James Gordon was a Gotham City police officer, who later became Lieutenant and Commissioner.
Batman Begins Edit
As a young police officer, James Gordon was freshly transferred from the Chicago Police Department to help the GCPD secure their city from an economic depression. After the depression came to an end with the making of a monorail system designed by billionaire Thomas Wayne with the help of his company, Wayne Enterprises, Gordon was on duty the night Thomas and his wife Martha were mugged and killed outside an opera by a criminal named Joe Chill, and responded to the situation. He did his best to comfort their orphaned son Bruce after the incident, and Bruce later recognizes him as one of the few honest police officers in the city and would always remember his kindness as it gave Bruce the strength he needed after his parents' death.
20 years later, after being promoted as a detective-sergeant on the force, Gordon was working late in his office when a man wearing body armor and a ski-mask visited him to ask about the mob boss Carmine Falcone's criminal operation and the police inability to stop him. When the man presses a stapler (which Gordon assumed was a gun) to the back of the detective's head, he told Gordon that together they could clean up the city. Gordon was unconvinced, simply believing the man to be "just some nut". Several nights later, people are starting to worry about Falcone's activities, but hope began rising in them, and Gordon, when he arrives on the scene of Falcone's capture at one of his drug shipment locations. Falcone's body, strapped to a spotlight, forms a symbol of a bat in the sky, enticing Gordon to realize that the man he met several nights earlier was serious about his intentions to bring down Falcone and his crime empire, and looked up with the other cops to see the man for the first time: a bat-masked figure with a cape flapping behind him, who was dubbed "Batman" by the press. As news breaks of this new vigilante, Police Commissioner Gillian Loeb is infuriated that someone in his city has taken the law into their own hands and is being glorified for it. While Gordon stands up for Batman by stating that he finally took down Falcone, Loeb refuses to allow a vigilante handle their jobs and orders for a massive law force to track him down. Gordon finally meets Batman face to face outside his home one night while he is taking out the garbage. Batman informs Gordon of an ongoing conspiracy in Gotham that concerns Falcone and notes to Gordon that his corrupt partner Arnold Flass was assisting the drug smuggling, hoping to speak with him about the other drugs that the police weren't able to obtain.
When Batman finally trailed the drug smuggling to Jonathan Crane, a corrupt psychopharmacologist at Arkham Asylum who was using the drugs to create a fear-inducing hallucinogen to mix with the city's water supply under the the "external tormentor" persona of "the Scarecrow", Gordon went in to help the vigilante and delivered the hallucinating assistant DA and Bruce Wayne's childhood friend Rachel Dawes, to him. It would later be revealed that Crane was being used by Ra's al Ghul, the leader of an ancient terrorist group called the League of Shadows who is planning on dispersing the fear gas with a microwave emitter stolen from Wayne Enterprises and watch Gotham tear itself apart through fear. Ra's' men then orchestrate a massive breakout at Arkham, forcing Gordon to raise the bridges once all the riot police are on the island with him and attempts to apprehend the convicts. Rachel eventually meets with Gordon on the island and gives him the antidote for the fear toxin, given to her by Batman after saving her. Gordon then gets a patrol man to escort her to safety, but Ra's then begins to vaporize the water supply in the narrows, incapacitating everyone with fear. Gordon uses the antidote on himself and handcuffs Flass to a water valve after he attempts to murder two civilians while under the influence of the fear gas. Gordon eventually proves pivotal in Batman's defeat of Ra's al Ghul by driving The Tumbler to destroy a sectin of monorail and stop the microwave emitter from reaching the water board. However, most of the Arkham inmates, including Crane, were still at large and Batman's actions inspired a few criminals to become more theatrical.
The Dark Knight Edit
Nine months have passed since the Scarecrow's and Ra's al Ghul's reign of fear, and Gordon is now the leader of GCPD's Major Crimes Unit, a police sector created as Gordon's personal unit of his most trusted allies to work with Batman and newly elected DA Harvey Dent to bring down the new leader of Carmine Falcone's crime family, Sal Maroni, and the rest of the mafia. By using marked bills, Gordon is able to track most of the mafia's laundered money to five major Gotham Banks and persuades Dent to approve search warrants for them to search and seize the money. However, the mafia was wise to this, due to Maroni's inside agents in Gordon's unit and Dent's office, and had the money transported to a secure location with the help of a foreign mobster named Mr. Lau. Because of this, when he found the vault empty save for marked bills, Gordon ended up kicking the stack in anger for what happened. While Lau left for his company in Hong Kong, LSI Holdings, Dent and Gordon turned to Batman to get him back so that they may use him as a testimony to imprison the mafia and cut off all their funds. Batman did so through an elaborate scheme and literally delivered Lau to Gordon outside his unit's headquarters.
While Lau refused to hand over the money, he promised to testify against all his clients in exchange for immunity, protection, and a charted flight back to Hong Kong. Using this offer to testify, Gordon and Dent tied up the mafia in a reco case and arrested many of them. All was going well until the Joker, a humorist psychopath who was hired by the mafia to take out Batman, emerged onto the streets in a chaotic and violent fashion with the gruseome murder of a civilian. The Clown Prince of Crime then began putting out hits on mob trial Judge Janet Surrillo, Loeb and Dent, giving Batman an ultimatum in the process; if Batman didn't reveal himself underneath his mask and turn himself in, then all three of his hits will die along with countless others each and every passing day. Little did the mafia bosses who hired the Joker know that he was simply using them to gain control over every level of Gotham's infrastructure though their inside agents and orchestrate his own plans to destroy social order and replace it with his own ideals of mindless chaos. Gordon managed to get to Loeb's office in time and block it off, but the Commissioner drank a glass of whiskey that was laced with acid, killing him. Surrillo was also killed by a car bomb on the other side of town, and Dent was saved by Bruce Wayne as the Joker came to kill him personally at a fundraiser held in his honor by Bruce at the Wayne penthouse. The Joker continued to murder innocent civilians daily, eventually making his next target Mayor Anthony Garcia at Loeb's funeral, held at City Hall, while disguised as an honor guardsman with his men. Gordon faked his own death saving the 40-year-old mayor, then disguised himself as a van driver to drive Harvey Dent to safety. When the Joker attacked his convoy, Gordon caught him and arrested him. He was then promoted to Police Commissioner by Garcia in Loeb's place.
However, things only get worse as time goes on as the Joker's capture was actually planned the whole time by the fiendish clown and while he was locked in the MCU jail, two of the thugs he was provided with through Maroni, both inside agents in Gordon's unit, kidnapped Dent and Rachel Dawes, who has not only become the DA's assistant but also his girlfriend. Batman was contacted once again on this matter, so he questioned and brutally beat the Joker in the interrogation room to find out where they are, but the mastermind switched the locations when he tells the Dark Knight of their positions; Batman then went after Rachel while Gordon went after Dent, meaning they were actually going after the opposite person. When Batman discovered Harvey instead of Rachel, he hesitated out of fear, but rescued him only seconds before the building ignited and caught the left side of Dent's face on fire. At the other location, Gordon was not able to save Rachel and she was killed when the building exploded. The Joker in the meantime, completely destroyed the inside of Gordon's headquarters and murdered dozens of his finest officers through a bomb surgically implanted inside the stomach of one his men in the jail cells, Kilson, and abducted Lau, the very person he needed in order to have control over the mob's funds and the reason he let himself get caught. Ashamed of himself, Gordon went to the hospital to console Dent, who promised that he will soon pay for not listening to him earlier, blaming Gordon for Rachel's death as it was his men working for the Joker through Maroni who abducted them both. As Gordon left the hospital, he ran into Maroni himself, who felt that the situation has gotten too out of hand and gave Gordon the Joker's location, having been contacted by the villain to meet at the shipping yard where the mob's money is contained.
Gordon prepares all available units to apprehend the Joker, who burns Lau alive with all the mob's money, effectively making the mob powerless and giving himself complete control over all their men as he claimed the city as his own, first contacting the Gotham Tonight Show. On the show, an M&A lawyer from Wayne Enterprises named Coleman Reese was preparing to reveal Batman's true identity on the air to stop the Joker from killing further, but when the Joker got through on the phone lines proclaiming that his ultimatum against Batman was simply a ruse for the hero and making a new one; if Reese isn't dead in hour, then he will blow up a hospital. Gordon then calls off his ambush and refocuses his forces' attention on securing and evacuating every hospital in Gotham as he went to save Reese from a mob made up of people with family members in the hospitals with the unexpected help of Bruce Wayne. As a result, the Joker then destroyed the hospital Dent was in and held some doctors hostage. Gordon then realizes that the situation has become so out of control that they will need to call in the National Guard to secure the city as the Joker announced his game of chaos to Gotham and placed its citizens in an emergency evacuation by ferries. However, the Joker rigged two of the ferries, seperately containing citizens and prison inmates secured by guards and a warden, telling them that unless one boat detonates the other one, he will blow up both at midnight. In addition, the boat that will detonate the other will be the one to survive. Gordon had to deal with the situation, but had Batman went in to stop the Joker alone as he received a call from Dent telling him that his family had been taken hostage. Gordon rushed to the same warehouse that Rachel died in to see Dent threatening his children, flipping a coin to decide whether they lived. Batman saved his son in the nick of time after apprehending the Joker and saving the ferries by disarming him of the detonator to both, killing Dent by tackling him off the ledge and persuading Gordon to portray Batman as the villain and not tell anyone that Dent had gone insane. Gordon called it in as Batman drove away.
The Dark Knight Rises Edit
Eight years have passed since the Joker's reign of chaos, and Gotham is thriving for the first time in decades largely thanks to the Dent Act - legislation inspired by Harvey Dent's "uncompromising stand" against organized crime, and his "sacrifice." With the newly installed Dent Act, any criminal connected to the Mob, regardless of their wealth or power, is imprisoned, denied parole, and denied the right to file an insanity plea, effectively wiping out organized crime in Gotham. While Gotham saw a turn for the better, Gordon's life saw a turn for the worse. His guilt over Gotham being saved by a lie, honoring a madman (Harvey Dent) who attempted to murder his son, and the condemnation of the hero (Batman) who saved his son and the city became a heavy burden that eats away at him more and more everyday. Even worse, his wife, Barbara, took their children to live in Cleveland following Dent's attack on their family, leaving Gordon alone in Gotham. On the eighth anniversary of Harvey Dent's death, a memorial ceremony (funded by the Wayne Foundation) was held at Wayne Manor in Dent's honor. Gordon decided that he can no longer live with his lie and wrote a speech for the ceremony. The speech revealed the truth about the circumstances surrounding Dent's death, namely that the Batman didn't murder him, and that Dent didn't die as a white knight of the law, but rather as a psychopathic murderer. However, just as Gordon was about to read his speech aloud to the ceremony guests, he decided not to read it, fearing that it would undo eight years of hard-earned peace. His debuty commissioner, Peter Foley, learned that Mayor Garcia was planning to fire Gordon from his position as commissioner in the following spring.
Later that night at his headquarters, Gordon was approached by John Blake, a young police officer with a strong sense of idealism, who informed him that a Congressman Byron Gilly, who attended the ceremony apparently never made it home. Blake then subtly pressed Gordon for more information about Harvey Dent's death, hinting that he knows Batman's identity in the process. But Gordon pushed aside Blake's inquires and left to investigate the Congressman's disappearance. The following night, a SWAT team located the Gilly in a bar via a signal sent out from his cell phone. Jumping at the chance for some action, Gordon arrived at the scene with Foley only to find the SWAT team engaged in a firefight with some gunmen employed by Phillip Stryver, the corrupt executive vice president of Daggett Enterprises, a company run by power-hungry rival of Bruce Wayne's, John Daggett, in an alley adjacent to the bar. After Stryver's men vanished, Gordon found a manhole slightly ajar and deduced that they must have escaped into the sewers. He and a few policemen descended into the manhole, but they soon come under fire. After his men were taken out by an explosion, Gordon was subdued by two thugs and dragged through the tunnels. Foley, unaware that Gordon has been captured, fails to send in anyone to rescue him. Disoriented, Gordon woke up to see huge construction projects underway in the sewers and a multitude of heavily armed mercenaries. The two thugs bring him to their leader; Bane, a militant revolutionary affiliated with the League of Shadows hired by Daggett to help him absorb Wayne Enterprises to his empire. Angry at the two thugs for bringing the police commissioner to his headquarters, Bane killed one of them. Before killing the second thug, he acquired Gordon's speech about Harvey Dent. While Bane was reading it, Gordon escaped by rolling over and falling into an open pipe. But as the current carried him away, several mercenaries shot at him with automatic weapons, and he was hit at least once. Later, Gordon was found alive (albeit in critical condition) by Blake at the end of an outflow pipe at a wastewater treatment plant and promptly sent to a hospital. Foley temporarily took over Gordon's position as the active leader of the GCPD.
When Blake pulled him out of the pipe, Gordon informed him about Bane's underground army. Blake took his warning to heart and eventually decided to relay the message to Batman himself. Having learned that Blake deduced his true identity, Batman, wearing a ski mask, visited Gordon in the hospital and Gordon recognized that the masked man as Batman. In critical but stable condition, he implored his old friend and ally to come out of retirement and counter the rising threat. The next day, Bane attacked the Gotham Stock Exchange and Batman reappeared for the first time in eight years to stop him. Gordon watched the televised newscast from his hospital bed with renewed hope. s the days progress, Gordon remains bedridden, but his condition steadily improves. The day after the Stock Exchange attack, he learns that Foley has neglected his orders to search the tunnels because of Batman's reemergence. He also promotes Blake to detective status in response to Blake finding a connection between Daggett Enterprises and Bane, who eventually betrayed and killed Daggett, throwing his body in a dumpster. Soon after, Blake was informed by the cat burglar responsible for Gilly's near-dissapearance, Selina Kyle, that Batman was captured (perhaps killed) by Bane, and he proceeded to tell Gordon. A few days later, Bane kidnapped the Wayne Enterprises board, including Lucius Fox, the wise former CEO and now executive president of the company, and Miranda Tate, its current CEO, and took them into the bowels of Gotham. Foley informed Gordon of the situation and, in panic, Gordon ordered Foley to send the entire GCPD into the sewers to destroy Bane, also tasking Blake to further investigate the Dagget leads by any means possible. Unfortunately, the massive seek-and-destroy mission has come too late. Bane took the biggest step of his master plan: ripping Gotham's infrastructure apart with explosives planted by Dagget Enterprises cement workers and isolating Gotham from the outside world. Worse still, explosives surrounding the tunnels go off, trapping most of the GCPD underground.
As Bane was fully aware that Gordon is still in the hospital, he sent two of his mercenaries to murder the commissioner. As the mercenaries forecefully entered the hospital, the alarms sounded and Gordon was alerted to their presence. Despite his still-weak state, Gordon dragged himself out of bed and outsmarted his attackers by hiding in the corner of his room and shooting them. He then left the hospital with Blake (who rushed to his aid in anticipation that Bane would send his men to kill him) and they go into hiding. They can only watch in horror as Bane's plans unraveled as to hold the city hostage and institute his own regime under the threat of detonating a nuclear bomb, formally the core of a Wayne Enterprises fusion reactor meant to serve as a source of renewable energy, and he told Gotham that the detonator was in the hands of a civilian to give them a false sense of hope and entice them to obey his orders. Gordon asked Blake to help get him in front of a camera so that Gordon could try to lead the people of Gotham against Bane. Blake agreed, despite knowing such an act could possibly get Gordon killed. The situation reached the pinnacle of destruction when Bane read Gordon's ceremony speech about Harvey Dent at City Hall on television and used it to force Gotham into releasing all the prisoners convicted by the Dent Act, inciting his men and civilian mobs to brutally drag all the rich and powerful from their homes and perform mass convictions on them in a kangaroo court headed by the now "Judge" Jonathan Crane. Watching the broadcast from his apartment, Blake scolded Gordon for his part in the Dent coverup; Gordon angrily tried to defend himself by saying he had no choice, given the circumstances of the time, and he was grateful he had a friend like Batman to take the fall. But Blake had no sympathy for the commissioner and remained disgusted with him.
About six months later, a trio of Special Forces operatives led by Capt. Mark Jones were smuggled into the city along with emergency relief supplies and met the commissioner and his men in the storeroom of a supermarket (Gordon's new base of operations). Gordon, Blake, and Jones decided to try and free the trapped cops in the near future. Also, using Geiger counters supplied by the Special Forces, they managed to eliminate one of the trucks as a decoy, leaving only two to choose from. Jones and his men, however, were unaware of the bomb's failing condition, so Gordon sent them and Blake to talk with Fox. After they learned and are about to inform their superior officers, they were ambushed by Bane's mercenaries, killed, and hung from the city's one remaining bridge. With 18 hours remaining before the bomb went off, Gordon began final preparations to identify the correct truck, mark it with a GPS, and figure out how to keep it from detonating. When he noticed Foley was absent from the storeroom, he angrily went to his house and pleaded his second-in-command to help him. Foley, demoralized and terrified for his family's safety, refused, so Gordon reluctantly enlisted Miranda instead. With Miranda's help, they found what seemed to be the correct truck and Gordon marked it with a GPS. Strangely, they were immediately found and arrested by a roaming band of mercenaries who took them before the kangaroo court, given the choice by Crane between exile or death. Gordon chose death, but it turned out that "death" and "exile" were the same thing: walk across the frozen river to the safety of the mainland while trying not to fall through the ice. All of Gordon's men were included in this sentence, but Bane took Miranda away.
That night, Gordon and his men were sent out across the ice near the remaining bridge, but when they were about a third of the way across, Gordon found a trail of gasoline on the ice, with an emergency flare lying next to it. The mercenaries overseeing the execution on the near side of the river suddenly fell unconscious and Batman, having escaped captivity from an ancient prison that Bane placed him in after his defeat months ago, emerged from the shadows and met Gordon on the ice. Elated and relieved, the commissioner ignited the fuse and threw it onto the trail of gasoline, revealing a giant, fiery Bat-Signal painted on the bridge. The Dark Knight had finally returned to Gotham. As Gordon explained what had happened during their attempts to stop the bomb, Batman gave him a device that can block the remote detonator signal to the bomb (the EMP guidance mount from the Bat), instructing him to get it onto the bomb before sunrise, since Batman planned to lead the trapped police officers in an all-out assault on Bane's headquarters. True to plan, Batman freed the the police and had them clash with the main bulk of Bane's army in a bloody street battle. Meanwhile, Gordon used a bus to block the marked truck in an alleyway, only to find that the truck empty - Miranda had them mark the wrong truck. Dismayed but still thinking on his feet, Gordon and his men rushed to find the only remaining truck as the men seize an armed pickup belonging to the mercenaries and used it to fire on the bomb truck. Taking advantage of the distraction, Gordon climbed onto the truck and, after much difficulty, managed to sneak inside the back compartment and place the EMP device on the bomb. It beeped, indicating that it was blocking the signal, though Gordon still didn't know for sure the identity of the triggerman. He remained inside the back until it crashed after being pursued by Batman in the Bat and Selina Kyle on the Batpod. The commissioner moved to help Batman and Selina take the bomb to its reactor to stabilizes it until he saw Miranda Tate (now revealed to be Talia al Ghul) mortally wounded in the front seat. She revealed to them that she had flooded the chamber containing the reactor needed to stabilize the bomb and died from her wounds. Batman realized that his only choice is to fly the bomb away from Gotham so that it blows up in a safe location.
As he prepared to leave with in the Bat with the bomb in tow, Gordon finally asked the hero who he really is so the people can know who saved the city. Batman hinted that he was once a little boy Gordon comforted all those years ago with a brown coat and called Gordon a hero for it before leaving. Gordon remembered in shock who that young boy was: Bruce Wayne. Batman flew the bomb out of Gotham's range and seemingly sacrificed himself in the following explosion. In the following months, Gotham rebuilt itself and Gordon returned to work as the police commissioner. In the wake of Bane's occupation and Gordon's role in saving the city, the Harvey Dent scandal had been quickly forgotten. Crime in the city was starting to die down as escaped convicts were recaptured, but Gordon never intended to be caught off-guard again, especially now that he was on his own. In his final scene, he stood on the rooftop of his old headquarters, where he used to meet Batman, and overlooked the city. Then, an object on the rooftop caught his attention: a brand-new Bat-Signal, recast in steel. He looked to the sky for that familiar sign - perhaps he wasn't on his own, after all.