That is the premise of the new Fox TV show Gotham. Created by Bruno Heller, the man behind other shows such as The Mentalist and Rome, and starring Ben McKenzie, of Southland and The O.C., the show follows future commissioner James Gordon and his attempts to fight evil in a very bad city. It will tell the story of all the elements in Gotham City that eventually brought Batman to become what he is, the genesis of the criminals, the city and Bruce Wayne himself.
The opener starts with the back alley shooting that would make an orphan of the future Caped Crusader and serves as a jumping off point for the series. Rookie James Gordon is paired with Harvey Bullock to solve the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents Thomas and Martha. Gordon meets the young Bruce, who is in the care of the family butler Alfred and, from that, he feels c0ompelled to catch the culprit. The show is a dark-noir-esque take on the universe and, while keeping hardcore fans happy, Heller’s handling of the show and the overall look of it will definitely appeal to viewers less familiar with the comics. The pilot was shot in New York City and sounds like it will play as much like a Mickey Spillane novel as anything else.
Heller purposely and specifically sought Ben McKenzie to play the future Commissioner Gordon. He wrote the part with McKenzie in mind and rewrote it after conducting discussions with the actor. Heller also has stated that each season will focus thematically on one of Gotham’s great villains, making it all the more appealing to watch as the fabled baddies of the universe are shown how they came to be what they are.
Gotham was given a straight-to-series order by Fox and its first season will contain 16 episodes. It is scheduled to premiere September 22nd.