Ben McKenzie knows that Jim Gordon has fallen a long way on Gotham, but the actor almost explains things for the character. You can see, when talking to McKenzie, his love and hope for Gordon, and his desire for him to set things right.
"Jim's doing what he has to do," McKenzie told ComicBook.com in an interview, looking almost pleadingly while saying it, as if trying to convince himself. "Some of that involves this notion of having a public face and a private reality, which is key to the whole Batman mythos," he says, trying to explain away Gordon's copious lies of late.
A lot of the character's biggest problems come in how he's not just lying to his colleagues, or to those in the Gotham underground, but now he's lying to his fiancée, Leslie "Lee" Thompkins. That's all going to come to a head soon, and McKenzie, who is expecting a child with his on-screen paramour, actress Morena Baccarin, off screen, knows it's going to be bad. So is it different when he lies to Lee, as opposed to Captain Barnes or anyone else?
"It ought to be! It ought to feel as though he’s walking this tight-rope, and the rope is swaying beneath him, so he’s going wherever it’s taking him, and he’s nearly out of control. At some point, you fall, and that’s where we're heading," the actor said. "Lee, at the end of the day, is his heart, his home. When shit hits the fan there, it’s devastating to him. The professional life – you don’t want to let your boss down, and Harvey’s his bro, he’s always going to be cool, but at home, that’s going to be tough."
The newest challenge for Jim Gordon, whom he'll face for the first time tonight, is Professor Hugo Strange, and it's going to get ugly fast.
"The Wrath of the Villains works [as a subtitle]," he assured us after laughing about it being "not just a marketing gimmick!" "You’re going to see, what Hugo Strange is up to is no good, and that will have hell to pay on Gotham and all of the villains and the formation of their identities," McKenzie teased.
Jim's fall has been sharp and fast, culminating in the murder of Theo Galavan in the mid-season finale. And so, I asked once again, can James Gordon still be redeemed?
"We don’t want him to get to the point where he’s irredeemable. I think he’s close to as far as we can take him right now, as far as what he’s done. Now it’s living with it, and paying the price, coming to terms with who he is now and what that means," he explained. "It’s hard to talk about it exactly, because the episodes will explain it to you moving forward. He didn’t just go outside and cap a random street thug for fun – he killed the most powerful evil villain in the city because he felt like he had to. If he put him in handcuffs again, he thought he’d just escape; the legal system has failed him, and he thought he was doing whatever it takes. I hope he’s not irredeemable, but he certainly should be dirty, should be compromised."
Ultimately, things are going to be difficult, the lies will catch up (sooner than you may think), and Jim is going to have to make some tough choices.
"This can’t work out well. It’s a tragedy, so everything is sort of doomed on a certain level," McKenzie warns. "But redemption is around every corner as well, so that’s what we’re clinging to. At the end of the day, the heroes have to get up in the morning and fight off the evil once again."
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX. Jim Gordon meets Hugo Strange for the first time tonight, on "A Dead Man Feels No Cold."