TIME Television

Everything You Need to Know About Gotham‘s Main Players

The familiar, the unfamiliar and all the characters in between on Fox's new superhero-sans-superhero drama

You could hardly be blamed if the opening episode of Gotham gave you repeated moments of déjà vu. Virtually all of the characters that popped up in the first hour of Fox’s new cop drama have appeared in some form or another (mostly a little older and a little more heroic or villainous) in the Batman realm of the DC Comics universe — whether in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films, earlier Caped Crusader movies or the comics themselves.

Here’s a brief spoiler-free primer for who you should — and shouldn’t — have recognized in the Gotham premiere, and what you might be able to expect from these characters in the rest of the season.

  • James Gordon

    GOTHAM: Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is he?

    Gotham P.D. detective.

    Should you know who he is?

    Almost definitely.

    Though now played by Ben Mackenzie (The O.C., Southland), Gary Oldman’s face is likely the one that most fans will associate with Gordon, at least at the outset. Gordon is the one who comforts a young Bruce Wayne after his parents’ coldblooded murder, and though he’ll begin the series as a rookie detective, he eventually becomes police commissioner during Batman’s reign in Gotham. Of course, we’ll never see that day come, as showrunner Bruno Heller has already declared the show will never have Batman on it.

  • Bruce Wayne

    GOTHAM: David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is he?

    Wayne family scion, future superhero.

    Should you know who he is?

    Um, yeah.

    The Bruce Wayne of Gotham is the same age as the one who appears in the very beginning of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne is the beginning of Batman’s origin story, but it’s also the beginning of Gotham’s as well. Though audiences won’t see Bruce grow up to become the Caped Crusader, it’s the search for his parents’ killer that appears poised to drive much of the action in Gotham’s first season.

  • Harvey Bullock

    GOTHAM: Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is he?

    Gotham P.D. detective.

    Should you know who he is?

    Probably not.

    Unless you’re a die-hard fan of Batman comics, it’s more likely you’ll recognize the man who plays Bullock — that’s Donal Logue (Vikings, Terriers) — than the character himself. Bullock hasn’t appeared in any of the Batman films, so his true motivations and intent remain something of a mystery (unless, of course, you’ve read the comics).

  • Fish Mooney

    GOTHAM: Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is she?

    Gotham crime boss.

    Should you know who she is?

    No way.

    Jada Pinkett-Smith’s character is a Gotham original, so all we’ll have to go on with her is what we learn in the pilot and moving forward.

  • Carmine Falcone

    GOTHAM: John Doman as Carmine Falcone. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr:
    Justin Stephens—Fox

    Who is he?

    Gotham crime lord.

    Should you know who he is?

    Probably.

    Those who remember Batman Begins will know Falcone as one of Batman’s main nemeses in the first Nolan film. In the movie he was played by Tom Wilkinson, but in Gotham, it’ll be John Doman (of The Wire fame) stepping into the role. Though it appears Falcone will have a number of challengers to his throne, it’s one that he’ll hold onto for quite some time if Gotham decides to stick to canon.

  • Oswald Cobblepot

    GOTHAM: Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is he?

    Fish Mooney associate.

    Should you know who he is?

    As long as you take a closer look.

    Gotham is anything but shy about sharing Cobblepot’s true identity as the infamous Penguin (most memorably portrayed by Danny DeVito way back in 1992, now played by Robin Lord Taylor). There’s little question that he’ll play a major role in Gotham, having had his life spared by Gordon only to turn right around and murder a fisherman in cold blood.

  • Alfred Pennysworth

    GOTHAM: Sean Pertwee as Alfred. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is he?

    Wayne family butler.

    Should you know who he is?

    Definitely.

    It’s unclear how much we’ll be seeing of Alfred, who’s now played by Sean Pertwee (Equilibrium) rather than Michael Caine, but the pilot does its job in establishing the relationship between him, Bruce and Gordon.

  • Barbara Keen

    GOTHAM: Erin Richards as Barbara Kean. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is she?

    Fiancee of James Gordon.

    Should you know who she is?

    Probably not.

    Barbara appears in a few of the comic book stories and was played (briefly) by Melinda McGraw in The Dark Knight. It’s a safe bet that with Gordon taking center stage in Gotham, Erin Richards will play a more prominent than her predecessor.

  • Selina Kyle

    GOTHAM: Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is she?

    Adolescent thief, witness to Wayne murder.

    Should you know who she is?

    As long as you connect the dots.

    Kyle (Camren Bicondova) is the first person we meet in Gotham, stealing some groceries and picking a man’s pocket—not especially well, it should be said. By the time she completes her transformation into Catwoman, it’s unlikely she’ll be noticed quite so readily. The pilot also does a good job of setting up her early relationship with Bruce Wayne, though how prominent that subplot will be in the first season of Gotham is unclear.

  • Edward Nigma

    GOTHAM: Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is he?

    Gotham City P.D.

    Should you know who he is?

    A little more oblique than a few of the others, but Cory Michael Smith’s Edward Nigma will someday become the Riddler. For now, however, he’s on the side of the good guys—no telling how long that will last.

  • Ivy Pepper

    GOTHAM: Guest star Clare Foley as Ivy Pepper. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX
    Jessica Miglio—Fox

    Who is she?

    Daughter of the murdered Mario Pepper, the fall-guy for the Wayne murder.

    Should you know who she is?

    The red hair and the name should be a dead give-away.

    It’s still undetermined what role Pepper will play in the show’s first season or whether we’ll eventually see her transformation into Poison Ivy, but the events of the pilot certainly gave her plenty of justification for a vendetta against authority figures in Gotham.

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