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You're a liar and a thief! All you do is take, take, take... and you never give anything! You worked me to the bone, forced me to be your puppet! Well... no more! You hear me? No more!
~ Arthur Penn attempting to kill Oswald Cobblepot.

Arthur Penn, better known as Mr. Penn and also as the Ventriloquist, is a recurring antagonist in the television series Gotham, appearing as a supporting antagonist in both Season 4 and Season 5. He is the mob accountant to Penguin, who also shares alliances with Carmine Falcone and Sofia Falcone. During the No Man's Land event, he is seemingly killed off for real, but returns later on in which he is revealed to be the show's version of the Batman supervillain, the Ventriloquist.

He is portrayed by Andrew Sellon.

Biography

Background

Penn works for Carmine Falcone for many years while he was still the ruling crime lord of Gotham City. After Falcone retires, Penn goes to work for Oswald "The Penguin" Cobblepot, the new ruler of Gotham's criminal underworld.

When Jim Gordon arrests a criminal carrying one of Penguin's licenses, Penn visits Harvey Bullock at his office and informs him that Penguin worries about Gordon being compliant. However, Bullock tells him that the Gotham City Police Department will honor the licenses.

When Falcone's daughter Sofia arrives in Gotham a few weeks later, her father calls Penn and asked him to keep an eye on her. However, Sofia soon finds out and threatens to kill him unless he gives her inside information about Penguin's criminal empire.

Penn informs Penguin that 14 percent of crimes are happening outside of his "Pax Penguina". Sofia then comes in and asks Penguin to have lunch with her, saying that it would show everyone that he has the support of the Falcone family and could help to get him 100 percent compliance.

Gordon visits The Iceberg Lounge, to see if Penguin has any leads on Officer Dave Metzger's murder. Penn informs him that a man named Wally Clarke recently applied for a burglary permit for a butcher shop called The Pork Barrel. Later, Penn and Victor Szasz present Penguin with evidence that Sofia seems to be up to something behind his back. Penguin tells Zsasz they will "visit" Sofia immediately and find out what she's doing.

The Gotham Sirens raid the Iceberg Lounge at the time when Penn was waiting for Penguin to send further instructions. Tabitha Galavan tortures Penn to find out where Penguin is, but he refuses to tell her.

Hidden From the Mafia

As Penn is at Spa Bo'sh Sumka, Gordon and Bullock head there and find him amongst the other patrons, who are all dressed as babies. Penn informs them that he was the one who told Falcone what his daughter was doing. Just then, Sofia shows up with Zsasz and Headhunter, leading to a gunfight between them and Gordon and Bullock. While Sofia fights Gordon, Headhunter and Zsasz chase after Bullock and Penn. A

No Man's Land

After Gotham is isolated from the rest of the world as a "No Man's Land", Penn stays in Gotham serving Penguin, counting the reserves and managing the organization.

On Penguin's orders, Penn goes to the Sirens' territory to negotiate, hoping to persuade them to give them food in exchange for munitions. Angry, Tabitha takes Penn's bullet to kill Penguin, which ultimately fails. Eventually, Penguin's starving "subjects", including Penn, escape to Haven in the GCPD.

When the gangs betray the Penguin, they attempt to kill Penn, but Penguin saves him. However, the leader of the gang shoots Penn in the chest. As he lay dying, Penn reveals to Penguin that everyone had left him because they hated him, before passing out in his arms due to trauma, seemingly dying.

However, he later wakes up in the morgue, confused and disoriented. He finds the Scarface puppet in a nearby magic shop. He develops a split personality in which the dummy orders him around, much like everyone else he knows. Wanting to be rule Gotham's underworld, Scarface and Penn go to visit Penguin, intent on killing him.

Penguin tries to get through to Penn, but the Scarface persona continues to lash out at him for how he had treated Penn. Penguin's best friend and partner-in-crime Edward Nygma distracts Penn and Scarface long enough for Penguin to try and wrestle the gun away from him. Penn and Scarface struggle for the gun, but Penguin grabs it and shoots the Scarface puppet’s head off, freeing Penn from its influence. Seconds later, however, Nygma shoots Penn in the head, killing him.

Abilities

  • Accountancy: Penn is a skilled accountant, able to keep track of the finances and transactions of whole criminal empires. He is also in charge of assembling the crime licenses during the "Pax Penguina".
  • Triple agency: Penn managed to secretly work for three powerful crime lords at the same time, namely Penguin, Carmine Falcone and Sofia Falcone. He was mainly Penguin's accountant, but also informed Don Falcone about Sofia's actions when she came to Gotham. However, Sofia found out and only let Arthur live when he offered her to be her informant in Cobblepot's crime family. However, Penn was still loyal to Carmine and Penguin, since he informed Don Falcone about Sofia's connection with Professor Pyg and advised Oswald to order a hit on Sofia.
  • Network: Due to his history as the accountant of several mob bosses over the course of many years, Arthur has access and connections to various crime families and gangsters. He was the one who put Sofia Falcone in contact with professional contract hitman Lazlo Valentin.
  • Survival expert: Penn has wide knowledge of how to stay alive in the mob business, as shown when he offered Sofia to be her informant in the Cobblepot crime family, knowing that she would accept this offer and keep him alive for that task. He is also aware of the fact that a bearer of bad news often gets blamed by crime lords and becomes a victim of 'shooting the messenger', therefore he quickly leaves as soon as he delivers unpleasant information.
  • Master tactician: He was capable of hiding his affiliation with Sofia Falcone from experienced crime bosses Carmine Falcone and Penguin. Penn also cleverly tried to eliminate Sofia by proxy by advising Cobblepot to have her killed by Victor Zsasz.
  • Leadership: Arthur has at least some rudimentary leader skills, as shown when he managed to organize the remaining henchmen at the Iceberg Lounge during Penguin's absence and ordered them to wait for Cobblepot to send further instructions.
  • Ventriloquism: Arthur is a good Ventriloquist as shown when Scarface's personality dominates him.

Trivia

  • Arthur Penn is the show's version of the Batman villain "The Ventriloquist." Prior to FOX giving Gotham Season 5 two extra episodes, producer John Stephens stated that the Ventriloquist and Scarface were cut from the season and will only be alluded to via Easter eggs. The extra episodes allowed them to use Ventriloquist.
  • Despite working for Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin throughout season 4 and the beginning of season 5, he is not portrayed as an antagonist and is simply his accountant, and appears quite timid and harmless. Following his return later in season 5 however, he will appear as a villain when revealed as the Ventriloquist.
  • Penn is the fourth Gotham character to be introduced as a seemingly original character in the show, only to be revealed as a canon character from the DC Comics. The previous three are Butch Gilzean/Solomon Grundy, Theo Galavan/Azrael and Nathaniel Barnes/The Executioner.
  • Mr. Penn claims to have met Scarface in a magic store, indicating that Scarface may have been haunted, possibly hinting that he may return somewhere down the road in Gotham's canon.
  • Penn's Scarface personality appears to be a manifestation of his repressed anger toward Oswald Cobblepot, which reached its climax when he was left for dead in the morgue.
  • Penn appears to be mostly inspired by Arnold Wesker, the original Ventriloquist in the comics as they are both portrayed as meek accountants with connections to the mob. At one point in "Nothing's Shocking," Penguin accidentally called Arthur, "Arnold", which acts as both a reference to Arnold Wesker and according to Andrew Sellon, a possible indication that Arthur Penn is in fact Arnold Wesker.

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Main
514A | Barbara Kean | Bridgit Pike | Butch Gilzean | Carmine Falcone | Eduardo Dorrance | Edward Nygma | Fish Mooney | Hugo Strange | Ivy Pepper | Jeremiah Valeska | Jerome Valeska | Jervis Tetch | Jonathan Crane | Kathryn Monroe | Mario Calvi | Nathaniel Barnes | Nyssa al Ghul | Ms. Peabody | Oswald Cobblepot | Leslie Thompkins | Ra's al Ghul | Salvatore Maroni | Sensei | Sofia Falcone | Tabitha Galavan | Theo Galavan | The Ogre | Victor Fries | Victor Zsasz

Secondary
Aaron Helzinger | Arnold Flass | Arthur Penn | Aubrey James | Basil Karlo | Dollmaker | Dwight Pollard | Ecco | Electrocutioner | Father Creel | Frankie Carbone | Gabe | Gerald Crane | Gillian Loeb | The Lady | Professor Pyg | Richard Sionis | Talon | Jane Cartwright

Minor
Eduardo Flamingo | Dorothy Duncan | Aaron Danzig | Dr. Marks | Anubis and the Hunter | Arnold Dobkins | Grace van Dahl | Gus Floyd | Billy Boy | Carlson Grey | Clyde Destro | Davis Lamond | Dick Lovecraft | Headhunter | Larissa Diaz | Magpie | Marv | Mario Pepper | "Matches" Malone | Merton | Mutant Leader | Nancy | Patti and Doug | Reed | Reginald Payne | Richard Gladwell | Ridgeback Monster | Robert Greenwood | Sid | Sid Bunderslaw | Stan Potolsky | Tom Dougherty | Trope | Tweaker | Tweed-Brothers | Zaardon

Groups
Court of Owls | Gotham City Police Department | Church of Jeremiah | Cult of Jerome | Legion of Horribles | Order of St. Dumas | Penguins | Red Hood Gang | Maniax | Monsters | Wayne Enterprises | The Mutants

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