‘Gotham’ Stars Donal Logue and Robin Lord Taylor Talk ‘Trying to Merge Light and Dark’

TheWrap chats with a good guy and a breakout bad guy on Fox’s Batman prequel about fighting for the city — and for TV ratings

Last Updated: September 22, 2014 @ 2:22 PM

Fox is taking viewers to the core of the DC Comics universe — Gotham City — on its aptly named Batman prequel show.

In “Gotham,” the titular city takes precedent over any hero or villain that lives within its dark, corrupt boundaries. Even the name actors listed at the top of the series’ IMDb page understand that the banner above them dictates the storyline, which has been described in numerous ways.

“I think that the city is the story, the most important thing,” co-star Donal Logue told TheWrap. “But the handheld camera is on Jim’s (Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie) shoulder.”

Also read: ‘Gotham’ Creator on Why Batman Would Spell the End of the Show

On the show, Logue plays McKenzie’s grizzled, somewhat legally (and definitely morally) compromised police partner, Gotham PD Detective Harvey Bullock. When prompted to provide a more simplified description for his very gray-area character, the word Logue chose was “pragmatic.”

The former “Sons of Anarchy” regular discussed how Bullock is still considered as being on the right side of Gotham City by invoking the old idiom, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” And as Logue says, in “‘Gotham,’ there are ‘devils’ with a ‘small d’ and ‘Devils’ with a ‘big D.'”

See video: ‘Gotham’s’ Ben McKenzie on Playing the One Good Guy: ‘He’s Not a Soft Character’

Bullock wasn’t always the police squad’s resident bad good guy, as we’ll learn when that backstory comes to screens. For now, Logue put it this way: “He’s essentially a good guy, he’s just in survival mode.”

And that mirrors real life, the actor added. “You have to do business with some of them — that’s the way it is in law enforcement anyway.”

According to Logue, it’s that very attempt to “merge light and dark” that defines the show.

Also read: 11 Breakout Stars of Fall TV Season 2014

One of those bad guys that Bullock will pragmatically do business with is Oswald Cobblepot — a.k.a. the Penguin — played marvelously by Robin Lord Taylor. The relative newcomer told TheWrap that he loved the liberties that show creator Bruno Heller allowed him to take with one of the more iconic characters in the universe.

“I’m just so lucky that I get to start with him as Oswald,” Taylor explained. “I didn’t feel a lot of pressure to stay true to what Burgess Meredith did or what Danny DeVito did.”

That said, the actor definitely hung onto some of the character’s classic traits. As Taylor put it, the Penguin’s ability to be funny and charming “adds to the menace.”

“He’s having fun … in a dark world,” Taylor said.

Also read: Fall TV Ratings Preview: Can NBC Stay on Top, or Will CBS Regain the Throne?

But it’s not all fun and games. As far as ratings go, Fox could really use a hit.

Huge reality-show undertaking “Utopia” has underwhelmed thus far, to put it kindly. And last week’s other most anticipated new Fox show, “Red Band Society,” debuted to a pretty weak 1.3 rating in the key 18-49 demo.

Still, not all hope is lost. At least, not yet — the network has a superhero to save them.

See video: TheWrap TV Team Predicts Broadcast Sleeper Hits From New Fall Season

“Gotham” is clearly the new series that Fox is pinning its expectations on, something that is not lost on the cast.

“It’s a casual conversation that people have every once in a while,” Taylor admitted. “It’s all about tempering their expectations … you just want to make the best show possible.

“We all feel pressure to a certain extent. I know that it’s all about winning the night but at the same time, if the show is good, people will stick with it,” he concluded. “And I really do believe that it’s good.”

“Gotham” premieres Monday at 8 p.m. on Fox.