The 20 Biggest Gotham Deaths Of All Time, Ranked

jim gordon bruce wayne gotham fox

Spoilers ahead for the entire run of Gotham on Fox, including the series finale.

Even though one of Batman's most well-known virtues is that he refuses to kill another person (at least in most versions of the character), that doesn't mean Bruce Wayne's world is completely free from death. On the contrary, Gotham City is seemingly one of the most dangerous places on Earth, with an underworld population that rivals the number of law-abiding citizens.

With Gotham set to close out its comic-tethered story with its big flash-forward series finale, it's time to look back on all the brutal and sometimes ridiculous deaths from the past five seasons. We've pulled out the 20 biggest examples, and we've ranked them in order of importance.

martha and thomas wayne about to get killed gotham

Honorable Mentions: Thomas and Martha Wayne

How Did They Die? Shot by Matches Malone.

Sure, the Wayne family murders are of such importance that Gotham wouldn't exist without them, but we're also talking about one of the most well-known murders in modern fiction. The show probably could have kicked its pilot off without even showing Thomas and Martha getting shot, but then that would have severely weakened Jeremiah's disturbingly heinous scheme in "Ace Chemicals." So they're a legacy choice here.

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(Image credit: fox press)

20. Commissioner Sarah Essen

How Did She Die? Tied up and shot by Jerome inside the GCPD.

One of the few people in Gotham City that Jim Gordon could put his full trust in, Captain-turned-Commissioner Sarah Essen shared a name with Jim's comic book lover, though the live-action characters never got romantic. While the GCPD definitely had problems before, Essen's murder was another big obstacle in keeping the police atop Gotham City's food chain. Nathaniel Barnes was a decent replacement, but only for the hot minute before he was infected by the Tetch blood virus, which gave him anger-induced super strength and totally unfit to serve as a GCPD captain. Eventually, he was sent to Arkham.

matches malone at home gotham

19. Matches Malone

How Did He Die? Shot himself in his apartment.

In a sense, Matches Malone's death isn't so much important as the circumstances that led up to it. After discovering Malone was responsible for killing his parents, Bruce Wayne paid the two-bit killer a visit, seemingly intending to kill him. But despite Malone's best efforts to rile Bruce up into committing the crime, the teen showed off his future Batman restraint by walking away. An impression was made, though, as Malone killed himself soon after Bruce left.

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18. Nora Fries

How Did She Die? Willingly froze to death. Though she was only a minor character on Gotham for a pair of episodes in Season 2, Nora Fries' death was a still a huge one because of the implications it had on her husband Victor. You know, Mr. Freeze. It was also a fairly shocking turn of events for Gotham to kill off Kristen Hager's Nora, considering the character is usually kept in a frozen comatose state as Victor works on a cure.

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17. Sal Maroni

How Did He Die? Shot in the head by Fish Mooney

David Zayas' Sal Maroni was Gotham City's second-biggest crime boss in the early days of the show, before traditional crime families gave way to ego-driven supervillains. Maroni had some morals where others had none, but it was still his sexist words that got him pegged in the head by Fish Mooney, who wasn't having none of that shit, even if it meant it would start a larger gunfight. The Maroni family's stronghold in Gotham City died when its Don did.

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16. Kathryn Monroe

How Did She Die? Decapitated by Barnes

One of the lest recognizable names on this list, Kathryn Monroe was a major villain through Seasons 2 and 3 as the assumed leader of the Court of Owls, though the role was cloaked in secrecy for a spell. But wait, a twist! She wasn't the true leader at all, which she got to say just before her vocal cords and everything else in her neck area got severed by Nathaniel Barnes in Executioner mode.

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15. Gerald Crane

How Did He Die? Shot by Jim and Bullock

As the first Scarecrow, Julian Sands' Gerald Crane is responsible for some of the most horrific and haunting moments in Gotham's run. That'd be both directly and by proxy, since some of his final moments were spent injecting his son Jonathan with a massive dose of his fear toxin, eventually leading to Scarecrow 2.0. The elder Crane had no way to make it out of the situation without prison time, so he caused (and quickly lost) a shootout with Jim and Bullock. His legacy, however, would continue to live on.

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14. Mario Calvi/Falcone

How Did He Die? Shot in the chest by Jim

Nowhere near as intimidating as his father or sister, Mario Falcone was still a force to be reckoned with for a while, and his death caused a deeper rift to form between Jim and Lee. After being infected with the Tetch virus, Mario was literally seconds away from murdering Lee when Jim showed up and lethally stopped him. Of course, nobody believed that at first, and Lee, Carmine and Sofia all targeted him for it. Lee eventually infected herself with the virus and skipped town.

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13. Alice Tetch

How Did She Die? Impaled on a pole

One of Gotham's stranger threats came from the tainted AF blood of Naian Gonzalez Norvind's Alice Tetch, sister of Jarvis (a.k.a. The Mad Hatter). Alice was certainly a threat, though it was her brother who was the true villain of the family. He was indirectly responsible for killing Alice, since she fell to her striking death while trying to get away from him. However, Jarvis snapped and aimed his revenge at Jim, and he and others used Alice's infected blood to wreak some havoc in Gotham City.

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12/11. Mr and Mrs. Kean

How Did They Die? Shot by Barbara

Everett and "Mrs." Kean definitely weren't very important characters for Gotham's overall narrative, but their deaths were still integral in the formation of one of Gotham's greatest success stories: Barbara Kean. Erin Richards' character was but a passive presence on Gotham until Milo Ventimiglia's Ogre came along and unlocked her more villainous tendencies. Her breaking point came when she was forced into killing her parents, which soon resulted in the Ogre's own death. The trauma that Barbara experienced gloriously sent her over the edge, and it's been a blast watching her rise ever since. It's not great that her parents had to die for it to happen, but whatever it takes.

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10. Ecco

How Did She Die? Stabbed by Barbara Kean and shot by J.

Ecco was the closest thing Gotham came to introducing Harley Quinn, and she totally fit the bill as Jeremiah's right-hand woman. So devoted to Jeremiah that she shot herself in the head for him, he never would have been able to escape Arkham in the finale and enact his crazed plan without her. She helped him catch Barbara Kean by surprise in the finale to set his grand plan in motion, but it backfired when Barbara got the jump on her and stabbed her in the gut. Ecco looked like she was probably dying, and Jeremiah -- now known as J -- just went ahead and shot her to make sure that she did indeed bite the dust. R.I.P. Ecco.

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9. Gertrud Kapelput

How Did She Die? Knife thrown into her back by Tabitha

Memorably played by Carol Kane, Gertrud Kapelput was a strong influence in her son Oswald's life in Gotham's early days, as he gained footholds in the city's criminal underworld. The Galavan siblings destroyed that bond when they kidnapped her in order to force Oswald's hand, and one tenuous attempt at rescue later, Tabitha flung a knife into Gertrud's back, to Oswald's horror. Understandably, her death marked a huge change in him, as he became an even more ruthless and vicious (and more Penguin-esque) leader without her influence around.

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8. Kristen Kringle

How Did She Die? Choked to death by Ed

Similarly to how other villains' instincts were partially birthed by the deaths of loved ones, The Riddler first started to crack through Ed Nygma's psyche in Season 2 after he unwittingly murdered his girlfriend and longtime crush Kristen Kringle. That, after he very wittingly murdered her jealous ex-boyfriend Tom. It was as he was confessing and defending himself for Tom's murder that he choked her out. Her corpse played a part in Ed realizing he was being guided by another personality, and actress Chelsea Spack later returned as Isabella, a lookalike whose death drove Ed even deeper into his villainous mindset.

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7. Carmine Falcone

How Did He Die? Gunshot wounds sustained during a drive-by

The last of Gotham City's old school crime bosses, John Dorman's Carmine Falcone was as classic a mobster boss as it can get, and he managed to survive all the way into retirement. Actually, multiple retirements. His eventual demise came after he'd agreed to take Sofia away from the city, and he was killed by a "mystery shooter" who opened fire after driving up on Falcone and others. Sofia was responsible for that plot – though Oswald took the blame in some ways – but she failed in her overall plan to permanently restore the Falcone crime family in Gotham City's crime world.

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6. Fish Mooney

How Did She Die? First time: shot by Butch and presumably drowned, Second time: stabbed by Gordon

The first character on this list to have suffered two deaths, Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney first faced a fairly shocking death at the end of Season 1, ending her reign, although the fact that they didn't show her dead had many fans suspicious. She was later resurrected by Hugo Strange and exhibited some strange and unique behavior, but alas, her lucrative partnership with Penguin was cut short after a Tetch virus-infected Jim accidentally stabbed her. She didn't make it back a third time, but her legacy wasn't forgotten, especially by Oswald. And anyone who saw that eye-gouging scene.

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5. Theo Galavan / Azrael

How Did He Die? First time: shot by Jim on the Docks, Second time: blown up by Butch

Though he was a crafty and successful villain who attained power quickly, Theo's dumbest move in Gotham City was killing Jerome, but then his second-dumbest one was setting up Oswald's mother to die. After Oswald beat the temporary mayor to a pulp in revenge, Jim shot Galavan in the chest. (An umbrella soon got shoved down Theo's throat, too.) Upon being resurrected, Galavan became Azrael and sought to kill Bruce Wayne, but his plans were ultimately foiled whenever he was blown up by Butch via rocket launcher. It was pretty awesome.

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4. Tabitha Galavan

How Did She Die? Stabbed by Oswald

Thankfully, Jessica Lucas' Tabitha became a much more enjoyable villain after her brother was killed, and she made the right move by aligning with Butch and Barbara, though that was also a shaky relationship. Tabitha's ongoing feud with Oswald came to a head in Season 5, and she truly thought she was going to finally put him down. Unfortunately, her attempt failed, and Oswald stabbed her through the heart. Her death drove many of Barbara's actions during the No Man's Land arc, including working with Jim to save Gotham.

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3. Butch Gilzean / Solomon Grundy

How Did He Die? First time: dumped in swamp, Second time: shot by Oswald

Nobody could have seen Butch's entire narrative coming. After shifting loyalties from Oswald to Tabitha, Butch was shot in the head by a rightfully paranoid Barbara, though he survived in a comatose state in Hospital Brass; it was here his real name was revealed to be Cyrus Gold. Butch was dumped in Slaughter Swamp by negligent hospital orderlies, and he was resurrected as Solomon Grundy by the bonkers Indian Hills chemicals that were dumped there. After some Grundy-infused hilarity, Butch's personality returned, only for Penguin to shoot him through the head in front of Tabitha.

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2. Ra's al Ghul

How Did He Die? First time: stabbed by Bruce, Second time: stabbed by Bruce and Barbara

Perhaps the most fantastical Gotham villain outside of the Valeska family, Alexander Siddig's Ra's al Ghul wasn't a constant presence on the show, but he had radical influences on Bruce Wayne's life. Mostly in bad ways, even if all roads lead to Batman. Ra's first died after being stabbed by his intended heir, Bruce, and creepily turns into a skeleton. The mystical villain later returned and teamed up with Jeremiah in order to bring Gotham down. He was successful, and Bruce and Barbara were then successful in stabbing him with the special Kurdish dagger. His "teachings" live on in Bruce's psyche, and his death caused daughter Nyssa to further Gotham City's destruction during Season 5.

Jerome Valeska gotham fox

1. Jerome Valeska

How Did He Die? First time: stabbed in the neck, Second time: fell to death on the street

Gotham's first truly transcendent villain, Jerome Valeska's first round of Maniax-infused chaos was cut short by Theo Galavan, who shockingly killed Jerome off in Season 2. Thankfully, he was resurrected for increasingly weird and scar(r)y new plots, and he set up both his and Gotham City's (temporary) demise by drawing out the even more demented Valeska brother, Jeremiah. Jerome justifiably got one of Gotham's most visually memorable deaths, falling to his death before Gordon's eyes, cackling all the way down.

Gotham also gets 1,000 extra creepy-cool points for bringing Jerome's gruesome corpse back around in the episode after his second death. Also, for calling the episode "That Old Corpse."

Though it may be getting killed off with Season 5, Gotham will remain an important part of fans lives for years to come. Especially when the eventual Batman TV show gets announced. Because that's going to happen, right? For now, the first four seasons can be streamed on Netflix.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.