Gotham (2014) s01e00 Episode Script

The Legend Reborn

Man: Listen, kid.
You seem like a nice guy, but this is not a city or a job for nice guys.
"Gotham's" a show very much about the origin stories of some of the great super villains of the DC mythology.
McKenzie: So you see a young Catwoman, you see a young Poison Ivy, a young Penguin, Riddler, possibly the Joker.
You see all of these legendary characters, but you're seeing them at a point in their lives which has not really been explored before.
Part of this fun is that we don't want to just regurgitate a comic book.
We need to elevate it.
We need to make it something it's never been before while still staying true to the DNA.
It really pays due homage to everything anyone knows about Gotham in the past and gets crazier and crazier.
The idea for this show came from trying to find a fresh way into the D.
C.
mythology, and it seemed like the perfect place to start was the city of Gotham.
What the show looks at is why a town like that will eventually need a vigilante to help them.
What makes a town so crazy, what makes a town so out of control that villains begin to wear costumes? Heller: The basic premise of the series is a "what if?" Really.
It's what if James Gordon was the rookie detective that investigated the death of Bruce Wayne's parents? And once you make that connection between those two iconic characters, the story kind of rolls on from there.
Johns: So, you meet this young detective who is out to uncover corruption and do the right thing in a city that doesn't necessarily want you to do the right thing or need you to do the right thing.
When we start the series, James is more or less straight out of the military.
Has not been in Gotham in a decade or more.
He left when he was a kid.
He's a little bit of a fish out of water.
He doesn't exactly know what's going on in Gotham, and he's figuring it out moment to moment.
Everybody down! Hold your fire! I got this! He'll make mistakes, he'll trust the wrong people, follow his heart, and at times that will lead him into dangerous situations.
As an actor, that's a very relatable place to start.
Ben McKenzie is perfect for the role of Gordon because he has a kind of natural integrity and strength an old-fashioned set of values that really shines through his performance.
Sir, look at me.
Not at them, look at me.
[Grunts] My name's Jim.
Jim Gordon.
This is one of the iconic figures in comic-book law enforcement.
It's daunting to play him, to be honest with you.
It's a little bit scary.
And yet it's thrilling.
[Grunting] Heller: In this telling of the Gotham story, James Gordon is partnered with Harvey Bullock.
Johns: Harvey Bullock's a detective in the comics.
He's never been realized in live action, and Donal Logue is the first person to ever play him, and he's absolutely perfect for the role.
What the hell are you doing? We had the drop on him.
Yeah, well, he's dropped, isn't he? You could've gotten hurt.
Rookie mistake.
Somebody takes a cop's gun, you shoot him.
That's basic.
He's been around Gotham for just years and years and years, and so, in order to survive in this city he's had to kind of develop his own brand of morality.
Hey! Huh? How you doing? James' relationship with Harvey Bullock is very complex.
Harvey's been whittled down to expect very little of the city.
The case is closed.
Forget about it.
Even if the real killers are still out there? Yes.
This is very perilous stuff you're messing with.
Logue: He's introducing Gordon to Gotham, and Gotham is nothing like Gordon's ever seen before.
When I started work on the show and started digging into the origin stories of these great villains, one of the things I realized was there really is not a lot known about the early history.
We've never really seen where the Penguin comes from or why he does what he does, or the Riddler, or even Catwoman.
Cannon: Who were the super villains in this city and how did they become that way? Maybe they were just like me and you.
Why on earth would that real person turn into this crazy psychopath? [Laughs] These quintessential characters that we've all grown up with, you finally get to see and understand how they ended up where they ended up.
Anyone ever tell you when you walk, you look just like a penguin? No.
Nobody's ever told me that.
I love origin stories.
I love origin stories.
Being able to see how these wonderful characters that we've all grown up with started is so interesting and so much fun.
Boy? Sorry.
If you let this hair go frizzy, you will be.
Johns: The great thing about Jada Pinkett's character, Fish Mooney, is that it's created completely for this show.
It's a brand-new character.
Smith: Fish Mooney is an up and comer in the criminal world of Gotham, and she has a mind to take over Gotham, so we'll see how that goes.
[Laughs] There used to be some discipline.
Falcone is getting old and soft.
It's time.
Somebody has to take over.
It might as well be me.
She has a kind of ferocity that's natural to her a sharpness and an intelligence and a way of looking at people that is both seductive and devouring.
You don't get a lot of opportunity to have a playground for your shadow.
That is what makes this character so fun.
Harvey.
[Chuckles] Fish.
Jada Pinkett Smith is creating a brand-new character in this beautifully nuanced and complicated and sexy and dark way.
Who's the friend? Detective James Gordon, ma'am.
Hmm.
Well, aren't you a cool glass of milk? The first time that fish meets James Gordon, she knows right away he's a problem, and so there's this very interesting tension between the two of them.
You have a little danger in your eye.
I wonder what you plan to do with that.
You'll have to wait and see.
I hate surprises.
From episode to episode, we'll be introducing characters that are sort of legends in this universe, so you really have to tune in each week to watch who's gonna show up next.
We might meet a character who we think is the nicest character in the world, and they turn out to be the worst villain in all of Gotham city or vice versa.
You know, we might meet somebody that's completely corrupted, and by the end of this, but they're one of the most heroic people, and you can never tell in Gotham.
It changes people.
Woman: The acting was fine, the music was lovely.
Boy: I agree with that.
It was kinda lame.
Man: There's no such word as "kinda.
" It was totally lame.
[Laughs] - You two are so judgment - Give me your money! Stay calm, Bruce.
[Grunts] [Gasps] [Gasps] McKenzie: I think one of the things that's interesting about "Gotham" is you're taking the same scene that you've seen before that starts off the movies with the murder of the Waynes, but instead of jumping forward to when Bruce is now a man, and he takes on the cape and the mask, instead, you stay in the present.
Logue: It begins with the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents, finding these bodies in an alley, and then saying, "where do we go from here?" The ramifications are deep and wide.
John: It's interesting to watch a young Bruce and a young Jim Gordon connect so early on.
It's something we've never really seen before, and that will be explored in "Gotham.
" I promise you, I will find the man who did this.
He's also making a promise to himself.
"I will navigate my way through this and I will do it honorably and with dignity.
" I think audiences always seem to gravitate towards characters with incredible integrity.
One of the most interesting things about James Gordon is really in his relationship with Bruce Wayne.
The cool thing about the show is it's all the psychology that goes on behind Bruce Wayne's mind to become this awesome character, to become this vigilante that fights crime for Gotham.
Why were you up on the roof? I'm learning to conquer fear.
Fear doesn't need conquering.
Fear tells you where the edge is.
Fear is a good thing.
And you think I haven't told him that, do you? Bruce Wayne's relationship with Alfred is very unique.
Even though Alfred is his subordinate, he has to help guide him into manhood carefully because he does work for him, and not only that, but he has such respect for him.
Heller: It's really a story of a young boy willing himself to become a superhero.
How does he do that? He's not really sure why he's doing that, but he is compelled to do it.
I'm going to find out who killed your parents, and why.
I'm glad he's still alive.
I want to see him again.
When we begin the series, Gotham city is struggling.
It's in the midst of a crime wave.
It's battling corruption.
The Waynes were very important people in Gotham city, so their death creates a power vacuum that is filled by various people with rather less philanthropic notions of how to run Gotham.
Logue: With the murder of the Waynes, they were like the mama, papa bear that kept everything together, and now Gotham is in danger of falling into this abyss of pure chaotic anarchy.
Citizens of Gotham, we will not, we cannot let these killers and these robbers and these rapists and these thugs win.
Not on my watch.
There's a lot of tension throughout Gotham.
You've got tension between the Falcone family and the Maronis.
You got tension between fish Mooney and the cops.
You've got tension between the Major Crimes Unit and the Homicide Division in the Gotham P.
D.
Well, well, well, if it isn't Montoya and Allen, Major Crimes Unit.
Any leads? Just getting started.
I'll be straight.
You want us to take it off your hands? Come on, Bullock.
You know you're scared of this case.
There's tension kind of all across the city and between every character that's involved.
Gotham is on a knife edge.
What do you suppose bringing down city hall and the police force will do, even if you could? McKenzie: The Falcone crime family runs the city.
They have relationships with everyone from law enforcement to the judicial branch to the mayor's office and all the way down.
It's a world in which everyone is on the take, and the only man who can kind of break that downward spiral is the last good man in Gotham, James Gordon.
I made a promise to Bruce Wayne, and I can't deliver.
But you will.
Maybe I'm out of my depth.
Hey.
I very much doubt you're out of your depth.
James and Barbara have a natural sort of emotional and sexual chemistry.
Seemingly everything is going very, very well.
She's a beautiful woman with a lot of means.
Her father is very wealthy.
He's one of the members of Gotham high society.
But Barbara's hiding things from James, including secrets about her past.
James Gordon is not a good guy.
You deserve better.
James Gordon is the most honest man I've ever met.
You sure you know what he's capable of? Yes, thank you.
I know him.
Does he know you like I know you? Their relationship gets compromised very quickly when Renee Montoya accuses James of being corrupt and creates a rift in their relationship that will only widen as the series goes forward.
B.
, I know when you're lying.
Heller: Gotham is a corrupt place.
It's a place where you can't trust anyone.
You can't trust the mayor, you can't trust the police force.
Smith: Gotham law enforcement is pretty much under the thumb of the underworld right now, which is basically run by Falcone at this point in time.
That might change.
I'm working hard at it.
Heller: There is a split in the underworld between the Maroni family and the Falcone family, so a character like Penguin, for instance, is able to come in and play both sides against each other.
Why snitch on your own boss? I confess that that poor orphan boy pricked my conscience.
I've done my civic duty.
Good day to you both.
Oswald starts off as a grunt for Fish Mooney, and when Bruce Wayne's parents are murdered, he sees that as an opportunity to make his move, to finally become someone of power and of status.
He's learned to play good people off of bad people off of good people.
It's fascinating.
It was Gilzean.
He's the snitch.
[Clicks tongue] No.
Gilzean is loyal.
So am I.
I would open a vein right here and now if you asked me to.
Go on, then.
Open one.
McKenzie: I think Robin Lord Taylor's portrayal of Penguin is going to be a real revelation to people because what he's doing is not just playing sort of a villainous, evil mastermind, but he's sort of sympathetic.
He's sort of likeable in his sad, pathetic, sort of henchman way.
Falcone is losing his grip, and his rivals are hungry.
I-I can see it coming.
I'm clever that way, and I can help you.
Shut up! Smith: I think that these characters explore different aspects of humanity.
You have the Gordon character who is, you know, I call him the white night.
And then you have Bullock, who's kind of walking that line, that gray area of what is right and what is wrong.
And then you just have your just straight out psychotic villains like myself and Penguin.
[Laughs] Gotham in this series is more vibrant and crowded and archaic than people will be expecting if they're used to the Gotham of the movies.
Cannon: We talked about a city out of control, and our fantasy of 1970s New York in the films of Sidney Lumet and William Friedkin graffiti everywhere, cops everywhere, corruption.
New York in the '70s just kept getting worse and worse and crazier and crazier.
That's the Gotham that we're looking at today.
Gelfman: We're not saying that the show takes place at any particular time.
We're trying to make it sort of a little bit timeless.
You sort of see these cars, and you imagine a chase scene from "Bullitt" or from "French connection.
" And yet, at the same time, it's present day.
You know, there are cellphones.
It's of our world, but it's still beyond our world.
Kraner: The audience has an image of Gotham already, so we want to make them feel at home, but we also want to take a fresh approach.
We do a lot of research.
We look at the comic books, we look at films together.
Things like "Blade Runner," some of the classic film noir stuff, just because they're beautifully designed and they're dark.
And out of that come my sketches, my models, and eventually my working drawings that get developed into actual sets or locations that we choose because they fit within the framework of that world that we're now, at that point, describing to each other.
I think what I'm most excited for viewers to see is the police precinct set.
It's very rich and layered, and I think that's a very exciting set.
Kraner: It's sometimes a long road from initial conception to completion.
That happened today with our main set the precinct set.
We started on that about 10 weeks ago, and here today, the lights come on and the smoke rolls in and it looks great.
The biggest challenge is really the amount of work to do in the time we're given.
It's a two-story set.
There's a lot of rigging involved when you get above one story, so there's a little more engineering going on.
We're also shooting on rooftops.
That is a certain amount of engineering and safety involved, as well as the look.
Gotham, to a degree, really is New York, and New York is Gotham, so we had to shoot in New York.
And the energy of the city, I think it's feeding into the production.
I think it's feeding into our show.
The scenes play out very gritty and very real on the rooftops.
Stop! I can't imagine shooting the show anywhere else.
The vibrancy of New York City street life infuses everything that we do, and you really feel it when you're out on the streets.
I think the alley fight is gonna be one of my favorites on this.
Ben did a great job.
He picks things up really quick.
He's a great athlete, and I'm just looking forward to seeing the final product.
Now, it may be 20 degrees and it may be raining and sleeting, and wind may be almost literally knocking you over, but that's the kind of in-your-face world that we're portraying onscreen, so we want to take advantage of New York City and everything it has to offer, and then we want to enjoy being inside a temperature-controlled studio, as well.
Danny Cannon loves to shoot as much as possible, as we call it, in camera.
It's for real, so visual effects we're using to extend the world that we create.
Cannon: Visual effects should always be invisible.
Emotionally, they take a lot away because people know what they're watching isn't real.
One of the things I insisted on at the beginning of this project was to do our own helicopter shoot so that we could create the city of Gotham from something that I shot specifically.
Visual effects then really helped me by putting foreground in so it looked like I was coming in between things.
We don't want it to look like New York City, so what we're doing is we're taking those aerials and we're adding elements to make it feel like it's Gotham, so we're adding Gothic spires, some art deco buildings, and we're adding a great deal of atmosphere to them.
The pilot episode opens with a young girl on the rooftop of a building in downtown Gotham.
We built parts of that roof gargoyles, things that are fantasy that probably wouldn't be there.
It would be extended by visual effects to create the rest of Gotham around it.
A common misperception among people is that special effects is visual effects.
Visual effects is anything you treat visually.
Special effects is anything that's done on set practically.
Some of the effects we have every day are some rain effects, a lot of smoke and atmosphere and some gunfire, some gun squibs, hits, sparks, water.
We actually had a barge on the water with a little mini bag to catch the stunt double, and then now we're gonna be over here doing that underwater scene.
I have to match the color of the river water, so I'm getting crystal clear pool water delivered, and I have to make this clear water murky, but not too murky.
Mahoney: They set up the tank, we set up our green screen, and it looks great.
We've got some temp versions of it already, and it worked really well.
C.
G.
and special effects are used just to help us tell the story.
We're shooting in New York, so we have the beauty and grandeur of New York as an integral part of the show, and we just turn that notch up to 11.
Johns: It doesn't look like we're just in another city.
It feels like Gotham.
There's a slight twist to it all.
The reality's, like, heightened.
There's a timelessness to it that Bruno and Danny created that's really magical.
The great thing about Gotham is it encompasses so many different worlds.
So the tone is both fun and dark.
It's sexy but dangerous.
It's brutal but sensual.
It's a world of craziness and a world of beauty, and the show encapsulates all of that.
Gotham has always been a city with the dial turned up to 11.
Logue: Every city's got its dark side.
That's what Gotham is, and we're gonna explore it through the eyes of detective Jim Gordon, who becomes a legend in the Gotham city police department.
But this is when he just starts out, before he realizes the nature and the weight of the adversary he's up against.
Watching Gotham just tip ever so slightly over the edge into absolute chaos will be a really fascinating journey.
You've killed people before.
That was war.
This is war! We're at war! Sometimes in war, you got to do a bad thing to do good, right? Heller: The series is gonna mix the elements of a police procedural with a much more serialized narrative about the creation of the great DC villains.
Johns: It's not just about the cops, it's not just about Jim Gordon, but about the madness that springs from this horrible crime.
People are starting to lose faith in law and order.
Criminals are starting to run the streets.
The craziness and the kind of theatrical projection that villains have in the DC world are just starting to show their faces.
I love the mythology of characters, and so, to be able to see how Penguin and the Riddler and all these characters got their start is just really exciting.
We're trying to find the balance between the fantastic world of the comic books along with the actual real human pathos.
However dark and scary the world might be right now, there will be light.
As you continue to peel back the layers, there's so much mystery there.
You can never be sure who's a friend and who's an enemy.
There's romance, there's action, there's kind of battle between good and evil.
Stop! Stop or I'll shoot! [Gunshot] Heller: It's not a comic-book world.
It's a mythic world.
It's a dramatic world full of adventure and sex and violence and fun.
How you doing? I been better.
There's a war coming a terrible war.
There there will be chaos.
Rivers of blood in the streets.