'Supergirl' Introduces Superman Villains Mercy Graves and Otis on Sunday Night's Episode

Supergirl introduces two new Superman villains in the season four premiere episode, "American Alien" Sunday night — Mercy Graves (Rhona Mitra) and her brother Otis Graves (Robert Baker).

While Lex Luthor remains in prison in Supergirl (and has yet to be seen in the flesh on the show), his bodyguard Mercy heads to National City to make a name for herself. She decides to become the new face of the "human first" movement, which hopes to clean National City of its alien population. That was originally the job of Cadmus, but Lex's sister Lena (Katie McGrath) is now helping out Supergirl and the D.E.O.

supergirl mercy otis the cw
(Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW)

Mercy's brother Otis, played by Grey's Anatomy's Baker, is joining her in the mission. Otis is not as intelligent as Mercy, but he does have an uncanny ability to find aliens among humans.

Mercy is a long-running character in the Superman universe. She made her debut as Lex's driver in Superman: The Animated Series in 1996 and became a character in the DC comic universe a short time later. She was played by Tao Okamoto in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

As for Otis, his first name is a reference to Ned Beatty's character in 1978's Superman: The Movie. While that character was played for laughs, it does not look like the same can be said for the Supergirl version.

Otis is also the newest Superman: The Movie reference in the series. The show also has its own Eve Teschmacher, who was recast as a secretary at CatCo, the media conglomerate where Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) work.

Aside from the new villains, Supergirl will also meet a new hero in the premiere. Nicole Maines will make her debut as Nia Nal/Dreamer, the first transgender superhero in a TV show. Nia Nal has been around since 1964, as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but the Dreamer identity was not introduced until 1996. Nal is introduced as a young transgender woman who joins CatCo's reporting team.

Supergirl will also get another nemesis this season when Agent Liberty (Sam Witwer) shows up. Like Mercy, he is an anti-alien zealot who leads a human-first hate group called the Children of Liberty. The character was created in 1991 and is a former CIA agent who created his own paramilitary group. Eventually, he joined Superman and the Justice League to help out, which hopefully happens to the TV-version.

"This season [the writers] really want to thematically tackle more topical stories that maybe mirror what's going on with the state of the world and our country," star Melissa Benoist recently told Deadline. "There's a lot of anti-alien sentiment at the beginning of Season 4 that Supergirl is going to have to grapple with. I think their main premise is that fear itself is a villain, and can hope conquer it? Supergirl stands for hope, so we'll see. I think fear is her biggest opponent yet because it's more of a wildfire-type emotion."

The CW moved Supergirl to Sundays at 8 p.m. ET for its fourth season.

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Photo credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW