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Fall First Impressions: Gotham

BY Jennifer Griffin

Published 7 years ago

“Sometimes you have to do a bad thing to do a good thing.”

This is the polarizing belief that places not only the citizens, but the police department and City Hall too, on opposing sides of the moral divide in FOX’s upcoming Gotham.

This ‘heroes and villains origin story’ comes to FOX from September 22, and is totally worth checking out if you are a DC comics fan, a genre TV aficionado, or simply looking for something genuinely engaging to tune into this Fall.

Gotham follows Southland and The OC star Ben McKenzie as young Jim Gordon, Gotham City Police Department’s most newly-minted Detective, and Donal Logue (Vikings, Sons of Anarchy) as Harvey Bullock, his “slovenly lackadaisical cynic” of a partner.

When Thomas and Martha Wayne are brutally murdered in what looks like an an attempt to stage a mugging-gone-wrong, the aspirational Gordon makes a personal guarantee to their son Bruce (David Mazouz) to bring the killer to justice, much to the horror of Bullock, who knows that in order to find the real killer, both he and Gordon will have to cross not only their own corrupt police department, but the local crime boss Fish Mooney (played with chilly panache by Jada Pinkett Smith), the local Mob and even City Hall itself in the course of their work.

Having previewed most of what the major Networks have to offer this Fall, we can attest that Gotham is the first show on the slate this year that is actually as dark and gritty (two labels that are often used too liberally in lazier online reviews) as advertised. Casual police brutality, liberal bone crunching, a spot of sadism here and there, rough around the edges characters played by more than capable actors, murky agendas, plots within plots and a heavy rock soundtrack all contribute to build a believable city seething with vice and corruption. So much so, we found ourselves questioning our own moral compass by the closing scene which sees Gordon forced to sink or swim in Gotham’s murky waters.

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If you’re looking for something not altogether family friendly, genuinely unflinching, and so layered you can envisage where entire seasons ahead might lead, then this one is for you.

Gotham is, in our opinion, one of the best pilots we’ve reviewed this Fall, and the cream of what FOX has to offer this year.

It premieres on Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) and it’s from executive producer/writer Bruno Heller (The Mentalist, Rome).

Can you trust a ScreenSpy review? You be the judge.

Last year, while many online magazines were quick to label early reviews of FOX’s subsequent runaway success Sleepy Hollow “Kooky” “Ridiculous” and “Unlikely to exceed a single season” our early review of the pilot episode read: “Both Beharie and Mison deliver subtle but very watchable performances … Mison in particular deserves praise for his pitch-perfect portrayal of an innocent abroad whose new experiences seem only to add to his sense of befuddlement and irritation … The deeper mystery of the show is also its most intriguing. The pilot episode has done an excellent job at setting out pieces on a board that could make for some highly entertaining and spooky viewing if played just right.”

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