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If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Gotham over the last year, it’s that Jim Gordon can find evildoers from all walks of life in Gotham City. That said, few of the actors brought on to play these criminals can also say they’ve starred alongside series lead Ben McKenzie on a previous show. When the show returns next year to continue its second season, McKenzie will reunite with his The O.C. costar Melinda Clarke, who’s been brought on to play original character Grace Van Dahl.
Described as “attractive and cultured” by E! Online, Grace is a woman desperate to obtain money and power, and while she’s skilled at playing the “perfect hostess and wife,” she’s secretly figuring out how she can lie, cheat and kill in order to get what she wants. She will debut in Episode 15 and is set to be a recurring character this season. Since Grace doesn’t originate from the comics, this means the show has free reign to do whatever it wants to her, whether that’s eventually kill her off or have her escape justice. Although Gotham frequently likes to to showcase Batman’s future rogues in their younger years, Clarke’s Grace is just one of many original criminals to give the city trouble, ranging from Fish Mooney to The Ogre.
Lately the bad guys Gordon has been tangling with in Season 2 have been more colorful, whether it was Theo Galavant and the Order of St. Dumas to the Arkham Asylum escapees. While Grace Van Dahl certainly sounds dangerous, she seems to be more of the common variety criminal that lurks in Gotham City’s shadows. The part about her being a hostess and wife also suggests she’s married to someone well-to-do, whether they’re a powerful player in the Gotham underworld or are just one of the city’s wealthy. But, either way, she wants to seize power for herself.
Clarke is best known for playing Julie Cooper on The O.C., who was manipulative in her own right. Her other recurring roles include Lady Heather on CSI, Amanda Collins on Nikita, and a fictionalized version of herself on Entourage, and more recently she’s guest-starred on shows like Dallas and Vegas. Clarke is the latest guest star that’s been announced for the later half of Gotham’s sophomore season, including Paul Reubens as The Penguin’s father, Michael Bowen as Matches Malone (the man suspected of killing Thomas and Martha Wayne) and Lori Petty as Jeri (a club hostess who will help Bruce find his parents’ killer).
Gotham is taking its winter hiatus to make room for the X-Files limited series, but will return with new episodes on February 29 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.