If Gotham‘s second season is the rise of the villains, then Michael Chiklis’ Captain Nathaniel Barnes doesn’t fit in … at least not yet.
“For now at least he’s a good guy,” Chiklis said. “As a matter of fact he’s a law and order zealot. Because of reasons that will be revealed, Captain Barnes is a man who believes in the letter of the law and the rule of law because it’s the only thing that separates us from the animals. That’s based on also his own personal experience, so some of it is based in fear of personal potential.”
And if there’s plenty of anything in Gotham, it’s “animals” for Barnes to deal with. However, his first order of business might have less to do with any villains and more to do with saving a certain hero. “He’s trying to mentor a young Jim Gordon who’s starting to slip into that grey area, that slippery slope of being corrupted in the hopes of getting the bad guy,” Chiklis said. “[Barnes] wants to go after them as hard as possible, but only within the rule of law.”
In saving Jim, Barnes is going to come up against Harvey. “Wrongly or rightly, I view [Harvey] as a guy who’s jaded beyond redemption, that he’s cynical beyond hope, and so I have a level of contempt for him and I think that he’s part of the poison of this kid that I really look at as the potential hope and future leadership of the department.”
Still, don’t expect Barnes to come in and lead from behind a desk. “He’s a get-his-hands-dirty kind of guy,” Chicklis said. “As a matter of fact, I have some pretty badly bruised ribs this morning from the fight scene that we were in over the last two days, so he’s true to his word and he did some ass kicking over the last couple of days.”
As for whether Barnes will eventually go bad, Chiklis says he’s down for anything so long as its rooted in character. “That’s what makes something interesting to me — if the person is a three-dimensional real person. Now of course this is comic book stuff so it’s a little larger than life but what makes these things work in my estimation is that they’re to the best of our ability that you try to root them in reality so that you can suspend the audience’s belief.”
Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.