The thing that is so intriguing about Gotham is the fact that we are faced with characters whose names we don't recognize from the comics. From fan-favorite Gotham gangster Fish Mooney to lesser known thugs like Clyde, every Selina Kyle or Oswald Cobblepot needs a support network of characters that they knew prior to becoming the classic Batman characters we all know and love. After all, Gotham is a prequel to the Batman comics. Surely no one expects everyone to have known everyone for years — even the people who only set foot in Gotham for the first time in those comics? Gotham needs these original, non-comic characters like Beyoncé needs a halo. It's just good storytelling.
Granted, some original characters are pretty forgettable. I mean, in some cases, we learn their names in the same scene that they die. In other cases, their death had such low impact on the plot that it might as well have not happened at all. And in yet other cases, the characters have gotten no development beyond being yet another corrupt cop in the GCPD. However, there are 24 unforgettable original characters who either told a good story while they were alive or are still up and kicking to help make Gotham one of the best shows on television. Naturally, I had to rank them in order of awesomeness.
24. Mario Pepper
Mario Pepper is from the pilot, and he basically showed up to die. He's the scapegoat for the Wayne murders, and Jim Gordon is pretty much the only GCPD officer who doesn't want to pin it on him and call it a day. We might not know much about Mario Pepper, but he did give birth to Ivy Pepper — a.k.a. Gotham's own future Poison Ivy.
I just have a soft spot in my heart for Mackey. He and Selina Kyle — whom he knows as "Cat" — are good friends among the other street kids in Gotham. Not so good that he won't sell her out for $200, but, hey, that just means he's a smart businessman.
22. Dorothy Duncan
I like Dorothy Duncan because (a) she impersonated a nurse at Arkham for most of an episode without any of us suspecting she was really a patient and (b) as soon as we discovered she was a fake she died. Talk about anticlimactic.
21. Ember Copley
Ember Copley was targeted by the Spirit of the Goat for being the heiress to one of Gotham's richest families. She was rescued by Bullock and Gordon, but I've been hoping she would come back ever since. After all, the Copley Family don't exist in the DC Comics universe, so what happened to them between Gotham and Batman? Did they move? Did they lose their money? Did Ember get her own reality TV show? The mind boggles.
20. Dr. Marks
Dr. Marks is, as far as I'm concerned, an absolute beast. She's one of the few female villains on the show and, even better, she's one we never even saw coming. If Bullock hadn't figured out her scheme and shot her in the leg, she would have gotten away clean. Now that takes brains.
Of the two Dollmaker assistants, Doug was my least favorite. However, that doesn't mean that he doesn't give me nightmares. I mean, he runs around stabbing kids with a needle that knocks them out so he can ship them to the Dollmaker as spare parts. YIKES.
18. Dick Lovecraft
Dick Lovecraft was built up to be so much more than he turned out to be. You'd think a man who had an entire episode named after him would be a core part of the Gotham mythos, right? Wrong. He was taken out by the same assassin that Jim Gordon thought he had hired to go after Selina Kyle, and then his death was framed as a suicide by the Mayor. But, hey. At least he got an episode title out of the deal.
17. Richard Gladwell
The great thing about Richard Gladwell is that his name isn't really Richard Gladwell. That's just a name this highly trained hitman assumed so he could carry out his clandestine killings of government officials in peace. And, considering exactly how close he got to taking out Mayor James, he was really, really good at his job.
16. Gerry Lang
Gerry Lang is a case study in obstructive bureaucracy. When Jim Gordon was sent to Arkham to stop him from constantly trying to fight the power at the GCPD, Lang spent most of his working hours following Jim around and warning him to stay out of trouble. He was like the Dolores Umbridge of Arkham Asylum, but at least he wasn't actually the villain? I can't say I wept when he died, though.
Clyde is not only Selina Kyle's fence, but one of my original guesses for the identity of the Joker. The guy seems to really love a laugh, OK? However, Clyde betrayed Selina and tried to sell her and Bruce to Copperhead, and he hasn't been seen since. Personally, I want this guy back so he and Jerome can laugh at each other's sociopathic jokes all day.
14. Ian Hargrove
Ian Hargrove gave me ALL THE FEELS in "Harvey Dent." ALL THE FEELS, you guys. He has suffered from mental problems since childhood, but he had a knack for explosives that he was horrified to have hurt people with. Naturally, the Russian mob took it upon themselves to take advantage of him and crush my heart in the process. He hasn't been seen since he was sent to Arkham, and that's a damn shame.
13. Stan Potolsky
Oh, hey there Venom. I mean, Viper. The pre-Venom, if you will. Stan Potolsky was not taking any more of WellZyn's crap, even if he had to gas an entire city full of people with Viper to make his point that the drug program needed to be shut down immediately. So much extremism, so little airtime.
Dix is the man who was Harvey Bullock's former partner and mentor before Jim Gordon came around, and their scenes were short but sweet. He's especially important because he opened Jim — and thus the audience — up to an entirely different view of the gruff, self-centered Bullock: he was once a white knight hero just like Jim. Ah, Gotham makes fools of us all.
Of the two Dollmaker assistants, Patti scared me the most. Maybe it's because she actually looks a bit like Dolores Umbridge. Maybe it's because she spoke in such a kind tone of voice. Maybe it's because she drugs homeless children with sandwiches or stabs them with a needle to knock them out and sell them for parts. It's just unsettling, okay?
10. Molly Mathis
Molly Mathis is the face of Wayne Enterprises' corruption right now, mainly because she's basically the only board member with a name. And because she follows Jim and Bruce around. And because she hired an assassin to take Bruce out. Yeah, I wouldn't mess with Molly Mathis — but she doesn't know who she's messing with either. (Cough Batman cough.)
9. Scottie Mullen
Scottie Mullen makes the top ten for having the distinct honor of being the woman that Bullock fell in love with over the course of a single episode, and for that episode happening literally right after the one in which we found out that Bullock is also in love with Fish. The fact that she hasn't been seen since makes me deeply concerned. Did their passion fizzle out that quickly?
8. Davis Lamond
The Balloonman gets points for finding the weirdest, most convoluted way to kill people I have ever seen. Do you realize how much easier it would be to shoot someone from across the street and run away rather than recreate the plot of Up for your murderous purposes all over town? Jeez.
7. Miriam Loeb
Gillian Loeb might be no stranger to the comics, but his daughter Miriam is a left turn that Gotham took. As it turns out, she's completely insane. And she killed her mom. And Loeb covered it up. She makes necklaces out of the bones of birds that she killed. She's certainly a colorful character, that one.
6. Kristen Kringle
Kristen Kringle is the apple of the Riddler's eye but, thankfully, she does not seem to be suffering from Bella Swan Syndrome and thus seems to know better than to date some well-meaning guy who keeps stalking her all over the office and pursuing her even when she turns him down. Of course, she seems to like to date some of the most inconsiderate men, but, hey. Who's never gone through a bad boy phase? (And are any of those bad boys as bad as the Riddler will be one day?)
5. Gertrud Kapelput
Oswald Cobblepot a.ka the Penguin has the best mother of all time, sorry. However, they have a relationship only slightly less creepy than Norman and Norma Bates from Psycho, and that is not okay.
Jerome is the closest guess we have for who is going to turn into the Joker on Gotham. In fact, he's probably already pretty much just the Joker. All I can say at this point is that I hope they never send him to Arkham Asylum, because he has a bad habit of springing out of there...
3. Butch Gilzean
Butch is my heart and soul, and anyone who disagrees with me can get out. His loyalty to Fish Mooney was so touching, and so absolute, that it's tragic to see him as a brainwashed puppet in the hands of Victor Zsasz. I can't imagine how his inevitable reunion with Fish is going to go. I might need Kleenex.
Liza might be a fallen warrior, but a warrior she was. She was trained and moulded by Fish Mooney, and she was soft enough to genuinely care for Falcone even as she deceived him while being hard enough to beat another woman to death for a job opportunity. R.I.P. Liza.
1. Fish Mooney
Well, duh. Anyone who doesn't tell you that Fish Mooney is the best character that Gotham has invented for DC canon is lying to your face. When does she get her own spin-off?
Image: Jessica Miglio/FOX; FOX (23)