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Why ‘Arrow’ Is Tackling the Gun Control Debate: ‘Not Talking About Issues Serves a Conservative Agenda’

”We went into Season 5 wanting to do an episode about an issue,“ executive producer Marc Guggenheim says

“Arrow” is getting political for the first time in its five-season run, tackling the hot-button issue of gun violence.

The episode, called “Spectre of the Gun” and airing Wednesday, tracks a masked shooter attacking City Hall and the ensuing debate about gun control, both among the vigilantes of Star City and the politicians.

“We went into Season 5 wanting to do an episode about an issue,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim told reporters earlier this week following a screening of the episode, lamenting that current broadcast dramas don’t often tackle topical issues the way shows like “LA Law” and “Picket Fences” did. “Gun violence felt like the right topic, because of its topicality and because of the level of gun violence is on ‘Arrow.’ We could have done an episode on abortion, but that’s not really where the show lives. So gun violence really felt like the right thing to tackle.”

Guggenheim also proclaimed his left-leaning political stance and reiterated that just debating hot-button issues on such a platform is a way to serve his agenda, especially as he wrote the episode over the week of Nov. 7, when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States over Hillary Clinton.

“I’m an unapologetic progressive,” he said. “But the thing that I’ve noticed is that not talking about issues serves a conservative agenda, not a liberal agenda.”

Of course, both sides of the Second Amendment debate are represented in the episode, with Team Arrow members Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) and Curtis (Echo Kellum) each taking a side.

“I think it was that he was someone whose background we really wanted to explore, and he carries a gun and is a natural spokesman for that point of view,” Mericle said of Wild Dog’s origins, which is explored in the episode.

Narratively, the story also worked as producers wanted an episode that saw Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) having to solve a crisis in his city as the mayor, and not as the Green Arrow.

“There was an opportunity also to do an episode where he wasn’t going to get in the Green Arrow costume,” executive producer Wendy Mericle said. “From a story perspective, it was really the challenge of figuring out what would an episode look like where we had to solve the issue of the day, or the problem of the week, with Oliver Queen as mayor as opposed to him gearing up as the Green Arrow.”

“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.