Series / Gotham

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Rise of the Villainsnote 

"There is a war coming. A terrible war. There will be chaos. Rivers of blood in the street. I know it! I can see it coming!"
Oswald Cobblepot; narration used in the opening credits

A series that started in 2014 on FOX, chronicling the story of a younger James Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie), an idealistic rookie detective for the Gotham City Police Department, before the Batman and his colorful Rogues Gallery rise to fruition. In fact, his first case is investigating the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, the future Batman's parents.

Gordon's partner is the slovenly, semi-corrupt Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), while the rest of the cast is rounded out by a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), still reeling from the death of his parents; his butler and guardian Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee), trying to be a father to him; Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), right hand man to mob boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith); and Gordon's fiancée, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards).

One of three live-action DC Comics shows to premiere in 2014, along with The CW's The Flash and NBC's Constantine, though being on different networks makes crossovers unlikely.

The first trailer can be viewed here.

This series provides examples of:

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    # - C 
  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • In "What the Little Bird Told Him", Carmine Falcone briefly contemplates giving into Fish Mooney's demand that he relinquish control of the Mob and leave Gotham, in return for Liza being returned to him safely. He changes his mind after Cobblepot tells him that Liza is a mole for Fish.
    • In the opening episode of season two, Harvey has retired from the police and opened a bar. He comes back in the next episode after Essen's murder.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • Subverted for the Wayne Killer arc; it essentially disappears after the first half of Season 1, but returns in full force midway through Season 2.
    • Also during Season 1, the importance of the Arkham deal goes nowhere.
    • Late in Season 1, the corrupt members of Wayne Enterprises seem to have something sinister planned for Bruce, given Reggie Payne's line "Now's the time to make a move on the kid." Whatever this "move" was, the writers apparently dropped it.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • In the pilot, the Pepper household is not a happy home. Ivy's plant obsession appears to be fueled by a need for escapism. Her mother looks like she has recently been punched hard in the eye. Not to mention Ivy's whispered description of her father: "He's mean!"
    • Barbara claims her parents subjected her to verbal abuse, neglect, and a generally miserable childhood. And indeed, when she visits them in "What the Little Bird Told Him", they do not look at all happy to see her. This is what eventually drives her to murder them (with some pushing from the Ogre). One can only take this with a grain of salt, however, thanks to Barbara's habit of making things sound worse than they were or transfer blame of her own mistakes to make herself appear to be the victim.
    • Not parents, but Firefly's older half-brothers treat her like crap and are the closest thing to guardians she has.
  • Adaptation Distillation/Pragmatic Adaptation: Borrows elements from various aspects and interpretations of the Batman mythos to create a new unique universe.
    • A lot of elements have been borrowed from Batman: Year One, such as Carmine Falcone's rule over Gotham and Jim Gordon being a new GCPD officer discovering the nexus between the corrupt department and the Mob.
    • The idea of a war between the Falcone and Maroni families, and the instability in Gotham leading to the emergence of 'freaks' might have been taken from The Long Halloween.
    • The possibility of the Wayne murders being an assassination disguised as a mugging-gone-wrong dates back to a story from the 1950's titled "The First Batman".
    • Alfred's portrayal is heavily influenced by his depiction in Batman: Earth One.
    • Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen's partnership is borrowed from Gotham Central.
    • Edward Nygma working for the GCPD is borrowed from what Batman: Arkham Origins revealed about his Arkham Series counterpart prior to becoming The Riddler.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection:
    • The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne has always been the key element in Batman's Origin Story, but on this show it also directly impacts the lives of many of Batman's future allies and enemies:
      • Catwoman witnessed it.
      • Commissioner Gordon and the Riddler investigated it. In the case of Gordon, Batman Begins started a trend where Gordon was at least in the department the night of the Waynes' murder and had the chance to comfort Bruce. Here it was literally at the crime scene.
      • Poison Ivy's father was framed for it and she herself ended up living in the streets as a result.
      • The Penguin's interference in the frame-up set in motion his rise in the Gotham criminal underworld.
      • The murder cleared the path for the development of Venom, the substance that created Bane. Additionally, Wayne Enterprises owns Ace Chemicals, the place where the Joker had his fateful falls into the chemicals, and additionally, Mr. Freeze stole some chemicals there.
      • Hugo Strange was behind it.
    • Also in this continuity, Hugo Strange is involved in Victor Fries' transformation into Mr. Freeze.
  • Adaptational Dye Job:
    • Barbara Kean, a redhead in the comics, is blonde (naturally dark brown) in the show.
    • Sarah Essen's hair color goes from blonde to black, but this is mainly due to her Race Lift.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The show has added new characters, changed some of the existing characters in the Batman mythos, and is mixing/matching various elements from the 75-year-long history of the comic book into this version. The show is relying on Batman: Year One and The Long Halloween for the show's foundation.
    • A notable change is having Selina Kyle at the scene and become the sole witness (other than Bruce) to the Waynes murder thus changing up the dynamic between her and Bruce.
    • The starting point of the conception of this series was the question - "What if Jim Gordon was the detective who investigated the Wayne murders?"
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Poison Ivy's real name has been changed from Pamela Isley to Ivy Pepper.
    • The Dollmaker's real name is now Francis Dulmacher, rather than Anton Schott or Barton Mathis.
    • Subverted with Amygdala, a.k.a. Aaron Helzinger. Season 1's Aaron Danzig initially seems (and was even suggested by press releases) to be this show's version of the character... until the actual Aaron Helzinger is introduced in Season 2.
    • Tigress is named Tabitha Galavan rather than Paula Brooks or Artemis Crock.
    • Firefly is named Bridgit Pike instead of Garfield Lynns.
    • Victor and Nora Fries also get a change, not in the spelling, but the pronunciation of their last name is changed from a homophone of 'freeze' to rhyming with twice.note 
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Most previous adaptations of Alfred Pennyworth depict him as being almost always proper and polite when dealing with others and acting as a Servile Snarker in order to be a counterpoint to Batman's intensity and focus. In this series, Alfred is a much coarser character, speaking flippantly to Gordon and even angrily berating Bruce for disobeying him and putting himself in danger (while still calling the boy "Master"). While atypical, this gruffer portrayal is akin to the depictions of Alfred in Batman: Earth One and Beware the Batman, and is a stressed-out, grieving Alfred dealing with raising a traumatized orphan, rather than the kindly, wise butler he is in adaptations where Bruce is already a grown man.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Oswald Cobblepot has little resemblance to his short Fat Bastard self in the comics (except for a beaky nose). Justified in that he's still quite young at this point, and therefore has plenty of time to grow bald and gain some weight over time.
    • Harvey Bullock was originally very heavyset and slovenly. Donal Logue is much skinnier and mostly just needs a shave.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Edward Nygma (The Riddler) works as a police forensic scientist who likes to speak in riddles. Of course, this is before his Start of Darkness.
    • This show's version of Harvey Bullock has more in common with his Post-Crisis incarnation in the comics, being loyal to Gordon above all and a Knight in Sour Armor, whereas Pre-Crisis he was a corrupt Fat Bastard.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Barbara Kean is bisexual, dating Renee Montoya both before and after her relationship with Jim. She later displays attraction toward both Theo and Tabitha Galavan.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the comics, Sarah Essen was a clean cop, but here, she's a reluctant Dirty Cop.
    • Penguin is more willing to commit bloodshed than other incarnations.
    • Throughout Season 1, Barbara Kean isn't quite as nice as she is in the comics, as she willingly cheats on Gordon with Montoya, and tries to convince Selina that she could use her beauty as a weapon. And at the end of the season, the trope is played completely straight as Barbara becomes an insane murderer, which continues into Season 2.
    • Silver St. Cloud, one of Bruce Wayne's comic book love interests, is on the bad guys' side here, under the allegiance of her uncle, Big Bad Theo Galavan. Her romantic feelings towards Bruce are nothing more than a ruse to keep him vulnerable. At least to begin with.
  • Adorkable: Edward Nygma displays this trait, especially during his romantic plot thread.
  • Adult Fear:
    • In "Lovecraft", Bruce and Selina are on the run from assassins, while Alfred and Jim have no idea where the children have gone and are barely able to contain their frantic worry that they'll be killed.
    • At the self-help group meeting, Crane gets choked up when he speaks of seeing signs that his son may suffer the same crippling fear as himself. While he's actually there to kidnap a new victim rather than be helped, his confession of fear for his son may not be an act.
  • Advertised Extra: Ivy Pepper. Despite appearing in a handful of episodes with a small amount of screentime, she was prominently used in the show's promotional material.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Carmine Falcone and Butch Gilzean are both terribly friendly, mild-mannered gangsters.
    • The child-stealing villains in "Selina Kyle". They talk and act like schoolteachers or children's show hosts from the 1950s. The woman even says "Oh gosh, the cops" when there are no children around to hear them, so it seems genuine.
  • Age Lift:
    • Edward Nygma, Renee Montoya, Crispus Allen, Victor Zsasz, and Harvey Dent are all apparently around Gordon's age. In a strictly faithful adaptation they would be Bruce's age or younger.
    • Oswald Cobblepot remains older than Bruce, but he's now closer to Gordon's age. In Season 2, he states to his father that he is 31 years old.
    • Harvey Bullock and Sarah Essen are older than Gordon rather than younger.
    • Bruce himself is 12 instead of 8 (the age he was in most continuities when his parents died).
    • Carmine Falcone is already quite old at this point. He is played by 70-year-old John Doman, and in his first appearance, he mentions being good friends with Gordon's father. In the comics, he is around this age by the time Batman arrives.
    • While Matches Malone's age was never established in the comics, he was young enough for Bruce to pull a Dead Person Impersonation once Matches died to spy on criminals. Here, he's played by 62-year-old Michael Bowen.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Reggie Payne, Alfred's old army buddy. After he left the army he became a mess, he was reduced to alcoholism and being a drug addict until Wayne Enterprises approached him to inflitrate Wayne Manor and find out how much Bruce has them. But Alfred catches him stealing Bruce's files and in desperation he stabs Alfred. He later tells the WE Board not to go after Bruce. Later when Bruce and Selina find him in a crackhouse he implores Bruce to give up his crusade before he gets killed. It isn't until Selina takes his cache of drugs and that Bruce tells him that he needs to get help that he gets nasty and threatens to tell his bosses at Wayne Enterprises that Bruce is still on to them. Then Selina pushes him out of a window.
      • Made even worse when it's revealed that she didn't need to kill him.
    • Bridgit Pike, abused by her "brothers" and then forced into committing arson by them; it's a small wonder she goes off the deep end.
  • The Alcoholic: After spending a night drinking, Bullock jokes to Gordon that it would take him a couple more drinks for him to sober up.
  • Alliterative Name: In "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon", Fish Mooney's full name is revealed to be Maria Mercedes Mooney.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Harvey walks into this in "Spirit of the Goat". He knows that the person he's talking to is the killer, but doesn't realise the way in which they're going to attack him.
  • Already Met Everyone: While they won't be active as villains (with a few exceptions like Oswald Cobblepot who's already active in the mob), The Bat's most iconic rogues will be seen in the show. In some cases, the show makes them implied Legacy Characters by using their identities for other people; for instance "Black Mask" shows up, but it's not the same character but a relative, and his modus operandi is different.
  • Alternate Continuity: The show was advertised as being set before all the characters we know go on to fill in their more well-known roles in Batman mythology (not in any prior continuity though). As the series progressed however, it became apparent that the show was very much its own take on that mythology. Plot Armor for characters who would otherwise be alive when Bruce puts on the cowl seems to vary, the age of characters is a constant vary, and the show also seems to imply several more well-known figures are actually Legacy Characters. It's a show that uses the iconography of the source material and plays it up in very unexpected ways. At this point, all that's really certain seems to be that Bruce Wayne will become Batman one day and that he will have a Rogues Gallery to go up against. And even then, we have to wait and see.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Deliberately invoked by the show's production team to give the show a timeless feel, even though Word of God states they were emulating the works of John Frankenheimer and Sidney Lumet and The '70s New York City. Much like Batman: The Animated Series, Gotham is a mashup of different time periods.
    • The cars date from all over the place. Season 1 alone features cars ranging from the 1960s to the 2010s.
    • Characters wield modern firearms note .
    • Cops and prison guards wear old-fashioned uniforms note .
    • A lot of characters carry cell phones, but they are all flip phones.
    • Televisions are old CRT models.
    • The dominant portable music medium is cassette tape.
    • An old-fashioned glass aspirin bottle without a childproof top is seen in the pilot.
    • Photographers carry the latest DSLRs.
    • Advanced ATMs stand alongside public phones.
    • While Gordon is stated to be a war hero, no information about the war he fought in has been given.
      • Barnes also says he had dealt with "insurgents" during some conflict "in the desert."
    • A radio quiz states that there are 118 known elements - this was only true in Real Life as of 2010.
    • Homosexuality is tolerated if not accepted. In the comics, Montoya's homosexuality actually led to her being kicked off the force and pushed her into vigilantism.
    • Selina is seen eating Fruit Brute cereal, which was only available in the late '70s to early '80s ... and again in 2013 / 14.
    • In "The Scarecrow", Gordon and Bullock use microfiche to look up old newspaper articles.
    • The Grayson/Lloyd feud is said to have started before WWI note , but only 3 generations are mentioned in allusion to it.
    • A possible one with The Ogre's plastic surgery. While the clinic looks very clean and advanced, the surgical result has a certain...plastic look to it. Much like the early days of plastic surgery.
    • In a scene at the Gotham Gazette, the noise of typewriters is heard in the background... at the same time a computer is visible on one of the reporters' desks.
    • The ringtone on Victor Zsasz's phone is "Funkytown", which was originally recorded in 1980.
    • Bruce Wayne has a modern computer complete with flatscreen LCD monitors in his father's hidden room.
    • Costume designer Lisa Padovani stated that Oswald's suit was based on a "burlesque theater/1970s/Las Vegas/vintage look."
    • Ed's costume has influence from the 1960s.
  • And Starring: Jada Pinkett Smith and Michael Chiklis get this treatment.
  • Animal Metaphor: The show plays with metaphors referencing Oswald Cobblepot's nickname, "Penguin", by having Oswald betray a "Fish" Mooney, and by killing a poor fisherman over a sandwich.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Shapes suggestive of the Batman logo have appeared in the show. Also, the Season 2 poster (pictured above) resembles an upside down bat symbol.
    • Naturally, cats are Selina Kyle's motif, as she is shown to have an affinity for them and often resembles one as she silently slinks around. In "Unleashed", she even sneezes like one.
  • Appropriated Appellation: While Oswald doesn't like the name "Penguin," Maroni encourages him to embrace it. He eventually does.
  • Arc Words: "Least worst option." Used by many characters to describe the series' theme of compromise in the face of no good scenarios.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted with Azrael, who is hit by the GCPD multiple times but shrugs it off easily due to his metal armor protecting him.
  • Artifact of Doom: The red hood has an effect on people who wear it...
  • Artistic License – Biology: While the adrenal cortex does make cortisol in response to long-term stress and worry, it's epinephrine and norepinephrine (aka "adrenaline") from the adrenal medulla which are secreted due to immediate fear, and that would have caused Gerald Crane's pupils to dilate when injected with adrenal extract.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • A major problem Gordon has with his investigations is that many of the victims are lowlifes that that could have pissed off any number of dangerous people and the public does not care if the crimes are ever solved. Bullock tends to refer to these crimes as a "social service" and feels that the victims had it coming and the world is a better place without them.
    • Inverted with the Waynes' murders. The Waynes were beloved and the police must find a culprit quickly or heads will roll. This being Gotham, the police brass take the easy way out and collude with the mob to frame Mario Pepper for the crime.
    • Mario Pepper is an example himself, as he is just the type of abusive lowlife who would be capable of committing such a crime. Outside his family and Gordon, no one cares that he might be innocent.
    • The Balloon Man sees himself as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, targeting the operator of a Ponzi scheme, a Dirty Cop, and a Pedophile Priest. Hundreds of people wanted them dead and the other cops only start taking the crimes seriously when a cop is killed.
    • When a drug dealer is killed, Gordon is the only one who takes the case seriously and even he is not exactly heartbroken over the guy being dead. Then an honest citizen (the polar opposite of an Asshole Victim) steps forward as a witness but is killed to silence him. The other cops still do not care but Gordon pulls out all the stops to take down the killer.
    • In "Under the Knife", it's revealed that Kris Kringle's boyfriend, Officer Dougherty, physically abuses her, claiming that women need a "firm hand" to keep them in check. This is what prompts Edward to confront and (eventually) murder him.
    • In Season 2, the Pike brothers repeatedly abuse and belittle their sister Bridgit, and later force her to do the heavy work in their criminal activities (all the while continuing to mess with her just for laughs). It's extremely difficult to feel bad when Bridgit snaps and burns them alive.
    • In "Mr. Freeze", the obnoxious pharmacist refuses to refill Nora Fries' medication without a prescription (and he's completely in the right — he's just a total jerk about it), and later chews out an old lady in the same dickish manner. He's quick to get his comeuppance from the titular villain. Downplayed in that he returns to life at the episode's end.
    • After being reformed into a harmless, friendly person, Oswald meets his father and stepfamily, the latter of whom repeatedly harass him, kill his father (albeit accidentally) to get his house and fortune, and keep Oswald as a hapless servant while secretly planning to kill him as well. The moment he finds out they killed his father, Oswald snaps back into his old self, kills the children, feeds them to the mother as roast, and then stabs her to death. Brutal? Yes. Tragic? Maybe. Still, so IMMENSELY satisfying!
  • A-Team Firing: Extended gunfights where nobody hits each other happen fairly frequently on the show. For instance, in "Strike Force", Victor Zsasz and the titular strike force (supposedly graduates from the "best Police Academy in the country") trade bullets for a couple minutes. While Zsasz doesn't even bother taking cover, only one of the strike force members gets hit once in their bulletproof vest at the end of it. Zsasz appears to take a hit, but shrugs it off with an annoyed "that was unexpected" and leaves.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The weather balloons used by the Balloonman require him to get very close to handcuff his targets to them, he needs a very heavy cart to transport the balloons or else they'll fly away, and can be easily fended off by an aware target.
    • The knife-tube used by Gladwell. Lampshaded by him immediately going for a more practical gun once Gordon loses his.
    • The Electrocutioner's machines, which are capable of knocking out the entire GCPD, but, since they were built on the go and with spare parts, they could be taken out with a cup of water.
    • Viper, the drug that gives you superhuman strength, runs on calcium and will suck it out of your bones to fuel it, to the point of eventually crumbling your bones and turning you into a pile of soft tissue. It was this major drawback that turned what was suppose to be a supersoldier serum into a worthless drug (literally, the man had to give it away). Venom seems to have eliminated that flaw.
    • In "All Happy Families Are Alike", Gordon temporarily dual-wields pistols during a gunfight. While impressive, it was about as effective as you'd expect; it took him emptying a total of four handguns (most of which he retrieved from guys downed earlier with an assault rifle) to take out one guy. It didn't help that he was flipping around tables to dodge return fire. But damn if it didn't look cool.
  • Back-Alley Doctor:
    • In "Penguin's Umbrella", Gordon gets shot and is taken to a medical student, since he can't go to a hospital due to being on the run from the mob. She treats him in the middle of a dissection lab, surrounded by lab rats. The trope is downplayed, as there is no indication that the care is substandard.
    • "The Mask" plays this straight with Felton, an unlicensed black market doctor whom the police allow to keep working as long as he provides them with information (until St. Jim decides to not honor the agreement and arrests him).
  • Back from the Dead: This is Hugo Strange's plan for the dead people he's keeping at Indian Hill, at the behest of the Court of Owls. His first successful subject is Theo Galavan/Azrael.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work:
    • Inverted with Theo Galavan's murder. While Gordon could let Penguin bludgeon Galavan to death, he eventually steps in and finishes Galavan off with a bullet.
    • Played straight with Galavan's second death. This time Gordon finds himself out of ammo, but Penguin and Butch end up taking care of Galavan by shooting him with a rocket launcher.
  • Badass: James Gordon might be a rookie detective, but he's a former soldier and a very good hand-to-hand combatant, effortlessly disarming and taking down a large heavily-armed man and then later delivering a beatdown to two mob enforcers until attacked from behind by Mooney.
  • Badass Boast: When Nygma realizes Tom is abusing Kristen (whom he has eyes for), he turns a riddle into one of these. Combined with how angry he sounds...
    Nygma: I can start a war or end one. I can give you the strength of heroes or leave you powerless. I might be snared with a glance, but no force can compel me to stay. What am I?note 
  • Batman Gambit: Ironically, considering the Trope Namer, Cobblepot manages to pull one off in the pilot episode (which we find out via flashback in "Penguin's Umbrella"). Oswald asks that Falcone have Gordon kill him, knowing that Gordon's conscience won't allow him to actually kill him. This allows Cobblepot to come back under an assumed name and become a snitch for Falcone inside Maroni's organization. Falcone gets in on the action in cooperation with Cobblepot when the two of them arrange to kill off Falcone's disloyal Russian lieutenant, which also undercuts Mooney's support, and Maroni's lieutenant who is clever enough to see that Cobblepot is manipulating his boss, which simultaneously ends the conflict, sets Cobblepot up as a trusted Maroni ally, and sticks it to Fish without anyone else being the wiser.
    • Fish pulls off a fairly complex one to break out of the Dollmaker's body-part prison.
  • Battle Butler: Alfred Pennyworth, of course. He demonstrates some off-screen skills in "Penguin's Umbrella" where he is able to get the jump on Allen, an experienced cop; in "Lovecraft", he really shows what he's capable of when hired assassins come after Selina at Wayne Manor.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Barbara wanted to be more involved in Gordon's work despite Gordon doing what he could to keep her out. After the events of "Penguin's Umbrella", she learned why.
    • Gordon is desperate to bring down an "untouchable" Dirty Cop so he asks Cobblepot for helping getting the evidence he needs. Cobblepot is happy to help and Gordon is able to arrest the cop and actually have the charges stick. Gordon is then horrified that Cobblepot obtained the evidence by having one of his men torture the wife of another dirty cop and threaten to murder the man's children.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: In "Spirit of the Goat", Selina sneaks into the Wayne Manor and watches a sleeping Bruce with a small smile on her face.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't insult Thomas or Martha Wayne within hearing distance of Bruce Wayne, as Thomas Elliot found out the hard way. Likewise, Alfred actively encouraged Bruce to beat the crap out of Tommy.
    • Don't tell call or compare Cobblepot to a penguin (at least in the early episodes of the show). Likewise, don't hurt or insult his mother in any way; he'll go fucking nuts.
  • Bi the Way: Barbara Kean, who has a romantic history with Renee Montoya and later starts a relationship with Tabitha Galavan.
  • Big Bad:
    • Season 1: Fish Mooney. The Penguin is a central antagonist too, but he is more of a Villain Protagonist that the audience can root for.
    • Season 2: Theo Galavan for the Rise of the Villains half, Hugo Strange for the Wrath of the Villains half.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In "Penguin's Umbrella", Montoya and Allen roar in to rescue Gordon from Zsasz and his henchwomen.
  • Bittersweet Ending: To really show how corrupt Gotham really is, most of the episodes end like this. No matter what Gordon does, he just can't make a difference that lasts. That of course sets the stage for Batman to begin his war and help Gordon, so matter how high the criminals may set themselves up and feel invincible, they will all be terrorized by the Dark Knight:
    • In "Pilot", Thomas and Martha Wayne's murderer is still out there, Gordon is forced into the program, Bullock is revealed to be corrupt. The only thing that keeps this from becoming a Downer Ending is the promise Gordon made to Bruce at the end.
    • "Selina Kyle" ends with the child snatcher caught but all the kids except Selina still "sent to prison without a trial".
    • "The Balloonman" is captured, but he himself is just a victim of Gotham's corruption. The episode ends with Gordon in doubt that he can ever free the city of its corruption.
    • "Arkham" ends with Gordon preventing the murder of the mayor and thus stopping a bloody Mob War that would have killed hundreds. However, the resulting compromise means that the ambitious plan of making a rebuilt Arkham into the nucleus of a revitalized Gotham, has been suborned as yet another money-making scheme for the mob and no real change will happen. Young Bruce can only watch as his parents' dream is destroyed on live TV.
    • "Viper": the man responsible for the Viper drug kills himself. But Viper is only the prototype of a much more dangerous pharmaceutical weapon, Venom, developed by the Wayne Enterprise. When Gordon arrives at a warehouse (presumably where the drug was stored), the place is cleaned out. By a Wayne employee said to be close to Thomas Wayne himself. However, Bruce has a good formative experience as a detective with his first field interview and now knows Alfred supports his crusade.
    • "Spirit of the Goat": Cobblepot openly reveals he's alive, which gets Gordon out of potential legal trouble for killing him. However, it puts Gordon and probably Bullock in trouble with Falcone and Mooney for not killing him.
    • "Penguin's Umbrella" ends with Gordon, Bullock and Barbara alive and no longer hunted by Falcone's men. However, Falcone wins once again and it is made abundantly clear that the heroes are all alone when it comes to fighting corruption in Gotham. The other cops (with the exception of Montoya and Allen) are so scared of Falcone that they will not hesitate to hand over one of their own to be killed if it averts Falcone's wrath.
    • "Lovecraft" ends with Bruce and Selina both safe (relatively speaking) and even striking up some kind of relationship.. However, things don't end nearly so well for Gordon who is transferred by the corrupt mayor to Arkham Asylym, for his continued defiant investigation of the Wayne murders.
    • "What the Little Bird Told Him" is an aversion so rare that it's worth mentioning. Jim Gordon almost single-handedly brings down Jack Gruber (aka the Electrocutioner), as a result of which he is reinstated as a Detective in the Homicide Unit, and is now ready to pursue his campaign against the corrupt system with renewed vigor. Not to mention, he ends up getting a new love interest in Dr. Leslie Thompkins. Played somewhat straight when you consider the brutal murder of Liza (a relative innocent) at Falcone's hands.
  • Black Boss Lady: Fish Mooney.
  • Black Comedy: The show seems to run on this, with at least one bizarre scene or death per episode.
    • In the pilot, Fish hires a comedian who seems to specialize in it. She finds it hilarious.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The teenage girls who appear on the show: Silver (blonde), Selina (brunette) and Ivy (redhead).
  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted. Most primetime shows will only use small squibs to show a character has been shot, sometimes not even that. This show uses bigger squibs and also includes spectacularly exploding blood packs. Not to mention all the Eye Scream instances.
  • Body Horror:
    • People who take Viper have the calcium drained from their bones, eventually causing them to break down in a bloody mess.
    • The Dollmaker specializes in lopping off different people's body parts and stitching them together to make hideous, Frankenstein-like monstrosities.
    • The Ogre was born with a fairly extreme facial deformity that made half his face look like cauliflower in an old photo.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Oswald Cobblepot in the pilot. He would love to be a tough guy like his associates, but he just doesn't have much to work with for most of the episode. Even when Fish Mooney pushes his Berserk Button by calling him "Penguin", the result is not Unstoppable Rage but Cobblepot getting his ass handed to him once again. Of course, this is before his transition From Nobody to Nightmare.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: As one might expect from a show based on a comic book, villains boasting to their soon to be victims and failure to heed Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? that causes their victim to get away or something else to get in the way is rampant on this show. For instance, Cobblepot gloating to Falcone about how he set up the entire gang war in the Season 1 finale and how he now intends take his time taking out Falcone instead of just killing him right away and leaving gives time for Gordon and rival mobsters to show up and stop him from doing it, causing Falcone to ultimately survive and very nearly gets Cobblepot himself killed.
  • Book Safe: In "All Happy Families Are Alike", Bruce finds a remote control hidden inside his father's copy of Marcus Aurelius's Mediatations.
  • Break the Haughty: Fish believes she could usurp Carmine Falcone and that he is "old and soft". Falcone pays a visit to her club and proves how wrong she is...by beating up a barman she cares about. She is forced to watch tearfully and is visibly shaken by the ordeal. Possibly she was faking the "tearfully" part however, as she quite calmly orders her second-in-command to get rid of the barman in question in the next episode, not having any use for a banged-up employee or boytoy.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The Van Dahls already know that Penguin is a reformed murderer, but they still go out of their way to be assholes to him when he's shown them nothing but kindness. Three guesses how well that turns out for them, especially after he stumbles across the poison...
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Bruce Wayne finally comes face-to-face with his parents' killer, the guy doesn't even remember killing them until Bruce jogs his memory by filling in some of the details.
  • But Thou Must: When Gordon refuses Barnes' protection from Azrael on the grounds that he's no longer a cop, Barnes pulls this on him by bringing him in on suspicion of involvement in the breakout of Karen Jennings.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Probably one of the biggest problems there is in Gotham. Despite all the crime and corruption that go on in the city virtually nobody cares.
  • Call Forward: Understandable, given this is a prequel series:
    • In the pilot, Bruce tells Gordon that he's glad that his parent's killer is still out there because "[he] wants to see him again". In several interpretations of the Batman mythos, Bruce at some point DOES see his parent's killer again.
    • Bruce's assertion that the 'Balloonman', while he hunted criminals, was as much a criminal because he killed; foreshadows the no-killing rule he will rigidly adhere to when he becomes a vigilante himself.
    • In "Viper", the titular drug is revealed towards the end of the episode to be a precursor to Venom.
    • The fact that Bruce can perform a Stealth Hi/Bye even at this age.
    • After the titular vigilante "Balloonman" was arrested, a reporter asks who would protect Gotham now while the camera focuses on Bruce.
    • The Balloonman himself tells Gordon that there will be other vigilantes who will follow his lead.
    • In "Spirit of the Goat", Barbara tells James she is 'negotiating terms'...an interesting choice of words considering that in the comics she ends up divorcing him.
    • Edward Nygma happens to carry a mug with a question mark on it. He also has a tie printed with them.
    • Harvey Dent is often shown with one side of his face in shadow, and is already deciding others' fate with a rigged coin-toss.
    • In "Lovecraft", Bruce tells Selina that she's a 'good person', but not 'nice'. His words are, in a sense, reflective of how in most interpretations Batman traditionally has considered Catwoman to be a criminal, albeit one whose heart is in the right place.
    • In "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon", Cobblepot briefly takes over Fish Mooney's nightclub and claims it as his own. In the comics, he does indeed run his own club, the Iceberg Lounge. Eventually, he legitimately gets the entire club to himself, renaming it "Oswald's" and replacing the fish neon sign with that of an umbrella.
    • In "Beasts of Prey", Bruce interrogates Reggie (the man who stabbed Alfred) in a very Batman-esque fashion (he keeps a stone face the entire time, and threatens to have Selina toss his medicine out the window if he doesn't cooperate). When Reggie positions himself near the open window, Bruce prepares to push him out in order to kill him, but ultimately stops himself from doing so. Selina, on the other hand, does the job for him and throws Reggie to his death instead.
  • Camp: Though the series uses many grim noirish trappings, it goes much farther than The Dark Knight Trilogy with including comic book elements, such as the Balloonman's charmingly silly murder method. This almost unique styling has been affectionately called Grim Camp or Goth Ham.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Fish Mooney is a crime boss and nightclub owner created for the show, who has ambitions to take Falcone's spot as the top crime boss in Gotham.
    • The show introduces Kristen Kringle, a secretary and record keeper for the GCPD whom Edward Nygma becomes smitten with.
    • Season 2 introduces Arc Villain Theo Galavan. His sister Tabitha also qualifies since, despite being the show's version of Tigress, has no affiliation with the character in the comics.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Bruce awakens from a nightmare like this in "Arkham".
  • Cat Scare: Happens to Leslie in "The Hammer or the Anvil", with her getting out of her bath and picking up a knife to investigate a noise in her apartment, only to discover it is only her cat.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Selina teaches a crying kid being sent "upstate" with her to always "go for the eyes" if he needs to defend himself. Quite cute at the time, except she wasn't kidding...
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite initially being major characters, Montoya and Allen disappear with no explanation midway through Season 1.
  • Circus Episode: In "The Blind Fortune Teller", Jim and Leslie are attending Haly's Circus when a snake dancer is murdered. The subsequent investigation reveals all kinds of tensions bubbling beneath the surface, including a pair of Feuding Families.
  • Civvie Spandex: Selina Kyle doesn't wear a costume yet, but does sport a black jacket and a pair of goggles.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Would be justified, given that this is a prequel series, but there's a surprisingly significant number of aversions:
    • Oswald Cobblepot is frequently called 'Penguin' as a taunt, and embraces the name once he starts working for Sal Maroni.
    • Selina Kyle is known on the streets almost exclusively as 'the Cat', which is very close to her comic book codename 'Catwoman' (and in fact was her original moniker in her first few Golden Age appearances).
    • "Balloon Man", "The Electrocutioner", and "Mr. Freeze" are dubbed as such by the media.
    • 'The Ogre', 'The Spirit of the Goat' and 'The Dollmaker' are called by their codenames more often than their real ones as well (with the Dollmaker's real name only being used once, by himself).
  • Composite Character:
    • Galavan's family history has elements of Jean-Paul Valley (connection to the Order of St Dumas) and Zachary Gate from Gates of Gotham (vengeful descendent of a forgotten Gotham founding family).
    • Matches Malone being the Waynes' killer and Hugo Strange being the one who ordered it gives them the respective roles of Joe Chill and Lew Moxon.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction:
    • In "Penguin's Umbrella", when Bullock pulls a gun on Gordon in the locker room for not killing Oswald Cobblepot, two police officers arrive to see what's going on. While Bullock is telling the officers to go away, Gordon uses this opportunity to disarm him.
    • In "The Anvil or the Hammer", after Gordon holds the Ogre at gunpoint while he is holding Barbara at knifepoint, Bullock, who was previously pushed down the stairs by the Ogre, arrives behind the Ogre and gets his attention giving Gordon the opportunity to shoot him in the head and save Barbara.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: A witness to a murder is brought back to the GCPD station to give a statement, then stabbed in the back twice with an icepick. It's ruled a suicide, until Gordon pursues it and finds the murderer.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In "Viper", it's revealed that Wayne Enterprises was involved with human experimentation on the drug Viper, or what will be known as Venom, to create super soldiers. One member who was supposedly a close friend with Thomas Wayne helped to clean up any evidence that might trace back to them.
  • Crapsack World: Being a pre-Batman Gotham City, it should come as no surprise that the city is a Wretched Hive Of Scum And Villainy.
  • Create Your Own Villain: WellZyn, subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises, is responsible for the creation of Venom, the drug that gives Bane his strength.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: Despite him shooting at and trying to kill Gordon, everyone treats Mario Pepper's death as a murder justified only by the (alleged) fact that he was the Waynes' killer.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • In "The Mask", we have three office personnel versus Gordon (a trained police officer who is also ex-military). Guess who wins.
    • In "The Son of Gotham", Gordon tries to go one-on-one with Theo Galavan. The keyword is "tries".
  • Cutting the Knot: After discovering the hidden cave entrance, Bruce and Alfred find that it leads to a steel door with an electronic combination lock. After a month of trying and failing to guess the code, Bruce decides to blow it open, with Alfred reluctantly assisting him.
  • Cycle of Revenge:
    • Falcone had Fish watch as her "boytoy" was beaten to a pulp due to her earlier insubordination and attempts to betray him. She retaliates by ordering a hit on his mistress.
    • What the war between Falcone and Maroni is becoming. Maroni's restaurant was attacked and robbed by Falcone's men actually orchestrated by Cobblepot to make it look like Falcone was involved so Maroni wants to rob one of Falcone's casinos. In the whole tug of war to gain land on Arkham Asylum, both mob factions hired hitmen to take out the councilmen who supported the other mob to lean the vote towards their favor.
    • Later, Falcone and Maroni re-establish their truce. Even so, Maroni is still angry enough at the Penguin to start a Cycle with Cobblepot, who's more than willing to return the payback with interest, especially when Maroni rats out Oswald's criminal doings to his mother.
  • The Cynic: Harvey Bullock has been on the police force a long time, and knows what Gotham is like, leading him to adopt a Cowboy Cop approach to his police work, much to Gordon's initial chagrin.

    D - G 
  • Darker and Edgier: Definitely so, when compared to the previous Fox-produced Batman TV show with Adam West. On the other hand, it appears to be shaping up to be a tad Lighter and Softer than the Nolan films, at least in the sense that some of the dark humor of the Burton films (and the 1990s Batman comics that took their cues from those films) is sprinkled throughout. Also like the Burton films, Gotham has a more old-fashioned, stylized, "Hollywood" look to it than the This Is Reality aesthetic of the Nolan films, so it appears that at least some of the "cartoony" elements of the comics and the previous movies will be making a comeback here.
  • Darkest Hour: To say "Prisoners" is this for the good guys would be putting it lightly.
  • Dating Catwoman: Bruce is a bit young for dating in this continuity, but there's definitely some chemistry between him and Selina. The episode where they first went on an adventure together was even called "Lovecraft". An example that doesn't involve Selina is with Silver St. Cloud, who is manipulating Bruce and whose uncle wants Bruce dead.
  • Dead Man's Chest: In "The Anvil or the Hammer", Nygma wheels the dismembered body of Officer Dougherty through the police station in a pair of oversized suitcases.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • In "Penguin's Umbrella", Cobblepot kills Frankie Carbone, who in the comics dies during the events of "The Long Halloween''.
    • In "All Happy Families Are Alike", Salvatore Maroni meets an early end when Fish shoots him in the head.
    • In "Knock, Knock", Sarah Essen is killed years before Bruce becomes Batman, whereas her comic counterpart is killed during the tenth year of his career.
    • In "A Dead Man Feels No Cold", Nora Fries ends up committing suicide rather than going into cryogenic stasis.
  • Death by Looking Up: Happens in "The Balloonman" when Lieutenant Cranston's body plummets back to earth. A woman out walking her dog looks up just in time to be squashed by Cranston's corpse.
  • Death Faked for You:
    • At the end of the pilot, when Falcone orders Gordon to get with the program by killing the treacherous Cobblepot, Gordon instead only pretends to shoot him and tosses him in the river.
    • At the end of "Prisoners", Falcone and Gordon do it again by way of a hidden blood pack and a prisoner wielding a retractable blade, after which Gordon's unconscious corpus is carried out to freedom in a body bag.
  • Death Seeker: "Matches" Malone, the hitman who (probably) killed Bruce's parents, is revealed to be this as he doesn't even try to resist when Bruce comes to kill him, even instructing him on how to shoot and urges him on. It turns out he hates himself, admitting he's a monster, and feels that Bruce showing up to kill him is a sign there might in fact be a just God after he got away with murdering people so long. When Bruce refuses to go through with it and leaves, he kills himself.
  • Defying the Censors: For a network show (and even for FOX, a network known to have much more risque shows on its schedule), Gotham is pretty casual about showing violent acts, blood sputs when someone dies, the deaths and mutilations of some of the characters, etc. The show is effectively telling us just how much they can get away with for a TV-14 rated show—and in the 8:00 slot, yet.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Barbara Kean becomes this after her descent into villainy.
  • Destination Defenestration: "The Last Laugh" starts with Gordon and Bullock using this as a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
  • Diesel Punk: Diesel Noir to be precise. The series has a very 1930s-1940s aesthetic, but more modern devices like cell phones are common.
  • Dirty Cop: A number of people on the force are corrupt, as per usual in pre-/early-Batman stories. It's so bad at this point the cops themselves don't seem to have a problem admitting it in public.
  • Disappeared Dad: Oswald Cobblepot's father is not mentioned before he shows up in "Wrath of the Villains: Mad Grey Dawn", his mother having told him he died when Oswald was a baby. It turns out that his father didn't know he existed, as his parents sent Oswald's mother off because they didn't approve of their relationship and told him not to contact her.
  • Disney Villain Death: In "All Happy Families Are Alike", Fish dies after being pushed by Penguin off a roof and into the river below. However, Hugo Strange finds her body and resurrects her in Season 2.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In "By Fire", Bridgit Pike (Firefly) finally snaps after being abused by her brothers for years, and burns both of them to death.
  • The Don:
    • In Season 1, Falcone is the lord of Gotham's underworld and has been for at least fifteen years.note 
    • In the Season 1 finale, with Maroni dead and Falcone leaving Gotham, Penguin becomes the King of Gotham. Season 2 is about maintaining his power.
    • Halfway through Season 2, Butch becomes the King of Gotham when Penguin goes into hiding after Theo Galavan's murder, though he seems to relinquish the title in "Unleashed".
  • Do Not Go Gentle: In "Penguin's Umbrella", both Gordon and Bullock knew they were wanted men by Falcone and it was only a matter of time before they would be killed so they decided to sneak into Falcone's mansion to arrest the mayor and Falcone for framing Mario Pepper.
  • Don't Tell Mama: Oswald's mother, Gertrude, has no idea that her son is actually a murderous criminal. Instead, she believes that he's a successful club owner who achieved his club fairly (in reality, the club was given to him after Fish got the boot). Eventually, Sal Maroni reveals her son's true nature, but Oswald calmly reassures her that these claims are false.
  • Doomed by Canon:
    • No matter what Gordon does throughout the series, what victories he has in his bid to clean up Gotham, eventually things have to still be bad (or get worse) enough for Gotham to need Batman. However, his own career will go from a cop alone and loathed in a corrupt force to become its Commissioner who commands the loyalty of most of the cops below him.
    • Likewise, no matter what, Ivy Pepper, Selina Kyle, and Edward Nygma (among others) are destined to become criminals.
    • Possibly averted with Fish Mooney and any other original characters that may be created for the show. The writers have considerably more leeway when it comes to their fates, without running the risk of violating Status Quo Is God.
  • Downer Beginning: "Mommy's Little Monster" opens with Oswald's mother getting killed by Tabitha, immediately after she is set free from imprisonment.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "Red Hood" ends on a rather depressing note. Alfred is stabbed by his old friend Reggie and sent to the hospital in critical condition (much to Bruce's distress). Reggie is eventually revealed to be a spy for the corrupt Wayne Enterprises board, sent in to find out how much vital information Bruce had discovered about the company (to make matters worse, they intended for him to attack Alfred as well). Meanwhile, a young boy discovers the Red Hood's mask, puts it on, and pretends to shoot the cops. This implies that the Red Hood Gang's legacy had influenced the citizens of Gotham to become vigilant, and that new members of the gang would eventually spread in the future.
    • At the end of "Knock, Knock", ten cops in the GCPD are killed, including the newly-promoted Commissioner Essen.
    • Towards the end of "By Fire", Edward confesses to Kristen Kringle that he killed Dougherty, ultimately destroying their newfound relationship. When she attempts to leave and call for help, Edward stops her by grabbing her throat...and accidentally chokes her to death. In their final scene together, Edward grievingly cradles her dead body in his arms.
  • The Dragon:
    • In the pilot, Cobblepot wishes he was this to Fish. In reality, her number two is Butch Gilzean.
    • Later in Season 1, Falcone admits to Maroni he'd rather like to have Penguin as his close adviser, because Cobblepot is clever enough to be useful, but also (or so Falcone assumes) realistic enough to know that The Dragon is the highest position a little weirdo like him could get away with aspiring to.
    • Butch becomes this to Penguin after being brainwashed by Victor Zsasz, and serves as his Dragon until the brainwashing is broken in "By Fire". He later willingly becomes his Dragon again in "Unleashed".
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Captain Nathaniel Barnes, who tough-talks the whole department and fires several corrupt cops the instant he sets foot in the GCPD upon taking charge.
  • Driving Question: Who killed the Waynes, and why? Finally answered in the latter half of Season 2.
  • Eat the Rich: Since the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, several people have begun to attack the upper class and authority figures of Gotham for being corrupt.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: In the pilot, Cobblepot is already called "Penguin" and he absolutely hates it. He then gets a limp that causes him to walk like one...
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The mobsters and crime lords have a variety of henchmen and henchwomen of different backgrounds such as European and Asian backgrounds. Maroni's crime family may be less open-minded, as he's very pleased that Penguin claims his Italian father's heritage. (At least, Penguin says this to Maroni upon meeting him under an Italian false name.) In early season 2, with Penguin as King of Gotham it seems there are two other crime families besides Penguin's. One is most likely a Chinese triad gang, while the other seems to be lesbians (similar to the Lizzies gang in The Warriors). In the Season 2 finale, Penguin has two black henchmen. Penguin also seems to be tolerant of BDSM lifestyles stating that if Galavan "wanted to wear leather, he should just wear leather."
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the opening scene of the pilot, a criminal has a cop hostage demanding pills. Jim distracts him with a bottle of aspirin, takes the perp down with the cop being no worse for wear, and is criticized for not shooting him. Meanwhile, Bullock just lackadaisically reads his newspaper.
  • Eureka Moment: In "All Happy Families Are Alike", Bruce and Alfred tear Thomas Wayne's study apart looking for some clue as to what he had been secretly working on. After failing to find anything, Alfred attempts to persuade Bruce that he is on a wild good chase and remarks "There are none so blind...". This suddenly gives Bruce the inspiration for where he should be looking.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Oswald genuinely loves his mother, and frequently invites her to his nightclub just to keep her happy (at one point, he even allows her to perform onstage). However, his violent, criminal side remains a secret to her, and he is forced to mask it by posing as a legitimately successful nightclub owner. This eventually causes conflict when Maroni spills the beans in "Under the Knife".
    • To a lesser extent, Carmine Falcone also cared for his deceased "sainted mother".
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Falcone's claim as to why Mario Pepper was framed is that it would prevent panic from breaking out because citizens lost faith in the system, and that he genuinely loves Gotham and doesn't want to see it go to hell.
      Falcone: You can't have organized crime without law and order.
    • Mayor James may be corrupt, but he'll go to any lengths—even NDAA 2012-style juvenile detention—to keep the city's children safe, even if he doesn't care about them enough to bother looking for actual homes for many of them, and when the Dollmaker's minions hijack a bus heading upstate he's genuinely upset; he just made a public proclamation that the kids of Gotham would be safe from the Dollmaker's minions and those same minions kidnapped an entire bus out from under his nose.
    • In "Rogues' Gallery", Maroni punishes Oswald by making him spend a day in jail, for going behind his back and trying to extort more money from fishermen, who, in his own words "go out into the ocean and risk their lives for you and me".
    • Hitman "Matches" Malone is willing to kill virtually anyone (and has), including children, though he draws the line at killing babies.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Fish Mooney saw her lover's concerns for her as a sign he was becoming weak and had one of her henchmen dispose of him.
  • Evil Is Hammy:
    • Fish Mooney has at least one ridiculous scene per episode, although it's unknown whether she is really this hammy or if it's a show for her subordinates/customers.
    • Season 2 gives us the Joker-esque, scenery-chewing Jerome.
    • Edward Nygma also cranks up the hamminess after his Start of Darkness.
  • Evil Laugh: Jerome (who the show leads viewers to believe might become the Joker) has a disturbing, maniacal one in Season 1's "The Blind Fortune Teller" and the first three episodes of Season 2. It is heard again at the end of Season 2, implying that he's back.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • Don Falcone vs. Crime Boss Maroni. Guess which one is the greater of two evils in charge of the Gotham underworld?
    • Penguin vs. Galavan in Season 2.
  • Exact Words: Gordon tells Essen he didn't leak news of the child kidnapping ring to the press. He didn't; he told Barbara, and she told the press.
  • Eye Scream: The show positively loves this trope.
    • Selina Kyle tells another child that if he gets into a fight, he should scratch out the other guys' eyes. Later we see the result of her fight with one of the kidnappers, and it turns out she was being more literal than you'd expect.
    • This was how the hitman in "Arkham" killed two of his victims by using a telescope device with a blade.
    • The Dollmaker harvests the eyes from one of his captives, and throws her back in the prison without so much as a bandage.
    • When Fish Mooney comes face-to-face with the Dollmaker's Dragon, he threatens to either pluck out both of her eyes or kill her alongside her team of rebels. As a "third option", she scoops her own eye out with a spoon and ''crushes it'' with her foot!
    • Theodore Galavan has his sister bring in Sid Brunderslaw, the cover-up man for all the illicit goings-on at Wayne Enterprises, to interrogate and torture. He also is one of the few executives who can bypass the retinal lock on a safe. So they required one of his retinas, mercifully offscreen.
    • How Jim Gordon dispatches the first, glasses-wearing hitman in "A Bitter Pill to Swallow" as he tries to make his escape.
    "You know what I like about those glasses?" BANG "They look like bullseyes."
    • In "Mr. Freeze", Hugo Strange manipulates one of his Arkham patients into clawing out his own eyes.
  • The Faceless: The masked man who killed the Waynes, to the point of Nothing Is Scarier / The Ghost. As Bullock pointed out, it was just one of ten thousand street muggings that happened to go bad and the odds are extremely low that they will ever find him again due to not having any repeat muggings and his face is never seen. Which made him more of a concept for Bruce.
  • Fake Defector: Almost all Cobblepot's actions after he was caught snitching to Crispus and Montoya was to enable ingratiating himself to Maroni, not to get vengeance on Mooney and Falcone for ordering his death, but to act as a spy for Falcone while allowing Falcone to eliminate disloyalty in his own organization without anyone else being the wiser.
  • The Fall Guy: Mario Pepper is framed for the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents since the case is too high profile to remain unsolved for too long. With Pepper taking the fall, the cops are made to look like heroes, the mayor is seen as having a handle on the rising crime in Gotham and the mob does not have to deal with the extra police attention. It helps that Pepper was a violent criminal that no one, perhaps not even his family, will miss.
  • False Flag Operation: In "Arkham", a bunch of thugs rob a restaurant owned by Maroni, killing the manager in the process. Obviously, this is a move by Falcone, right? Wrong. It was actually Cobblepot who engineered everything, in order to get closer to Maroni, and heat up tensions between the mob bosses for his own ends. Though a plot twist in "Penguin's Umbrella" reveals Cobblepot did it not entirely for his own ends, but so he could get closer to Maroni on behalf of Falcone.
  • False Reassurance: Maroni tells Penguin that there is nothing wrong with being a bit nervous. Then he tell him that if the robbery that he helped plan goes south he'll kill the Penguin.
  • Fantastic Drug: Viper gives its users super strength and a god complex, but at the cost of draining calcium from their bones at a rapid pace, eventually killing them. It also turns out to be a precursor to Venom, Bane's drug of choice.
    • Gerald Crane's experimental fear serum.
  • Fatal Flaw: Cobblepot weaponizes this in "Penguin's Umbrella" when he uses Frankie's greed for money to turn his own henchmen against him since he would hoard money for himself and give little to others.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The various mob members; special mention goes to Cobblepot and Mooney. On the flipside, however, a couple of mob figures are quite friendly, such as Butch Gilzean and Don Falcone, at least to Jim Gordon.
  • Fauxshadow: In "Spirit of the Goat" Alfred warns Bruce that The Goat might target him, and that they should leave town. Bruce says no, saying that The Goat would have no reason to kidnap him. It seems to set up for Bruce going to be kidnapped and saved by Gordon, but nope. The Goat never goes after Bruce.
  • Feuding Families: The Graysons and the Lloyds have been since before World War I...over a stolen horse.
    Bullock: "Must have been one hell of a horse."
  • Fille Fatale: Silver St. Cloud is sent by her uncle Theo to get close to Bruce Wayne and manipulate him.
  • Film Noir: As appropriate for Batman, the series borrows heavily from the ethos of Film Noir: the city is drowning in corruption. Dutch angles. No one gets what they want and everyone gets what's coming to them. Black and Gray Morality. Bittersweet Endings are the norm.
  • Fingore: In "Beasts of Prey", Cobblepot has a guitar player's fingers cut off in order to persuade him to abandon his interest in a particular girl.
  • A Fistful of Rehashes: One of the several plots of the series involves Cobblepot using the conflict between Don Falcone and Crime Boss Maroni to his own ends. To those that knew him after his faked death, he was a stranger, at least until he revealed himself first to Crime Boss Maroni and then to the whole GCPD.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • Given that this is an origin to the Batman mythos, it's pretty obvious what will happen to certain characters.
    • The cops will lose their war for Gotham, allowing Batman to step in.
    • Gordon's fight against mob influence over the GCPD will lead to him becoming Commissioner and Batman's staunchest ally. Whether or not Montoya, Allen and Bullock remain part of his reformed police force remain in question.
    • Averted with Fish Mooney, an original character who was presumably included specifically to give the show a villain it could kill off if desired.
    • The plot of "Arkham" revolves around competing development plans for the Arkham district; however, we know that no matter what happens Arkham Asylum won't be torn down and will survive well into Bruce's adulthood and career as Batman.
    • No matter how strong of an ally Edward Nygma may be in the struggle to take down Gotham's criminals, something will eventually cause him to snap, sparking his descent into crime and madness and transforming him into the Riddler.
    • Ultimately averted for certain characters in the Season 1 finale. Sal Maroni, the man 'destined' to throw acid at Harvey Dent and transform him into Two Face, is killed; while his rival Carmine Falcone, who is traditionally Gotham's resident crime-boss at the time Bruce first becomes Batman, seemingly chooses to leave Gotham and retire to the coast. Also, Barbara Kean, who is 'supposed' to become Jim Gordon's wife and, in some continuities, the mother of Batgirl goes Ax-Crazy, meaning it's highly unlikely she will be the mother of his daughter.
  • Foreshadowing:
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Half-way through the first season, there are distinct and mostly-separate plotlines following 1. Gordon, 2. Penguin, 3. Bruce, and 4. Fish Mooney. This tends to result in each storyline taking baby-steps in a given episode, or simplified story-lines — Gordon and Bullock's crime investigations tend to be mostly over after following up on their first lead, for instance. Earlier in the series, it was closer to Two Lines, No Waiting, as the Fish and Penguin shared a plotline, as did Bruce and Gordon, but they've since each split apart aside from the occasional brief intersection.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The main players of Gotham - Gordon (Phlegmatic), Falcone (Melancholic), Mooney (Choleric), and Cobblepot (Sanguine).
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Averted. We never actually see Gordon's apartment; that's Barbara's giant gorgeous loft, and he doesn't stay there after she leaves.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Series. As the show essentially focuses on all of Batman's Rogues Gallery before they become his Rogues Gallery.
    • Special mention goes to Oswald Cobblepot, who starts out as a petty mook who will later become Gotham's chief crime boss, the Penguin.
    • Another special mention is the Joker. According to the creators themselves, there will be a number of candidates for the title of the Clown Prince of Crime, which makes the implication that any nobody on the street could become the biggest threat to Gotham that much creepier.
    • Young Bruce, although heir to his parents' fortune, hasn't yet achieved much of anything to distinguish himself, but we're seeing the roots of his evolution into criminals' worst nightmare of all.
  • Gambit Pileup: Every major criminal character in Gotham has some plan to come out on top in the Falcone-Maroni war.
  • Gambit Roulette: Galavan's Arkham breakout in the Season 2 premiere. Relying on Arkham's Swiss Cheese Security is safe enough in general, but the rest of Galavan's plan relies on using Zaardon as a living sleeping gas delivery vehicle, and he arrives in the room where all his targets are just seconds before dispensing the gas. If there had been traffic during transfer, extra paperwork, if he had been hospitalized for injuries in taking him down (he was, after all, a lunatic with guns and swords. It's a miracle he wasn't shot), or if his targets didn't happen to all be in the same room when the gas went off, it would've all been for naught.
  • Gang of Hats: Some of the younger-generation criminals who attend Penguin's meeting in "Scarification" use matching hair dye and makeup.
  • Genre Shift: Season 1 is a relatively grounded, neo-noir police procedural / organized crime drama. Season 2 largely ditches that, turns up the camp, and brings in more outlandish villains such as insane terrorists, a cult of assassins, a Mad Scientist, and an Ancient Conspiracy. The show basically evolves into a full-fledged live-action comic book.
  • Go for the Eye: Selina’s go-to maneuver when in a fight; viciously enough to actually claw them all the way out.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Selina Kyle is usually seen with a pair of green goggles on top of her hood, perhaps as a nod to more modern versions of Catwoman who wears goggles as part of her costume.
  • Good Feels Good: After she steps up to back-up Gordon when he arrests a drug-dealing, witness-murdering detective, Essen admits to Gordon that it did feel good to do the right thing.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Gordon is the only decent cop in the police force and has a soft spot for children, evident by him comforting Bruce after his parents' death. But he is someone you don't want to mess with when angered.
  • Greater Scope Villain:
    • The Dollmaker is this in "Selina Kyle", as he's the one organizing the kidnapping of the street children. He eventually appears onscreen in "Everyone Has a Cobblepot", where we learn he's a sociopathic Mad Doctor who kidnaps people for organ harvesting.
    • WellZyn - and by extension, Wayne Enterprise was this in "Viper".
    • The culprit behind the Wayne murders — and thus the Greater Scope Villain of the first two seasons — is eventually revealed to be Hugo Strange.
    • In turn, the above villain is working on behalf of the Court of Owls.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The reason Montoya is going behind Gordon's back to tell Barbara he is a dirty cop without any real evidence to back her up. She still has feelings for Barbara and wants to break up Gordon and Barbara.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: In "Selina Kyle", Cobblepot smashes a beer bottle and stabs the two college kids who give him a lift after they push his Berserk Button by calling him a 'penguin'.

    H - M 
  • Hard To Light Fire: Played with in "Knock, Knock", in which both Jerome and one of the other Maniax try to set a gasoline-soaked school bus full of cheerleaders on fire, but can't get either of their lighters to work. Then Gordon knocks the lighter out of the second Maniax's hand, and it sets a nearby puddle of gas alight when it strikes the pavement.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: In "The Fearsome Dr. Crane", a cleaner wearing headphones fails to notice a man being outside the window behind her back.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Carmine Falcone undergoes this in the Season 1 finale. After Gordon saves his life from the clutches of the Penguin, Maroni, and Fish, he ultimately decides to retire from the Mob and leave the city, while also placing him and Gordon on good terms.
  • Hellhole Prison: The juvenile hall upstate is not a nice place if Selina and Ivy's comments are anything to go by.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: In "Penguin's Umbrella", Bullock lampshaded this as he was able to find Gordon in Barbara's apartment because he suspected Gordon would go to someplace the mob thought would be too obvious to throw them off.
  • High Voltage Death: Jack Gruber kills a man, who was answering the door, at an electronics store by running an electric current through the doorknob, and frying him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Bullock mentions this to the Balloonman while he handcuffs the Vigilante Man to one of his own weather balloons. He even says the name of the trope: "How does it feel to be hoist by your own petard?"
  • Hollywood Law: It's a Police Procedural set in the universe that spawns Batman. Some instances can be disregarded as evidence of how crooked Gotham is, others less so. Especially bad is its treatment of insanity. People aren't just declared insane, sent to a mental institution and get off completely. Rather, they have to make an insanity defense at trial, which is very difficult. In the US, most states which still have the insanity defense (some have abolished it) use the M'Naghten rule, which says a person is insane if they're unable to tell right from wrong, or can't comprehend the consequences of their actions (i.e. harming someone during a delusion which left them unaware of what was going on). So it's unlikely for most villains to be found insane and committed. There's also no such thing as a real "certificate of sanity".
  • Honey Pot: Fish trains Liza to be one for Falcone.
  • Honor Before Reason: In the early episodes of Season 1, Gordon is adamant to resolve the Wayne murders even if the case is officially closed.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Barbara is upset that Gordon isn't entirely truthful about how he knows Cobblepot, when she herself is keeping secrets about her taking drugs.
    • Barbara again, when she calls Gordon's house and a woman replies (actually Ivy after she and Selina broke into Gordon's house to get out of the storm). She angrily hangs up thinking that Gordon is seeing another woman and declares that "I'm done with him". This after she left him a "Dear John" Letter, never stated she was coming back so he didn't know if she would be coming back, and the biggest complaint she made at him for not waiting for her, literally not even hours after she just cheated on Gordon with Renee. At this point one could think that Ivy just did Gordon a favor.
  • I Have Your Wife: Falcone convinces Gordon to refrain from arresting him because he has taken Barbara captive in "Penguin's Umbrella".
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Fish figures out Oswald snitched to the cops when she finds out the cops knew she was in possession of Martha Wayne's pearl necklace before framing Mario Pepper with it. She knows Oswald was the only one who saw her with that.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Alfred refusing to take Bruce to see a psychiatrist, which is poorly used to enable his eventual life as Batman.
    • Barbara latches onto it in "Penguin's Umbrella" when, after both Renee and Jim urge her to leave town — Jim specifically explaining to her that she's a weapon that can be used against him and putting her on a train out of the state — Barbara returns without telling either of them and goes to Falcone to plead for Jim's life. This leads to an abduction that she doesn't get over quickly.
    • Barbara picks it up again in "Rogues' Gallery", where she is unable to distinguish the voice of a 12-year-old girl from that of a grown woman in order to add more fuel to the relationship subplot fire.
    • In "Transference", Bullock somehow gets fooled by Clayface's masquerade as Gordon. Despite being a seasoned cop AND Gordon's friend, he never questions why "Gordon" (who's just returned from the lair of a suspected Mad Scientist) is behaving supremely out of character. In fact, the only people who even remotely see through Clayface's act are Alfred and Barbara, the two former Idiot Ball holders on this list.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: In "The Balloonman", the GCPD decides that It's Personal when one of their own gets sent to the stratosphere by the eponymous vigilante; however, Gordon and especially Bruce decide the Balloonman already crossed the line earlier by killing criminals in the first place.
  • I'll Kill You!: Fish gives a good one about Falcone. Not in his presence, of course.
    Fish: I swear, Butch, on my sainted mother’s grave, someday soon I am gonna kill that old man with my bare hands, and my teeth.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Hitman Eduardo Flamingo uses the incineration facility as his own personal kitchen, and when his boss calls him following the attack on Theo Galavan's penthouse, he's using a retort to cook one of his victims while eating him.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • Justified with Zsasz and his henchwomen in "Penguin's Umbrella". They have orders to take Gordon alive, and thus aim for non-lethal areas.
    • Again in "Knock, Knock", in a rare case of this trope being in favor of the bad guys. Four escaped lunatics waltz into the GCPD in cop disguises, take up position, and start firing at every cop in the precinct. The untrained lunatics hit almost every shot, while the supposedly trained cops don't even so much as wound them.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Give the Balloonman points for creativity: the vigilante kills by handcuffing his targets to weather balloons that carry them away, either to die from exposure while aloft or from plummeting down when the balloon ruptures.
  • Improvised Weapon: In "The Mask", Alfred gives Thomas Wayne's watch to Bruce, for him to use as an improvised knuckle duster.
  • In-Name-Only: The Ogre in the comics is a monstrous, genetically altered behemoth named Michael Adams who wreaks havoc on the scientists that experimented on him and his brother. In the show, the alias belongs to a handsome young serial killer who seduces women and kills them if they don't fit his vision of a "perfect mate". He was, however, deformed prior to becoming a serial killer; he eventually underwent facial surgery.
  • Innocent Bystander: In "Penguin's Umbrella", a poor cop happened to stumble upon Victor and his henchwomen gunning for the injured Gordon, buying Gordon enough time to escape at the cost of her life.
  • Instant Sedation: In "The Mask", Gordon is knocked out by an injection to the neck within seconds.
  • Internal Reveal: Penguin shows himself to the GCPD at the end of "Spirit of the Goat".
  • Interservice Rivalry: In the Gotham Police, there is one between Homicide Division and the Major Crimes Unit. The Major Crimes Unit want to take over the Waynes' murder case from Harvey and Jim. It gets more intense when Cobblepot tells MCU that Mario Pepper was framed, and they jump to the conclusion that Bullock and Jim were in on it.
  • It's All About Me: Barbara seems to make any problem that is going on and twist it in a way to how it is causing her problems.
  • It Will Never Catch On: When Alfred tells Gordon that Bruce is free to choose his own path, Gordon replies with "Sounds like a recipe for disaster."
  • It Works Better with Bullets:
    • Maroni pulls this on Penguin in "The Fearsome Dr. Crane". Penguin pulls a gun he stole from Maroni on the crime boss. Moroni tells him the gun is loaded with blanks. Penguin doesn't believe him and pulls the trigger. Maroni wasn't lying.
    • Taking a page out of Maroni's book, in "The Anvil or the Hammer", Penguin sends a group of assassins to hit Maroni. However, he has removed the firing pins from the guns he supplied them, so that the hit will fail and spark a mob war between Maroni and Falcone.
  • Jerk Jock: The Lloyds make no secret that this is what they consider the Graysons to be.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Alfred. We know that he cares about Bruce, but he comes off as extremely abrasive, though this appears to be a sort of tough love approach. This is well exhibited at the beginning of "Selina Kyle", where after learning that Bruce has been burning himself to "test his own strength", he responds by first smacking him and calling him a "stupid boy", followed immediately by tightly hugging him and trying to reassure him.
    • Bullock shows some sign beneath his Jerk Ass cynicism that he's sympathetic to Gordon's naivety. There's also the implication, after Da Chief accuses him of ratting out the department to the press again, that he has a bit of a reputation as a whistleblower. In "Spirit of the Goat", it's shown that Bullock used to be a wide-eyed idealist similar to Gordon before the titular case broke him. He's also shown to be paying for his retired, crippled ex-partner's stay in a nursing home. The ex-partner tells Gordon that Harvey's a "white knight" type.
  • Jurisdiction Friction:
    • Gotham PD has both a Homicide division and a Major Crimes division, both of which are at odds with each other over who gets which murder cases. There's also a lot of hostility due to the accusations of one side being corrupt over the other.
    • Things really come to a head when Montoya and Allen grab Gordon for Cobblepot's murder, with even Captain Essen voicing her displeasure towards them for trying to incapacitate her best men. This time, it takes none other than Cobblepot himself showing up to stop this skirmish. But the real war will soon begin as a result...
  • Just a Kid: Bruce gets angry with Gordon in "Penguin's Umbrella" when Gordon was keeping out full details of his involvement with the mob due to the fact Bruce was a child. All Gordon could say was that it all tied into his resolve to solve the Wayne murder case once and for all.
  • Karmic Death: In "Sacrification", Evan Pike shoplifts a brick of C4 from a weapon shop. When Gordon and Captain Barnes chase him down, they open fire and end up hitting the explosive in his pants, blowing him to bits.
  • Kill It with Water:
    • Gordon defeats the Electrocutioner by simply tossing a cup of water onto his electronics, shorting them out.
    • In the Season 2 finale, Gordon uses water to short-circuit the bomb.
  • Kitchen Chase: In "Pilot", when Mario Pepper flees from Jim Gordon, the last place he runs through is a commercial kitchen, where he snatches up a knife he later uses to try to kill Jim.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Bullock, according to his ex-partner in "Spirit of the Goat".
  • Lampshade Hanging: In "Lovecraft", when Harvey and Alfred arrive at a fence's place to find Selina and Bruce, and Alfred immediately opens fire on the people inside, Harvey loudly asks "Am I the only one in this damn town who waits for backup?!"
  • Legacy Character: Gotham seems to be using this trope in order to introduce villains who would otherwise not exist in a pre-Batman Gotham.
    • In "The Mask", a version of Black Mask is introduced and identified as Richard Sionis. Presumably, he is related to Roman Sionis, the man who is Black Mask in the comics.
    • The foundations of Scarecrow are established this way. Jonathan Crane's father was researching a "cure for fear", discovering a likely precursor to the Scarecrow's fear-inducing chemical agents along the way.
    • Subverted in "Spirit of the Goat". Jim and Harvey initially believe that the new Goat is someone inspired by the original, who Bullock brought down ten years ago. But it is eventually revealed that both men were Brainwashed by a hypnotist, who used them as part of her quest against the city's rich.
    • The Red Hood becomes one on the same day the identity is created. A criminal brings a red hood to wear to a bank robbery and subsequently attracts a fair bit of public attention. When the criminal is killed, his boss decides to put on the hood and use the notoriety to help in his next heist. More No Honor Among Thieves ensues and the hood is passed on. After the police deal with the bank robbers, we see a bystander pick the hood up and try it on.
    • As demonstrated in "The Last Laugh", Jerome is one for the Joker. His madness spreads like a virus amongst several people in Gotham, transforming them into cackling, murderous lunatics. Ultimately, he is the one responsible for cursing the city with their most terrifying foe.
  • LEGO Genetics: Strange is somehow splicing animal DNA into his reanimation experiment subjects.
  • Lesbian Cop: Montoya, as in the comics.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Not on a physical level, but both Gordon and Montoya's Major Crimes Unit team think the other is corrupt, and they come into jurisdictional conflict because of this in the first episodes.
  • Like Mother, Like Son: Informing to the police on your enemies to get them out of the way seems to be a proud Kapelput / Cobblepot family tradition.
  • Living in a Furniture Store: Barbara's apartment is very clean and tidy.
  • The Load: Barbara's narrative role in the first half of Season 1 is entirely restricted to making life and work more difficult for Jim, even when the required behavior makes more sense (e.g. demanding to know details of an active police investigation for no reason).
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Take a gander at the character page. You'll see that it's been divided into subpages with more than a dozen characters on each, for major, minor, and recurring villains, GCPD, Wayne Enterprises, and other.
  • Loose Lips: Harvey Dent promises never to reveal that Selina is the witness who saw the Wayne murders and can identify the killer. He keeps the promise but in an attempt to bolster his case he mentions that Gordon is involved. This information gets back to the bad guys and they quickly figure out who Gordon is protecting and that he is hiding her in the Wayne Manor.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: In "The Blind Fortune Teller", Cicero reveals that he is Jerome's father (he even says these exact words). This only pushes Jerome's sanity even further.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Miriam Loeb is literally kept in a room in the attic of a farmhouse, under the care of a former Arkham nurse and her husband. This is for her safety and everyone else's, since she's crazy and has killed at least one person.
  • Make an Example of Them: Captain Barnes has a cop arrested whom he had just fired after the cop mouths off at him that he and his fellow officers have their rights. Including the right to an attorney.
  • Man Hug: Bruce hugs Gordon in "Penquin's Umbrella" when he believed that this might be his last time seeing Gordon. Borderline The Un-Hug as Gordon initially extended his hand for a handshake and was not expecting a hug.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Season 2 demonstrates Nygma's fraying sanity with multiple chewed-out-by-own-reflection scenes that are nearly worthy of Gollum.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": For very different reasons, every single named character in the final scene of "Spirit of the Goat" looks like they’re about to have a coronary when Oswald Cobblepot walks into the precinct.
  • Massive Multiplayer Scam: Selina does this to extract the name of the Wayne killer, with Bruce as her accomplice and Silver as her mark.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A recuring theme in the series. While there are cases that turn out to be utterly mundane (like the titular Blind Fortune Teller and his advice and the Spirit of the Goat), others are ambiguous (like the power of the red hood). Then there's some science bordering on magic like Viper.
    • In-universe, the attitude towards magic is about the same as in the real world: Some believe in the more subtle versions like fortune telling, others don't.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Fish Mooney. What do penguins prey on?
    • Future meaningful names E. Nygma and Ivy.
  • Mid-Season Twist: "Penguin's Umbrella" reveals in its final moments that Cobblepot has been working for Falcone since the pilot, and everything he's done since has been part of a plan to eliminate Falcone's enemies and disloyal lieutenants.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot:
    • Played straight. Jim investigates the Wayne murder, alerting him to the Mob's influence in the city and the general corruption.
    • Inverted, too, because dealing with the Mob distracts Jim from the increasingly sinister conspiracy behind the killing itself.
  • Mob War: Falcone is the chief crime boss in charge of Gotham, but he's getting old and losing his hold on the city, which means rivals and underlings like Mooney want to take his place; Cobblepot is Genre Savvy enough to see the carnage coming, and plans to take advantage of it to further his ambitions accordingly.
  • Money to Throw Away: In "Red Hood", the Red Hood tosses the cash he has just stolen from the bank to a crowd of pedestrians so that they block the street and stop the police getting through. Tossing cash into the air then becomes a trademark of the Red Hood Gang.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Discussed in "Everyone Has a Cobblepot". Bullock reveals that he's one of many cops put under Loeb's control by a crime they had committed earlier in their careers. invoked
  • Moral Myopia: The Gotham police department minus Gordon couldn't care less that a man was murdered by a vigilante in "The Balloonman" due to the man being an Asshole Victim. But when a corrupt cop was murdered the same way, they immediately pulled the entire police force to find the murderer. After Gordon called them out on this, Bullock argued that now it's a matter of job safety.
  • More Deadly Than the Male:
    • In "Everyone Has a Cobblepot", of the couple guarding Miriam Loeb in the farmhouse it is the wife who puts up the bigger fight against Gordon and company. Afterwards, she brutally kills her husband of 20 years without hesitation in order to save her own skin.
    • Averted in the case of Victor Zsasz. He leads an all-female team of assassins and sharp-shooting killers, but it is very clear that he is the one who gives them orders and that he is crazier and more dangerous than they are by far.
  • More Than Mind Control: In "Spirit of the Goat", it was pointed out that the two men hypnotized to commit the murders on some level wanted to kill those people.
  • Mugged for Disguise: In Season 1, Cobblepot does this a couple of times, first to a teenager who offered him a ride, and later to a dishwasher at a restaurant with mob ties.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: The opinion of literally every criminal in Gotham. Especially Fish Mooney and Oswald Cobblepot. While it certainly comes off as excessive and pointlessly violent, it tends to work since the GCPD is so corrupt.
  • Mythology Gag: Tons.
    • In "Selina Kyle", Falcone mentions how a man about to die is honest, similar to The Joker's explanation for why he uses knives in The Dark Knight.
    • In "Arkham", Fish Mooney has two people fight to the death for a job with her, much like Joker did. The Dollmaker is mentioned in the same episode.
    • Also in "The Balloonman", the titular villain is introduced wearing a trench coat and a pig mask, referencing the somewhat obscure villain Professor Pyg.
    • Selina's nickname "Cat" obviously refers to her adult identity, but it also mirrors her earliest appearances in The Golden Age of Comic Books where she was called "The Cat" instead of "Catwoman".
    • Going by the background of scenes set in her apartment, Barbara lives in a clock tower.
    • Bruce listens to death metal in "Selina Kyle", like his LEGO counterpart.
    • A shot of the Gotham skyline in "Selina Kyle" has a building with the Queen Consolidated logo, though this is not a sign of a crossover.
    • It shows in "Arkham" they wish to make an "Arkham City".
    • This is not the first time Nygma has worked for the GCPD.
    • In "Viper", the first person to use the titular drug goes on an A God Am I spiel, causing someone to sarcastically call him "Zeus". This is a reference to Maxie Zeus, a lesser known member of Batman's Rogues Gallery who is defined by his delusion of being the Greek god of the same name.
    • Also, the beginning of "Selina Kyle" has a sign for Trident Shipping, Maxie's company.
    • Judging by the design of the (50s-vintage) license plates, Gotham City, despite shots of undisguised New York, is located in Connecticut, as it was in Young Justice.
    • As of "Harvey Dent", Selina Kyle is living at the Wayne Manor, just like she did in the comics on Earth-2 after she married Bruce Wayne.
    • Alfred corrects Bullock who thought he was a valet.
    • In "What the Little Bird Told Him", as Gordon's walking into the GCPD, Essen tells the gathered police that the commissioner is coming.
    • From "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon" onward, Penguin owns a night club.
    • In "Scarecrow", Jonathan Crane flees from his father and briefly stands in front of an actual scarecrow, referencing his eventual transformation into the eponymous supervillain.
    • Falcone employs two of the future freaks and profits from that, just how in The Long Halloween he's the only member of the mob willing to work with the 'freaks' and profits from that.
    • In "Red Hood", the Red Hood Gang's bank robberies and their habit of killing each other are reminiscent of the opening scene of The Dark Knight. Considering the comic-book connection between Red Hood and a certain Clown Prince of Crime, the parallel is very appropriate.
    • This also isn't the first time Victor Zsasz worked as a hitman for Carmine Falcone.
    • In "Rise of the Villains: Damned If You Do...", Cobblepot comments that having Selina around is "like having a cat around the house...but without all the dead mice."
    • In "Knock Knock", Barbara's new hairstyle is similar to Selina's in Batman Returns.
    • In the previously-mentioned episode, there are plenty of little nods to the Joker, most notably during the climax, where Jerome kills Sarah Essen (as the Joker did in the comics), and at the very end, he sends a chilling video message to the people of Gotham a la The Dark Knight (he also disguises himself as a cop, as he did in the film).
    • In "The Last Laugh", Jerome shares a story about his miserable life with his abusive mother, another nod to The Dark Knight. He then mentions his dad asking him "Why are you crying?", which brings to mind the phrase "Why so serious?"
    • When Jerome is killed in "The Last Laugh", he begins coughing blood, which drips over his mouth and gives him red lips. He also goes out with a smile, as the Joker did in Batman and Batman: Arkham City.
    • Paul Reubens was tapped to play Cobblepot's father, a nod to his already having done so in a memorable cameo in Batman Returns.
    • During Season 2, whenever Edward Nygma's dark side spoke, his voice would occasionally glitch out and distort (this prominently seen at the end of "Mommy's Little Monster"), similar to how the Riddler's voice would distort in the Batman: Arkham Series.
    • In "Worse Than a Crime", Bruce tells Silver his favorite animal: owls. That won't last. note 
    • In "Mr. Freeze", the titular character delivers a threatening "I'll be back", which is hard not to see as a reference to another actor who's played the role.
    • In "A Dead Man Feels No Cold", Victor's suit has a sort of retro-style, making it somewhat resemble the one he wore in his first appearance in the comics (when he was called Mr. Zero).
    • Matches Malone, the man who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne. In the comics, Matches Malone is the name of a small-time crook whose identity Bruce Wayne assumes when he needs to go undercover in Gotham's underworld.
    • In "Into the Woods", Bruce sews up a tear in Selina's jacket, leaving stitches reminiscent of Michelle Pfeiffer's outfit.

    N - Z 
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • In "Selina Kyle", after Barbara learns from Gordon that there are homeless children being kidnapped with the police saying nothing, and with Gordon unable to say anything to the press, she Takes a Third Option and calls them herself. It's the right thing to do, right? Wrong. With the public outcry over defenseless children being kidnapped, the mayor is able to step in and initiate a "tough love" program which consists of rounding them up, putting them on buses, and sending them to a facility upstate, allowing him to get rid of half of the crime in Gotham while keeping the "cute, undamaged" ones around to make him look good. For the children, of course.
    • Then there is Renee Montoya arresting Gordon and Bullock for killing Cobblepot, only for Cobblepot to reveal he is still alive. Because of her actions she just potentially started one of the bloodiest mob wars in Gotham's history.
    • Gordon’s entirely justified rant at the Mayor about the horrible way the city treats criminals with mental health issues results in Arkham Asylum being reopened as a facility to house the criminally insane.
  • No Honor Among Thieves:
    • The old school mobsters in Gotham have to contend with a new breed of criminals, who are less interested in pragmatism and money, and are more interested in indulging their sadistic tendencies and anarchy.
    • Fish has no loyalty to Falcone, and in turn Cobblepot has no loyalty to her.
    • Cobblepot exploits this trope for all it's worth, when Maroni's lieutenant Carbone is about to kill him. Cobblepot then reveals that since he's motivated by greed, he doesn't pay his men much, and that all it took was the offer of a simple pay raise for them to switch their loyalty to Cobblepot. These same men then restrain Carbone, while Cobblepot stabs him to death.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Azrael (the resurrected Theo Galavan) is rather hard to kill. Cue Penguin and Butch with a bazooka. Toasty!
  • Not His Sled:
    • The Season 1 finale cements this with Falcone retiring and Maroni being killed, whereas in the comics they were still active by the time Bruce became Batman. The latter is especially notable because Maroni was originally the one who caused Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Facenote .
    • The Season 2 opener continues the trend with Loeb being forced out of the Commissioner position, whereas in the comics he was still Commissioner during Batman's first year, and only left as the year came to a close.
    • Barbara becomes a straight up villain despite being married and having a kid with Gordon by the time Batman arrives.
    • In this continuity, Joe Chill isn't the one that murdered the Waynes. Instead, it's Matches Malone, who was hired by Hugo Strange.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Averted in "The Balloonman", where Gordon and the killer were lifted up into the air by a weather balloon and came falling down after Bullock shot it. Gordon was bruised and hobbling after landing on top of the truck, while the killer needed to be taken to the hospital.
  • Obviously Evil: The Board of Directors for Wayne Enterprises could not be more obviously corrupt if they were stroking white cats while twirling Snidely K Whiplash mustaches.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Falcone orders Gordon to execute Cobblepot in order to show that he is "with the program". If Gordon refuses, then Bullock is to do the job and also kill Gordon. If this fails, then Falcone will send hitmen to kill Gordon and any family or friends that Gordon might have confided in. While Gordon manages to Take a Third Option, it puts him and everyone around him in great danger as long as Falcone is in power.
  • Oh Crap!: In "The Mask", Gordon almost manages to talk three guys down from killing him for a job. Until...
    Sionis: Oh, and I'll throw in a million-dollar signing bonus.
    Gordon: (knowing he's screwed now) Ah, crap.
  • One Steve Limit: Aversions are inevitable for a show based on a long-running comic series with Loads and Loads of Characters to pick from.
    • Main character Harvey Bullock and recurring character Harvey Dent.
    • Villains Victor Zsasz and Victor Fries.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Generally averted. If Gordon is injured during an episode, he'll usually maintain that injury throughout the rest of the episode. Such as in "Penguin's Umbrella", where he's shot in the leg by Zsasz and walks with a slight limp afterwards.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Invoked by Harvey in "Selina Kyle". Gordon—who hates violence—doesn't stop his coworker from beating a guy who's trading children.
  • Open Secret: The corruption in the police force.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Nearly every scene in the show is crafted with an orange-and-teal palette and digital color grading.
  • Pædo Hunt: Invoked by Selina in "Selina Kyle" when she blackmails a police officer into fetching Gordon.
  • Parental Substitute: Alfred to Bruce (although he occasionally has trouble and calls in Gordon to be The Mentor).
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Ordinarily, framing a medical examiner for stealing body parts just to avoid a suspension would be seen as crossing the Moral Event Horizon. But since this is a guy who had just ruled that a witness stabbed himself in the back half a dozen times, the audience can be forgiven for letting it slide. That, or Nygma was just looking for some skeletons in the ME's closet.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Montoya might be unjustifiably antagonistic towards Gordon but she genuinely did care for Barbara and wanted her away from danger.
    • Despite being "part of the program", Essen immediately stood up for Gordon and Bullock when Montoya and Allen attempted to arrest them. And when Zsasz came looking for Gordon, Essen was the only cop in the precinct who stood by Gordon.
    • Crime lord Falcone loved his mother and was greatly touched when he heard her favourite aria.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Between Gordon and Bullock in "Penguin's Umbrella". Take a wild guess as to the cause. They make up, however, when Bullock decides that since they're both dead men anyway, he'd rather go out swinging and so help Gordon.
  • Police Are Useless: It's Gotham. If the cops aren't corrupt, then they are fighting each other over petty rivalries. Even when they get a new captain who starts to clean the place up, the criminals still walk all over the city and the cops are incapable of doing anything about them even when they want to.
  • Predecessor Villain:
    • Dr. Gerald Crane for his son (Scarecrow).
    • Jerome for the Joker.
  • Professional Killer: An independent hitman in "Arkham" is hired by separate mob factions to kill councilmen who supported the different mob factions' bid for Arkham Asylum.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Leslie Thompkins for Jim Gordon in "What The Little Bird Told Him".
  • Psycho Serum: The Viper drug in the episode of the same name, which is a precursor to Venom.
  • Quirky Mini Boss Squad: Victor Zsasz and his two punk-inspired female assistants.
  • Race Lift: Happens to several characters who were originally Caucasian in the comics.
    • Sarah Essen is played by Latina actress Zabryna Guevara.
    • Leslie Thompkins is played by Brazilian actress Morena Baccarin.
    • Salvatore "The Boss" Maroni is played by Puerto Rican actor David Zayas.
    • Tabitha Galavan (Tigress) is played by Afro-Canadian actress Jessica Lucas.
    • Firefly undergoes both this and a Gender Flip, played by Latina actress Michelle Veintimilla.
    • Hugo Strange is played by Asian-American actor B.D. Wong.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Bruce wanted to help the homeless children and offered to donate money, but Gordon pointed out that the children needed guardians, not money. He then chooses to give them clothes instead. Next shot are the children wearing new clothes, but still being sent upstate and still looking pretty miserable.
    • The Balloonman's second target is an experienced police officer, as opposed to a middle-aged banker taken mostly by surprise. The Balloonman's attempt to tie the officer to a balloon leads to him getting the crap kicked out of him. If Cranston hadn't gotten distracted by some paperwork the Balloonman was carrying, the Balloonman's killing spree would have ended then and there.
    • Also with Bruce's self-training. He sees it as helping him overcome fear. Jim and Alfred see it as disturbing, and want to refer him to a psychologist. And even with his self-training and intelligence, the show makes it clear that he's got a long way to go before becoming the Dark Knight as he is still a naive child.
    • People don't just bounce back after a kidnapping. Barbara is traumatized and paranoid after being held captive by Zsasz. She later completely snaps after being kidnapped again, this time by The Ogre. Leslie even lampshades it and insists on her finding professional help.
    • Gordon is repeatedly warned that if he goes against the system, he will not last long in the GCPD. Initially he seems protected due to his status as a war hero and his connection (through his father) to the DA office. However, as soon as his enemies find a viable pretext, Gordon is reassigned to Arkham Asylum and his supposed allies like Harvey Dent abandon him.
    • Turns out, losing your fear isn't actually a good thing. After taking his serum, Gerald Crane makes several reckless decisions. Such as injecting his son with too much serum and engaging in a gun fight with two experienced cops.
    • It doesn't matter how lethal your electric weapon is. If the wiring is not properly covered, a cup of water will short you out, as The Electrocutioner found out the hard way when he went one-on-one with Gordon.
    • Edward's pretty proud of himself for making that riddle in Tom's letter and getting away with it, especially since it was so easy to see if you looked at it closely. Well, turns out that's exactly what Kristen Kringle does in the next episode.
    • Captain Barnes recruits a group of cops straight out of the academy to be his elite Strike Force. They are uncorrupted and highly dedicated, but they are still just New Meat rookies; as a result, they end up making mistakes that get them killed.
    • A bunch of monks with knives against a Battle Butler, two GCPD detectives, a thief with a new level in badass, and a couple of mob men all armed with guns. Three guesses on who wins, and the first two don't count.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: At the end of "Lovecraft", when Gordon makes clear to the mayor he won't give up on the Wayne case, he gets reassigned to guard duty at Arkham.
  • Record Needle Scratch: In "Strike Force", Edward and Kristen go on a nice dinner date at his house, complete with candlelight and music playing from a record player. When the two discuss Officer Dougherty's departure, Edward abruptly snarls "I'm glad he's dead." Appropriately, the record needle scratches a second later. Doubles as Left the Background Music On.
  • Red Herring: The people behind the show have stated the Joker is this, as there are multiple "Who will become The Joker?" moments and characters throughout the show. Jerome Valeska was a particular favorite...
  • Red Shirt: The climax of "Scarification" sees Officer Garrett dying in the line of duty after being set alight accidentally during a struggle with the strike force's quarry.
  • Refuge in Audacity: There is a black market for weapons in Gotham. It's housed in a building that's laid out like a literal supermarket with shopping carts and a P.A. system announcing discounts for customers and everything.
  • Removing the Rival:
    • Fish Mooney apparently arranges "accidents" to befall attractive women whose boyfriends she wants for herself.
    • Montoya trying to portray Gordon as a Dirty Cop without evidence to Barbara behind his back to get her to break up with him.
  • Retro Universe: Much like Batman: The Animated Series, everything is a melange of old and new from various decades.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: From "Viper":
    Sal Maroni: There you are, you rat, you snitch, you gorgeous turncoat son of a bitch!
  • Riddle for the Ages: The truth about the relationship between Celestine Wayne and Caleb Dumas. Did he really try to rape her, or were they lovers until she betrayed him? The way Edwige tells the story heavily implies the relationship was consensual, but the audience has no way of knowing one way or the other.
  • Role Reprisal: Paul Reubens plays the Penguin's father in Season 2, a role that he had previously played in Tim Burton's Batman Returns.
  • Running Gag: Basically, no one listens to Gordon when he tells them to "Get out of Gotham."
  • Sacrificial Lion: Richard Sionis is killed by Tabitha Galavan to make it clear how much Theo Galavan is out of his league, despite how powerful and brutal Sionis supposedly is.
  • Saved by Canon: Subverted. This being a prequel series, you might think you know which characters cannot die, but as the show actually operates within its own universe, only a very few people have genuine Plot Armor. This starts to become clear with Sal Maroni's death.
  • Scary Scarecrows: In "The Scarecrow", Jonathan Crane is injected with a massive dose of his father's fear 'vaccine'. It causes him to hallucinate a demonic scarecrow. This becomes his greatest fear and the effects of the serum cause him to see it coming for him perpetually.
  • Secret Keeper: Ironically, considering their later relationship, Alfred and Bruce are this to Gordon, as they are the only people (at first) who know that he intends on bringing down the corruption in Gotham and its police, and that he plans on playing along inside the system to do so.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Cobblepot normally wears a rather fancy, old-fashioned three-piece suit.
  • Shipped in Shackles: In "Harvey Dent", Mad Bomber Ian Hargove is transported this way from Blackgate to St. Mark's Psychiatric Hospital.
  • Ship Sinking: If there was even one fan supporting Gordon/Barbara, that was torpedoed by the end of Season 1.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Fish Mooney tumbles to the fact that Cobblepot has informed on her, she beats him while shouting "You broke my heart!"
    • In "The Balloonman", the titular villain's name is Lamont and one of his victims is named Cranston. Lamont Cranston. Balloonman even dresses a bit like The Shadow when he kills Cranston.
    • Not clear if this one is intentional, but the murder device used by Gladwell in "Arkham" is almost exactly the same device known as the "Little Wonder" from the musical Oklahoma!.
    • Also in "Arkham", Cobblepot uses poisoned cannolis as a murder method.
    • In "Lovecraft", Don Falcone personally kills one of his high-ranking lieutenants, while he and all of his other lieutenants are sitting down to a fancy dinner party. Falcone blows his brains out and he falls face first into his soup, after which Falcone gives a calm speech about how they are all one family/team and one man can't fail the rest. To top it off, he then politely signals for the main course to be served, while the guy's corpse is still there.
    • Dick Lovecraft, named for H.P. Lovecraft, creator of Arkham, Massachusetts, after which Arkham Asylum is named.
    • Mrs. Kapelput's (Cobblepot's) accent and descriptions of the "old country" are reminiscent of Carol Kane's character Simka Gravas from Taxi.
    • A child trafficker named "The Dollmaker" brings to mind the main antagonist of Alice: Madness Returns.
    • In "Strike Force", Gordon and Barnes go to the Police Academy to recruit officers that haven't been corrupted yet, in a scene very reminiscent of The Untouchables, where Malone and Elliot Ness do the exact same thing.
    • Also, Alfred starts training Bruce by handing him exercise clothes instead of letting Bruce get into a car after school. The following exchange is nearly verbatim to the famous Goldfinger exchange:
    Bruce: Wait! You...you expect me to...to walk?
    Alfred: No, Master Bruce. I expect you to run.
    • It can't be a coincidence that after Mr. Freeze fails to convince the Jerkass pharmacist to refill his wife's prescription he storms out while saying "I'll be back."
    • In "A Dead Man Feels No Cold," the GCPD finds an officer frozen solid, including the bullet that he'd just fired, just like Frozone does in The Incredibles.
    • In "Into the Woods", after learning how his father had died, Penguin deals with the responsible parties in a manner that may remind more than a few of a certain scene in Titus Andronicus.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Penguin beats a man with a poker, possibly to death, just for telling him the cops took all his dirty money in a raid.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: In Season 2, the Galavans are out for revenge because one of their ancestors had his arm cut off for allegedly forcing himself on a young woman of the Wayne family. The story is ambiguous concerning whether this actually happened, or if it was a consensual tryst that the woman claimed was rape because she was arranged to marry another man.
  • Skewed Priorities: In "Arkham", when the mayor knew he was going to be targeted by a hitman and only Gordon was there to protect him, he wasted valuable time by trying to grab all his money before leaving.
  • Skyward Scream: Bruce lets out a particularly heart-wrenching one after his parents are killed.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Cobblepot tells MCU that Mario Pepper was framed for the Wayne murders. The mob framed him up as a way of bringing peace to the city. Oswald's blabbing gets him kicked out of the mob, and banished from Gotham for his troubles. He later becomes one to Maroni for Falcone.
    • A parking meter manages to stall Dr. Crane long enough for the GCPD to stop him.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To The Dark Knight Trilogy. Not only is Gotham Lighter and Softer and Denser and Wackier than the trilogy, harkening back to the Burton films the latter was a reaction against, but it also seems to take the opposite approach to the relationship between Batman and his rogues — in the trilogy, Batman's presence led to the rise of supervillains, whereas in Gotham the rise of supervillains leads to the birth of Batman.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Smallville.
  • Spiteful Spit:
    • Fish does this to Bob, the Torture Technician sent to 'extract an apology' from her in "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon".
    • Barbara does this to the Ogre while he holds her prisoner in "The Anvil or the Hammer".
  • Spotting the Thread: It's Bruce's observation that the killer had shiny shoes that causes Gordon to suspect that there was more to the murder than a simple mugging, and then confirm that the supposed killer had been framed.
  • The Starscream:
    • Oswald Cobblepot, a low level thug, has ambitions to take over Gotham's underworld, and the only thing standing in his way is Fish Mooney, who he is willing to backstab at the first opportunity so he can take over her gang. But sadly for him, everyone knows that.
    • Fish Mooney is herself this, working with Nikolai against their boss, Carmine Falcone.
  • Status Quo Is God: Despite repeatedly reinforcing that Gordon's behavior is making him a pariah among the force and will get him in trouble, it has yet to. He got reassigned to Arkham for a bit, but it barely lasted two episodes and he went right back to the GCPD, acting the same as always with no consequences. This is practically lampshaded when another officer refers to Gordon as a hero; Gordon replies "Doesn't matter, tomorrow they'll go back to hating me."
  • The Stinger: At the very end of "Worse Than a Crime", we see a man being chased (and eventually frozen solid) by Mr. Freeze.
  • A Storm Is Coming: In the pilot, Cobblepot warns Gordon of the coming Mob War, saying that "there will be chaos, rivers of blood in the streets".
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: In "All Happy Families Are Alike", Falcone is wounded in an assassination attempt. When he wakes up, he is strapped to a gurney in an abandoned section of the hospital. The Penguin and Butch then arrive planning to kill him.
  • Street Urchin: This version of Selina Kyle is already a roof-hopping Kind Hearted Cat Lover stealing milk for a stray.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: A variant. Bruce gives a very detailed description of his parent's killer, but because the man was almost entirely covered up, all he could describe was the man's clothing.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In "Viper", Gordon and Bullock caught on that WellZyn was more involved than they let on because they quickly sent in their lawyers to deal with the police when they heard that their previous employee was the main suspect.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Happens in "Rogues' Gallery" when Jim is interviewing the Arkham inmates about a missing set of keys and the attack on the Frogman.
  • There Are No Therapists:
    • Young Bruce just witnessed his parents being murdered in cold blood. He spends his free time hurting himself and drawing horrific images he sees in his nightmares. Alfred can't force Bruce to see a therapist because the conditions of Thomas Wayne's will state that Bruce should be allowed to make his own choices and Alfred sees himself as duty-bound to honor his late employer's wishes.
    • Barbara is traumatized after the ordeal with Falcone and was very paranoid and nervous afterwards, even pointing a gun at Gordon when he came home, believing him to be a mobster to kidnap her again when he didn't turn on the lights.
    • Inverted in "Spirit of the Goat": there is a therapist but she turns out to be hypnotizing people into becoming serial killers for her "Kill The Rich" agenda.
    • There are, at least, support groups, as the investigation in "The Fearsome Dr. Crane" leads Bullock to attend one for phobics.
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • Gordon for the entire police force. Montoya and Allen think they're this - but they bend the rules and act snobbish and antagonistic to those around them, especially to Gordon.
    • Thomas and Martha Wayne appear to have been this to Wayne Enterprises, along with their son Bruce and their butler Alfred, as of "Viper". They were the only ones in the company who recognized the titular drug and its sequel, Venom, as bad news.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • In "All Happy Families Are Alike", Maroni has Falcone served to him on a platter by Fish, but decides to be a sexist asshole and insult Fish to her face while fake apologizing over and over again. He gets shot in the head for his trouble. This death is so stupid it makes people wonder how the heck Maroni ever managed to become the #2 Don in the city.
    • In "Knock, Knock", several escaped mental patients whom the entire department is looking for basically walk straight into the GCPD without anybody noticing, one of them not even wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise. One of the lunatics lures Gordon out of the building and has him nearly beaten to death, and the rest all open fire and kill almost the entire precinct.
    • In the second half of season 2, Penguin's stepfamily treat him appallingly, turn him into a servant and poison his father and don't dispose of the poisoned sherry they used to kill him. What's more, they leave it in an easily accessible location, where Penguin inevitably finds it, breaking his conditioning and driving him to murder them all. He points out how stupid this was to Grace just before he kills her, musing that she's "too mean to waste good poison". This is particularly idiotic as these people do know Oswald is a former criminal psychopath recently declared sane.
    • In "Azrael", the GCPD apparently does not understand the concept of armor or armor-piercing ammunition; thus, they just plug away fruitlessly at Azrael as their bullets ping harmlessly off his armor (until Gordon finally wises up and gets a gun that can shoot through it). This results in several in the police precinct getting slaughtered and Captain Barnes being stabbed and put into a coma.
  • Torture First, Ask Questions Later: Cobblepot does this to the guy who now has his job when he worked for Fish. Before asking any questions he has his men beat him up.
  • Torture Technician: Bob in "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon". Falcone's chief interrogator, he is sent to extract 'an apology' from Fish Mooney and maintains a polite banter with her while he is torturing her. However, he is pounded unconscious by Butch before he can get too far into the process.
  • Tragic Monster: The Bomber in "Harvey Dent". He knows he has a problem and needs help with his explosion fetish, and until recently was able to control it by only destroying abandoned buildings and munition factories in his own way of doing good. However, when he learns he accidentally killed two janitors, he is horrified at himself and turns himself in to the police.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Near the end of Season 1, promos began showing the season's final scene: Bruce and Alfred discovering Thomas Wayne's secret cave. Some of these promos even aired when the finale was still multiple weeks away.
    • The trailer for "The Last Laugh" gives away Jerome killing his father.
    • The trailer for "Pinewood" reveals the identity of Patient 44 (it's Theo Galavan), which is kept hidden throughout the actual episode.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: In season 1, Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent attempt to interrogate some of its bookies. Butch tells Oswald in "Red Hood" that he took Fish's headquarters from "a Chinese bookie nine years ago." In early Season 2, with Penguin as king of Gotham, there are multiple Chinese gangsters at his meetings.
  • The Un-Hug: When Gordon is forcefully transferred to Arkham Asylum in "Lovecraft", Edward Nygma unexpectedly pulls Gordon into a hug, leaving him and Bullock a bit stunned.
  • Unperson: The Dumas family was completely erased from Gotham, down to renaming streets referencing them, after one of their ancestors (allegedly) tried to force himself upon a Wayne girl. They were even forced to change the name of the family to Galavan.
  • Unwilling Suspension: How Gordon ends up after telling Fish that he knows Mario Pepper was framed. Upside down. When Bullock tries to negotiate freeing him, they both hang like that and only Falcone's intervention saves them.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The homeless woman who frees Hugo Strange's creations from the bus at the end of Season 2.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: In Season 1, Cobblepot is convinced that something big is about to happen soon and he is the only person that can control it.
  • Verb This!: In "Spirit of the Goat," right after Randall Milkie says that the spirit will always come back, Harvey Bullock says, "Come back from this!" and fires his pistol at him.
  • Villain Ball: Bordering on Stupid Evil. Theo and Tabitha Galavan had no reason to kill Penguin's mother, and it only made his grudge against them even greater. They also kept Mayor James alive long after Galavan had already become elected in his place for no reason whatsoever. When the police inevitably do rescue James, he was able to give them evidence to arrest Galavan.
  • Villain Episode: A good chunk of Season 2 showcases the "Rise of the Villains", including looming crime boss Theo Galavan, Jerome Valeska (whom we're lead to believe could be the show's Joker), Barbara Kean, and finally, Edward Nygma.
  • Villainous Rescue: Cobblepot, of all people, does this several times.
    • In the pilot, Falcone saves Gordon and Bullock from Fish Mooney's men, with a warning to not overstep her bounds. Several episodes later, it's revealed that Cobblepot asked Falcone not to kill them as a favor to him.
    • In "Spirit of the Goat", Cobblepot shows up at the police station and announces himself just as Gordon and Bullock are being arrested for his murder.
    • In "All Happy Families Are Alike", after briefly escaping Fish Mooney's warehouse, Cobblepot returns with a machine gun. Had he not showed up, Falcone, Gordon and Bullock would have been executed.
    • In "The Son of Gotham", Cobblepot saves Gordon from being beaten to death by Galavan's men.
    • In "Unleashed", he and Butch arrive in time to kill Azrael/Galavan, saving Gordon, Bruce, and Alfred.
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    • Carmine Falcone, vicious crime lord of Gotham, apparently spends his free time feeding pigeons in the park like any other old man. And he also enjoys breeding and raising chickens. It's averted in the literal sense as, when he hired Liza as a maid, she was the one who did all the groceries for him (albeit with a heavy escort).
    • Falcone's main rival, Maroni, is seen several times eating in a restaurant he owns.
  • Vulnerable Convoy: In "Harvey Dent", the Russians break Ian Hargrove out of custody by attacking the van being used to transport him from Blackgate to St. Mark's Psychiatric Hospital.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • As the situation in Gotham gets bleaker and more desperate, a number of individuals step forward and use extreme means to fix things or at least make the public aware of the problems. However, when they start killing people, Gordon has to try and stop them.
    • The killer in "The Balloonman" only targeted people who were corrupt in high positions. But as Gordon (and Bruce) noted, he was killing people which made him just as bad as the people he murdered. He was also responsible for a bystander's death when one of his victims fell on her.
    • In "Viper", the person responsible for the drug was trying to bring public awareness to the actions of WellZyn — and by extension Wayne Enterprises — of using Viper (and by extension Venom) as a pharmaceutical weapon but eventually resorted to drastic measures to do so.
    • In "Spirit of the Goat", hypnotherapist Dr. Marks directs patients to subconsciously murder the firstborns of the rich and powerful of Gotham to scare them straight and keep them from doing awful things as a form of negative reinforcement.
    • Early in the series, it's theorized that the reason vigilante attacks are on the rise is that the Waynes, who were probably the only decent folk in high positions in the city, were murdered and these people saw that they had no hope of achieving anything through legal methods. The success of the Balloonman (who was hailed as a hero on the news despite Gordon arresting him) is implied to have further fueled these.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Penguin's Umbrella": Cobblepot kills Frankie Carbone, and is revealed to have been secretly working for Carmine Falcone this whole time.
    • "What the Little Bird Told Him": Cobblepot slips to Maroni about his alliance with Falcone, Falcone finds out about Liza from Cobblepot, and then kills Liza and has Fish taken into custody with his men.
    • "Transference": Hugo Strange is arrested, but his experimental subjects — including Fish Mooney and a mysterious doppelganger of Bruce Wayne — are unleashed upon Gotham City. Meanwhile, the real Bruce learns of and resolves to investigate the Court of Owls.
  • Wham Line:
    • In "Viper," Gordon and Bullock learn the origins of the titular drug. Turns out the first batch of it had unfortunate side-effects; the second, perfected attempt was rechristened "Venom".
    • In "Into the Woods", Cobblepot reverts to his old Penguin self after learning his stepmother and two adult stepsiblings poisoned his father. He later serves his stepmother two roast joints, which she complains both taste the same (i.e. overcooked). Cobblepot then starts acting creepy, and she asks where her children are, to which he responds with perhaps one of his best lines ever: "You thought they tasted the same!"
  • Wham Shot:
    • When Gordon manages to break Jerome in the interrogation room, he lowers his head, sobbing... ... and, giggling, raises his head to reveal an enormous Slasher Smile, implying he's The Joker.
    • A nifty one preceded by Five Second Fore Shadowing in Season 2. First, the Gotham logo freezes over, and then a man is slowly stalked down an alleyway... and is then frozen by Mr. Freeze.
    • The owl mask in "A Legion of Horribles", revealing the Court of Owls' presence in Gotham.
    • In the final scene of Season 2, one of the escaped Indian Hill patients is revealed to be a seemingly normal boy who looks just like Bruce.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • We're never shown what became of the rich brat that Cobblepot kidnapped and tried to ransom.
    • The fate of the girl Liza fought for the job as Fish's Honey Trap. It's unclear if Liza beat her to death or just unconsciousness.
    • Both Allen and Montoya seem to just disappear after Montoya broke up her and Barbara's affair.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gordon has one towards Montoya, who went behind his back to tell his fiancée that he was a dirty cop manipulating her, her only evidence being mob informant Cobblepot, who had every reason to lie so they would take out his boss (which he even admitted). This is especially effective since Montoya has a personal reason to break them up.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Cobblepot's mother. Clearly aiming for some kind of "Old Country" accent, not entirely sure which country that is. Especially silly since they could have gone with Ozzy's canon British accent instead.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Nygma points this out to one of his co-workers. Finding it both interesting that not only did their family keep their surname Kringle but the fact they also named her Kristen. Tough talk from Mr. E. Nygma.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Gordon starts as this, before Gotham gets to him...
  • Wild Card:
    • Cobblepot. He insists that he is the only who can stop the impending Mob War, yet does everything he can to escalate it for his own purposes. He also has a twisted devotion to Gordon and helps him out in tough situations, such as revealing he's still alive to prevent Gordon from being arrested.
    • Fish Mooney's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and Hair-Trigger Temper make her very unpredictable, even to her allies. This only allows Cobblepot to use her to further his goals at every step, such as taking out Nikolai and, eventually, even Maroni. However, the latter case wasn't planned in advance.
    • Barbara becomes this in Season 2, after waking up from her coma. While she seems less dangerously insane and helps Gordon investigate the Wayne murders, she still shows some signs of mental imbalance, willingly feeds Penguin information from the GCPD, and... helps Penguin decorate his home.
  • Wilhelm Scream: Take 1 can be heard in "Knock, Knock" when one of the shipyard workers is dropped from the Gotham Gazette's roof.
  • World of Ham: As could be expected from the city that will one day produce Batman and his colorful Rogues Gallery, to varying degrees all Gothamites have a tendency for being colossal drama queens and will Chew the Scenery at the slightest provocation. This is a city where even holding up a truck involves a dozen nuns chained across the road.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Oswald tries to kill Fish Mooney in the pilot, but she turns the tables and cripples him in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. He later tries again in the Season 1 finale, and seemingly succeeds.
    • In "The Balloonman", Bullock punches out the suspect's girlfriend once she surrenders.
    • Gordon doesn't have any hesitation shooting at Zsasz's female accomplices.
    • Alfred repeatedly demonstrates that he has no qualms about this:
      • In "Lovecraft", he punches Copperhead the moment he realizes she is an assassin sent to kill Selina and/or Bruce.
      • In "Strike Force", he slaps Selina herself for killing Reggie Payne.
      • In "The Son of Gotham", he gets into a fistfight with Tabitha Galavan.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child:
    • As canon dictates, the Wayne Killer doesn't kill little Bruce. note  In Season 2, when Bruce finally confronts the killer, it turns out he would kill a child for the right price, but draws the line at babies.
    • Played with in "Lovecraft", where Copperhead has no problem trying to kill her target Selina but doesn't hurt Bruce since he is not on her hit list.
    • Played with in the case of Reggie Payne; despite what he did, he actually asks the board to leave Bruce unharmed since he's a kid. But later he shows that, while he himself isn't capable of hurting a child, he has no problem instigating someone else to do the deed, namely by informing the board members of Bruce's interrogation of him.
  • Wretched Hive: This is Gotham City before a certain night-prowling costumed detective and his police commissioner partner would clean it up. Seedy bars and abandoned warehouses clutter the landscape as gangs position themselves for a coming mob war. And we haven't even met a particular psychopath who's dying to put a smile on every victim's face... When Bullock asks the Balloon Man who his last target was going to be, the vigilante's response: Anyone.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Montoya and Allen believe they are the Token Good Teammate of the Police. Despite the fact that they bend the rules and act incredibly snobbish and antagonistic to those around them, especially to Gordon.
    • Barbara Kean thinks she's the Femme Fatale archetype and thinks she can manipulate anyone to her will. In every instance where she tries this, she falls completely flat on her face and needs Gordon to bail her out.
    • Fish Mooney believes she is destined to become the next crime boss of Gotham, and that she is two steps ahead of everyone else. The fact that she's an original character in an origins story up against no less than three named characters from the comics should be very telling about her rate of success. To be fair, she does off one of them before she's offed herself.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Gordon being told to execute Cobblepot turns out to be one from Falcone's perspective. If Gordon goes through with it, a snitch is dead and Gordon's with the program. If Gordon doesn't, Cobblepot sets up as a spy within Maroni's organization.
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • The Balloon Man in the comics is a pre-crisis enemy of the Metal Men with the abilities of flight, size-changing, and expelling clouds of smoke. He was also a literal living gasbag. This show's Balloonman is a mundane Vigilante Man who murders corrupt authority figures by strapping them to weather balloons.
    • Oswald Cobblepot is much skinnier than his comic counterpart.
    • In the comics, Sarah Essen was a white, blonde detective, 10 years younger than Gordon and subordinate to him, an honest cop whom he eventually marries, and who died at the rank of Lieutenant. On the show, Sarah Essen is a black woman, who is either Gordon's age or older, his superior as the Head of the Homicide Division, is totally okay with her officers routinely beating confessions out of suspects, and has already passed Lieutenant.
    • Harvey Bullock seems to have more in common with Detective Flass than the comic's Bullock, except Flass was more villainous. Lieutenant Cranston, on the other hand...
    • Renee Montoya was a young officer pretty much just out of the Academy when Gordon became Commissioner, at which point Gordon had an almost parental bond with her and watched over her as she rose through the ranks. Here she is the same age as him and deeply distrusts him, almost to the point of being an Expy of Detective Ramirez, except there's absolutely no indication of her being corrupt.
    • Barbara Kean in the show looks a lot more like how Sarah Essen looks in the comics.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In "Arkham", Cobblepot casually kills off the thugs he hired to rob and kill the restaurant manager he worked for so nothing could trace the crime back to them.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Gotham