard Thawne), Cosnett promises there's much more to Central City's Golden Boy: "Let's just say, things happen very quickly within the first nine episodes." In a chat with THR, Cosnett dives into his character and what viewers can expect.

Is there a trait of Barry Allen's that you think Eddie could benefit from?

Definitely. He's very self-assured and sometimes that brings about a little bit of ignorance, even if it's subconscious. Even though he doesn't think he has anything to learn from Barry, it turns out he has a lot to learn and there's a lot he doesn't know about life. He's very much naive in that way because everything has come very easy to him up to this point. His family has a lot of money and he's always been the Golden Boy, but at the same time, he's ignored a lot of things inside himself that Barry is confronting as the series begins. In a way you don't know who is more developed, even though Eddie is seemingly perfect.

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Eddie has also been thrust into the limelight a little bit as the star detective who's been putting all the criminals away in Central City. Is that another facet to his journey that we'll be continuing to see?

It unfolds in an interesting way because Barry is human and he can't help but get a little frustrated with what's starting to happen because Eddie seemingly does swoop in and save the day. At the same time, the producers have been very clever with me in that Eddie almost is a reluctant hero which makes him enduring and makes the audience torn between Barry and Eddie. They empathize with Eddie because he does have this good side to him where you hopefully start to fall in love with him in the beginning. It's very believable that Iris would be torn between the two of the them because they both have their pros and cons and as the audience also needs to weigh that up. What would I do? It's a big predicament.

Might there come a point where there's a clear line between who's right and wrong between Barry and Eddie?

At the moment as far as we know, they're just toying between the two. What I can say is everyone is going to fall in love with Barry because it's Grant Gustin, he's so much the underdog, he has these endearing flaws and you feel sorry for [Barry]. But I'm putting up a really strong case for Eddie. As an actor you have to really have to fall in love with your character and I just love Eddie so much. I even love Wells and all of his awful, angry flaws. (Laughs.) Getting back to your question, I can't say who wins but things happen fast.

Speaking of Wells, there's clearly something going on — especially after he killed Simon Stagg at the end of last week's episode.

(Laughs.) I know, that was a massive bomb.

Eddie's secretly dating Iris, something only Barry knows. How difficult is it going to be for Eddie and Iris to maintain that front, especially since Eddie works with Iris' father?

There's wonderful tension and there's so much at stake because Eddie could lose his job and Joe is wonderfully unpredictable. You never know when you're going to blow up about something. (Laughs.) There's this little dance that Eddie is doing and a lot of the time, he puts his foot right in it and it creates these wonderful moments on the job between him and Joe. And poor Barry knows the secret and Eddie's so grateful for him keeping that secret, but totally oblivious to Barry's love for Iris.

What can we look forward to in the upcoming double date between Barry and Felicity, Iris and Eddie?

It was so fun to shoot. In our cafe, Jitters, we have a little balcony area and Jesse [L. Martin] was sitting up there [during filming] and he just couldn't stop laughing every time we cut. There's flirting, people are secretly sweating, some people are oblivious to what's going on. From the moment Felicity walks in, it's all on. It's fascinating to see all of these characters being thrown together in a mixer and see what color comes out. There's going to be a lot of feeling sorry for people and a lot of stumbling. (Laughs.) People are going to be 'shipping all sorts of crossovers. I think there's going to be a lot of that happening, especially with the double date.

Is there someone from the Arrow universe you think Eddie could have a beer with?

I think Eddie is definitely fascinated by Oliver Queen because he is quite famous and it would be interesting. The Queens and the Thawnes are both big families so that would be fascinating to see.

Might we learn more about Eddie's family and history down the line?

Not so far. I think it's more a backstory that I've created. I like to go deep.

With Iris starting to investigate the Red Streak, does Eddie get involved in all of that?

It creates a lot of tension between the two of them because she starts to become very interested in this Red Streak. It does mean something in their relationship. And things start to unfold with that whole storyline, yes.

How would Eddie react should he learn that Barry is the one zipping through town, fighting all the bad guys in Central City?

Oh my god, it would turn his world upside down. But at the moment, it keeps the suspension going that he doesn't know what, who or why right now. Things unravel to very interesting points.

The Flash airs 8 p.m. Tuesdays on The CW.

Email: Philiana.Ng@THR.com
Twitter: @insidethetube

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