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Main Character Page | Cellblock A (Arthur Penn to Jeremiah Valeska) | Cellblock B (Jonathan Crane to Victor Zszaz)


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    Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow 

Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/29414764_2032782966969080_1364026362750304256_n.jpg
"Jonathan Crane isn't here anymore... it's just the Scarecrow."
Click here to see Jonathan Crane. 
Played By: Charlie Tahan (Seasons 1-4), David W. Thompson (Seasons 4-5)

Forced to go along with his father's fear experiments as a teen, he later submits to and adopts the identity of his personal bogeyman: a Nightmare Fuel scarecrow-demon conjured up by his own fear toxin-addled imagination - the Scarecrow.


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Comic!Jonathan is usually depicted as a lanky Ichabod Crane lookalike (he was even named after the guy). Here, he's a handsome young man.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In the comics the origins of the major Bat-rogues are normally unconnected. Here, not only did he help Jerome invent the infamous Joker Gas, he's the one who created the special mixture that infected Jeremiah, ultimately making him responsible for the birth of the Joker.
  • Adaptational Badass: Most incarnations of Crane had him be portrayed a scrawny nerd who was bullied all throughout his childhood, but here he's not only already preparing his fear toxins but he also becomes the Scarecrow while still in his teenage years.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Most depictions of Scarecrow are usually inherently sadistic and Ax-Crazy. This depiction is forced into helping his father infect people with fear toxin and is later psychologically tortured into becoming the Scarecrow.
  • Advertised Extra: Was a major element in marketing leading up to Season 4, with Word of God stating Scarecrow would be "out in full force." Come the actual season, Crane is a major character in the first two episodes, before vanishing for half a season, being recast, and relegated to muscle for Jerome and Jeremiah.
  • Age Lift: Jonathan Crane looks to be about five years older than Bruce Wayne.
  • Alone with the Psycho: He ends up locked inside a closet with a scarecrow who he believes is his boogeyman. This results in him going mad and believing that the scarecrow demon he's hallucinated is possessing him.
  • And I Must Scream: Screaming incoherently is all he can do after his father overdoses him on adrenaline and everywhere he looks he sees a monstrous scarecrow. By his return, it appears his incarceration in a mental hospital has taken a toll on him, and being locked up overnight with an actual scarecrow by a bunch of brutal crooks pushes him over the edge completely.
  • Ascended Extra: Was just a very minor character who played second fiddle to his father in his debut, but by Season 4 he's grown into a major Arc Villain.
  • Avenging the Villain: He attempts to kill Gordon at Arkham Asylum to avenge the death of his serial killer father.
  • Badass Longcoat: His Scarecrow costume has a large coat holding his weapons.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Some out-of-town thugs retrieve Jonathan from Arkham via bribery, then terrorize him into producing his father's fear gas for use in their own crimes. You just know it's not going to go well when they leave him locked up alone with an actual scarecrow that Jonathan perceives as a nightmarish "bogeyman": a product of his damaged mind which more or less possesses young Crane, subduing and invading his original persona, then turns the gas on his captor.
  • The Bus Came Back: He was last seen in a coma in the first season, but returns as the Scarecrow in Season 4.
  • Co-Dragons: Becomes one to Jerome alongside Mad Hatter in season 4.
  • Cool Mask: The famed Scarecrow mask. In seasons 4 and 5 it's used to cover the original actor's recasting.
  • Costume Evolution: The first Scarecrow costume is a very thick burlap suit with a gas mask. In later episodes, he wears a sleeker Arkham Knight-esque suit with a hood, and in the Season 4 finale, he ditches the hood for the iconic Scarecrow hat.
  • Dark Is Evil: In contrast with Bruce’s Dark Is Not Evil.
  • Demonic Possession: Played with. Jonathan thinks that the Scarecrow demon from his hallucinations is possessing him, driving him to become one of Gotham's greatest villains.
  • Driven to Villainy: He might have stayed a harmless inmate of Arkham were it not for Merton and his gang taking him from Arkham and locking him in a room with the subject of his terror - an actual scarecrow.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Bruce. Both kids have witnessed their parents killed horribly and were mentally scarred for life as a result, but they vowed to avenge the deaths of their family members by punishing their killer and growing into a force to be feared in Gotham. However, Bruce desires to grow into the hero Gotham deserves and bring peace, but Jonathan craves power and wants to be feared by those lower than him. Both also tend to use stealth-based attacks and theatrics in their fighting, but Bruce has been trained by the seasoned Alfred while Jonathan uses his scythe in a comparatively amateur way, able to be disarmed by Gordon.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: His mask in season 4 has some sort of effect that deepens his voice considerably.
  • Face Your Fears: Inverted; having surrendered to his "bogeyman" himself, Crane uses fear-toxin and persuasion to convince Arkham's warden to likewise embrace and become his personal phobia. When Gordon successfully plays this trope straight, fighting off the fear-gas's effect by overcoming fear, Scarecrow outright claims it's impossible.
  • Forced into Evil: For a short time in Season 4, as Jonathan is forced to re-create his father's fear serum by a bunch of bank robbers who terrorize the hallucination-hounded young man with an actual scarecrow.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Goes from a total pushover being forced to serve other criminals into Gotham's great master of fear.
  • Generation Xerox: Turns out to be one for his father, a fear-obsessed doctor determined to invoke that fear in others (though their end goals differ considerably).
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: His father believes his serum will stop Jonathan feeling fear. It ends up having the opposite effect, driving him mad and fuelling his eventual change into the Scarecrow.
  • Insane Equals Violent: He's gone off the deep end, which in Gotham City also means that he's a violent psychopath.
  • Karma Houdini: Gets away with all his criminal actions by the end of the series.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • Upon becoming the Scarecrow, the first victim he uses his fear gas on is one of the mooks who tormented him and locked him up inside a closet with his "boogeyman."
    • He also poisons the corrupt warden at Arkham as revenge for being sold off to abusive gangsters.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: His father was trying to find a cure for fear. As the Scarecrow, Jonathan will someday be trying to cause as much fear as possible.
  • Missing Mom: His mother's death in a house fire is what drove Jonathan's dad to research fear, because Gerald couldn't work up the courage to dash through the flames to save her.
  • Mythology Gag: In Season 4B, he dons a new hooded Scarecrow mask that heavily resembles the one he wore in the Batman: Arkham Series.
  • Out of Focus: His father is the main antagonist of his debut episode, while Jonathan really plays no important part in it himself. That is until Season 4 where Crane returns and becomes the Scarecrow.
  • Overlord Jr.: Jonathan acts as a willing accomplice to all his father's crimes, although intimidation does seem to play a part.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: When he first debuts in Gotham, Jonathan isn't a kid who's malicious at heart. For all the horrible things Jonathan helps his dad do, fear is his father's obsession, not his own. He goes along with what Gerald does out of familial loyalty and a desire to be rid of the fear he believes makes his father ashamed of him.
    • Once he becomes the Scarecrow, he embraces that his father was a genius trying to rid the world of fear; he's just "improving" the process by not only having people embrace their fears, but become them just like he did.
  • Pungeon Master: After becoming a super-villain, he really likes peppering variations of the word "fear" into his dialogue.
    Scarecrow: You look a fright, Mr. Tetch.
  • Scary Scarecrows: His new costume has the raggedy, demonic scarecrow look to intimidate his targets.
  • Sinister Scythe: He starts wielding a scythe as a weapon in case of physical confrontations.
  • Start of Darkness: Unless Gotham is your very first exposure to the Batman franchise, you've probably already guessed that this isn't the last we'll be seeing of Jonathan.
  • That Man Is Dead: "Jonathan Crane isn't here anymore..."
  • This Cannot Be!: He's utterly shocked that Gordon was able to overcome his fear toxin.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Injected with his father's own formulas, Jonathan's hallucinations of his scarecrow-like personal "bogeyman" are terrifying.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Was first introduced as a young accomplice serving his father, but by Season 4 he's evolved into the Scarecrow, one of Gotham's most dangerous villains.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Unlike many other takes on the character, this Crane started off as a well-meaning young man trying to aid his father.
  • Weak Sauce Weakness: In The Fear Reaper, Gordon figures out that people under the influence of Jonathan's toxin can be cured with a splash of cold water in the face. Justified, as the fear toxin dispenser this time around seems to be the equivalent of a high-tech spritzer, leaving traces of the toxin in their faces.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After his debut episode in Season One, he's never seen or mentioned for the next two seasons, even after Arkham Asylum re-opened. We don't learn what became of him until Season 4, when he becomes the first Arc Villain of the season, the Scarecrow, popping up sporadically thereafter to aid Jerome and Jeremiah. Subject tot his again in season 5 - he's defeated by Gordon in the series opener and is only mentioned once thereafter.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: His assault against the Arkham warden that sold him off as a slave carries shades of this as he's dragging his scythe close to his former handler. He begins recalling the events of his abuse at the hospital before infecting the corrupt jerk with his toxins, then literally turns the warden into a clown to demean him.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Was forced to be a Punch-Clock Villain for his father, ended up losing both said father and his own sanity, and then kept enduring Kick Them While They Are Down from a system that was supposed to treat him instead. After all that, you really can't blame him for finally going on a warpath.
  • You Killed My Father: He has this attitude towards Gordon thanks to his father getting gunned down by the police. This causes him to try and kill the officer to avenge his lost father.
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    Lazlo Valentin/Professor Pyg 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gotham_409a_scn3_jn0230_f_hire.jpg
"You'll never forget me. I promise you that."
Click here to see him unmasked. 
Played by: Michael Cerveris

"What you said about the rot in Gotham, high to low - so concisely phrased - well, it gave me an idea. The next step in my plot. It's a saga. It's an epic. It's a spectacle. And you're my muse, Jimmy Gordon."

A deranged serial killer who sports a pig mask. His primary targets are the corrupt cops of Gotham, although he seems to have taken a liking to Jim Gordon...


  • Abled in the Adaptation: Unlike the comics Pyg, who's one of the few Batman villains to actually meet the qualifications to be declared insane, this version is clear-headed.
  • Adaptational Badass: Most versions of Pyg, excepting Beware the Batman, are schizophrenics and murderous psychopaths and have very little planning skills. This version is perfectly capable of executing an almost Joker-like scheme such as when he massacres the GCPD in the abandoned court house.
  • Adaptational Deviation: This version of Pyg doesn't have any involvement with the Circus of Strange.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: While he lacks the comic variant's surgical skills needed to create his Dollotrons, he's a master strategist and actor, skills the comics Pyg doesn't have.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Downplayed. This version of the character is a vigilante who murders corrupt cops, which is considerably less depraved than his M.O. in the comics. However, it's clear that this Pyg is still a severely disturbed psychopath, and that his mission against Gotham's corruption is more or less an excuse he uses to indulge his sick desires.
  • Adapted Out: His signature Mooks, the Dollotrons, never make an appearance in the show.
  • Arc Villain: He was the primary villain for about 5 episodes in Season 4. It later turns out that Sofia is the one who hired him.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: He changes his targets from corrupt cops to Gotham's elite because of their callousness and disregard towards the poor.
  • Animal Motifs: He models himself after pigs, and places a pig mask on every cop that he kills. Not only that but he leaves figurines of pigs on his crime scenes, sent pig heads to the police HQ as a calling card and left live pigs with two of his victims' corpses, one of which was eaten by said pigs.
  • Attention Whore: He loves being the center of attention, so much so that he actually yearns to be hailed as Gotham's most notorious criminal. When Gordon tells him that the city's already forgotten about him after his arrest, he does not take it lightly.
  • Baddie Flattery: He apparently sees Gordon as a celebrity of sorts, and is somewhat starstruck when the two meet face-to-face.
  • Bald of Evil: This version of Pyg is bald behind the mask.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The only thing so far that breaks Pyg's hammy disposition is Gordon saying that his killing spree is just a madman's game and not some crusade for the greater good.
    • He breaks his Pyg persona when Gordon makes it sound like he's yesterday's news and nothing but an amateur compared to Jerome Valeska, Fish Mooney and Penguin.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He's a flamboyant, effete eccentric with a bizarre dress sense, a lilting voice, and a fondness for nursery rhymes, but he is extremely dangerous nonetheless.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Sofia Falcone for Season 4. Both have different goals, and ultimately oppose each other in one episode, yet both are the main threats in Gordon and Penguin's life, respectively. Ultimately subverted on the "oppose" part, since they were working together all along.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Courtesy of Sofia Falcone.
  • Cop Killer: The Dirty Cops on Penguin's payroll are his main targets.
  • Deadpan Snarker: After Penguin kills a callous aristocrat for disregarding the fate of an "urchin" and "orphan" child, Pyg only responds by saying "what a waste of a good pie" and complimenting Penguin's response.
  • Death by Adaptation: Sofia shot him in the head and killed him, years before Bruce Wayne becomes Batman.
  • The Dragon: To Sofia Falcone
  • Dramatic Unmask: We finally see his true face (or is it?) when he removes his Fisoli disguise at the end of "A Day in the Narrows".
  • The Dreaded: Pyg becomes one of the most feared cop killers in Gotham and forces Bullock to team up with Penguin and his goons in an attempt to capture him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: At Sofia's fundraiser for orphans, Pyg assures her said orphans are locked up and not hurt, saying he's not an animal. Even his threat against Martin seems aimed more at intimidating Penguin than an actual desire to harm him.
  • Evil Is Hammy: No pun intended; he's very theatrical for a psychopathic killer. Fittingly enough, he's played by Broadway veteran Michael Cerveris.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He acts very polite and friendly towards Jim, though this is simply a facade to hide his southern roots.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: At the end of "Hog Day Afternoon", he recites "Two Mother Pigs" to a pen of piglets before slaughtering them to make pig masks.
    Professor Pyg: Two mother pigs lived in a pen.
    They each had four piglets, and that made ten.
    All the piglets loved to play,
    and they rolled and they rolled in the mud all day.
    At night, when their mothers curled up in a heap,
    they squealed and they squealed until they went to sleep.
    And sleep well, for tomorrow, the axe shall fall...
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Gordon tells him that he's nothing more than a C-list criminal who's doomed to fall into obscurity, and has virtually no match against the staying power of bigger villains like the Penguin or Jerome. Pyg is considered by many to be one of Batman's more obscure rogues due to his relatively recent introduction compared to the classic Rogues' Gallery.
  • Master of Disguise: He's a dangerously good actor, as demonstrated when he disguises himself as one of his victims in an effort to trick Gordon and the GCPD. We eventually find out that even his Pyg persona as a whole is just a big act.
  • Meaningful Name: tells Gordon that spelling it with a Y rather than an I is deliberate as it's short for Pygmalion.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • At one point, he sings along to opera while carving out another pig mask. This should seem very familiar for fans of Batman: Arkham Knight. He even throws a butcher knife at Jim in "Let Them Eat Pie", just like in his boss battle.
    • In the comics, Pyg is a surgeon who uses his skills to turn his victims into Dollotrons. In the show, this is visually alluded to during a scene where he surgically removes a dead man's organs.
  • Not So Different: He expresses interest in Jim because he believes that they share a common goal: to wipe out the corruption within the GCPD.
    Professor Pyg: You and I know that Gotham cannot survive unless the cancer is cut out. We both share the same mission, only I do it with a little bit more flair.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The man's a living testament to why you should Beware the Silly Ones, but he's no fool. When Jim pretends not to know Pyg's location, Pyg's response is, "Don't act dumb. Only I get to do that."
  • One-Man Army: He single-handedly massacred a large portion of police officers, some on his own and by using a machine gun trap.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-Universe example. As Gordon leaves him behind in his Arkham cell, Pyg angrily snarls, "Don't you walk out on me!" in a Southern accent, thus revealing giving Gordon a major clue where to start finding out his true identity.
  • Pig Man: Through wearing his signature pig mask.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: His pig mask in the comics is usually depicted as a cheap plastic mask and reminiscent of Porky Pig. Here, it appears to be an actual pig's face that's been sliced into a mask.
  • Shout-Out: Pyg's plot to bake his murder victims into human meat pies is directly inspired by Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. This was a deliberate reference, since Michael Cerveris actually played Sweeney Todd on Broadway.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: He’s revealed to be from the south and briefly slips into a Southern accent during “Things That Go Boom”, Yet this doesn’t negate the fact that he’s still a genuinely intelligent and dangerous criminal who managed to escape from both Arkham and the prison from his original town with seemingly minimal effort.
  • Villain Song: He has a very short one in the form of "Meat Pie Tango", a parody of "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He's offed by Sofia once he's no longer useful to her plan.

    Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin 

Oswald Cobblepot

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/oswald_cobblepot.png
"Foolish arrogance led me astray. But I learned my lessons. I'll be back, stronger and smarter than ever."
Played By: Robin Lord Taylor

"A year ago, I held Fish Mooney's umbrella. Now she's dead by my hand, along with Maroni. Falcone is in hiding, and all of their businesses are mine. They all underestimated me. I suggest you not make the same mistake."

A former flunky in Fish Mooney's employ, he betrayed her to the police and his death was ordered, to be carried out by Detective James Gordon. Gordon couldn't go through with it though, and Oswald joined the opposite side of the mob war as a lieutenant of the Maroni Family. However, his only true allegiance is to himself, manipulating and betraying anyone he can to further his position in Gotham's underworld. Often called "Penguin" due to his mannerisms and appearance, he initially hates the nickname but later decides to embrace it.


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Cobblepot is considerably more attractive than his older, shorter Fat Bastard self in the comics (except for a very beaky nose, bad teeth, and black, oily hair). His height, however, is 5'6", just like the first live-action Penguin, Burgess Meredith, and the character still has a fondness for alcohol and various snacks (tuna sandwiches in particular). There are hints throughout the series of a much rounder future which eventually comes to pass in the Grand Finale.
  • Adaptational Badass: While the Penguin has always been one of the most formidable villains, he is usually depicted in a comedic manner. This Penguin is substantially more serious and dangerous than most past incarnations, alongside his Adaptational Villainy.
  • Adaptational Heroism: For all the awful things he does, the amount of time the show spends with Oswald makes sure to show his decent aspects - notably his genuine attempts at friendship with Jim in season 1 and his genuine love for certain characters, like his mother and Ed. His actor has suggested that the kind and gentle Penguin we see after Hugo Strange's "therapy" is the person Oswald could have been if he hadn't been mistreated and abused by so many people before the events of season 1.
    • Shown most prominently in "They Did What?", when he realizes he can't abandon Gotham after everything he's been through with it, and makes a conscious decision to stay and help Gordon save it. He even manages to talk Ed into doing the same thing, and permanently damages an eye pushing him out the way of grenade shrapnel during Bane's attack.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Most versions of the Penguin we see are established in the Gotham underworld already, so while they're evil to the core, they take care not to get their hands dirty. Here, we see him working his way up to mob kingpin, and everything he'll do to get there; consequently, most of his worst traits - his sadistic side, violent temper and lack of empathy for anyone in his way - are taken Up to Eleven. While his character does have a lot of sympathetic edges (see the Adaptational Heroism entry), the things he does in pursuit of power place him squarely among the darkest versions of the Penguin yet seen. He's personally murdered dozens of people over the course of the series.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Along with some adaptational socioeconomic class. While the Penguin is usually an Impoverished Patrician of British or American origin, this version is Hungarian on his mother's side and has been raised by her his whole life in relative poverty. He is still presumably American on his father's side, however, as he is the product of a poor immigrant cook and the heir to a wealthy and reclusive Gothamite family.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Most versions of the Penguin surrounds himself with scantily clad women, but this Penguin had hints of possessing feelings towards Jim Gordon. In season 3 it's revealed that his chumminess with Edward Nygma is no mere Ho Yay, but he actually is in love with Ed.
  • Aesop Amnesia: At the end of season 3 he concluded that Love Is a Weakness, but come season 4 he is charmed by Sophia Falcone, who could not be more blatantly manipulating him. It is later revealed that he does suspect her, but after letting his feelings for Ed cloud his better judgement and paying for it you'd think he would have learned.
  • Age Lift: While the Penguin is generally depicted as older than Batman, he is now apparently around Gordon's age, which makes the age difference somewhat larger.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When faced with danger, his usual reaction is to beg and cry. That said, as he steadily gets ever higher on the Gotham foodchain, this becomes rarer and rarer.
  • All for Nothing: Is forced to try and keep his mother safe by doing Galavan's dirty work... only for her to be killed anyway. Penguin reacts exactly as you'd expect.
  • Almighty Janitor: He started off as Fish Mooney's personal serving boy, and then ends up as a kitchen hand in one of Maroni's restaurants. All the while nobody realizes he's a Manipulative Bastard who has been responsible for almost all of the events in Season 1, and eventually works his way up in the criminal hierarchy until he's King of Gotham.
    Fish Mooney: You're a servant. An umbrella boy. You're a nobody.
    Penguin: This nobody still outfoxed you at every turn.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Although Cobblepot makes his attraction to Ed Nygma explicit, his actor has suggested that if a woman had treated him with the decency and support that Ed showed him following the deaths of Oswald's parents, he would have likely fallen for her as well. Supporting this theory, Oswald seems to develop a crush towards Sophia Falcone when she shows him the same kindness Ed once did and seems heartbroken to find out that she's cavorting with Jim Gordon behind his back even though Oswald and Sophia aren't officially together.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: In that his mother is a stereotypical yenta who goes by a non-Anglicized name. Set Decorator Andrew Baseman stated that "We think she's a Middle Eastern descendant of great wealth that fell on hard times." Carol Kane is also Jewish and her grandparents emigrated from Russia. The fact that Gertrude mentions turning in someone to the secret police means her family most likely came from Russia or Germany. The episode "The Blade's Path" reveals that she was Hungarian, since Sofia Falcone went to great lengths to locate her goulash recipe to win him over.
  • Animal Motif: Take a wild guess. Actually, it's pretty downplayed. But he still has a creepily overprotective mother (common among birds), a distinctive waddle-limp, and the typical "formal wear".
  • Anti-Hero: Robin Lord Taylor has stated "My goal is, I want him to be an anti-hero, I want people to root for him, no matter what he’s doing." A writer for The Atlantic argued that Gotham should be renamed The Penguin Show. The Telegraph called him TV's darkest anti-hero."
  • Appropriated Appellation:
    • Starts off absolutely hating being called "Penguin", or that he sort of looks like a penguin - to the point that this is his Berserk Button, and he will angrily insist that goons twice his size stop calling him that (and once, outright slashed the throat of a drunken preppy who said it). By the fifth episode, when Don Maroni asks what his real identity is, he explains that people call him "Penguin" but he can't stand that, and would prefer his real name, Oswald Cobblepot. Maroni paternally advises that instead, he should really claim "Penguin" as his own.
    • As of "Rogue's Gallery", he's really taken to attempting to using the name in a manner akin to The Dreaded, and while it doesn't work at first, after his killing Mooney at the end of season 1 it sticks as his Red Baron in subsequent seasons. He even insists on being called THE Penguin.
  • Arch-Enemy: He's variously had this relationship with Fish Mooney, Salvatore Maroni, Theo Galavan, Tabitha Galavan, Edward Nygma, and Sofia Falcone (though the one with Edward cools off by mid season 4).
  • Ax-Crazy: Even before his Berserk Button gets pushed, he's a very violent and unpredictable guy.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Considering how impeccably dressed Oswald usually is, this comes naturally to him once he takes a few levels in badass.
  • Bad Boss: He always slips into this when stressed, with frequent helpings of You Have Failed Me, a course of action that usually inspires his underlings to betray him - his mistreatment of Butch and Ivy is particularly glaring in this regard, while Gabe tells him his lackeys in seasons 1-2 only followed him because they were scared of him. He's still at it in season 5 when he's happy to let his underlings starve when making his ammunition while he trades with Barbara for steak for himself - not surprisingly, they all abandon him a few episodes later.
    Harvey Bullock: You might want to change your management style, pal.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: A trait of his in the season finales.
    • He becomes the new kingpin of Gotham City as of the first season finale.
    • In season 2 he kills Theo Galavan twice (though in both cases he's definitely A Lighter Shade of Black to Galavan, for differing reasons each time).
    • Ends season 3 finally outwitting Ed and having him frozen.
    • The season 4 finale has him exact revenge for his mother's murder by killing Butch after Tabitha had fallen in love with him, just so she could know what it felt like to lose a loved one.
    • Downplayed in season 5, since after his release from Blackgate his criminal empire is in ruins but he still commands respect amongst the criminal underworld of Gotham and he ends the season escaping custody with and renewing his friendship with The Riddler. His future seems pretty grim though since he seems set to begin his historic feud with Batman.
  • Batman Gambit: Ironically, he's as good at these as the Trope Namer.
    • He plots with Falcone to fake his death in order to give Falcone the advantage against Maroni, successfully predicting Gordon would do exactly what he did in order to return incognito and worm his way into Maroni's organisation.
    • He comes clean to Maroni (despite the dangers) about how he's still alive because he's absolutely sure that the incorruptible and honest Gordon will tell the truth about why he didn't shoot him. He's right, and Maroni lets them both go when their stories match.
    • Phrases his request for Fish to spare Falcone in the first season finale very specifically, prodding Maroni's ego into sexist ranting about Fish just being an underboss - prompting her to shoot him in the head, allowing Oswald to escape in the ensuing chaos.
    • Knows full well that Gordon's attempt to collect his money from Ogden will end in Ogden flipping out, forcing Gordon to kill him - ridding him of a problem and giving him future leverage over Gordon at the same time.
    • Plays Riddler like a fiddle at the end of season 3, allowing him to think he'd escaped his handcuffs using a found pin (actually Penguin's own), then prodding Ed's ego in order to be taken to the pier where Riddler thought he'd killed him the first time - just so he could reveal Riddler's appropriated gun (taken from Penguin) had no bullets and that he'd already called Ivy and Freeze as backup.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: All he's ever wanted was to be the king of Gotham's criminal underworld and he finally gained it at the end of season 1. Among other things that happen to him after this as a direct result; his mother is killed by Theo Galavan For the Evulz, he's committed to Arkham and thoroughly mentally broken by Hugo Strange, finds his father only to see him killed too, falls in love with Ed only to see him ruin his mayorship (admittedly he deserved that one), has Sofia Falcone usurp his empire and get committed to Arkham AGAIN. A lesser man would have given up, but full credit to him, Oswald just keeps bouncing back.
  • Berserk Button:
    • He really doesn't like being called "Penguin". Or being compared to one for that matter. However, that changes soon after Maroni encourages him to embrace it.
    • A heckler at his night club learns the hard way that you should never insult the mama of a Mama's Boy.
    • Don't harm his best friend (and love interest) Edward Nygma. He knocked out Butch with a glass bottle when Butch was strangling Edward. When Tommy Bones called saying that he kidnapped Edward, Penguin was furious to the point that he said he will tear the city brick by brick if he have to do. He gets over it after their falling out.
    • Nygma points out in "They Did What?" Gordon will always see him as nothing more than Fish Mooney's umbrella boy, pissing him off so much the two vow to take what they want from whomever they please.
  • Best Served Cold: Killing his step-family was a highlight, but after spending a season becoming partners with them, Oswald coldly killing Butch just after he became human again and crippling Tabby just to gain his revenge against the both of them for killing his mom. And after letting her live for a few more months following Butch's death, Oswald finally kills Tabitha as well. And then there was his taking this trope at its most literal, having Freeze turn Ed into an icicle at the end of season 3.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He's almost constantly underestimated, even after his rise to power, with his enemies seeing him as a strange, easily-manipulated little man with a limp. Anyone who's familiar with the Batman mythos, however, knows that you take Oswald Cobblepot for granted at your own peril, and by the series' end he's outlived - and in many cases personally murdered - virtually everyone who underestimated him.
  • Big Bad: Cobblepot effectively serves as the central antagonist of Season 1, actively causing chaos in Gotham's underworld to further his own ambitions for power. This fully reaches its scale at the end of the season when he instigates an all-out mob war, which ends with Maroni and Fish dead, Falcone fled and him as the king of Gotham.
    • Big Bad Wannabe: Zigzagged after this. The problem for Cobblepot after his season 1 victory is that as powerful, vicious and dangerous as he is from season 2 onward, he's often forced to play second fiddle to more dangerous villains like Galavan and Jerome (both of whom he ends up helping Gordon take down). When he does consolidate his power (becoming mayor in season 3, enabling the Pax Penguina in season 4) it's only so he can take a much larger fall later (Riddler ruins his mayorship, Sofia Falcone steals his empire). While he always works his way back around to being a major threat, by season 5 he's squarely part of the show's Big Bad Ensemble rather than the pre-eminent threat.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Cobblepot would love to be a tough guy like his associates, but he just doesn't seem to have much to work with for most of the first episode. Even when Fish pushes his Berserk Button by calling him "Penguin", the result is not an Unstoppable Rage but Cobblepot getting his ass handed to him once again. Oddly enough the level in badass he takes after Gordon throws him in the river largely consists of his realization that he'll never be a traditional tough guy and that he's better off sticking to schemes and manipulation.
  • Break the Haughty: Tends to happen to him during his various falls from grace, most notably when he realizes Ed's been behind all his misfortunes in season 3 and when Sofia Falcone uses Martin to oust him from power in season 4.
  • Breakout Character: Has proven to be one of the most popular characters in the series, and one of the most well received depictions of the character.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Unfortunately for nearly everyone who has crossed him so far, they find out too late that this limping weirdo is actually a ruthless bloodthirsty psychopath, and a particularly hard one to kill at that. Only a few have survived so far, if only because circumstances means that Cobblepot hasn't found a way to get to them yet. Grace van Dahl and her children paid an especially high price for abusing Cobblepot, while his mother's killers didn't fare much better.
  • Butt-Monkey: Despite being one of the biggest villains on the show, Cobblepot spends a large quantity of his screen time getting beat up, disrespected and almost dying. In fact, after Cobblepot moves a step further into Gotham's criminal underground something disastrous usually comes along that eventually knocks him several rungs down the crime ladder. Though given his propensity of bouncing back from even the most severe humiliations, he may qualify as Iron Butt Monkey.
  • The Caligula: Becomes this in Season 5 after assuming control over one of Gotham's largest territories. His narcissism is shot Up to Eleven and he has his followers worship him like a great leader to the point where they sing songs about him every morning. He also treats him subordinates far worse, frequently punishing them for imagined slights, starving them and forcing them to work non stop in his bullet factories.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Upon ascending to the head of Gotham's underworld, it's implied that he assumed that he'd get the respect that gangsters like Falcone, Maroni and even Fish had by default, and seems genuinely bewildered at times when he continues to get verbally abused by just about everyone. Seen most prominently when Harvey rips him a new one for being nothing but Fish's old umbrella boy early in season 2 and he genuinely seems to have no idea how to respond, just seething quietly the whole time.
  • The Chessmaster: He manipulates the conflict between Gotham's crime families in order to establish his own power base - particularly notable in the final few episodes where he turns the crime families against each other. The "Game of Cobblepot" featurette on the season 1 DVD explicitly uses the chess analogy to describe his actions.
  • Chewing the Scenery: After pushing Fish into a watery grave, he shouts out loud for all of Gotham to hear, "I'M THE KING OF GOTHAM!"
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Nobody in Gotham embodies this trope quite like Oswald. His ruthless ambition is matched only by his lack of power after he gets cast out of Fish' gang, so he seizes absolutely any opportunity to remove his rivals and gain influence via well-timed betrayal and murder - a process which leaves him King of Gotham by the end of season 1. Actually has the opportunity to stab Riddler in the back in late season 5, but doesn't take it out of a sense of brotherhood - luckily for him, as Ed had the exact same thought process.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He's physically unimpressive, but he'll do anything and use anything to come out on top in a fight. Once stabbed someone to death with a garden trowel, for God's sake...
  • The Consigliere: To both Maroni and Falcone. Falcone tells Maroni in Season 1 Episode 15 that Penguin is "clever enough to know that a freakish little man like him is never going to be the boss." He's dead wrong. Later, after his ascent to power, Butch, Gabe, Ed and Mr. Penn all act as this to him.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: He's back to his old violent self again beginning in "Into the Woods". The reason? His stepfamily killed his father.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's good at this when dealing with people he isn't trying to cozy up to, particularly Bullock.
    Harvey: You sure about this, Penguin? You're telling me this is where Loeb keeps twenty years of dirty secrets? Doesn't feel right.
    Jim: Well, maybe that's the point. No one would suspect it.
    Penguin: What would you prefer, Detective Bullock? A sign saying "Super-secret blackmail hoard"?
    • Bizarrely, the spectral doppelganger Ed hallucinates in season 3 after (supposedly) killing him is as well.
      Ed: I want you to know that our friendship meant something to me. I cared about you, and I miss you.
      Hallucination Penguin: Gee. Almost makes up for being dead.
  • Determinator: Hoo boy. Virtually every major character in the show has tried to arrest him, kill him or overthrow him at one stage or another. He's lost his mother, his father, his position at the top of the Gotham mobs several times, his job as mayor, got stuck in the Court of Owls' prison and been landed in Arkham. Twice. And yet, through a combination of cunning, tenacity and a sheer-bloody minded refusal to stay down he always bounces back, often as a significantly more dangerous threat than before.
  • Deuteragonist: Of the antagonistic variety. If it wasn't for Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne, he could almost be the main character, as the series focuses so heavily on his character and his rise and fall from power. By the time of Rise of the Villains, he becomes even more prominent as the second most important character, where the war against Theo Galavan is fought from two points of view, from the police's and from Penguin's mob.
  • Dirty Coward: At first, he's a very strong example of Ain't Too Proud to Beg. Any time his life is in danger, he begins pleading and begging for mercy, trying anything he can to survive. Though, as the story progresses, he sheds this tendency and becomes much more formidable.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation:
    • This version of Oswald walks with a limp after Fish shatters his leg with a baseball bat when his treachery is exposed.
    • He received permanant damage to an eye during Bane's assault on Gotham.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Has a habit of doing those when he gets the upper hand on those who genuinely mistreated and abused him before, whether it was ruining Fish's plans to overthrow Falcone and later throwing her off a bridge, offing his loathsome stepfamily for killing his father after being used as little more than a servant by them, or managing to give Jerome a well-deserved thrashing after being treated as a hapless jester by the clown and his Arkham flunkies.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: He switches sides between Falcone and Maroni several times, tells each of them secrets about the other, and then betrays them for his own gains or betrays them to the police. In the end, Cobblepot is loyal only to himself, but pretends to be loyal to whomever will believe him. He lampshades in "Penguin's Umbrella" that he has a gift for this sort of manipulation and spying.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Aside from losing his submarine and treasure to the escaping Nyssa al Ghul, he's furious his (for once sincere) heroism in helping save Gotham will be completely overshadowed by Gordon's efforts.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: He really hates being called Penguin. However, Maroni tells him he should embrace the nickname. Sure enough he does, and by season 3 he's actually insisting on being called it.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Has worked with Asian thieves, Chinese triads, lesbian gangsters and had Headhunter (a black man) as his principle assassin for a while. As long as you're helping him achieve his goals and not pissing him off too much you'll be fine - until he snaps and stabs you in the throat.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His brutal beating of Fish's debtee when Butch lets him have a turn with her baseball bat, laughing wildly all the while. It foreshadows not only how different he is from Butch and the other mooks - who have to tell him when to stop - but exactly what he becomes when he gets any actual power.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
    • While fully aware of her overbearing nature, Cobblepot does seem to genuinely love and care about his mother. He even gives her the very same gift that Fish rejected earlier, much to her delight. Later, he shows one heckler that you do not mess with her. He also doesn't take it well when Maroni exposes his true colors to her, and in season 2 he becomes an emotional wreck when the Galavans kidnapped (and later murdered) his mother to make him do their dirty work.
    • When he found out his father's identity, the two instantly bonded. Which is what causes him to snap again when he finds out that his step-family murdered his father for the inheritance.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His mother, most obviously, as well as Ed and Martin, but the series shows his one great love will always be Gotham itself, with "They Did What?" showing him following his heart to help Jim save Gotham from Bane and Nyssa al Ghul, because he can't stomach the thought of abandoning it after everything he's been through.
    • Developed great, genuine affection for his father in their short time together. And his vengeance against his father's killers was a terror to behold.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • He's ruthless, vicious and has the show's highest body count - but he kills people because they're in his way (or admittedly some in the occasional fit of temper), not for giggles like Jerome. It's definitely Pragmatic Villainy - he wants to rule the city after all, not see it reduced to ashes - but there's still a sense that he has lines he won't cross, as seen by the Legion of Horribles being too much, even for him, in season 4.
    • He also objects to mass victimization as a rule. He doesn't decline Galavan's offer to join his plan until he sees the model for Galavan's "Urban Renovation" program, which, while it would give Gotham several very nice skyscrapers, would replace Gotham's main residential district, leaving thousands homeless. In "That's Entertainment", he is legitimately horrified by Jerome's plan to drive all of Gotham insane using the Joker Gas, to the point of taking an active role in helping Jim stop Jerome by commandeering the zeppelin carrying the gas.
      Oswald: Steer a blimp?! Are you out of your mind, Jim? I don't even drive my own car!
      Jim: If you don't, thousands will die. Maybe worse.
      Oswald: What's worse than that?
    • He's genuinely shell-shocked by the bombing of Haven and the deaths of so many refugees, and lends his support, men and ammunition to Jim to find the killer.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Gordon. They're both newcomers that recognize a great conflict is brewing, but while Gordon is trying to fight back against it and clean up Gotham at risk to his own life and reputation, Cobblepot manipulates the conflict to benefit him and is a self-interested coward. While Gordon's stubbornness is making him enemies by the day, Penguin kisses up to authority figures until he can betray and usurp them.
  • Evil Cripple: He has a limp that makes him look like a penguin as he moves.
  • The Evil Genius: He tries to be this, but his attempts at being so in the pilot backfire spectacularly. As of "Penguin's Umbrella", it turns out he really has earned the trope after all.
  • Evil Gloating: A major character flaw; he has a tendency to gloat to his enemies when he has them helpless, which leads him into trouble if they escape.
    Oswald: There are so few moments of pure joy in one's life, I feel compelled to savor this one.
    Riddler: You mean gloat?
    Oswald: ...yes, I do.
  • Evil Is Petty: When he loses his temper he tends to murder anyone within arm's reach, regardless of whether they have anything to do with his reasons for being angry.
  • Evil Mentor:
    • Nygma regarded him as such to the extent that after he'd betrayed and tried to kill Penguin the subsequent void left by Oswald's departure left the future Riddler in a severe identity crisis.
    • He's also got an alarming habit of gifting children the type of advice that could turn them into future criminals - be it advising one lonely boy to shove his classmates down stairs if they don't play with him during Penguin's time as mayor, or teaching Martin the correct way to fatally stab someone.
  • Expy:
    • Pretty clearly one of Bernie Bernbaum from Miller's Crossing. Ambiguously Jewish, Ambiguously Gay (though Bernbaum's Jewishness and gayness aren't nearly as ambiguous), looks like him, acts like him, sounds like him, begs for his life and is spared by his would-be killer after betraying his gangster boss, and is given an order to remain in exile. Like Bernie, he has no intention of keeping his word and later turns up in the apartment of the man who let him go.
    • He also bears a marked physical resemblance to Steerpike, the Big Bad of the Gormenghast trilogy (except for his not being an albino), and is similarly a put-upon, physically abused lackey who gradually rises to power by backstabbing and out-unsavory-ing his unscrupulous former superiors.
    • He's also rather glaringly similar to Rumpelstiltskin of Once Upon a Time. They were both crippled, limping From Nobody to Nightmare men who claw their way to power through a combination of being The Determinator and The Chessmaster. Snarky information dealer that will help out both sides for favors? Runs the town behind the scenes? Anti-Villain and Even Evil Has Standards? Bullied and ostracized before rising to power? Fan-favorite? Flamboyant attitude and fashion sense? The Friend Nobody Likes but the heroes keep around because he’s the Lesser of Two Evils? Intensely cares for a select handful of people and will do anything to keep them safe? Yeah, they’re cut from the same cloth.
  • Extremely Protective Child: He’s fiercely protective of his beloved mother, and from the start it’s clear that he’s her caretaker and provider. He keeps her sheltered from his criminal life, and if any harm should come to her, well, just ask the guy who got beat to death with a baseball bat and then had an umbrella shoved down his throat. When he reconnects with his long-lost father, Oswald becomes similarly protective of him, enough that the woman who poisoned him got fed her own children and then stabbed in the neck.
  • Eye Scream: Getting hit by grenade shrapnel during Bane's assault on the barricades results in his right eye becoming permanently dilated when it heals.
  • False Friend: He will politely befriend someone who can be of use to him, be it Gordon, a criminal mob boss, or some guys that he hitchhikes with, but secretly plot their downfall once they outlive their usefulness. Gordon actually seems to be the one person he genuinely averted this trope for, but their differing philosophies mean that by season 4 they have a glaring mutual mistrust.
  • Fan of Underdog: In a very serious, often horrifying way.
    • He really starts taking an interest in Ed once he finds out that Ed's heavily neglected and often bullied in the GCPD, and acts as an Evil Mentor to him, informing much of his later descent into being the Riddler.
    • In both his mayoral campaign and his interactions with Martin he starts taking an interest once he realizes the child is isolated and bullied - though his encouraging both to physically abuse and manipulate their tormentors is this trope at its most Ax-Crazy.
  • Fatal Flaw: Oswald is normally The Chess Master, but whenever his loved ones are threatened or otherwise used against him he quickly loses all his composure and starts making rushed decisions. Best seen when Galavan kidnaps his mother, kills her and Penguin's subsequent retribution ends up killing Galavan but ruining the empire he'd built for himself in season 1. Also seen with his dealings with Ed in season 3 and Sofia Falcone in season 4.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He comes across as friendly, polite, and somewhat goofy and therefore not much of a threat at first glance. But under the surface, he is an Ax-Crazy Starscream with a lust for power and a fondness for knives.
  • A Fistful of Rehashes: A villainous example. He's willing to use the Falcone-Maroni conflicts to bring both down and rise to the top of Gotham's underworld.
  • Foil: To Bruce Wayne. Their Animal Motifs are the flying mammal and the flightless bird. They are both orphans whose parents were murdered and are traumatized by it, but Bruce shows mercy while Oswald swears revenge (and gets it, in brutal fashion). Oswald was the son of a poor Hungarian immigrant, and Bruce was raised in extreme wealth, but they both understand isolation all too well, and people tend to underestimate them. Oswald puts on a servile mask to hide his proud and ambitious nature, while Bruce puts on a cocky demeanor to disguise his kind and humble nature. Both of them are somewhat lonely, but have a select few people they care about deeply. By the end of the series, they’ve both overcome the odds and risen to power.
  • Formerly Fit: Oswald’s Big Eater habits and limp eventually come back to bite him after an extended stay in prison after the Time Skip. He nearly doubles in size due to his inactivity and it’s implied that he ate his feelings while incarcerated, which is hilariously highlighted as he attempts to wear his old overcoat as he leaves prison... except it strains against his gigantic belly as he waddles out of the joint.
  • For the Evulz: A variant. Although he doesn't constantly run around doing crimes for the hell of it, he has a sadistic streak and holds grudges, as well as an explosive temper if you press his Berserk Button. As a result, not only can he erupt in murderous outbursts at the slightest provocation, if you cross him, he's capable of truly sadistic retribution. A key example is the episode in which he helps Gordon and Bullock track down Commissioner Loeb's dirty secret, and he winds up being threatened by a couple of gun-wielding old people. At the episode's end, he offers to help them escape from retribution by Falcone, but claims he only has one ticket; although the husband refuses, the wife immediately turns on her husband and brutally murders him. He then reveals he was lying and blows her away with her own shotgun from before; he just didn't want to waste the money and buy another shell for it to kill them both.
  • Friendly Enemy: He seems to genuinely consider Gordon a friend and treats him as such when they talk. It's very one-sided on his part, though, and he's grown out of it by the start of season 5.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Starts off as a low-level mook working for Fish, and his main jobs consist of holding Fish's umbrella and giving her foot-rubs. By season's end he's manipulated and murdered his way to the top, becoming King of Gotham. No matter what life throws at him after that, he's well and truly The Penguin after this, becoming the city's evil mayor in season 3, Gotham's undisputed crime lord in season 4 and one of the major gang leaders in season 5.
  • Gayngster: He was revealed in Season 3 to be in love with Ed.
  • Godzilla Threshold: He'd previously mocked the brain-damaged Ed and vowed never to speak the name of his alter-ego again after all the Riddler had done to him the season prior - but when Sofia Falcone takes his empire out from under him and gets him committed to Arkham, he has zero options and ends up manipulating the now-shakily sane Ed to come back to Arkham, so he can release the Riddler personality to help him.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: If you want a clue as to how evil Penguin is at any given time, look to the hairstyle. His season 1 hairstyle (described by Barbara as "disco vampire" at one point) tends to recur any time he's building himself back up as a villain or is semi-sympathetic. It tends to get more exaggeratedly gelled up and spiky whenever he's managed to get into real power, most notably in season 4 where he sports an exaggerated quiff that at points looks to add several inches to his height.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Though the Penguin is never actually shown smoking in the show, a dream version of him is shown using his trademark cigarette holder during Bruce's hallucination in "A Beautiful Darkness." The real Penguin is shown with a cigarette holder in his coat pocket during "The Beginning," implying that he took up smoking during the 10 year Time Skip, but he never uses it onscreen.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Has a long, long history of wigging out when one of his Berserk Buttons is pushed. It's often fatal for anyone who happens to be near him at the time...
    To Ivy, while burying Gabe after stabbing him to death with a garden trowel in a fit of rage
    Penguin: I might have lost my temper there, a bit. Sorry about that.
  • Handicapped Badass: Surprisingly, he becomes this after Fish breaks his leg and cripples him. He displays surprising speed, when he sneaks up on, and kills an old fisherman. Later, he shows an impressive endurance and tolerance for pain that is demonstrated while he's hitchhiking on the side of the road, commenting when he's finally picked up that he was doing it for hours. He then kills one of the people who picked him up with a broken beer bottle and takes the other one hostage. How he managed to tie him up and get him into the closet of a trailer that he managed to rent from a guy for $100 a month is anybody's guess.
    • The Season 1 Finale proved that Cobblepot can fight just fine with his limp; in his fight with Fish, he gets the upperhand for a moment and whacks her a few times with a lead pipe before getting placed on the ropes again and nearly thrown off the building. After Butch shoots both him and Fish, he bounces back up to knock Butch out with a wooden plank and pushes Fish off the building, finally claiming his title as King of Gotham.
    • In season 5, he corrects his limp with a leg brace... only for Gordon to shoot him in the knee and re-cripple him.
  • The Heavy: Cobblepot's actions and plots are the main catalysts for the Falcone-Maroni war that serves as the main plotline of Season 1.
  • Heel–Face Turn: As a result of Dr. Strange's "therapy", Cobblepot is conditioned to act docile and friendly and regrets his violent past. He encourages Nygma to turn good and tries to make peace with Gilzean. Even when Tabitha brings up tormenting his mother, ordinarily his Berserk Button, he warmly laughs it off. This being Gotham however, it's doomed not to last, and thanks to his step-family offing his long-lost father and reawakening his dark side, he was back to being his usual psycho self by season's end.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: When his sincere contributions to saving Gotham are overlooked (as well as having Nyssa al Ghul steal his treasure) he furiously vows the city will be his.
  • Hidden Depths: One season 1 episode showed he's actually quite a good pianist.
  • High-Class Glass: After the 10-year Time Skip in the finale, the Penguin is finally shown wearing his signature monocle from the comics in order to correct his vision after suffering a grenade explosion back in No Man's Land. Robin Lord Taylor was actually very insistent on being able to wear the monocle on-screen.
    "The monocle in particular I loved because, again, it's iconic to the Penguin. I got to collaborate with them, John Perkins, our makeup guy head, and I talked about it. One thing I love about this iteration of the Penguin is that all of those characteristics, quirks that make up who he is, such as the limp and the monocle, are actual injuries that he has received from other people. He's been damaged by others, rightfully so in some circumstances. [...] So it was just this little piece of who he is and classic iconography of the Penguin."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Beautifully subverted: Tabitha holds him at gunpoint in revenge for Butch's death, using a bullet he himself supplied as part of a trade for food, and shoots him in the chest - except the bullet is a dud, because Penguin's failure to feed his underlings results in them producing shoddy ammo. He immediately stabs her to death.
  • Horned Hairdo: Whenever he's in power, his hairdo is noticeably spiked to excess - which is telling as this tends to overlap with when he's at his most terrible (most notably as Gotham's criminal overlord in season 4, and as gang boss with delusions of grandeur in season 5).
  • Horrible Judge of Character: He's generally excellent at reading people, but by his own admission he's an optimist that tends to see the best in people even when he really shouldn't - thus leading to a long string of people he trusted betraying him. It's telling he learns from the below examples (eventually in some cases) leading to his being Properly Paranoid by later seasons.
    • While he initially reads Gordon correctly in that he won't kill him for Fish Mooney, thereafter he seems to genuinely believe Gordon will reciprocate his attempts at being his Big Bad Friend, despite Gordon being the one cop on the force with morals so unshakable it'll inevitably put them on a collision course. Even after seasons of their relationship steadily deteriorating, his actor has suggested one of the reasons he's so furious at Jim for being locked away in Blackgate for a decade is that he thought that he and Gordon had achieved some sort of understanding standing together for Gotham against Bane.
    • He's seemingly OK with the blatantly Ax-Crazy Barbara being one of his underbosses in season 3, despite Butch warning him several times she can't be trusted - not to mention the fact she hangs around with his mother's murderer. Needless to say, she betrays him with Ed's help not long after.
    • Speaking of Ed: Oswald really seems to think Ed will fall for him as soon as Isabella's out the way. Ed, being the show's resident Evil Genius, eventually pieces it all together and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against him.
    • And then there was Sofia Falcone. While he was always suspicious of her, her Bitch in Sheep's Clothing act allays it enough he doesn't cotton on to her power play until she's ready to move against him.
  • Hypocrite:
    • He'll go to extreme lengths to kill anyone responsible for hurting his loved ones (witness his seasons-long revenge against everyone involved in his mother's death) but routinely fails to understand the effects hurting other people's loved ones will have on them. His killing Ed's girlfriend Isabella so he can have Ed all to himself results in Ed eventually turning on him, ruining his mayorship and nearly killing him. In season 5 he casually asks Barbara if they can move past his stabbing Tabitha, her best friend and sometime lover, to death - needless to say, she's now out for blood.
    • There's also his bemoaning how the new generation of Gotham's criminals, like Barbara and Riddler, have no sense of honour or respect compared to the old gangsters like Falcone and Maroni - seemingly oblivious to the fact it was his actions in season 1 that led to that old order falling apart.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: The season 1 DVD extras indicate that he's determined to forge his own destiny and be out from under the thumbs of Fish, Maroni, Falcone and anyone else who's mistreated him.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: He admits to Ed in season 5 that he had Hugo Strange bring him back to life because he couldn't stand the thought of losing his Only Friend. Given how much the two had done to each other by that point, it's a fairly damning indictment of just how alone his quest to rule Gotham has left him.
  • I Owe You My Life: He sees Jim as his friend after the latter spared his life. He both shows up to save him from Montoya and Allen's accusations that Gordon murdered him, and is later revealed to have made sure Falcone didn't have him killed.
  • I Shall Return: Cobblepot will come back to Gotham.
    Cobblepot: It was my own fault. Foolish arrogance led me astray. But I learned my lessons. I'll be back, stronger and smarter than ever.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • After his step-family killed his father, he killed his step-siblings and ate them, along with also feeding them to his stepmother.
    • In Season 4's "Let Them Eat Pie", when Pyg threatens to kill Martin unless Penguin and the rest of Gotham's elite eat meat pies made from people, Penguin is the first to do so, staring Pyg down the entire time.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Encouraged by Fish, the end of season 3 sees him embrace his place among Gotham's freaks - then the following season sees him go right back to his usual delusions of grandeur, treating Ivy poorly and ignoring his promise to help Freeze cure his condition.
  • Incompatible Orientation: "Follow the White Rabbit" seems to imply this with Nygma.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Cobblepot seems to have this view of Gotham. When he first comes back, he sees a drug deal going down, a corrupt cop accepting a bribe, and a woman getting robbed. After seeing all of this, he is as happy as can be to be back in Gotham.
  • Irony: The Penguin is played by an actor named Robin.
  • It's Personal:
    • God help anyone involved in his mother's death. He beat Galavan (the instigator) halfway to death with a baseball bat, later blew him to pieces with a rocket launcher when he came back as Azrael, and killed Butch (who betrayed her) just to show Tabitha (her actual murderer) what it was like to lose a loved one - then knifed her to death at the start of season 5.
    • His rivalry with Ed towards the end of season 3 also falls into this category, though it cools off by season 5.
    • His determination to pin the Haven bombing on Zsasz seems to be motivated by this, given Zsasz betrayed him for Sofia Falcone the season prior and left him to rot in Arkham.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • One of his stated reasons for offing Isabella is that he was trying to protect Ed from the pain of killing her when he inevitably snapped again. He may be desperately trying to save his own skin at that point, but given that Riddler ends the following season trying to kill Lee Thompkins for not reciprocating his feelings the way he wanted, it's got a grain of truth to it.
    • On that note, he was dead right that Riddler was a fool for trusting Lee, given she ends the season stabbing him.
  • Jerkass Realization: Has happened a few times, first when he realizes how selfish he was not putting Ed's happiness with Isabella over his own desire for a relationship with him, then again when Mr.Penn makes realise how incredibly awful he was to everyone around him. They never seem to stick though.
  • Joker Immunity: As far as the show goes, you could rename the trope "Penguin Immunity". No matter in how much trouble he is, you can always count on him to somehow weasel out of it.
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted: it's implied he gets a pardon for all his crimes after helping save Gotham from Bane. However, seeing Gordon get all the adulation (as well as having Nyssa steal his riches), kills any remaining trace of decency in him and leads him back to crime - leading Gordon to arrest him and put him in Blackgate prison for 10 years.
  • Karmic Death: After killing Isabella in order to gain Edward all to himself, Edward Nygma avenges her death and his loss of happiness by shooting Oswald dead and dumping him in the exact bay where Gordon was forced to kill and dump him in back in the pilot. Subverted, as he survives this.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Oswald loves dishing these out to show that there are worse criminals in Gotham than him.
    • Killing Fish and her entire gang.
    • In his gang war with Galavan, he non-lethally slashes his throat in an escape.
    • In the mid-season finale of Season 2, he beats Galavan repeatedly before Gordon kills Galavan and much later, gets Butch to blow up the resurrected Galavan with a rocket launcher.
    • Coldly kills Butch for his involvement in his mother's death, after feigning him having "gotten over" it.
    • And in the Season 5 premiere he finally kills Tabitha, the woman who killed his innocent mother, by stabbing her directly in the heart.
  • Klingon Promotion: How he ends up King of Gotham: by season's end he gets Maroni killed by Fish after prodding his ego into mouthing off, kills Fish himself by throwing her off a bridge and directly precipitates Carmine Falcone's retirement by turning on him.
  • Knee Capping: Was on the receiving end from Fish, giving him a distinct waddling limp that makes him look more like a penguin. He finally gets it somewhat fixed with a new leg brace at the start of season 5, then has this happen AGAIN when Jim shoots him in the leg.
  • Knife Nut: He's very, very fond of them, shown as early as the first episode when he slashes open a fisherman's throat with one. His preference seems to stem from how easy it is to conceal one on his person, particularly when he starts to use a cane and has one hidden in the handle.
  • Knowledge Broker: After the fall of Fish, Gordon starts to go to him for information on cases where all other avenues are closed to him; Penguin proves to know a surprising amount about not only the inner workings of Falcone, Maroni and the underworld, but other useful areas like the location of Loeb's secrets. Part of it is Gordon owing him favours he can turn to his advantage, but he also seems to be genuinely trying to impress Gordon by proving his usefulness.
  • Lack of Empathy: Doesn't matter what you've done for him - employed him, given him a ride, jeopardized your life by sparing his own, he will not think twice about turning on you. Hell, he won't think once.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A tip from him caused Falcone to rumble Fish, and two episodes later, a tip from Fish caused Maroni to rumble him. Also his murder of Isabella in season 3 comes back to bite him in the ass when Ed works out what he'd done.
  • Lean and Mean: This incarnation is rail thin in contrast to the Fat Bastard he's usually portrayed as in the comics. He actually stays this way throughout nearly the entire show, but by the Grand Finale (set ten years after No Man's Land), he's gained the comics-appropriate rounder look.
  • Leitmotif: He has a bumbling-yet-dark mandolin tune that usually plays when he's doing his penguin walk, or when he's threatening someone.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: He is definitely a bad guy, make no mistakes. However, the show repeatedly goes out of its way to show that he has some sympathetic and even downright tragic qualities and that there are far worse people in Gotham.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Oswald's apparent infatuations are often towards people who are not good for him, whether by virtue of being in a relationship, like Ed, or using him, like Sofia.
  • Looks Like Cesare: His pale skin, dark bag-shrouded eyes and greasy black hair are a classic example of the trope.
  • Loose Lips: During "What the Little Bird Told Him", after being shocked by Buchinsky, he accidentally slips up he was meeting Falcone and not his own mother. The Oh, Crap! look afterwards is priceless when Maroni questions him about it.
  • Love Is a Weakness: After his falling out with Ed he claims to believe this, and keeps Ed frozen in a block of ice rather than kill him as a reminder to never make the same mistake again. Later, he cares for orphan Martin and faking his death results in his arrest.
    • Oswald himself is more than willing to exploit this trope for his own ends, even lampshading it to one of his rivals when he uses said rival's love of money to turn his own men agaisnt him. Ironic considering his own loved ones are Oswald's Fatal Flaw.
    Penguin: When you know what a man loves, you know what can kill him.
  • Made of Iron: In addition to having his leg broken in the first episode, over the course of the series he's been electrocuted, stabbed, shot multiple times, and beaten up plenty of times and he keeps bouncing back. The only injury that seems to cause him any trouble is his leg, which he's seen putting ice on to numb the pain.
  • Mama's Boy: He still lives with his mom, who still cleans his clothes, and insists that he can't trust anyone but her. She even bathes him.
  • Manipulative Bastard: One of his principal skills. He may not be a match for Ed as far as precision planning goes, but he gets better and better at playing people like fiddles at the series goes on and shows a remarkable talent for improvising his way out of trouble.
    • Best seen at the end of season 3 - he has no idea that Gordon and Bullock will try to trade him to Riddler, or that Barbara and Butch will try to take Tetch of their own accord, but manages to spin the situation to make Riddler think he has the upper hand - even manipulating him into taking him to the same dock he almost killed Penguin at - before using Freeze to take him out of the equation for good.
  • Mayor Pain: Announces his intent to run for mayor in "Look Into My Eyes". In "New Day Rising", he wins. That said, his intentions appear far more noble than they were at the last adaptation he ran for that office, and especially in comparison to those of Galavan. He turns out to be quite good at the job, helped by the fact he's still running Gotham's Underground at the same time.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: He never had much respect in Fish's gang and was nothing more than a servant boy to her, despite his obvious criminal talents. Hence why he's so keen to put himself on top.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: He solves almost all of his problems by killing the person in his path. Whether the problem is an attempt on his life, moving through the criminal ranks, getting a job, getting a ride, finding a sandwich... he manages to murder his way to his goal.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: He arranged Isabella's death so he could have Nygma all for himself. Needless to say, Edward is not pleased upon discovering this.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In his first scene in the premiere, he's holding an umbrella for his boss Fish, because it's raining outside - a reference to the campy umbrella-gadget weapons of some of his other comics incarnations.
    • His actions as The Rat and being a club manager/owner connect him to at least one of his comics incarnations: a gray-market club owner who is the go-to guy when Batman wants information on what's happening in the criminal world.
    • His short temper, and the messy way he's seen eating a fisherman's sandwich (admittedly, after swimming a freezing cold river, you'd be hungry too) remind one of Danny DeVito's portrayal.
      • In the third season, he even runs for mayor.
    • In Season 3's "How the Riddler Got His Name", he finally dons his comic counterpart's top hat and tuxedo (at least for a brief moment during a hallucination sequence).
  • Naturalized Name: The fact that his mother's last name is "Kapelput" implies this.
  • Necessary Evil: How he views himself in season 4, as he views his licencing of crime as far better than the anarchy caused by the Tetch virus previously.
  • Near-Death Experience: He tends to be nearly killed a lot, but he manages to always survive.
  • Never My Fault: When he lends his support to Jim to find the Haven bomber, he snarks he still blames Jim for stealing his people and causing them to be caught in the blast - conveniently ignoring it was his awful treatment of them that caused them to leave him for Haven in the first place.
  • Nice Hat: He wears a Dastardly Dapper Derby while carrying out an assassination for Theo in Season 2. He also wears his signature top-hat three times: first in Edward's hallucination in "How the Riddler Got his Name," second during Bruce's hallucination in "A Beautiful Darkness," and the real Penguin is seen with a look accurate to the comics - including the hat, monocle and umbrella - in the final episode.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Does this to Theo Galavan in "Worse Than a Crime". With a baseball bat.
  • No Respect Guy: A major Berserk Button for him - when his former lackey Gabe (compelled to tell the truth by Ivy) tells him none of his gang ever respected him, but followed him solely out of fear, he wigs out and brutally stabs him to death on the spot.
  • No-Sell: Though it's shown to work on both men and women, Oswald is completely unaffected by Ivy's perfume to her confusion.
  • Nominal Hero: In the second half of Season 4, where he sides with Gordon in order to prevent Jerome and later Jeremiah from completely destroying the city. His intentions are less than noble though as he seems to be more concerned with keeping his profits from being burned up than saving lives.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Played with: normally he'll stay out of any physicality unless his life is in danger - in which case, expect the nearest sharp object to the throat. But, when the situation calls for it, he'll personally get involved to make sure his enemies are dead - like when he slaughtered Fish's gang with a heavy machine gun.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain:
    • Though he's a malicious murderer when pushed, for the first three episodes Cobblepot didn't seem much more than a thug with an inflated sense of his own ability. Then in "Arkham", he shows the makings of a shrewd Chessmaster taking shape behind the quirky exterior.
    • "Penguin's Umbrella" reveals that everything after the second episode was a Batman Gambit of truly impressive levels.
  • Obviously Evil: His page image, with its psychotic Death Glare? That's him meeting a group of children...
  • Odd Friendship: With Victor Zsasz. Both of them are equally psychotic and crazy, and Zsasz is the one underling Oswald is always seen treating with respect regardless of the circumstances (at least until Sofia manipulates Zsasz into turning on him in season 4). He also has what he considers a friendship with Gordon, though that's well and truly broken by series 4.
  • Once a Season: The details vary, but the first halves of seasons 2,3 and 4 all deal with him falling from power, while the latter halves have him clawing his way back to prominence by any means necessary.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: As skilled as he is at manipulation, he's equally good at this. Both Fish' return/Falcone's wounding in season 1 and Hugo Strange's Indian Hill experiments escaping in season 2 are entirely out of his control, but he takes full advantage of both - in the former case becoming king of Gotham's underworld, in the latter mayor.
  • Ordered Apology: To Fish in "Penguin's Umbrella", because respect happens to be a key part of mob life in Gotham.
  • Parental Substitute: Despite his efforts to remain distant, Oswald quickly gets attached to Martin. From advising the young boy in subtle ways of getting back at his tormentors, teaching him how to stab people, dressing him in similar clothing to himself, and even commenting that while Oswald's throne-like chair is too big for him now, Martin will grow into it, implying that Oswald sees the boy taking over his empire one day.
  • Pet the Dog: In keeping with the series giving him more sympathetic aspects, he gets quite a few of these moments - he shows genuine interest in helping children defend themselves from bullying (albeit in the worst way possible), helps Jim several times when he doesn't have to (most notably taking the rap for Galavan's murder, which gained him nothing) and spares Fish's life on hearing her finally admit she's proud of what he became.
  • Plot Armor: Penguin has escaped many dangerous situations due to this - that he'll still be alive and kicking to become one of Batman's major rogues is a Foregone Conclusion.
  • The Power of Love: Believes this sets him above the rest of the criminals in Gotham; they only care about money, but he loves Gotham City and only wants it to prosper (if with him in the driver's seat).
    • Presumably not only referring to his love of Gotham City, but also to the love he has for his mother and his desire to make her happy and proud.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: His nickname "Penguin" comes from the way he walks, unlike most versions where his name comes from his appearance.
    • While he does still use an umbrella, he never has the umbrella weapons that he has in other incarnations, possibly to fit the show's realism.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: In Season 2, when his new step-mother accuses him of being the Penguin, a murderer and rapist who has carried out or ordered the deaths of dozens of people, he has a genuine I Take Offense to That Last One! / Even Evil Has Standards reaction, not denying the murder part, but accurately pleading, "In all fairness, I've never raped anyone".
  • Rags to Riches: Goes from lowly umbrella holder to the King of Gotham in the span of a season. Later on even becomes the city's mayor.
    • Subverted in the last few episodes; Nyssa al Ghul steals his submarine and all his riches to escape Gotham while he's helping save Gotham from Bane, leaving him back as, in his words, a common criminal. The finale reveals that not long after this Gordon arrested him and put him in Blackgate prison for 10 years.
  • The Rat: Seems to be a defining trait. To the point that in "Penguin's Umbrella", he openly advertises that this is his best quality, that he's really good at being a traitorous snitch... which is specifically why he argues that Don Falcone should spare his life (tasking good cop Jim Gordon with his execution, as Gordon almost certainly won't go through with it), so he can in turn infiltrate the rival Maroni family, and act as a great snitch for Falcone.
  • Reality Ensues: He genuinely sets great stock by Gordon's friendship, but the fact remains Gordon is trying his best to clean up Gotham and Penguin is trying to take over as its undisputed crime lord. Consequently, no matter how many Enemy Mines happen or how many times they save each other's lives, their relationship by season 4 is still characterised by deep mistrust at best, betrayal at worst. Particularly notable when Cobblepot is genuinely trying to inform Gordon of the Legion of Horribles' plans and Gordon will barely hear a word of it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a particularly chilling one to Carbone right before stabbing him to death in "Penguin's Umbrella", and does so again to the Riddler, pointing out his Complexity Addiction shortly before having him frozen.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • He tries to invoke this when he comes clean to Maroni about his past with Fish. Maroni thinks he's lying, but before he kills him, he has Gordon confirm the story and lets him win.
    • When he unveils the frozen Riddler as centerpiece of the Iceberg Lounge, he claims with a straight face that Ed was suffering from a terminal illness and asked to be frozen - despite the horrified and pleading pose. When Gordon arrives to call him on this bullshit, he cheerfully claims to have medical records to back it all up.
    • He goes so far as to license crime in the first part of season 4 without expecting serious retaliation, and mostly succeeds.
      Jim: We don't want to legitimize him -
      Harvey: He's been legitimized! He was the freaking mayor!
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: After Montoya and Allen arrest Gordon for his murder, and are about to arrest Bullock, Cobblepot reveals himself to the entire precinct to announce that no, he's not dead.
  • Revenge: Doesn't matter whether he's at the height of his power or on the run from his many enemies - cross him and he will take the time and effort to inflict payback, often all out of proportion to the original slight, even if it takes him a while. Selected examples include:
    • Beating Theo Galavan halfway to death with a baseball bat for killing his mother.
    • Blowing Galavan up with a rocket launcher when he came back as Azrael.
    • Murdering his entire step-family for killing his father (including cooking his step-siblings and feeding them to their mother).
    • Turning up to kill Hugo Strange with a minigun after Strange's therapy left him a harmless wreck (though Fish Mooney put a stop to that one).
    • Freezing Ed and putting him on display in the Iceberg Lounge after season 3's betrayals.
    • Killing Butch solely to pay Tabitha back for her part in his mother's death. Then killing her at the start of season 5. He sure knows how to hold a grudge.
  • Running Gag: A rather morbid one, people that come to honestly care for Oswald have an unfortunate tendency to die in his arms. Both parents at different points in season 2, Fish Mooney at the end of season 3, and Mr. Penn in the third episode of season 5 though he shows up alive a few episodes later, only to be killed by Nygma.
  • Sadistic Choice: Made the old couple that guarded Miriam Loeb choose which one of them would be given a train ticket to flee Gotham and escape Falcone's punishment. Ultimately averted because he had one bullet left in his shotgun and wanted one to kill the other.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • In Season 2 after his mother is kidnapped by Galavan Penguin noticeably starts to lose his cool. When Tabitha kills her, he throws pretty much his entire empire out the window to get his revenge.
    • In Season 5 he becomes The Caligula and actively cultivates a massive cult of personality around himself so that his followers sing songs about him worshiping him as a great leader.
      • In the finale 10 years in Blackgate definitely didn't do him any good, acting more deranged and openly psychotic than before.
  • Saved by Canon: Someone tries to kill him at least every other episode, yet he always manages to stay alive because he has to in order to show up as one of Batman's major villains later.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Subverted; one of his major character arcs in season 5 is his belief he's done all he can in Gotham and, after securing a nest egg to set him up in future, seeks to leave by any means necessary. But he ultimately can't go through with it after realising how much Gotham means to him, and ends up going back to help Jim fight Bane.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Highly intelligent, he always speaks in an incredibly formal and well-spoken way that none of the other gangsters on the show (save Falcone) can match. Causes him to be underestimated (particularly when he kills Frankie Carbone). Also a source of irritation when no-one really gets his classical references until Ed comes along.
  • Shoot the Messenger:
    • Or, in this case, stab him. After Maroni exposes his true nature to his mother, Penguin offs a delivery man bringing her flowers (also from Maroni, to twist the knife) so she doesn't see them.
    • Beats one of his henchmen almost to death when he brings him news of Barnes' raid on his weapons house right in the middle of a Villainous Breakdown provoked by Galavan kidnapping his mother.
  • Sinister Schnoz: This incarnation retains his beaky nose.
  • Smug Snake: As smart and vicious as he is, whenever he has actual power he lords it over those without and generally acts as unpleasantly as possible - which inevitably leads to them betraying him, or worse villains like Jerome stealing his thunder.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Robin Lord Taylor stated in an interview that "My goal is, I want him to be an anti-hero, I want people to root for him, no matter what he’s doing." He seems to be a sociopath rather than a psychopath. He possibly has Paranoid Personality Disorder.
  • Spanner in the Works: He's the one that tipped the MCU off that Mario Pepper's death was a cover-up, ruining Falcone's otherwise airtight cover-up. The first season has him be this to generally everyone, as his still being alive after the mob thought Gordon had killed him leads to Mooney's scheme to depose Falcone going awry, Falcone and Maroni coming to loggerheads more than once and Gordon and Bullock's partnership nearly going to pot.
  • The Starscream: In the space of season 1 alone was this to Fish, Maroni AND Falcone. In season 4 is a rare good variant of this to The Legion of Horribles.
  • Supervillain Lair: Has an apartment in Gotham in Season 1 where he has several images pinned against a wall mapping the connections of the powerful. Later, when Fish Mooney is forced to flee Gotham, he takes over her nightclub and names it Oswald's. In Season 2, Penguin as King of Gotham is headquartered in the Falcone mansion. After Season 2 Episode 11 but before Season 2 Episode 12 in Gotham Stories, Penguin selects a slaughterhouse as a lair. It does not last long as Mr. Freeze comes to kill Penguin. Later, after being released from Arkham and he kills his stepmother and her children , he lives in his father's mansion. He returns to the Falcone mansion with Butch in season 4, and once Jeremiah Valeska blows the city bridges he takes over Gotham City Hall for season 5.
  • Taking the Bullet: Throws himself between Ed and a grenade with zero hesitation in season 5, injuring his right eye in the process.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Whenever circumstances ally him with Gordon or the other good characters - he's notably the one that convinces Jim that handing Galavan over to the courts will only end in him escaping justice, leading Jim (already swayed by Theo's Evil Gloating) to kill him after letting Penguin get his retribution for his mother's death.
  • Token Good Teammate: To the Legion of Horribles, eventually helping Gordon ruin their plan to infect Gotham with Joker gas.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After being utterly humiliated in the pilot, Cobblepot grows more and more dangerous in the subsequent episodes, eventually becoming King of Gotham and a recurring mob kingpin in later seasons.
  • Troll:
    • Ruins Barbara's attempt to buy the Kurdish dagger that can permanently kill Ra's al Ghul out of spite, cutting off the auctioneer to sell it to Bruce Wayne instead.
    • In season 5 he's clearly enjoying himself spelling out for Barbara how hard she worked to keep the peace when Jim got shot, only to have to watch him marry Lee Thompkins as soon as he recovered.
  • Underestimating Badassery: He's on the receiving end of this constantly. People see the limp and the scrawniness and dismiss him as harmless, not realizing his explosive temper, resourcefulness or sheer tenacity until the knife or glass is in their throat. Fish, Theo Galavan, Ed, Sofia Falcone and Tabitha have all learned this the hard way.
    • Ends up doing this to Edward after he has Isabella killed, apparently forgetting that the man used to work for the GCPD as a forensic scientist which allowed him to Spot the Thread that her death wasn't an accident. While this initially has Nygma believe that Butch was behind it, when Ed realizes that Oswald was the real culprit he works to mentally torment Oswald and ruin his mayorship before attempting to kill him.
    • Goes the other way in late season 4, thinking that manipulating Jeremiah Valeska into extorting the city for him and his associates will end well, largely because he clearly doesn't think Jeremiah is much compared to his late twin brother Jerome. He's dead wrong, and thanks to failing to anticipate Jeremiah's backup plan, nearly gets the whole city wiped out as a result.
  • The Unfettered: The Riddler convinces him that, with the death of his mother at the Galavans' hands, he is now this. Played with: he seems to prove Ed right when his behavior gets considerably worse after killing Theo the second time, but in season 3 falls in love with Ed, which proves a major influence on his actions thereafter.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Doesn't matter what you've done for him in the past, if turning on you will enhance his own power, he'll do it in a heartbeat.
    Fish: So this is it? I spare your life, and you shoot me dead in the woods, like an animal?
    Penguin: Pretty much, yes.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His decision to have Hugo Strange bring back Ed after Lee stabbed him resulted in Strange putting a mind-control chip in Ed's head, leading him to commit numerous atrocities at Bane's behest.
  • Villain Ball: Tabitha points out that he should have had her killed immediately instead of making her Butch's Psycho for Hire, especially because she killed his mother. This results in Tabitha helping Butch and Barbara overthrow him. Unluckily for her, he seemed to take the advice, waiting until Butch was cured of his Grundy side the following season before killing him and crippling her, followed up by killing her a few months later.
  • Villain Decay: In-universe, in the latter half of season 4: after Sofia Falcone succeeds in taking his empire out from under him he's forced into a series of risky alliances with Gotham's other criminals, none of which go well. Riddler and Lee betray him, Grundy hates him and only works with him to get cured, Jerome's Legion of Horribles is too much, even for him and his alliance with the Sirens sees his attempt to use Jeremiah Valeska to extort the city blow up in his face. Seemingly subverted at the end, as he reveals he was working towards killing Butch to punish Tabitha for his mother's death the whole time.
  • Villain Protagonist: How he's portrayed— Gotham's been as much about his rise to prominence as about Gordon or Bruce, and many of the show's major storylines follow him, even diving into his love life at points. As routinely appalling as he is, he always retains some trace of being sympathetic.
  • Villain Team-Up: Has teamed with virtually every other major villain on the show at some point. Particularly prominent in the latter half of season 4, where he variously teams up with Grundy, Jerome, Riddler and Lee, and finally the Sirens due to the loss of his power base after the war with Sofia Falcone.
  • Villains Want Mercy: He begs for mercy on multiple occasionswhen at somebody else's gunpoint. Subverted with the first episode of season 5, he stares down Tabitha as she prepares to kill him... only for her gun to jam due to her loading her gun with faulty bullets that Oswald traded to the Sirens.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Seems to live his life at the edge of one. Though given how many people are trying to arrest, betray or kill him at any given point in the series, it's pretty understandable. His one in "Pena Dura" when he learns that Ed was behind the Haven bombing is pronounced by how out of character it is - no screaming or raving or killing nearby subordinates, just a quiet, sad meltdown.
    Penguin: Oh, Ed, what have you done?
  • Villainous Friendship: Has the show's most prominent (and weirdest) one with Ed Nygma/The Riddler. The two have been almost everything to each other - partners-in-murder, best friends, potential love interest, Evil Mentor, distrustful allies, bitter enemies - since their first meeting midway through Season 2. And yet somehow the two always seem to end up circling back to each other. Solidified in season 5 where the two join forces once more, and end up fighting together with Jim to save Gotham from Bane, with Penguin even saving Riddler from a grenade (seriously injuring an eye in the process) - ten years later the two are genuinely delighted to see each other once more when they're free. At one point they share a laugh over how bizarre it all is over the corpse of Mr.Penn/Scarface.
  • Villainous Rescue: Through either a pragmatic need for allies or affection for certain characters, he does this a lot.
    • Does a non-action variant in season 1, revealing he was alive at just the right moment to collapse Allen and Montoya's case against Gordon for his own murder. Interestingly his dialogue to his mother makes clear he does it out of genuine gratitude to Gordon for sparing his life, despite it revealing to Fish he was still among the living.
    • Saved Gordon, Bullock, and Falcone from being executed by Fish when he came in shooting the place up with a machine gun so he could kill her himself.
    • Rescues Gordon from Galavan's corrupt cops so they could bring Theo down for good.
    • He and Butch obliterate Azrael (the former Theo Galavan) with a rocket launcher just in time to stop him killing Gordon, Bruce and Alfred.
    • He and Firefly save Gordon from one of the Court of Owls' Talons after he exposes his own nature as The Mole.
    • To the entire city in the aftermath of the Tetch virus - he and his forces returned order to the underworld the hard way, using violence and brutality against criminals on such a scale it cut the crime rate in half.
    • Saves Riddler from being executed by Sofia's men in Season 4.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: In Season 3 after rallying the city against Fish Mooney's superhuman gang, public opinion of him is high enough for him to be able to run for Mayor of Gotham despite his previous criminal record. He's able to ride that wave of popularity in a mayorship challenge he wins 100% fairly. Ed and Barbara subsequently ruin that, but he manages it again in season 5 when he aids Jim and guns down the Street Demons threatening Haven to the delight of the refugees there - despite, as Jim lampshades, that being a situation he helped create.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Has a penchant for slashing people's throats open with whatever is handy, and with surprising speed, especially because his waddling limp and goofy demeanor disarms those who don't know him.
  • Wicked Cultured: Can quote Shakespeare and Plutarch at the drop of a hat, and is also briefly shown to be a fine pianist as well.
  • Wild Card: Cobblepot is manipulating both sides of Gotham's mob, as well as the police and Gordon, to further his own power. This makes him truly unpredictable. While this recedes in later seasons when, as city gang boss, he's more part of the status quo, he returns to this whenever he loses power, be it the lengths he goes to in his crusade against Galavan in season 2 or his maneuvering with Riddler against Sofia Falcone in season 4.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: While he has done many horrible things to people, he has had many horrible things happen to him as well, ranging from having his leg permanently damaged by Fish Mooney to having to watch his mother get killed by Theo Galavan. His actor has noted that the "cured" Oswald following his first stay in Arkham is what he could have been if he hadn't been so beaten down by Gotham and its people.
  • Would Harm A Child: Played with: he appears to kill Martin with a car bomb to remove Sofia Falcone's leverage over him, but he's faking it, and has Martin sent away for his own protection. When Sofia discovers the ruse and abducts Martin, the threat to his safety is enough to get Penguin to stay in Arkham despite it being a complete hellhole. However, later, when his gangs have taken over Haven, Gordon implores him to think of the kids that will be returned to slavery - but Penguin counters he won't be the one doing it, implying that while he doesn't personally go in for this he doesn't object to others doing it.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Tries to kill Fish in the pilot, but Fish turns the tables and cripples him in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Played straight in their fight in the finale when he beats her with a lead pipe and pushes her off the rooftop, killing her.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: He's playing it against everyone (particularly Fish and Maroni) in season 1, and while he makes a fair few mistakes, in the end it's enough to emerge from it all as King of Gotham. Resurfaces at points later on, particularly his improvising the Riddler's defeat on the fly at the end of season 3, and his wild maneuvering against Sofia Falcone after she usurps his empire.
  • You Have Failed Me: Doesn't have the best tolerance for failure, especially after Gabe's revealing his former lackeys never respected him, only feared him. Seen most notably when he stabs Headhunter almost to death for not anticipating Professor Pyg's trap.
  • You Killed My Father: Both his parents have been murdered at different points in the series, and his revenge has been spectacularly brutal on both occasions.

    Ra's al Ghul 
The mysterious leader of the League of Assassins, Ra's is an immortal seeking an end to his long life - and in season 3 takes a distinct interest in Bruce. For tropes regarding him, see Other Criminal Groups.

    Selina Kyle/Catwoman 

Selina "Cat" Kyle

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/204_004_gotham_strike_force_10.jpg
"Five minutes on the street, you'll be mincemeat."
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gotham_lili.jpg
Selina as an adult
Played By: Camren Bicondova, Lili Simmons (adult)

"Rule number one: look after number one."

A teenage girl with a fondness for theft and cats. The future Catwoman. She witnessed the murder of the Waynes, and has been keeping an eye on Bruce, a relationship that gradually sees both become more and more attracted to each other despite their differing moral codes.


  • Aborted Arc: Selina gaining her unstable, ferocious cat-like powers gets totally forgotten by the end of the show. Though the closest we get is a hint that she has it under control now, but they never pop up ever again.
  • Adaptational Badass: Selina seems to demonstrate superb acrobatics and combat skills before getting trained in martial arts. Also, she's already shaping up into her hardened, intelligent con-artist self during her teenage years.
  • Age Lift: A minor one, but Batman: Year One explicitly has Bruce aged 25, while later works featuring Selina in this timeframe establish she's 18 when the two unwittingly meet. Here, their onscreen ages are revised to relect the actor's ages (Camren Bicondova is roughly a year older than David Mazouz) so that Selina is a year older than Bruce.
  • The Aloner: She frequently ends up isolated from everyone else thanks to her cynical, selfish attitude and trust issues due to living on the mean streets of the city all her life. It's habit that has both benefited her and screwed her over.
  • Animal Motif: She may not have taken the mantle of Catwoman up yet, but young Selina is seen moving like a cat as she prowls through Gotham. And feeding a cat. In one scene, she's seen playing with her locket as a cat would. And she's nicknamed "Cat" for obvious reasons.
  • The Apprentice: Tabitha takes her under her wing in the season 3 finale. Once Barbara returns, the three become the Sirens.
  • Arch-Enemy: Silver is this for her in season 2 after she twigs her motives towards Bruce aren't good. After he almost cripples her in season 4 she regards Jeremiah Valeska as this.
  • Badass Adorable: She's an extremely smart and savvy survivor of Gotham's mean streets, but she's still just a kid. Especially pronounced in the first season where, as Fish's chief henchman, she looks almost comical recapturing Gordon and Falcone with a pack of much larger mooks in tow.
    Selina: [while holding Lee at gunpoint] You're cute, for a doctor.
    Lee: Thanks. You're cute, for a gangster.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Kills Reggie to keep Bruce's hands clean. Later tries to kill Jerome to keep Bruce safe.
  • Battle Couple: With Bruce: they compliment each other's fighting style amazingly well, especially in seasons 4 and 5.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • She often expresses the belief that she's better off on her own. When Bruce cuts ties with her at the end of season 3 she's left without anyone and really doesn't like it. She ends up going to Barbara and Tabitha of all people (though she doesn't know Barbara is dead) because she's terrified of being alone again.
    • Expresses the plaintive hope that her mother will return to Bruce in season 1. In season 3 her mother does return - and shortly proves to be using her to con money out of Bruce. It's particularly crushing as unlike the Silver situation this time it's Bruce who instantly spots the deception while Selina naively hopes for the best.
  • Berserk Button: She hates being compared to her mom.
  • Big Sister Instinct: For all her protestations of not caring about people, this is how her relationship with Bruce forms, as she's unable to stop checking on him after the death of his parents. Throughout the series also does this with Ivy and Bridgit.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Alfred finds her a handful, and at first wants her gone. The two eventually develop into Fire-Forged Friends, at first because they both recognize the other usually has Bruce's best interests at heart, and later because they start to genuinely like each other.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: She tells Bruce she never saw his parents' killer, and it was just a lie to save herself from juvie. While it visibly hurts Bruce, she knows any association with Bruce will ultimately endanger them both. She's later on the receiving end when Bruce elects to stop living with her in the city in order not to put her in danger.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • Isn't afraid to speak her mind, as Bruce figures out, notably when she bluntly tells him there was nothing he could have done to save his parents.
    • In "Pena Dura", not only did she confess to Bruce that she was there the night his parents were killed, she admits that she didn't do anything to help not because she was scared but because she didn't care and was only looking out for herself.
  • But Now I Must Go: Selina leaves Wayne Manor on her own accord once she realizes that the danger she's in is too much for Bruce, a rich kid who doesn't know much about the city, to handle at his age. She comes back though, and begins to form a friendship with Bruce through the seasons.
  • Byronic Hero: Much like her original counterpart.
  • Came Back Wrong: She's healed from her crippling spinal injury at Jeremiah's hands by Ivy's potion - but she has actual cat's eyes, and acts distinctly more vicious and out-of-control.
  • Cassandra Truth: Selina figures out Silver is manipulating Bruce, but he doesn't believe her... at least until he finally sees that she was right all along after they trick Silver into revealing her true colors.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: With Bruce Wayne, and the both have a Will They or Won't They? relationship. Naturally. After nearly five seasons of false starts and rocky patches they look to begin a relationship at Jim and Leslie's wedding - but then events with Jeremiah and Bane convince Bruce of the need for anonymity in his crime fighting, in order to protect his loved ones, leading him to abandon Gotham and Selina to seek further training. By the time Bruce comes back as Batman, Selina is Catwoman in all but name, leaving them free to take up their famously complex relationship from the comics.
  • Civvie Spandex: Selina doesn't wear a costume yet, but does sport a black jacket and a pair of goggles. The Time Skip finale shows her adopting something very close to her comics look, minus the ears.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: In the distant finale, Selina has finally grown into the mischievous master thief we all know her as. She even cleans up rather nicely while attending a swag party, to the point where everyone barely recognizes her as the street urchin she used to be, with Barbara noting she's turned into quite the socialite around town.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: She's never actually referred to as Catwoman in the finale, despite her having the look, thieving skills and on-off relationship with Bruce by this point. One of the promo videos refers to her as such in the title though.
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority: She knows full well that the cops are corrupt, and she won't take any of their bullcrap.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Knows to go for the eyes first in a fighting situation. In her battle with the mutant leader, she disables her much larger foe by kicking out his ankle, then pummeling him while he's down.
  • Composite Character: She replaces Harley Quinn as Poison Ivy's best friend.
  • Dating Catwoman: She's not Catwoman yet, and neither are they dating, but their numerous flirtations have a lot of shades of this given their extremely different experiences and morals.
    Bruce: There's something between us. You have to see that.
    Selina: Rule one: Don't ever tell me what I have to do.
    [she kisses him]
    Bruce: So you do have feelings for me? I'm confused.
    Selina: Good. [leaves]
  • Delinquents: She's been in and out of juvie quite a lot, and she does not want to go back. She'd rather stay on the streets.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: By the end of the series, Selina and Bruce are at odds again once more, questioning whether or not they can ever go back to their fun, loving days. Thus starting the classic Will They or Won't They? relationship their adult counterparts are known for.
  • The Dragon: Becomes one for Fish Mooney in the season 1 finale, as she sees her return to Gotham and thinks she's cool. She also gets coerced into becoming one for Firefly later on.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tries to kill herself when the despair of losing the use of her legs thanks to Jeremiah becomes too much. Fortunately the doctors are there to stop her.
  • Due to the Dead: She removes her hood during Thomas and Martha's funeral.
  • Escape Artist: She's able to pick a pair of police cuffs with a pen. After that Gordon realizes the chances of getting her to stay in police custody are next to nil.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first few minutes of the pilot show how skilled and bold a pickpocket she is, and her connection with cats.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She kills Reggie when she realizes Bruce can't do it (and he'll likely expose them to Wayne Enterprises and get them both killed), but she's shown to be highly uncomfortable with killing those who can't fight back. When Ivy murders a hypnotized Wayne scientist and later when Penguin guns down a critically injured Magpie she's horrified both times.
  • Eye Scream: Her initial method of combat involves clawing out an opponent's eyes.
  • Faux Paw: Bats around a locket with her hand curled up like a cat.
  • First Girl Wins: More complicated than most examples of this trope due to her and Bruce's infamously complicated relationship, but Selina's the first girl Bruce meets in the series that's his own age and by the time of the Distant Finale 15 years after they still have a Will They or Won't They? relationship.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Pickpockets people with frequency and aplomb. Whenever Bruce or Gordon need something stolen she's their go-to girl.
  • Go for the Eye: Her preferred way of attacking people in early episodes. She can do some major damage.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Selina is usually seen with a pair of goggles on top of her hood, as a nod to more modern versions of Catwoman who wear goggles as part of their costume.
  • Good Is Not Nice: She's technically one of the good guys, and she's clearly way more moral than someone like Penguin - but she's still a kid who grew up on the mean streets of Gotham, and as such has a distinctly more pragmatic outlook than someone like Bruce - best shown where she realizes Bruce doesn't have what it takes to deal with Reggie in season 1 and shoves him out a window herself. Bruce actually tells her she's a good person but not a nice one at one point early on, much to her discomfiture.
  • He Knows Too Much: She saw the Waynes' assassin before he covered up his head. Because of that, whoever hired the hitman wants her dead.
  • Heel–Face Turn: She's firmly on the side of good in season 5 after she helps Bruce save Gordon and Lee from Jeremiah. She even makes friends with Alfred.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: She's always had an affinity for leather jackets, but from season 4 on she's almost never seen without a leather catsuit, much like her mentor Tabitha. She even wears it to Gordon and Leslie's wedding in season 5.
  • Hellhole Prison: The juvenile hall upstate she was sent to upstate is this, apparently. She does not want to go back.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: How she justifies killing Reggie. "It's called surviving."
  • Instant Expert: She's shown to be incredibly good with Tabitha's whip on first try.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Her hairdo seems a little high maintenance for someone living on the street. Towards the end of season 2, she somehow manages to not only straighten it, but also dye it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In Bruce's words, she's a good person but she's "not nice". She doesn't appreciate the observation.
  • Karma Houdini: Hugely. While she has her share of awful things happen to her over the series, she's stolen many, many things, worked for Fish as her dragon (twice) and straight-up killed someone in season one - yet she rarely suffers any long-term consequences. Even getting crippled by Jeremiah was his way of getting at Bruce rather than for anything she did. Played straight by the end of the series, where after directly watching her in the act of stealing a diamond, Bruce simply gives her a lecture and a weak apology for not being able to help her instead of arresting her for a museum theft. Even after he departs she doesn't even consider returning the diamond she stole.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: She shows great "Chessmaster" tendencies when tricking what is believed to be the name of the Wayne killer out of Silver by means of cold-blooded torture at the hands of someone who appears to be an associate of hers. Bruce, who was also subjected to it, played along with Selina's plan, and his role in her torture gambit is only revealed after the name is.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Part of her Establishing Character Moment is her stealing some milk in the first scene of the Pilot - only to drop into an alley to give it to a stray cat (it's actually what leads her to be there to see the Wayne murders). Season 3 shows she has a whole host of pet cats at her squat at any given time.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When she refuses to help Alfred look for Bruce in the season 3 finale, which earns her a massive What the Hell, Hero? from the butler. Bruce ends up stabbing Alfred as a result of the Court of Owl's manipulations, leading Bruce to furiously sever ties with Selina as a result.
  • Le Parkour: Gotham is one big jungle gym to her. Ties into her actress' abilities as well.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The light to Silver's dark, ironically, considering whose side Silver is on.
  • Little Miss Badass: Selina may be a child, but she manages to survive in the very hard streets of Gotham and has escaped from criminals and the police several times.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Selina does her future counterpart proud with how much sass she exudes. Considering her status as a street kid, she likely uses it to cope with her harsh life, as well as to conceal her feelings and vulnerabilities. She snarks at everyone, but Alfred in particular seems to bring it out of her (of course, this could be because he punched her in the face - she's not happy with him about that).
    Bruce: What do you have against the front door?
    Selina: Nothing. It's the ape who opens it I could live without.
  • Loveable Rogue: Her Establishing Character Moment shows her as this: She takes out a switchblade, but only uses it to slash open a grocery bag and steal a jug of milk, which it turns out was not for her, but for a stray cat. The only other thing she steals is a little cash from a passerby. Throughout the scene, she avoids inflicting a single physical injury on anyone.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Starts playing as one to Bruce, once she moves to Wayne Manor. She questions his odd behavior and decisions, and manages to do in a couple of days what Alfred has been trying to do for weeks without success: get Bruce to act like a kid and have some fun.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The tough street fighter Masculine Girl to Bruce's sensitive, domestic Feminine Boy while they're living together.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name on the streets is Cat, which is what she prefers to be called.
  • Missing Mom: The police think her mom is dead. Selina insists that she's alive somewhere. She turns out to be right in season 3, much to her massive disappointment.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Bicondova looks very much like a young Michelle Pfeiffer, who was Catwoman in Batman Returns, right down to a similar hairstyle.
    • Selina doesn't go by Catwoman yet, but she calls herself Cat. In her very first comic book appearance, Catwoman was just called the Cat.
    • Selina shares the same fate as her namesake from Batman Returns when she is pushed out of a window and killed, only to be resurrected by alley cats.
    • She's shown to be an ace with Tabitha's whip, like every other version of the character.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: For all her talk about being ruthless and mean, Selina seems to have a strict policy about not harming anyone who hasn't tried to harm her first. Even when stealing from people (as in her Establishing Character Moment), she avoids hurting them.
  • Not So Similar: She tries this on Bruce after she thinks she's killed Jeremiah, claiming that she was there in the alley the night his parents were killed and did nothing not because she was a scared kid like him but because she didn't care. Played with though: while Bruce believes her enough he needs a pep talk from Harvey Bullock, the haunted look on her face as she says all this indicates she doesn't actually believe it, and is just trying to make Bruce go away.
  • Odd Friendship: With Bruce, and later Fish.
  • Pet the Dog: Steals a jug of milk to feed a stray cat.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Despite being only 13 and half the height of most adults, she can easily take down larger opponents in physical combat.
  • Puppy Love: She may act mainly as The Tease towards Bruce, but over the course of "Harvey Dent" and "Lovecraft" it's clear she has genuine feelings for him. By the end of "The Ball of Mud and Meanness", he's moved in with her, and by the end of season 4 things start to get serious between them.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: She hates dressing girly, but does so for an undercover mission with Bruce. She's seen doing so several more times so she can pickpocket fancy galas, and it becomes a more frequent occurrence after she joins up with Barbara and Tabitha as she deals with idiots in their club - including a drunken Bruce.
  • Reality Ensues: She's sarcastic, spiky, incredibly difficult to get to know and will frequently sell out anyone at the drop of a hat. Consequently, she's been left completely isolated and cut off several times - most notably at the end of season 3, where her refusal to help look for Bruce gets Alfred stabbed and leads Bruce to cut ties with her. By episode's end she's begging Tabitha for help because she doesn't want to be on her own any more.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Averted. She once attempted to rob a fancy department store in broad daylight, and got caught by the cops for her troubles.
  • Revenge Before Reason: In season 5, she's obsessed with making Jeremiah pay for crippling her by shooting her in the spine despite Bruce trying to convince her not to do it, even ditching Bruce to do so. In "Ruin" she gets her wish, stabbing him repeatedly in the stomach.
  • Running Gag: Her ability to get in and out of Wayne Manor with ease despite the security. Bruce and Alfred barely look surprised when she wanders in for Bruce's birthday.
    Selina: Y'know, for a billionaire your security system is lame.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: She points out that Bruce's behavior is either crazy or suicidal, and yet she still helps him in spite of herself.
  • Satisfied Street Rat: Selina uses Gordon to stay out of juvie, but has no interest in him finding her a better life, and seems quite happy in her career as a pickpocket.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Whenever she gets arrested, she immediately asks to see Gordon, hoping to evoke this - though not always successfully. In later seasons, she starts going to Bruce when she needs help with something outside the law.
  • Secret Keeper: Unlike the comic version of the character (who only found out Bruce was Batman well into their respective careers), it's made clear that here Selina knows Bruce is Batman from the moment he comes back.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: For the Wayne Enterprises Charity Ball in "Under the Knife".
  • She's All Grown Up: In the grand finale, Selina has now aged from a tomboyish hoodlum into an attractive, hot-blooded woman. Alfred and Barbara even compliment how they didn't even recognize her.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: The Puppy Love edition. Bruce and Selina alternate between trying to shove one another way and running to help when the other is in danger.
  • Spanner in the Works: Jeremiah's plan would have gone off without a hitch in "Ace Chemicals" if she hadn't shown up at just the right moment.
  • Stalker with a Crush: After she sees the Wayne murders, she seems to be taken by Bruce, possibly because he's an orphan, and begins stalking him at a distance throughout the pilot. A later episode shows her breaking into Wayne Manor and watching him sleep. The crush part is emphasized at the end of "Lovecraft": after two episodes of challenging him to kiss her, she steals a kiss from him.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: She pulls one on Bruce in "Lovecraft": He's balancing on a banister in the mansion, clearly by himself, and then Selina just appears there with him. It's quite a feat, considering who she pulled it on. Does it again when she appears out of nowhere on Bruce's birthday.
  • Stealth Mentor: Perhaps not willingly, but it's clear Bruce has learned a lot about the nature of Gotham and how its underworld works from her.
  • Stout Strength: A more downplayed example, but she notably averts the Waif-Fu archetype by being solidly built for a girl her size, with a physique more akin to a gymnast than a dancer. As mentioned above in Pint-Sized Powerhouse, this Selina is very capable for someone her age.
  • Street Urchin: This version of Selina Kyle is already a roof-hopping Kind Hearted Cat Lover stealing milk for a stray.
  • The Tease: Downplayed since she's a teenager, but acts this way to Bruce, enticing him to try and earn a kiss from her. Hilariously, Bruce seems to have her pegged as an (age appropriate) Femme Fatale already, and is suspicious of her offer of letting him kiss her! Gets a lot more serious in later seasons.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Evil's a stretch, but whenever she teams up with Bruce she's fully aware that, even as he gets more skilled, his moral compass means that sometimes she needs to be there to do the things he can't - she flatly tries to murder Jerome in season 4, with Bruce being the one to stop her.
    • Also sometimes with Gordon - when he's trying to entrap Nygma and needs someone to convincingly sell him out to Barnes Selina is the one he goes to.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy to Ivy's girly girl. In "Under the Knife," she goes on about how she hates wearing dresses and heels.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Under Tabitha's tutelage, she goes from a girl who mainly wins fights via pragmatism to someone who can take on all five members of a street gang and easily thrash them.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: From season 2 onward - we see the depths of her loyalty towards Bruce and later the Sirens, and her genuinely caring about characters like Bridgit and Ivy.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Goes from morally ambiguous street urchin, to willing flunky of Fish and later Penguin who was willing to sell out Gordon to be murdered by the former without so much as a shred of regret.
    • Again in season 5 when she's healed by Ivy, at the cost of her inner darkness taking control of her. She becomes obsessed with revenge on Jeremiah, even ditching Bruce to go kill him. This ultimately results into her final transformation into the villainous Catwoman.
  • Trickster Mentor: To Bruce. She teaches him about keeping his balance and roof jumping, as well as fighting dirty - Gotham's thugs usually don't wear boxing gloves.
  • Two First Names: Per the DC Comics norm.
  • Undying Loyalty: Zigzagged. While she does have her selfish moments, she develops this for Bruce as the series progresses. In "One Bad Day", Bruce is trying to apologize for enlisting her assistance in stopping Jeremiah's plans. Selina's response?
    Selina: (smiles) Bruce, I'm gonna be here whenever you need me.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Bruce.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: While their relationship is... complicated and still relatively innocent, Selina does show this towards Bruce. As both Reggie and Bruce found out when she shoved the former out of a window after the latter hesitated. Later she submits Silver to fake Cold-Blooded Torture in order to get Bruce to see her dark side and help him gain information out of her, and in season 4 takes on Jerome to save Bruce.
  • The Voiceless: She doesn't speak at all in the pilot. However, she does speak in the subsequent episodes.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Suffers this with both Firefly and Ivy at various points.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Receives this from Gordon and Bruce all the time. The chewing out she gets from Alfred for refusing to look for Bruce in the season 3 finale is particularly noteworthy.
    • Many times, she winds up giving this to Bruce as well, particularly in Season 4 during Bruce's bratty phase. However, by season 5 she seems to have grown distant from him even further after he left her without warning to seek his Training from Hell. She calls him out on this as well.
  • Whip It Good: She finally gets her hands on a whip (Catwoman's weapon of choice) by the end of Season 3, courtesy of Tabitha.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Selina regularly subverts this. Clearly fed up with everyone else's complexity addictions, she often goes for the direct solution, most notably attempting to shoot Jerome just seconds after meeting him (albeit unsuccessfully) and simply walking up to Jeremiah in disguise and successfully stabbing him in the chest.
  • Worthy Opponent: She calls Silver this after being impressed by how good she is at her innocent act.

    Victor Fries/Mister Freeze 

Victor Fries/Mister Freeze

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gotham_mr_freeze_refridgeration_suit.jpg
"They think walls and guns can stop me? They have no idea... they'll learn."
Played By: Nathan Darrow

A young cryogenics engineer-turned-criminal who first appears at the end of the Season 2 mid—season finale. Armed with a powerful gun that can freeze people solid, he goes through tremendous lengths to save and protect his ill wife, Nora - but all for naught. The combination of the emotional trauma of his wife's death, a botched suicide attempt with his own freezing chemicals and Hugo Strange providing his famous suit have rendered him Mr. Freeze by series' end.


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the comics, Mr. Freeze has a physiology that prevents him from living without his suit and looks freakishly inhuman, with no hair on his head and blue skin. On Gotham, he is still relativity normal, with an albino appearance, white hair, and light blue eyes and veins.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: After Nora dies, he becomes a full-fledged Ax-Crazy Psycho for Hire working under Hugo Strange and taking joy in killing people for him as opposed to the emotionally scarred Tragic Villain who wants no hand in evil whatsoever.
  • Affably Evil: Enough, apparently, to convince some bystanders to help him load one of his victims into his van. He's also considerate enough to shoo them away when the police are about to show up. This, of course, all goes out the window after he becomes Mr. Freeze.
  • Anti-Villain: Like in Batman: The Animated Series and the comics before the 2011 relaunch, he's trying to help his wife, no matter who else gets hurt in the process. At least until she dies - after this he's a Psycho for Hire to the bigger villains in Gotham.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: The reason for his below-mentioned Bungled Suicide; he'd soaked up enough trace elements of his formula that it turned him into the classic Mr. Freeze, only able to survive in sub-zero temperatures, rather than killing him.
  • Bald of Evil: Pointedly averted; where nearly every other version of Freeze in other media is traditionally bald due to his altered physiology, here he has a full head of snow-white hair post-transformation.
  • Bungled Suicide: Tries to use a faulty batch of cryo-formula to kill himself just like Nora did, so he can join her in the afterlife. But really, were you expecting Victor Fries to die from an accident with his serum at this point?
  • Co-Dragons: Both him and Firefly are this to Oswald Cobblepot in Season 3. Neither of them are happy about it but they make the best of it by killing anyone who tries to kill their boss with precision.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Averted. He is called Mr. Freeze by the newspapers (despite that his last name actually isn't pronounced that way this time).
  • Costume Evolution: The Mr. Freeze suit starts off as a thick hooded jacket with simple, makeshift armor plating. In "A Dead Man Feels No Cold", he ditches this getup for a more spaceman-like suit, and eventually, it evolves into the iconic armored suit (and red goggles) from the comics.
  • Cold Ham: Pun aside, this is appropriately how Fries acts throughout his episodes in his attempts to save his wife, even holding Tranquil Fury as part of his repertoire.
  • Death Faked for You: Ostensibly, his dead body was burned after a stay at the city morgue. In fact, he'd been transformed into a human Popsicle by his Bungled Suicide and became one of Hugo Strange's enforcers.
  • Driven to Suicide: After failing to save Nora. Needless to say, he fails to kill himself, and of course, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...
  • Fire/Ice Duo: With Firefly. The two of them are a pair of Psychos for Hire, and they work surprisingly well together whenever they're not at each other's throats. One episode even has them turning their weapons on each other, though both survive.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Victor's plan to reverse his condition and become normal is unlikely to ever happen due to Mr. Freeze being around during Batman's crime fighting career.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: While the appearance of Victor Fries was already announced for Season 2, viewers were still surprised to see the logo for the show freeze over, and were immediately greeted by this character's appearance.
  • Foil: To Firefly, appropriately. Both are villains themed after elements, both wear bodily-concealing suits and goggles, and both use guns that fire ammunition deriving from said elements. While Freeze goes out of his way to save his wife and not cause too much collateral damage until his ultimate transformation and Face–Heel Turn, Firefly had already murdered her brothers who were abusive to her. Both wind up at Indian Hill not soon after their supervillain debuts, and while Firefly is temporarily locked up in the basement, Freeze is out and about as Hugo Strange's errand boy. The two counterparts meet soon enough, and participate in Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors with their guns until Strange is hurt.
  • Hired Gun: What Fries does as a side job. He's really good in what he does.
  • Human Popsicle: What he becomes by the end of his second episode.
  • An Ice Person: On the giving and receiving ends: his freeze gun lets him freeze people solid. Later, his suicide attempt alters his physiology so that he can only survive in cold temperatures.
  • In the Hood: His suit has some resemblance to Firefly's (goggles, gunmetal grey suit, power supply attached to Weapon of Choice), and features this in place of the familiar dome.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": This series decided to go with a different pun on his last name. Instead of making it sound identical to "freeze", it's instead pronounced like "ice".
  • Karma Houdini: Gets away with all his criminal actions by the end of the series.
  • Light Is Not Good: Started off with white armor, but becomes a villain later.
  • Locked into Strangeness: His hair turns completely white after his resurrection.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In "A Dead Man Feels No Cold", while holding a man hostage, Fries creates what appear to be ice grenades with the ability to shoot out icicles similar to a nail bomb, for use in saving his wife from Arkham. These are clearly the Freeze Grenades that debuted in Batman: Arkham City, except much deadlier and for murderous intent instead of simple stunning.
    • His alliance with Hugo Strange is also taken from the game, though the alliance is mutually beneficial and seems to be more friendly, with Hugo assisting Fries and distracting the police in exchange for a sample of Victor's cryonic formula. However, thanks to Victor's Bungled Suicide, he receives his own specialized cell in Arkham acts as a mercenary.
    • The astronaut-like suit that he wears "A Dead Man Feels No Cold" looks almost exactly like one of the suits that he wore in the Adam West series.
  • Powered Armor: As mentioned in Costume Evolution, he ditches his chain-mail jacket for a spaceman-like suit. Of course, his first usage of it combined with his ice gun makes him an example of Clothes Make the Superman, but once he becomes An Ice Person after his Bungled Suicide, Hugo Strange has some modifications made to his suit to fit his Human Popsicle biology.
  • Psycho for Hire: After his debut arc becomes this to first Penguin, and later Jerome's Legion of Horribles. Justified in that it's mentioned that he needs money in order to fund reversing his condition.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: His actor was also appearing regularly on House of Cards (US) during the time period he was portraying Freeze, leading to his sporadic appearances after his debut arc.
  • Slasher Smile: He looks like he's enjoying freezing Karen Jennings to death a little too much.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He despises working with Firefly in season 3, even though they're a devastatingly effective combination.
  • Villain Decay: He started out as a complex tragic villain who was trying to save his dying wife, but after her death and his transformation, Freeze became the muscle for other arc villains with more power than him. It actually got to the point where he barely even speaks in his appearances despite his intimidating presence.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In season 4 he first works for Penguin, then becomes part of the Legion of Horribles, but drops out of sight after their defeat. He's mentioned in season 5 as being in a turf war against Firefly, but his final fate is unresolved in both the season proper and the Time Skip finale.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Ends up with white hair after being frozen and later unfrozen - and after this change is an Ax-Crazy psycho for hire.
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    Victor Zsasz 

Victor Zsasz

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/victor_zsasz.png
Played By: Anthony Carrigan

An enforcer and killer working for Don Falcone, and later the Penguin.


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: His comics counterpart is either really ugly or monstrously inhuman Depending on the Artist, but here he's played by Anthony Carrigan, who is quite the handsome fellow.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the comics and most adaptations (such as the Batman: Arkham Series) he's just a serial killer who relies mainly on ambush tactics and fear, but who's not very tough in a straight fight. Here he's the most feared mob hitman around and can make the entire Gotham police department turn and run at his request.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: While he's a badass, he's also sassier and more prone to making jokes than the comic book Zsasz.
  • Adaptational Job Change: From a Serial Killer to a mob hitman for hire.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: A very borderline example. This incarnation of Zsasz is more of an Affably Evil mercenary who's only crazy and sadistic when working on the clock. Otherwise, he doesn't display as much deep insanity and extreme bloodlust as most of his counterparts, who're usually so Ax-Crazy that he can't do anything but think about killing.
  • Affably Evil: In a really, really weird way. He's a brutal Ax-Crazy hitman, but if he's not been tasked to kill you, harm you or otherwise ruin your life he's actually an OK guy - his weird Friendly Enemy relationship with Gordon being the best example.
  • Age Lift: He's roughly around Batman's age in the comics.
  • Amazon Brigade: The assassins he runs around with in the early seasons are primarily female.
  • Ambiguously Gay: When Gordon and Bullock are interrogating him in Season 5, Zsasz asks if they're going to strip search him and offers to cooperate only if a "handsome" cop is doing it.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: During his absence in season 4, it is mentioned he is on vacation visiting his bubbie.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: When warning Gordon that Falcone has it in for him for what he did to Mario, he compliments Gordon on his actions, commenting that he was never a fan of Mario.
    Zsasz: Nice shot on Mario, I never liked him.
  • Ax-Crazy: Downplayed compared to his comics counterpart, but he's still a murderous psychopath who gets kicks out of killing and torturing. Best seen when told to "bring Jim Gordon in alive" - pointing out when Jim mouths off that a man without hands is still alive.
  • Badass Boast: As one of the show's deadliest characters, when he makes these, people listen.
    Zsasz: I'm here for Gilzean. Anyone who leaves now, leaves alive. Anyone who stays, dies. You have 60 seconds to do the math.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Sports a classy, black suit in nearly all of his appearances, even in No Man's Land.
  • Bald of Awesome: He lacks any hair on his head and displays the athletic skills that he has in the comics.
  • Bald of Evil: Not a single hair on this psycho's head. Not even eyebrows or even eyelashes (Anthony Carrigan has Alopecia Areata Totalis).
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Ivy uses her powers to make him go after Gordon in "The Trial of Jim Gordon"
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Zsasz betrays Penguin in "Queen Takes Knight" by claiming Penguin did kill Martin, rather than faking it and having Zsasz escort the boy out of the city.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Whil it doesn't make him any less deadly at his job, his detachment from the murderous acts he commits is so pronounced he comes across as this; his puppeteering a dead man's decapitated head when threatening Loeb, squeeing over election pins while murdering a mayoral candidate and his staff, kissing the bride's hand and chiding her husband for his choice of ring as his goons rob a wedding, or his casual "hey, what's up?" when being greeted by a small army of cops and Penguin's men looking for the Haven bomber.
  • Co-Dragons: With Butch for the new King of Gotham, Cobblepot, come Season 2. Whereas Gabe seems to serve as a bodyguard and assistant, Zsasz is the one that goes out with the boss to take care of business.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Due to his never taking situations as seriously as Penguin, this happens a lot.
    Penguin: How is Jim Gordon beating us?!
    Zsasz: Well, every cop in Gotham is behind him. I'm guessing he has great leadership skills.
    Penguin: ...Victor, when this is said and done, you and I need to have a frank discussion about chain of command.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Disappears for large parts of seasons 3 and 4 due to the actor's other commitments, but always comes back.
  • Cop Killer: Kills a female officer in the GCPD building while hunting for Gordon - after she was already shot and immobilized on the ground, and begging for mercy. When Gordon interrogates him as to why he was shooting at the GCPD squad sent to apprehend him when they think he's responsible for the Haven bombing, he responds "because they're cops" in a bewildered tone.
  • Covered with Scars: Not to the extent of his comic book counterpart, but he already has 28 self-inflicted marks on his body to count all the people he has killed.
  • The Dragon: To Falcone, and later Penguin - up until Sofia manipulates him into betraying the latter.
  • The Dreaded: It only takes a simple request with an added "please" from him to have the entire GCPD precinct abandon Gordon on the spot rather than face him.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch:
    • When warning Gordon about an expected hit on him, he's seen helping himself to Gordon's milk.
    Zsasz: Hope you don't mind, I helped myself.
    • The following season he's distracted from threatening Tabitha and Selina into attending Penguin's opening by their pepperoni pizza, and seems legitimately annoyed they don't want to share it.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Victor is absent from one episode, much to the Penguin's frustration, because he is "visiting his bubbe."
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Upon warning Gordon that his days may be numbered after what he did to Mario, he remarks that he never really liked Mario and is glad to see him gone.
    • Played for laughs when he chides a new husband for skimping on his bride's wedding ring at their wedding - as a team of licenced criminals rob the place.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: When he and Penguin are threatening Loeb, he shows the Commissioner what happened to his security by revealing the man's severed head and manipulating his mouth like a puppet. He also routinely fails to take situations as seriously as either Falcone or Penguin.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Interrupts Mooney's attempted revenge on Penguin and sends her and Butch running.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • He's polite to everyone in the GCPD, asking nicely where Gordon is. But then, of course, he notes that the order to bring Gordon in alive doesn't mean he has to have his hands. He taunts Gordon when he's chasing him down and needlessly kills a police officer after he disabled her.
    • Later, he interrupts Mooney's revenge on Penguin by announcing himself and making an amusing remark before attacking. The scene ends with him contemplating playing with Butch back home...
    • In "Pax Penguina", he's playfully-snarky when he interrupts the Merton gang's attempt to rob a wedding without a license, and seems friendly enough when addressing the wedding guests, bride and groom ... at least, until another gang of crooks who do have a license arrive.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Like his comics counterpart, he keeps score of everyone he kills with tally marks.
  • Guns Akimbo: His usual shooting style.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: He has an amazing capability to kill anyone except those who have a contract out on them, in which case this trope comes into full force: if Falcone puts a hit on you, Zsasz can't hit the broad side of a barn if you're leaning against it. Gordon's Plot Armor certainly helps in his case.
  • Implacable Man/The Unfettered: During the firefight in the police station, his mooks and Gordon are all behind desks for cover while trying to get shots off. Zsasz is on top of said desks, strolling toward Gordon while firing, like he couldn't care less about return fire.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite all he's done over the seasons, Gordon saves him from Penguin and frees him when he's sure he isn't responsible for the Haven bombings. Zsasz even tells him he'll regret it in the end.
  • Large Ham: Very theatrical and loud, and has "Funkytown" as his phone's ringtone. Also, with his assassination attempt of one of the mayoral candidates.
  • Laughably Evil: Whenever he appears on screen, Zsasz will most likely have you laughing by the end of the scene. He’s a notorious and cold blooded Hitman, and yet he barely drops his chipper attitude or Affably Evil nature while on or off the job.
  • Mythology Gag: This isn't the first time he's been a hitman for Falcone.
  • Nothing Personal: He more or less says this to Jim when hunting him down after Falcone ordered the hit on him. He isn't even upset in the slightest after Falcone called it off.
  • Not Me This Time: When Gordon and Penguin accuse him of the Haven bombing and the deaths of so many refugees, he immediately retorts that he'd never take credit for someone else's work— if he'd done it, he'd happily own up to it.
  • Odd Friendship: With Falcone most of the time, but especially with Oswald. Both of them are equally psychotic and crazy, though Oswald can be disturbed by Victor— which is saying a lot.
  • One-Man Army: He can easily take on entire precincts of police officers.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • When he appears in "Ghosts", he's more subdued than he normally is, and for good reason: his boss is furious with Gordon for icing Mario. He also doesn't take much pleasure in the knowledge that he'll eventually have to put one in Gordon's head, and his Ax-Crazy side only shows itself (also in a subdued fashion) towards the end of the meeting, when he congratulates Gordon for doing to Mario what it's implied he had himself thought of doing more than once.
    • Later seen in "Queen Takes Knight", after Don Falcone's death. He spends nearly the entire episode silent, deep in mourning for Falcone.
    • His appearance in "The Trial of James Gordon" has him rambling about stopping to smell the roses, being in love, and having become a vegan. This is because he's under the control of Ivy Pepper.
  • Professional Killer: He kills people and gets paid for it instead of just doing it for the sake of killing.
  • Psycho for Hire: Clearly very unstable and dangerous, but he works for and is actually quite loyal to Falcone. In the comics, he's a serial killer instead.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: He's a surprisingly affable guy when he's not working a job to assassinate targets. For example, when Falcone drops the hit against Gordon despite Zsasz having him in his sights, Victor cheerily agrees and goes off minding his own business with a smile on his face.
  • Torture Technician: It only took him a couple of weeks to turn Butch into a loyal puppet for Oswald.
  • Undying Loyalty: Interestingly, given his otherwise Psycho for Hire character type, he's got this to Don Falcone in spades. When Fish makes her play and comes very close to forcing Falcone into leaving town, Zsasz is aware of it and watches Falcone nearly give up and bow out. Instead of treating his boss like he was going soft or getting on the betrayal wagon as Falcone loses his nerve, Zsasz begs Falcone not to leave, insists he fight back and, when Falcone doesn't, begrudgingly stands with him every step of the way despite his reservations, even though he could've easily found work with any other boss. He is also noticeably very happy to see Fish's plans foiled. He later turns on Penguin, whom he was otherwise very loyal to, when Sofia frames Penguin for Carmine's death.
  • Villain Respect:
    • Has deep, immense respect for Jim Gordon, to the point that in "Ghosts", when Don Falcone and Lee Tompkins put a hit out on Gordon, Zsasz approaches Gordon hours before the hunt starts to warn him. In a deleted scene from the same episode, Zsasz describes the high-caliber sniper bullet he plans to use to kill Gordon, stating that he doesn't want Gordon to suffer and that he deserves "Nothing but the best."
    • When he and Alfred have a brief team-up to deal with Merton's thugs at the start of season 4, the two briefly share admiring looks at the other's professionalism.
  • Villains Out Shopping: If Riddler is to be believed in season 4, he's apparently a big fan of the disco. The fact that he has "Funkytown" as his ringtone proves it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Is nowhere to be seen when Falcone was put into the hospital during the season 1 finale. You'd think Zsasz would be at Falcone's bedside considering how their relationship was in previous appearances. However he would have been a Story-Breaker Power for Falcone. Subverted in season 5— he returns in person, and the first episode shows he controls a substantial territory on his own.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Zsasz seems to have formed a respect for Jim Gordon, despite being on opposite sides of the morality coin. When it looks like he'll be sent after Jim when he kills Falcone's son Mario, he actually visits him beforehand to assure him his death will be painless and that he regards Jim as a "good egg".
    • Trades wry smiles of professional regard with Alfred in "Pax Penguina", when he and Bruce's butler-cum-bodyguard simultaneously draw on each other at the Iceberg Lounge in the middle of trouncing Merton's followers.
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