Villain Overview
I'm not sick, I'm free!
~ Barbara Kean after luring Gordon out of the GCPD.

Barbara Kean is Jim Gordon's ex-fiancee and one of the major antagonists in the series Gotham. Originally appearing as an understanding, supportive, and strong woman, as the series went on she developed her own character outside of Jim. Although initially based off Barbara Eileen Gordon, she acts as the show's version of Harley Quinn and shares similar character traits with the comic book character.

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, 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 one of the supporting antagonists of the second season, 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 serves as a major antagonist during the third season, where 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.

She was portrayed by Erin Richards.


Season 1


Barbara previously had a relationship with Detective Montoya, she was likewise addicted to drugs and had an unstable life. After they broke up, Barbara managed to clean up her life, and meet Gordon.

Estrangement from James Gordon

At first the two were happy, but as time went on Barbara's misguided, foolish and often selfish decisions kept bringing problems upon them, likewise the stress of Jim's job began to affect her. After a kidnapping attempt, she lost a lot of faith, and decided to ask for a break between her and Gordon.

In which time she simply went back to Montoya. However Montoya quickly broke up with her, deciding that they were not good for each other.

The Ogre

After this Barbara went to stay with her parents, when she returned she was unhappy to discover that Jim had moved on and had a new girlfriend, Doctor Leslie Thomkins.

Later the serial killer the Ogre came after Barbara, thinking she was still with Gordon. However after discovering she had broken up with him, and that she was so bitter and cynical, he fell for her. The Ogre seduced and kidnapped Barbara, revealing he was a serial killer. He likewise sensed the instability in Barbara herself and encouraged it to come to the forefront.

He ordered her to choose someone for him to kill next, and told her to pick someone she hated. Barbara chose her parents, however the Ogre managed to convince her to kill them (something Barbara justified as they had told her what to do when she as a child). However when Gordon and Bullock arrived, the Ogre resorted to taking Barbara hostage. While trying to talk Jim down, Bullock snuck up behind the Ogre and shot him in the back of the head. This instantly killed the Ogre and caused Barbara's throat to be slit slightly. None the less, she survives.

The true Barbara Kean

Afterwards Barbara played along as being traumatized, but insisted that Leslie treat her, despite Leslie's concerns it would be inappropriate and she was unqualified. Never the less she finally agreed. However during the sessions, Barbara tried to damage Leslie and Jim's relationship by lying about him.

Leslie saw through the deception, so changing tactics Barbara revealed it was her who murdered her parents and then she attacked Leslie trying to murder her. Leslie however managed to overpower Barbara and knock her unconscious.

Season 2

With the Maniax

In Season 2 she was later imprisoned in Arkham Asylum, leading to the inmates (especially Jerome Valeska and Richard Sionis) taking a liking to her. Jerome attempts to befriend her, since it appears he has a crush on her. She ignores his attempt until he mentions Sionis can give her what she needs. She got close to Richard in order to get a favor, which was getting access to a telephone to make threats towards Jim and Leslie. Barbara was later captured along with four other inmates by Theo Galavan to be given the opportunity to join a team he is setting up.

As the sole female member of the Maniax she is supervised by Tabitha Galavan, who teaches her how to use a whip.

After the Maniax are let loose onto Gotham, Barbara calls Gordon while he is in the GCPD. To his horror, Gordon saw Barbara at the entrance door of the precinct. When he saw her, she left. Gordon left the precinct, unaware that Barbara had the order to lure her away. While Gordon followed Barbara, the rest of the Maniax shot up the precinct.

Cornering Barbara in a side alley, Gordon tried to reason with Barbara but was disturbed by Aaron Helzinger who ambushed him and beat him senseless. Danzing would have beaten him to death if Barbara hadn't stopped him. With Gordon almost unconscious Barbara told him that he should return to the GCPD, then kissed him on the head and left with Helzinger.

The day after the shooting at the police precinct, Theo walks in on his sister and Barbara making out. He doesn't mind, but tells Tabitha to go entertain Jerome while he has to talk to Barbara. Tabitha leaves, not before kissing Barbara. After Tabitha is gone, Theo tells Barbara that he is glad that he and Tabitha get along so well because Tabitha needs a friend. He then congratulates her for her role in the attack on the GCPD. He also tells Barbara that his forefathers built Gotham and that they were betrayed. He plans to retake Gotham and tells her that the Maniax were only part one of his undertaking. He offers Barbara to help her destroy Jim Gordon after he has outlived his usefulness in the plan.

Alongside Theo she visits the benefit gala at the Children's hospital. When asking Theo if he wants to share his plans for the evening with her, he replies that he will give Gotham a hero. At the gala she is disguised as the assistant of Jerome, who has impersonated the magician. While helping Jerome on stage, she takes off her mask for a short moment and winks at Leslie who recognizes her. She calls Jim and warns him. This warning comes too late however, Jerome kills the Deputy Mayor and takes everyone inside hostage. When Theo seemingly stands up to Jerome, Barbara knocks him unconscious from behind. While Jerome "entertains" the guests, Barbara talks to Leslie who is strapped to a wheel. When Leslie calls her a sick bitch, Barbara makes the wheel spin while telling her that she predicts that she and Barbara will be together again in less in a year although Leslie tried to get between them. Leslie kicks her and angrily Barbara tries to stab her but is stopped by Jerome who tells her that he granted the police 10 minutes before he starts killing hostages. Barbara then hits her hard. When Jerome prepares to kill the first victim, he plans for Bruce to die. When he can't find Bruce, Barbara suggests that he kills Alfred instead.

When Theo kills Jerome, Barbara is able to escape the hospital. Upon her return to Theo's home she watches the news reporting of Jerome's death. When Theo arrives, she kisses him on the cheek. Unbeknownst to her, she was watched by Tabitha.

Kidnapping James Gordon


Barbara holding Jim and Lee hostage.

After Gordon finds out that Theo created the chaos at Gotham to become mayor, Theo gives Barbara the permission to kill Jim. The next day, Barbara gives herself up to the GCPD. While interrogated by Gordon Barbara manipulates him into kissing her, knowing that Leslie watches them through a mirrored window. The then tells Gordon that she needs to show him a "surprise" and that she will tell him everything after. Although sensing a trap, Nathaniel Barnes allows Jim to go, though accompanied by the Task Force and Bullock.

While in the car with Barbara, Gordon reveals that he knows that Barbara is setting up a trap but tries to talk her out of it, stating that Galavan will kill her once he no longer needs her. Barbara keeps on acting like he has no idea what he's talking about. While driving, they are ambushed by masked men who kill many of the Squad. Gordon and Bullock are knocked out when a truck crashes into their car. Barbara then brings Gordon to Gotham Cathedral and ties him to a chair. She then walks down the aisle in a wedding dress and reveals that she has kidnapped a priest to wed them and civilians to act as witnesses. Tabitha then rolls in Leslie, tied to a wheelchair. Tabitha tells Barbara to savior every moment of it and leaves.


Sorry baby, having kind of a bad day now. I love you baby.
~ Barbara to Gordon before her fall.

Jim then tricks Barbara into revealing information by calling her dishonest. Barbara takes the bait and reveals to him that Mayor James is alive and at a safehouse at China Docks. She then tries to stab Leslie with a knife but Leslie buys herself some time by asking where Barbara got her dress.


Barbara shortly before letting go of Gordon's hand.

Jim then frees himself and takes Barbara's shotgun. This leads to a standoff of Barbara and Jim, but they are stopped by the arrival of policemen outside. Tabitha and some of her man try to kill Gordon but Gordon shoots Tabitha in the shoulder and kills the other two. Tabitha flees and Gordon runs after Barbara. He faces her near a big ornamental window. Barbara tries to attack him with her knife but she trips and falls through the window. Jim catches her hand but Barbara states that they had kind of a bad date and tells Jim that she loves him. She then lets go of his hand and falls to the ground, thinking this is the end for her. She survives the fall but has broken half a dozen bones and her situation is critical.

Barbara was later seen in hospital and was due to be transported back to Arkham Asylum in order to receive treatment. At Arkham, she is later faced by Leslie when she guards Nora Fries. Although initially shocked to see the comatose Barbara, Leslie soon overcomes her fear and approaches Barbara's body, calling her a bitch and claiming that Barbara does not know what she's missing.

Barbara wakes from her coma the same time Gordon is found guilty for murder and sentenced to forty years in Blackgate.

Free Again

After her awakening, she is brought into with other prisoners, supervised by Professor Strange. Strange listens to Barbara confessing the murders of her parents and the attempted murder of Leslie and Jim. She claims that she doesn't feel insane but only sad and seems completely docile. After all prisoners are gone, Peabody approaches Stange. Although Peabody thinks that Barbara is only putting up an act, Strange is less convinced about it. Strange later convinces Barbara that she is sane and releases her into the city, another one of his pawns. Watching Keane drive off, Strange is told by Peabody that his reputation will suffer should he continue release lunatics from the asylum. Strange claims that he is not interested in his reputation and that while he does not know what Barbara will do, the results will surely be interesting. Barbara eventually arrives at Gordon's flat.


Gordon leaves Barbara

Horrified to see her, Jim immediately draws his gun but Barbara makes it clear to him that she was released. She reveals to him that she is sane, eventually convincing him. However, he makes to her that he doesn't care, urging her to leave as he has work to do. Barbara glances onto his desk, seeing that Jim is currently investigating The Lady. Barbara offers to help but Jim throws her out of his flat. She asks for one last favor, that Jim says her name, and Gordon replies "Goodbye, Barbara" before shutting the door. On her way out, Barbara sees Harvey Bullock who is equally horrified to see her.

By interrogating the Lady's known associates, Gordon finds out that the Lady is at a club called Artemis. While trying to infiltrate the Artemis Gordon is stopped by a guard. Moments later, Barbara appears and tells Gordon that the club is for women only, but offers to get information from the Lady for him.

Having no other option, Gordon sends Barbara in. Barbara approaches the Lady. By claiming that she plans to enter the assassination business and needs a partner, Barbara gains the Lady's trust. She then rats out Jim to the Lady and Jim is captured. With Jim as a supposed prisoner, Barbara tells the Lady that Gordon was investigating the Wayne murders. Surprised, the Lady tells her captive that she has no idea who hired her because all the arrangements were made over the telephone. The Lady reveals that the one who hired her called himself "The Philosopher". Having obtained the information she needed, Barbara tasers the Lady and her bodyguard and flees with Jim. Although she helped him, Gordon then tells Barbara that he won't forgive that she tried to kill him and Leslie. He tells Barbara that if she really wants to become a better person, that is up to her and her alone. He then leaves.

Barbara later moved in with Tabitha and Tabitha's partner Butch Gilzean. But Butch became uncomfortable at Barbara's behaviour, which he found both annoying and creepy, and eventually put her out of his mansion. But Barbara later returned and started working for Oswald Cobblepot, who sent her to the police precinct to get information on Jim. While there she exposed Basil Karlo as a fraud as he had disguised himself as Jim for Hugo Strange. Barbara relayed the information back to Cobblepot via telephone.

Season 3

The Sirens

After Tabitha awakened from her coma following her stabbing at the hands of a revived Theo, Barbara reconciled with her and the pair of them set up a nightclub together named The Sirens, although Barbara is still affiliated with Cobblepot.

Six-months following the escape of the Indian Hill monsters Cobblepot arrives at the nightclub with Butch in tow (who still holds a torch for Tabitha) wanting to ask Barbara if she still wants hi protection for the nightclub, in which she refuses. He then asks Barbara and Tabitha (whom he still hates for killing his mother) to send out the word that he would pay any person a million dollars if they find the leader of the monsters Fish Mooney and bring her to him dead or alive.

A group of mobsters turn up at the club demanding that Barbara pays them for being on their turf. The leader of the mobsters slaps Barbara, and although she initially feigns a victim act and breaking down in tears, she soon turns maniacal and starts laughing away, much to the confusion of the mobsters. Tabitha sneaks up and kills three of then, and Barbara proceeds to beat the leader into unconsciousness, breaking his nose in the first place.

Suspecting Cobblepot sent the men to put on the pressure, they call upon him to come to the club where the mob leader is kept alive and barely able to speak correctly. Barbara deduces that Cobblepot isn't responsible, but in fact Butch, who sent the men hoping a fearful Tabitha would return to him. This turns out correct, and a frustrated Cobblepot finishes off the head mobster with a bullet to the head and ends the matter.


Barbara initially appeared to be a kind, caring, selfless and moral 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 she resumes a relationship with Renee Montoya, who breaks up with her because Barbara 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, aka the Ogre, 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 her psychotic break, Barbara had openly become arrogant, aggressive, violent, immoral, unstable and delusional.

After Barbara comes out of her coma, she apparently had 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 shown to be cold and conniving. She had little respect for authority of any kind and was prone to a violent and sadistic nature.

Episode appearances

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"


  • 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.
  • This version of Barbara takes some elements from Harley Quinn - the girlfriend of the Joker in the comics - as she is seen parcipitating 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.
  • 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.
  • Although seemingly killed in the season 3 finale, actress Erin Richards has teased further development for Barbara yet to come, possibly hinting that she will be back for season 4.
           Gotham Villains

514A | Barbara Kean | Bridgit Pike | Butch Gilzean | Carmine Falcone | Edward Nygma | Fish Mooney | Hugo Strange | Ivy Pepper | Jerome Valeska | Jervis Tetch | Jonathan Crane | Kathryn Monroe | Mario Calvi | Nathaniel Barnes | Ms. Peabody | Oswald Cobblepot | Ra's al Ghul | Salvatore Maroni | Sensei | Tabitha Galavan | Theo Galavan | The Ogre | Victor Fries | Victor Zsasz

Aaron Helzinger | Arnold Dobkins | Arnold Flass | Aubrey James | Basil Karlo | Billy Boy | Carlson Grey | Clyde Destro | Davis Lamond | Dick Lovecraft | Dollmaker | Dorothy Duncan | Dr. Marks | Dwight Pollard | Eduardo Flamingo | Electrocutioner | Father Creel | Frankie Carbone | Gabe | Gerald Crane | Gillian Loeb | Grace van Dahl | Gus Floyd | The Lady | Larissa Diaz | Marv | Mario Pepper | Nancy | "Matches" Malone | Patti and Doug | Reginald Payne | Richard Gladwell | Richard Sionis | Ridgeback Monster | Robert Greenwood | Sid | Sid Bunderslaw | Stan Potolsky | Talon | Tom Dougherty | Trope | Tweaker | Tweed-Brothers | Zaardon

Court of Owls | Gotham City Police Department | Jerome Copycats | Order of St. Dumas | Penguins | Red Hood Gang | Maniax | Monsters | Wayne Enterprises