As we head into the third season of the Fox television series Gotham, regular viewers will be aware that the city – never particularly stable – is in something of a state of flux. We’ve seen huge changes for the usually steadfast Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), which places a great deal of tension within his relationship with Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). Ivy (Maggie Geha) has also undergone a transformation, of sorts – as has Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) is also on the cusp of a mighty character development. Perhaps most significantly for fans, though, is Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), who’s investigating the shadowy and influential Court Of Owls, with the help of Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) – actions that will potentially have repercussions for quite some time.
In light of this dramatic juncture, Collider recently interviewed Gotham co-executive producer Ken Woodruff at the Television Critics Association press tour, and dug down into his extensive knowledge of what can be expected from the coming season.
With the subtitle of the season having been set as “Heroes will fall,” it is clear that emphasis will be on the way in which the villains of Gotham really tip the scales in their favour. Echoing the tragic reality most recently alluded to in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Gotham seems to be gearing up to show, in even greater detail, the morally ambiguous nature of the hero-villain dynamic. This is reiterated by Ken Woodruff’s comments on the role the Court Of Owls will play.
“What’s interesting about the Court of Owls is that it operates, weirdly, in the best interest of Gotham, or in the best interest of themselves. Sometimes those interests are counter to the heroes of Gotham, but sometimes they’re aligned with them. So, what’s nice about a group like the Court of Owls is that you can really keep their motivations and actions mysterious. You never know, from one move to the next, if they’re going to be aiding these villains, banding them together and helping them, or are they going to feel like these villains are gaining too much power and throwing off the balance in Gotham. That’s the most interesting part about it. They can really play God and act as the devil.”
On the subject of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Woodruff notes the vast differences in the character in this upcoming season, compared to the first two.
“Physically, he’s out of the uniform. There have been a couple times, over the years, like in the first episode of Season 2, where he had a civilian look. So physically, he looks a lot different, but it’s much more about his emotional and mental make up. He is a lot more brooding, a lot more intense, and a lot more heartless, in some ways. If James Gordon, the detective for the GCPD, had to be a moral anchor for the people of Gotham, James Gordon, the bounty hunter, is not. He can be much more ruthless in his actions and transactions. He’s really more mercenary in his attitude, which is rough. It’s hard for people like Bruce Wayne, Harvey Bullock and Captain Barnes to see that because, all of a sudden, somebody you thought you could count on is not there anymore.”
In a more cryptic statement, Woodruff hints at the character arcs of Jim Gordon and Nathaniel Barnes as being intrinsically linked to the concept of the subtitle – the fall of heroes.
“Both Gordon and Barnes fall under the theme of fallen heroes, and fallen can mean a number of things. It can mean a hero becoming a villain, but it also can mean a villain dying and it can also mean a hero losing the thing that made them a hero, in the first place. There’s lots of different levels. We’re not killing both Barnes and Gordon, but it goes back to the story we’re telling this season, that the heroes of Gotham are losing. There’s different ways for them to lose that, and we’re going to explore different ways with each of those characters. For both of them, it’s going to be really transformative. As actors, they’re going to get to play things they’ve never played before. We’re really going to take them to some dark spots.”
In all, these snippets of information given by Ken Woodruff suggest a new season of Gotham that will crank up the pressure on the main characters, and perhaps hold more closely to the city we have become so familiar with – the city of Batman.
Gotham returns to Fox for its third season on September 19th, 2016.