The pilot begins with the iconic scene of the Waynes' being mugged and then killed as they exit a theater, leaving Bruce Wayne an orphan. Jim Gordon decides to take the case with Harvey Bullock, promising Bruce that the killer will be brought to justice. Yet as he investigates the case, he discovers the true corrupted nature of Gotham and the upcoming “war” between the mobs. Still, he attempts to stick to his own idealistic principles despite his partner’s cynical outlook and the deteriorating city. Meanwhile, parts of his personal life are explored in the form of his love interest Barbara Kean and her unknown past with investigator Renee Montoya. In the subplot, we see Oswald Cobblepot (nicknamed the “Penguin” in reference to his mannerisms/appearance) as an underling in the Falcone mob to Fish Moony (not in the comics) though he seems to have waning loyalty and schemes of his own. Along the way, there are cameos of Batman’s other future villains and glimpses of their origins.
The actors portraying the villains (Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney and Robin Taylor as the Penguin) did an excellent job depicting the over-the-top antics of villains without becoming laughable caricatures. Child actor David Mazouz showed that despite his age, he is able to hold his own. Benjamin McKenzie did an adequate job as Commissioner Gordon, but because his character is the “straight man” of the story, he lacks depth as of now. The pilot focuses heavily on introducing every character and immediately showing their motivation, but still manages to develop the plot well. For comic book readers, the first episode may seem redundant as it basically reintroduces characters that are already well known. Some characters have altered backgrounds or are new entirely (such as Fish Mooney); these introductions are significant.
We may know what Gotham turns into in the future (and therefore all attempts to stop the corruption will be futile), but none know the sequence of events that lead to its tipping point. This gives Gotham it’s edge. Though the pilot was slow, the show has potential. It is worth watching— at least for now. Since the introductions are out of the way, the episodes can now focus more on plot development. Gotham is on Fox Network, Monday nights at eight.