Batman: Now were two.
The Commissioner Gordon is a Reasonable Authority Figure who acts as an ally to the local Super Hero and provides the chief connection between the Super Hero and the official authorities. In other words, he's the one in charge of the Bat Signal. He's often a police detective or commissioner, but mayors, district attorneys, and other government officials can fill the role too. Whatever his job, he'll be trying to do good through legal and mundane means, while the hero's methods will be more exotic, and possibly (though not necessarily) illegal. Expect him to go Stepping Out for a Quick Cup of Coffee at some point.
If the Super Hero is loved and accepted by the community and the government, the relationship can be open and public. If the hero is in the "hated and feared" category, their relationship will probably be a source of political conflict for the Commissioner Gordon. He'll try to to keep it a secret or downplay it.
How helpful the character really is can vary. He could be a bumbler who would doom the city if he didn't have someone helping him. When played straight, he'll be either a valued teammate or a grudging ally. He'll make short work of most routine crime, but when a Super Villain or monster starts attacking the city, he knows it's time to pick up the red phone and call his partner. In a Crapsack World, the commissioner will often be an Internal Reformist or Defector from Decadence, and is frequently The Last DJ, a Knight In Sour Armor, or Anti-Nihilist.
A related trope appears in Private Detective series, where the detective always has a Friend on the Force. Compare also to the Inspector Lestrade, who brings seemingly unsolvable cases to the Great Detective, and The Brigadier, when it is applied to a senior officer in the military.
- The Big O: Dan Dastun's aware that Roger Smith pilots the titular Megadueax, which he keeps secret from the rest of the Paradigm City Police. So whenever he runs into a dead-end during an investigation, he'll usually call on Roger for help.
- Uchi no Musume ni Te o Dasu na!: Since Athena retired from being a superheroine 20 years ago, Hanna used her authority as N.U.D.E's commander to enlist the aid of her daughter, Clara. At least, until her mom finds out. Now mother and daughter team up to help N.UD.E. battle Deepthroat's forces.
- Naomasa Tsukauchi of My Hero Academia. While he's not mentioned to be particularly high-ranking, he's a police officer who's a close confidant of the resident Big Good superhero, one of the very few who knows the secret of said Big Good's superpower, and acts as U.A.'s primary liaison and ally on the force.
- Batman's Commissioner James Gordon is the trope namer, and the various media include numerous different versions — after all, the exact rank and function of any Commissioner Gordon varies depending on how cynical or idealistic the series is. In Batman: The Animated Series, for example, he's the commissioner by the time the story starts and is hesitant but supportive towards Batman; in The Batman, he's the new commissioner and the one that is responsible for changing the police department's behavior toward the Bat. In the Darker and Edgier Batman Begins, he's a lowly sergeant — lieutenant, by the end of the film — and possibly the only completely honest cop in Gotham PD (and even then "no rat", although he says there's no-one to rat to). (He becomes commissioner in the second film after Loeb's death and collaring the Joker.)
- Deconstructed at Batman: No Man's Land: Sarah Essen explains that Gordon tried to get a job outside Gotham City when No Man's Land was declared, but had been laughed at because he couldn't keep his city safe without the help of a vigilante. She warns the officers to not speak about Batman around him anymore.
- The Batman also featured, for the first two seasons, both Ethan Bennett (a personal friend of Bruce Wayne, who had a tragic accident and underwent a, er, Face Heel Turn) and Ellen Yin, before Gordon came along. What happened to Ellen Yin, you ask? Good question.
- Gordon's grandson gets in on the act in Batman: Year 100
- The third Robin has had a few of these over the years; on his first solo adventure he befriended an ex-DEA agent who was on the same case as he was. When his solo series went ongoing, he encountered Sheriff "Shotgun" Smith, and recently he's been allied with rookie Officer Jamie Harper.
- Batwoman, who temporarily replaced Batman as the starring character in Detective Comics, seemed to be growing this relationship with Captain Maggie Sawyer, head of the Major Crimes Unit. They are still feeling out their relationship, having had only a single brief meeting while "on duty" as of Detective Comics #862, but the scene was juxtaposed with Batman meeting with the real James Gordon to highlight the parallels. Of course, Maggie was previously seen hitting on Kate Kane when the two met at a society ball, and their relationship subsequently spread into areas that Batman and Gordon never went.
- Batgirl's police contact in the ongoing Batgirl series is Detective Nick Gage, an officer newly arrived in the Gotham City Major Crimes Unit. She also knows the real Commissioner Gordon both in and out of costume, as she is being mentored by Barbara Gordon, his daughter; her working relationship with Jim is relatively minor, mainly greetings-in-passing as they go to various emergencies. An unusual twist in the Batgirl/Gage relationship is the age disparity and Batgirl's infatuation with the detective, since this makes the real Gordon uncomfortable when he sees the obviously-teenage Batgirl clearly flirting with the thirty-something detective. It did, however, lead to one of the greatest line's Jim Gordon has ever uttered:
Batgirl: (As she swings by Gage and Gordon, giving Gage a smile and a small wave) "Hey, you!"
Detective Nick Gage (Off Commissioner Gordon's look) "What?"
Commissioner Gordon: "'Hey, you'?"
Gage: "No one raises an eyebrow when you talk to Batman."
Gordon: "I'm pretty sure Batman's legal, detective!"
- Meanwhile, Barbara Gordon had former private investigator and veteran with father issues, Jason Bard, during her tenure as Batgirl.
- Why, even Dick Grayson gets in on the act. Back in the Silver/Bronze Age, while attending Hudson University, the then-Robin would often cooperate with the chief of campus security, Frank McDonald and as Nightwing he received the support of his former superior officer Amy Rohrbach after she forces him to turn in his badge since she feels he's violating his oaths by working as a vigilante on the side.
- In Ex Machina, The Great Machine tries to establish a working relationship with the commissioner of the NYPD. She tries to beat him to death with a nightstick, and when he gets her to stop smacking him she explains that his most recent "heroism" sent two of her officers to the hospital with injuries that could have been fatal. When The Great Machine drops his superhero act, runs for mayor under his real name, and wins, he keeps the commissioner on, explaining that she was one of the first people to make him realize that his acts of heroism were not helping the situation and he needed to change tactics.
- Captain Josh Winters from Jon Sable, Freelance. Originally Jon's Friend on the Force, Winters sometimes steps into the Commissioner Gordon role.
- Commissioner Eustace Dolan from The Spirit. When DC began publishing The Spirit, a not-quite-in-any-continuity Batman/Spirit crossover featured Dolan and Gordon as friendly rivals.
- Classic Superman had Inspector Henderson (originally from the radio series, then the George Reeves TV series, before becoming a Canon Immigrant). The current version (and the animated series) has Inspector Maggie Sawyer and Lieutenant-Inspector Dan Turpin of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit.
- In mainstream continuity Spider-Man has had a whole parade of police liaisons. The most famous are probably Jean DeWolff and George Stacy. They're both dead now. The closest fit post-BND is Captain Watanabe, who gives Spidey the benefit of the doubt when it looks like he's killed someone in an issue where several supposedly dead people are reappearing (naturally, Mysterio was behind it all).
- His current police liason is Carlie Cooper. Which is odd because Carlie's discovering Spider-Man's secret identity is what ended her romantic relationship with Peter Parker!
- Jean DeWolff approached Ultimate Spider-Man as one of these. Averted, as she's ultimately working for Kingpin.
- The Golden Age Starman had Woodley Allen of the FBI (the uncle of his Love Interest) and Inspector Bailey, as well as Billy O'Dare (although, as a beat officer, he was more of a sidekick). His son, the Modern Age Starman had O'Dare's son, Clarence, the police department's official Superhero Liason Officer (and eventually Comissioner), and his four siblings.
- During his run as one of the writers of Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tristan Huw Jones introduced NYPD Liutenant Gordon Miller, who has a cooperative relationship with the turtles when it comes to street-level crime, particularly those related to The Foot and the gang war portrayed in "City at War".
- Shvaughn/Sean/Shvaughn Erin, the Legion of Super-Heroes Science Police liason.
- Kommissarie Pontus Kask in Bamse - if you count Bamse as a superhero, that is.
- In All Fall Down, ex-superhero Plymouth fills this role for Sophie, training her in the use of her powers and coordinating her efforts with the US Government.
- Daredevil has had a few through the years. When he lived in San Francisco with the Black Widow, there was Lt. Paul Carson. After returning to New York, he had Lt. Nicholas Manolis (a subversion, since Manolis was eventually corrupted and then assassinated by the Kingpin). During Ed Brubaker and Andy Diggle's runs on the book, Detective Andy Kurtz.
- Moon Knight has Detective Flint, a low ranking over-the-hill Last DJ who's well aware that he and Moonie are both second stringers. Doesn't mean he likes dealing with him any more.
- For Excalibur there was Inspector Dai Thomas. His relationship with superheroes was extremely strained due to the death of his wife in the wreckage of a super-fight (he nearly crossed the line to Inspector Javert) but in the end did come to find some respect for Captain Britain.
- In Paperinik New Adventures after a nasty first encounter, lieutenant Mary-Ann Flaggstar starts collaborating with the protagonist for things out of her jurisdiction.
- Robert Dowling plays this role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where the SFPD are dealing with the vampire threat and once he clears Buffy's name for her misdeeds works with Buffy and Spike, enters into a relationship, then tries to hold out against a vampire nest. Due to circumstances beyond her control Buffy forgets about him, freaks when she remembers and tries to make amends and break up. Dowling is incredibly forgiving on both counts, to the point Spike and Willow are upset that he wasn't.
- Tucker plays this role in Facing the Future Series. As the Mayor of Amity Park, Tucker gains the resources for new ghost hunting equipment, and can use his political clout to shield Team Phantom from public scrutiny, as well as cover up some of their activities.
- Both Pelleas and Captain Leaf in Cape and Cowl try to invoke this trope for different reasons (it succeeds, although to what degree is yet to be shown).
- Gligarman in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has Giordanna "Gio" Jenny, with whom he's worked closely since his early days of crimefighting. She's even willing to help him out when he comes out of retirement to work with the new generation of heroes.
- Officer Albrecht from The Crow becomes Eric's biggest ally in his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Unfortunately, his aiding a vigilante who is on a murder spree against Top Dollar's gang eventually gets him suspended, at which point he takes a more active hand in things.
- George Stickel of The Incredible Mr. Limpet relays information between Henry Limpet and the U.S. Navy to help take out Nazi submarines.
- Invoked and deconstructed in The LEGO Batman Movie. While Trope Namer Commissioner "Jim" does briefly appear, his daughter, Barbara Gordon, is the GCPD chief for most of the movie, and one of the first things she does as chief is point out that the police don't actually do anything besides press the Batsignal button, and that Batman doesn't actually work within the law or reduce crime in any meaningful way. She then proposes that they work with Batman to actually capture the criminals instead of letting them go free. Of course, the point is made moot when Joker and the rest of his rogues gallery turn themselves in, and Gordon (who, remember, is chief of police) goes back to doing other police things, leaving Batman without villains or a Commissioner Gordon.
- Monsieur Badoit is this for Pistolet in The Black Coats Salem Street
- Lt. Karrin Murphy of The Dresden Files is head of Chicago's Special Crimes Unit and responsible for fitting vampire attacks, troll rampages, etc. into the standard police blotter. She uses the titular Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the phone book, as a consultant; when the first story opens, she doesn't really care about "all this supernatural mumbo-jumbo" — she just wants to make her case. Four books in, she's answering the door with her sidearm in one hand and a crucifix in the other.
- In her early days, she is still trying to fit the supernatural into the world of law and order, to subordinate it to the law and the procedures thereof. Some nasty encounters with demonic super-werewolves and spiritual predators able to invade the minds of herself and her men force her to accept that the supernatural is bigger than she is, which changes the path of her character considerably. She becomes increasingly amenable to vigilante action and far more fast-and-loose with the law than she once was.
- And hamstringing ogres with a chainsaw. Can't forget that.
- As of Changes, she's probably finished playing her early role, and Ghost Story confirms this. Then again, Harry himself transcends the role of Chicago's protector and now protects reality itself, though he'll probably keep policing Chicago when it's needed.
- Also, Father Anthony Forthill, who connects Harry with the Church Militant of the Catholic Church. Particularly the Knights of the Cross, and especially Chicago's resident Knight, Michael.
- Police Commissioner Stanley Kirkpatrick acts as both ally and antagonist to Richard Wentworth in The Spider.
- Subverted by Police Commissioner James "Wildcat" Gordon (yes, really) in The Whisperer series of pulp stories. He's actually the Whisperer himself.
- Detective Hardin is Gordon for Kitty Norville. She treats a loose werewolf like a serial killer, and a fight for dominance between rival vampires like a gang war as soon as dead bodies turn up, so she has to go to the local publically-acknowledged werewolf for advice sometimes.
- The Memory Wars: Although Lt. Frank Powell's relationship with Nathan is initially quite antagonistic, he has become this by the end of Silent Oath.
- The Shadow had Inspector Joe Cardona as his ally.
- Worm is interesting in that it has Commissioner characters that works against the main character, such as Directors Piggot, Tagg, and Costa-Brown. To be fair, the main character is a supervillain, and they seem to be reasonable towards the heroes.
- Police Chief Francis X Riordan in Kim Newman's superhero deconstruction "Coastal City" is Commissioner Gordon to all the heroes of Coastal City, with his personality altering to fit their stories (in particular, he turns into a buffoonish J. Jonah Jameson when dealing with Gecko Man).
- Aaron Brooks in Relativity. The various police officers who work under him tend to vary between being pro- and anti-superhero.
- Commissioner Gordon from The '60s Batman TV Show is a example so straight, it could be a parody.
- Add in Chief O'Hara, as well. Their reaction during the one time Batman was unavailable due to a commitment Bruce Wayne had is too funny to believe.
- Detective Quentin Lance was originally the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist for Oliver Queen on Arrow, but eventually grew into this role.
- In later seasons, other characters played this role - Captain Lucas Pike, and eventually Dinah Drake. Dinah is an interesting case in that she's both been a vigilante partner to the Green Arrow, in addition to becoming this trope.
- In the The Flash (2014), detective Joe West acts as this for the Flash, with the extra function of being a rare (for this trope) Secret Keeper for the Flash, and more uniquely, Barry's adopted dad. Joe is also the biological father of Flash ally, Wally West aka Kid Flash.
- From mid-season 3 onwards, Teen Wolf's titular teenage werewolves have Sheriff Stilinski, who not only knows about the supernatural world, but whose son is a human member of the werewolf pack.
- Detective Brett Mahoney in Daredevil (2015) ends up becoming this to Daredevil. Initially he's the cop friendliest with the Devil of Hell's Kitchen and would turn a blind-eye due to all the good he's done, but would still be willing to take Daredevil in. Eventually it gets to the point where he acts as Daredevil's informant and he lampshades the irony that the vigilante ends up being the only person he can trust.
- Sheriffs Jodi Mills and Donna Hascum on Supernatural. They help Sam and Dean stay out of trouble with authorities and even sometimes call the Winchesters into town when something supernatural seems to be afoot.
- Joss Carter before she was murdered helped Reese, Finch, and Shaw escape detection more than once and also used police resources to help them protect their Person of Interest.
- Inspector William Henderson in Black Lightning. While officially against any form of vigilantism, he secretly helps Black Lightning with tips using a burner phone. Like Batman's Gordon, Henderson isn't a big fan of Black Lightning's Stealth Hi/Bye.
- Inspector Roger Brook in the Modesty Blaise strip.
- In the various adaptations of the property, The Green Hornet has had his own Commissioner Gordon:
- In the radio series, the Hornet saved Police Commissioner James Higgins from a blackmail plot. Higgins returned the favor by rendering the Hornet covert assistance and funneling him information. (The fact that Higgins was a friend of the family of Britt (the Green Hornet) Reid served to cement that relationship after Higgins learned the Hornet's true identity.)
- In the 1966 TV series, District Attorney Frank P. Scanlon knew that Daily Sentinel publisher Britt Reid was also The Green Hornet, and worked closely with the Hornet while maintaining the pretense of being after the Hornet, who was officially a wanted criminal. (William Dozier, producer of the series, was also producer of the contemporaneous Batman (1966) series, and converted Police Commissioner Higgins into DA Scanlon in order to minimize the similarities between the shows.)
- In the 1990s NOW Comics Green Hornet comics (which spun the Hornet story into a multi-generational saga), Police Commissioner Higgins was the ally of the first Green Hornet (Britt Reid I, the radio Hornet). The second Hornet (Britt Reid II, the TV series Hornet and nephew to the first Green Hornet) worked with DA Scanlon. The third Green Hornet (Alan Reid, nephew of the second Hornet) didn't serve long enough in the role to develop much of a relationship with Scanlon (he was killed on his first mission as the Green Hornet), but his successor as the Green Hornet (Paul Reid, his brother) worked with Scanlon until the latter's retirement. When Scanlon retired, Paul's cousin Diana Reid ran for and won election as Scanlon's successor, and she continued the close association with the Green Hornet that Scanlon had developed.
- Subverted in the movie, where Scanlon knows nothing of the Green Hornet's identity, and is trying to use Britt's newspaper to further his career and hide the fact that he works with the mob. Though Britt initially attempts to work with him, the closest they come is when Scanlon attempts to hire the Green Hornet to kill him.
- TrollCops has a twist where the Commissioner Gordon, the Alternia City Police Department's Lieutenant Terezi Pyrope, the APD's most reliable contact with the vigilante Crowbro, is herself the protagonist, with Crowbro being a supporting character and Love Interest.
- City of Heroes has a whole host of detectives, all of whom are Shout Outs to television/film detectives. The relationship is completely open, with calls for superhero help going out over the police radio.
- Detective Mosely of New Orleans PD is this, as well as a childhood friend to protagonist Gabriel Knight.
- Twilight Heroes has Officer Rand as questgiver.
- Officer Kurosawa of Persona 3 is S.E.E.S.'s primary arms supplier, and while he doesn't know the full story behind what's going on, he knows the heroes are doing their part to keep Port Island safe.
- Towards the end of Persona 5, Sae Niijima becomes the Phantom Thieves' primary ally on the police force, the irony being that she was originally the investigator assigned to stop them.
- Reggie Rowe in Infamous 2 acts as this to his brother Delsin after Delsin gets his powers. Of course, once they arrive in Seattle, he's out of his jurisdiction, so his help isn't always of the typical police variety.
- Lt. Bernie Kominsky of the Apollo City police's Super Villain Unit works with local superheroines Lady Spectra & Sparky.
- Director Anderson of the Space Patrol in Space Kid
- From Lightbringer, Police Chief Eddie Crane is contacted by the eponymous superhero and remains his ally, though the mayor is not happy about this.
- Reed Bahia serves as this to the main character of Kiwiblitz, much to the displeasure of his father, Chief Bahia, who disapproves of vigilantes.
- Pretty much every Global Guardians Campaign had a Commissioner Gordon. Some of the more popular ones were Aaron Stonebender (Mayor of Key West, Florida), Abigail Farmer (Chief of Police for Mobile, Alabama), Archibald Pertwee (Her Majesty's Liason to Majestic), and Captain Fiorello LeGuardia Perconte (Commander of the 52nd Precinct, New York City).
- Mayor Haggar in the Weebl & Bob "Team Laser Explosion" episodes; he usually only calls to say that he's been kidnapped.
- The Red Panda from Red Panda Adventures has a reluctant one in Chief O'Mally.
- Shadow Hawk from Epic Tales has Lt. Luke Bennet.
- In the Whateley Universe, there's SWAT Captain Tilley of the Boston Police Department, who has officially deputized all of Team Kimba (after the fact), even though they're underage.
- The Fellowship from The Questport Chronicles has the Lord of the Supreme Council.
- In Batman: The Animated Series, one episode had not only the Trope Namer himself, but a politician named Corcrane taking this role to a new vigilante, "The Judge", in an effort to jump-start his career in Gotham — at least until Two-Face, who had barely survived a trap placed by the Judge, tried to use him as bait to kill both of them. When Corcorane tried to buy his way out with embezzled money, the Judge immediately tried to kill Corcorane until he was saved by Batman, who revealed the Judge to be a new personality of Two-Face. (Somehow, the Judge knew Two-Face's secrets and also that they couldn't meet in person but didn't figure out the reason was the fact they were the same person.)
- Commissioner Barbara Gordon, in Batman Beyond. The former Batgirl takes over her father's job, and was initially bitterly uncooperative to Bruce (implied to have been her lover at some point in the past) and his young protege. She warms up a little to Terry after he saves the life of her husband.
- The Mayor from The Powerpuff Girls.
- Mayor Blank from The Tick — a relatively straight example, in a very weird world.
- Cosgrove, on Freakazoid!, who was sort of a parody of the character. Then again, what wasn't a parody on that show?
- Captain Fanzone from Transformers Animated. Okay, so he doesn't like machines much, but he's on their side, probably because they're rather more adherent to the law than Decepticons are.
- Agent Fowler from Transformers: Prime.
- Harley Quinn (2019): is Deconstruction by the man himself. The show actually shows how being in charge of Gotham City would take a toll on someone. Unlike most media, where Gordon remains tough as hell in the face of overwhelming adversity, this Gordon is a deeply stressed out mess of a man who's always on edge. Co-creator Justin Halpern discussed this:
Justin Halpern: "What would Commissioner Gordon actually be like if he was the Commissioner of the Gotham Police Department, saw what he saw every single day for 27 years, and never went to therapy? What would that look like? He'd be so fucked up and constantly on edge. Hes got a thankless job, Hes doing the day-to-day grunt work, filling out all the paper work, and hes oftentimes maligned. That ultimately drives a man to madness. His marriage is falling apart, Hes drinking too much and has no real friends.
- In keeping with the general superhero parody motif, Darkwing Duck had one of these: J Gander Hooter, head of the secret agency SHUSH. You're not cleared for what the letters stand for. This is highlighted when Hooter is taken out of action, leaving his number two in command: Grizzlikov, a by the book sort of guy who loathes Darkwing. Note that the real police in Saint Canard aren't overly fond of Darkwing.
- SWAT Kats had Callie Briggs, the Deputy Mayor. She's the heroic version of The Man Behind the Man. When trouble threatens, Briggs puts down the paperwork, and contacts the SWAT Kats to take care of the problem that the Enforcers can't (and the Mayor won't)note . In spite of this, Briggs isn't a Secret Keeper, because not even she knows the secret identities of the SWAT Kats.
- Mighty Orbots had Rondu, who was literally A Father to His Men because one of them was his daughter!
- The Zeta Project had Agent Lee develop into this after the title character saved her life at great personal risk to himself. Unfortunately, she's not in as much power as most examples on this page, so actually helping him out is difficult. By the time Agent Bennett shows shades of this, the series is almost over.
- In Gargoyles, Detective Elisa Maza and later her partner Matt Bluestone are allies of the Gargoyles.
- In South Park, Sergeant Yates is this to Mysterion. The Coon also tried to invoke this with him, with less success.
- In The Spectacular Spider-Man, George Stacy.