Elijah Van Dahl was a wealthy socialite and the biological father of the Crime Lord Oswald Cobblepot.


During Elijah's brief appearance, he was shown to be a very loving and accepting individual. Like Gertrud Kapelput, Elijah greatly loved his son. When he discovered that Oswald Cobblepot is his son, he welcomed him with open arms. Even when he learned of Oswald's dark past, Elijah still accepted his son by saying that the past didn't matter because he loved him and confided that he himself had his fair share of demons.

Before his death, Elijah planned on leaving his son the vast Van Dahl fortune so that when he passed away his son would well off.


Early years

Elijah Van Dahl was the son of very rich parents. His father suffered from tendencies of violence and thoughts of malice. During his life, he fell in love with a young cook named Gertrud Kapelput. Elijah's parents forbade this relationship between their son and one of their servants. Despite Elijah standing up to his parents, Gertrud was already gone. Some time after this, Gertrud gave birth to Oswald Cobblepot and claimed that his father was dead.[1]

A while after Gertrud left, Elijah's father committed suicide in his room with his son standing outside the door. The experience left Elijah traumatized. His mother told him never to speak of it.

Later on in his life, Elijah was dining in a diner when he met a waitress named Grace where he fell in love with her. However, he didn't knew that Grace was just interested in his fortune. He took Grace and her two children Charles and Sasha in.[2]

Meeting Oswald

At the time when Oswald Cobblepot was visiting his mother's grave following his release from Arkham Asylum, Elijah showed up to pay some respects for Gertrud and ended up meeting Oswald where he learned that he was his biological son. Elijah then took Oswald to his house where he revealed his and Gertrud's past. Later that night, Elijah introduced Oswald to Grace, Charles, and Sasha.[1]

Death and Legacy

It was revealed that Elijah has a bad medical condition that he described as a hole in his heart that is getting bigger. After snapping his father out of his sleepwalking and getting him back to his bed, Oswald admitted that he had been through a bad life that caused him to become a bad guy. Elijah was understanding of it, upon knowing the life that Oswald had been through. He even stated his knowledge of this when Grace brought the news of Oswald being the Penguin to make Elijah expell Oswald from his life. With his condition getting worse, Elijah made plans to meet with his lawyers in order assign his inheritance to Oswald since he is his only living blood relative. During one night with Oswald, Elijah drank some wine filled with poison (put by Grace) and suddenly collapsed on the floor, in Oswald's arms. This caused Grace to have her children call an ambulance.[2]

Oswald later discovered the truth of his father's demise, he confronted Grace on her act and killed her along with her children to avenge Elijah though became his old self again.[3]

Around one year after Elijah's death, his likeness was used in a scheme by Edward Nygma and Basil. Ed went to the Gotham Cemetery and dug up Van Dahl's grave. He then had Basil impersonate Elijah and the two went to Van Dahl Mansion to trick Penguin into thinking his father returned as a ghost. Elijah Van Dahl's ghost appeared before Oswald one night where he tells him that "He can't be trusted." Elijah's ghost then disappears before Oswald can ask who can't be trusted. Afterwards, Oswald was visited by the police who tell him that his father's grave was dug up. Elijah's ghost later visits Oswald again in order to inform him that dark plots are underway where Isabella is on the other side and states that he must find his body and rebury it. When Cobblepot asks who he can't trust, Elijah states "the birthday boy" and disappears. It was later revealed that Elijah was impersonated by Basil.[4]

While Edward prepared to kill Oswald, he mentioned that he had dumped his father's corpse in a dumpster from a chinese restaurant.[5]



  • In the comics, Oswald Cobblepot's father is named Tucker Cobblepot.
  • Paul Reubens previously portrayed Penguin's father in the 1992 live-action film Batman Returns.
    • In contrast to the previous version, Elijah is shown to be very warm and accepting.
  • The last name Van Dahl shares similarities with Mary Louise Dahl aka Baby Doll, a Batman The Animated Series Villain.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hull, Robert (writer) & Copus, Nick (director) (March 21, 2016). "Wrath of the Villains: Mad Grey Dawn". Gotham. Season 2. Episode 15. FOX.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cannon, Danny (writer) & White, Scott (director) (March 28, 2016). "Wrath of the Villains: Prisoners". Gotham. Season 2. Episode 16. FOX.
  3. Cutter, Perry Rebecca (writer) & Scott, Oz (director) (April 11, 2016). "Wrath of the Villains: Into the Woods". Gotham. Season 2. Episode 17. FOX.
  4. Cannon, Danny (writer) & Egilsson, Eagle (director) (January 16, 2017). "Mad City: Ghosts". Gotham. Season 3. Episode 12. FOX.
  5. Boston, Seth (writer) & Milto, Louis Shaw (director) (January 30, 2017). "Mad City: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies". Gotham. Season 3. Episode 14. FOX.
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