New Batman Show “Gotham” Has a Latina Chief of Police


Marvel’s Avengers franchise might dominate the superhero genre on film, but DC reigns on TV. Last fall Gotham joined DC’s other comic-based shows, Arrow, The Flash, and Constantine. Gotham is a prequel to familiar Batman lore. While Bruce Wayne is just a child, Zabryna Guevara plays the city’s protector: Police Chief Sarah Essen.

The series has met resounding applause and a multitude of award nominations. When asked about the show’s popularity, Zabryna told FOX, “It’s got a built-in fanbase because of the comic books, but I think it’s bringing in a new audience. It’s the origin stories, but it’s got procedural aspects about it too. It’s in the realm of normal even though it lives in a heightened world with heightened villains. It’s exciting!” Critic’s Choice Awards agrees. Gotham won their Most Exciting New Series award.

 An Early Fan

Zabryna loved the Batman movies and the comedic 1960s Batman TV show of her childhood before she was cast as Sarah Essen. After studying the comics for her role, Zabryna says she is caught “hook, line, and sinker.” It is lovely to see an older woman who is a wife and mother in such a prominent role and clearly enjoying herself.

Building A Super Career

Zabryna is not new to the superhero genre. She’s played minor film roles from the very beginning of her career, but most recently in X-Men: Days of Future Past. On TV, she is known as a main cast member for the ill-fated medical procedural 3 Lbs and as recurring character Ayn in the sixth season of the highly-acclaimed spy drama Burn Notice.

This Hip Latina’s career is not confined to the screen. She made her theatre debut three years ago in Alegría Hudes’s Pulitzer-prize-winning play Water by the Spoonful, and last year she starred in Fernanda Coppel’s Chimichangas and Zoloft.

Gotham’s Latina Power

In Gotham, Zabryna’s character Sarah Essen is charged with serving a city where bizarre and terrifying villains are bred and even the mayor is in the mob’s pocket. She and a new detective, Jim Gordon, work cases that explore the origins of classic Batman villains like Penguin, The Riddler, and Scarecrow. Jim wants to brazenly confront corruption in Gotham. Sarah is more cautious. She tries to do the right thing when she can without risking good people being fired–or targeted by mob hitmen.

Two other Latinas join Zabryna in Gotham. Morena Baccarin plays Dr. Leslie Thompkins, an Arkham asylum doctor who later replaces the police department’s autopsy doctor after he is framed for malpractice. Victoria Cartagena plays Detective Renee Montoya, who frequently clashes with Jim Gordon despite being another detective who resists corruption. Internal struggles in the precinct occupy Sarah just as much as the mob or Gotham’s streets.

Following Gotham on Social Media

Zabryna posts behind-the-scenes photos regularly on her Facebook and Twitter and livetweets episodes. On twitter she once encouraged fans to “Do one nice thing for yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Today, feel free to LOVE YOURSELF.” Maybe you can treat yourself by tuning in to FOX on Mondays at 8/9c to catch Gotham. You can also watch previous episodes for free on FOX’s official site.

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