- "One minute I'm publishing this book on how long-term potentiation initiates the creation of a slow-moving protein synthesis, and the next, there's an agent trying to make me the next Dr. Oz."
- —Carter Bowen[src]
Carter Bowen was raised in an affluent family and went to high school with Oliver Queen, Laurel Lance, and Tommy Merlyn. He was a national chess champion and captained the debate team. In adulthood, Carter graduated from Harvard University and eventually became a neurosurgeon. Both Oliver and his sister, Thea, felt a bit of resentment towards him due to their mother Moira Queen's open admiration of Carter as "the perfect son" and manner of holding him up as an example.
In late 2012, Carter and his mother, Janice, met with the Queen family for Sunday brunch. As they ate, Carter talked about the book he recently wrote, mentioning that there was a "bidding war" over the rights to Oliver's life story following his recent rescue from an island. Carter also proudly revealed he is on track to getting his own TV show, becoming "the next Dr. Oz".
A couple nights later, Carter attended a benefit gala held for Laurel's employer, CNRI. There, Carter approached Tommy and Laurel, immediately striking up a conversation with the latter about her work at CNRI and his intentions to open a health clinic in The Glades. The pair had some drinks together and shared a dance, which Carter hoped would go further. However, Laurel only danced with him as thanks for his donation to CNRI, as she felt Carter to be too much of a "gigantic ass" for her liking.