TV

‘Gotham Central’: Premature Casting Call!

by Paul Montgomery

Yesterday we reported on Ed Brubaker’s latest comments with regard to a “Gotham Central” television series, a project long sought by fans, studio execs and the book’s creators. Despite all that interest and the heap of gauntlets tossed down by Disney and Marvel, the project has also been deferred for just as long thanks to Batman’s loftier exploits in Hollywood and Christopher Nolan’s desire to stay on message. With Nolan’s trilogy on the shelf and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” launching this evening, fervor for a potential DC procedural has crested higher than ever.

Though Zack Snyder’s fast-tracked “Superman vs. Batman” could put yet another damper on that “Gotham Central” green light, the hope of seeing Montoya, Allen, Sawyer and Driver on screen begs for speculation, especially in the afterglow of the Emmy Awards gala and the reminder that we bask in a golden age of television. The stars could yet align.


Sarah Shahi as Renee Montoya
Already a known quantity on the gun range, “Life” and “Person of Interest” star Sarah Shahi totes a wealth of on-screen experience as an investigator. She’s even played a Renee before (“Chicago Fire”). Consider all that one extended ride-along in preparation for the toughest beat this side of the Suicide Slums and what is likely the most human and punishing role on offer in the DC Universe.


Boris Kodjoas as Crispus Allen
As with Shahi, Kodjoas boasts a time-tested trigger finger. The Austrian-born actor recently reddened his ledger on NBC’s ill-fated but nonetheless steamy spy drama “Undercovers.” He’ll have to curb that easy and disarming smile to affect doomed Allen’s grim presence, but there are probably corrective devices for that.


Chris Bauer as Harvey Bullock
Bauer has trimmed down and achieved a Gillette spokesman polish in the decade since his role as that anxious, hot-headed schlump of a stevedore Frank Sobotka on HBO’s “The Wire.” Fortunately, Entenmann’s remains in business. A couple of lost weekends with some powdered delectables and Bauer could bring that three and a half inches of blue steel to the fore as Gotham’s savage, slovenly savior.


Treat Williams as Jim Gordon
An infrequent presence of the page, ousted Commissioner James Gordon likely warrants an expanded role on screen given his name recognition. Though Bryan Cranston’s definitive turn as the voice of a younger Gordon in the “Batman: Year One” animated feature begs for an encore, the “Breaking Bad” star likely has bigger projects on his docket. Silver and saintly Treat Williams would take the character in a different direction entirely as more of a paternal figure struggling to shepherd his troubled squad.


Ruta Gedmintas as Maggie Sawyer
Gedmintas proved her mettle as a former cop on the UK’s “Spooks,” and whether she keeps her accent or adapts, she’d make for a steely GCPD first shift commander. Though Gedmintas’ relative youth tends to align her more closely with her New 52 iteration, the actress so capably inhabits a world-weariness that those haunted eyes could convincingly have seen the worst both Metropolis and Gotham has to offer.


Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Josie Mac
Enlisting Kodjoas’ “Undercovers” co-star to play an additional detective to work the freak beat isn’t just package deal for value’s sake. Mbatha-Raw could handily traverse the fine line of Josephine’s hard edge and deep empathy. See, she’s already found her way into your head.


Galadriel Stineman as Stacy
“Ben 10’s” Galadriel Stineman offers youthful effervescence with a competence that could potentially transcend that of her grizzled elders. As for her capacity for nerdy earnestness, she’s named after an elf. She’s practically engineered to maintain that Bat Signal.


Sam Page as Marcus Driver
As the last of Gordon’s recruits, Driver dashes into Gotham Central still sopping behind the ears. As such, Joan Holloway’s ex, the doe-eyed Sam Page, reflects those oncoming headlights just right to depict Driver’s early vulnerability and a preppy desire to operate by the books. Of course, “Mad Men” viewers know that Page is capable of more than mere lamb to the slaughter innocence, and that a very driven demon bides its time.


Aaron Staton as Jim Corrigan
Whether you view “Mad Men’s” jovial Ken Cosgrove as a charming sprite or a duplicitous golden boy, Staton raised enough eyebrows as “L.A. Noire’s” damaged beat-cop-on-the-rise Cole Phelps to suggest the kind of range necessary to hoodwink the entire GCPD. Corrigan’s a bastard throughout, especially in the irksome late game when the Spectre comes knocking. Whether or not the show runners opt to go all the way down that route, the crooked crime scene investigator makes for an irresistible mole.


Zeljko Ivanek as Mr. Freeze
Ivanken pops up consistently in procedural dramas as both anemic executives and haunted victims. The role of Victor Fries presents an opportunity to combine both types while exploiting the actor’s desaturated physical appearance.


Jim Carter as The Penguin
A gentle, if persnickety soul on TV’s “Downton Abbey,” Jim Carter boasts plenty of hooligans in the cellar, having played some truly loathsome louts old Carson would hardly condone. That dissonance lends even more electricity to this potential match, especially given the tug of war between Cobblepot’s high society airs and carrion comfort morality.


James Badge Dale as Two-Face
Perhaps a case of stunt casting at this point in the rising star’s steep trajectory, but Badge Dale unhinged himself to such a delicious degree as Eric Savin in “Iron Man 3,” his sociopathy demands closer observation. Of course, Two-Face requires more than cold menace. There are two sides to this coin. With comparatively more heroic roles in “Rubicon” and “The Pacific,” the actor embodied tremendous pain and wistful hope. He’s not just the monster “Gotham Central” needs, but a Harvey Dent we can believe in.

Who would you like to see on a “Gotham Central” series? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!