Gotham’s Donal Logue Talks About Playing Harvey Bullock

With Marvel Studios currently dominating the news cycle due to anticipation for Guardians of the Galaxy, it's easy to forget about the plethora of other exciting comic book adaptations in the works, one of which is Fox's upcoming show Gotham.

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With Marvel Studios currently dominating the news cycle due to anticipation for Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s easy to forget about the plethora of other exciting comic book adaptations in the works, one of which is Fox’s upcoming show Gotham.

The series follows a young Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) during his early days on the Gotham City Police Department, and Donal Logue as Gordon’s partner and mentor, Harvey Bullock. It was only last week that Logue was cast but he recently spoke with Nerd Repository about his role on the show and what direction the series might take.

If you remember, Logue was originally rumored to be up for the role of Gordon, which he quickly debunked. Then the rumor mill started turning with speculation that he’d be playing Bullock. So, it came as no surprise when he was officially brought on, something that the Sons of Anarchy star finds humorous:

It’s funny because I don’t know how that went down. The truth is that I had met them a long time ago to talk to them about the project. All we had was a conversation, and it was funny when these rumors came out because they were unfounded in that Gordon was always supposed to younger and Bullock was older, so it was never a possibility for Gordon. Bullock was a possibility, but it was part of this vague conversation, and there never was an offer or something like that… I knew that they were interested, I just knew that there were other people in the mix too, and until certain things were taken care of they couldn’t make decisions.

So it was slightly humorous at the end when I got it and people were like “I told you so!” and it’s like “dude, you don’t even know how much of a possibility, how not a fait accompli this was.” I was one of a number of people, it very easily could have been someone else. It’s funny to be part of a project that is under such scrutiny because it appeals to a group of people who are very active and a fanbase that’s incredibly vocal, and really emotionally involved. It was kind of neat to go through it because I really hadn’t before.

We’re certainly aware of how fascinated fans are with these characters and so finding the right balance between doing something new while pleasing the diehards can be tricky. As Logue says:

It’s dangerous, because my kids watched the animated series and I remember listening to it over the speaker on road trips up to Oregon, I would hear it. It’s that tricky thing where I’m not that guy, I don’t look visually like the guy even in the cartoon. Then there’s that weird thing where I don’t want to take someone’s choice from the cartoon and match it. I want to create a character, no different from Lee Toric in Sons of Anarchy or King Horik [from History’s Vikings] or Hank Dolworth in Terriers. They’re all uniquely different scenarios and I don’t want to feel forced to do an impersonation of something else, which is a difficult thing to keep up over the course of a longer series. So we’ll have those talks.

The character description given with Logue’s casting calls him a “rough-around-the edges” detective who plays loosely with the law to get results. This is definitely something comic book fans will be familiar with, and something Logue is looking forward to exploring on the series, especially how it pertains to the conflict between Bullock and Gordon:

“Not only do I foresee it, I guarantee that is the complete and utter core of the conflict. One guy’s been around Chinatown for a long time, and knows how it has to work. Someone who’s come in from a more idealistic world – not to say non-violent, he’s coming back from the war – steps into it, and absolutely there’s a huge moral quandary.

I had a friend who’s a combat vet of Iraq and Afghanistan, and he was telling me the other day about one of his partners who, after retiring from active military life became a police officer in New Orleans, and how much it threw him. And it’s not that violence throws the person, it’s just the nature of it and who’s doing it.”

It’s a lot like Gotham, where there’s kind of an ambiguous line between good and bad. We have to let certain bad guys do certain things, in order for the greater good, for this machine to keep working. And then someone comes in who’s like “no, I have a much more black and white view, I’m not into this notion of moral relativism. There’s right and there’s wrong.”

“And what is law? Is law this platonic form of truth that floats in space that is fixed, or is it something that’s this arbitrary thing where it’s like “the law is me and you, right now, in this car. Whatever we determine, that’s the law.” And that’s the kind of thing that will be a conflict in this show.”

It’s nice to hear that the show will be exploring these moral quandaries, considering it’s something that makes Batman’s character and supporting players all the more interesting. Jim Gordon has previously been portrayed as the only “straight” cop in Gotham, something his character has had to grapple with time and time again, so it will be great to see how that plays out on screen.

What do you think about what Logue had to say? Are you excited about the darker, more morally complicated direction Gotham might take? Let us know in the comments below!


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James Garcia
Lego photographer, cinephile, geek. James is 24 and lives in Portland, OR. He writes for several websites about pop culture, film, and TV and runs a video production company with his wife called Gilded Moose Media.