Season 3 of Gotham premieres this September on FOX with plenty of new characters, both heroes and villains alike. Last season concluded with multiple shadowy figures escaping from Dr. Hugo Strange’s (BD Wong) Indian Hill Research Facility, setting up a much darker season that will heavily focus on The Court of Owls: a secret organization backing the doctor’s re-animation experiments.
Gotham is known for putting villains front and center in what is currently a city devoid of Batman, as Bruce Wayne is still a youngster and beginning to come into his own. This leaves Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) running around the city's seedy underbelly trying to get a grip on crime years before the Caped Crusader appears. The series frequently adds "proto-versions" into its (sometimes campy) storylines; that is, much younger and inexperienced versions of classic Batman rogues who have yet to develop into their villainous alter-egos.
According to a recent report, producers Ken Woodruff and John Stephens confirmed that somewhere down the road fans should expect “proto versions” of Harley Quinn and Killer Croc to appear on the show. Initially, based on their comments, we expected to see Killer Croc first in season 3 as an escapee from the Indian Research Facility. But when he spoke with IGN, Woodruff suggested we may have already seen Harley Quinn in earlier seasons of the show:
"You may have already seen Harley as a person that you thought you had met and known for a long time. So we always reserve the right to sort of do that as well."
When referencing Croc appearing in the beginning of season 3, producer John Stephens added:
"Unlike Croc the Harley Quinn of it all is a bit more of a sticky wicket but it's one we’ve already thought about for the character. We don't want to give too much away but it will definitely be someone connected to the Joker cult world that we have set up. But it's down the road, later in Season 3 right now."
With last season setting up the would-be Joker with Jerome Valeska, we can only assume that Harley Quinn, Joker's insane love interest and partner in crime, would soon follow suit. But Woodruff saying we may have already seen Harley throws this entire premise for a huge loop. If Gotham has already introduced her proto-version in a previous episode, either no one spotted her... or she was hiding in plain sight (a la Gordon's unhinged ex, Barbara).
This leads us to believe that Gotham may be putting its own little twist on the beginnings of Dr. Harleen Quinzell; a character who traditionally falls for the Joker while she treating him as a patient in Arkham Asylum. For the extra-curious, you can always go back through every single episode of Gotham season 1 and 2 in search for a young blonde doctor who may or may not be the "proto-version" of Harley. Or you can wait and see if Harley decides to show up somewhere during season 3.
Gotham will return to Fox on September 19th at 8 pm EST.