The Batman universe is a vast one, so it’s understandable if you can’t keep track of all the characters every time a new incarnation comes around. New faces, new voices – there’s a lot to keep straight. The new Batman origin series, Gotham (premieres Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV), is no different. Who’s who? What are they doing here? Inherently good? Wickedly evil? A little bit of both? We’ve got the answers to help you navigate through the latest chapter before it kicks off on Monday night.
Det. James Gordon (Ben McKenzie)
History with Gotham: He has always been known as the last honourable cop in a city brimming with corruption. So it’s no surprise that the detective is eventually promoted to Commissioner in the Batman world, and is one of Batman’s biggest allies.
Alter ego: None, although we could credit him as the eventual inventor of the Bat Signal.
Last seen: Pat Hingle played Commissioner Gordon in Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. In Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, Gary Oldman kills it as Gordon.
What you need to know: As the newest member of GCPD, Jim is just getting a taste of how his city is declining. Gotham hasn’t gone down the toilet just yet but as the mob makes its presence more known, it’s clear Det. Gordon will have his hands full. Watch for his quick-thinking and calm-under-pressure demeanor in the pilot’s opening moments.
Det. Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue)
History with Gotham: Logue’s Bullock is rookie Gordon’s partner and mentor. He’s as rough around the edges as a character can get and will do whatever it takes to get results, even if that means bending the rules and delving into his corrupt side. We kind of like it.
Alter ego: None.
Last seen: Bullock, a character from the comics, was in Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, but he wasn’t in the movies. In Tim Burton’s Batman, there was a character named Eckhardt (William Hootkins) who was Bullock-like. Same goes Arnold Flass (Mark Boone Junior) in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, but there he was full-on corrupt and worked for a mob boss. Could that be the future talking?
What you need to know: Make no mistake, this is not Harvey Dent, or his alter ego, Two-Face. In the comics, Bullock bends the rules to get sh*t done — and Gotham is no exception. Gordon isn’t sure if he can trust this partner — and we’re not sure we can either. Let’s just call him more of a reluctant hero…for now.
Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor)
History with Gotham: Oswald didn’t start out as a bad guy, but after being bullied about his looks (his sharp nose and perceived weakness had everyone calling him “Penguin”), he was pushed into a life of crime and, to put it simply, he was good at it. He eventually becomes one of the city’s most feared crime lords.
Alter ego: The Penguin
Last seen: Burgess Meredith played the fun, silly Penguin in the ‘60s TV show, while Danny DeVito got a little darker with the deformed, sadistic villain in Batman Returns.
What you need to know: Oswald is clever, manipulative and smarmy, and will double-cross anyone who gets in his way. This incarnation is ruthless, has a penchant for blood and will undoubtedly get into trouble with both sides of the law. He also believe he’s the smartest guy in the room.
Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova)
History with Gotham: The orphan had a rough upbringing so it’s natural that she has trust issues. Survival instincts forced Selina into becoming a pickpocket but she was so good at being bad that she evolves into the city’s most iconic cat burglar.
Alter ego: Catwoman
Last seen: Actresses Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt brought Catwoman to life on the ‘60s series. On the big screen, Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry took her from meek to chic in Batman Returns and the stand-alone Catwoman film, respectively. The most recent portrayal was Anne Hathaway in the third installment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. Each take has been fairly different, but the common trait is that she is always a sympathetic baddie with romantic ties to Batman.
What you need to know: Before she takes on stealing jewels and famous works of art, she was merely trying to survive the streets of Gotham. But unlike other Gotham villains, Selina’s altruistic nature gets the better of her. Witnessing what went down with the Waynes may be the only reason she has a conscience. She’s also a great motivator if you’ve been thinking of getting into yoga.
Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith)
History with Gotham: Edward Nigma (spelled Nygma in this show) was a bad guy, part of the working class population, obsessed with riddles, puzzles and brain teasers. He began committing crimes by using an alias, always trying — and failing — to outsmart Batman. Nigma was over-the-top but managed to amass a great fortune, thanks to his life of crime.
Alter ego: The Riddler
Last seen: Frank Gorshin played him in the TV series and the 1966 movie, while Jim Carrey portrayed the quirky villain in Batman Forever.
What you need to know: Nygma uses his smarts in a forensic scientist, ballistics expert-like role. It’s the perfect position for him to be in, balancing his do-gooder job with his brilliant mind, and we get to watch him go from awkward nerdy type to sociopath. He has surprising police connections in the pilot.
Ivy Pepper (Clare Foley)
History with Gotham: Ivy Pepper doesn’t really have a history with Gotham, that name was made up for the show. But a character named Pamela Isley does: she was a botanical biochemist and fervent eco-terrorist who was determined to save the world’s plant life by any means necessary. Once a shrinking violet, she eventually turned to a life of crime by using her lethal powers over men to take over the city.
Alter ego: Poison Ivy
Last seen: The only movie Poison Ivy was in was Batman & Robin (Uma Thurman), where she played one of the central villains.
What you need to know: With Ivy Pepper’s mom sick and dad dead, she will obviously be another Gotham orphan. The comics have had Pamela raised by wealthy but distant parents so it’s safe to assume the Isleys adopt her and Pamela/Ivy’s love of the environment will only grow from here.
Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee)
History with Gotham: Alfred was the Wayne family valet but after Thomas and Martha were killed, he became Bruce’s trusted valet and raised the young orphan as his own. He’s also one of the few that will know Bruce is Batman and reluctantly helps him when he is needed (which is almost always).
Alter ego: None, but we always just refer to him as Alfred.
Last seen: The late Michael Gough played beloved Alfred in Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, while Michael Caine played him in all three films of the Dark Knight trilogy.
What you need to know: Aside from using great analogies and inspiring quotes, Alfred has always been a McGyver of sorts, with his skills ranging from cooking to tailoring to medicine. He is also “young master” Bruce’s — and Batman’s — staunchest ally, though you’d never know it from his gruff and proper demeanor on Gotham. In fact, he seems as stern and tightly wound as they come, which means we get to see Bruce bring out his warmer side. His famous words to live by? “Why do we fall, sir? So we can pick ourselves back up.”
Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith)
History with Gotham: Still to come.
Alter ego: None. But you would think she’d get one, with a name like Fish and all.
Last seen: Nowhere. She’s a new character, created just for Gotham.
What you need to know: She’s gangster — literally — and not someone you want to mess with. Some, like Oswald, learn this the hard way. Mooney runs deep in the criminal underworld and there are some theories that she becomes Great White Shark, or is Catwoman’s mother, but for now, she’s just running things, her way, in Gotham. She bursts with sexuality, and has an uncommonly close relationship with a certain older detective.