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|“||There's a point, far out there, where the rules aren't weapons anymore - they're shackles, helping the bad guys get ahead. Someday, you may face such a moment of crisis. And when that moment comes, I hope you have a friend like I did - who plunges his hands into the filth so you can keep yours clean.||„|
|~ James Gordon's most famous monologue|
James "Jim" Gordon is the deuteragonist of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, the leader of the Gotham Police and a stern and moral officer. He is one of the two deuteragonists (alongside Rachel Dawes) of Batman Begins, the deuteragonist of The Dark Knight, and the tritagonist of The Dark Knight Rises.
Gordon makes his first appearance while eight-year-old Bruce Wayne is being looked after at the police station shortly after his parents are murdered. He comforts Bruce by putting his coat on him, assuring him that everything will be okay.
Years later, as Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham to fight crime, he visits Sergeant Gordon in an unorthodox way: having broke into his office at night with a ski mask on. He holds a stapler to the back of his head and asks questions on how to successfully prosecute mob boss Carmine Falcone. Gordon answers that they will need leverage on Judge Faden as well as a District Attorney brave enough to bring a case. Bruce suggests they form an alliance before fleeing; Gordon dismisses him as "some nut".
Soon after, Batman incapacitates Falcone and ties him to a searchlight for the police to arrest him, and Gordon is present at the arrest. GCPD Commissioner Loeb is not pleased with a vigilante taking the law into his hands, and Gordon defends him by pointing out that he has apprehended the kingpin of Gotham's organized crime, something the police have been unable to do for years. Loeb is unmoved and orders Batman arrested.
Although Falcone has been taken care of, Batman and Gordon were not conclusive on where the remaining half of Falcone's drug shipment was distributed to. Back at Gordon's residence, they conclude that the corrupt cop Arnold Flass knows, but Gordon would not be able to break him. Batman interrogates Flass and learns that there is a hidden substance in the drug shipments.
Later on, Batman goes to Arkham Asylum to rescue Rachel Dawes, whom Falcone's partner-in-crime Dr. Jonathan Crane has poisoned with a concentrated dose of his fear toxin. Knowing Batman is wanted by the police, Crane calls them and flees. Gordon goes into the building himself before a SWAT team arrives, and is moved to the top floor by Batman, who explains what has happened to Rachel. He needs to get her the antidote, but cannot get out by himself due to the police surrounding the building. He hands Rachel to Gordon, who brings her out, while Batman escapes in an unconventional way. Gordon offers to give Batman and Rachel a car ride to his batcave, but Batman refuses and takes Rachel in his Tumbler, in a prolonged police chase. He successfully gives Rachel the antidote, and tells her to give vials of the antidote to Gordon.
On the Narrows Island, Rachel is successful in getting the vials to Gordon, who explains that they are going to raise the bridges to the island. Crane's boss Ra's al Ghul uses a microwave emitter on the island, causing the water supply to vaporize, spreading the fear toxin. He finds Flass, who has been affected and nearly shoots two teenagers, but Gordon subdues him. He is alone due to the riot squad being affected as well, and Loeb is unable to send help, just as Batman appears. Batman asks Gordon to drive his Tumbler to block the train path the the main water hub at Wayne Tower, where Ra's would use the emitter to vaporise the entire city's water supply. He orders the bridge to be lowered and proceeds as planned, destroying the train rails outside Wayne Tower. This successfully foils Ra's al Ghul's plan, and Ra's is killed in the train crash.
Gordon is promoted to Lieutenant, and creates a Bat-signal to call for Batman. Gordon warns him that there is a new crime wave on the rise, and warns about the escalation between law enforcement methods and criminal methods. He also tells Batman of a bank robber who leaves a calling card at the scene of each crime: a Joker playing card. Gordon tries to thank him, but Batman says that he will never have to, before disappearing into the night.
The Dark Knight
A year later, Gordon is seen waiting at the Bat-signal with his protege Detective Anna Ramirez waiting for Batman to arrive. He remarks that he is most likely busy, which turns out to be true, as he is apprehending Crane.
At the scene of the Joker's latest bank robbery, Gordon tells Batman that the mysterious criminal is becoming a major threat. Batman replies that they should focus on breaking up the mob over apprehending one man, and Gordon assures him that the new District Attorney, Harvey Dent, will help them do just that.
Gordon meets with Dent, who confronts him for working with Batman, and expresses that he wants to meet with him personally. They get into a dispute over the corruption within each of their offices, and they plan a search warrant for five banks believed to hold what is left of the mob's money.
After Gordon discovers mob accountant Lau has fled to Hong Kong with the mob's money, he meets with Dent and Batman on the roof of the MCU. The two get into yet another dispute over the corruption within each other's offices, blaming each other for the money's disappearance. Batman agrees to go to Hong Kong to get Lau back.
Once Lau is back in Gotham, Gordon watches over his interrogation by Dent and Rachel. He does not give the money back, but he agrees to give the names of the mobsters, and Gordon keeps him at the MCU while he orders his men to arrest all of those involved. Out of desperation, the mob agree to accept the Joker's offer to take out Batman.
Soon, he discovers the Joker card amongst the legal paperwork of the mob trials, and Gordon learns from Ramirez that there are traces of DNA on it. The DNA is identified to be that of Commissioner Loeb, Judge Surrillo and Dent, whom Gordon tries to get into protective custody. Commissioner Loeb does not take this threat seriously, and is soon killed with a poisoned glass of whiskey. Two corrupt cops rig Judge Surrillo's car with explosives and give her false directions to head to safety, before blowing it up. Dent is saved by Batman.
Due to the failed attempt to kill Dent, the Joker tries again, and Batman gives Gordon information on where the phone call came from. He investigates a crime scene, where they find two policemen murdered, who have the last names "Harvey" and "Dent", and Batman takes a bullet hoping to identify the fingerprints on it. Gordon also notes that the Joker has named the mayor as his next target.
During Loeb's funeral, Gordon prepares to foil the assassination attempt. The Joker, disguised as a police officer in the parade, points his gun at the mayor, but Gordon jumps in the way on time, appearing to sacrifice his life in the process. The police inform his family that he has died, and his wife Barbara blames Batman for it. Feeling responsible, Batman considers turning himself in, but Dent takes the blame, claiming to be the Caped Crusader during a press conference. He is arrested, and after the Joker tries to kill him, is thwarted by the real Batman during a car chase. Batman crashes his batpod and is knocked out, and the Joker is arrested by Gordon, who faked his death to keep his family safe and draw the Joker out.
At the MCU, Mayor Anthony Garcia congratulates Gordon and promotes him to Commissioner The same night, Gordon visits his family who are relieved to see he is alive, and remarks to his son that he saved Batman. He learns that Dent never made it home, and returns to interrogate the Joker, who is uncooperative, so has Batman take over. Eventually, Batman learns of the addresses in which Dent and Rachel are being kept, and heads for Rachel, not knowing the addresses were swapped. Gordon arrives at Rachel's location, but is too late to save her; both buildings explode, killing Rachel and horrifically scarring half of Dent's face. He also learns that the Joker has escaped the MCU and taken Lau with him.
Gordon visits Dent in the hospital to apologise for what happened to Rachel. Dent confronts him for not dealing with the corrupt police that led him to his disfigurement, and embraces the nickname "Two-Face" that he was given in Internal Affairs. Before Gordon leaves, Dent tells him that he is going to pay. Salvatore Maroni is outsde the room, expressing remorse for allowing the Joker to cause so much chaos, informing the Commissioner of his location.
The Joker threatens to blow up the hospital where Dent is recovering unless someone kills Coleman Reese, a Wayne Enterprises accountant who has deduced Batman's secret identity. Gordon takes Reese into protective custody, riding with him and two armed guards. Batman's butler and confidante Alfred Pennyworth texts Gordon the names of GCPD officers who have relatives in the hospital, including one of the guards. Gordon tries to gently dissuade the guard from killing Reese, but the young man draws his weapon on them, only to be foiled at the last second when Bruce Wayne rams their car.
When the Joker blows up the hospital and takes a busload of people hostage, Batman triangulates his location and informs Gordon. The Commissioner sets up a squad of snipers and SWAT teams on the building adjacent to the construction site where the Joker is. They see that there are hostages in plain sight, and Gordon believes Dent is among them. Gordon orders his SWAT teams to breach, but they are unaware that the Joker has disguised the hostages as his henchmen, and vice versa, causing them to be targeted. After Batman saves them and captures the Joker, Gordon receives a phone call from Dent, who reveals that he is holding Gordon's wife and children hostage at the site where Rachel died.
Gordon heads to the aforementioned location, and is ambushed by an armed Dent, who blames him for Rachel's death. He holds Gordons son at gunpoint, intending to kill the boy in order to inflict upon Gordon the pain of losing a loved one. Batman appears and tries to reason with Dent, who shoots him. As Dent prepares to kill Gordon's son, Batman tackles him off the building to his death, and saves the boy. Gordon laments that the people of Gotham will lose hope once Dent's rampage becomes public knowledge, but Batman says he will take the blame so that Dent will be remembered as a hero. Gordon reluctantly agrees as the caped crusader vanishes, sends his officers after him, and destroys the Bat-signal. When his son asks why the police are chasing Batman, Gordon replies that Batman is the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs at the moment; he says that Batman is "a silent guardian, a watchful protector... a Dark Knight."
The Dark Knight Rises
Eight years later, organized crime has been all but eradicated in Gotham, with the city's mob bosses imprisoned thanks to enhanced police powers created by legislation named in Dent's honor; Batman, meanwhile, has been publicly condemned. Gordon's life has gone downhill - his wife has left him and taken their children, and the mayor is planning to fire him. Feeling guilty about his role in the cover-up, Gordon considers revealing the truth about the circumstances of Dent's death publicly, but finds himself unable to. Back at the MCU, he looks at some files while standing next to the broken Bat-signal, before being approached by officer John Blake, who informs him of a missing congressman. Blake expresses his skepticism regarding the official story of Dent's death, as well as his belief that he knows Batman's identity. Gordon dismisses Blake's questions, however, and goes with him to find the congressman.
As the police trace down the location of the congressman, who had been kidnapped by cat burglar Selina Kyle on orders from the master criminal Bane, Gordon orders a SWAT team into the bar that he was located in, and successfully rescue him. In a nearby alley, they find that the remaining henchmen have headed into the sewers, and a bomb goes off before Gordon is captured and brought into Bane's lair. Bane steals the written speech from Gordon as he escapes down the sewer. Gordon is injured, but Blake finds him just in time, and he is rescued and hospitalized.
Blake heads to Wayne Manor to tell Bruce Wayne he knows he was Batman, telling him that Gordon was shot. This prompts Wayne to visit him in hospital in a mask, where Gordon warns him that there is a plot unfolding, requiring Batman to come back.
After Bane's attack on the stock exchange, Batman attempts to intervene on the remaining getaway drivers, stopping all but Bane. This is seen on TV, and Gordon smiles as he watches from his hospital bed. He is later seen when Bane murders John Daggett, where Blake reports to Gordon the location his body was found. While Foley is dismissing claims of Bane's existence, Gordon promotes Blake to detective.
Blake has Selina Kyle arrested and imprisoned as he learns Batman has disappeared at the hands of Bane. He informs Gordon as Bane begins to unfold his plot against the city, where Foley apologises for not taking him seriously. As Gordon orders every cop into his lair to capture Bane, Blake discovers he has rigged explosives across the city, discovering too late it will be used to trap the police officers underground. After the explosives go off, Blake correctly anticipates that Bane's men will assassinate Gordon, and storms to the hospital. Fortunately, Gordon gets out of bed on time and defeats the two assassins easily. Blake arrives and Gordon teaches him to clear corners, before he is moved out.
At Blake's apartment, Bane publicly reads out the speech he stole from Gordon, which causes the situation to escalate as he frees the prisoners from Blackgate Prison. Blake is disgusted at Gordon for having lied for so long, and Gordon explains that Batman "had his hands plunged into the filth" so his could be kept clean, which Blake doesn't understand at the time.
Later on, a Special Ops team arrives in Gotham, and meets up with Gordon, Foley, Blake, and the remaining cops who were not trapped. They explain that the nuclear bomb is being moved around the city by a lead-lined truck, and that there are decoy trucks present. However, the team are compromised due to Miranda Tate (later revealed to be Talia al Ghul) selling their location out, and Bane hangs them on public television from a crane.
With less than a day before the bomb's detonation, Gordon is desperate to identify the truck containing the bomb. Realizing Foley is absent from the meeting, he storms to his house to confront him for giving up. Afterwards, he is met by John Blake who is with Miranda Tate, who he reluctantly allows to help. Unfortunately, she misdirects him to the wrong truck and Bane's mercenaries arrest him, and are sentenced to death in Jonathan Crane's kangaroo court. They are forced to walk on the ice where they would most certainly freeze to death.
During that night, Batman rescues him and gives a signal blocker for the bomb. He continues to search for the bomb as the uprising begins, by predicting the paths of the trucks and setting up makeshift roadblocks. They steal some of the vehicles belonging to the mercenaries, and go after the remaining truck, where he barely succeeds in planting the signal blocker to the bomb. He is unable to escape the truck until Batman forces it to a stop, where it is seemingly too late due to the timer being minutes from going off. Batman thinks fast and decides to fly the bomb out of the city as fast as possible, and Gordon asks if Batman could tell his identity, to which he cryptically tells.
After Batman successfully gets the bomb out of the city, seemingly sacrificing himself, he delivers the eulogy of Bruce Wayne outside of his manor. He tries to talk Blake out of quitting the police force, who explains his reasoning in the same words that Gordon previously used. Finally, he sees that the batsignal has been rebuilt, to which he smiles at.