Wherever there's a Gotham City, there's a Commissioner Gordon doomed with the near-impossible task of maintaining law and order in the city of chaos. Fans have been treated to different versions of the Gotham City Police Department's top dog, but the DC Universe's Harley Quinn animated series captures the quintessential and most realistic Gordon yet.
Traditionally, Gordon is portrayed as a stoic, tough-as-nails cop who pushes forward in the face of adversity and would give his own life for the city he calls home. In Harley Quinn, he's envisioned exactly as perpetually exhuasted and almost-derranged how you'd imagine a longtime cop living in the crime capital of the world and relying on a grown man dressed as a bat for assistance.
Voiced by actor Christopher Meloni, Harley's Gordon is a nervous wreck, buzzing on caffeine and looking like he last slept in the '90s. He shouldn't be standing on the Gotham City Police Department's rooftop, signaling for the Dark Knight; he should be in therapy and dealing with the effects of years on the beat. It isn't hard to believe this version of the character, especially considering that Bataman seems to be his only real ally in a Gotham that's constantly overrun by costumed criminals and corrupt cops.
While it'd be nice to think that Gordon would remain strong and keep it together for everyone's sake, that's not terribly realistic. This veteran cop has seen and experienced enough to unhinge anyone. The fact he entrusts the city's safety in the hands of a vigilante only adds credence to the notion that Gordon has lost the plot altogether.
Harley Quinn co-creator Justin Halpern agrees. "What would Commissioner Gordon actually be like if he was the Commissioner of the Gotham Police Department, saw what he saw every single day for 27 years, and never went to therapy? What would that look like? He'd be so f***ed up and constantly on edge," he told Inverse.
Halpern elaborated and painted an even more tragic picture of Gordon, describing how he has a thankless job, a failing marriage and no real friends. His entire life is spent cleaning up the streets of Gotham and battling a crooked system. In many ways, it would be impossible for him to not go a little mad due to the circumstances.
Of course, this characterization will have its critics, especially due to Gordon's mental toughness in the comics. Readers have witnessed Gordon's loyalty to the justice system and his own moral compass, even when the Joker drove him to the brink of insanity in The Killing Joke. He's even saved Batman from breaking his cardinal rule of "no killing" on several occasions when the hero had a crisis of faith. While the Caped Crusader receives the accolades, Gordon is truly the symbol of hope in the city.
That being said, Harley Quinn is a dark comedy show that takes its liberties and dials up the ridiculousness. While it's poking fun at Gotham City and all its wacky personalities, it still makes a reasonable point about Gordon and his likely mental state. Commissioner Gordon might be Gotham's top cop, but he needs just as much therapy as one of the villains in Arkham Asylum.
DC Universe's Harley Quinn stars Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Diedrich Bader, Alan Tudyk, Rahul Kohli, Christopher Meloni, Tony Hale, Ron Funches, Wanda Sykes, Natalie Morales, Jim Rash, Giancarlo Esposito, Jason Alexander and J.B. Smoove. New episodes are released on Fridays.