Ben McKenzie Interview on ‘Gotham’ Season Two, Barbara, and Bruce Wayne

Ben McKenzie Interview - Gotham Season 2
GOTHAM star Ben McKenzie during the show’s signing at Comic-Con 2015. (Photo © 2015 WBEI. All Rights Reserved.)

Gotham star Benjamin McKenzie laughed when asked if, after the turn of events in season one, it appears Barbara Keane won’t ultimately become Barbara Gordon’s mother. “Not unless she somehow drugs him and takes advantage of him,” said McKenzie during roundtable interviews at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con. “Don’t give the writers any ideas. It’s safe to say I don’t think Jim and Barbara will have the procreative future that they do in the mythology. We’re going to change that up.”

Now that Barbara has gone over to the dark side, Jim Gordon’s going to have to deal with her very carefully in season two of the hit Fox series. “He will deal with her gingerly, with great care,” explained McKenzie. “She’s the closest person who’s gone full bad guy, full bonkers, and that doesn’t go away. She doesn’t get less crazy in season two. And sure enough their paths, of course, keep crossing. Jim has to figure out throughout the series how to deal with different bad guys differently, in terms of the nature of the threat. With her, he’s less concerned with her sort of physical strength and much more concerned with when she is that personally invested in destroying him specifically and knows him better than anyone, what is she willing to do to get what she wants. Having a psycho ex-girlfriend is scary.”

After season one, Jim’s relationship with Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin will also undergo a dramatic change in dynamics. The two started off as friends (at least from Oswald’s point of view) but now that The Penguin has become a major player in Gotham City’s sleazy underworld, that relationship will shift. “We address that immediately in the first episode back and there’s a deal that’s struck between the two of them that will immediately shift Gordon to what I think is kind of the next chapter of his evolution, which is now that he sees the way the game’s played, he’s going to do things that are bad,” confirmed McKenzie. “He’ll find himself in situations and he has to do what he has to do to get out of them. And it’s a rougher, darker version of his character – a guy really grappling with compromise that comes with getting power, how you achieve power, how you hold onto power, how you dispense power. At the core of that is his relationship with Oswald.”

With Barbara and Oswald evolving into major villains, that doesn’t mean Jim is left without any allies. Asked who Jim can still trust, McKenzie replied, “Good question. He can trust Harvey still. The good thing about Harvey is as irascible as he is, he’s very honest – at least with Jim. He doesn’t tend to hide things. Thompkins is obviously an ally, a very close ally. And, increasingly in season two, Bruce and Alfred. They were on the outs. They’ve realized, each of them has realized the value in the other two. They’re forming, in a sense, a bit of a team. Sean [Pertwee] likes to refer to it as Operation Good Guys. There are the good guys and the bad guys at this point, and the good guys have to stick together because they’re outnumbered.”

But even Operation Good Guys has a lot to overcome in order to keep the villains from ultimately winning. Bruce Wayne (played by David Mazouz) and Alfred (Pertwee) are keeping Jim in the dark on exactly what they’re up to at this point. “You know, I don’t know if he’s going to be aware of it until later in the season when they want him to be. The idea is for Bruce to have his own trajectory, his own maturation to the process some of which is going to help Jim and Jim’s leadership. Some of which is not,” explained McKenzie. “And the more Jim is unaware of certain aspects of that, the more conflict it creates between the two of them. Bruce has to eventually become his own man and Jim has to find his own path as well.”

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