Latest production stills from Gotham give us a look at yet another of the upcoming tv series’ protagonists: Renee Montoya, portrayed by Victoria Cartagena. As far as we know for now, Renee will appear as a detective in GCPD, and will have quite a peculiar relationship with her new colleague James Gordon: in fact, she once dated his fiancee, Barbara Kean. This marks the first live action appearance of the character, despite Anna Ramirez from The Dark Knight was clearly based on her. Waiting to see what kind of love triangle the Montoya-Gordon-Kean one will be, let’s see together who the character is in the comics… at least in her early years, before her “promotion” to superheroine.
Daughter of Hernando and Louisa Montoya, a couple of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Renee Maria was born in Gotham City, not exactly the safest place for her and for her brother Benny to be raised in. In a way or the other, however, the Montoyas managed to teach some proper values to their daughter, and she grew up to be a honest woman, striving to do the right thing in a city that continuously invited her to do otherwise. Unfortunately for her very religious parents, Rene also became a lesbian while growing up, a “secret” she only shared with Benny inside of her family, but was careful to hide from both her father and her mother: since she had grown up in such a conservative environment, she preferred to hide her sexual orientation from almost everybody in her life. In order to better purchase her ideal of justice, Renee entered police, distinguishing herself as a hard-boiled, but just and honest cop. When Commissioner James Gordon came in need of trusted officers who weren’t on any gangsters’ payroll, Montoya was chosen as a trustworthy cop, promoted detective, and made a member of the “Blue Boys“, cops fiercely loyal to Gordon who had never been bribed (quite a rarity in Gotham). As a GCPD detective, Montoya was partnered with another above-the-lines officer, Detective Harvey Bullock, a rude and chauvinist old-school cop, who soon became one of her closest friends, despite their apparent diversity in character and attitude. Montoya and Bullock formed quite a couple, and when he learnt that she was gay, he just commented it saying it was “a waste”, thus relieving his partner of the fear of his moral judgement. Together with the other Blue Boys, Bullock especially, Montoya faced many of Gotham’s darkest hours, ready to back Commissioner Gordon up.
When Gotham City got almost destroyed by an earthquake and the US Government decided to abandon it to its own destiny, most of the population was evacuated, but Gordon decided to stay behind with some of his most trusted men to try and keep some control over the town. Montoya, of course, was among the trusted ones. Her task was to sign a truce with the criminal gang led by Two-Face, and she did it pretty well managing to reach Harvey Dent‘s persona. Unfortunately, the mentally unstable Dent mistook Montoya’s attentions, and believed she had fallen in love with him: Two-Face’s persona decided to take everything away from Montoya’s life, believing it was the only way to win her heart. He arrived to publicly expose her as a lesbian, something that led Renee’s parents to disinherit her, and eventually framed her for murder. While Renee was in prison, Two-Face also kidnapped Gordon, and then he did the same with Montoya, making it look like she had broke out. The psycho organized a trial against Gordon in front of Renee, but she convinced him a proper trial needed a defense: while Two-Face acted as the prosecution, Harvey Dent acted as the defense, and the latter won. Eventually, Batman intervened, arresting Two-Face and bringing him back to Arkham Asylum, but the episode left Montoya deeply scarred, as her private life had now been sold to the general public. Montoya, however, stood still to her principles and ideals, and when Gordon testified to free her of all the charges and offered her her place in the GCPD back, she accepted it with no hesitation.
Renee Montoya is a strong and hardheaded woman, with a brilliant intellect that makes her one of the best detectives in GCPD. A trained markswoman and hand-to-hand combatant, Renee is a skilled officer, prepared for any situation occurring in one of the most violent cities in the US. Being a lesbian raised in a very religious familiar environment, Renee often suffers from some subconscious moral issues, struggles that have brought her more than once into alcoholism. Despite her weaknesses, Renee Montoya is nevertheless one of the most reliable and capable police officers of Gotham City, the perfect woman for a job too tough for the majority of men.