Comic Book Casting: The GOTHAM CENTRAL Television Series

Now that The Dark Knight Rises has finally risen into theaters, the first question on any fan’s mind when they leave the theater is, obviously, “what’s next?” Without spoiling the ending of the movie, we already know that both writer/director Christopher Nolan and actor Christian Bale have publicly stated they aren’t doing any more Batman flicks. And for DC to attempt to continue on this storyline sans the two biggest pieces would be a fool’s errand; instead, it might be best to give Batman some time off from the big screen and perhaps wait for the inevitable Justice League movie before recasting the role.

But that doesn’t mean the story is necessarily over.

Gotham’s top cop Jim Gordon has been an integral part of the Batman stories for decades, the recent Nolan films have given him more weight than any adaptation before. What if the decision-makers at Warner Bros. and DC decided to carry on the franchise but take it to television, following the Nolan storyline but also bringing in one of the most celebrated Batman comics in modern history — Gotham Central.

The Concept:

Spinning out of the Nolan trilogy, imagine a Gotham Central television series showing both Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon gone and the men and women of the GCPD trying to pick up the slack. for even when the heroes stop playing, it doesn’t mean those pesky super villains pack up shop and head south. This could mix TV’s most popular dramatic genre — cop stories — with the build up presence that Gotham City has in people’s mind, creating a wonderful launching pad to some great storytelling.

Using the first two arcs of Gotham Central as the skeleton of a first season, it could set-up the key detectives on the case — Montoya, Allen, Driver, Fields and MacDonald. When Fields is killed in the line of duty and Mr. Freeze is left to blame, the remaining force could spend the entire season trying to track Freeze down and deal with cases along the way. All the while the GCPD temp Stacy adding some comic relief and a reader’s perspective on the squad.

The Showrunner:

Crime is a well-used genre in television, but like many things it’s hard to do well. For Gotham Central, I’d bring in veteran showrunner Nick Santora (Prison Break, Breakout Kings, Law & Order) to be able to build up a gripping crime drama that takes advantage of the unique character of Gotham City. He’d have his work cut out for him, so I’d push to include comic writers Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka if at all possible. Although they’re currently on the outs with DC Comics, their resumes are impressive enough that Warner Bros. would do well to bring them in.

The Cast:

Renee Montoya – Rosario Dawson: Renee Montoya is one of the most intriguing characters created in the DCU, owing somewhat to the fact that she was first created in Batman: The Animated Series (like Harley Quinn). Rosario Dawson seems to be bouncing between roles without finding something to really carve her name into, and seeing her step into the shoes of Montoya could be a comic fan’s dream come true.

Crispus Allen – Dennis Haysbert: I admit, Crispus Allen was my favorite character in Gotham Central. With that in mind, I couldn’t think of anyone better to handle that role than the deep-voiced actor Dennis Haysbert. Haysbert has shown his way around a gun in 24 and The Unit, and his on-screen presence could really bring some legitimacy to Gotham Central.

Marcus Driver – Bryan Greenberg: Driver is a hard role to cast for me, but once I started thinking about How To Make It In America star Bryan Greenberg I couldn’t shake it. He has some boyish charm but a harsher center, and I’d love to see him pick up the badge here.

Josephine “Josie Mac” MacDonald – Jessica Lucas: With the above three people already recruited for duty, it’d take someone special to share the screen with them. For that, I’d get Jessica Lucas, who’s been a standout in a number of bad sitcoms like Friends With Benefits recently. She might have to toughen up her image a little bit, but Lucas seems dead-on for Josie Mac.

Mr. Freeze / Dr. Victor Fries – Christopher Lambert: As the big bad of season one, seeing (and hearing) Christopher Lambert as Mr. Freeze seems like solid gold.

Stacy / Magda Apanowicz: You can’t forget Stacy, especially with the great issue where she gives her vantage point on the squad. I’d bring in Kyle XY and Caprica star Magda Apanowicz to fill out this role, and really add some diversity to the cast.

Harvey Bullock – Michael Madsen: You can’t be a Gotham City police story unless you bring in Harvey Bullock. As Montoya’s original partner, I’d love to see Bullock come into the fold as an occasional guest star. Or who knows, perhaps as a temporary addition — all hands on deck, if you will — if they got a particularly bad case.



  1. Dennis Haysbert is awesome, but I think I’d prefer a loose tie-in to the The Dark Knight Rises and cast Rob Brown (Finding Forrester, Treme) as Detective Allen.

  2. If Warner Bros had any brains they would put a Gothem Central series into development this morning.

  3. I would love to see Gotham Central as a series. Good stuff.

  4. Personally, if WB ever made this as a tv show I’d rather this wasn’t tied to Nolan’s Gotham, if only because I loved the Gotham Central stories with the Joker and Two-Face. A good way to create a clear divide is to recast Gordon (with Brian Cranston ideally). I’d love to see Walton Goggins as the Joker and Timothy Olyphant cameo as Batman every so often (yes, I do love Justified, why do you ask…?)

    Cristopher Lambert is inspired casting. I never would have thought of him in that role but now I can’t think of anyone else.

  5. I haven’t read this series yet. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?

  6. What’s interesting is the Dark Knight Rises lays the groundwork for something like this what with an eight year gap between TDK and TDKR.

    A Gotham Central TV series could fit in between the films quite nicely.

  7. Oh and this would have to be on HBO.
    James Gandolfini as Bullock?

  8. Oh. My. God. YES!
    I’ve been saying they need to do something like this for ages. Although in my mind the series was slightly re-jigged to have Commissioner Gordon in a larger role (more likely to bring in the casual audience who recognize his name) and he would be played by Bryan Cranston!
    Also I also thought they could save the Joker for the second season and he would of course be played by Alan Tudyk (check out his work as Alpha on Dollhouse if you don’t believe me).
    Seriously this HAS to happen, not sure about your pick for show runner though and if I was going for my dream team I’d throw a load of the cast members from The Wire (the best cop drama ever) in.


    I was reading Gotham Central yesterday, thinking how great it would be on TV.

    Not sure you could do it in the Nolanverse, in that one of the strengths of the series was them living in the shadow the Bat. I love that section where someone shines the signal just to tell Batman they solved a case without him, for example.

    Of course, then the casual audience might cry foul, instead asking for just a Batman series, but a man can dream…

  10. You know who I always thought’d make a good Renee Montoya? Sarah Shahi. From the moment I saw her in Life, I thought she’d make the perfect Renee Montoya.

  11. Wow I would have never thought of Michael Madsen playing Bullock, but now I see it & I am reminded of his all too brief role in Sin City & I have to say that that is absolutely brilliant casting. Rosario Dawson as Montoya is also a really good idea as well.

  12. Madsen as Bullock is the ONLY choice.

    Lambert as Fries/Freeze is great, too.

  13. I’d watch the shit out of this!

  14. And if the progressive guy ever wants to quit, they can just turn him into the specter.