‘Gotham’ 1.09 Recap: “A Trustworthy Lawyer… in Gotham??”

For perhaps obvious reasons, this first season of ‘Gotham’ has avoided crossing paths with Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy too much. The show has focused more on ‘Batman’ characters (like The Penguin) who either never appeared in the movies or were relatively small parts of them. This week’s episode, however, introduces a major player from Nolan’s second film. I suppose this was inevitable, but is now too soon to do it?

Yes, I know that Carmine Falcone was in ‘Batman Begins’ and Selina Kyle was in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (and of course Jim Gordon was in all three movies), but the series uses these characters differently than the movies did. Falcone is a much more active participant in the show’s narrative, and Selina is just a child here. ‘Gotham’ has so far avoided bringing in characters like Ra’s al Ghul, his daughter Talia, The Joker, Scarecrow or Bane, for fear of comparisons to Nolan’s treatment of them.

Heads, or Heads?

But now we have crusading Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto from ‘Masters of Sex’), who was a crucial component of the plot to ‘The Dark Knight’, and appears to be on track to becoming the villain known as Two-Face. (In a very unsubtle bit of symbolic foreshadowing, Dent is repeatedly seen playing with a trick coin that has heads on both sides.) What may differentiate his portrayal and character arc here from the movie is that Dent briefly breaks from his clean-cut, goody-two-shoes persona and threatens an opponent that, “I will rip you open,” suggesting that he already has a dark side and possibly a personality disorder long before an accident claims half his face. Will the show expedite his transformation to occur while Bruce Wayne is just a child, or hold off on that to save Two-Face for the adult Batman to contend with?

Dent is introduced in a storyline where he’s obsessed with bringing down Dick Lovecraft, a major power player in Gotham’s business and political spheres who of course has ties to all the organized crime outfits. After learning that Selina Kyle was a witness to the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, Dent concocts a plan to use her to rattle Lovecraft by claiming that she can directly tie the murders to him. (She can’t. He’s exaggerating.) Jim Gordon only agrees to this so long as Dent keeps both his and Selina’s names out of it and leaves them both anonymous. I think we all know that won’t work for long.

Because he can’t trust any cops to keep her safe, Jim drops Selina off at Wayne Manor and asks Alfred and Bruce to take care of her for a while. Alfred bristles at exposing his young ward to this dirty ragamuffin, but Bruce is instantly infatuated with the girl. Eventually, even Alfred warms to her when he sees that she can break through Bruce’s hardened shell and let him feel like a normal child for a little while.

Stuff That Goes Boom

For all this, the episode has yet another major storyline involving a master bombmaker named Ian Hargrove (Leslie Odom, Jr. from ‘Smash’) who gets busted out of prison by Russian mobsters. Hargrove’s brother insists that Ian is mentally ill and was only a protester, not a killer. However, the mobsters force him to build a bomb that they use to kill all the guards at a munitions factory so that they can steal a more powerful military-grade explosive called HMX.

Hargrove intentionally leaves a clue in the bomb debris that will allow Gordon and Bullock to find him at an abandoned metal factory. This leads to a shoot-out with the Russians, who grab Ian and get away. Later, Gordon figures out that the mobsters plan to use the HMX to break into the city’s old armory building, currently owned by Falcone, who uses it to stores giant piles of cash. (I guess he doesn’t trust the banks.)

The Russians, who are really working for Fish Mooney, take the money but don’t get too far before cops surround them. The standoff ends when their truck blows up, due to a bomb placed on it not by Hargrove, but by Fish’s henchman. He laments destroying all the money, but Fish is pleased. She only wanted to hurt Falcone, and that mission is accomplished.

For his part, Hargrove is taken back into custody. Rather than return him to prison, the corrupt mayor ships him off to the newly reopened Arkham Asylum, where he will no doubt be groomed to become a future supervillain.

You Smell Delightful

The Penguin gets suspicious of Falcone’s new girlfriend Liza and goes snooping in her apartment, where he finds some lilac perfume that he recognizes. He next goes to visit Fish just to give her a sniff. (Her henchman’s response: “Man, that dude’s creepy.”) Sure enough, he puts two and two together, and confronts Liza about it. For now, he tells her that he’ll keep her secret, but he plans to hold it over her when he needs a favor in the future.

Poor Jim the Cuckold

Last week, Jim’s girlfriend Barbara fled town, but he was too busy to notice. This week, he comes home to find a “Dear Jim” note explaining that she was afraid and needed to get away for a while. This comes back around at the end of the episode when we discover Barbara in bed with her ex-girlfriend Montoya. Oooh, the treachery!


For some reason, I’m not really sold on D’Agosto as Harvey Dent, and I worry that having two characters named Harvey on the show will be needlessly confusing. Bruce and Selina making moon-eyes at each other for most of the episode was also kind of annoying.

Still, if not one of the season’s best episodes, it’s a decent one overall.


  1. T.J. Kats

    I’m not sure yet on Dent but I did like that they are showing a “darker” side to him off the bat.(no pun originally intended but I feel bad if I choose another word now)

    While I think maybe just a touch to much of the episode was spent on Bruce and Selina I enjoyed the scenes overall because it gave Bruce an opportunity to be something other than sad/angry.

  2. I liked the episode, but it was my least favorite so far this season. I’m not a big fan of the actor playing Dent (so far), and I’m not so sure that showing he’s mentally unbalanced BEFORE he’s disfigured is the right way to go.

    Alfred is quickly becoming my favorite character on this series…I liked when he saw the food fight and didn’t break it up – probably figuring that this is one of the few times since his parents’ murders that Bruce has actually acted like a kid.

    • NJScorpio

      As we can see with Gordon, if being a “good guy” is enough to help Gotham, it takes very strong character. For Dent to make a…um…dent..in Gotham’s world of crime, I can see how he needs an edge. He needs to have some bite…and to be a little bit crazy. Otherwise, he’d just be another White Knight that Gotham eats alive.

  3. NJScorpio

    Josh, I’m surprised you didn’t mention the shot of Harvey Dent standing in front of his projector, talking to Jim, with half of his face completely blacked out.

  4. Harvey Dent/Two Face is (becomes) a major crime lord in Gotham, so I’m not really surprised to see him to be honest. I don’t think it really matters about Nolan’s franchise being so recent. I wouldn’t expect to see him fully change into Two Face for awhile, though (if at all). And I’d be okay with that.

    I actually like that there are two characters named Harvey. You rarely see that on TV shows or in movies, but it happens quite a bit in real life. Growing up, my next door neighbor was also a Tom. 🙂

    I’m a fan of this Penguin the most I think, out of all of the characters. He’s great.

  5. cardpetree

    I’m not watching this show but where have I seen the guy in the picture before? First season of Heroes maybe? Was he the cheerleader’s boyfriend?

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