While its initial run has proven divisive among some comic book fans, Fox is doubling down on Gotham, ordering an extra batch of episodes for season 1 and continuing to cast pivotal characters in the Batman mythology. And with more and more deranged criminals appearing on the scene with each week, it's been assumed that Arkham Asylum's importance to the story would be growing. Now, one of the asylum's top minds from the DC Comics source material has been cast, with Morena Baccarin (Firefly, Homeland) announced to be playing 'Dr. Leslie Thompkins.'
Baccarin will be no stranger to the genre television audience, having made her name on Joss Whedon's Firefly before she joined the cast of Stargate SG-1, V, and others. But the actress will be best known outside of fan circles for her recent run on the acclaimed Showtime series Homeland. It's unclear which of those roles caught the eye of Gotham's showrunners, but with a brief stint on Bruno Heller's The Mentalist to boot, her addition to the cast makes sense for a number of reasons.
The announcement comes courtesy of Deadline, who describe this take on Dr. Leslie Thompkins as "a gifted and dedicated physician who was a friend of Bruce Wayne’s parents, Thomas and Martha." Like her comic book counterpart, Thompkins puts her skills to work on the inmates of Arkham Asylum - newly upgraded as part of the shaky deal in place between Gotham's mayor and its two biggest crime families.
Although Thompkins is generally depicted as one of Bruce's elders in the comics, the shift in timeline means it won't be as surprising to see Thompkins in a new light; in fact, the character will apparently "find herself drawn close to James Gordon" (since he and Barbara are clearly on the rocks). Unsurprising, since the pair will be getting more than a little acquainted over the coming years, with Gordon and Bullock the point men on all out-of-the-ordinary criminal behavior. But as the more outrageous or flamboyant vigilantes or criminals start to make way for the ruthless killers like Victor Zsasz, Dr. Thompkins will have her hands full, along with the rest of Arkham's staff; and her good intentions won't guarantee her safety.
The addition of Baccarin's character (introduced as a recurring role for season 1, before being promoted to a regular cast member for season 2) marks yet another large portion of Batman mythology being adopted by Gotham's writers. No shortage of characters owe their origins to Arkham Asylum (Harley Quinn chief among them), and Leslie Thompkins' casting follows that of Harvey Dent (Nicholas D'Agosto), with that character also expected to step into their most well-known identity before long.
Some die-hard fans may bristle at the idea of such prominent figures from Bruce Wayne's adult life being co-opted for 'Jim Gordon's story,' but the showrunners have stated that they're not afraid of rewriting comic book canon. If that's the case, then adding some spice to Jim Gordon's love life may be just the tip of the iceberg.
What do you think of the casting? Are you happy to see Baccarin (and Thompkins) join Gotham's universe, or did you see her in another comic book role?
Gotham airs Tuesdays @8pm on FOX.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on Gotham as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.