Fall TV Preview

Gotham's Ben McKenzie: Beasts and a Beauty Will Pull Jim From a Dark Place

When last we tuned into Fox’s Gotham, Jim Gordon was a man on a mission, having emerged from the myriad dangers of Hugo Strange’s lab with a determination to find and win back the woman he loves, Dr. Leslie Thompkins.

Alas, that romantic mission went sideways, hard, it is revealed in the very first frames of the Season 3 premiere (airing Monday at 8/7c).

As a result, “He’s obviously not in a great place” when the action subsequently jumps forward six months, Ben McKenzie tells TVLine. “Jim had gotten a certain amount of clarity, ironically, at the hands of Hugo Strange, and he was really going to find Lee (Morena Baccarin) and bring her back. gotham-season-3-leeWhen that didn’t happen, it really crushed him. So he’s now in an aimless, dark place — but ‘dark’ in a ‘bachelor lifestyle’ kind of way.”

Meaning, what is of utmost important to him as the new season unfolds is “getting the money to get the booze to drink to dull the pain,” McKenzie offers. “That’s where he’s at.”

That bender-fueling income now comes from his work as a bounty hunter, someone who’s willing and able to go the extra mile to corral the assorted beasts unleashed during the mass Indian Hill escape, led by Fish Mooney. That new gig will put him slightly at odds with (though his services are privately appreciated by) his old pals at the GCPD.

Jim and Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) share “kind of grudging respect” under this new arrangement, says McKenzie. “When your friend wants to go off on a bender, you let him go for a certain ways until it gets really, really bad. So Harvey’s just letting Jim do his thing. They’re both adult enough to let each other have that space.”

It is at Jim’s watering gotham-season-3-jim-valeriehole-in-the-wall of choice, after collecting his latest bounty, that he is tracked down by and makes the acquaintance of Valerie Vale, played by Once Upon a Time‘s Jamie Chung. Being an intrepid newshound, Valerie has leads Jim could use in pursuing his Moby Dick — meaning, Fish Mooney. But in trade, Ms. Vale insists on tagging along, for better or for worse.

“Jim likes that she’s so aggressive, that she’s so unapologetic,” McKenzie says of the duo’s instant spark. “She almost literally slaps him back into taking stock of his life, and that’s something that a guy in his position can appreciate.”

Gordon has best sober up good and quick, because despite his efforts, the monster menace isn’t abating, especially given the special “power” Fish acquired under Strange’s care, and her desperation to keep it.

“Jim may be at a low point, but the greater goings-on in Gotham with the monsters, the near total anarchy that has manifested, means he’s not going to be able to stay out of it for too long,” shares his portrayer. “He will have to get his feet back in the fire and get back on that horse.”

Yet perhaps just when Gordon is getting his groove back, a fresh wound will be agitated by the return of a very pretty, familiar face.

“He’s got many battles to fight this year, including a battle for the one he loves,” McKenzie previews, adding with a wink: “People dont stat out of Gotham for very long, you’ll see relatively soon!”

VIDEO: Gotham Shocker! Who Will Turn Into [Spoiler]?

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9 Comments
  1. justtobesane says:

    I know most people think Barbara or Fish are the worst part of the show, but I already think the Jim/Lee/Valerie story line is the worst. Although I am excited to see Jamie Chung back on my TV. Hopefully it’s better than I am imagining.

    • downside says:

      I have to say that I agree with the “most people” when it comes to Fish. I literally have to mute or hit FF. If any of her scenes are with Ben McKenzie/Gordon this season (before she hopefully makes a speedy exit), I may have to make an exemption, but it won’t be easy. For me, she was the albatross of the 1st season and time just dragged and was wasted. At least Barbara’s story improved last year, although the problem this show has is trying to juggle too many characters and stories in each episode. The ones that have worked best, such as the prison episode, for example, followed one main story, Gordon’s, with input from Harvey and those essential to him, and then a secondary with Penguin and essential supporting characters.

      Ben Mckenzie always gives very articulate breakdowns, so his description of Gordon as someone who has had one purpose since childhood when he saw his father killed, and then served first in the military and then the GCPD when he was old enough, has had his world turned upside down. It makes sense that someone dedicated to helping others and making a difference protecting and serving in uniform who has watched how the world becomes worse and more hopeless, not better, would be thrown after making that his life from childhood. Doing for others and also losing his child, fiancee and what was his family in the process would leave him questioning everything and with nothing left, except being alive and having his freedom back at a high price. People have broken down completely and permanently from far less. I’m curious to see what the writers do with this and what kind of opportunities that means for Ben McKenzie to show Gordon as so compromised and distressed.

    • Yeah, I don’t see why Gotham decided to become a complex love drama. Jim, Barbara, Lee, Valerie, Tabitha, Butch, Mario Falcone, too much man. Not excited for this at all. I also hope Fish is taken care of in the first two episodes and Penguin eats her or something so she can never return. I’ll be disappointed if she stays as a recurring villain this season. The show doesn’t need her, it was better without her.

  2. downside says:

    As much as i like Ben and Morena and i think that just about anyone with a pulse should have chemistry with Ben McKenzie because he’s so charismatic and develops such compelling characters, what really bothers me is how quickly Lee became involved with someone else and without a word first about the baby who was Jim’s as well, or her decision. He deserved to know about their child at the very least and to know from her. He might have wanted to spare her pain and let her choose what to do until he knew if he had a chance at surviving any time in prison or having his case reopened, but she wasn’t the one fighting for that or even keeping tabs. That was Harvey. Then it was Jim who wanted to do what was best for Lee and clear his name to try to rebuild without compromising her. While he did that for her so that she would be safe before connecting again to let her decide, she was on to the next. She didn’t waste any time, which has me guessing if she really cared about him or was it more about a baby she saw as hers. Any opinion about her character’s character has gone down several notches, and I always saw her as judgmental and hypocritical as much as I like them together.

    • Whatever says:

      Not sure whether it was Morna’s real life pregnacy got in the way or they can’t fit everything in, I was expecting a bit more from the way the showrunners were talking about the great timing last year. Like in real life, no one can really judge when is the best time to start a new relationship, beside Jim was the one that gave up on the relationship so he can fight the fight to protect her, and Lee did avoid him at the end, with only Harvey’s word that the baby was lost. This new relationship may be just a rebound to get over Jim or the new guy is that wonderful, I mean he is suppose to be the black sheep of the Falcon family, he may not take no for an answer :-)

      • downside says:

        I’m not sure what you mean about the RL pregnancy, but the plan, according to producers, was to have Lee pregnant before/without Morena being pregnant. It was pure coincidence. John Stephens and Bruno Heller and others have stressed that Jim didn’t “give up on the relationship,” but wanted to let her know that she didn’t have to wait for him, taking into account that he easily could have been killed and killed soon in prison (as was the plan from inmates and the warden), and that he had no way of knowing when or if he’d have a chance at justice. Whatever the truth about the baby is, we’re supposed to believe that the baby is dead, so the fact that she told the father nothing and “rebounded” in a couple of months, as in what sounds like maybe 2 or 3 would be very fast for just a much less committed and superficial relationship, not an engagement and family that was being created and supposedly loving someone and standing by him. That’s very troubling. Everything going on with Jim would be public knowledge, so that struggle after prison would be very available to her. With Jim trying to do what he could to assure Lee first before putting her in a position of danger or not offering her the best possible, it’s disappointing to have her conveniently leaving what should have been very important behind ASAP. So, yeah, fictional character, but Lee isn’t someone I could respect. Just my 2 cents and maybe it’s not based on full info.

  3. Cas says:

    Not wanting a love triangle. I am in the minority that I don’t mind Fish. With that said, I would be thrilled if Lee didn’t come back. I am just really not a fan of her character. I am undecided on the actress as well. But I love Barbara. She is entertaining and fun. I hope she gets to stick around more

  4. Hodan says:

    I love Fish. She and Barb entertain me a lot.

  5. Joey Padron says:

    Good preview of new season from Ben. Excited to watch season premiere tonight! Looking forward to see how Jim does as a bounty hunter.