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Gotham was an American action crime drama television series developed by Bruno Heller, produced by Warner Bros. Television and based on characters published by DC Comics and appearing in the Batman franchise, primarily those of James Gordon and Bruce Wayne. The series premiered on Fox on September 22, 2014, and concluded on April 25, 2019. The series stars Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon and David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne. The series was originally intended to focus only on Gordon’s early days with the Gotham City Police Department, but they subsequently included the Bruce Wayne character and the origin stories of Batman’s rogues gallery.
Development for a prequel series based on Batman began in September 2013, with Bruno Heller hired by Fox to serve as a writer and executive producer. In March 2014, Fox originally ordered 16 episodes for its first season before expanding it to 22. Filming primarily took place across New York City. In May 2018, Fox renewed the series for a fifth and final season, consisting of 12 episodes, which premiered on January 3, 2019, and concluded on April 25, 2019.
The series is a crime drama that explores the origin stories of eventual Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) Commissioner James Gordon and the rogues’ gallery of villains that made Gotham City infamous.
In the first season, Gordon and his partner Harvey Bullock are tasked in solving the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents which is also witnessed by petty thief Selina “Cat” Kyle. In the GCPD, Gordon is aided by forensics scientist Edward Nygma, detectives Renee Montoya, Crispus Allen and district attorney Harvey Dent. Meanwhile, a war between two crime families led by crime bosses Carmine Falcone and Fish Mooney is occurring underground with gangster Oswald Cobblepot forced in the middle of it. At the end of the season, Cobblepot kills Mooney, claiming himself the “King of Gotham”.
In the second season, Theo Galavan arrives in Gotham, with his sister Tabitha, with orders from the Order of St. Dumas to kill Bruce. However, Gordon, Cobblepot, Selina, and the GCPD were able to rescue Bruce. Elsewhere in Arkham, experiments are being held in a facility called Indian Hill run by Professor Hugo Strange turning inmates into monsters. After Gordon kills Galavan, Galavan’s corpse is retrieved and revived by Strange who converts Galavan into the century old vigilante “Azrael”, hellbent on getting his revenge on Gordon. With the help of the tech expert Lucius Fox and the GCPD, Gordon manages to shut down Indian Hill. Unbeknownst to them, a bus of monsters escape including a revived Mooney and a clone of Bruce.
In the third season, Gordon becomes a bounty hunter working to track down the monsters and is confronted by reporter Valerie Vale, with whom Gordon has a brief relationship before she leaves Gotham. Using Valarie’s advice, Gordon attempts to make amends with his ex-lover Leslie Thompkins, who has a new partner Mario Falcone, Carmine’s son, putting Gordon at odds with him. Elsewhere, Nygma comes to terms with his “Riddler” persona; Jervis Tetch’s sister Alice contains a virus, later known as the “Tetch Virus”, which eventually the Court grab hold of and use against Gotham. Mooney uses Strange to create a cure against the virus. Meanwhile, Bruce’s clone is adopted by the secret organisation the Court of Owls while the real Bruce is told to find Ra’s al Ghul, aka the Demon’s Head, to one day become Gotham’s destined Dark Knight. Bruce decides to become a masked vigilante, with support from his butler Alfred.
In the fourth season, Cobblepot establishes a new law of “licensed crime” allowing him to dominate the criminal underworld while Bruce attempts to rid the city of crime as a masked vigilante. Meanwhile, Jonathan Crane embraces his fear-mongering “Scarecrow” persona while Jerome Valeska forms a cabal of criminals to plunge Gotham into anarchy. After Jerome is killed, his twin brother Jeremiah becomes insane and follows into Jerome’s footsteps. Later, Ra’s and Jeremiah manage to render Gotham into a No Man’s Land.
In the fifth and final season, Gordon and his allies attempt to restore Gotham with the help of his old army companion Eduardo Dorrance. Dorrance is converted into the superhuman “Bane”, by Ra’s daughter Nyssa, who takes command of the military. Meanwhile, Bruce has his final confrontation with Jeremiah. Bruce leaves Gotham for extensive training while Jeremiah is sent to Arkham. Eventually, the military turn on Bane and Gotham is restored. Gordon is promoted to Commissioner of the GCPD.
A decade later, Bruce returns as a bat-dressed vigilante. Jeremiah, now known as “J”, escapes Arkham and kidnaps Jim’s daughter but is rescued by the vigilante. Afterward, Gordon shines a spotlight on top of GCPD grabbing the attention of the vigilante, whom Jim calls a “friend”.
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