Gotham has been on for a couple months now and seemingly doing pretty dang well. The cop drama with a twist resonates with a lot of viewers. Since the show has such a large scope and so many characters, we thought we'd spend the next few weeks taking a look at each character, how they play into the show and whether or not they actually work on the small screen.
Like many folks that live their whole lives in New York City or Chicago, when you are born into a bustling metropolis, like Gotham, it's a place you're going to set down your roots and stay in you're whole life, so it makes sense to see so many beloved Batman characters as younger versions of themselves in this show.
This week, we're taking a look at the Gotham Central Police Force. Some of them are working for the greater good, some of them for themselves, and quite a few of them are working for a payout from an outside source.
Ben McKenzie plays the lead role of a young James Gordon, the man who eventually becomes commissioner of the GCPD and the confidant of Batman. Also, he gets to have a sweet mustache. While this version of Gordon may not have the soup-strainer he's known for, Gordon does have the largest and most dominant presence in the series.
What's Working: McKenzie does a fantastic job in this series. Gordon's fish-out-of-water journey has been fantastic to watch as he tries to grasp what Gotham is all about. It's a city like none-other and stubborn Gordon is desperate to change it.
What's Not: At times, the character can fall a little flat, and it feels like he doesn't progress much, as a character throughout this series. This is a feeling I've gotten a little later in this first season more than anything else though.
Conclusion: Gordon is a necessity to the series, so you need a top notch actor to fill his shoes. McKenzie does what needs to be done and the character is written pretty well. As far as the show goes, this is one of the few characters that isn't problematic with fans.
James Gordon's partner-in-crime (and law) is a bit of a drinker, hard-headed, confrontational, and has a moral compass that is a bit skewed compared to Gordon. Harvey Bullock, played by Donal Louge, pretty much stays the same type of guy through the years and into the comics, with his hands dipping into the pot of corruption on occasion.
What's Working: Logue's portrayal of Bullock is over-the-top and at times, over-dramatic, but he's a joy to watch on the screen. He brings a more humorous element to the show, and overall, is one of the shining lights of each episode.
What's Not: He's supposed to be Gordon's partner, but Bullock seems to be missing more than anything in many episodes. Thus, a relationship and rapport with his partner isn't developing is as much a believable way as it should be.
Conclusion: Bullock is the "ying" to Gordon's "yang." He's interesting and gives the viewer a look at how the old corrupt GCPD can make a change for the better. Believe it or not, he's the embodiment of hope for the series.
Captain Sarah Essen
Spoiler alert! In the comics, Sarah Essen is James Gordon's second wife who died by the Joker's hand during the No Man's Land arc, back in 2000. This Sarah Essen, played by Zabryna Guevara, doesn't seem to have much of an interest in Gordon, yet. She's the captain of the GCPD and one of the first officers to be enlightened to the idea that corruption does't have to run rampant.
What's Working: Watching her realize that things can change in Gotham is pretty cool. It takes some time, but over the course of the season, thus far, we've seen some great changes in the character, even though she's more support than anything else.
What's Not: Earlier on, Essen felt like nothing more than a one dimensional roadblock for Gordon. She wasn't very dynamic, but the character is getting better and better as time go on.
Conclusion: She started out as a frustrating character that has opened up and blossomed into some great support for Gordon and Bullock.
Crispus Allen & Renee Montoya
Why do two characters share the same section? Because they're partners! Crispus Allen, played by Andrew Stewart-Jones, and Renee Montoya, played by Victoria Cartagena are very different from their comic book counter-parts. In the pre-52 age, Crispus Allen became the Spectre, essentially the spirit of vengeance, and Renee Montoya was The Question, which is a real long story. On Gotham, they are a skeptical group of cops from the Major Crimes Unit who are doing their best to get Gotham clean.
What's Working: Seeing them finally team up with Bullock and Gordon was awesome and something worth waiting for. They are actually an important part of the GCPD.
What's Not: Crispus Allen is flat and comes off as a sidekick who more or less is there to parrot Montoya. He's incredibly underwritten. Montoya feels forced into Gordon's life at too many turns. Everyone's on the same side, but Allen and Montoya feel meddlesome more than anything else. With two characters that had major turning points in their comic careers, you'd expect them to be a bit less flat.
Conclusion: They are weakest link, as far as the cops go, on the show. There's tons of potential with these characters, but it falls a bit flat thus far in the series.
Easily the most intentionally awkward character on Gotham, Edward Nygma, played by Cory Michael Smith, is the forensic scientist for Gotham PD who has a knack for telling annoying riddles that no one wants to hear. In the New 52 comic book world, Nygma became the Riddler and was responsible for the Zero Year blackout in the current BATMAN series. Here, however, we get the early working of what will become an iconic Batman villain.
What's Working: While it took a while for this character to catch on (see below), he's actually become a great supporting character to the show. We get to see how the forensic side of the GCPD operated and Nygma has become this lovable oaf to viewers, even though the rest of the cast treats him like dirt. Don't worry, he's a still a little bit creepy to deserve a small part of that treatment.
What's Not: Easily, this one of the roughest starts for any supporting character. The riddles and even Nygma's name were shoved down the viewers throat to the point of exhaustion. Any time Nygma showed up on screen during the first few episodes, fans collectively groaned.
Conclusion: What started out as a ridiculous idea became one of the most interesting supporting characters of the show. He's awkward and weird, but there's something about him that's just so intriguing.
Next week, we are going to be getting our hands dirty with corruption and murder while talking about the crime syndicate of Gotham. Get your best crime suit on! What do you folks think about this group of characters? What's working for you and what's not?