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Gotham prides itself on being a show that features younger versions of characters that are important to the Batman mythos, but with a city this sick and corrupt, the bad guys tend to get noticed more often that the good guys. Fortunately, the protagonists have expanded their ranks. Firefly and Homeland alum Morena Baccarin has just been cast to play Dr. Leslie Thompkins in the Batman prequel series.
Thomkins, a friend of Bruce Wayne’s late parents, will be working at the newly opened Arkham Asylum’s Home for the Criminally Insane. Considering the type of patients typically found at Arkham, she’s sure to be facing an uphill battle. However, her role on the show won’t just be patient care. She will become attracted to Detective James Gordon and will face danger along the way...like every other person who lives in that city.
She will be a recurring character starting in early 2015, although Deadline reports that she will become a regular if there’s a season 2. This seems to be the typical route the show is going with their Batman characters. Test them out in a recurring capacity, and upgrade them after a certain amount of episodes. Nicholas D’Agosto, who is playing Harvey Dent, is getting a similar deal.
In the comic books, Thompkins is a pivotal character in young Bruce Wayne’s life. Much like his butler Alfred Pennyworth becomes a surrogate father, Thompkins becomes a mother figure to Bruce after his parents are killed. She also runs a clinic for the underprivileged in one of the seedier neighborhoods in Gotham City, and while most of her patients are frequent users and addicts, she persists in trying to make a difference in their lives. She also knows about Bruce’s career as the Caped Crusader, and while she frowns on these nighttime activities, she’s remained supportive and even has patched him up a few times after some brutal fights. Ideally this relationship will be kept intact for the show. As it stands, Bruce’s primary interactions are with Gordon and Alfred, so it would be good for him to have another parental figure in his life.
This isn’t Baccarin’s first foray into the world of superheroes. She previous voiced Black Canary on Justice League Unlimited and Wonder Woman villain Cheetah on Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Thompkins is an important enough character to Batman’s mythos that Baccarin would have a steady gig playing her, assuming the show lasts for many seasons. She may be helping the Arkham patients now, but eventually she’ll need to start working to help Gotham City’s underprivileged. Like Gordon, she’s one of the few good people in a place where evil shrouds everything.