This article was published in the “Reviews” section of The Villager on Oct. 27, 2014
The new fall series, “Gotham,” offers Batman and D.C. Comic fans insight about when Commissioner James Gordon first began as a newbie detective. Fans can also watch Bruce Wayne develop into the iconic superhero Batman and discover how some of Gotham City’s most dangerous villains got their start.
While the name “Gotham” is indicative of a show about Batman, the pilot episode delivered something closer to a cop drama. The pilot drew in 8.2 million viewers, according to TV by the Numbers. It will be interesting to see how many viewers return to watch in future weeks.
FOX promises a show that “follows one cop’s rise through a dangerously corrupt city teetering between good and evil, and chronicles the birth of one of the most popular superheroes of our time.” It seems, though, that “Gotham” will tell much more of Gordon’s story than Wayne’s. For Batman enthusiasts, this may prove disappointing.
The pilot episode began with the murder of Batman’s parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. Viewers were introduced to Detective James Gordon, Batman’s future ally in Gotham City, and Gordon’s promise to Bruce Wayne to solve his parents’ murder.
Gordon’s promise sets the stage for the connection that he will develop with Bruce. However, the majority of the pilot episode focused on Gordon’s introduction to the corruption existing within the Gotham police department.
Fellow detective Harvey Bullock partners with Gordon to investigate the Wayne murder. Their investigation leads them to an associate of gang boss Don Falcone, Fish Mooney, because the murder took place on Mooney’s territory.
Gordon learns of the hold Falcone and Mooney have on the city and the police department. The detective also meets one of Mooney’s minions, Oswald Cobblepot, who will become one of Batman’s future enemies, Penguin.
Following a tip from Mooney, Gordon and Bullock are led to the home of Mario Pepper, a notorious criminal with an extensive record. Pepper runs from Gordon and Bullock, and just as Pepper is about to shoot Gordon, Bullock kills Pepper. Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace is later found at Pepper’s home, and the evidence closes the murder investigation.
The next day, Cobblepot tells detectives that Mooney planted the necklace on Pepper. When they question Cobblepot’s willingness to reveal Mooney’s cover-up, Cobblepot suggests he hopes to push out Mooney and gain power for himself.
Falcone tells Gordon and Bullock to keep the truth hidden, letting Gotham citizens believe Pepper was the killer. Because the Gotham police department is controlled by Mooney and Falcone’s gang, they agree.
Mooney orders Gordon to kill Cobblepot because Cobblepot betrayed her confidence. In order to prove he will be part of the corruption, Gordon fakes the murder. Cobblepot is told to never return. Gordon might later regret his decision to let Cobblepot live, given Penguin’s role in the Batman comics.
So far, “Gotham” appears to be a cross between a cop drama and a supervillain show. This may lead viewers to question where the show will go from here and wonder if it will meet their expectations.
“Gotham” has promised to explore the origins of many supervillains: Catwoman, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Riddler. Yet, for now, the show seems to focus on Gordon’s internal struggle over the corruption within Gotham City.
Viewers can catch “Gotham” Mondays at 8 p.m. on FOX.