When Fox’s hit Batman prequel series Gotham returns Monday night, expect the stakes to get even higher than before.
Last we saw of Det. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), he headed straight for the home for the criminally insane, Arkham Asylum, after incurring the wrath of the mayor. Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) got his first taste of life among the city’s underworld, the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) was scheming as per usual, and that was only the first half of the season.
“Once you’ve got the show up and running, and all the parts, all the bits of the machinery working smoothly, then doing 22 is just about as easy as doing fewer,” he said.
Heller praised fellow executive producer Danny Cannon for setting a realistic tone in the pilot episode that the show has been able to maintain.
“It’s a very fragile illusion. Gotham is kind of a dream world, and being able to remain in the groove of that, I think, we’ve managed to pull it off.”
Gotham has brought on a lot of pleasant surprises, including Jada Pinkett Smith’s performance as Fish Mooney, a villainous character created just for the show.
“She just brought so much energy and ferocity that she made it her own and created the kind of female character of which there’s not many on the screen. We’ve relied on Jada more than the initial plan was.”
Heller commented that episode seven titled “Penguin’s Umbrella,” which revealed that Oswald Cobblepot had been plotting with Carmine Falcone (John Doman) while working with rival mob boss Sal Maroni (David Zayas), was particularly spectacular.
“Robin is brilliant, John Doman as Falcone is brilliant, and we got to use the full range of things we can bring to the table — there’s action, comedy, high drama.”
Bruce’s butler and surrogate father, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee), has quickly become a fan favorite for his questionable parenting skills.
“Sean brought so much energy, humor, wit and pathos to it that it allows us to build that character out and create more drama around him, his own drama,” Heller said.
Fans of Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) can expect to see another side to the character, but that’s not all. The groundwork laid throughout the first half of the season will start to pay off.
“A lot of the episodes set up for later story. So, certainly, in that way, the story will become much more engaging and much more operatic and suspenseful. It will drag you in because these are characters you have come to know and perhaps love.”
Admittedly, because of the size and scope of the Batman universe, Because it’s such a big show, Heller found it particularly challenging to pack all of its characters and stories into a show. Now that the show is progressing, the showrunner plans to deliver more action and drama.