- "There's a point far out there, when the structures fail you. When the rules aren't weapons anymore, they're shackles, letting the bad guy get ahead. One day, you may face such a moment of crisis. And in that moment, I hope you have a friend like I did! To plunge their hands into the filth, so that you can keep yours clean!"
- ―Jim Gordon to John Blake[src]
James 'Jim' Gordon is portrayed by Gary Oldman in Nolan's film series. A stern and moral officer, Gordon initially loses hope of protecting Gotham when he sees just how corrupt it is with a majority of the police department answering to the mob. He finds newfound hope though in the appearance of Batman, who he soon begins to work with to finally clean up the streets of Gotham and give it the peace that it was overdue to have for decades. Throughout their partnership, Gordon and Batman not only face organized crime and random violence, but a variety of new threats to Gotham with the emergence of several villains with their own designs for the city.
- "I'm no rat! In a town this bent, who's there to rat to, anyway?"
- ―Sgt. Jim Gordon [src]
The film partly concerns Gordon's rise from beat cop to Sergeant and, by the end of the film, Lieutenant. As a young police officer, Gordon was freshly transferred from the Chicago Police Department to help the Gotham Police Department secure their city from an economic depression. After the depression came to an end with the making of a monorail system designed by billionaire Thomas Wayne, Gordon was on duty when Thomas and his wife, Martha, were mugged and killed outside an opera by a criminal named Joe Chill, and responded to the situation. He did his best to comfort the couple's eight-year-old son Bruce after the murder, and Bruce later recognizes him as one of the few honest police officers in the city and would always remember his kindness as it gave Bruce the strength he needed after his parents' death.
About twenty years later, after being promoted as a detective-sergeant on the force, while working late in his office, a man wearing body armor and a ski-mask visited Gordon's office to ask Gordon about Carmine Falcone's criminal operation and the police inability to stop the notorious crime lord. When the man threatens Gordon with a common office stapler, which was thought to be a pistol, he suggested that they form an alliance.
While Gordon simply believes the man to be "just some nut", he later starts to take him seriously when he arrives on the scene of Carmine Falcone's capture at one of his drug shipment locations. Carmine's body, strapped to a spotlight, forms a symbol of a bat in the sky, enticing Gordon to realize that the man he met several nights earlier was serious about his intentions to bring down Falcone and his crime empire, and looked up with the other cops to see the man for the first time: a bat-masked figure with a cape flapping behind him, who was dubbed "Batman" by the press.
As news breaks of this new vigilante, Commissioner Loeb is infuriated that someone in his city has taken the law into their own hands and is being glorified for it. While Gordon stands up for Batman by stating that he finally took down Falcone, Loeb refuses to allow a vigilante handle their jobs and orders for a massive law force to track him down. Gordon finally meets Batman face to face outside his home one night while he is taking out the garbage. Batman informs Gordon of an ongoing conspiracy in Gotham that concerns Falcone and Dr. Jonathan Crane, a corrupt psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum.
Batman goes on to explain that they were splitting the shipment of Falcone's drugs into two where only one went to the dealers. The dark hero believes that Gordon's corrupt police partner, Arnold Flass, knows more and leaves when he hears Gordon voice his reluctant belief that Batman is truly trying to help. Batman would eventually learn that the shipments of drugs contain chemicals that are transferred to Crane for him to develop into his fear gas, which he experiments with on his patients at Arkham.
Following his childhood friend, Rachel Dawes, to Arkham to meet with Crane, Batman watches as Crane induces her with his toxin and rescues her and apprehends Crane after learning that he is dumping his fear toxin into the water mains. Gordon helps Batman get Rachel to his vehicle for safety while he investigates the Asylum for clues as to who is behind everything. It would later be revealed that Crane was being used by Ra's al Ghul, who is planning on dispersing the fear gas with a microwave emitter stolen from Wayne Enterprises and watch Gotham tear itself apart through fear.
Ra's' men then orchestrate a massive breakout at Arkham Asylum, forcing Gordon to raise the bridges once all the riot police are on the island with him and attempts to apprehend the convicts. Rachel eventually meets with Gordon on the island and gives him the antidote for the fear toxin, given to her by Batman after saving her. Gordon then gets a patrol man to escort her to safety, but Ra's then begins to vaporize the water supply in the narrows, incapacitating everyone with fear. Gordon uses the antidote on himself and handcuffs Flass to a water valve after he attempts to murder two civilians while under the influence of the fear gas.
Gordon eventually proves pivotal in Batman's defeat of Ra's al Ghul by driving the Batmobile to destroy the Gotham monorail tracks and prevent the madman from driving the train in Wayne Tower and causing a chain reaction that would vaporize the entire city's water supply. James Gordon's involvement in saving Gotham results in his promotion to the rank of lieutenant. He developed a Batsignal with the department's spare searchlight to summon Batman in times of need. Gordon called the Batman to announce his promotion on the force, his appreciation and full trust to the Dark Knight, and to also discuss a criminal whose identity is a mystery. The criminal has committed an armed robbery and double homicide, with an apparent taste for theatrics, leaving a calling card: a Joker playing card.
The Dark Knight
- "Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So, we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A dark knight."
- ―Jim Gordon[src]
During the second film in the Nolan series, Gordon is the leader of GCPD's Major Crime Unit, a police sector created as Gordon's personal unit of his most trusted allies, and has been working with Batman and newly elected DA Harvey Dent to apprehend the new leaders of Carmine Falcone's gang and the rest of the mob. By using marked bills, Gordon is able to track most of the mob's laundered money to five major Gotham Banks and persuades Dent to approve search warrants for them to search and seize the money.
However, the mob is wise to this, due to Sal Maroni's inside agents in Gordon's unit and Dent's office, and has the money transported to a secure location with the help of a foreign mobster named Lau. Because of this, when he found the vault empty save for marked bills, Gordon ended up kicking the stack in anger for what happened. While Lau leaves for his industries in Hong Kong, Dent and Gordon turn to Batman to get him back so that they may use Lau as a testimony to imprison the mob and cut off all their funds. Batman does so through an elaborate scheme and literally delivers Lau to Gordon outside his unit's headquarters.
While Lau refuses to hand over the money, he promises to testify against all his clients in exchange for immunity, protection, and a charted flight back to Hong Kong. With Lau in their hands, Dent and Gordon arrest hundreds of the city's worst criminals and have them locked up and ready to be trialed relatively soon. All is going well until the Joker, a mass murdering psychopath who was hired by the mob to take out Batman, soon emerges onto the streets in a chaotic and violent fashion with the gruesome murder of a civilian. The Clown Prince of Crime begins his reign of terror by putting out hits on Commissioner Loeb, Judge Surrillo, and Harvey Dent, giving Batman an ultimatum in the process; if Batman doesn't take his mask off and turn himself in, all three of his hits will die along with countless others each and every passing day.
Little do the mob bosses who hired Joker know that he is simply using them to gain control over every level of Gotham's infrastructure though their inside agents and orchestrate his own plans to destroy social order and replace it with his own ideals of mindless chaos and injustice. Gordon manages to get to Loeb's office in time and block it off, but the Commissioner drinks a glass of whiskey that is laced with acid, killing him. Judge Surrillo is also killed by a car bomb on the other side of town, but Dent is saved by Bruce Wayne as the Joker comes to kill him personally at a fundraiser held in his honor by Wayne in his penthouse. Joker continues to murder innocent civilians daily, eventually making his next target the Mayor of Gotham City at Commissioner Loeb's funeral, held at City Hall.
While Gordon puts all available units on security the day of the funeral, the Joker still manages to set up an ingenious trap that nearly kills the Mayor. Just before the Joker can shoot the Mayor, Gordon pushes him out of the way and takes the bullet instead, seemingly sacrificing himself. However, Gordon anticipated such an attack and was wearing a bullet proof vest to ensure his family's safety by faking his death. Having his most trusted officers declare his death, Gordon exploits the situation to work undercover and set up a plan to capture the Joker.
Dent would eventually claim to be Batman as part of an elaborate trap to lure Joker into the open again so that he may be captured. As Dent is arrested and transferred down town in protective custody, driven by a disguised Gordon, Joker arrives in a truck and begins to massacre all the police officers and attacks the SWAT van Dent is in. With the aid of Batman, Joker's men are all defeated and Gordon is able to arrest the Joker when he attempts to unmask Batman.
With Loeb's death leaving his rank open and Gordon proving himself more than applicable for the job after capturing the Joker, Gordon is then promoted to Commissioner by the Mayor (while telling him to take the night off), grateful for saving his life and catching Joker. However, things only get worse as time goes on as Joker's capture was actually planned the whole time by the fiendish clown. While the Joker is in prison, his thugs, both inside agents in Gordon's unit, then kidnap Dent and Rachel Dawes, Dent's girlfriend and Wayne's love interest, and take them to two separate locations rigged with bombs and tubs of gasoline.
Batman is contacted once again on this matter, so he questions and brutally beats the Joker in the interrogation room to find out where they are, but the mastermind switches the locations when he tells the Dark Knight of their positions; Batman then goes after Rachel while Gordon goes after Dent, meaning they were actually going after the opposite person. When Batman discovers Harvey instead of Rachel, he hesitates out of fear, but rescues him only seconds before the building ignites and catches the left side of Dent's face on fire. At the other location, Gordon is not able to save Rachel and she is killed when the building explodes. Joker in the meantime, completely destroys Gordon's headquarters and murders dozens of his finest officers through a bomb surgically implanted inside the stomach of one his men in the jail cells, and abducts Lau, the very person he needed in order to have control over the mob's funds and the reason he let himself get caught.
Dent, now scarred horribly on his left side, promises that Gordon would soon pay for not listening to him earlier, blaming Gordon for Rachel's death as it was his men working for Joker through Maroni that abducted them both. As Gordon leaves the hospital, he runs into Maroni himself who feels that the situation has gotten too out of hand and gives Gordon the Joker's location, having been contacted by the villain to meet at the shipping yard where the mob's money is contained.
As Gordon prepares all available units to apprehend the Joker, the Joker burns Lau and all the mob's money, effectively making the mob powerless and giving Joker complete control over all their men as he claims the city as his own and contacts the Gotham Tonight Show. On the show is a man named Mr. Reese, who knows Batman's true identity and is prepared to reveal it on the air to stop Joker from killing further. When the Joker gets through on the phone lines, he proclaims that his ultimatum against Batman was simply a ruse for the hero and makes a threat to Mr. Reese and all of Gotham; if Reese isn't dead in 60 minutes, then Joker will blow up a hospital.
Gordon then calls off his ambush and refocuses his forces' attention on securing every hospital in Gotham, especially Gotham General, where Harvey Dent is held. As Gotham goes into a further state of panic, trying to kill Reese to save their loved ones in any of the potentially bomb rigged hospitals, Joker takes advantage of the hospitals' evacuations to get to Dent, disguised as a female nurse, and murdering a nurse and two police officers in the process. Joker convinces Dent to take his frustration out on those responsible for Rachel's death, convincing him that he simply does things without cause or reason and that it was Gordon's corrupted cops and the mob bosses that had the nerve to unleash his plans onto the world.
Dent spares Joker after a coin flip lands on its good side and leaves to pass judgement on the others responsible for Rachel's death, mauling him into Two-Face. Joker then blows up the hospital, escaping with a bus-load of hostages. Gordon is able to get Reese to safety with the unexpected help of Bruce Wayne and orders his units to get over to Gotham General when he hears the explosion.
Gordon then realizes that the situation has become so out of control that they will need to call in the National Guard to secure the city. As he has his officers contact the Mayor's office for approval of this action, Joker broadcasts another message to Gotham, telling them that the city will be under his complete control by nightfall and anyone left will play by his rules. As people scramble to leave the city, Joker makes a subtle threat that he rigged the bridges and tunnels to blow, making police search the structures and rendering them unusable.
Gordon then readies ferries to transport citizens away from the city and uses one to transport the mob's imprisoned men away as well, fearing that they may all be working for Joker. The Mayor allows this, as all police forces attempt to locate Dent, while the National Guard secures evacuations onto the ferries. However, all this was playing into the Joker's hands as he rigged both ferries with explosives and gave each boat the remote detonator to blow up the other boat. He then hacks into the radio frequencies on the ferries and tells the people on each that unless one boat detonates the other one, he will blow up both at midnight. The boat that detonates the other one will be the one to survive.
As both ferries go into panic, Batman locates Joker's hideout at a construction site building and gives Gordon the order to meet him there and assemble his men on the building opposite. When Gordon arrives, he sees Joker's men holding the hospital patients and staff hostage, but his forces have easy access points to shoot Joker's men and rescue the hostages. Batman refuses to believe it to be so simple with the Joker and makes Gordon give him several minutes alone to assess the situation himself. When Batman enters the building, he learns that Joker put the real hostages in clown masks and has his men dressed as the nurses, doctors, and patients. Batman then goes rescuing the hostages, stops the SWAT team from killing the wrong people, and faces Joker in a final showdown.
In the meantime, Gordon receives a phone call from Harvey Dent, who went on a killing spree of corrupt cops and mobsters, and now has Gordon's family hostage at the site of Rachel's' death. As Batman apprehends Joker and both ferries are saved, Gordon arrives at Rachel's final resting place and is knocked down by Dent, intent on killing one of his family members to prove just how horrible it feels to lose a loved one; he ends up picking Gordon's son to execute.
While Dent holds Gordon's son at gunpoint, Jim pleads relentlessly to have him let his son go while Batman arrives to negotiate with him. While Dent assures them this not what he wants, it's what he thinks is fair. He states his new philosophy that life is cruel and the only morality in a cruel world is unbiased chance; the same morality that took Rachel.
Dent then flips his coin to determine the fate of Batman, himself, and Gordon's son; Batman is shot when his coin lands on the bad side, Dent spares himself when it lands on the good side, and prepares to flip the coin one final time to determine the fate of Gordon's son. However, when he does so, he is tackled by Batman and flung off the edge, with his coin landing on the edge on the good side. Dent falls to the ground, breaking his neck and getting killed in the process, but also saving Gordon's son as Batman holds onto the building's siding and hands Gordon's son back before the police storm the location.
Batman tells Gordon to blame him for all the people that Dent has killed on him in order to ensure that Gotham remains hopeful and all the prisoners Dent locked up will remain so, as he flees into the night. While Gordon initially refuses because he has too much respect and gratitude towards Batman for all that he has done for him and his city, he knows that Batman is right and eventually agrees. Gordon is seen during one of the last scenes in the film, destroying the Bat-Signal while being surrounded by a group of cops who now disapprove of Batman due to the murders that he took the blame for.
The Dark Knight Rises
- "We were in this together, and then you were gone. And now there's evil rising from where we tried to bury it. The Batman has to come back."
- ―James Gordon to Batman[src]
Eight years have passed since the Joker's reign of terror, and Gotham is thriving for the first time in decades largely thanks to the Dent Act - legislation inspired by Harvey Dent's "uncompromising stand" against organized crime, and his "sacrifice." With the newly installed Dent Act, any criminal connected to the Mob, regardless of their wealth or power, is imprisoned, denied parole, and denied the right to file an insanity plea, effectively wiping out organized crime in Gotham.
While Gotham has seen a turn for the better over the past eight years, Gordon's life has seen a turn for the worse. His guilt over Gotham being saved by a lie, honoring a madman (Harvey Dent) who attempted to murder his son, and the condemnation of the hero (Batman) who saved his son and the city has become a heavy burden that eats away at him more and more everyday. Even worse, his wife, Barbara, took their children to live in Cleveland following Dent's attack on the Gordon family, leaving Gordon alone in Gotham.
On the eighth anniversary of Harvey Dent's death, a memorial ceremony (funded by the Wayne Foundation) is held at Wayne Manor in Dent's honor. Gordon decides that he can no longer live with his lie and writes a speech for the ceremony. The speech reveals the truth about the circumstances surrounding Dent's death, namely that the Batman didn't murder him, and that Dent didn't die as a white knight of the law, but rather as a psychopathic murderer. However, just as Gordon is about to read his speech aloud to the ceremony guests, he decides not to read it, fearing that it would undo eight years of hard-earned peace. Peter Foley, Gordon's second-in-command, learns that the Mayor is planning to fire Gordon from his position as commissioner in the following spring.
Later that night at his headquarters, Gordon is approached by John Blake, a young police officer with a strong sense of idealism, who informs him that a Congressman who attended the ceremony apparently never made it home. Blake then subtly presses Gordon for more information about Harvey Dent's death, hinting that he knows Batman's identity in the process. But Gordon pushes aside Blake's inquires and leaves to investigate the Congressman's disappearance.
The following night, a SWAT team locates the Congressman in a bar via a signal sent out from his cell phone. Jumping at the chance for some action, Gordon arrives at the scene with Foley only to find the SWAT team engaged in a firefight with some gunmen in an alley adjacent to the bar. After the gunmen vanish, Gordon finds a manhole slightly ajar and deduces that they must have escaped into the sewers. He and a few policemen descend into the manhole, but they soon come under fire. After his men are taken out by an explosion, Gordon is subdued by two thugs and dragged through the tunnels. Foley, unaware that Gordon has been captured, fails to send in anyone to rescue him.
Disoriented, Gordon sees huge construction projects underway in the sewers and a multitude of heavily armed mercenaries. The two thugs bring him to their leader: Bane, a terrorist mastermind affiliated with the League of Shadows. Bane is angry at the two thugs for bringing the police commissioner to his headquarters and he kills one of them. Before killing the second thug, Bane orders him to search Gordon, which results in Bane acquiring Gordon's speech about Harvey Dent. While Bane is reading the speech, Gordon manages to escape by rolling over and falling into an open pipe. But as the current carries him away, several mercenaries shoot at him with automatic weapons, and he is hit at least once. Later, he is found alive (albeit in critical condition) by Blake at the end of an outflow pipe at a wastewater treatment plant and promptly sent to a hospital. Foley temporarily takes over Gordon's position as the active leader of the GCPD.
When Blake had pulled Gordon out of the pipe, Gordon informed Blake about Bane's underground army. Blake takes his warning to heart and eventually decides to relay the message to Bruce Wayne himself. Having learned that Blake has deduced Batman's true identity, Batman, wearing a ski mask, visits Gordon in the hospital and Gordon recognizes that the masked man is Batman. In critical but stable condition, he implores his old friend and ally to come out of retirement and counter the rising threat. The next day, Bane attacks the Gotham Stock Exchange and Batman reappears for the first time in eight years to stop him. Gordon watches the televised newscast from his hospital bed with renewed hope.
As the days progress, Gordon remains bedridden, but his condition steadily improves. The day after the Stock Exchange attack, he learns that Foley has neglected his orders to search the tunnels because of Batman's reemergence. He also promotes Blake to detective status in response to Blake finding a connection between Dagget Industries (a rival of Wayne Enterprises) and Bane's schemes. Soon after, Blake is informed by Selina Kyle that Batman has been captured (perhaps killed) by Bane, and he proceeds to tell Gordon. A few days later, Bane kidnaps the Wayne Enterprises board (controlled by Lucius Fox and Miranda Tate) and takes them into the bowels of Gotham. Foley informs Gordon of the situation and, in panic, Gordon orders Foley to send the entire GCPD into the sewers to destroy Bane. He also orders Blake to further investigate the Dagget leads by any means possible.
Unfortunately, the massive seek-and-destroy mission has come too late. Bane takes the biggest step of his master plan: he rips Gotham's infrastructure apart with explosives planted by Dagget Industries cement workers and isolates Gotham from the outside world. Worse still, explosives surrounding the tunnels go off, trapping most of the GCPD underground. As Bane is fully aware that Gordon is still in the hospital, he sends two of his mercenaries to murder the commissioner. As the mercenaries forecefully enter the hospital, the alarms sound and Gordon is alerted to their presence. Despite his still-weak state, Gordon drags himself out of bed and outsmarts his attackers by hiding in the corner of his room and shooting them. He leaves the hospital with Blake (who had rushed to his aid in anticipation that Bane would send people to kill Gordon) and they go into hiding. They can only watch in horror as Bane's plans unravel. Bane plans to hold the city hostage and institute his own regime under the threat of detonating a nuclear bomb, formally the core of a Wayne Enterprises fusion reactor meant to serve as a source of renewable energy, and he tells Gotham that the detonator is in the hands of a civilian to give them a false sense of hope and entice them to obey his orders.
Gordon asks Blake to help get him in front of a camera so that Gordon could try to lead the people of Gotham against Bane. Blake agrees, despite knowing such an act could possibly get Gordon killed. The situation reaches the pinnacle of destruction when Bane reads Gordon's ceremony speech about Harvey Dent at City Hall on television. Bane then releases all the prisoners convicted by the Dent Act and incites his men and civilian mobs to brutally drag all the rich and powerful from their homes and perform mass convictions on them in a kangaroo court headed by Dr. Jonathan Crane (the two known sentences are death and exile). Watching the broadcast from Blake's apartment, Blake scolds Gordon for his part in the Dent coverup; Gordon angrily tries to defend himself by saying he had no choice, given the circumstances of the time, and he was grateful he had a friend like Batman to take the fall. Blake has no sympathy for the commissioner and remains disgusted with him.
The terrorist regime begins to hunt down free police officers, and any chance of Gordon becoming a city-wide resistance leader was ruined with the televised speech. But, the remaining cops under his command apparently hadn't lost their admiration for him, and as months crawl by and winter sets in, Gordon becomes the leader of close-knit resistance group consisting of dozens of free cops including Blake and Foley. They learn that the bomb is being kept inside one of three identical armoured trucks, and they track the routes of all three trucks. Unfortunately, they lack the means to identify which truck actually contains the bomb and they fail to make any progress in identifying the triggerman (Gordon concludes that the triggerman must be Bane himself). Luckily for them, while Blake was looking for a vantage point in a former bank, he found Miranda Tate and Lucius Fox living upstairs. They inform him that, because the bomb's fuel cells deteriorate over time, it would detonate in a few months.
Less than a month before the bomb is set to detonate, a trio of Special Forces operatives, led by Captain Jones, are smuggled into the city along with emergency relief supplies and they meet the commissioner and his men in the storeroom of a supermarket (Gordon's new base of operations). Gordon, Blake, and Jones decide to try and free the trapped cops in the near future. Also, using Geiger counters supplied by the Special Forces, they manage to eliminate one of the trucks as a decoy, leaving only two to choose from. Jones and his men are unaware of the bomb's failing condition, so Gordon sends them and Blake to talk with Lucius Fox. After they learn and are about to inform their superior officers, they are ambushed by Bane's mercenaries, killed, and hung from the city's one remaining bridge.
With 18 hours remaining before the bomb goes off, Gordon begins final preparations to identify the correct truck, mark it with a GPS, and figure out how to keep the bomb from detonating. He notices Foley is absent from the storeroom; enraged, he goes to Foley's house and pleads his second-in-command to help him, but Foley, demoralized and terrified for his family's safety, refuses. Immediately after Foley turns him down, Gordon reluctantly enlists Miranda Tate. With Miranda's help, they find what seems to be the correct truck and Gordon marks it with a GPS. Strangely, they are immediately found and arrested by a roaming band of mercenaries. Gordon and his men are taken before the kangaroo court, and given the choice by Crane between exile or death, Gordon chooses death. Turns out that "death" and "exile" were the same thing: walk across the frozen river to the safety of the mainland while trying not to fall through the ice. All of Gordon's men are included in this sentence, but Bane takes Miranda away.
That night, Gordon and his men are sent out across the ice near the remaining bridge. But when they are about a third of the way across, Gordon finds a trail of gasoline on the ice, and an emergency flare lying next to it. The mercenaries overseeing the execution on the near side of the river suddenly fall unconscious. Batman, having escaped captivity from an ancient prison that Bane placed him in after his defeat months ago, emerges from the shadows and meets Gordon on the ice. Elated and relieved, Gordon ignites the fuse and throws it onto the trail of gasoline, revealing a giant, fiery Batsignal painted on the bridge. The Dark Knight had finally returned to Gotham.
Upon asking, Batman is told by Gordon that Miranda has been taken by Bane, and that Bane is holed up at City Hall. Batman gives Gordon a device that can block the remote detonator signal to the bomb (the EMP guidance mount from the Bat), and instructs him to get it onto the bomb before sunrise, since Batman plans to lead the trapped police officers in an all-out assault on Bane's headquarters. True to plan, Batman frees the police and has them clash with the main bulk of Bane's army in a bloody street battle. Meanwhile, Gordon uses a bus to block the marked truck in an alleyway, only to find that the truck empty - Miranda had them mark the wrong truck. Dismayed but still thinking on his feet, Gordon and his men rush to find the only remaining truck.
Gordon's men seize an armed pickup truck belonging to the mercenaries and use it to fire on the bomb truck. Taking advantage of the distraction, Gordon climbs onto the moving truck and, after much difficulty, manages to sneak inside the back compartment and place the EMP device on the bomb. It beeps, indicating that it was blocking the signal, though Gordon still doesn't know for sure the identity of the triggerman. He remains inside the back of the bomb truck until it crashes after being pursued by Batman in the Bat and Selina Kyle on the Batpod. He moves to help Batman and Selina Talia take the bomb to its reactor to stabilizes it until he sees Miranda Tate (now revealed to be Talia al Ghul) mortally wounded in the front seat of the truck. She reveals to Gordon, Batman, and Selina that she has flooded the chamber containing the reactor needed to stabilize the bomb and dies from her wounds. Batman realizes that his only choice is to fly the bomb away from Gotham so that it blows up in a safe location.
As Batman prepares to leave with in the Bat with the bomb in tow, Gordon finally asks the hero who he really is so the people can know who saved the city. Batman hints that he was once a little boy Gordon comforted all those years ago with a brown coat and calls Gordon a hero before leaving. Gordon remembers in shock who that young boy was: Bruce Wayne. Batman flies the bomb out of Gotham's range and seemingly sacrifices himself in the explosion. Some time later, Gordon attends a small, private funeral for Bruce Wayne, along with Blake, Fox, and Alfred Pennyworth. He also attended the unveiling of a new statue of Batman in City Hall.
In the following months, Gotham rebuilds itself and Gordon returns to work as the police commissioner. In the wake of Bane's occupation and Gordon's role in saving the city, the Harvey Dent scandal had been quickly forgotten. Crime in the city was starting to die down as escaped convicts were recaptured, but Gordon never intended to be caught off-guard again, especially now that he was on his own. In his final scene, he stands on the rooftop of his old headquarters, where he used to meet Batman, and overlooks the city. Then, an object on the rooftop catches his attention: a brand-new Batsignal, recast in steel. He looks to the sky for that familiar sign - perhaps he wasn't on his own, after all.
Friendship With Batman
- James Gordon: “I never said thank you.”
- Batman: “And you'll never have to.”
- ―Gordon and Batman[src]
Although he does not condone vigilantes at first, Gordon sees that it is necessary to operate outside of laws in the crime-filled Gotham City, especially since most echelons of Gotham's police department are mired in corruption. Before the emergence of Batman, he was increasingly jaded and disillusioned of the malfeasance around him, disdaining his fellow officers even as he acknowledges that he cannot do anything about it, both due to his own refusal to be a 'rat' and a lack of anyone he could actually tell.
The arrival of the Dark Knight gives the police detective the hope he needs to build a better Gotham for his wife and children. After being promoted as a lieutenant, he is determined to clean the department up from within. The detective is still clueless of who Batman is, or that he is one of the people who inspired the Dark Knight to be what he is now. At the end of the The Dark Knight he is one of the few people who knows about Batman being innocent and that Dent was responsible for the murders Batman took the blame for.
In The Dark Knight Rises, Gordon's immense admiration for Batman leads him to feel incredibly guilty for condemning the man responsible for saving his family and city and has to glorify a madman to give the people hope. With Jim's persuasion, Batman finally returns and helps save the city for a third and seemingly final time. John Blake questions Gordon about lying to Gotham, to which Gordon responds by telling him that one day he may find himself in a similar situation, and that Gordon hopes Blake has a "friend" like he had. Gordon is finally relieved that Gotham knows the truth behind Dent and who the true hero is. He has a statue constructed in Batman's honor as a lasting monument to the hero's selfless heroism and smiles as he sees that someone has repaired the Bat Signal, implying that Batman is still alive. In the end, Gordon had the uppermost respect and trust for Batman and believed him to be the true hero the city needed and the one to finally save it and give it peace for the first time in decades. He also learned the truth about who Batman was, stating he never cared but believed people should know who saved them. Batman then proceeded to tell Gordon who he was along with the fact that Gordon himself inspired him with a simple act of kindness.
In other media
Batman: Gotham Knight
Gordon appears in Batman: Gotham Knight. He is voiced by Jim Meskimen.