With the news that Fox is fast-tracking “Gotham,” a drama based on the Batman-less adventures of a younger Jim Gordon, we thought we’d look at some reasons why Gotham’s top cop will be fascinating to watch–even without the Caped Crusader around.
He’s been there since the beginning
As much as we may grouse about a “Gotham” without Batman, Commissioner Gordon has been there since the very beginning, springing up in the first appearance of everyone’s favorite billionaire vigilante with “Detective Comics” #27. He’s already established in the very first panel as a member of the GCPD and one of the good guys, to boot. How strange and dangerous was that city before Batman showed up on the scene? And more importantly, what kind of cop would stick around and do everything in his power to keep it safe from the dirty cops and gangsters ruling it?
His son might be a psycho killer
This is a pretty new piece of backstory for Gordon, introduced in the New 52 continuity. Jim and Barbara’s son, James Jr., has been around for a while in the comics, but in recent years, over in Scott Snyder’s “The Black Mirror” storyline and onward, Gordon’s first child has received retcon making the young man responsible for at least one murder before being shipped off the Arkham for rehabilitation for his tendency to torture and kill animals.
And it kind of makes sense, in a gross way: he’s a child of Gotham, born just after Barbara and James move from Chicago, and it would be fascinating to watch how the city’s top cop deals with a brilliant criminal of his own making.
He’s got woman troubles
Jim Gordon’s a great cop, a pretty good father and a so-so husband. It’s the first thing on that list that makes him not so great at the last, sacrificing his mind, time, and energy on cleaning up Gotham, while leaving his marriage in shambles (first wife Barbara succumbs to alcoholism not too long after their move to the troubled city and kidnapping of their son, James). Later, he’s torn between his wife and fellow officer Sarah Essen, who he’ll one day marry (and not too long after that, their daughter, the other Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl).
This brings up an interesting question: will “Gotham”-era Jim Gordon be married? I could see Fox opting to go the single cop approach with Gordon, allowing them to opportunity to build his relationship with either Barbara or Sarah (or Barbara and later, Sarah) throughout the series.
He won’t put up with dirty cops
Sure, he might pal around with a leather-suit wearing vigilante, but other than that, Jim’s a pretty incorruptible cop. Frank Miller underlines this in “Batman: Year One,” showing how Jim refuses to go on the take along with the other rank-and-file officers of the GCPD. His tenacity and refusal to turn over for dirty cops and politicians is what got him transferred out of Chicago in the first place.
Do you see what happens to the one good cop character in shows like “The Shield?” Or “Breaking Bad?” Yeah, every week we’re going to have to watch Gordon contend with threats from both within the force as well as the criminal they’re trying to apprehend. And even clean cops might look at Gordon as a rat, fearful that their new commissioner is out to get them.
It’s hard to imagine the version of Jim Gordon being portrayed in “Gotham” will even have a daughter, but if she’s old enough, we might get to see the genesis of one of Gotham’s heroes. It’s easy to forget that Barbara wasn’t just inspired to fight crime by Batman, but by her father, a dedicated, tireless defender of law and order in the city. If she makes it into “Gotham” (and if she’s old enough to have an impact on the story), fans might get a chance to see how her father’s mission becomes Barbara’s.