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Villain Overview
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There's nothing more contagious than laughter!
~ Jerome's most famous quote.

Jerome Valeska is one of the main antagonists in the TV series, Gotham alongside Ra's al Ghul. He acts as a possible origin for the Batman supervillain The Joker, sharing similarities, appearance and behavior to the character. Jerome worked at the carnival with the Flying Graysons before having revealed to have committed matricide due to his mother being a "nagging drunken whore". Jerome acted as the minor antagonist in Season 1, and in Season 2, he became the major supporting antagonist in Rise of the Villains arc. After his resurrection in Season 3, Jerome became one of the main antagonists of the Mad City arc, where he also served as the final antagonist.

After having been busted out of Arkham Asylum, Jerome was offered the chance to wreak havoc in Gotham in the Season 2 opening story arc Rise of the Villains. As the leader of the Maniax, Jerome terrorized the whole of Gotham. Although he was betrayed and killed by his boss Theo Galavan (who wanted to be seen as a hero to the city), Jerome left a legacy leading to some citizens to follow his example, causing a fanatical cult to plot his resurrection. A year following his death, Jerome was finally resurrected back to life by Dwight Pollard, a loyal follower of his. Jerome went back to pursuing his vendetta on killing Bruce Wayne shortly after causing a citywide blackout, corrupting Gotham City. His attempt to execute Bruce was thwarted by Bruce and the GCPD, who sent him back to Arkham Asylum for his crimes.

He is portrayed by Cameron Monaghan, who is best known for portaying Ian Gallagher on the Showtime comedy-drama Shameless.

Biography

Beginnings

Murdering his Mother

Why did you kill your mother Jerome?
"Oh, you know how mothers are. She just kept pushing. And I'm like, 'fine, mom. Be a whore. Be a drunken whore even. But don't be a nagging drunken whore...you know? Don't come yell at me to do the dishes if you've been banging a clown in the next room! You know?"
~ Jerome Valeska, exposes his psychopathic profile.

Jerome Valeska's mother was the snake dancer at the carnival, she was known for having sex with any male that worked at the carnival and she was also a hateful and mean woman to everyone around her (although the only proof of this came from Jerome himself, so may not be true). Due to her life style and the way she treated him by always giving him orders, Jerome hated her and wanted to see her suffer. Jerome finally snapped and hacked her to death with a hatchet. He later faked lack of knowledge of what happened to his mother and faked sadness for her death, although he was eventually caught by James Gordon, also revealing that his birth father was Cicero the blind fortune teller. When Jerome was questioned by James Gordon on why he killed her, Jerome began to laugh as if it were all a big joke and told him she was a "nagging whore" that needed to die. He was later incarcerated at Arkham Asylum.

Maniax Killing Spree

Escape from Arkham Asylum

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Valeska in Arkham with Richard Sionis.

Jerome, takes a quick interest in  Barbara Kean, who was previously brainwashed to kill her parents by the now deceased Ogre. He attempts to befriend her, but is almost immediately shot down. When newcomer inmate Zaardon dramatically introduces himself to the prisoners, he chokes up knockout gas and inmates Jerome, Barbara, Richard Sionis, Robert Greenwood, Aaron Helzinger & Arnold Dobkins. are broken out of Arkham orchestrated by Tabitha Galavan. The bunch are tied up and meet Theo Galavan, who inspires them to be part of a team of elite criminals. Sionis refuses and is killed by Tabitha, much to Jerome's joy.

Leading the Maniax

The Maniax make their presence known by breaking into a shipyard and stealing a fully loaded refueling truck. They bring the seven hostages on the roof of the Gotham Gazette, write letters on each and throw them off the roof so that the corpses on the ground spell "MANIAX". When Dobkins asks what they do with the spare hostage, Jerome paints an exclamation mark on the man's chest and tells Helzinger to throw him down too.

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Jerome plays Russian Roulette.

While in their new headquarter Jerome finds a sword which Greenwood immeadiately takes from him. When Jerome asks him nicely to give it back, Greenwood tells Jerome to "make him", calling him a little brat. Jerome takes a chainsaw and the two of them prepare to fight but are disturbed by Theo Galavan who orders them to stop immediately. When Dobkins chides them because they are a team, Greenwood proclaims himself the team captain but Jerome immediately denies that, planning to become the leader himself. Sensing the tension between the two, Galavan states that this problem must be resolved immediately. He draws his gun and removes all but one bullet, asking them if they know this game. Greenwood takes the gun, aims at his head and shoots but nothing happens. When Jerome does this not once but three times Jerome is made the leader of their organization by Galavan's permission.

As the next part of their plan, the Maniax hold a cheerleader school bus hostage (apparently the decision was between it and a senior citizen bingo party, with the cheerleader school bus ultimately being decided) and plan to set it on fire with the fuel from the refueling truck they stole earlier. After spilling the fuel in the bus, Jerome realises that his lighter isn't working and, embarassed, asks the cheerleaders if any of them has fire. He is provided with a lighter by Dobkins, however the incident cost them enough time for the police to arrive. Jerome tells his Maniax to stand their ground because the policemen cannot risk to shoot at the bus. He tells Helzinger and Greenwood to get the truck and, after running out of ammunition for his revolver while firing at Gordon, orders Dobkins to light the bus up. The Maniax leave with Jerome continuing spilling fuel from the hose while they drive off but Dobkins is left behind. Their plan was ultimately foiled due to the quick thinking of Gordon after he accidentally set the fuel alight.

Attacking GCPD Headquarters

"Very soon, little man, you will be dead. And the world will go on without you. You'll be nothing. No one will even remember your name."
"No. That is where you're wrong, old lady. We will leave a mark on this city. We will spread across it like a virus."
~ Sarah Essen and Jerome Valeska

When they find out that the police is searching for them, the Maniax (minus Helzinger and Barbara) enter the GCPD precinct disguised as policemen. Jerome tells an officer that he needs to speak with Commissioner Essen immediately and enters her bureau. When she recognized him he draws his gun to keep her quiet while his colleagues start shooting up the precinct. With Greenwood filming them, Jerome has a discussion with Essen after the massacre. Essen tells him that he will soon be dead and that the world will go on without him, but he replies that he and his Maniax will leave a mark on the city. When Greenwood interferes, saying something Jerome was about to say, Jerome shoots the cannibal for stealing his line.

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Jerome holds Commissioner Essen hostage.

When Gordon returns to the precinct, he finds most of his colleagues dead. Searching for his boss he finds Essen dying, having been mortally wounded by Jerome. While cleaning up the precinct, Gordon is told to look at the news. When he looks at the TV he sees a video message from Jerome, in which he reveals himself as the leader of the Maniax. He tells the viewers that he will be back soon and that they have seen nothing yet.

When Jim Gordon and the reinstated Harvey Bullock get a lead on Paul Cicero, who bailed on Jerome during their first interogation, Jerome and Tabitha confront him and stab him in the eye before escaping after Jim Gordon was knocking on the old man's door, although not before learning from Cicero that Jerome will ultimately spawn Gotham's worst curse. Before Jerome escaped, he hid knockout gas in Cicero's jacket, knocking Bullock unconscious. Jim attempted to fight Jerome, but was knocked out by Tabitha.

Attack on the Children's Hospital Gala

By the way, nobody here is getting out alive.
~ Jerome, disguised as the Great Rodolfo, just prior to murdering Deputy Mayor Kane.
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Jerome holds a hostage situation at the Gotham Children's Hospital Gala

That following night at the Gotham Children's Hospital Gala, Jerome and Barbara disguise themselves as the magicians hired for the show.

Jerome, whilst ominously telling the audience (still disguised as a magician) that no one was getting out alive, reveals himself mid-way through the act by hurling a knife into Deputy Mayor Kane, killing him. Galavan's men then attack the audience, quickly convoluting into a hostage situation. Meanwhile, Jerome proceeds to subdue Leslie Thompkins and string her up to a wheel, as well as confiscate her cellphone to contact Jim Gordon for a ransom.

Via the cameras broadcasting the event, Jerome is able to broadcast his demands to Gotham: Either he gets $47 million in ransom money, a getaway helicopter, his dry cleaning (while sarcastically warning Gordon that the man in charge of the dry cleaners, Mr. Chang, was a crook) as well as a pony, and that he expects Gordon to get all these items in 10 minutes, or else he'll start killing the hostages, which he made clear will be demonstrated on live TV on every house across Gotham. There, Jerome goes terrorizing the attendees until their boss, Theo Galavan acts like he is the hero and stands up to the two until Barbara knocks him out with a hammer.

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Jerome is killed by Theo Galavan.

Jerome calls out for Bruce Wayne and holds his butler Alfred Pennyworth as the next victim until Bruce stands up to Jerome. He puts a knife on Bruce's throat and slowly starts to slit it until the GCPD arrive. Theo, having regained consciousness, stabs Jerome in the neck to better his appearance as a hero. While Jerome falls to the floor, Theo apologizes to him and acknowledges his talent, but reveals that he only used Jerome to boost his popularity. With his last words, Jerome tries to answer but dies with a blood-crafted smile on his face before he can finish his sentence.

Posthumous influence on Gotham

You will be a curse upon Gotham. Children will wake from sleep screaming at the thought of you. Your legacy will be death and madness.
~ Paul Cicero's foreshadowing quote, predicting Jerome's effect upon Gotham City.

As foretold before, Jerome's contributions to The Maniax caused a disfigurement on Gotham, intriguing other citizens, young and old to undergo his personality and wreak havoc on Gotham. People like Oswald Cobblepot considered him tedious because his motivation was chaos for the sake of chaos.

A band devoted to the Maniax was created by a woman named Jeri and her nightclub included images and news footage of Jerome and his gang, as well as their mugshots. Some of the attendees to the band are also seen wearing similar straight-jackets the Maniax themselves wore during their attempt to set fire to the school bus. Peri herself also wore clown like makeup.

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Jerome's frozen corpse.

As for Jerome himself, he was seen as the spiritual "Clown Prince of Crime" dying with a blood-sculpted smile on his face as his body was left to be examined in the GCPD Forensics Room. His body later came under possession by Hugo Strange at the Indian Hill facility. After his demise Jerome was transported to the research facility Indian Hill, where he was stored into a glass tube along with other deceased people including Theo himself. However, Jerome was never revived by Strange. After the chaos at Indian Hill, the remaining corpses at Indian Hill were shifted to another Wayne Enterprises facility.

Months later, Gordon and Bullock investigate the former Indian Hill employee Dwight Pollard. Unbeknownst to the two, Dwight is also a follower of a cult dedicated to Jerome. While following Dwight, they enter an abandoned cinema where the cult celebrates their 'hero' by showing the video footage of Jerome attacking the GCPD precinct. It is ultimately revealed that Dwight used his new position as a morgue guard to use the things he learned at Indian Hill to revive the corpses at the morgue. However, as the cult did not manage to get the effects quite right, they are not yet able to fulfill their plan - reviving Jerome.

Resurrection

Awakening

Tonight, Gotham, do what you want, kill who you want. And when morning comes you too shall be reborn.
~ Jerome to the people of Gotham City.
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A resurrected Jerome threatens Lee.

As part of their plan, Dwight and his followers storm the Wayne Enterprises warehouse where Jerome is held and steal his corpse. Back at his lab, Dwight attempts to revive Jerome but is seemingly unsuccessful. As he has promised his followers the return of Jerome, Dwight uses a scalpel to cut off Jerome's face and wears it as a mask. When the police, who have found Dwight's location, arrive at the lab, they only find Jerome's corpse with a bloody face. The body is delivered to the GCPD where Lee Thompkins is supposed to make an autopsy. However, Jerome is in truth alive and, once Lee is out of the room, kills the police officer guarding him.

When Lee returns, Jerome ambushes her with the officer's gun. He forces her to sit down and to explain him what has happened. He eventually recognizes her as Jim Gordon's girlfriend but Lee tells him that he killed her husband. During the entire conversation, Lee is neither impressed nor frightened by Jerome. When Jerome thinks back to his last moments, he remembers that he failed to kill Bruce Wayne and that Theo Galavan betrayed him. When he claims that he has to take revenge on Galavan, Leslie tells him that Galavan is dead and, furthermore, was resurrected as well. Eventually, Jerome asks Leslie where exactly his face is. After he sees the TV show Dwight and his followers are putting up at a news station, Jerome ties up Leslie, steals a police uniform and a police car and drives off, driving over a civilian on his way.

After Dwight and his men have been stopped by Gordon and the GCPD, Jerome intercepts the policeman bringing Dwight away. He murders the officer and kidnaps Dwight, whom he takes to an abandoned facility. After getting his face back and attaching it back on with a stapler, he turns to Dwight. Dwight asks whether Jerome is mad to which Jerome sarcastically replies by asking what he could possibly be mad about. However, he then attacks Dwight and ties him to a self-built bomb.

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Jerome sends his message to Gotham

Jerome then takes a camera stolen from the news station and broadcasts live. He reveals himself to Gotham, telling that he is back from the dead. Jerome also adresses his followers, telling them to do what they want and to kill who they want. He then approaches Dwight and ignites the bomb. Claiming that he doesn't forgive Dwight for his face, Jerome then walks off while leaving the camera focused on Dwight. Gordon realizes that Jerome is at a power plant and tries to send men there but the bomb then goes off, killing Dwight and creating a city-wide power outage.

With the whole city without power, Jerome's followers wreak havoc in the streets of Gotham. Even ordinary citizens seem to have followed Jerome's demand and unleash their inner psychopaths. The maniacs also take over buildings like a cathedral and the zoo.

The Theme Park

The point is that all these people out here, looting, robbing, killing, they're the people who wash your car, who pour your coffee, who take out your trash. And what happened the moment the lights went out? They showed their true faces. They showed how quickly they want to open up your rich boy veins and bathe in your blue blood!
~ Jerome Valeska

Meanwhile, Jerome and some of his followers storm Wayne Manor where they knock out Alfred and capture Bruce. After having successfully capturing him and Alfred, the cult starts tearing up the manor. They find the owl statue Bruce stole from the Court of Owls and Jerome smashes it immediately. Jerome also reveals that he has come to kill Bruce, it being the last thing he remembers.

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Jerome intends to kill Bruce

Before Jerome can slice Bruce's throat, Bruce tricks him by claiming that he remembers that Jerome was quite the showman and that simply murdering Bruce in his own house would be underwhelming after everything Jerome has set up to get him. Jerome realizes the truth of this. Claiming that he is aware that Bruce just say this to buy time, Jerome adds that Bruce's point is still valid. Jerome states that he knows just the point to kill Bruce and tells his men to get moving. However, he leaves three men behind to kill Alfred.

Jerome brings Bruce to his sadistic version of a theme park, in which every single attraction was built to hurt or kill civillians. After Bruce can take a brief glimpse at the horror surrounding him, Jerome sarcastically offers to show him around before the main event can start. He tasks one of his followers to put clown makeup on Bruce's face but after the person is done, Jerome notices something missing. He rams his knife into the stomach of the make-up guy, drives his finger into the wound and uses the blood to draw a frowning face on Bruce's face.

On their way through the theme park, Jerome attempts to make Bruce see that Gotham has no heroes. When they come to an attraction where a ball must be thrown against a target in order to drop a person into a vat of piranhas, Bruce pushes Jerome so that he cannot kill the civillian. When Bruce, who has enough of Jerome's perverted theme park, urges him to go on if he wants to kill somebody, Jerome does not murder Bruce but merely pushes the target with his hand, dropping the civillian into the pool where he is devoured by the piranhas. At that moment, part of Jerome's face comes off again and Jerome is foced to fix it with a stapler. When Bruce angrily asks him whether this hurt, Jerome uses the stapler on Bruce. Although Bruce acts tough, he screams when Jerome does it again, causing Jerome to laugh in glee.

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Jerome shows Bruce Wayne his carnival of torture.

Jerome then starts off his main event by addressing his followers dressed as a circus director. He claims that the night was a success so far, causing an enormous uproar of consent in the masses. After shooting one particular annoying follower, Jerome claims that they brought the city to its knees and has Bruce, tied to a stake, rolled into the main room of the circus tent. Jerome's followers bring in a giant canon with which Bruce is supposed to be killed. However, while Jerome makes a big show out of loading the cannon, Gordon, Bullock and Alfred arrive with a GCPD task force. In the resulting chaos, Jerome manages to lit the fuse of the cannon but Bruce saves himself by using the pin Jerome drove into his arm with a stapler to cut off his ropes. After Bruce has escaped, Jerome follows him in order to finally murder him. Jerome follows Bruce into the mirror cabinet, unaware that Bruce wants Jerome to pursue him. Inside the cabinet, Jerome fires his gun at multiple reflections of Bruce but only hits mirrors every time. While he tries to shoot Bruce, Bruce claims that Jerome will pay for what he has done.

Standoff with Bruce Wayne

You want to be a hero? Tell you what, buddy... I'll give you a fighting chance. Let's do this mano y mano, my little conquistador.
~ Jerome Valeska to Bruce Wayne

Fed up with searching for Bruce, Jerome slides his gun in one corner, feigning to give Bruce a chance to prove that he's a hero by killing Jerome. However, Jerome draws a hidden knife. Having expected something like this, Bruce ambushes Jerome from behind. The two battle each other and eventually, Jerome succumbs to Bruce's punches and falls to the ground. Towering over Jerome, Bruce then beats him up severely. While he is beaten, Jerome only laughs maniacally and encourages Bruce to let everything out. Bruce eventually grabs a mirror shard to end Jerome but decides not to kill the maniac to not become like him.

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Bruce towers over the defeated Jerome.

Bruce leaves the mirror cabinet where he is rejoined by Alfred. Overjoyed that the other is alive, both hug and thus miss Jerome stumbling out of the cabinet with a mirror shard in his hand. Jerome stumbles towards Bruce, still determined to kill him, but is stopped by Gordon who severely hits him in the face. The strength of the blow causes the bolts holding Jerome's face to break, resulting in Jerome's face sliding off. Briefly stunned by what he is seeing, Gordon does not move, giving Jerome the chance to lunge at him with the shard. However, Gordon dodges the blow and hits Jerome again, completely beating off his face which lands in a nearby water puddle. Stunned from the pain, Jerome falls to the ground and passes out moments later. Jerome is sent to a hospital where his face is reattached and would later be scheduled to be sent back to Arkham.

Fate

Despite that, Arkham is no longer exists ever since that the illness which was spread all over, Fish Mooney had led Penguin, Hugo Strange and Mr. Freeze with her to free Gotham from the illness via the antitodes. Jim Gordon arrived into the place, and accidentally killed Mooney by knife and destroyed the antitodes. It is speculated that Jerome is still at large, possibly planning much more greater master plan for Gotham including for Bruce who now started his career as Batman.

Personality

Jerome is an utterly remorseless, unpredictable, ruthless, manipulative, and psychopathic boy with a deep enjoyment of wanton and needless acts of violence and chaos, committed by him and the Maniax or just in general. Unlike anything that Gotham had ever seen before, Jerome is an abnormal criminal in regards that he cares nothing about organized crime or profiteering but how he only relishes in the mindless agony of everything around him. Penguin even states how he went against how usual criminals behaved due to his chaotic, rampageous, and unreasonable methods; singlehandedly, Jerome introduced the city, and perhaps even the world, an altogether different class of criminal, one that personified complete sadism, madness, and pure, unadorned evil with no distinguishable objective or reasoning, beyond simply that he could or he enjoyed doing so. His presence (even after death) tipped the scales of the kind of maniac Gotham could produce. It is heavily implied that his schizophrenic views and his vile and iniquitous behavior, even by Gotham's standards, was the result of both his horrible childhood of being abused by his mother as well as Cicero, far from comforting Jerome on his ninth birthday, telling him that no one's going to care about him. However he did state that he killed his mother for simply nagging him.

A showman, Jerome had a theatricality to his insanity that Galavan described as being "boyishly charming". He enjoyed his time in the spotlight to the point where the rest of Gothan's criminals would operate within the shadows, he would televise his crimes for everyone to see. Whatever atrocities he would commit, one would always guarantee that there would be cameras nearby and he would do such act with a smile on his face. Cruel yet charismatic, Jerome desired to create a name for himself and a legacy that would never be forgotten, he brandished a smile when Paul Cicero claimed he would become a "curse upon Gotham". His plans were usually intricate and needlessly complex, sometimes finding the challenge of them becoming a fruition or a failure entertaining nonetheless if they succeeded or otherwise and usually showcased his cunning and ingenuity in his designs. In the mind of Jerome, sanity was only a prison that prevented everyone from seeing what they were: pointless cogs within a monogamous machine stuck between a never-ending loop. Jerome and the Maniax believed that they were free from this prison due to their different ways of thinking and acting in comparison to everyone else and encouraged others to behave like they did, although they only thought this way because they were all mentally troubled, delusional and borderline insane.

One of his most noticeable traits was his disturbed sense of humor which was accompanied with a never-ending, manic giggling and outright laughter towards everything which fit right within Jerome's own beliefs on what was funny. He was sadistic, merciless, and destructive, so he found immense joy in the idea of pain and death towards others, he smiled broadly when Richard Sionis was strangled to death and shot an injured police officer whom interrupted his broadcast from the GCPD, claiming he had "no manners". Jerome demonstrated a fondness for sarcasm, using it in a sick sense such as telling his father, who was blind "long time, no see" after breaking into his house. He enjoyed his own pain as well, making him suicidal as demonstrated while playing Russian Roulette, shot himself three times in a calm manner and how he found Commissioner Essen spitting at him and head butting him as "strangely pleasant" and laughing crazily, respectively. Even while being killed, he found enough humor within the situation to smile.

Jerome had a definable relationship with most members of the Maniax. He seemed to respect Galavan for believing in him and promising to make him a star, he also nicknamed him "Sensei" but was very shocked when the latter stabbed him in the neck. He was extremely sociable, gregarious, and communicative towards Richard Sionis and Barbara Kean within Arkham Asylum, as he appeared to be friends with him and speaking for him when trying to ask Barbara for a date, although he found him being brutally murdered funny enough to grin at. He and Barbara worked together at Gotham Charity Ball and he was the one who granted her a phone call to threaten her ex-boyfriend. The most frictional relationship would be with Robert Greenwood whom mocked him for his young age and prepared to fight him to lead the Maniax. Though they worked together to kill the officers with GCPD and were a part of the same team, Jerome shot him dead for stealing his line and mocked his corpse later on.

Regarding his parentage, Jerome absolutely hated his mother and father. Though he finally discovered that Paul Cicero was his birth father, Jerome initially seemed to have a low opinion of him, claiming he was "pathetic" and a "creep". Even after learning that Cicero was his birth father, Jerome merely stated "I'll be damned" in an easygoing and nonchalant manner, only shortly afterwards realizing the humor in the revelation. Cicero was also somewhat unsympathetic and insensitive towards his son and admits he was a bad father but loved him nevertheless and constantly gave him shelter and a home, even helping Jerome cover up his matricide for that reason alone. Whilst meeting with him after breaking into his house, Jerome mockingly called him "pops", "daddy", and "dad" all before killing him. His mother was his first ever victim. She was stated to be cold, abusive, defamatory, and vituperative to her son, and highly promiscuous and alcohol, but Jerome claims that the only reason he killed her was because she asked him to do the dishes while having sex with a clown, which pushed him over the edge once too far.

Jerome is a pure psychopath, exhibiting all classic traits, a complete lack of emotion, remorse, and fear. He has no empathy for his victims, and is easily angered, for example, shooting Greenwood just for stealing his line. He also has a very dark and sadistic sense of humor. Post revival, he is rumored to be a more certifiable and overall darker character who wants to see himself on a much larger stage.

Abilities

  • Explosives knowledge: Jerome managed to create a bomb powerful enough to destroy the Gotham power plant.
  • High pain tolerance/Indomitable will: Having been abused as a child, Jerome has learned to withstand physical pain. Even when he staples his face back and Bruce kept punching him in his face, he smiled and stayed conscious.
  • Leadership: Jerome was able to lead hundreds of Gotham citizens into causing havoc and chaos in the city.
  • Master of Deception: Prior to revealing to true nature, he was able to trick others into thinking he was innocent of his mother's murder.
  • Skilled knife-thrower: Jerome is skilled at throwing knives, such as when he threw a knife into the Deputy Mayor's chest.
  • Skilled marksman: Jerome is skilled at using firearms.

Victims

Kill count: 27

  • Lila Valeska - Bludgeoned with a hatchet
  • Seven unnamed people - Pushed from the roof of a building
  • Nine unnamed police officers - Shot
  • Robert Greenwood - Shot
  • Sarah Essen - Killed by unknown method
  • Paul Cicero - Stabbed in the eye
  • Deputy Mayor Kane - Stabbed in the chest
  • Two GCPD officers
  • Dwight Pollard - Tied to a bomb
  • Makeup Artist - Stabbed in the stomach
  • Unnamed Civilian - Dropped into a pool filled with piranhas
  • Cult follower - Shot in the back

Quotes

Season 1

If not for my mother's love life, I wouldn't be here, would I? Sex is a healthy human activity.
~ Jerome Valeska
My mother was a cold-blooded whore who never loved anyone and she'd never touch a pathetic old creep like you.
~ Jerome Valeska to Paul Cicero
Looks like the bitch got me with a zinger in the end.
~ Jerome Valeska, confessing his crimes

Season 2

Perfect. Next...Mr. X.
~ Jerome ordering his thugs to throw a man over the side of a building.
You're all prisoners. What you call sanity, it's just a prison in your minds that stops you from seeing that you're just tiny little cogs, in a giant absurd machine. Wake up! Why be a cog? Be free, like us. Just remember, smile. Oh! Time to go, but don't worry, we'll be back very soon. Hang onto your hats, folks, cause' you ain't seen nothing yet!
~ Jerome sending a message to Gotham after orchestrating an attack on GCPD Police Headquarters.
Well,I think it's time for tonight's first official victim, you all know and love, poor rich boy, parents murdered in an alley, and my favorite volunteer. Where is Bruce Wayne?! You know, I'm an orphan, too, Bruce. I killed my parents though! Where are you hiding? Bruce!
~ Jerome Valeska to Bruce Wayne

Season 3

Head's still a little fuzzy. You know, I was just reborn. Last year was nothing but darkness... as far as the eye can see.
~ Jerome Valeska
I guess I'm just missing one thing then... where's my face?
~ Jerome Valeska
Buddy, you brought me back from the dead. What's a cut-off face between friends?
~ Jerome to Dwight Pollard
Sorry. The old noodle's still a little al dente post thaw. The reason I'm here is that I'm gonna kill you!
~ Valeska to Bruce Wayne
(in poor British Accent) Ah, not you, old chap. The Prince of Gotham deserves a public death. His butler, not so much - kill him.
~ Jerome to Alfred before leaving him to die at the hands of his henchmen
Face it, kid... Gotham has no heroes.
~ Jerome Valeska to Bruce Wayne
Some of you may know, I died. Uh-oh. Take it from me, death is... dull. But coming back, that is something! Leave it to death to give you a whole new perspective on life. And I would like to share that with you. Tonight, Gotham, in the darkness, there are no rules. So Gotham, tonight, do what you want. Kill who you want. And when morning comes, you too shall be reborn.
~ Jerome Valeska's speech to Gotham after being resurrected

Trivia

  • Jerome Valeska acts as a possible origin to the Batman supervillain Joker, with his role in the series being used to delve into the mythology of the character. As such, there are many references and allusions to many incarnations of the Joker across the wider DC Universe. However, his origins are different: like he is already insane before becoming Joker and instead becomes Joker by being resurrected. The following are examples:
    • His implied future as the Joker was also advertised in promotional materials for his debut episode. For example, the trailer mentioned that the next villain in Gotham "is no joke" before cutting to Jerome Valeska cackling, and a Twitter post for viral marketing has a looped GIF of Jerome's laughter from the trailer with the tagline "Gotham's next villain is no laughing matter."
    • He also dresses up as a law enforcement officer similar to Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight. Like that incarnation of the Joker, Jerome himself creates torture videos in order to spread his message to the city of Gotham.
      • His message to Gotham City about how they are all "prisoners" due to their sanity also mirrors a soliloquy made by the Joker about how insanity is the "emergency exit" in Batman: The Killing Joke.
      • During his return in Season 3, Jerome's disfigured face took influence from the fan-favorite comics arc "Batman: Death of the Family," in which the Joker returned with his hacked-off face brutally stapled onto his skull following its removal by the Dollmaker. The main difference is that in that arc, the Joker willingly allowed for Dollmaker to do so and even engineered it, while Jerome Valeska clearly did not want his face removed. His accompanying grin also brings to mind that of Jack Nicholson's Joker from the 1989 "Batman" film.
    • Inspiration appears to be taken from Mark Hamill's Joker from the Batman: Animated Series, especially when broadcasting a live show which was seen in "Christmas with the Joker". Also his 'last' episode in Season 2 is titled "The Last Laugh", which is named after a Batman: Animated Series episode.
    • Jerome's surname, Valeska, sounds similar to "Valestra", the crime family that Joker originally worked for as a hitman before his fated encounter with Batman and transformation into the Clown Prince of Crime in The Animated Series, and more specifically the movie Mask of the Phantasm.
    • Like Ledger's story he gives a story about possibly being abused in the past, in a similar manner. It is implied however Jerome may actually be telling the truth.
      • In addition, shortly after Jerome exposes himself as a psychopath and Cicero makes clear that the only reason he helped Jerome in hiding the evidence to his matricide was because he was his son, Jerome says "My father..." in a similar tone to Heath Ledger's Joker's tone when he was about to say "My father was a drunkard and a fiend" when about to relay the first of his infamous "scar stories."
    • Just like Jack Nicholson's Joker Jerome first death has him with a smile on his face. This is also familiar to the Arkham video game series Joker, who before dying in Batman: Arkham City put a smile on his face.
    • Before Commissioner Essen dies, she remarks about how everyone will forget about him when he dies and no-one will remember him, this could be a reference to Arkham video game series Joker since he's been forgotten even with all the chaos he's spread across Gotham.
    • Jerome's corpse shows with blood around his lips and a grin. Coupled with his paled skin, this gives him an uncanny resemblance to the Joker.
      • In addition, in the morgue when it zooms up upon Jerome's face just before it cuts to the closing titles, a distinctly Joker-esque laugh can be heard in the background.
    • After Jerome doused a school bus with gasoline to set it on fire, Jerome grabbed onto the side of a tanker truck and joyfully laughed. Heath Ledger's Joker did something similar as joyfully showing his face out of the window of a police vehicle.
      • The actions were also similar to when the Joker escaped Batman after robbing the Gotham Merchants Bank in his debut scene in Batman: Arkham Origins.
      • Jerome and the Maniax's dousing a vehicle with people inside with gasoline and attempting to torch it before being stopped also mirrored the actions of the Joker from Batman: Under the Red Hood. Ironically, both instances also had them wasting time actually setting the passengers on fire before ultimately being foiled as a result of a temperamental lighter.
    • Like Jerome, Joker was responsible for murdering Sarah Essen in the comics (although in the comics she was Jim Gordon's second wife, and was killed after Bruce Wayne became Batman. Also, Jerome is clearly shown to enjoy murdering Sarah Essen, while in the comics, it is heavily implied that even the Joker was disgusted with his killing Sarah Essen.).
    • The numerous Jerome Copycats may be a nod towards The Jokerz, a gang in Batman Beyond who imitate the deceased Joker and try to continue his legacy and madness.
    • The scene where Jerome is physically accosted by Gordon shortly after the massacre at the GCPD ("I'm sensing... Anger.") had Gordon and Jerome in a very similar pose to the climax of the fight in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns ("Not... quite how I envisioned it, but... we can still end on a high note!"), with Gordon and Jerome in the poses of Batman and Joker, respectively.
      • In addition, Jerome and Bruce's standoff inside the hall of mirrors attraction mirrored a similar scene in The Dark Knight Returns, where Joker also tried to shoot what seemed to be Batman, only to be shooting at his reflection, and both Bruce and Batman even managed to ambush Jerome and Joker, respectively.
    • Just before Jerome kills Deputy Mayor Kane via a throwing knife, he tells the audience "No one here is getting out alive", similar to how Joker told his henchmen when they were ambushed at Gotham Merchants Bank by Batman in Arkham Origins, "As your commander in chief, I have these orders for you: No one's getting out alive!"
  • Jerome Valeska worked at the same carnival as Batman's first sidekick Dick Grayson, the first Robin, before he was born.
  • During the Comic Con for 2015, Cameron Monaghan gatecrashed it in-character as Jerome making threats towards "Jim Gordon" (Ben McKenzie) asking about his pain tolerance. McKenzie in return got into character as Jim Gordon and told Jerome he will hunt him down.
  • Jerome is revealed to be 18-years old.
  • If the letters in his first and last name are switched around, Jerome Valeska can spell out Joker.
  • Oddly enough, his parents and Jerome himself were all killed by some form of weapon outfitted with a blade.
  • Despite the idea of bringing in "Joker" two seasons in was initially scorned, Monaghan's portrayal of Jerome was acclaimed by fans, and many people are hoping that he may return after being killed.
    • Mark Hamill himself, who is well known for voice acting the Joker in various media such as the Animated Series and the Arkham games, complimented Monaghan on his performance.
  • Jerome also bore a resemblance to the Spiderman villain Carnage's human host Cletus Kasady, who coincidentally also in turn had been based in personality and to some extent physical appearance on the Joker.
  • If Jerome does indeed become the Joker, this would make him the third incarnation of the character to have an established backstory and identity, with the first one being Jack Nicholson's Joker in the 1989 Batman film, and the second being the Martha Wayne version of the Joker from the 2011 "Flashpoint" crossover story arc, in which she was Joker in an alternative universe where Bruce Wayne was dead (having been killed by the mugger) and Thomas Wayne as Batman.

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Gotham Villains


Main
514A | Barbara Kean | Bridgit Pike | Butch Gilzean | Carmine Falcone | Edward Nygma | Fish Mooney | Hugo Strange | Ivy Pepper | Jerome Valeska | Jervis Tetch | 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

Secondary
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

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