In Fox’s GOTHAM, Mondays at 8 PM, a good woman – and for that matter, a good doctor who isn’t running psychotic experiments – is hard to find. Luckily, Gotham City Police Department homicide detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has encountered the upright Dr. Leslie “Lee” Tompkins, played by Morena Baccarin, when they were both stationed at Arkham Asylum. Now that Gordon is officially back the the GCPD, he’s a little nonplused to find his new girlfriend has just been hired as the city coroner, though Lee seems perfectly happy with this turn of events.
GOTHAM isn’t Baccarin’s first foray into the world of BATMAN; she previously voiced Cheetah in BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, Black Canary in JUSTICE LEAGUE and Talia al Ghul in SON OF BATMAN. Baccarin, born in Brazil and raised in New York City, has a live-action genre fan following from her regular roles on FIREFLY, STARGATE SG-1 and the V remake. On the straight drama side, the actress earned an Emmy nomination for her work in the role of Jessica Brody, the increasingly traumatized wife of war hero-turned-terrorist-turned martyr Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) in three seasons of Showtime’s HOMELAND.
When Fox throws an afternoon party for its GOTHAM cast and the Television Critics Association, Baccarin takes some time to talk about working in the DC Bat-verse prior to the advent of the Caped Crusader.
AX: Is Leslie Tompkins a psychiatrist?
MORENA BACCARIN: No, I’m a physician. I think. It’s GOTHAM. I’m everything [laughs].
AX: That’s true. Is Leslie Tompkins in the comics?
BACCARIN: Well, I am in the original BATMAN comics, but we’re straying a little bit from that. She joins the GCPD as a medical examiner. So I’m kind of all over the place. She’s Everywoman.
AX: Now, does your joining of the GCPD have anything to do with the departure of Edward Nygma, played by Cory Michael Smith, or do you become his colleague?
BACCARIN: No, he does not depart. It’s somebody else that departs and I take their job.
AX: Do you have any scenes with Robin Lord Taylor, who plays the Penguin?
BACCARIN: I hope so. We haven’t yet.
AX: Were you a comics fan before all of this?
BACCARIN: Maybe as a kid for a bit.
AX: A lot of your FIREFLY colleagues have wound up under the Disney/Marvel umbrella and you’re over here at DC. Do you sort of feel like you’ve landed on a different continent or …?
BACCARIN: I don’t really pay attention to that stuff. I feel like comic books are comic books. Somebody will probably shoot me for saying that, but it’s that world and we’re all sort of immersed in it. I think it’s unavoidable at this point, to not be in one of the comic book world. It’s everywhere, and there are tons of movies and shows about it. [The fans] enjoy it all.
AX: Does Dr. Tompkins have any romantic interests?
BACCARIN: [laughs] What do you think? If you had to guess.
AX: That would be a yes.
BACCARIN: Yes. Jim Gordon and I get together.
AX: Could this relationship be compared to, say, the relationship between Jessica and Brody on HOMELAND?
BACCARIN: [laughs] Not comparable at all. This is a really fun relationship, actually, because we are sort of on the same team, we want the same thing for Gotham. She’s not fazed very easily. She’s a no-bulls***-er, and that’s sort of a breath of fresh air for Jim, who’s had to put up with a lot of corruption and been beat down by the system, and she offers him a breath of fresh air in that world.
AX: Have you played a doctor before?
BACCARIN: I’ve played a nurse before, not a doctor. I played on O.R. nurse in HEARTLAND, way back in the day.
AX: Is there anything you learned on that show that’s useful for this, like how to give an injection …?
BACCARIN: I just ask the medics on set for the basic stuff. It’s GOTHAM – we’re not taking all that stuff too seriously. It’s not a show about the logistics about that, it’s about what’s going on in the scene and the emotional life behind it. I’m doing my best, but I’m not getting hung up on the details of that.
AX: Do you have any other projects we should know about?
BACCARIN: SPY, coming out in the summer.
AX: Anything else you’d like to say about GOTHAM right now?
BACCARIN: Just that it’s been a fantastic ride and I’m very excited that it’s picked up for next season.
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Article: GOTHAM star Morena Baccarin talks Season 1 – exclusive interview