DC Animated Universe

"Gotta keep fighting, never stop. What I try to live by. Maybe if I'd been younger, I could have been like you. Always wanted to be a hero."
"You are a hero, Jim.
— James Gordon and Batman[1]

Commissioner James W. "Jim" Gordon[2] was the head of the Gotham Police Department. He had one child, a daughter named Barbara, who would go on to become Batgirl and later succeeded him as Head of Police.


An experienced police officer, James Gordon was also unique among many of Gotham's civic leaders in his trust of Batman.

Gordon was already Head of Police when Batman first appeared in Gotham and was first on the scene at the tragic deaths of John and Mary Grayson. He was inadvertently responsible for putting the young Dick Grayson in Bruce Wayne's custody, fostering the friendship that would become their partnership as Batman and Robin.

Gordon commanded immense respect and loyalty from his officers, including Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya, though he often had to contend with Bullock's distrust of Batman.

Over many cases, he and Batman shared information and formed a strong friendship. Their respect for each other was equal: Gordon often felt that Gotham City would fall apart without Batman, while Batman felt that the city needed someone like Gordon watching over it "24 hours a day". The two would also meet every year on New Years Eve, as a celebration for another year of protecting Gotham City.

Despite their friendship, Batman still had an incurable habit of disappearing in the middle of Gordon's sentences, something that particularly annoyed him.

When Gordon received a near-fatal gunshot wound from an old enemy, Jimmy "The Jazzman" Peake, Batman was plunged into self-recrimination and doubt. He told Robin that Gordon was more than a friend, he was like a father—he was even the same age Thomas Wayne would have been had he lived. But Gordon recovered, and his never-flagging determination inspired Batman to keep going.

When Councilman Arthur Reeves accused Batman of assassinating several mob bosses, Gordon absolutely refused to participate in the manhunt Reeves was trying to organize.[3]

His daughter, Barbara, was also a skilled crime fighter. Although she was later trained by Batman, as Batgirl, on at least one occasion she credited her skills to being Gordon's daughter.

At one time, Gordon was framed by Two-Face for accepting bribes from Rupert Thorne, with the help of corrupt Deputy Commissioner Gil Mason. Barbara donned a bat costume and, with the help of the Dynamic Duo, cleared her father's name.

When Barbara was kidnapped by Mr. Freeze, Gordon made sure to let Dick Grayson know that he approved of his relationship with Barbara.

Barbara secretly feared that her father would disapprove of her secret life as Batgirl. When she was hit with a dose of Scarecrow's toxin, this fear became a full-fledged nightmare as she experienced an intense extended hallucination: after she was killed by Scarecrow, Gordon went mad with grief. Upon discovering Batman's secret identity, Gordon sent the GPD on a manhunt into the Batcave, and ultimately even cut a deal to release Bane from Stonegate Penitentiary to bring Batman to justice. The hallucination reached a violent climax as Bane double-crossed Gordon and used the Bat-signal to knock both Gordon and Batman off the GCPD roof, plummeting to their apparent deaths as Barbara finally bolted awake with a cold sweat.

Upon awakening from her toxin-induced coma, Barbara decided to tell her father the truth about her life as Batgirl. Barbara explained her nightmare to Batman, who told her that he understood. But when Barbara tried, Gordon said it wasn't necessary: he loved her, she's a grown woman, and he trusts her decisions, whatever they might be.

Years later, after Gordon had retired, Barbara eventually became Commissioner herself. Unlike Gordon's strong working relationship with and trust for the first Batman, Barbara was at odds and distrusted the second Batman (Terry McGinnis), to the point of strictly warning him to stay out of police matters and saying "she was not her father", this was later revealed to have been due to Barbara's old grudge towards Bruce as she overtime warmed up to Terry and even let him help on cases, though she never directly gave him information on criminals or used a Bat-signal unlike her father. In a discussion with Terry, Barbara told him that her father was one of the few people who knew what happened to Robin the night Batman fought the Joker for the last time, and of the Joker's true fate. He promised to keep it secret, and likely did so until he passed away.

Appearance and abilities[]

Younger Gordon

A younger Gordon, with red hair.

Gordon most often appeared with white hair, a thick white mustache, while wearing a brown trench coat and thick, horn-rimmed glasses. In his youth, Gordon had red hair like his daughter Barbara Gordon.

A hard worker, he usually directed police business from behind a desk, but still directs his officers into combat when necessary. He was usually a mild-mannered man, which lead some unobservant people to believe he is easily intimidated—to their regret. Gordon is also shown to be an expert marksman, demonstrating both precision and accuracy with his revolver at a shooting range.[4]

Background information[]

  • In the comics and other media, James Gordon is one of the most familiar faces in Batman's universe, one of his allies from the earliest days. He fulfills a necessary function of supplying Batman with information, and of shielding him from the disapproval and sometimes hostility of other police officers and civic leaders. Gordon is often portrayed as the law-abiding version of Batman, carrying on the same fight but through the normal channels.
  • The Writer's Bible for Batman: The Animated Series states that Gordon has a wife named Sarah. However, Gordon's marital status in the series itself is unclear. He's shown living alone with Barbara, indicating that he is either widowed or divorced.
  • Andrea Romano remarked that Bob Hastings, alongside Alfred Pennyworth voice actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. were "the unsung heroes of the show," as well as being the "cohesive glue" that held the show together.[5]Ironically, during recording sessions Hastings and Zimbalist Jr. were at each end of the recording booth, physically bookending the cast as well.[6]


Batman: The Animated Series

Feature films

Superman: The Animated Series

The New Batman Adventures

Feature film

Batman Beyond

Feature film

Gotham Girls

Static Shock


  1. Reaves, Michael (writer) & Kirkland, Boyd (director) (November 9, 1992). "I Am the Night". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 34 (airdate). Episode 49 (production). FOX Kids.
  2. Gotham Girls, Season 3 trailer
  3. Melniker, B., Uslan, M. (Producers), & Radomski, E., Timm, B. W. (Directors). (1993). Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. United States: Warner Bros.
  4. Wein, Len (writer) & Altieri, Kevin (director) (November 23, 1992). "Off Balance". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 44 (airdate). Episode 50 (production). FOX Kids.
  5. Assembling a stellar cast and coaxing the right reading for animation (Cinefantastique 1994).
  6. Assembling a stellar cast and coaxing the right reading for animation (Cinefantastique 1994).

External links[]