Fox’s Gotham may not be the Batman show that some fans expected when it was first announced, but it’s still one of the most madcap and enjoyable comic book series on TV. Unlike most others, Gotham is definitely not about the heroes, and it’s the numerous and over-the-top villains that really make this show what it is. While Baby-Batman (David Mazouz) does appear throughout all four seasons, his arc is limited, and he and Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) just don’t compare to the dozens of bad guys that occupy Gotham City.
The biggest names on the Gotham roster are, without a doubt, Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), and the bromance between these two was a highlight of last season. Barbara Gordon (Erin Richards) became a surprise villain in the early seasons of Gotham and has since become a fan-favorite, and these three are surrounded by big comic names (like Dr Strange and Poison Ivy) and some made-for-Gotham baddies like Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith)… but the most enjoyable villain on Gotham might actually be someone who doesn’t get nearly enough screentime: hitman-for-hire Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan). This killer and his unique sense of honor (and brilliantly black humor) has increasingly become the brightest spot in the Gotham pantheon.
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How Victor Zsasz Came To Gotham
When Zsasz first appeared on Gotham, though, he seemed to be just another assassin from the comics who would be popping up in the background. We didn’t yet know how much fun this inexplicably charming killer would turn out to be. The hitman came to Gotham in season 1, as a hired gun for Carmine Falcone (John Doman). He and some of his all-female team are sent to kill Jim Gordon on Falcone’s orders, and from the start, Zsasz brought his inimitable style to the job. He strolls into the precinct, utterly unafraid, leaps on a desk and calmly tells the police there that they should show him a little respect, because he’s been sent by Falcone. He goes on to say that he has no intention of killing any of them, so if they could just point him in Jim’s direction, then ‘we’re cool’.
This opening scene reveals so much of what we love about Zsasz: he’s the epitome of cool, he’s utterly terrifying, and he has a strange code of honor when it comes to his work. He may love to kill people, but he tries his best to only kill very specific people. He’s also hilarious, in a very dark way. After his pronouncement, he starts calling to Jim tauntingly, then tells him not to worry because he’s going to take him alive… but a man can live without his hands.
Victor Zsasz Becomes The Highlight Of Gotham
After that first introduction to Zsasz, the hitman spends quite a bit of time popping in and out of Gotham as a generally scary dude. Everyone is afraid of his talents as a killer, he carves tally marks into his skin to mark his kills, and he has some impressive crazy eyes going on. He’s also a fairly minor character for the first few seasons, showing up in three or four episodes per year. As time goes on, though, Zsasz becomes increasingly more charming, and his one liners get funnier and funnier.
By this season, Zsasz is working for Penguin, and season 4 has seen him show up in five of the six episodes that have aired so far… and each time, he just gets better and better. The past three seasons have seen other aspects of Zsasz’s character brought to the forefront; his loyalty (first to Falcone, and then to Penguin), his pride in what he does, and best of all, his joyful moments. When not sent to kill someone, he’s actually very charming, and can be borderline sweet (for a sociopath). He doesn’t hold grudges, he’s not trying to work his way into power, and he’s just got a little swagger that can’t be beat.
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