[SPOILERS for the first half of Gotham season 2 ahead.]

Season 2 of Gotham has been billed as “Rise of the Villains,” and each episode has delivered on that threat. The chaos and violence in the city continues to escalate, with Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), and vengeful mastermind Theo Galavan (James Frain) contributing to the body count. Jim Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) personal ideal of law and order slips further from his grasp with each new tragedy.

In the midseason finale, “Worse Than a Crime,” Galavan meets his end at the hands of Jim and Penguin. The episode’s final scenes of experimental laboratory Indian Hill suggest, however, that like many deaths in Gotham, Galavan’s demise may only be a transition period on the way to a more evil incarnation. When the series returns early next year, Gordon and the police force may have to face some unexpectedly familiar foes, but there are also new threats on the horizon.

One of those threats comes in the form of Grace Van Dahl, an attractive society wife in pursuit of more money and power. E! Online reports that Melinda Clarke, McKenzie’s former costar on teen drama The O.C., will portray the dangerous character. Much like Galavan, Van Dahl will put on the charm and grace in public while secretly lying, cheating, and even killing to get everything she wants.

Clarke’s character will first appear on episode 15 of season 2, which should air sometime this coming spring. She’s set for multiple episodes, so it’s possible she’ll be a part of upcoming story arcs featuring villains like Dr. Strange (B.D. Wong) and Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow).

TV fans should recognize Clarke from her multitude of roles, most recently as Division psychologist and master manipulator Amanda from The CW series Nikita. She’s also known for her popular turn as dominatrix Lady Heather on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She’s had notable appearances in several TV series, including Vegas, Entourage, The Vampire Diaries, and cult favorite Firefly.

Melinda Clarke 1 Gotham Season 2 Casts Nikitas Melinda Clarke in Recurring Role

Other upcoming guest stars on Gotham include Michael Bowen (Breaking Bad) as M(atches) Malone and Lori Petty (Orange Is the New Black) as Jeri, the owner of a secret fanatical club that views mass murder as art. Petty’s character will assist young Bruce (David Mazouz) in his pursuit of his parents’ killer, a man Silver (Natalie Alyn Lind) claimed was named “M. Malone.”

With all the twisted and powerful villains Gordon has and will face, Van Dahl by description sounds relatively tame. That seeming innocuousness could make her an enemy he mistakenly underestimates, though, making her even more dangerous. Since she’s not a character established in DC comics, we don’t have any hints to the true extent of her plans, but her place in the upper class could indicate a tie-in to Bruce and Wayne Enterprises. Executive producer Bruno Heller promises that Bruce will get to “very heart of the mystery of who killed his parents” in the second half of season 2, and it will be interesting to find out who really was responsible–and why.

NEXT: First Look at Mr. Freeze on Gotham

Gotham season 2 returns to FOX on Monday, February 29 at 8/7c.

Source: E! Online

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