Gotham Scoop: Southland's Ben McKenzie Lands Lead Role in Fox's Batman Origin Series

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Ben Mckenzie GothamWelcome to Gotham, bitch!

Southland/O.C. vet Ben McKenzie will play the lead role of a young Commissioner Detective James Gordon in Fox’s upcoming Batman origin series, TVLine has learned.

RELATED | Pilot Season 2014: Scoop on This Fall’s (Possible) New Shows and Who’s Starring In Them

Exec-produced and penned by The Mentalist‘s Bruno Heller, the one-hour drama promises to explore the origin stories of Commissioner Gordon and the DC Comics villains that made Gotham famous.

Last month at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Fox president Kevin Reilly confirmed that Gotham will also follow a young Bruce Wayne’s journey to becoming Batman.

“This is all of the classic Batman characters, with a young Bruce Wayne, the Penguin, the Riddler [and] how they came to be,” he explained. “What events led up to [someone] becoming Catwoman…. all with Gotham teetering on the edge.

“This is not some adjunct companion series,” he added. “This is the Batman franchise, just backing it up [in chronology].”

Thoughts on the casting? Vote in the poll below then elaborate in the comments!



Comments (83)

  • The irony was that he was Batman in animated version of Batman: Year One.

    Comment by Laura – February 8, 2014 02:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That had occurred to me as well. Between that role and his time as a cop on Southland, he seems pretty well prepared to take on Gotham.

      Comment by wordsmith – February 8, 2014 02:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t think you know what irony means. It’s a coincidence, not irony.

      Comment by JohnG – February 8, 2014 03:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • True. Casting Mark Hamill, AKA the definitive voice of the Joker, as James Gordon would have been ironic. Also casting Mark Hamill as a YOUNG James Gordon.

        Comment by wordsmith – February 8, 2014 03:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Actually, I believe it’s neither irony nor coincidence. Being part of the Batman Universe before is likely one of the reasons he got the job. Well, I am intrigued.

        Comment by wingsstef – February 8, 2014 04:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Happy for Ben but I will probably skip this since I am not a Batman fan.

    Comment by Jen – February 8, 2014 02:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Nice casting! I think he is well suited for the role, I hope the pilot gets picked up it has a lot potential.

    Comment by spindae2 – February 8, 2014 02:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t think it’s a pilot is it? I’m sure it’s already been ordered to series

      Comment by Katie T – February 8, 2014 03:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • According to tvline’s pilot site, it’s not.

        Comment by spindae2 – February 8, 2014 03:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You’re right, Katie T. When Gotham was first announced, they said it was ordered straight to series. We can expect at least 13 episodes to begin airing this fall.

        Comment by alistaircrane – February 9, 2014 08:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Thanks Alistair. Knew I’d read it somewhere that it was going straight to series

          Comment by Katie T – February 9, 2014 12:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am cautiously optimistic about this choice. Secretly, I love it — but I’m not willing to commit to that publicly yet… The only question I have: which future Batman rogue will Adam Brody play?

    Comment by Virgil – February 8, 2014 02:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Mock if you want, but I could actually see him pulling off an interesting take on a pre-facepaint Joker – he’s got the right build and facial structure, and that sort of manic, twitchy energy. Riddler or Scarecrow would also be strong possibilities.

      Comment by wordsmith – February 8, 2014 02:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love this casting – even though I’m still not sure about this show.

    Comment by Brett – February 8, 2014 02:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Also love the casting… I hope that the show will be good.

      Comment by shuayb – February 8, 2014 11:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really wanted him back on tv, he is a great actor!

    Comment by Kreshb, Sweden – February 8, 2014 02:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • AWWW **** :)

    Comment by Adam Gri Bramble – February 8, 2014 02:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • He is such an underrated talent! Great casting!

    Comment by Lauren – February 8, 2014 02:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This might’ve been the only way to snare me into Gotham.

    Comment by Esaul – February 8, 2014 02:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If only it was a CW series, then we could actually get a small screen Justice League, with Arrow and the up coming The Flash series. Also, it would probably have a better chance of lasting more than 1 season on the CW.

    Comment by Kate – February 8, 2014 02:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You never know – Buffy and Angel crossed over regularly despite being on separate networks, though the lack of writers’ room synergy here makes this a little different.
      As for its survival chances, I’d say that Fox is just as safe a bet as the CW – with Sleepy Hollow and Almost Human, Gotham is very much within their current brand.

      Comment by wordsmith – February 8, 2014 03:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Buffy and Angel never crossed over when they were on different networks until the very end when Buffy was ending it’s run was Angel alowed to show up! The Faith crossover doesn’t count becuase Eliza Dushku was not a regular cast member of either show!

        Comment by Jason – February 8, 2014 08:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Why would that not count? A crossover is still a crossover even if it isn’t a regular character. Also, Willow totally pops up in Angel season 4, and as you mentioned, Angel is in the Buffy finale.

          Comment by wordsmith – February 8, 2014 08:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They wouldn’t cross over even if it were on the same network, Gotham is a period piece per say with young Gordon and even younger Bruce Wayne, while as far as I am aware Batman is already Batman in Arrow, and soon to be the Flash.

      Comment by Mike R. – February 8, 2014 06:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Thus far, I don’t think they’ve even acknowledged that Gotham exists in the Arrow/Flash TV universe, much less Batman.

        Comment by wordsmith – February 8, 2014 08:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Well they acknowledged Bludhaven which is the home of Dick Grayson who is Robin….so it does exist..

          Comment by Raj (@ClearHeatVision) – February 8, 2014 09:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • They also mentioned Coast City, home of Green Lantern, but I’m betting he’s not going to be part of their canon, so I don’t think your premise is valid.

            Comment by wordsmith – February 9, 2014 01:49 AM PDT  
        • I doubt the CW are allowed to reference Batman without the rights, much like how The Avengers had to ignore Spiderman’s existence.

          Comment by Vincent Ventrevski – February 9, 2014 12:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Eh, that’s iffy. The Avengers ignored Spider-Man despite them being filmed simultaneously by the same studio. With parody law, a show could easily reference anything.

            Comment by B – February 10, 2014 11:02 PM PDT  
          • Even though Spider-Man and The Avengers are both Marvel, the movies were not made by the same studio. The Spider-Man movies, including the newer Amazing Spider-Man series are made by Sony. Where as The Avengers is a Marvel Studios movie. It’s a movie rights issue. The reason Agents S,H.I.E.L.D can’t stay the word “mutant” has too do with Fox and their movie rights with The X-Men.

            Comment by wingsstef – February 11, 2014 01:28 AM PDT  
  • Happy for him, he was really solid during his time on the so underrated great gem that was Southland. Too bad he’s in a series that I have zero interest to watch, this is such a money hungy overdone concept, enough with the ‘origins’ stories out of comic books.

    Comment by Vinicius – February 8, 2014 02:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’d still like to know when the series is set. The 70′s, the 80′s, the 90′s, or today.

    Comment by Michael Sacal – February 8, 2014 03:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Good question, I imagine 90s since Bruce is 10ish

      Comment by Mike R. – February 8, 2014 06:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • If he’s 10ish, that sets it in the 00′s. You’re not the only one who feels like the 90′s were 10 years ago, heh.

        Comment by Michael Sacal – February 8, 2014 07:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Hmm… but wasn’t Bruce closer to 30 when he became Batman? It could still be 90s. Since the show said the show ends when he becomes Batman, I was wondering if they will occasionally swap out Batmans depending one format. Just speculation. When I think that 1994 was really twenty years ago, I blink. I don’t feel that I am old but when I think back realize I was in 8th grade twenty years ago, it still seems crazy to me. Ha ha.

          Comment by wingsstef – February 8, 2014 09:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Bruce may be 27 when he becomes Batman, so yeah, close to 30. If he’s 12 now, he was born in 2002 and would become Batman in 2029.

            Comment by Michael Sacal – February 9, 2014 05:30 AM PDT  
          • True, but I was basing on now being the era when Batman would be 40ish like the upcoming movie. I could be totally wrong, of course. Like I a said, just a theory.

            Comment by wingsstef – February 9, 2014 08:39 AM PDT  
          • Bruce will be 40ish but he’ll have been Batman for a considerable amount of time. He’s not just now becoming Batman.

            Comment by Michael Sacal – February 9, 2014 08:56 AM PDT  
          • I know the 40ish Batman in the upcoming movie is supposed to an established Batman. I was going on the theory that the Gotham series would be take place in the movie’s “past”. Maybe I read the above quote wrong.

            Comment by wingsstef – February 11, 2014 01:42 AM PDT  
          • nope it has nothing to do with the movies, warner brothers various different divisions have had nothing to do with each other in the development of their tv shows and movies; i would be very surprised to see their movies and films connected at this stage.

            Comment by Alan – February 11, 2014 12:23 PM PDT  
  • i would have had no interest in checking this show out, but with ben mckenzie as the lead? sign me up!

    Comment by e – February 8, 2014 03:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can see his Detective Gordon growing into Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon.

    Great choice!

    Comment by Sheldon W. – February 8, 2014 03:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • love him but who’s Batman??? why isnt HE batman?

    Comment by Curt – February 8, 2014 03:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Finally I have Ryan Atwood back on my screen again :) You have been missed my dear boy

    Comment by Karen – February 8, 2014 03:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Southland…?

      Comment by A – February 8, 2014 07:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Not everyone likes cop shows. I loved the OC, but ain’t no way I was gonna watch Southland!

        Comment by alistaircrane – February 9, 2014 08:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • and I enjoyed Twilight, but ain’t no way I’m reading any Shakespeare.

          Comment by Vincent Ventrevski – February 9, 2014 12:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Awesome casting!! I hope the casting of young bruce wayne is just as awesome.

    Comment by CBWBDK1 – February 8, 2014 03:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Definitely think this could work. I’ll be looking forward to it for sure.

    Comment by Joey – February 8, 2014 03:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m so happy for him, he’s always been a down-to-earth, humble and all around cool dude (see also his newest tweet: “All I can promise is I will do my best not to screw this up. Can’t wait to get to work.”) Will definitely be watching this now that he’s in.

    Comment by jimbo – February 8, 2014 03:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Right there with you on all of the above!

      Comment by swedes – February 11, 2014 12:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seth Cohen will probably commit suicide when he heard about Ryan Atwood as the new Jim Gordon.

    Comment by Fernanda – February 8, 2014 03:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yet another actor who I would have preferred as Batman over Affleck… though I think I’ve seen this guy in maybe one movie a long time ago.
    Bottom line is that there are very few people who would have been a worse choice than Affleck.
    As for him playing Gordon… okay. I can see it in his look, but I will have to see about the acting.

    Comment by Drew – February 8, 2014 03:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh, and I agree that is is stupid to put this on a network the is completely isolated from the other DC shows. DC owns the comic book tv market but instead of building one giant machine, they’re scattering their energy. Why? Fox may get to more tv screens and Batman is a bigger name, but is it worth weakening the overall DC universe?

      Comment by Drew – February 8, 2014 03:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Exciting news! I seriously cannot wait for this show!

    Comment by Jillian – February 8, 2014 03:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “This is not some adjunct companion series,” he added. “This is the Batman franchise, just backing it up [in chronology].”

    That impressed me the most… Don’t re-boot the Batman mythology for me, give me something we haven’t had yet. TV is the perfect vehicle for this kind of project, but the casting of the young Bruce Wayne will be just as key as the lead actor.

    Comment by Jason – February 8, 2014 04:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Anyone who doubts this casting should watch Ben in Southland. Nuff said

    Comment by Talia – February 8, 2014 04:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great news, or GREATEST news?! :)

    Comment by CJ – February 8, 2014 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great news! Happy Ben is coming back to TV after Southland sadly ended. He was great as voice of Bruce/Batman in Batman: Year One animated movie. I think he’ll do great as James Gordon on show.

    Comment by Joey – February 8, 2014 06:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’d never watch a Gotham-Batman kind of series, but Ben McKenzie as the lead? Won’t miss. Excellent that he’s got the lead. After the Heller pilot Ben made last year didn’t go to series, this had better make up for it!

    Comment by Teejay – February 8, 2014 07:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Now you have my attention.

    Comment by David4 – February 8, 2014 09:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A Gotham-Batman early years was touted to execs of CW a little over ten yrs. ago and was passed up in favor of the back-up, being obviously, the equally and more popular “SMALLVILLE”. I put that in big caps to show that Gotham has some shoes to fill and viewers to grapple hook and make smile like the Joker if they want to last ten seasons or close to it. It will definitely be much harder to create the villains before they were bad or good as in Catwoman’s case at times. The main concern is what about Robin, surely they wouldn’t attempt to bring him in before Bruce Wayne becomes the Batman which will mostly likely happen in the last season during the last episodes of the entire show. Then again bringing in Lois Lane early for SMALLVILLE work so maybe Robin early will work too assuming he’s out of his diapers, lol. Yeah and the execs do know “following chronology” does not mean follow it to the letter “T”. You have to re-order events and re-arrange comic plots to work for the show. I just hope they realize that. Ya know take example from SMALLVILLE but please Fox be original, altogether if possible. If Bones is any indications of Fox’s lasting success then Gotham will have us donning capes, swinging on ropes and throwing bat-er-rangs at evil doers.

    Comment by Wayne Adney Capehart – February 8, 2014 09:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You lost the argument when you held up Smallville as the example of how to do a superhero series… I’m sure you meant Arrow.

      Comment by Vincent Ventrevski – February 9, 2014 12:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I forgot to say that despite my mention of Superman or should I say one of his shows…I actually am inspired by Batman and recognize him as my comicbook icon. i just feel a connection to him period.

    Comment by Wayne Adney Capehart – February 8, 2014 09:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m still trying to get my head around the concept of a young Jim Gordon, but I love this casting, so will check it out if it becomes a series.

    Comment by TinLV – February 8, 2014 10:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was going to tune in to see Gothham regardless, but with Ben McKenize signed on you’ve definitely got my attention. Very happy to see him back on the small screen. (RIP Southland)

    Comment by Andrew D – February 8, 2014 10:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • nice casting, shame they are still going with a pre-batman gotham though, i would much rather seeing a series about the cops who work in gotham having to deal with the fact that a guy in a costume is better at doing their job than them; also so many batman villains have origins that tie into batman being on the scene that having to change them to suit this will suck.

    Comment by Alan – February 9, 2014 05:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great casting, but I wonder if CBS wanted him for the role of Agent Lasalle on NCIS NOLA and that is the reason that role is the only one that has not been cast yet. Benjamin would have been good on that as well, but maybe he didn’t want to be tied down to anything more than 13 episodes a year?

    Comment by ragincajun – February 9, 2014 05:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have never been more excited about a new show as I am for Gotham! I guess, though, with this casting, we won’t be seeing Barbara Gordon unless she’s a toddler.

    Comment by alistaircrane – February 9, 2014 06:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • we wont be seeing anyone recognisable from the comics because they are all too young for the timeline of the show.

      Comment by Alan – February 9, 2014 06:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Yeah. No one. No one at all.

        Comment by b – February 9, 2014 08:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • ……right.

        Comment by alistaircrane – February 9, 2014 08:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “This is not some adjunct companion series,” he added. “This is the Batman franchise, just backing it up [in chronology].”
    Dig at SHIELD much? Love it, Shield sucks.

    Comment by b – February 9, 2014 08:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • But Shield does not suck. *wink* Though, to be fair Marvel has often tried to “trick” people in reading other titles in their elaborate crossovers. I like Batman, but admit I am more a Marvel Universe girl.

      Comment by wingsstef – February 9, 2014 08:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Shield is getting better every week. I know few shows which were brilliant out of the gate (not counting Firefly or AD)

        Comment by Vincent Ventrevski – February 9, 2014 12:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope they follow the Year One storyline and depict his affair with Sarah Essen. Also crossing my fingers we’ll see Renee Montoya and Harvey Bullock as part of the GCPD.

    Comment by alistaircrane – February 9, 2014 08:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • if they do year one it will have to be about 15 years into the show when the kid they cast as bruce wayne is finally old enough to stop looking laughable in a batsuit.

      Comment by Alan – February 9, 2014 10:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I guess you’ve never watched a tv show based on a movie or series of books before. They aren’t going to do direct adaptations of particular stories. They will likely take elements from a variety of Batman stories, along with their own ideas, to craft Gotham. Gordon’s affair with Essen can easily be a first-season storyline, and ought to be, as it’s essential to Gordon’s character.

        Comment by alistaircrane – February 9, 2014 11:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Awesome! McKenzie has been one of my favourite actors ever since Ryan Atwood.

    Comment by EJ386 – February 9, 2014 08:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love Ben so I may check it out.

    Comment by sarah – February 10, 2014 09:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love, love, love Benjie M.!!!

    Comment by NYCer4Life – February 19, 2014 06:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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