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For the Arrow episode in which the group appears, see "Suicide Squad".
For other uses of Ghost, see Ghost (disambiguation).

"Give me a break, this ain't no task force. Let's call it like it is. Welcome to the Suicide Squad."
Floyd Lawton[src]

The Ghost Initiative,[1] formerly known as Task Force X, and nicknamed the Suicide Squad by Floyd Lawton,[2] is an off-the-books elite government strike force consisting of incarcerated criminals used when government agents weren't suitable for political reasons. Their sole purpose is to undertake high-risk missions for A.R.G.U.S. in exchange for parole, work release or reduced prison sentences.

The Ghost Initiative program has been terminated.


To ensure their cooperation, each member of the team is implanted with a micro-bomb in their spinal vertebrae, which will be detonated if they demonstrate insubordination, betrayal, etc. However, if members prove themselves to be loyal, they will be given degrees of freedom. One example is Carrie Cutter/Cupid, who roamed A.R.G.U.S. freely in exchange for her work.

Task Force X is shown to be fairly successful in rehabilitating criminals and even treating mentally unstable individuals, having turned Floyd Lawton/Deadshot and Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger into loyal comrades. Furthermore, Carrie Cutter's behavior became much more stable, even though she retained her obsession with the Arrow or whichever man would save her life, but her impulse control was much better refrained.



The team was first put together by A.R.G.U.S. director Amanda Waller, consisting of criminals who've been incarcerated.[3]

Lyla Michaels was in charge of a team which included Digger Harkness, but the mission went wrong. Waller ordered Lyla to terminate the team, which she did, and A.R.G.U.S. came to believe all its members were dead. Unbeknownst to them, however, Harkness' microbomb malfunctioned and didn't kill him. He subsequently escaped and became a mercenary.[4]

Some time after their defeats by The Arrow, Floyd Lawton/Deadshot, Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger, and Mark Scheffer/Shrapnel were drafted by Waller to join the task force. Harley Quinn, Raven, and Torque were also recruited at some point.[5]

Nerve agent and bombing[]

Waller notified John Diggle and Lyla Michaels of a nerve agent being held by Gholem Qadir. She introduced them to the team made up of Shrapnel, Deadshot, and Tiger, and they proceeded to execute a plan to appropriate the nerve chemical from Qadir. During a mission meant as an attempt to gain Qadir's trust, Shrapnel was killed while attempting to escape.

A while after, John and Lyla attended a party held by Qadir. They were able to find the nerve agent, but it was much bigger than they had expected. They evacuated the area above where the nerve agent was being held and Turner killed Qadir.

Diggle and Lyla are introduced to the Suicide Squad

Diggle and Lyla are introduced to the Suicide Squad.

In an attempt to destroy the nerve agent, Waller sent a drone directed towards the mansion. However, it was discovered that the drone was instead coded to the GPS in Deadshot's explosive chip. While the squad was escaping, Lyla was able to cut out the chip, saving them from imminent explosion. After the prisoners were returned later, Waller suggested that they would put the chips in their spines from then on, to ensure they could not be removed again.[2]

Weeks following, Amanda Waller ordered a drone strike on Starling City, prompting John and Lyla to let the squad (except for Quinn and Turner) out of their cells in order to threaten Waller.[5]

Work in Kahndaq against Onslaught[]

This section is considered non-canon, due to the fact that it occurred in Arrow: Season 2.5.
Deadshot, Bronze Tiger and Ravan Nassar

Deadshot, Bronze Tiger and Ravan Nassar.

Amanda Waller sent Task Force X to put an end to Onslaught and their leader Khem-Adam in Kahndaq. Lyla Michaels was pregnant, so John Diggle went in her place and lead the team which consisted of Deadshot and Bronze Tiger. Lyla Michaels was sent by Waller to recruit Ravan Nassar into the squad. Ravan joined the team. Task Force X fought Khem-Adam and his forces and saved the hostages, Bronze Tiger fought Khem-Adam but was killed in the fight. Khem-Adam escaped and the squad left to bury Ben Turner in America.[6][7]

Taking advantage of King Shark[]

This section is considered non-canon, due to the fact that it occurred in The Flash: Season Zero​​​.

Digger Harkness, Floyd Lawton and Carrie Cutter

Digger Harkness, Floyd Lawton and Carrie Cutter.

The Suicide Squad, consisting of Cupid, Captain Boomerang and Floyd Lawton, surveyed King Shark from destroying an aquarium. King Shark was later trapped in by the Suicide Squad. Captain Boomerang threw a boomerang, but King Shark simply bit through it. Deadshot shot him, knocking him over, followed by Cupid shooting a trick arrow, which expanded in to a net, trapping him.[8][9]

Work in the Republic of Kasnia[]

After John and Lyla Diggle were married again, Deadshot met them at their wedding and told them that they had another mission. Back at A.R.G.U.S. headquarters, Waller briefed them on the meeting - save senator Joseph Cray, who has been taken hostage in the Republic of Kasnia. John, Lyla, Deadshot, and new member Cupid landed in Kasnia and staked out the hospital the insurgents were operating from. Deadshot saved Cupid from being shot by the senator, who had orchestrated the whole operation, and she fell in love with him. The Squad then noticed that the hospital had been rigged with explosives and made a plan. That evening, the Squad took down most of the terrorists, and got the hostages and themselves out, with Deadshot providing cover fire from the hospital's roof. However, Lawton sacrificed himself and stayed behind to allow John and Lyla to get back to their daughter, dying in the hospital's explosion.[10]


During an attack by Shadowspire, Waller was killed and Lyla then became the new director of A.R.G.U.S, reforming the agency;[11] one of her objectives included the disbandment of Task Force X, although she held on to King Shark[12] to use as a sort of guard dog.[13]


Lyla later reactivated the team, now referred to as the "Ghost Initiative", starting with Ricardo Diaz.[14] A short time later, Chien Na Wei and Joe Wilson were also recruited into the group, as well as the returning Cupid.[1]

Ultimately, Diaz decided to turn against the team during a mission to catch Dante. After being subdued, he was sent back to Slabside Maximum Security Prison, and the program was suspended.[15] Diaz was later murdered[15] by Emiko Adachi.

Known members[]

Former members[]



Season 2

Season 3

Season 7

The Flash[]

Season 3[]


Arrow: Season 2.5[]

The Flash: Season Zero[]


Promotional images[]


Season 2[]

Behind the scenes[]

  • In DC comics, Task Force X, better known as the Suicide Squad, is an elite government strike force called upon when more traditional government agents are unfeasible. Members are deemed expendable and as a result are sent on life-threatening missions. There have been several versions of the team, with the version appearing in Arrow being based on a team of incarcerated super-villains serving under Amanda Waller in exchange for reduced prison sentences.