'Black Lightning': Why Is Gambi Lying?

Tonight's episode of Black Lightning saw Freeland and its titular hero dealing with a new threat [...]

Tonight's episode of Black Lightning saw Freeland and its titular hero dealing with a new threat in the form of a mysterious and dangerous new drug, but it also revealed some questionable behavior on the part of one of Black Lightning's strongest allies -- Peter Gambi.

Spoilers for tonight's episode of Black Lightning, "Black Jesus", below.

Last week, fans saw Gambi (James Remar) deleting video footage that revealed Tobias Whale (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III) as the person who shot into the crowd during the anti-gang march and injured both the minister and Jennifer's (China Ann McClaine) boyfriend Khalil. While it was a curious act, tonight Gambi went even further. This time he deleted video footage of Anissa (Nafessa Williams) using her powers to fight, lies to Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) about it, and then goes out on his own to investigate. If Gambi is supposed to be Jefferson's closest friend and ally what is with the lying?

The answer to that could lie in the character's comic book history. In comics, Gambi was a mob hitman in his youth and is responsible for the death of Jefferson's father. Gambi later retired from his life of crime, opened a tailor shop, and became friend and confidant to Jefferson, and helped him become Black Lightning. Later, Jefferson discovers the truth of Gambi's involvement with his father's death, but Gambi throws himself in front of a bullet intended for the hero with the act serving as penance. Jefferson ultimately forgave Gambi.

On Black Lightning, Jefferson's father has a different death. Based on the official character description, Tobias was once a rising politician. However, his career was propelled by illegal and corrupt means, and he was brought down by journalist Alvin Pierce, father of a young Jefferson. Enraged at being brought down by Alvin, Tobias murdered him before disappearing. This is the story as Jefferson knows it.

However, it's possible that Gambi had a hand in Alvin's death on Black Lightning as he did in canon, which might explain why Gambi is being shady. It's also possible that Gambi is manipulating the truth by deleting video evidence as a way to keep Black Lightning focused on his return. Gambi has been 100-percent behind Jefferson returning to his heroic vigilante ways for a long time, even before events of the series. It's possible that Gambi simply wants Jefferson to stay focused on being Black Lightning and taking down The 100 instead of diverting his focus to go after Tobias again.

The idea that Gambi could be lying to keep Jefferson focused fits what Remar told ComicBook.com about his character and how he has Jefferson's "best interests" at heart, albeit in a way that differs from how Jefferson's ex, Lynn (Christine Adams) does.

"[Lynn]'s got her point of view and I've got mine, and in some ways, they work at cross purposes, but we both have Jefferson Pierce's best interests at heart," Remar said. "Once again, it could be a wife or a mother saying, 'I don't want my kid to play tackle football,' and yet the coach is saying, 'But he loves it. It makes him happy.' He's not going to do anything that would make him do. So, they do have different points of view, but they are bonded by the fact that they both love the guy."

Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.