Like any serious professional middle aged man, I’m a big fan of Batman, but I was skeptical about Fox’s new show Gotham. A Batman show without Batman, set in a crime riddled, corrupt city. It sounds like New York City in the 1970’s. In fact, the show sounds like Serpico, minus the villain origin stories. Anyone expecting superhero antics might be disappointed, at least based on the pilot episode that I watched.
However, knowing all of that going in, I was not disappointed. Anyone familiar with Batman can guess the broad outlines of the pilot. New Detective James Gordon finds himself investigating the murders of noted city philanthropists and multimillionaires Thomas and Martha Wayne. The crime, an armed robbery gone wrong (or was it?) leaves behind an orphaned Bruce who witnesses the murder of his parents. Hmm, that can’t affect the mental health and psyche of a small child can it? Future history says yes, but this show isn’t concerned about the future. Set in the ever present now, it’s dealing with the gritty life in the big city; Law & Order: Gotham.
The Wayne murder case seems to wrap up fairly easily; yep you guessed it, too easy. There is clearly more going on than a simple street crime, and the show not only sets up the murder as the gateway to an even larger mystery, but lays out several different plot paths to be explored, such as the relationship between Gordon’s fiancée Barbara and Detective Montoya. Of course again, like any serious professional person, I have a pretty good guess what the secret is that Barbara and Montoya are keeping, but no point in dropping spoilers.
So not Batman, but James Gordon, played by earnest looking Ben McKenzie, makes for a pretty good heroic cop. With a crooked partner in tow, we’ll see what sort of price Gordon may have to pay for being the lone honest cop. Maybe I ought to re-watch Serpico.