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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.

Personality

Barbara initially appeared to be a moral, kind, caring, benevolent, and selfless 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"
  • "Mad City: Anything for You"
  • "Mad City: Follow the White Rabbit"
  • "Mad City: Red Queen" (hallucination)
  • "Mad City: Blood Rush"
  • "Mad City: Time Bomb"
  • "Mad City: Beware the Green-Eyed Monster"
  • "Mad City: Ghosts"
  • "Mad City: Smile Like You Mean It"
  • "Mad City: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies"
  • "Heroes Rise: These Delicate and Dark Obsessions"
  • "Heroes Rise: The Primal Riddle"
  • "Heroes Rise: Pretty Hate Machine"
  • "Heroes Rise: Destiny Calling"
  • "Heroes Rise: Heavydirtysoul"

Season 4

  • "A Dark Knight: The Fear Reaper"
  • "A Dark Knight: They Who Hide Behind Masks"
  • "A Dark Knight: The Demon's Head"
  • "A Dark Knight: The Blade's Path"

Trivia

  • 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.
  • Being electrocuted in Season 3 seems to have turned her hair white. It also seems to have altered her personality, making her more calm and rational; however, she remains cruel and dismissive. Her calm and rational personality was later revealed to be an act in order to make Tabitha and Selina allies.

Navigation

           Gotham Villains

Main
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 | Professor Pyg | Leslie Thompkins | Ra's al Ghul | Salvatore Maroni | Sensei | Tabitha Galavan | Theo Galavan | The Ogre | Victor Fries | Victor Zsasz

Secondary
Aaron Helzinger | Anubis and the Hunter | 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 | "Matches" Malone | Merton | Nancy | Patti and Doug | Reed | Reginald Payne | Richard Gladwell | Richard Sionis | Ridgeback Monster | Robert Greenwood | Sid | Sid Bunderslaw | Stan Potolsky | Talon | Tom Dougherty | Trope | Tweaker | Tweed-Brothers | Zaardon

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