Before he was Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), he was a young detective partnered with the legendary policeman Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). Their first case together is the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, where Gordon first meets young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and Alfred (Sean Pertwee). Other Gotham characters set to appear include Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), and Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor).
Even the secondary characters are engaging in this series of stories penned by the writer of The Mentalist. This is Gotham (circa 2000-2005?) before the Batman begins to bring order to that city (presumably in 2014-15). A number of the characters from the comic are introduced in their early years with personalities, strengths and flaws that foreshadow what they will become in DC comics canon. The delivery is subtle, believable and the plots and characters are very nicely done.
The city–neon-washed, Chanderlesque, somewhat anachronistic–is itself also a character, and it turns what could be “Law & Order: Gotham” into something infinitely more layered and watchable. t the center of the cinematic “Gotham” is Det. Jim Gordon, the future police commissioner and FOB (Friend of Batman). Through a bit of clumsy but apparently necessary exposition, we learn he’s a war hero and that his father was a hotshot district attorney who was killed in a car crash when Gordon was a boy.
In this series, Gordon quickly proves himself a thorn in the side of both the political and the criminal establishment … and quickly realizes they are practically one and the same. As crime boss Carmine Falcone tells him late in the episode, “You can’t have organized crime without law and order.” And Gordon also becomes a mentor to the young Bruce Wayne, counseling him about the utility of fear: “Fear tells you where the edge is.” But we know Batman’s story; this is not so much about the rise of a hero as the fall of a city, and the moral compromises required for survival — and whether mere survival is worth fighting for.
Character to watch: Ben McKenzie as James Gordon.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the series.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?