|01 "Pilot"||09 "Harvey Dent"||17 "Red Hood"|
|02 "Selina Kyle"||10 "Lovecraft"||18 "Everyone Has a Cobblepot"|
|03 "The Balloonman"||11 "Rogues' Gallery"||19 "Beasts of Prey"|
|04 "Arkham"||12 "What The Little Bird Told Him"||20 "Under the Knife"|
|05 "Viper"||13 "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon"||21 "The Anvil or the Hammer"|
|06 "Spirit of the Goat"||14 "The Fearsome Dr. Crane"||22 "All Happy Families Are Alike"|
|07 "Penguin's Umbrella"||15 "The Scarecrow"|
|08 "The Mask"||16 "The Blind Fortune Teller"|
- "Gotham is on a knife edge. What do you suppose bringing down City Hall and the police force will do, even if you could? Would it make things better?"
- —Don Falcone to Detective Gordon
A new recruit in Captain Sarah Essen’s Gotham City Police Department, Detective James Gordon is paired with Harvey Bullock to solve one of Gotham’s highest-profile cases: the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. During his investigation, Gordon meets the Waynes’ son, Bruce, now in the care of his butler Alfred Pennyworth, which further compels Gordon to catch the killer. Along the way, Gordon must confront gang boss Fish Mooney, as well as many of Gotham’s future villains, such as Selina Kyle and Oswald Cobblepot. Eventually, Gordon is forced to form an unlikely friendship with Wayne, one that will help shape the boy’s future in becoming the Dark Knight.
Selina Kyle prowls the rooftops of Gotham City, stopping to stand by a gargoyle before dropping down onto the streets. Walking down a crowded sidewalk, she uses her knife to cut the bottom of a woman's grocery bag, taking one of her cartons of milk. Continuing down the street, she also pickpockets a man, but he notices this, and begins chasing after her. She manages to get away by jumping onto a nearby fire escape, and escaping to a nearby alley, where she gives some of the milk to a stray cat. While in the alley, she notices a family coming her way, and makes her way atop another fire escape.
Discussing the musical they just saw, the family continues down the alley; the mother asks her son, Bruce, what he thought of the musical, and he agrees with his father's judgment that it was "lame". The mother laughs and calls the two males judgmental as the trio continue down the alley. Suddenly, a masked mugger appears and points a gun at them, demanding the father's wallet. Thomas surrenders it without argument, and the masked man demands the mother's pearl necklace. She hurriedly takes it off, breaking one of the strands in the process. Before the pearls have stopped hitting the ground, the mugger fires the gun twice, shooting the father and then the mother. He points the gun at Bruce for a moment, then runs off. Stunned, Bruce shakes his mother, then his father, trying to get them to wake up. Seeing his own hands soaked in his father's blood, Bruce falls to his knees and screams at the sky in horror.
At the Gotham City Police Department, a perpetrator is being dragged to his cell while insisting that he needs his pills. Before he can be pushed into the cell, he seizes the officer's gun and holds it to her head. Every cop in the precinct pulls their gun out, aiming at the man. Detective Jim Gordon tells everyone to hold their fire, grabbing a nearby bottle of aspirin. Gordon tricks the man into thinking they are his pills, and the latter grabs the bottle and swallows several. He notices that these don't taste like his pills, but Gordon takes advantage of his momentary distraction to disarm him. With the hostage safe, the rest of the cops begin to beat on the man. When Gordon tries to tell them to take it easy, he's pushed aside. He is then confronted by his partner, Harvey Bullock, who asks him what he thought he was doing, as him and the rest of the cops had the drop on the man, and that if someone takes a cop's gun, he should be shot. Jim counters that if one person started shooting, then everyone would open fire. Gordon and Bullock are then hailed by the GCPD Desk Sergeant, sending them to a double homicide in the Theatre District. Bullock protests that their shift is almost over, and the Desk Sergeant retorts that "almost" is the operative word there.
In the alley, the officer who called in the murders briefs Bullock, while Gordon carefully tries to make contact with the clearly traumatized boy. Gordon's concern for the boy lands this case firmly in his and his partner's laps, although upon identifying the bodies as Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bullock wants nothing to do with it. At first, Gordon's questions cause Bruce to break down again, and the detective shares with the boy the story of how he lost his own father to a drunk-driving incident at a similar age. Gordon promises that no matter how dark things seem now, there will eventually be light. The boy manages to retell his tale, berating himself for not doing anything to stop the crime, but Gordon says was nothing he could have done. Gordon swears to Bruce that he will find that man responsible.
Another figure passes through the police line, and Bruce runs to him and hugs him, still sobbing. Gordon exchanges greetings with Alfred Pennyworth and repeats his oath. The older man guesses that Gordon must be new to Gotham City, but wishes him good luck. Alfred instructs Bruce not to give the paparazzi anything as they leave, to keep his head up and eyes dry in public.
At a diner, Bullock berates Gordon for involving them in the case without consulting him first. Gordon asks what the problem is, and Bullock says the Waynes were the two most important people in Gotham, and the detectives unlucky enough to be saddled with the case will face incredible pressure to solve the case, from City Hall down. Detectives Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen of the Major Crimes Unit enter and attempt to persuade Bullock to give them the Wayne case. In spite of what he just said, Bullock is nettled by Allen's suggestion that he is "afraid" of the case, and Montoya's suggestion that he "do the right thing, for once." Bullock says he was inches away from surrendering control of the case, before they disrespected him.
Back at GCPD headquarters, in the office of Captain Sarah Essen, Bullock and Gordon watch the press conference held by Mayor Aubrey James, promising swift justice for the Wayne family. Bullock asks for a moment alone with Essen. As soon as Gordon is out of the room, Bullock asks to be assigned another partner, but she refuses. After several interrogating several street muggers, without result, Bullock and Gordon return to the bullpen and are found by the GCPD's forensic scientist, Edward Nygma, who reports that the bullet removed from Thomas Wayne's chest was an extremely high-end and expensive piece of ammunition. Gordon begins to doubt that the murder of the Waynes was an ordinary street mugging gone wrong.
At Mooney's Nightclub, Bullock greets Mooney, and Gordon introduces himself. In the back alley, Fish's lieutenant Butch Gilzean allows Fish's umbrella man, Oswald Cobblepot, to blow off steam on an employee, Raoul, who had been stealing from Mooney. Hearing the screams from the alley, Gordon goes to stop the beating, but is stymied when Butch tells him they are just rough-housing for fun, and Raoul is too terrrified of Fish to disagree. After Gordon returns, Bullock says goodbye to Mooney, having learned nothing conclusive.
At his fiancée Barbara Kean's penthouse, Gordon shares the details of the ongoing investigation, and admits that he feels out of his depth; she says she doubts it. During the night, Gordon receives a call from Bullock, who says he's found a lead.
In the morning, the two detectives arrive at the Pepper apartment, following from Mooney, who said that the tenant, Mario Pepper, tried to sell one of her fences a pearl necklace matching the description of the one Martha Wayne was wearing. Ivy Pepper opens the door, and the detectives ask to speak with her father. Mario claims to have been home on the night the Waynes were killed, and his badly-bruised wife, Alice, quickly confirms this. Gordon says that if this is true, Pepper shouldn't mind if they look around the apartment for the necklace. Pepper upends the kitchen table and flees out the window, running across rooftops and shooting back at the detectives when they try to give chase. Gordon pursues Pepper through a garment factory and a Chinese restaurant kitchen before tackling him in an alley. Pepper gains the upper hand and raises a knife to stab Gordon, before Bullock intervenes and shoots the malefactor dead.
The GCPD investigates the Pepper apartment and finds a lockbox, inside which is the pearl necklace and a gun. At a press conference held at GCPD headquarters, the Mayor congratulates Gordon and Bullock for their detective work. In private, Oswald Cobblepot meets with Montoya and Allen and reveals that Mario Pepper was framed by Fish Mooney, working with the GCPD.
At Gotham Cemetery, Bruce and Alfred attend the funeral of Thomas and Martha. As everyone exits, Bruce thanks Jim for solving the case.
Meanwhile, Montoya meets Barbara - her former lover - at the penthouse. Montoya attempts to warn Barbara that Jim and the GCPD framed Pepper, though Barbara believes none of it. Later, Barbara asks Jim if what Montoya said is true, and he denies it.
Gordon confronts Monotya, asking her what evidence she has, and she retorts him that he'll see when she has him and his crooked pals in court. Feeling there's something wrong with the Wayne murders, Gordon meets again with Alice Pepper and her daughter. Alice says her husband was no saint, but she is sure he didn't kill anyone. Gordon asks to see Mario's shoes, and notes that none of them are "shiny" as Bruce described the killer's.
At the GCPD, Jim tries to convince Bullock that Mooney set them up, but Bullock tells him to consider the case closed. Gordon returns, alone, to Mooney's nightclub to talk with Fish, accusing her of planting the necklace in Pepper's apartment. She asks him what he plans to do, and he replies, "wait and see". Fish says she doesn't like surprises, and her men jump him. Gordon fights them off, but Mooney knocks him cold from behind. Barbara comes to the GCPD and asks Bullock if he's seen Gordon, who has been gone far longer than usual. Bullock lies to her, reassuring her that Gordon is on a stakeout, but realizing instantly where he must be.
At Fish Mooney's plant, Bullock arrives and tries to save the life of his partner. At his insistence, Butch calls Mooney at the club, while she is auditioning a stand-up comic. Bullock takes the phone and tells Fish that if she doesn't let Gordon go, he'll have to come after her, even though he might not want to. Fish pretends to agree, but when Butch takes the phone back, she furiously tells him that Bullock threatened her, and to kill both detectives. While Bullock is untying Gordon, he's knocked out. After Fish hangs up the phone, Oswald refreshes her wine, and she asks him for a foot massage. As he is rubbing her feet, she confides that she believes Don Falcone is getting old and weak, and someone will have to take over for him soon, and why not her? Oswald agrees with her, but she reveals that she knows that he betrayed her - since no one other than him saw her handling the pearl necklace. He vehemently denies this, claiming that he would open his own vein if she told him to. She calls his bluff, handing him a knife and telling him to prove his loyalty to her, "my little Penguin." Oswald, who loathes the nickname, lunges at her with the knife, and she knocks him to the floor with a chair and beats him with a baseball bat, severely injuring his leg, while the aspiring comic looks on in horror.
At the packing plant, the two detectives are hanging upside down, and Butch calls for Franky, a hulking executioner dressed in a hood and chainmail shirt. Franky selects a meat cleaver from the table and advances on Gordon and Bullock, but then the door opens and a trio of gunmen enter and shoot down Mooney's thugs, excepting Butch. Don Carmine Falcone appears behind his men, and tells Butch to tell Mooney that if she wants to kill policemen, she has to ask permission. He then tells his men to release Gordon and Bullock. Falcone walks with Gordon in private, saying he was good friends with Gordon's father, and admired his integrity and zeal as a D.A. Gordon admits that at first he suspected Falcone of killing the Waynes, but now is fairly sure that, if that were true, Gordon wouldn't still be alive. Falcone says he doesn't know who killed the Waynes, and likely no one does, since it was probably just the low-rent street crime it appeared to be. But what is important is that justice was seen being done, and law and order is being preserved in the city - after all, Falcone is a businessman, and anarchy is bad for business. Falcone warns Gordon that if he tries to expose the frame-up, or the corruption within the city and the GCPD, then law and order will disintegrate.
Later, Bullock and Gordon arrive at the docks. Bullock opens the trunk, revealing a whimpering Oswald Cobblepot inside. Bullock tells Gordon that Falcone has ordered him to kill Cobblepot, to show that he will remain silent about the frame-up. Gordon refuses, but Bullock says that if he doesn't, then Bullock has orders to kill both of them. Bullock admits that he likes Gordon, and will not find it easy to kill him, but he will try, because the only alternative is that Falcone will kill all three of them, and likely Barbara as well. Feeling he has no choice, Gordon draws his gun and marches Cobblepot to the end of the pier. Cobblepot warns Gordon that a terrible war is coming, as Falcone's enemies will try to take advantage of his perceived weakness; Cobblepot pleads that he can be a useful spy for Gordon, and help prevent the bloodshed that will surely come, but Gordon tells him to shut up and spins him around to face the water. Oswald pleads for mercy as Gordon places the gun to the back of his head - then leans in and warns him to never come back to Gotham, before firing the gun past his ear and shoving him into the water. From where Bullock is standing, it looks as though Gordon has done his job. Gordon goes back to Barbara's penthouse, and the two embrace each other. Later, he visits Wayne Manor where he is alarmed to see Bruce standing on the lip of the roof, as if contemplating suicide. Alfred appears and yells for Bruce to come down. In the living room, Bruce said he wasn't thinking about killing himself, he is teaching himself to conquer fear. Gordon tells him that fear is a good thing - "[it] tells you where the edge is." Gordon confides to Bruce and Alfred that Pepper was framed, and renews his promise to find the real killer, but Bruce must keep silent for now, or else both he and Gordon could be in danger. Bruce agrees to this.
On the far side of Gotham Bay, Cobblepot climbs out of the river, alone except for a fisherman. Cobblepot takes the fisherman's fillet knife and slashes his throat, then wolfs down a sandwich from his victim's tacklebox. He then looks across the river at the city he has sworn he will one day rule.
- Treat Me Like Your Mother - The Dead Weather
- Hang You from the Heavens - The Dead Weather
- Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 100, D. 929: II. Andante con moto - Trio opus100
- Piano Sonata No. 13 in A major, Op. 120, D. 664: II. Andante - Oliver Schnyder
- Funtime - Iggy Pop
- Dirty Town - OneGirlOneBoy
- Bear Trap - The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
- The Alfred Pennyworth used on Gotham has notable similarities from the Batman: Earth One and Beware the Batman versions of the character.
- Harvey Bullock tells Detective Gordon to meet him on "Fourth and Grundy", referencing the DC Comics villain, Solomon Grundy.
- Instead of having a normal window, Barbara Kean's penthouse has a clockface, which is a reference to Barbara Gordon's clock tower base of operations in the comics.
- The presence of the unnamed comedian auditioning at Fish Mooney's club is a possible reference to one of the Joker's possible origins as a stand up comedian from the comic book The Killing Joke.
- This is the only season premiere in which Jessica Lucas (Tabitha Galavan) does not appear.
- The entire alley scene showing the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne is adapted and expanded in the novel Gotham: Dawn of Darkness, which fills in what happened in the minutes, hours and weeks that led to that moment and the significance of that event having to happen right then and there.