Jerome Valeska is not the Joker, that much has been made clear. What Jerome has become however, is the single most talked-about villain in the history of Gotham, and one of the biggest influences on the show's current narrative.
This guy is a beloved character amongst the loyal fan base of Gotham, so it may be a surprise to learn that Jerome was supposed to be gone a long time ago. According to Gotham star Ben McKenzie, it was the electrifying performance from Cameron Monaghan that turned the character into the phenomenon that he is today.
During a recent Q&A, McKenzie was asked about the most recent episode of Gotham, "A Dark Knight: One of My Three Soups," which he directed. It wasn't long before the subject of Jerome was brought up, which is when McKenzie revealed the character's almost brief history.
"Well, you know Cameron came in the middle of season one, as a what we kind of all originally thought might just be a one-off, you know the precursor to a Joker but not necessarily the Joker," he said. "He was so magnetic and so unbelievably committed that we just felt like we had to go further, there was more that he could do certainly and much more we could get out of the character. Now we are in the end of the season is, this just sort of kicks it off, but it becomes even more a story of his Machiavellian plans to either take over Gotham or destroy it trying."
McKenzie continued by talking about working with Monaghan, praising the performance that the actor has delivered, and just how much he appreciated the opportunity to direct a show that he's become such a part of.
"It was really fun to work with him as an actor," said McKenzie. "I have obviously seen what he has been able to do and so as a director, and this applies not just to him, but to all the actors, what I really I want to do is give them room to do what they want to do. Give them a lot more feedback than I think they are used to getting, because I think of journeymen directors come in and they have a lot of other things going on and they are trying quite frankly to get up to speed initially because they just [directed an episode of] Lucifer and now they are coming on to Gotham and those shows are a little bit different. They got a lot going on. Plus, they don't want to piss anybody off. I know that I am not going to piss them off, because I know what traps to not get into and how to talk to people because we have a great cast. That was really fun. Working with Cameron was definitely one of the highlights of the episode."
There will be plenty more Jerome as the final six episodes of Gotham continue to unfold. He's out of Arkham Asylum, he's got a dangerous team of villains behind him, and, as McKenzie said, he's ready to destroy Gotham by any means necessary.
How do you feel about Cameron Monaghan's performance as Jerome? Are you ready to see more of him this season? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
New episodes of Gotham air on Thursday nights at 8pm ET on FOX.