He's not the Riddler yet, but the actor who's Gotham's Edward Nygma already has a sense of what turns him into a supervillain.
Though it won't feature Batman, Gotham's garnered a lot of interest from fans by billing itself as, in many ways, the origin story of Gotham City's problem with supercrime. While much of the show will follow the crime-solving exploits of Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Renee Montoya and others, it will also focus on the criminal ventures of mob boss Fish Mooney and the sadistic Oswald Cobblepot, while also introducing the young women who will eventually become Catwoman and Poison Ivy.
From a villain perspective, season one of the series seems mostly focused on Cobblepot's transformation into the Penguin, but let's not forget about Cory Michael Smith as Edward "Ed" Nygma, a brilliant young man working for the Gotham City Police Department who will, someday, be one of Bruce Wayne's greatest nemeses. in a new interview, Smith said he doesn't entirely know the character's future, but he does know that, from the start, Nygma's fascinated by Gotham's new crimes, even though he's working for the good guys.
"These crazy crimes are happening in Gotham—slightly theatrical and awesome and very much honoring the adventurousness of the comic books. Everyone else is taking it so seriously because they’re the police and they want to solve the crime, but Ed’s kind of getting caught up in how cool this s–t is," he said. "I mean, some of these crimes are just fascinating. Just fascinating. And that’s what Ed loves."
Those of us who've followed Batman's villains for a long time will be watching Gotham with interest, not just to see how they ultimately become the Arkham Asylum-dwelling baddies we know and love from the comics, but to see how Gotham's story will affect our view of these characters going forward. Will creator Bruno Heller and company give us origin stories that complement what we already know, or will they turn these villains upside down? Smith's not telling, but he does tease the character's less socially adept side, combined with a kind of double-agent quality, and points to both of them as aspects of his eventual transformation.
"[He's] an underappreciated, mistreated, misunderstood guy. And adding in to all that mix, here’s a guy with some social disorder. He’s not necessarily equipped with the interpersonal skills that would lead to calm workplace environment interaction.
"I’m going to be in the police department for a while, and I’m stoked about that because in terms of story, that leaves so many possibilities," he said. "It’s very Dexter of me to be potentially playing both sides. Learning the police department to such a degree that I know how to manipulate the system. So there’s a lot of potential."
Gotham premieres Monday at 8/7C on Fox.