NYCC: Spotlight on Fox’s hit show “Gotham”

Baby Faced Gordon, the last honest man in Gotham.

Baby Faced Gordon, the last honest man in Gotham.

Batman without Batman wasn’t the most well-received pitch; most comic book fans were scratching their head about Gotham, Fox’s foray into the superhero craze currently taking over the entertainment world. In the heated competition of superhero versus superhero, Marvel versus D.C., and television versus movies, nothing is being held back from development. So when dipping into the Batworld, why choose to tell the story before Batman existed?

Danny Cannon, Gotham’s Executive Producer, was pitched an idea about, “Going back in time. To the only honest cop in Gotham.” That man is, of course, Jim Gordon. War hero and son of an idolized DA, Jim comes to Gotham with a mind to be heroic and genuine, to be the truth in the middle of a town awash in a war for its very soul. With the murders of Tom and Martha Wayne – wealthy do-gooders – Jim finds himself connecting with the dead couple’s only child, the orphaned boy Bruce Wayne. His promise to the boy, to find the murderer of his parents, sweeps Jim Gordon into a dark world he might not be able to break free of.

Ben McKenzie has assumed the lead role in Gotham – Jim Gordon, honest and earnest to a fault, idealistic despite time spent on the front lines of war, determined to come to a city in need of help and do just that.

Best laid plans aside, Jim’s struggle to remain true to himself is a journey that Ben is eager to show. He becomes something of a mentor to young Bruce Wayne, even as he attempts to fix the city so eventually someone like Batman won’t need to exist.

Juicy!

Ben was quite excited about his NYCC panel. He’s anxious to convince the fans why what they’re doing is worth watching. And that they are coming from the same place of love as the devoted Batfans out there.

Robin Lord Taylor's Penguin is a riveting creation, stealing scenes he's not even in.

Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin is a riveting creation, stealing scenes he’s not even in.

As Jim Gordon and his surly partner Harvey (Donal Logue) – who is firmly of the belief that the city is a toilet and not worth saving – traverse the back alleys of Gotham, they run into folks that Batfans will recognize from the comic world. Oswald Cobblepot (breakout Robin Lord Taylor) is the lackey of power hungry Fish Mooney (the luminous Jada Pinkett Smith). When circumstances throw Jim and Harvey into the underbelly of Gotham, Oswald – nicknamed Penguin because of his awkward gait – becomes a stone around Gordon’s neck that might lead him astray from being the last honest man in Gotham.

Robin Lord Taylor didn’t need to do research for his role as the infamous Penguin – he had past performances memorized as a fan! Creating his own version of Penguin, a man created from his own madness and others’ bullying, is something he’s embraced fully. From his voices to his mannerisms to his walk, Robin Lord Taylor is using every second of his screen time to imprint his Penguin into the minds of fans. (And doing an amazing job!)

From "Sons of Anarchy" to "Gotham" - Donal Logue moves seamlessly through mediums and characters.

From Sons of Anarchy to Gotham – Donal Logue moves seamlessly through mediums and characters.

Someone once told Donal Logue (Harvey) to “just act the f’ing scene” when early in his career he was trying to find the difference between film and stage. He took that advice to heart, which is why he’s quite comfortable playing comic relief and serious actor as the jaded homicide detective Harvey – stuck with do-gooder Jim Gordon. In some flashbacks, we discovered that once Harvey was much like Jim. Idealistic, heroic, and suffering from White Knight syndrome. Not surprising he’s so irritated by Jim’s insistence on honesty – he knows what reality does to nice guys in this city.

People in Gotham are generally corrupt, so Donal sees degrees of this in all the characters, as well the reality of having to make deals with bad people in order to get justice or save people. That shaded morality is very much the depth he brings to Harvey, a man who doesn’t want to care but just might…

As Jim fights for his own soul out on the streets, he thinks he has a safe haven at home with future bride Barbara (Erin Richards). But she has secrets of her own, and Jim might not be the only person in the household trying to stay on the straight and narrow.

As the iconic Alfred, Sean Pertwee brings a different “flavor” to the character. An ex-military man like Jim Gordon, Alfred took over his father’s position with the Wayne Family and now finds himself as the guardian to a troubled young boy whose parents are dead. As Bruce circles into a darker and darker place – and Alfred disapproves of Jim Gordon’s handling of the boy’s investigative yearnings – it becomes a fight over the young boy’s soul, between Alfred and Jim Gordon. Quite a new spin on an old relationship but one that works in Gotham.

Check out Gotham on Fox, Monday nights at 8pm (EST)!