Gotham starts with a dark night in a big city

"Gotham" courtesy of Fox

“Gotham” courtesy of Fox

The much anticipated Fox TV series Gotham starts with a dark night in a big city. But there’s no sign of Batman anywhere.

Although Batman in DC Comics and “The Dark Knight” movie franchise inspired this prequel story, Gotham is about the early days of Commissioner Gordon, when he was just a cop on the beat in a dangerously corrupt city. In the first episode of the epic new series, a child watches his parents gunned down in an alley, and Detective Gordon (Ben McKenzie) makes a vow to find the killers who made the little boy, Bruce Wayne, an orphan.

From executive producer/writer Bruno Heller (The Mentalist, Rome) the must-see Monday night show has an impressive cast. In addition to Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, there’s Donal Logue as his semi-corrupt partner Harvey Bullock, Jada Pinkett Smith as badgirl Fish Mooney, little David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, and Sean Pertwee as his loyal butler Alfred.

Also giving a hint at the villains to come and other denizens of Gotham are Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Sarah Essen, Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma/the future Riddler, Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya, Andrew Stewart Jones as Crispus Allen, John Doman as Carmine Falcone, and Richard Kind guest stars as Mayor Aubrey James.

“It’s not a whole new mythology,” says executive producer Bruno Heller. “Mythology in the true sense of the word is precisely when so many stories are created that none of them can be consonant with each other. You name any mythological hero, and there are contradictions in the story. That’s exactly when you’ve reached the level of a genuine myth, that many stories can be told. What we won’t do is break the kind of canonical iron truths of the Batman story. But we will play with issues of chronology and who was there when and how—always in a fun way, not in a disrespectful way.”

McKenzie (from Southland and The O.C.) explains, “The tradition of dramatic Greek tragedy is based on a notion of often the Fates appear in the first act and they tell you exactly what’s going to happen at the end, and people still watch. It’s it how you get there. That’s the interesting journey. And in a city that’s ultimately going to fall into total disrepair and sort of near anarchy and needs a vigilant protector to save it, is a fascinating setting for a TV series.”

Ben McKenzie is perfect in the role of the heroic cop, who doesn’t need a cape to be a crimefighter crusader. People are already invested in the tales to be told in Gotham, airing Monday nights on Fox. #

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.