|“||There seems to be some confusion. My name is Oswald Cobblepot. Many of you no doubt will have heard of me. So...you clearly have not... For those poor, ignorant souls I offer illumination. I am not a man to be trifled with, no... I'm powerful! I'm vicious! I'm King of Gotham!||„|
|~ Oswald introduces himself at Arkham Asylum.|
|“||This is Gotham City, there will always be crime...||„|
|~ Penguin referring to the criminal background of Gotham, his most famous quote.|
|“||Gotham needs me. I'm its future...||„|
|~ Oswald Cobblepot|
Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot (born Kapelput), also known as the Penguin, is the overall main antagonist of the DC comics TV series Gotham. He acts as the main antagonist of the first season, an anti-hero in the first half of the second season, a major antagonist in the second half of season 2, one of the two secondary antagonists (alongside Barbara Kean) of the third season, one of the two main antagonists of the fourth season (alongside Ra's al Ghul) and one of the three main antagonists (alongside Jeremiah Valeska and Nyssa al Ghul) as well as the secondary antagonist of the finale episode in the fifth and final season. He is a notorious crime lord in Gotham City and the series' incarnation of the fearsome Batman villain known as the Penguin and acts as the re-imagined origin to the character, showcasing his rise to power prior to the Dark Knight's arrival.
Throughout the series, he acts as the primary archenemy to protagonist Jim Gordon, as Gordon spends a majority of the series attempting to bring Penguin down, although occasionally they put their differences aside to deal with a much bigger threat.
Cobblepot is introduced as a small-time criminal working for mobster Fish Mooney as her "umbrella boy". When Mooney learns that he has informed on her for the Gotham City Police Department, she breaks his kneecap - giving him his distinctive "waddle"-like limp - and, along with her boss Carmine Falcone, orders Gotham Cirty detectives Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock to kill him. Gordon spares Cobblepot's life, however. Cobblepot then slowly but surely climbs the ladder of Gotham's criminal underworld, allying himself with both Falcone and rival mob boss Sal Maroni and subtly playing them against each other. In the first season finale, he instigates a mob war in which Maroni and Mooney are killed and Falcone is forced to retire, leaving him "the king of Gotham".
In the second season, Cobblepot controls all of Gotham City's organized crime. However, he is forced to help corrupt billionaire Theo Galavan in his campaign for mayor when Galavan's sister, Tabitha, kidnaps OCobblepot's mother. Cobblepot obeys Galavan's orders to murder the rival candidates, but Tabitha kills Gertrud anyway. A heartbroken Cobblepot swears revenge and dedicates himself to destroying Galavan. He eventually succeeds in unraveling Galavan's criminal empire with help from Gordon, and he gets his revenge when he and Gordon kill Galavan together.
Cobblepot is arrested for killing Galavan and sent to Arkham Asylum, where head psychiatrist Hugo Strange subjects him to a series of psychological tortures that render him timid and harmless. After his release, he meets his wealthy biological father, Elijah Van Dahl, who takes him into his family. Van Dahl's wife and stepchildren are plotting to kill him and inherit his fortune, and use Cobblepot in their schemes. After they kill Elijah, they make Cobblepot their servant. When he discovers what they have done, his conditioning wears off and he becomes his old self again. Angered by the loss of his father, he takes brutal revenge: he slaughters his step-siblings and cooks them into a pot roast, feeding them to Grace before killing her as well. As Van Dahl's only living relative, Cobblepot inherits his father's fortune.
Upon learning that the vigilante Azrael is the recently resurrected Theo Galavan, Cobblepot and his henchman Butch Gilzean kill him with a missile launcher. After Arkham is overrun with Strange's mutated "experiments", Cobblepot arrives there to kill Strange – only to find that the doctor has also revived Fish Mooney.
Six months later, Cobblepot leads an angry mob against Mooney and Strange's creations. He spares Mooney after she says she is proud of what he has become, and tells her to leave Gotham and never come back. He is hailed a hero for defeating Mooney, and makes a successful run for mayor with help from Edward Nygma, with whom he falls in love. When Nygma enters a relationship with a woman named Isabella, Cobblepot grows jealous and hurt, and has her killed. When Nygma discovers what Cobblepot has done, he embarks on a campaign of revenge, ultimately causing him to lose his mayoralty. Nygma then brings Cobblepot to the harbor docks, where he shoots his former friend in the stomach and pushes his body into the harbor.
Cobblepot is later found and healed by Ivy Pepper, and forms a partnership with her in order to kill Nygma and combat gangster Barbara Kean, who has taken over Gotham in his absence. They recruit Victor Fries and Bridgit Pike as minions, and help Gordon stop the Court of Owls from using a weaponized virus on the city. Mooney is fatally wounded during a showdown between Cobblepot and Kean's forces, and with her dying words tells Cobblepot to make Gotham his or "burn it to the ground".
The GCPD makes a deal with Nygma to entrap Cobblepot, but the plan fails when Kean, Tabitha and Gilzean show up to fight; Cobblepot escapes while the two sides fight each other. Cobblepot takes Nygma to the same docks where he shot him, and has Fries encase him in a block of ice; Cobblepot wants to keep him as a reminder to never again let love weaken him. Later, Cobblepot and Ivy work on their plans for the Iceberg Lounge, with Cobblepot intending to use the frozen Nygma as the centerpiece.
Three months later, Cobblepot announces that no one can commit crimes in Gotham without a "license" from him; the mayor sanctions the scheme to keep crime down, and in return Cobblepot keeps the majority of the profits of any crime he permits. The GCPD reluctantly goes along with it – except for Gordon, who pledges that he will arrest any criminal he finds, and eventually Cobblepot himself.
One night, Cobblepot discovers that Nygma is gone from his ice prison and orders his personal assassin, Victor Zsasz, to find him. Nygma sends Cobblepot a series of riddles to make him guess his location. When Cobblepot does not show up at the location mentioned in the riddle (Stoker's Cemetery), he tells Nygma that he has lost his edge, and is no longer worthy of his attention. However, he changes his mind when he finds out that Nygma is making fun of him at a club in the Narrows as part of a wrestling act with Gilzean – who was killed months before and is now reborn as Solomon Grundy.
Meanwhile, Cobblepot forms a tenuous alliance with Carmine Falcone's daughter, Sofia. Together, they open an orphanage, and he befriends one of the orphans, a mute boy named Martin. He teaches the boy about the finer points of revenge and sabotage, and has him spy on Sofia, who he does not know how to trust. Martin later informs him that he saw Gordon and Sofia kissing, and Cobblepot realizes that she has been manipulating him. She arranges a meeting with him with Kean, Tabitha and Selina Kyle in tow and threatens to kill Martin unless he surrenders his territory. He fakes Martin's death to keep him safe, and declares war on Sofia. Cobblepot reveals Sofia's plotting to her father, who decides to send her away; moments later, however, Don Falcone is shot dead by men working for Sofia. Zsasz, believing that Cobblepot ordered the hit on his mentor, implicates him in Martin's apparent death, for which he is arrested and sent to Arkham. Psychopathic criminal Jerome Valeska, who is in the cell next to his, makes his life miserable by subjecting him to beatings and humiliation.
Six weeks later, Cobblepot receives a visit from Nygma, who leaves him with a riddle; he realizes that Nygma is still "the Riddler" deep down inside, and can help him escape. He then stands up to Jerome and beats him to a pulp, winning the lunatic's respect; Jerome agrees to deliver a letter from Cobblepot to Nygma and offers to take him into his gang. When Nygma visits once again, Cobblepot tells him to read the first word of each sentence of the letter, which is asking The Riddler to bring Nygma to Arkham so that Cobblepot can set the former free. Nygma allows his "Riddler" persona to take over, and breaks Cobblepot out of Arkham.
Cobblepot and Nygma visit Leslie Thompkins, who is now in charge of the Narrows. Thompkins and Nygma concoct a plan to take down Sofia, which a horrified Cobblepot discovers involves Victor Fries encasing him in a block of ice and delivering him to Sofia. Sometime later, a timer Fries planted on him goes off and melts the ice; upon being thawed out, Cobblepot tortures Sofia's underling The Dentist until he tells him where Sofia's thugs have taken Nygma. He finds them at the pier where Nygma shot him, and saves Nygma's life by shooting the thugs dead; they then reconcile as friends. Cobblepot joins forces with Jerome's "Legion of Horribles", along with Victor Fries, Bridgit Pike, Jervis Tetch and Jonathan Crane, and manages to recruit Butch with the promise of helping to find Hugo Strange to cure him. However, when he learns that Jerome intends to poison the city with lethal laughing gas, he goes to Gordon behind Jerome's back, informing him of Jerome's plans and asking for protection. When Jerome learns of Cobblepot's treachery, he has Tetch and Crane imprison him in a blimp that contains the laughing gas, set to kill thousands of people. Cobblepot overpowers the hypnotized pilot and flies the blimp out of the city toward a nearby river.
Following Jerome's death, Cobblepot joins forces with Butch, Tabitha Galavan and Barbara Kean to stop Ra's al Ghul and Jerome's equally psychopathic brother Jeremiah from destroying Gotham with a cluster of bombs, in hopes of collecting a reward from the city and getting clemency for their crimes. Jeremiah gets the better of them, however, forcing the unlikely allies to attack Ra's directly. Meanwhile, Cobblepot persuades Strange to cure Butch – only to shoot him dead in front of Tabitha as revenge for Tabitha killing his mother. When Gotham is evacuated following the bombs' explosion, Cobblepot carves out his own territory from the abandoned city.
In the fifth season, he returns as one of the three main antagonists (along with Jeremiah Valeska, Bane and Nyssa al Ghul). In the aftermath of Jeremiah's destruction of Gotham, Cobblepot and his thugs take control of all the ammunition in Gotham. He kills Tabitha during an all-out war with Gordon. He also frames Zsasz for bombing a building, in order to take full control of Gotham. When Bane and Nyssa al Ghul try to destroy the city with one of Jeremiah's bombs, Cobblepot and Nygma devise a plan to leave Gotham forever in a submarine. Cobblepot cannot bring himself to let Gotham be destroyed, however, and so he and Nygma agree to help Gordon defeat Bane and Nyssa. In the ensuing firefight, Cobblepot loses his right eye, which he covers with a monocle. He and Nygma help save the city, but lose the money and power they had amassed, so they resolve to work together to once again take control of Gotham.
Ten years later, Cobblepot is released from Blackgate Prison, having been imprisoned there six months after helping save Gotham. He kidnaps Gordon, now the GCPD Commissioner, and tries to kill him as revenge for locking him up, but Gordon escapes. Cobblepot then reuntes with Nygma, who has recently escaped from Arkham. The two of them plan to resume their reign of crime, but are unexpectedly captured and tied up by a mysterious vigilante calling himself "the Batman". They manage to escape, however, and resolve to fight this new adversary together.
Cobblepot is a rather skinny young man of average height, pale skin and noticeably bright blue eyes. His nose is slightly crooked and pointy, like a beak and he is usually grinning. His thin black hair looks like always wet and messily plastered on his head, with some spiky ends pointing erratically at the top of his head. His attire consists of a white shirt with a black Continental Cross tie with its ends tucked inside a silk, purple checkered vest and a black coat with dark green lapels, black pants and matching shoes, and mostly carrying a black umbrella. For betraying Fish Mooney, she beats him with a cane and cripples one of his legs, giving him his distinct penguin waddle.
In his older age, Cobblepot has put on some weight, and now wears a monocle over his damaged eye, a purple suit and wears a top hat.
Cobblepot is a ruthless, Macchiavellian criminal mastermind whose every move is aimed at achieving a certain end. He is methodical and patient, and is willing (and often eager) to kill to get what he wants.
He is not without a softer side, however; his complicated feelings for Edward Nygma reveal a need to be loved, and his mentorship of Martin reveals a paternal instinct, even as he doesn't admit it.
- High-level intellect/Expert tactician/Leadership: Oswald is methodical in creating plans that are meant to benefit him. He managed to orchestrate a gang war between Maroni and Falcone that he hoped would result in their deaths and allow him to control Gotham's criminal underground. He is also capable of running a criminal organization without getting caught by the GCPD. He was also able to convince the citizens of Gotham that Fish Mooney and her gang of "monsters" were a serious threat to the city, despite his status as a criminal.
- High pain tolerance/Indomitable will: Oswald has a high tolerance for pain. He showed no reaction after being stabbed in the hand with a pin by Fish Mooney. He was also able to kill Mooney and escape from the GCPD, despite being shot both times. He has shown to almost never give up on getting revenge towards those who have wronged him. He also was willing to let himself be killed to protect Nygma due to his love for him.
- Intimidation: While most people do not take him to be a serious threat, he is able to intimidate several people with threats of violence, such as Liza. Eventfully, once he became a major mob enforcer, Oswald became infamous for his ways of dealing with disrespect. Even some of his most loyal henchmen, only obey him out of fear.
- Master of Deception: Oswald is able to manipulate others and use them in his plans. He managed to convince Irish hitmen to kill Maroni by telling one of them it would make them Falcone's top hitmen instead of Zsasz, when in reality he planned to have them killed by Maroni and his men. While working as a double agent in Maroni's organization for Falcone, he was able to prove his usefulness to Maroni, with the latter not realizing it was all a ruse.
- Networking: As a crime lord, Oswald has connections to multiple crime families and hitmen.
- Singing: Oswald is skilled at singing as shown when he performed in duet with Nygma in the latter's apartment.
- Marksmanship: Oswald is skilled in the use of firearms.
- Torturer: Oswald is able to inflict brutal torture on several of his victims without restraint, such as when he beat Theo Galavan with a bat multiple times.
- Toxicology: Oswald has some knowledge of poisons as he laced the cannolis he served to the bank robbers he hired with a unknown poison that killed them.
Kill count: 28+
- Unnamed fisherman - Stabbed in throat with knife
- Two unnamed college kids - One stabbed in neck with knife, another unknown
- Unnamed enforcer of Fish Mooney - Stabbed to death
- Unnamed dishwasher - Unknown
- Unnamed gunmen working for him - Killed with poisoned cannoli
- Frankie Carbone - Stabbed multiple times
- Timothy - Gave his henchmen the order to kill him
- Marge - Shot with a shotgun
- Unnamed delivery man for Sal Maroni - Stabbed in throat with shard of glass
- Multiple unnamed gang members - Gunned down
- Fish Mooney - Pushed from ledge into the water (Revived)
- Janice Caulfield - Stabbed multiple times
- Butch Gilzean - Chopped his hand off (Survived)
- Leonard - Killed together with Edward Nygma
- Theo Galavan - Bludgeoned with a bat and then shot in the head by Jim Gordon
- Pet dog - Poisoned it to test what caused his father's death
- Charles and Sasha Van Dahl - Killed, cooked and served up to their unknowing mother Grace as revenge for them poisoning Oswald's father Elijah Van Dahl and mistreating him
- Grace Van Dahl - Stabbed
- Boris (Butch's lead mobster) - Shot in the head
- Isabella - sabotaged her car, causing her to crash into a train.
- Tarquin - Smashed his head with a golf trophy.
- Auctioneer - Shot in the head
- Gabe - Stabbed repeatedly out of anger
- Court of Owls guard- Throat slit
- Head Hunter - Stabbed in the throat and chest (survived)
- Unnamed Demon Gangster operating under his licenses - Stabbed in the throat
- Unnamed Gothamite - Stabbed in the head
- Two unnamed gangsters - Both Shot
- Butch Gilzean - Shot to death
- Three unnamed security guards - Shot by Oswald and his goons
- Tabitha Galavan - Stabbed in the heart
|Appearances for Oswald Cobblepot|
- While most versions of The Penguin tend to accept and like the nickname "Penguin", this version has a great dislike for the nickname, even going so far as to kill someone, if he can get away with it. However, with some advice from Sal Maroni, he begins to embrace the nickname. In season 2, he begins to address himself with the name and is comfortable with it and by season 3 insists people address him by the name.
- Cobblepot seems to be somewhat insane, unlike most incarnations who are sane. This seems inspired by the Batman Returns incarnation played by Danny DeVito, as well as the Arkham video game version of the character who is shown to be ruthless and bloodthirsty, rather than the sophisticated version in some comic adaptations who sees himself as a gentlemen of crime.
- Cobblepot is revealed to be 31 years old, which makes him 17 years older than Bruce Wayne. Since Bruce normally starts off as Batman at the age of 25, by then Cobblepot will be 42.
- Interestingly, Cobblepot has helped save the life of Bruce Wayne (who would ironically thwart the villain by becoming Batman) twice from Theo Galavan.
- Cobblepot is thin in the Gotham series, while he is obese in the comics and a majority of his other incarnations. However it is possible this version will put on weight, which is shown in his concept art depicting an older Cobblepot, plus his depiction of enjoying drinking alcohol and eating snacks.
- Robin Lord Taylor has said the character will gradually start gaining weight in order to fit with his comic counterpart. This eventually happened in the series finale.
- This incarnation of the Penguin has been very well received with critics and viewers alike, with Robin Lord Taylor's portrayal also praised. Actor Danny DeVito (who portrayed the Penguin in the Tim Burton film Batman Returns) praised Taylor's performance. Taylor himself had previously stated he used DeVito's Penguin as inspiration for his version of the character. Actor Mark Hamill, best known for voice acting the Joker in the Animated Series and Arkham Games also praised him.
- He could be considered the "evil counterpart" to protagonist James Gordon. They're newcomers that recognize a great conflict is brewing, but while Oswald manipulates the conflict to benefit himself, Gordon is trying to fight against it and clean up Gotham. And while Oswald kisses up to authority figures only to later betray them, Gordon's stubbornness causes him to make enemies.
- Oswald ends up reverting back to his 'evil' ways. In the film of A Clockwork Orange, it is implied that Alex would be going back to his violent ways once again.
- This is the first version of the character Penguin to be homosexual.
- However, it is likely that Penguin is actually bisexual as Robin Lord Taylor stated that if a girl were in Ed's place, Oswald would still end up in love with her. He also later seemed to fall for Sofia Falcone.
- Penguin has cheated death more than anyone in the series.
- The Penguin in Gotham could be considered the tritagonist of the series, as he along with protagonist Jim Gordon and deuteragonist Bruce Wayne has had the most character development, as well as the role as the leading character as parts of the series centers around his rise to power. And unlike most of the villains he mostly takes on the role as the antihero. However, he could also be considered as the main antagonist of the series for appearing the most and having overall bigger plans than anyone else.
- His appearance in the series finale time skip resembles the Burgess Meredith version from the 1960s television series Batman.