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Villainess Overview

Look around, Jim. We're all slowly dying. It's just that some of us get to choose how.
~ Barbara Kean.
So rude. You know, I'm gonna make a prediction. Within a year, Jim and I will be back together. Want to know why? Because we're both the same. We both have a dark side. And one day, we will tell our grandchildren about this man-eating harpy who almost tore us apart! But in the end... love conquered all.
~ Barbara Kean to Lee Thompkins.
Because when I woke up from that coma, the first image I saw was your face as you were holding onto me from the church window. You were trying to save me, because in that moment you didn't see the monster. You just saw me. That's what I've been holding on to. If you could just look at me like that again, I'd be okay. I'd make it.
~ Barbara Kean to Jim Gordon.

Barbara Kean is a major antagonist in the TV series Gotham.

She appears as a major protagonist-turned one of the two final antagonists (alongside Edward Nygma) of Season 1, a major antagonist in Season 2, one of the three secondary antagonists (alongside Oswald Cobblepot and Kathryn Monroe) of Season 3, one of the two secondary antagonists (alongside Professor Pyg) of Season 4 and a major protagonist in Season 5.

She is Jim Gordon's ex-fiancée and while originally appearing as an understanding, supportive, and strong woman, she developed her own character outside of Jim as the series went on. She is based off Barbara Eileen Gordon.

She was portrayed by Erin Richards.


At the end of the first season, it is revealed that she is truly mentally unstable, and after an encounter with the dangerous serial killer known as The Ogre, where he tortured and brainwashed her, it causes her to completely lose her grip on sanity. She is sent to Arkham Asylum but is busted out by Theo Galavan who plans for her to become a member of the Maniax. After Jerome's death, Barbara became rather aggressive towards Jim Gordon and started torturing both him and Lee Thompkins, though she eventually got out of the screen on episode 8 where she fell from the top of the Gotham Cathedral, barely surviving.

During the third season, she runs a nightclub with the late Theo Galavan's sister Tabitha Galavan and is shown to have high ambitions on taking over the Gotham Criminal Underworld. She develops into a nemesis for Oswald Cobblepot, and she teams up with Edward Nygma, Tabitha and Butch Gilzean to destroy him. Later, she becomes the "queen of Gotham", and leads a crime family, with Butch and Tabitha as her former lieutenants. Later, Barbara recreates The Sirens, under Oswald's leadership. However, as Oswald and Cherry send Bridgit Pike/Firefly to burn The Narrows down, she plots to once again betray The Penguin and kill him. She becomes Sofia Falcone's right-hand woman, and a powerful mercenary and criminal in Gotham.


Barbara initially appeared to be a moral, kind, caring, benevolent, and selfless individual, she risked her own life to save Jim, by going to Carmine Falcone and pleading for Jim's life. She had an addictive personality, as she was shown to have been addicted to alcohol and drugs in the past. She ended her relationship with Jim Gordon, because she did not feel that he included her in his life; and he did not provide emotional support for her after she was held captive by Carmine, as well as the fact that she was afraid of being around the dangers that Jim brings as a police detective.

Upon leaving Barbara resumes a relationship with Renee Montoya, who breaks up with her because she had relapsed into abusing drugs, she goes to see Jim at the police precinct but finds him kissing Leslie, and flees, unknown to anyone at the time, Barbara was (secretly) mentally unstable, after she was forced to kill her parents (off-screen) by Jason Skolimski, Barbara's unstable nature had awoken. She tells Leslie that she killed her own parents, attacks Leslie and tried to kill her with a knife - presumably because Leslie is now Jim's girlfriend.

Since Barbara's psychotic break, she has (openly) become arrogant, aggressive, violent, immoral, unstable and delusional, after Barbara comes out of her coma, she (apparently) has guilt and remorse for her actions, and was (apparently) horrified at what she had become/done, although she claimed she was sane after being released from Arkham, she seemed to suffer another psychotic break after Jim rejected her, her latest personality was not without affection or care for those close to her, but she was also proven to be cold and conniving. She had little respect for authority of any kind and was prone to a violent and sadistic nature. Even Ra's told her this after he reveals that he got resurrected.

After the end of No Man's Land, Barbara ended up reforming and became a real estate agent. Having shed most if not all of her selfish traits, she became a loving mother towards Barbara Lee who she shares joint custody with Jim and Lee. That said, she does imply that she still retains a crazy side as shown when she states that she's still amazing when distracting Edward.

List of Victims

It's believed she murdered over 27 people.

  • Her parents - stabbed multiple times, throats slit
  • Butch Gilzean - shot in head (resurrected before getting killed again by Oswald after getting restored to his normal self)
  • Five Deamonz members - shot
  • Cherry - shot in head
  • League of Shadows member - stabbed in chest
  • Multiple Jeremiah followers - shot
  • Ra's al Ghul - stabbed in the stomach with Bruce Wayne holding the dagger
  • Four Soothsayer members - shot
  • Six Undead members - shot
  • Leader of the Street Demonz - poison
  • Three Nyssa Al Ghul's henchmen - shot


Appearances for Barbara Kean

Season 1

  • "Pilot"
  • "Selina Kyle"
  • "The Balloonman"
  • "Arkham"
  • "Spirit of the Goat"
  • "Penguin's Umbrella"
  • "The Mask"
  • "Harvey Dent"
  • "Rogues' Gallery"
  • "What The Little Bird Told Him"
  • "The Blind Fortune Teller"
  • "Red Hood"
  • "Under the Knife"
  • "The Anvil or the Hammer"
  • "All Happy Families Are Alike"

Season 2

  • "Rise of the Villains: Damned If You Do..."
  • "Rise of the Villains: Knock, Knock"
  • "Rise of the Villains: The Last Laugh"
  • "Rise of the Villains: Strike Force"
  • "Rise of the Villains: By Fire"
  • "Rise of the Villains: Tonight’s the Night"
  • "Rise of the Villains: A Bitter Pill to Swallow"
  • "Rise of the Villains: Worse Than A Crime" (flashback)
  • "Wrath of the Villains: A Dead Man Feels No Cold"
  • "Wrath of the Villains: Mad Grey Dawn"
  • "Wrath of the Villains: Into the Woods"
  • "Wrath of the Villains: Pinewood"
  • "Wrath of the Villains: Azrael"
  • "Wrath of the Villains: Transference"

Season 3

  • "Mad City: Better to Reign in Hell..."
  • "Mad City: Burn the Witch..."
  • "Mad City: Look Into My Eyes"
  • "Mad City: New Day Rising"
  • "Mad City: Anything for You"
  • "Mad City: Follow the White Rabbit"
  • "Mad City: Red Queen" (hallucination)
  • "Mad City: Blood Rush"
  • "Mad City: Time Bomb"
  • "Mad City: Beware the Green-Eyed Monster"
  • "Mad City: Ghosts"
  • "Mad City: Smile Like You Mean It"
  • "Mad City: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies"
  • "Heroes Rise: These Delicate and Dark Obsessions"
  • "Heroes Rise: The Primal Riddle"
  • "Heroes Rise: Pretty Hate Machine"
  • "Heroes Rise: Destiny Calling"
  • "Heroes Rise: Heavydirtysoul"

Season 4

  • "A Dark Knight: The Fear Reaper"
  • "A Dark Knight: They Who Hide Behind Masks"
  • "A Dark Knight: The Demon's Head"
  • "A Dark Knight: The Blade's Path"
  • "A Dark Knight: A Day in the Narrows"
  • "A Dark Knight: Stop Hitting Yourself"
  • "A Dark Knight: Things That Go Boom"
  • "A Dark Knight: Queen Takes Knight"
  • "A Dark Knight: Pieces of a Broken Mirror"
  • "A Dark Knight: A Beautiful Darkness"
  • "A Dark Knight: The Sinking Ship and The Grand Applause"
  • "A Dark Knight: One of my Three Soups"
  • "A Dark Knight: That's Entertainment"
  • "A Dark Knight: To our Deaths and Beyond"
  • "A Dark Knight: One Bad Day"
  • "A Dark Knight: No Man's Land"

Season 5

  • "Year Zero"
  • "Trespassers"
  • "Penguin, Our Hero"
  • "Ruin"
  • "Pena Dura"
  • "13 Stitches"
  • "Ace Chemicals"


  • Barbara is based off Barbara Gordon Sr., the first wife of Jim Gordon. However unlike this incarnation she wasn't a villain. In the comic continuity Barbara and Jim had a daughter who went on to become Batgirl (although in some continuities she is Jim's niece). Barbara and Jim also have a son named James Gordon Jr. who is a supervillain and psychopath, traits which may have been the inspiration for Barbara's villainy in the show.
    • That being said, it is revealed that Barbara is pregnant in 13 Stitches. She later shares joint custody of Barbara Lee Gordon with Jim and Lee.
  • This version of Barbara takes some elements from Harley Quinn - the girlfriend of the Joker in the comics - as she is seen participating alongside Jerome Valeska (the proto-Joker) during his sadistic games in the season 2 third episode "The Last Laugh" and even knocks out Theo Galavan with a hammer. Some of her costumes in season 4 also have color schemes similar to Harley's outfits, such as black and red. This lead to speculation that Barbara may actually become the Gotham-verse's version of Harley Quinn, which the producers did confirm that they included elements of the character in Barbara rather than using Harleen Quinzel.
  • Producers originally pondered to make Barbara the show's version of Magpie, but this was scrapped. Magpie herself would appear as her own character in an episode of season 5.
  • Her plot against Oswald Cobblepot in season 3 and wish to take over the criminal underworld makes her similar to that Fish Mooney, one of the primary antagonists of the first season. Fish herself planned to overthrow former crime boss Carmine Falcone and cement her status as Queen of Gotham City's criminal underworld. Unlike Fish whose plans failed thanks to Oswald Cobblepot, Barbara does succeed in her goals with the combined help of Tabitha, Butch and Edward Nygma.
  • Being electrocuted in Season 3 seems to have turned her hair white. It also seems to have altered her personality, making her more calm and rational; however, she remains cruel and dismissive. Her calm and rational personality was later revealed to be an act in order to make Tabitha and Selina allies. However, she becomes far calmer and eventually, better person during the final season/

External links


           Gotham-5428254c4abd4.png Villains

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

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

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 | Sampson | Sid | Sid Bunderslaw | Stan Potolsky | Tom Dougherty | Trope | Tweaker | Tweed-Brothers | Zaardon

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