Development for a prequel series based on Batman began in September 2013, with Bruno Heller hired by Fox to serve as a writer and executive producer. In March 2014, Fox originally ordered 16 episodes for its first season before expanding it to 22. Filming primarily took place across New York City. In May 2018, Fox renewed the series for a fifth and final season, consisting of 12 episodes, which premiered on January 3, 2019, and concluded on April 25, 2019. From July 28, 2019, a prequel series, Pennyworth, starring Jack Bannon as a younger version of the iteration of Alfred Pennyworth portrayed by Sean Pertwee in Gotham, began airing on Epix. From October 13, 2021, Victoria Cartagena reprised her role as Renee Montoya from the first season of Gotham as a series regular in the third season of The CWArrowverse series Batwoman.
In the third season, Gordon becomes a bounty hunter working to track down the Indian Hill monsters. Jervis Tetch threatens the city's safety with a deadly virus; Cobblepot and Nygma struggle for control over Gotham; and Bruce is told by the Court of Owls' leader to seek out Ra's al Ghul to complete his training.
In the fourth season, Bruce begins to fight crime as a masked vigilante to prepare for Ra's al Ghul's return; Sofia Falcone arrives in Gotham to reclaim the criminal underworld from Cobblepot, who has established a new law of "licensed crime"; and Jeremiah Valeska is driven insane and forms an alliance with Ra's al Ghul to turn the city into an isolated ruin, forcing Bruce to fulfil his destiny as "Gotham's Dark Knight".
In the fifth and final season, Gordon and his allies attempt to restore order in Gotham. Nyssa al Ghul seeks vengeance for her father's death; Eduardo Dorrance takes control of the city's military presence; and Jeremiah hatches a scheme to torment Bruce and cement their "bond" as hated enemies.
A decade later, Bruce returns to Gotham as a cloaked vigilante initially pursued by Gordon, who is now the Commissioner of the GCPD. Jeremiah escapes from Arkham and orchestrates a plot to draw Bruce out. After Jeremiah's defeat, Gordon activates a searchlight atop the Gotham City Police Department as the vigilante, whom Gordon calls a "friend," watches from afar.
Ben McKenzie as James Gordon: In September 2013, it was reported that Fox was developing a TV series centered on James Gordon's early days as a police detective and the origin stories of various Batman villains. In February 2014, McKenzie was cast as the lead character. When describing his character in an interview, McKenzie stated that Gordon "is a truly honest man. The last honest man in a city full of crooked people. He's not an anti-hero, he's a true hero – but he will have to compromise."
Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock: In early 2014, it was announced that Logue was cast as Harvey Bullock, a character who serves as James Gordon's ethically conflicted partner in the GCPD.
David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne: In March 2014, Mazouz was cast as Bruce Wayne. When discussing his character, Mazouz stated that "you never got to explore what Bruce Wayne was going through or his grieving process or what his anger makes him do. At this point in his life, he's angry, he's scared, he's compulsive, and he's lonely. He's looking for any meaning to his parents' death. You'll see the things that he'll do to himself and to other people while he's grieving, and you'll see how he becomes a regular kid again."Mikhail Mudrik portrays an adult Bruce wearing the Batman suit in the series finale.
Erin Richards as Barbara Kean: In February 2014, Richards was confirmed to have been cast in the show. Richards portrays James Gordon's fiancée, Barbara Kean, though their relationship deteriorates over the course of the season. She renews a past romantic relationship with Renee Montoya.
Camren Bicondova as Selina "Cat" Kyle: In March 2014, Bicondova was confirmed to have joined the show's cast. According to Bicondova, "The main word that I can think of to characterize Selina is that she's just surviving. She's very mischievous and very challenging to play at times, because she feels emotions but she hides them. I realized that she isn't just a street thief and a survivor; she's actually a normal girl."Lili Simmons portrays an adult Selina in the series finale.
Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma / The Riddler: Smith joined the cast in April 2014. In May 2014, Smith was promoted to a series regular. "What I love about the character's history is how diverse it is", says Smith. "When I was auditioning for Gotham, I got a handful of comics from different decades, so I had a perspective—it's been around for 75 years, which is a long time. I wanted to see an evolution of the comics—and of the character. Going from this quite innocent, well-intentioned, joyful person to starting to find this other part of him that he didn't know he had. He's a person who's constantly abused, and it's out of anger and exhaustion, and then realizing that when you start taking control of situations like that, you can gain power that way—it'll be something that he can start to enjoy."
John Doman as Carmine Falcone (main season 1, recurring season 2–4): Doman first appeared in the series pilot as Carmine Falcone, a mob boss with ties to James Gordon's father. Doman continued to appear throughout the season.
Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney (main season 1, recurring season 2–3): Smith was cast as Fish Mooney in February 2014. She appeared throughout the season until her character was seemingly killed in the show's season 1 finale after being dropped off the side of a tall building by Penguin. When asked if her character will return in future seasons, Smith replied, "If she survives the fall. I signed for a year. I don't think any of us really thought that Fish would have the life that she's had or be one of the favorite characters on the show. She was there to service a purpose, as far as helping to tell Penguin's story. I'm a smart girl. I understood I was there to service Penguin. If she survives, I would definitely be willing to do whatever was necessary to continue servicing the story of Gotham." In January 2016 it was announced that Smith would be reprising the role for the second half of season 2.
Morena Baccarin as Leslie "Lee" Thompkins (main season 2–5, recurring season 1): Morena Baccarin was cast in October 2014. Baccarin was promoted to a series regular for the second season, after recurring in the first season.
Nicholas D'Agosto as Harvey Dent (main season 2, guest season 1): In July 2014, it was announced that Harvey Dent would appear in the show. D'Agosto was revealed to portray Harvey Dent in October 2014, and was promoted to a series regular for the second season.
Michael Chiklis as Nathaniel Barnes / The Executioner (season 2–3): In July 2015, Chiklis was announced as a series regular for season two as Captain Nathaniel Barnes.
Gerard Cordero as Strike Force Lieutenant (season 2, Ep. 22)
Maggie Geha as Ivy "Pamela" Pepper (main season 3, guest season 4): A young woman and old friend of Selina's who develops pheromone-based powers after consuming a mysterious elixir. The character was portrayed by Clare Foley as a recurring character in the first and second seasons. Starting with the second episode of season 3, the role was recast with Geha as a series regular. Peyton List takes over the role in the fourth and fifth seasons, as a recurring character.
Benedict Samuel as Jervis Tetch / Mad Hatter (main season 3, recurring season 4–5): In August 2016, Samuel was announced as a series regular for season 3. He is described as a psychotic hypnotist with a steadfast desire to find his missing sister Alice.
Crystal Reed as Sofia Falcone (season 4): The daughter of Carmine Falcone who is returning to Gotham to help Gordon take down the Penguin. Reed was announced to portray Sofia Falcone and upgraded to a series regular for season 4.
Alexander Siddig as Ra's al Ghul (main season 4, guest season 3): The powerful head of the League of Assassins with a keen eye on Bruce Wayne. In March 2017, Siddig was announced to portray Ra's in the season 3 finale before being upgraded to a series regular for season 4.
Heller said that he was initially hesitant to do a series about superheroes because he didn't know how to write about people with super powers. He also stated, "I don't think Batman works very well on TV". Heller's son suggested that the focus of the series should be Commissioner Gordon, and Heller developed the idea of Gordon investigating Bruce Wayne's parents' murder. That idea "gave us a starting point and allowed us to tell the saga from a much earlier point than before".
On September 24, 2013, Fox announced that it had bypassed the traditional pilot and placed an order for Gotham to be written and executive produced by Heller.Gotham received a series order from Fox on May 5, 2014, with the first season reported to consist of 16 episodes rather than the standard 13 or 22. On October 13, Fox ordered an additional six episodes for the show, bringing the first season order to a full 22 episodes. In February 2014, it was reported that production would begin in New York City in March, and filming finished on March 24, 2015, for the first season. On January 17, 2015, the series was renewed for a second season. The show was officially renewed by Fox for a 22-episode third season on March 16, 2016. In May 2017, Fox renewed the series for a fourth season, which premiered on September 21, 2017. On May 13, 2018, Fox renewed the series for a fifth and final season originally consisting of 10 episodes then later increased to 12. The season began production in July that year, and premiered on January 3, 2019.
Fox Entertainment President David Madden said that the show's production team "have masterfully honored the mythology of Gotham and brought it to life with depth, emotion, and memorable high drama."
In January 2014, rumors arose that Donal Logue would portray Gordon in the series. Logue denied these rumors via Twitter. Logue was eventually cast as Harvey Bullock. In February 2014, Ben McKenzie was cast as James Gordon. McKenzie had shot a previous pilot with Heller for CBS, which led to Heller writing his characterization of Gordon with McKenzie in mind. Casting Bruce Wayne was challenging in part because, as Heller put it "It's such an important casting and it would've been very dangerous to cast the wrong person" adding that the casting process for Wayne "took a lot of negotiation, a lot of back and forth so that everyone was happy and comfortable." In early March 2014, David Mazouz was cast as Bruce Wayne while Camren Bicondova was cast as Selina Kyle. At the 2014 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, DC's Jim Cunningham said that Renee Montoya would be a character on the show.
In July 2014, it was announced that Graeme Revell would be the composer for the series.
The pilot was screened at the Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment panel at San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2014. The series premiered on Nine Network in Australia on October 12. In Canada, it is shown in simulcast on CTV and reran on M3. In New Zealand, it premiered on TV2 on September 28. In the United Kingdom, it premiered on Channel 5 on October 13. The channel also screen the second season but after failing to screen the third season it was announced in August 2017 that the season would premiere exclusively on DVD and Blu-ray and be on Netflix from September 1. In Ireland, it premiered on RTÉ2 on January 26, 2015. In March 2018, it was announced that E4 had acquired the rights to air the fourth season on UK television.
In early October 2014, market research firm Survata polled more than 1,400 viewers to determine that Gotham was the major TV premiere, out of 24, that viewers were most interested to watch that year.
In Australia the first and second episodes received 1.24 million and 896,000 viewers, respectively. The timeshifted broadcasts were watched by 1.43 and 1.03 million, respectively. The Canadian debut got 3.38 million viewers, making it the second most-watched telecast of the night and week. The UK premiere was watched by 3.20 million viewers. The airings on the 1-hour and 24-hour timeshift channels were watched by 597,000 and 142,000 viewers, respectively. In New Zealand, it was the most-watched program on the network, with 278,540 viewers. The time shifted version was watched by 39,580 viewers.
Season 1 of Gotham received generally positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the season a rating of 76% based on 91 reviews, with an average rating of 6.85/10. The site's consensus states, "High production values, a talented cast, and an appealingly stylized approach to the Batman mythos help Gotham overcome its occasionally familiar themes."Metacritic gives the season a score of 71 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
David Hinckley of New York Daily News praised the first episode for playing "like a 45-minute movie, with stunning visuals that never feel like a shrunken TV version of the Batman films against which it will inevitably be measured" and lauded Logue's Harvey Bullock as a scene-stealer. The San Jose Mercury News' Chuck Barney called the pilot "a fun, dark, moody and well-paced first hour" and McKenzie's James Gordon a commanding lead, while saying Jada Pinkett Smith is "an absolute blast to watch." Matt Brennan of Indiewire said that Gotham was "the perfect antidote to superhero fatigue", praising the "bright, pop-inflected aesthetic, with urban backdrops that appear as though cut out from the panels of a comic book."
Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly criticized the first half of season one along with the mid-season premiere. He found the personalities of the most characters "already nearly fully formed; all they can become is more or less than what they already are." Jensen added that Gordon not being Gotham's redeemer hurt the premise of the show and heavily criticized what he saw as the under-use of Jada Pinkett Smith's character. In the end, he does not see Gotham "as a show for comic book fanboys" but rather as "a post-fanboy, or fanboy-irrelevant." Oliver Sava of The A.V. Club lamented that "there have been dozens of interpretations of Batman and his city in the 75 years since their creation, and Gotham has trouble finding the right balance of influences".
The second season of Gotham received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 74% based on 15 reviews, with an average rating of 6.58/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "While still tonally uneven in season two, Gotham is back with a renewed focus, moving away from disjointed case-of-the-week plots into a darker, more stable serialized story."Metacritic gives the season a score of 62 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The third season of Gotham received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 74% based on 9 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Gotham's third season lets the series' freak flag fly to thrilling effect, but it is far more fun to spend time with the supervillains than virtually any of the other characters".
The fourth season of Gotham received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 77% based on 22 reviews, with an average rating of 6.89/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though at times suffering from a narrative overload that undermines the drama, Gotham's fourth season ends strong, focusing on Bruce Wayne's transition into the beloved hero its audience awaits".
The fifth and final season of Gotham received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 85% based on 20 reviews, with an average rating of 7.17/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Gotham concludes in a glorious free-for-all that takes full advantage of the series' dense roster of colorful villains, making for an extended climax that is both daffy and thrilling".
On February 1, 2016, Fox began airing episodes of a five-part motion comic titled Gotham Stories, meant to tie into the series' second season. On January 31, 2017, the first Gothamtie-innovel was published by Titan. Dawn of Darkness by Jason Starr is described as an "official prequel" to the TV series, set two months prior to the beginning of the series. The following year, another novel was released written by the same author. Entitled City of Monsters, the book centered around Gordon during the events between seasons 2 and 3 of the series.