“Gotham” is set in an era before Bruce Wayne is old enough to drive — let alone fight crime in a cape and cowl. That hasn’t stopped the creators from peppering the FOX series with the creeps and characters from Batman mythology.
Robin Lord Taylor has already established himself as the breakout performer with his portrayal of the Penguin. Other familiar faces from the comic books include those who will become Catwoman, Poison Ivy and The Riddler.
In the episode airing Monday, Feb. 2, the character of Dr. Crane is introduced, a criminal who targets those with severe phobias just like The Scarecrow.
The creators didn’t stop there. Many of the other characters in the television cop drama come from deep within the comic books. That includes Harvey Bullock, played by Donal Logue.
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In the TV series, Bullock was a good cop who has grown tired and accepted the corruption that plagues the Gotham City Police Department. In the comics, he was a big part of that corruption.
Although being part of a TV show or movie based on a comic book brings a whole new set of fans, it wasn’t that aspect that drew Logue to the role.
“My draw to it, totally, was a film noir detective. Raymond Chandler kind of stuff,” Logue says. “I felt like having read ‘Gotham Central,’ and my kids were a big fan of the animated series, I felt like if he was that crass and that brass, how long could that last? There had to be other colors to this guy.”
Logue was able to bring his own colors to the character because of when the show is set. The tales are unfolding long before events in the comic books, where an adult Batman handles the colorful criminals. The noir elements play out well against the backdrop since Gotham City is a place enveloped in eternal gray from the sky to emotions. Technology is a mix of old and new.
Like so many film noir characters, Bullock is complicated. He initially balks at having the new gung-ho partner of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), but he has slowly revealed that he’s not the bad cop that he seems.
Logue is convinced that when Bullock joined the police force he had the same passion to change the world but has just reached the point where he’s just trying to survive.
“It’s complicated because Harvey Bullock’s generally in the right place, but he’s seen these young gunslingers come through and burn out,” Logue says. “There’s this moral relativism in this world, whether it’s diplomacy or you have to get in bed with some funky characters. There are big truths and little truths and greater good.”
As for playing a guy with occasionally questionable ethics, Logue points out the “Lady Macbeth has always been ultimately way more fascinating than Macbeth.”
One reason Logue has concentrated more on the film noir aspects and less on the Batman mythology is that he wasn’t a big comic book reader when he was growing up.
“We would go to England and Ireland in the summer — because my parents are from there. The comic books over there were all World War II,” Logue says.
He didn’t read a lot of superhero stories, but he loved reading. He made it a rule to read a book every day.
Logue has an eclectic career, including his most recent jobs on “Sons of Anarchy,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Vikings” and “Gotham.” The Canadian has starred in equal amounts of dramas and comedies.
No other project Logue has done has gotten the attention of “Gotham.” TV critics named it the “Most Promising New Show” of the fall 2014 TV season.
Despite all of the praise and attention, Logue is a realist when it comes to the show’s potential.
“I am lucky to have had a lot of different perspectives by walking through life for decades,” he says. “That’s why I keep in mind that you just never know what’s going to happen.”