The end of the holiday season means the impending return of our favorite television shows from their mid-season hiatus. Fox’s Batman prequel series Gotham chose to end the first half of its debut season not with a cliffhanger but rather, an (underwhelming) episode largely focused on young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and young Catwoman (Camren Bicondova).
One new development established by the early finale, however, was the transfer of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) from Gotham PD detective to a guard in the newly-opened Arkham Asylum. A new locale means new characters, and joining the cast for the second half of season 1 is Firefly and Homeland alum Morena Baccarin, who takes on the role of Dr. Leslie Thompkins. Check out a preview of the rest of Season 1 above, which includes a look at Baccarin.
In the comics, Leslie Thompkins is a friend and ally of Thomas and Martha Wayne and later becomes a confidant of Batman. Morena Baccarin recently spoke to IGN about her character, Arkham Asylum and the world of the show. She addressed the change in her character’s origins, saying:
Yeah. They’re not sticking too close to the original mythology from the comics. Basically she and Jim meet at Arkham Asylum where he winds up working after the last episode. And they sort of hit it off because they’re both two people who are trying to do the right thing in a city that’s corrupt. And, like him, she’s someone who doesn’t really stand for bulls***. She’s very pragmatic and isn’t fazed by the craziness of Gotham. So they’re pretty drawn to each other and they wind up teaming up.
The “drawn to each other” remark is a strong hint of a romantic relationship in the cards between Gordon and Thompkins, but expect their interaction to remain strictly professional… in the beginning, anyway.
The introduction of Arkham Asylum carries all kinds of possibilities; and while there’s any number of future Batman supervillains we might meet, Baccarin was asked about what fans can expect when we finally get to see inside the instituion. According to the actress:
It’s a little comic book-y, for sure. It’s stylized, in the way that a lot of things are in the Gotham world. It’s an insane asylum, so it’s dark. It’s very shadowed and creepy. I really loved the episode. It’s a great introduction to my character, who’s working in this crazy crazy place that’s, of course, touched by Gotham’s rampant corruption. There’s a very big and dark underworld at play.
Baccarin’s version of Leslie Thompkins certainly sounds like a kindred spirit to Gordon, and while she’s likely to see her share of “intense stuff,” she couldn’t confirm just how much of Thompkins’ original back-story would be included, but said that “… she wants to be a part of whatever force can make the city a better place.”
Still, Baccarin also confirmed to EW (where you can find a clip of her introduction to Gordon) just how much Gotham‘s showrunners are changing when it comes to Thompkins, saying: “We are having her team up with Jim Gordon instead of the Wayne family and Bruce. Eventually, who knows—it could go in that direction, but it hasn’t yet.”
The show’s audience will meet Dr. Thompkins inside Arkham, but Baccarin drops a broad hint about how future episodes will take Gordon and Thompkins out of the Asylum as they grow closer together, saying:
“She gets out [of Arkham] which is really fun and her and Jim kind of pair up and have this really great relationship. I think it’s important. Arkham is a really kind of iconic and dark and crazy world but I don’t think you want to spend too much time in there.”
Baccarin’s version of Thompkins may not line up with the comic’s character (who was rumored to be played by Holly Hunter in Batman V Superman) but she sounds like the kind of ally Gordon will need, having been sidelined at Arkhum for interfering with Gotham’s status quo.
It’s plausible that Baccarin’s Dr. Thompkins will not only cross paths with Bruce and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) but perhaps become a mentor figure to the former, given the frequent detours the show’s already taken – from focusing on Gotham City’s underbelly and the rise of the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) – to check in on young Bruce Wayne’s progress on the vigilante path. In the meantime, fans should expect some broad references to more iconic Batman villains inside the asylum, no doubt.
Gotham returns to Fox on Monday, January 5th, 2015 at 8pm.