Gotham spent much of its first season teasing the arrival of Batman's arch-nemesis, the Joker. Several episodes gave us characters with the potential to someday become the Clown Prince of Crime, but the show's producers have refused to say which one of them is the real deal.
The most likely candidate – and by far the fan-favorite – is Jerome Valeska, as seen in "The Blind Fortune Teller" episode, played by actor Cameron Monaghan. With producer Bruno Heller promising to tell the Joker's origin story as Season 2 unfolds, and Monaghan himself fanning the flames, Fox has just released a new teaser that practically has a flashing arrow pointing to the actor, with the words, "This guy, right here, is the Joker!"
Yeah, it's that obvious. Unless, of course, Gotham is pulling a fast one on us. It's certainly possible, as Heller demonstrated throughout Season 1 that he loves to surprise viewers. Surprise is always difficult to pull off in a prequel for obvious reasons — but if the writing is smart enough, anything's possible.
Season 2 has been subtitled Rise of the Villains, with a number of new characters added to the mix. James Frain joins the cast as new bad guy Theo Galavan, who wants to empower Gotham's villains to destroy the city. Executive producer Danny Cannon just revealed a few days ago that "Theo Galavan" is a pseudonym invented to disguise the character's true name, a name belonging to a "very famous DC villain." The popular theory is that Frain could be playing a new version of Ra's al Ghul.
Jessica Lucas plays his supposed sister, Tabitha Galavan, aka DC villain Tigress. Michael Chiklis will join the cast as Captain Nathaniel Barnes, a hard-edged, no-compromise cop and an ally to Gordon (at least for the time being). A gender-swapped Firefly will show up in the form of actress Michelle Veintimilla. And a recurring love interest for Bruce Wayne from the comics named Silver St. Cloud will appear in Season 2, at around the same age as young Bruce himself, played by Natalie Alyn Lind.
As for returning favorites, Edward Nygma is expected to complete his transformation into the Riddler this season, and we'll also be meeting Mr. Freeze somewhere along the way, but no one knows who's playing him or when. And Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk), Harvey Dent (Nicholas D'Agosto) and Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) have all been bumped up to series regulars.
What do you think? Is Jerome a Joker-in-the-making? Or a red herring before the real Joker is revealed?
Gotham returns to Fox on September 21, 2015.