Gotham season 2 was a hard one for Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), a formerly idealistic cop who’s found himself repeatedly beaten down by the corruption and despair seemingly inherent to the city he calls home. Logically, fans know that Gordon will eventually become the steadfast commissioner that Batman comes to rely on as his only trustworthy friend within the police department. Still, at this point, it’s a bit hard to imagine how this often dour characterization of Gordon reaches that conclusion.
Not that Gordon isn’t entitled to harbor some hard feelings, toward both the GCPD and life itself. Last season, Gordon lost both his significant other and his unborn child in one fell swoop, saw a false accusation seemingly crater his once-promising career as a cop, and witnessed Gotham City descend into heretofore unseen levels of madness and violence. To that end, Gordon begins season 3 in a pretty bad place emotionally, and is now working as a bounty hunter to pay the bills.
Disappointed in the law’s lack of protection for both himself and those he cared about, Gordon has reached a personal crossroads. He’s still kinda, sorta doing good as a bounty hunter, as he’s been tasked with rounding up Dr. Hugo Strange’s escaped Indian Hill experiments. However, as seen in recently released promos concerning Gordon, the Caped Crusader’s future confidant really couldn’t care less at the moment about upholding justice, or doing things by the book. In a new interview with Blastr, McKenzie was asked about Gordon’s mindset now that he’s operating outside the world of law enforcement, and offered the following comments:
“I think the idea is to play with the audience’s expectations of this future Commissioner Gordon, and understand that along the way, he had to go through a variety of extreme challenges and forms of soul searching.
One of which is to be completely outside, to be at basically his lowest point, which is where we find him now, bounty hunting alone, drinking a lot, and trying to find some reason for being outside of just getting by. When he gets his mojo back, and understands what it really is about – which we’re about to start shooting now – it reinvigorates him, and allows him to operate in a new way within the GCPD.
I think he believes in the rule of law insofar as the rule of law will get you there. When it doesn’t, there are other means at his disposal.”
As for how Gordon is able to adapt his cop skill set into success as a bounty hunter — and conversely, how what he learns working as a bounty hunter will impact his eventual return to the GCPD — McKenzie said this:
“I think he’s actually just applying the skill set he’s had previously. He is just unencumbered by the rules and regulations of being a police officer. He doesn’t have to abide by any of that stuff, which is freeing. I think he enjoys, in a dark way, some of that. What will be interesting, after that phase when he ultimately – of course he has to rejoin the GCPD; you can’t possibly keep him out of it too long – is how does he come back to it? What is his new point of view on Gotham as a society writ large, and his role in it. What does he hope to accomplish, and how?”
As interesting as fans may find it to see hard-drinking, skull-cracking Jim Gordon kicking butt on the streets of Gotham, McKenzie is very much right about his character not being able to stay away from being a cop for too long. Gordon is clearly meant to be a lawman, and no matter how many times he’s thrown off track, it remains fairly certain that he’ll always somehow get back his badge and gun. After all, for young Bruce Wayne to ever finish evolving into The Dark Knight the world knows, he needs Gordon’s guidance getting there, and help once he’s reached that point. Not even Batman can clean up Gotham alone.
Gotham returns for season 3 on September 19 on FOX.