Born in Chicago, Sarah Essen endeavored to become a police officer. After achieving the rank of sergeant, she transferred to Gotham City where she became romantically involved with Lt. James Gordon. Sarah knew that James was married with a son on the way, and she soon brought the affair to a close. Unable to work with Jim any longer, she put in a transfer to New York City.
Years later, Sarah returned to Gotham and resumed her romance with the now-divorced Jim Gordon. By this point, Jim had become Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department and the two were eventually wed. Jim temporarily resigned his position so that he could pursue a career in local politics. To fill the vacuum, Sarah took his place and operated as the city's newest Commissioner Gordon.
During a chain of events that has come to be known as No Mans Land, the Joker shoots Essen in her temple after she saves the babies from his plan to attract the attention of The Batman (although it's implied shortly thereafter that even the Joker wasn't amused by her death). Devastated by her death, Commissioner Gordon apprehended the Joker by shooting him in the leg.
It is mentioned in Batgirl #5 that Jim Gordon never remarried after his divorce, suggesting that either Sarah does not exist as of the reboot or simply never had a relationship with Gordon, serious or otherwise.
- Sarah Essen was a highly trained vice and homicide detective. She was also an expert in every facet of police procedure.
- Strength Level: Sarah Essen possessed the strength level of a woman her age, size and weight who engaged in moderate regular exercise.
- Equipment: Aside from standard police issue utilities, Sarah briefly had access to the Bat-signal during her tenure as Commissioner.
- Weapons: As a detective, Sarah carried police issue firearms.
- Sarah Essen was a former smoker.
In Other Media
- Detective Sarah Essen appeared in Batman: Year One voiced by Katee Sackhoff.
- Sarah Essen Gordon appeared as the wife of James Gordon in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, voiced by Grey DeLisle.
- Though Sarah doesn't appear in Batman: Arkham City, Gordon has his men use her name as a code to prove they are GCPD when they rendezvous with Batman. Her affair with Gordon from Year One is also indirectly alluded to in Batman: Arkham Origins, where Commissioner Loeb implied in one of the extortion tapes that he was going to have Harvey Bullock not only spy on then-Captain James Gordon, but also set up a honeypot trap for him.
- A character called Captain Essen will be appearing in the TV series Gotham portrayed by Zabryna Guevara. Unlike the comics, Captain Essen was one of the more corrupt GCPD members, albeit largely because her family was threatened by the various gangs in Gotham City. She ends up being killed in the second season when Jerome Valeska launches an attack on the GCPD headquarters.