|“||I chose to kill a man in cold blood, and it was the wrong choice, crossing that line. You'll pay for it over and over again, like I have been. Like I still am. And it will make you more like the evil you're trying to fight. You need to be better.||„|
|~ Jim Gordon to Bruce Wayne.|
|“||I promise you, however dark and scary the world might be right now there will be light. There will be light, Bruce.||„|
|~ Jim Gordon to a young Bruce Wayne.|
Jim grew up within the suburbs of Gotham City, the son of a successful but corrupt district attorney. He was sheltered as a child, giving him a different perspective of Gotham as a child, opposite to the one he would be exposed to during his career as police detective. During a car ride in which he survived, his father was killed by a drunk driver. In his later years, he opted to join the army, becoming a war hero by the time he retired from service. He would later go on to become engaged to Barbara Kean. After returning to his home city, Jim joined the Gotham City Police Department in hopes of cleaning up and saving the city which he had romanticized in his mind over the years.
Joining the GCPD
As his first case, Detective Jim and his partner Harvey Bullock were assigned the case of Thomas and Martha Wayne's murder. After arriving at the crime scene, Jim comforted the Wayne's son, Bruce, who had survived the ordeal, promising him that he would do everything in his power to find the murderer and bring him to justice. Though several of his colleagues berated him for doing so, insisting he and Bullock drop the case as it would bring unwanted attention, Gordon continued looking for leads anyway, determined to keep his promise to Bruce. After several cold leads and unproductive interrogations, Jim was taken to Fish Mooney's Nightclub by Harvey Bullock, to see if they could further their leads on the investigation. The two Detectives were led to a recently paroled felon, named Mario Pepper who was rumored to have attempted to sell Martha Wayne's stolen pearl necklace. After arriving and interrogating Pepper at his apartment, the Detectives requested to search the premises. Nervous because of this, Pepper made a run for it. After making the two chase him through the streets of Gotham, Jim cornered Pepper in an alleyway in which the two fought, and Pepper bested him in combat. Bullock however, shot him before he could kill James. Returning to Pepper's apartment, the GCPD found Martha Wayne's pearl necklace within a box belonging to Pepper.
Jim would later go onto discovered Pepper was simply framed and wasn't the Waynes' murderer, after being questioned to whether he had taken any part in the heinous act by Barbara. Nevertheless, Jim mentioned the possibility to Bullock, not sure of whether his partner would tell him the truth, Jim went to Fish Mooney in search of his answer, finding out from her that the Mario Pepper was in fact, framed. He was then beaten and captured by Fish Mooney and her associates. Bullock later went searching for him, and was capture alongside him. The two were freed by Carmine Falcone, the head of the Falcone Crime Family in Gotham, as well as an old friend of Jim's deceased father. In return, Jim was asked to kill Oswald Cobblepot, a former umbrella man for Fish Mooney, who had snitched to the Major Crimes Unit. However, when brought to the docks and faced down with the decision of whether to kill Cobblepot or not, Jim faked Cobbelpot's death, pushing him into the river, and ordering him never to come back to Gotham.
In the weeks following, Jim and Bullock investigated the death of a homeless war veteran, discovering it was connected to recent kidnappings of homeless children, by people claiming to be with the Mayor's Homeless Outreach Program. After reporting this to Captain Essen, she demanded the two get to the bottom of the case, though not before emphasizing that neither of them go to the press about this. Later that night while having dinner with Barbara, he mentioned the case to Barbara, which provoked her to call the Gotham Gazette with the news, anonymously, despite Jim telling her not to. The next day after narrowing down the suspects of, Jim and Bullock arrived at Quillinformer, one of the pharmaceutical manufacturers suspected of supplying the snatchers with ATP, a drug previously used at Arkham Asylum to put the patients to sleep. There, the two detectives discovered the snatchers and a group of the missing pieces.
Although the two kidnappers escaped, Jim and Bullock were able to recover the children, allowing Mayor Aubrey James to send them all upstate. The Gotham City Police Department soon learned the buses taking the children upstate had been hijacked by the child snatchers. Jim and Bullock attempted to discern their location by interrogating Morry Quillan who was in GCPD custody, learning from him that the truck the snatchers used had a plate with a fork on it. After getting every truck with a plate on a fork on it searched, Jim realized it wasn't a fork that was on the truck, it was a trident. Jim arrived at Trident Intercontinental Shipping, just in time to save Selina Kyle from death, and rescue the other homeless children who were in the process of being readied to be shipped overseas. At the GCPD Headquarters he later learned from Selina that she had seen the Waynes' killed, and the face of their murderer.
Jim and Bullock were later assigned to investigate the death of con man Ronald Danzer, who was killed when a man tied him to a balloon and let him fly away. At the same time, Montoya and her partner Crispus Allen asked Jim about what happened to Cobblepot. Jim denied knowing about him, and Montoya later visited Barbara at her house to discuss Jim's "corruption" - Barbara refused to believe Montoya and told her to leave. Jim later met Bill Cranston, a lieutenant of the GCPD at the office, and shortly after, Cranston was killed by the vigilante with a balloon as he beat down a drug dealer. The balloonman was becoming a real threat to the police, so Jim and Bullock traced stolen balloons to Carl Smikers. Smickers told them that he sold the balloons to an unknown man but told him that there were only four; after Cardinal Quinn's death, there was one left. Jim's boss Sarah Essen ordered Jim and Bullock to find the man as soon as possible, and Jim then had a hunch that the balloonman was living in the old orphanage. When they headed there, they found Davis Lamond, who held Bullock at gunpoint while telling Jim about his reasons for the murders - he wanted to bring justice to corrupt officials. Unswayed, Jim was then shot at by Lamond, but he was able to beat him down. Bullock tied Lamond to a balloon and let it go, but Jim sensed that this was the wrong thing to do and grabbed Lamond's leg, flying with him. Bullock reluctantly shot the balloon and Lamond was put on a stretcher to enter an ambulance, and Jim found out that Lamond's next target "didn't matter"; it could be any corrupt official in the city. When Jim returned to his apartment, he returned to Barbara, but a man knocked on the door. Barbara opened the door and let the man in, and it turned out to be Oswald Cobblepot, who needed to talk with Gordon.
Outside, Jim attacked Cobblepot for returning to Jim and threatened to kill him. However, Cobblepot saw through his threat, and confronted Jim with that knowledge. He also told Jim that the next gang fight would be over Arkham. Cobblepot's predictions proved to be correct when multiple councilmen with connections to both gangs were murdered.
Jim is the opposite of his colleagues in Gotham City being one of the few citizens with a position of power, though non-corrupt. Jim has a strong moral compass to do what is right, this being the driving force behind several of his action such as sparing Oswald Cobblepot's life, promising Bruce Wayne to find his parent's murderer, and his dedication to rid Gotham of crime and corruption.
Jim does not, however, always act in his own best interests, his passion for justice taking him out on a limb. He struggles often to understand others' perspectives, having such a black-and-white worldview himself. He also has the obsessive focus on justice which is a later hallmark of the Batman, since he manages to sit opposite Leslie Thompkins in a restaurant while she's wearing a beautiful and rather low-cut dress and think about nothing but the case.
- Although in most media he is depicted as a cop working by the book, Gordon takes on the role as an antihero during the second season in which he accidentally shoots dead a gangster when collecting a debt for the Penguin, and during the mid-season finale executes the primary antagonist Theo Galavan in cold blood. Unlike his depiction in the first season he is shown to be willing to work outside the law. This is taken further during the start of the third season in which he proclaims he has no interest in helping Gotham and instead works as a bounty hunter to make a living. However the character decides to return to working as a cop and working by the book.