On next week’s Supergirl, we’re going to get our first introduction to Detective Maggie Sawyer. We don’t know much about how she’s going to play into Supergirl as it exists right now, but the character comes from the comics, so we have something to go on when it comes to figuring out how she fits.
When Maggie Sawyer first appeared in the Superman comics in 1987, she was the captain of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit and member of the Science Police, a division charged with dealing with meta-humans from a law enforcement perspective. The Maggie Sawyer we know is also something of a hurdle and irritant for the Man of Steel, frequently at odds with him in her position within the force — at least until Superman saved her life. After that, the two went on to form a pretty decent working relationship.
Sawyer’s held a number of different jobs with the police force in Metropolis and Gotham, but she’s always closely involved with the law enforcement side of the super-heroic happenings in her current city, assisting either Batman or Superman (or Kate Kane’s Batwoman in Bombshells).
But Supergirl’s Maggie Sawyer, played by Floriana Lima, isn’t with Metropolis or Gotham City PD, and she’s not lending a hand to Superman, Batman, or Batwoman.
She’s a detective with National City PD who’s trained to deal with meta-human matters. We’re going to meet Sawyer for the first time when she teams up with Alex Danvers and the DEO to protect the President following an attempt on her life that’s likely related to her stance on the issue of alien vs. human rights.
Why, exactly, is Sawyer being pulled into the effort to protect the President? And why this is the first time we’re seeing her? These will likely be addressed come Monday night, but it’s a good bet the vast majority of Maggie Sawyer’s history as we know it from the comic books is going to be changed and revised to fit the character we’re going to meet in Supergirl.
That said, even though Maggie’s location and official job description are going to change in Supergirl, the biggest and most important aspects that make up the core of the character will likely stay the same. Maggie Sawyer is famous for being tough and unapologetic. She’s good at her job and driven by her desire to uphold the law and protect the people she serves.
Maggie Sawyer is also an out lesbian in the comics, and that’s not changing in Supergirl. Sawyer will be the second queer woman that’s a part of the current DC TV universe, joining Sara Lance, who appeared on Arrow before she was killed and subsequently resurrected on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Whether or not she’s going to have some kind of ongoing involvement with the DEO or how she might factor into Supergirl’s story is largely unknown, but from what we’ve seen, it looks like Sawyer’s having a damn good time fighting alongside Alex and Kara.
There are a number of new characters joining Supergirl this season, and in order for the show to keep up the encouraging work, it needs to be sure it’s using its characters well. Superman, Lena Luthor, and Maggie Sawyer are all great additions, but if underused, it’ll be hard for fans to find much meaning in them.
Supergirl’s already proving it’s capable of doing a much better job of using its characters appropriately this season in comparison to last, starting with Winn’s move to the DEO. We can only hope with the introduction of Maggie Sawyer, that trend continues and she’s allowed to take an impactful and fully realized role on the show.
Supergirl airs on Mondays on the CW at 8 p.m. ET.