BEWARE OF SPOILERS!
Species: Human note
Known Aliases: The Guardian
Portrayed By: Mehcad Brooks
Voiced By: Manuel Campuzano (Latin-American Spanish dub), Makoto Tamura (Japanese dub)
CatCo's former art director, whom Kara had a crush on. He becomes CatCo's CEO when Cat decides to take a long, possibly permanent, sabbatical. After growing listless of seeing Kara save the city, especially with her cousin, James decided to get into the crime-fighting business himself; using armor created by Winn, he became a vigilante under the code name "Guardian".
Later on, he himself gets appointed CEO of CatCo when Cat Grant leaves and publicly reveals his superhero identity, getting deputized after a few legal struggles.
After the fight against the Children of Liberty is won, Andrea Rojas buys the company and James decides to leave, being unable to agree with her questionable choices for the newspaper. He considers running for Senator, but ultimately decides to leave National City and help out his hometown Calvintown.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Though the original Jimmy isn't exactly unattractive, he was a nerd as opposed to the show's "alpha male."
- Adaptational Badass: While the original Jimmy Olsen was no pushover, this version is a skilled combatant and a top athlete. Who with only a suit of armor and shield takes to crime fighting with surprising ease. He later briefly gains superpowers after getting healed with the Harun-El.
- Adaptational Curves: Jimmy Olsen is mostly depicted with Geek Physiques or at least average built. This one is an obvious Hunk, though it is possible that he used to be Black and Nerdy when he was at the Daily Planet and just beefed-up since. After all, he is mostly depicted as a nerd in Superman's story.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: A redhead in the comics, this Jimmy is bald, and has black hair otherwise.
- Adorkable: Downplayed due to his Older and Wiser, but still there. He still wears the Signal Watch, among other things. He also named Reactron.
- Anti-Hero: He is The Cowl to Kara's The Cape, similar to the dynamic Batman and Superman share in the comics. He is willing to threaten and rough people up while questioning them, among other things.
- Attack Reflector: Guardians Shield reflected Parasite's punch in Season 2 Episode 6.
- Badass Baritone: James's already deep voice is electronically lowered as Guardian.
- Badass Normal: He's got a black belt, and is more than capable of defending himself even without powers. Later briefly an Empowered Badass Normal.
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: After Cat Grant appoints him as her replacement as head of CatCo.
- Bash Brothers: With Winn since becoming Guardian.
- Benevolent Boss: In Season 2, becomes Cat's successor at CatCo. He offers to strong arm Snapper for Kara into letting her work, but at that point, Kara is determined to earn her reporter job.
- Betty and Veronica: He's the Tall, Dark, and Handsome Hunk (Veronica) contrasting Winn's Adorkable Nerd (Betty).
- Blessed with Suck: In a way, how he views his relationship with Superman. He loves their friendship, but is bothered by how others look at him solely for knowing Superman rather than judging him on his own merits.
- Bromance: He and Clark are really close. Lucy even admitted to being jealous over him constantly spending more time with him (or rather, Superman).
- He also develops one with Winn.
- Brought Down to Normal: He loses his superpowers again during the Season 4 finale, dealing a mutual depowerement to Ben Lockwood.
- Camera Fiend: Made his name as a photographer, though now his current position is art director.
- Character Development: Initially seemed only to exist as the handsome hunk for Kara to swoon over, and a constant reminder that Superman is a thing. Come season 2 and his taking over of CatCo in Cat's stead, and taking it to the streets as The Guardian fleshes out his character considerably. Season 3 builds on this with his friendly rivalry with Lena, the new owner of the media conglomerate, and his slight flirting with her at the same time is the far cry from the rather bland photographer we were introduced to in the pilot.
- Composite Character: In the comics, the black headstrong journalist who has a thing with Lucy Lane although her father kinda hates him is Ron Troupe. Though Jimmy did have a crush on Lucy. He's also this universe's version of Guardian.
- The Cowl: Deconstructed in "City of Lost Children", he became The Guardian to protect people and bring them hope like Superman and Supergirl but unlike them to everyone else he's just a scary guy in a mask who runs out and attacks people; he desperately wants to avert this image. He is so distrusted that he ends up revealing himself as Guardian.
- Determinator: The guy will not back down from a fight, even when the odds are against him.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: In Season 3, once Lena takes direct control of CatCo, and she starts making decisions without his input or consultation which results in friction between the two.
- Easily Forgiven: Once National City learns of Phillip Karnowsky's actions, Guardian is instantly forgiven by the city. It helps that Guardian isn't burdened with Beware the Superman.
- Embarrassing Nickname: He's best known as "Jimmy Olsen," the name he used when he took a Pulitzer-winning photo of Superman, but now insists on being called "James."
- Empowered Badass Normal: Thanks to the Harul-El, he gains Healing Factor, Eye Beams, Super Senses, Super Toughness, Super Strength and Flight.
- Eye Scream: Gets his eye injured during his fight with Ben Lockwood in the Season 4 finale, later wearing an Eyepatch of Power. In Season 5, there seems to be no permanent damage left.
- Flat Character: In season one, before gaining a much more rounded personality outside of his connection with the cousins from Krypton, see Character Development.
- Green-Eyed Epiphany: He quickly grows jealous of how well Barry Allen gets on with Kara. This is what ultimately motivates him to confess his feelings to her.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Briefly when National City thinks he's responsible for the murders by Phillip Karnowsky. It lasts one episode before he's vindicated.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Mehcad Brooks is a whole foot taller than Lucy's actor, Jenna Dewan (6'3" vs 5'3")
- Iconic Item: As James, it's the camera his father gave him; he's always on the scene, putting himself in danger to make sure people see the truth. As Guardian, it's his shield; he doesn't carry a weapon, he's just there to defend people.
- In Name Only: He looks and acts nothing like the Jimmy Olsen from the comics. In fact, he is more the exact opposite of the original character, with Winn being a better match for the traditional Jimmy Olsen.
- Insistent Terminology: He now prefers James to Jimmy, his sobriquet at the Daily Planet.
- Kicked Upstairs: He admits that being promoted is boring him because he enjoys working on the field more.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: As Guardian, he has a shield.
- Loose Lips: He accidentally slips Clark's Secret Identity to Winn.
- MayDecember Romance: Kara is more or less two decades older than him, but her being stuck in the Phantom Zone stalled her youth.
- Military Brat: His late father was in the Army Reserve.
- Mythology Gag: Jimmy Olsen temporarily gaining powers was sort of a Running Gag during The Silver Age of Comic Books in the comics.
- Nice Guy: He is always supportive and caring towards everyone.
- Older and Wiser: Jimmy is usually depicted as The Chew Toy and Butt-Monkey of the Daily Planet. If he was in this series, that was in his younger days. James is now portrayed as more confident and poised.
- Only Known By His Nickname: Inverted. He's known by his real name, "James," rather than his more famous nickname, "Jimmy" (by everyone but his mother and "the big guy").
- Out of Focus: With a bigger emphasis on Kara and Winn's work with the DEO and the introduction of Mon-El, James slowly fades out of the spot light, and would've ended in complete obscurity, had it not been for him taking the mantle of "Guardian." Even at that, there have been episodes where James gets into his Guardian suit, throws one punch or receives one, and then is never seen again the rest of the episode.
- Somewhat justified as Mehcad Brooks has informed the writers that if he gets offered the right script, he may end his contract and leave the show.
- Put on a Bus: He leaves National City as of Episode 4 of the fifth Season to help his hometown Calvintown rebuild and fight corruption.
- Race Lift:
- Practically Everything Lift. James is an older, taller, suave bald black man, whereas Jimmy's traditionally a Younger Than They Look, red-headed, short nerdy white man. Practically the universal reaction to fans to finding out he is Jimmy Olsen is "THAT'S JIMMY?!"
- A two-fer as James takes on the role of Guardian, normally played by white Jim Harper.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He quits CatCo at the start of Season 5, unwilling to put up with Andrea Rojas.
- Secret Keeper: Knows both Superman's and Supergirl's secret identities.
- Secret Secret-Keeper: Superman told James about his cousin and requested that he keep an eye on her when he moved to National City. It doesn't take long for him to come out with this to Kara.
- Sensory Overload: Suffers from this after getting powers.
- Shout-Out: Guardian shares a lot in common with Steel.
- Sidekick: Deconstructed in "Crossfire", when he moans that he's always been The Cape's sidekick, and he wants to be the hero now. He becomes one the very next episode.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Guardian refuses to kill, which is strongly hinted as the main reason the National City populace tolerates him.
- Took a Level in Badass:
- Technically Jimmy's always been a badass (it falters at times Depending on the Writer), but due to the fact that both he and Superman have had a decade of experience, James is a much more seasoned pro in conflict. In "Crossfire", he shows off some impressive Good Old Fisticuffs, while the next episode sees him become a vigilante.
- After getting shot by Eve, he gets healed by the Harun-El and gains powers as a result, before losing them again in the Season 4 finale.
- The Unmasking: He reveals his identity to the public in the Season 3 finale.
- Vigilante Man: As the Guardian, he takes care of problems that Kara and the DEO may not have the time for.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Works as this alongside Winslow when Supergirl is doing more public non-DEO acts of heroism.
- You Are in Command Now:
- Cat appoints him as the new head of CatCo in her sabbatical.
- Lena also allows him to oversee the running of CatCo while she takes a hands on approach in the bullpen.