From its very first episode, FOX’s Gotham has been playing pretty fast and loose with the Batman mythos. The show has never shied away from making drastic changes to the source material, more often than not choosing to carve its own identity with a distinctly unique approach to the story of Bruce Wayne, James Gordon, and the corrupt city they live in and fight for. While Bruce may never become the Batman during the show’s narrative, many of the villains he’ll eventually face throughout his career as the Dark Knight have made their presence felt in Gotham City, from Penguin and Mr. Freeze to Firefly and Solomon Grundy.
As the series continues to scour the comic books for more storylines and characters to adapt from the page to the small screen, DC readers have found themselves witnessing the live action debut of characters they likely never expected. Such is the case with Gotham‘s latest episode, “A Day In The Narrows,” which saw Bullock, Gordon and the rest of the GCPD at their wits’ end trying to hunt down the elusive serial killer known as Professor Pyg. To help in this search, Penguin — who currently has an uneasy alliance with Gotham’s police force — lent a helping hand in the form of a laughing assassin known as Headhunter, a villain who, more than most, has a direct connection to Gordon in the comics.
Headhunter first appeared in Batman #487 in 1992, created by the team of Doug Moench and Jim Aparo. The assassin arrived in Gotham City, having been hired by an incarcerated crime lord who had it out for the officer who had arrested him: Jim Gordon. Headhunter, whose codename is quite literal, carried two pistols, with which he’d deliver his signature move: One shot to the head — a shot that never missed, save for when he attempted to shoot Gordon — and a second gunshot to his victim, left as a calling card. Sporting bullet belts strapped across his chest and a white Mohawk, the villain was pure ’90s. Essentially a character begging for a Gotham stint, Headhunter, in retrospect, was the perfect sort of villain to appear in the series’ crazy blended world of gritty realism and over-the-top craziness.
The character was faithfully adapted to the small screen. Brought to life by actor Kyle Vincent Terry, Headhunter had all of his comic book counterpart’s trademarks: The strapped bullets crossed on his chest, the white Mohawk, the two pistols, and the explicitly-stated concept that the second shot was his iconic signature. However, while the comics may have introduced him as a man on the hunt for Jim Gordon, Gotham opted for a different path, pairing the two men as unlikely allies. Though it didn’t take long for the both of them to start pointing their weapons at each other, there was almost an odd sense of respect between the two — albeit one that was felt more on Headhunter’s part.
Ultimately, the GCPD and Penguin’s henchmen’s search for Professor Pyg ended in failure, with the criminal still very much at large and Gordon forced to intervene and save both police officers and hired guns alike — a group that included Headhunter. This prompted the ever-unpredictable Penguin to bring a knife to Headhunter’s throat. Then, to add insult to injury, he stabbed him again in the stomach, saying that this move, a second stabbing, was his own signature. A bit of a twist of the knife, both figuratively and literally.
But while we apparently saw the latest from-the-comics character depart the series almost as soon as he was introduced, it’s important to remember that death on Gotham is far from final. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Headhunter return very much alive, perhaps even before the series hits its mid-season finale. We sure hope this is the case, because the scene-chewing, always smiling Headhunter turned out to be a surprisingly fun addition to the cast as Jim Gordon’s newest frenemy, and it would be a crime if the pair never had a chance to truly face off against each other.
Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Cameron Bicondova as Selina Kyle, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.
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