Gotham, “Pilot”: The origin story of Jim Gordon

It is a dark and dreary night as a young girl makes her way through the streets of Gotham; stealing a carton of milk and a wallet from people she passes by. As she stops to give the milk to a stray cat, a family of three is walking down the alley she is in. She sees them and slinks onto a fire escape as a man approaches the family. The man points a gun, takes some money from the man and a pearl necklace from the woman and shoots them both, leaving the distraught little boy looking upon the bodies of his murdered parents.


Cut to the Gotham police station where new detective Jim Gordon is subduing a man who has taken an officer hostage. A call comes in to his partner, Harvey Bullock, and the two make their way to the scene of the crime. When Bullock looks at the couple and realizes it is Thomas and Martha Wayne who have been murdered, he tries to leave the scene. Gordon decides to talk to the boy, who introduces himself as Bruce, and after having a chat with him makes a promise that he will find the killer. This is the start of what will become an important relationship down the line.

After Bullock decides to take on the case, but unsuccessfully tries to change partners, he and Gordon start trying to figure out who has killed the Waynes. Thinking it is a professional hit, the two go to local mobster, Fish Mooney. As Mooney and Bullock have a private chat, Gordon gets his first glimpse of how the Gotham cops turn the other way from Mooney’s activities. When he hears noises outside of Mooney’s place and Mooney tells him it isn’t important, he goes outside to investigate anyway and finds one of Mooney’s lackeys, Oswald Cobblepot, beating up a man with a bat. From the interaction before with Bullock not really caring about what is going on, Gordon just walks away from the men.

Bullock gets a lead through Mooney and head to Mario Pepper’s home, where his daughter Ivy answers the door. The pair confront Mario about the pearl necklace he was trying to sell, but Mario runs for it and a fight ensues between him and Gordon. Bullock ends up shooting Mario dead and afterwards the police find the necklace in Pepper’s apartment. The two are hailed as heroes for finding the killer so fast.

While this is going on, Cobblepot is meeting with two officers from the major crimes unit to tell them how he saw Mooney with the necklace and that she framed Pepper, suggesting that Mooney’s boss, Carmine Falcone had the Waynes murdered and is covering it up. One of the officers, Montoya, is an old friend of Gordon’s fiancée, Barbara, so she decides it would be a good idea to tell Barbara about the cover up and that Jim might not be a nice guy after all.

Barbara tells Jim about the theory and after he talks to Pepper’s wife, he goes to Mooney to confront her about it. Although he gets the best of Mooney’s thugs, Mooney ends up knocking him out and telling her men to get rid of him. Gordon wakes up, hanging upside down in a meat locker. Bullock goes to save him after Barbara tells him Gordon didn’t come home, but after he gets there he ends up talking Mooney into hanging him up too, instead of saving Gordon. It is Falcone who comes to rescue them and calls off Mooney’s reckless decision to kill two cops. Falcone tells Gordon that Pepper was framed to satisfy the city of Gotham’s need for justice. Their conversation makes Gordon realize what kind of detective he might have to be in Gotham.

Afterwards, Bullock drives Gordon to a dock and reveals that Cobblepot, being the one that snitched, is in the trunk. Gordon’s morals are tested after Bullock tells him to get rid of Cobblepot or Bullock will kill him. Gordon takes Cobblepot to the end of the dock, tells him to leave Gotham forever and fires his gun as he pushes Cobblepot into the water. Later, Gordon goes to Wayne manor to tell Bruce that Pepper was framed and that he will leave it up to Bruce to decide what to do while Gordon keeps looking for the real killer. Bruce says he is glad the killer is still out there so he can see him again. As Gordon leaves the manor, the girl who witnessed the Wayne murders is watching the house from afar. Cobblepot is seen at the end, making his way out of the river and killing an innocent fisherman.  

Overall, this was a decent start to the show. There is a lot of potential for future storylines, hopefully more than just who killed the Waynes and many relationships to explore, especially the friendship between Bullock and Mooney. It was fun seeing all the villains that will play a part down the road, with appearances from Cobblepot (Penguin), Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Edward Nygma (The Riddler) and Ivy Pepper (Poison Ivy), but it did seem like they were cramming too many of them into one episode. It is distracting when there are too many to keep track of and hopefully they will just stick to one villain for a while.  

Robin Lord Taylor gave a great performance as the Penguin and it will be fun to see where his story goes. Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue have good chemistry as Gordon and Bullock and with their characters being morally different, their partnership should be an interesting one. If Gotham can stick with its premise being a police procedural show about the rise of Jim Gordon, rather than a super hero show about the rise of Batman, it can be successful.

By TV geek Erin

About the author

Erin is an avid tv watcher; Castle, The Office, Fringe, Once Upon a Time, Vampire Diaries, Cougar Town and Game of Thrones among her favorites. She also likes to go to the movies, write, try new places to eat at and travel to new destinations. Follow her on Twitter @erninlow.

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