According to Joe, Francine had a severe drug addiction which caused her to overdose several times, despite his attempts to help her with rehab. The last incident occurred when Joe was a beat cop and received a call from a child saying her mother had passed out. The caller turned out to be his daughter; Joe and his partner came home to find Francine unconscious on the couch after a pill overdose and a six-year-old Iris next to an open flame on the stove, as Francine had left the oven on. Luckily, Francine and Iris were both saved. Francine went into rehab again, but was horrified that her addiction put her daughter in danger. She left her family and Central City a couple of days later, considering it to be the best choice for Joe and Iris. Instead of telling Iris the truth, Joe made up a lie about how her mother was a good person who had tragically died.
Returning to Central City
Nearly two decades later, Francine turns up at the police department and pleads to see her daughter after Joe refused to return her calls. She tells Joe that she is clean now and wants to make things right.
Later that evening, Francine and Joe talk at a bar where Francine insists that Iris needs her mother after losing the love of her life. Joe instead hands Francine an envelope with cash and tells her that she has 48 hours to leave Central City.
After talking with his foster son Barry on the matter Joe eventually told Iris the truth about Francine. Iris decided she wanted to meet her mother and they met up with her on CC Jitters. Seeing her daughter for the first time in two decades Francine told Iris that she was proud of her. However her joy fell felt short when Iris told her she didn't want anything to do with her.
Afterwards Francine told Joe the real reason she came was that she was dying from a disease known as the MacGregor's Syndrome and may not live to see the end of the year. Joe relayed this information to Iris, who once again met with Francine, albeit without her father. There, Iris confronted her mother, telling her that, as an investigative reporter, she is well-equipped to find out the truth, and informing her that she is aware of the child Francine gave birth to eight months after she left. Iris angrily asked her mother if she has a brother and if Joe is the father before telling Francine to stay away from her family.
The disease eventually became so severe that Francine had to be hospitalized. While in the hospital she was visited by Joe, who had just found out about the existence of Wally. Joe took Iris to visit her and gave the two some time alone. Iris told Francine she did not hate her anymore and only wished that she and Wally would have re-entered her and Joe's lives sooner, forgiving her before tearfully leaving the room. Iris later convinced Wally to go say goodbye to his mother and he asked her to go with him. Francine passed away soon after.
Around a year after Francine's death, Savitar used Francine's form to trick Wally West into taking his place in the Speed Force. After Wally was trapped in the Speed Force, he was forced to relive the worst moment of his life repeatedly; namely, the sight of his mother's death, which nearly emotionally broke him apart.
Following the creation of the alternate timeline Flashpoint by Barry Allen and reversal by Eobard Thawne, Joe and Iris's history with Francine was altered, with Iris remaining angry at her father for keeping the news of Francine a secret from her, rather than forgiving him as she did in the original timeline. However, Iris and Joe were able to make amends once Barry told Team Flash of Flashpoint and its consequences.
Francine was implied to be a drug addict. Sometime after she gave birth to Wally, this made Francine clean up her act for the better.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, the matriarch of the West family was Nadine West. However, Nadine was only the adoptive mother of Iris, with her biological mother being Fran Russell.
- Francine's name seems to be a combination of the two.
- Francine was revealed to have been dying of an illness known as MacGregor's Syndrome. This illness was originally introduced in the film Batman & Robin. Both Batman's butler Alfred Pennyworth, and Mr. Freeze's wife, Nora were diagnosed with the illness in different stages. Unlike in The Flash, however, it was never stated to be associated with past drug use.
- In a deleted scene from "", Joe stated that Iris got her talent in writing from Francine.