Gotham season 3: Ben McKenzie previews Gordon as sad drunk | EW.com

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Gotham: Ben McKenzie previews Gordon as a sad drunk in season 3

(Jeff Neumann/Fox)

Gotham’s second season focused on the rise — and the wrath — of the villains. But what happens when a busload of Indian Hill prisoners is unleashed on the city? Well, if the season 3 tagline tells us anything, the city goes a little mad…even the heroes.

“It’s something we wanted to explore further: What makes heroes heroes, what makes villains villains, and what about Gotham changes people and drives good guys to the dark side?” executive producer Ken Woodruff tells EW. “That’s one of the things we were playing with a lot thematically this season.”

One of those heroes, Jim Gordon, is no longer with the GCPD when season 3 picks up six months into the future. “Gordon’s a bounty hunter,” Ben McKenzie says. “He’s living a sparse life, collecting the dough and drinking a lot.”

And that could only be the start of Gordon’s downfall. “If you look at Jim Gordon in particular, if you look at it from a slightly different point of view, a lot of the things that he’s done over the past two seasons and going into the third season, could be considered evil,” Woodruff says. “We know his intentions so we forgive a lot of it, but he’s made a lot of mistakes and that’s something that we think gives us a lot of drama.”

Gordon’s latest mistake involves his former lady love, Lee Thompkins. It seems Gordon’s attempts to win her back at the end of season 2 did not go well. “He’s a sad drunk,” McKenzie says. “He’s got a tear in his beer.”

But that doesn’t mean Gordon’s drinking alone. “He’s longing for some connection and into that comes a lot of things, including Valerie Vale, the intrepid reporter for the Gotham Gazette,” McKenzie says. “Their relationship has more to do with mutual self-interests than it does with a profound love affair, but there is a connection and there’s a way they can help each other and Gordon, feeling lonely, is also looking for some companionship.”

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Now it’s just a matter of whether Valerie Vale is the right woman to help pull Gordon out of his funk. “As he gets more and more set in his ways and disillusioned with everything that’s going on in Gotham, I think he becomes harder and harder to reach emotionally,” McKenzie says. “That’s one of the stories we’re telling with him. He’s obviously going to work his way up the GCPD at some point  — even though as we start season 3, he’s not in the GCPD — but along the way, he suffers in terms of the way he’s able to hold together his morals. He becomes distant and removed and hardened in terms of his romantic relationships.”

If anyone is able to pull Gordon out of his funk, McKenzie’s betting it will more likely be a combination of Lee, Bruce, Harvey, and maybe a few others, though he recognizes Gordon has to want to change. “He’s going to have to pull himself up by his own bootstraps on some level,” McKenzie says. “But he will at least have friends around trying to keep him from crying into his beer too much.”

Gotham premieres Monday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.