Gotham City Police Department isn't exactly a friendly environment for do-gooders, as Detective Jim Gordon discovered when he joined the GCPD in Gotham season one and was overwhelmed by the amount of corruption running through the local law enforcement. The show's first season saw Jim managing to effect a little change with the help of allies like Harvey Dent, but also saw him sliding away from his by-the-book approach when he was forced to turn to Oswald Cobblepot a.k.a. Penguin for aid.
With the power balance shaken up by the end of Gotham season one, the show's second season is going to mark the "rise of the villains," according to showrunner Bruno Heller. But if Gotham has taught us anything, it's that the line between heroes and villains can be very narrow, and it looks like that will be the case with the latest addition to the show's cast of characters.
Michael Chiklis, who most recently played strongman Dell Toledo on American Horror Story, has now joined the cast of Gotham in a semi-regular role, according to a report by TVLine. Citing Gotham's producers as the source of the information, the report states that Chiklis will be playing Captain Nathaniel Barnes, and includes the following character description:
[Barnes] lands on the GCPD like a tornado, ripping out the dead wood of Gotham’s police force. He is a law and order zealot; unafraid of making enemies – on either side of the law. For Gordon, Barnes is a hero and a mentor, someone with whom he can share the burden of heroism. Captain Barnes proves himself to be a strong ally to Gordon… but one day he will make an equally powerful enemy.
Barnes' rank and his apparent impact on the GCPD indicate that he will step in as a replacement for Captain Sarah Essen, which raises questions about the fate of that character. Does this means she could be killed off early on in Gotham season two, or will the city's politics force her out of her job? Essen has been an inconsistent ally for Jim and corruption seems to have been allowed to run rampant under her leadership, so it's possible that someone (Harvey Dent, perhaps?) replaces her with Barnes in an effort to straighten the police force out.
Of course, the hint that Barnes will eventually become "a powerful enemy" indicates that he will either go bad or perhaps turn out to have been a villain all along. Chiklis is playing an original character, so unlike The Riddler or Penguin we don't have any idea what kind of man he will eventually become - unless, of course, he's a classic DC villain in disguise.
After an entire season of watching Jim try to swim against the current, it could be a refreshing change of pace for him to have an ally in the GCPD who isn't afraid to tackle its weaknesses head-on. And if season two really is going to be about a fresh surge of bad guys, the good guys are going to need someone like Barnes on their side.
Gotham returns for season two on September 21st, 2015 @8PM on FOX.