The Batman comes to theatres soon, and with it comes the promise of several new Batman related series. One is a show centred on Gotham City’s Police Department after Batman has appeared, but this new show is not the first to tackle such subject matter. Gotham Central, by Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, Stefano Gaudiano, Michael Clark and Kano, was a comic series focused on the major crime unit in Gotham. This new spin off series can and should take inspiration from this comic run because it heavily explores the GCPD’s relationship with Batman and his rogues gallery.
Gotham Central is about several detectives from the Major Crimes Unit in Gotham as they deal with supervillain crimes, organized crime and smaller crimes. It explores the ways in which they are underprepared and not trained to deal with the likes of The Riddler or Mr. Freeze, and how they have to rely on Batman; however, they hate that they have to rely on him. These stories then explore how these larger than life threats could create both a feeling of complacency and inadequacy, which also leads to some copa becoming corrupt.
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These are ideas that the show could explore, and it gives the characters a chance to work with Batman. He might not be the main cast member or even make many appearances, but Batman being active and being a force the police need to contend with is integral to this premise. It is a perspective that has not been explored very often in live action, as it is always from the viewpoint that this is Batman’s world. Even when we get the view of the police, it is often through characters like Commissioner Gordon, who has a personal relationship with Batman, so this could shake things up.
The villains also have a different relationship with the police because they are largely victims of the villains or cleaning up after one of their bouts with Batman. One of the first things to happen in Gotham Central is two detectives go to an apartment based on a tip about a case, and they find Mr. Freeze there. Freeze attacks and kills one of the detectives, and this traumatic experience is something that his partner deals with for the rest of the comic run. It is impossible to navigate situations like this, and the show could draw upon this lack of agency many of these detectives have.
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The relationship with Batman is a very contentious one, as the police and people of Gotham rely on Batman but largely hate that they have to. Gotham Central sees a number of cops trying to overreach as a result, getting themselves into more trouble than they can handle. These feelings of inadequacy that drive them over the edge can also lead to them turning to crime, making them feel they can either take law into their own hands or work with criminals.
This new Gotham police show has the potential to be something really interesting that could provide a different perspective on Batman than has been seen in live action. Gotham Central proves this approach works by having Batman as a supporting character who’s often just a plot point, and it allows new stories to be told in Gotham City.
The Batman is in Theatres March 4.
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