The network made the announcement Sunday during a Television Critics Association panel, where Deadline reports Executive Producer Daniel Cerone described the character as a perfect foil for “bullshit artist” Constantine. “Zed is intuitive, she can detect bullshit,” he said.
While Lucy Griffith’s character Liv was created for the television series, Zed has a long past with the trenchcoat-wearing supernatural investigator, one that dates back more than 25 years. Introduced in Hellblazer #4, Zed (aka Mary Martin) is a psychic who helped Constantine find his missing niece; they quickly become romantically involved.
Executive Producer David S. Goyer said there’s no need to reshoot the pilot following Griffiths’ departure, as “characters drop around him like flies,” and having Liv leave is “kind of consistent with the character.”
Zed certainly won’t be the last of the source material’s numerous occult characters to make her way into the series. “The intention is that we have DC’s occult universe open to us,” IGN quotes Goyer as saying, “and the fact that we had Doctor Fate’s helmet in the pilot is an indication that we’re going to be doing that. We’re introducing another character from the DC universe within the first eight or nine episodes as well.”
Cerone revealed the fifth episode calls for a police officer who realizes the existence of supernatural evil, which could allow producers to introduce, at the very least, an Easter egg for comics fans. “Right there, OK, that’s an opportunity to introduce a DC character. So we talked to our DC representatives and we’re like what if we make this character Jim Corrigan, who goes on to become The Spectre. […] So it’s a perfect opportunity for us, because we can name this character Jim Corrigan and within our story, for the general viewer, that works, because now Constantine has a friend on the force. For the comic book fan, ‘My God, that’s Jim Corrigan!’ And we can get back to that character and can slowly develop that character and who knows, maybe there’s an opportunity in the future to even see the origin story unfold within the framework of our TV series.”
However, viewers aren’t likely to see two elements from John Constantine’s comic-book past: his bisexuality and or his smoking.
EW.com reports Cerone suggested that Constantine’s relationships with men aren’t critical to the character, saying, “In those comic books, John Constantine aged in real time. Within this tome of three decades [of comics] there might have been one or two issues where he’s seen getting out of bed with a man. So [maybe] 20 years from now? But there are no immediate plans.”
As for the smokes, which director Neil Marshall earlier said don’t appear in the pilot? “He is a smoker in the show,” Goyer said, “we’re not shying away from it, but we’re not glorifying it.”
When pressed, Cerone responded, “That’s a question you probably should ask the network afterward, but they’re beholden to broadcast standards. So we get it. We know the universe that we’re existing within and, trust me, we heard pitches from all different camps — ‘Let’s give him a patch’ or ‘he eats a lot of gum.’ […] It’s like, look, he’s a smoker. We’re on network television, so we’re limited to what we can do and what we can show. But within that framework we’re going to be very honest to the character … I believe Constantine has a very healthy sex life, we’re not going to see that on TV either.”
Starring Matt Ryan, “Constantine” premieres Friday, Oct. 24, on NBC. The pilot will be screened Wednesday, July 23, and Saturday, July 26, at Comic-Con International in San Diego.