The Faces of FOX's Gotham: GCPD

Avatar image for inferiorego
Posted by inferiorego (25734 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

James Gordon

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

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.

Harvey Bullock

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

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

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

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

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

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.

Edward Nygma

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

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?

Staff
Avatar image for tearofthedragon
#1 Posted by TearoftheDragon (420 posts) - - Show Bio

Good review, I think I agree with every single point you made.

Avatar image for jonny_anonymous
#2 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (45774 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Nygma, I hope the show tells how he goes from a funny kinda oafish dude to this really dark saw style criminal.

Avatar image for judasnixon
#3 Posted by judasnixon (12663 posts) - - Show Bio

Harvey Bullock is by far the best part of the show......

Avatar image for artisticneedham
#5 Edited by ArtisticNeedham (2730 posts) - - Show Bio

I stopped watching a while ago so I don't know if things improved with Montoya. But because I liked her in the animated series, and the comics, I was hoping for more and what it felt like was this character who was always butting in telling Barbara "Gordon is a dirty cop, you deserve better... like me. I miss you bad baby." "Gordon is a jerk, does he know you were a lesbian and I want you back?" It just felt like they were forcing her character, always playing up that she is a lesbian who used to date Gordon's fiance and doesn't like Gordon at all. But mostly she doesn't like him because she wants his fiance back. It was as if they were trying to force drama that wasn't there.

Maybe I was wrong, I stopped watching, but at first I thought this was going to show how Gordon shows up and everyone hates him for one reason or another. Bullock just wants to slide under the radar and not die, Montoya things he is dirty, etc. But over time they grow to respect him and in the future they are is top two cops in cleaning up the GCPD. But I just am not sure that is what is happening.

Avatar image for the_mighty_monarch
#6 Edited by The Mighty Monarch (3743 posts) - - Show Bio

*Because they're partners.

Avatar image for awesomeperson
#7 Posted by AwesomePerson (2767 posts) - - Show Bio

I just feel that Montoya is there to just pose as a challenge/roadblock in the Barbara/Gordon relationship

Avatar image for bigl
#8 Posted by BigL (622 posts) - - Show Bio

Bullock is the best part of the show for me, Logue does a great job

Avatar image for inferiorego
#9 Posted by inferiorego (25734 posts) - - Show Bio

*Because they're partners.

oh god... what.... have... i ..... done?!!!!!!

Staff
Avatar image for the_impersonator
#10 Posted by The Impersonator (8477 posts) - - Show Bio

Harvey Bullock is supposed to be young similar to Gordon. He seems a bit older.

Avatar image for syncig
#11 Posted by SynCig (1105 posts) - - Show Bio

While I agree that Nygma has improved, I still don't like him. His name is still dropped so frequently that he should put a chain on it like those wallets. Also, Montoya has been a MAJOR letdown on the show. When Allen and Montoya first showed up, I was excited because they are both cool characters, especially Montoya. Then with each passing moment I realized that Allen was a non-character and Montoya is insufferable. She ranks as one of my least favorite aspects of the show. Only two characters I like less are Barbara and Selena. It is unfortunate because Montoya could be a very compelling support character but instead she is simply used to add drama to Gordon's life.

To speak some positives, Bullock and Gordon have overall been really good. Bullock and Penguin are the stars of the show to me. Gordon definitely comes off a little too flat and emotionless at times but for the most part I have been enjoying his portrayal. This show is super hard for me to pin down. On the one hand, we have greatness waiting to break out and on the other we have some of the worst written characters on television. I hope the show finds a consistent footing because this is the closest I'll get to a Gotham Central show probably ever.

Avatar image for artisticneedham
#12 Posted by ArtisticNeedham (2730 posts) - - Show Bio

I would have liked Montoya to start as an enemy of Gordon because she thought he was dirty but quickly became a secret partner in his secret plans involving the Wayne Murders and cleaning up GCPD... maybe they could still do that.

Avatar image for amazing_webhead
#15 Posted by amazing_webhead (9820 posts) - - Show Bio

Also, why is he already "Edward Nigma"? In the comics, they had the actually believable explanation that he was "Eddie Nashton", but changed it when he became the Riddler.

Online
Avatar image for mickeymayhew
#16 Posted by mickeymayhew (426 posts) - - Show Bio

the Riddler can't do any wrong as far as I'm concerned - fave villain from since childhood - and loving his little flirtation/obsession with Cristin Cringle

Avatar image for harryvine
#17 Edited by Harryvine (80 posts) - - Show Bio

Another great article BTW

-I love when Gordon fights on the show. More of Gordon overcoming 3 and 4 guys at a time. I always thought Gordon was the epitome of a hero without a costume and we're headed in that direction. My only complaint is he does a sorta constipated face too often.

-When Harvey took down the brainwashing therapist I knew the writers got him. He has the show's only good one-liners. Can he kick some butt too? He's supposed to be ex-golden gloves who thinks he can take Batman...

-Everybody loves sexy lesbians so there's no confusion why Montoya's sexuality is front and center. Crispus Allen becomes the spirit of vengeance in pursuit of relevance once the show returns.

-The only guy on the show they completely dropped the ball on is Nygma. Nygma is quirky but the characters treat him like he's walking AIDS. He's weird but not on the bring of becoming a supervillain weird. I envision a board room filled with beautiful stupid people recalling people they hated in HS while writing Nygma. Smart people always come off as weird because they think instead of flail through life.

-Sarah Essen? She's already softened her stance on him and regrets her actions during the Zsasz thing. Bow chica wow wow....It's on!

-No Fish? Okay I like Fish. She's an over the top villain with Grandiose delusions. I'm from NJ. She's can see 2 steps ahead but not 3 and that makes her a perfect mobster.

Avatar image for drf8
#18 Posted by DrF8 (3309 posts) - - Show Bio

I gotta start watching this serie

Avatar image for worldsaway
#19 Posted by WorldsAway (2 posts) - - Show Bio

"Gordon is a jerk, does he know you were a lesbian and I want you back?"

You don't just stop being a lesbian. You're thinking of bisexual.

Avatar image for artisticneedham
#20 Edited by ArtisticNeedham (2730 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes I was.

Avatar image for numbuh1nerd
#21 Posted by Numbuh1Nerd (90 posts) - - Show Bio

Riddler has not gotten better. He's still some cheap Sheldon Cooper shoehorned into a show built entirely on unappealing easter eggs.

Online

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.