In one of the early trailers of Gotham, we saw James Gordon speaking with an intimidating stranger, warning him about the many risks he would have faced in town. Thanks to the new viral site for the show, we now know who that guy is: none other than Carmine Falcone, the crime lord of Gotham City. The actor’s name is not yet revealed (and I cannot recognize him), but it’s quite positive his role will be prominent in the show, most likely being a rival of Fish Mooney and quite an obstacle for the Penguin‘s rise to power. The character’s first live action appearance occurred in Batman Begins, where he was portrayed by Tom Wilkinson. The true and unquestioned boss of the city, Falcone was “fired” by Ra’s al Ghul‘s forces, driven mad by the Scarecrow, and locked in Arkham Asylum for good. Waiting to see this new version, let’s see who the original one is.
Among the many criminals in Gotham City, some mob boss grew in power until they became the true lords of the town, fighting each other to gain absolute control over the city’s soul. At the end, two main families remained aiming for the throne: the Falcones, led by Vincent Falcone, and the Maronis, led by Luigi Maroni. The two families were equal in power and influence, a balance that unavoidably led to an all-out war. Carmine was born during this great mafia war, first son of Vincent and the heir of his criminal empire. Since his very childhood, he was involved in his father’s “business”, and grew up learning how to rule a criminal empire and how to treat with enemies and allies alike. Seeing some dangerous potential in the young man, Luigi Maroni shot Carmine, leaving him for dead. The boy, however, was still alive (hardly), and his father, fearing that Maroni’s men would have finished the job if he had brought his son to a hospital, took Carmine to the private house of surgeon Thomas Wayne, begging him for help. Thomas perfectly knew what kind of man was asking for his help, but his ethics forbade him to let a man die on his front door, so he accepted to try and save him. The operation was successful, and Carmine survived the night. More determined than ever, Vincent had Luigi killed, thus settling the war for the time being. When Luigi passed away, Carmine, now nicknamed The Roman for his “imperial” attitude, became the new boss of the Falcone family, and showed everyone from the very beginning of his “career” that he was the worthy heir of his father. He settled down the remaining affairs with the Maronis, leaving the young boss, Salvatore, a certain autonomy, but always maintaining control over the old adversaries. He then bought the entire Gotham City Police Department, bribing everyone, from the last street agent to Commissioner Loeb, transforming the police in his private militia. Also any shop and industry fell under his influence, widening his income. Finally, Gotham City was of the Falcones’.
Some time later, Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha were killed by a robber, Joe Chill, in an alley. Remembering the debt he had with the doctor, Carmine attended the funeral, and renew his debt with Wayne’s son Bruce, telling him he would have accomplished any request coming from him in the future. The offer seemed to be prophetical, as the only thing The Roman couldn’t foresee was the one that eventually brought him down. During a dinner with the most important of his “associates”, a masked man with a cape broke in to the restaurant, incapacitating the guards: he warned Falcone that his power was at end, and threatened his guests as well. The freak, as Falcone called him, identified himself as Batman, the new defender of Gotham City. Needless to say, Falcone mobilized all his men in the search of the vigilante, and entrusted Loeb personally with his capture (or possibly murder), but the Caped Crusader seemed unstoppable. One night, Batman broke into the Roman’s bedroom, incapacitated Falcone, and left him tied in his underwear to the bed: the hero had made this personal and, humiliated, Falcone doubled his efforts. If the Batman wasn’t enough, another vigilante started ruining the family’s business: Catwoman, a thief that started stealing a great amount of money and jewels from Falcone’s operations. She also marked the boss with a face scar, wounding him with her claws during a direct confrontation. Also Loeb was in trouble, since young detective James Gordon was troubling him from inside the GCPD: Falcone had Gordon’s wife and newborn son kidnapped, but Batman allied with the detective and saved them; plus, D. A. Harvey Dent had Loeb removed from his role, thus maiming Falcone’s power. In rage, The Roman had the killer he had hired for kidnapping Gordon’s family, Joe Viti, killed, but this only started another mob war with the Chicago family of the Vitis, led by deranged Carla. After years of wealth, this was the beginning of the end for the Roman Empire.
Carmine Falcone is the emblem of power for citizens in Gotham City: always calm and calculating, he’s a wise businessman who knows his job and how to maintain his position. He’s a remarkable tactician, a man who was able to conquer one of the world’s biggest and wealthiest cities in a matter of years, all by himself. The Roman is both feared and respected by his allies and employees, and just feared by his enemies: he has built his empire on money and bribes as well as on lead and blades. A “honest businessman”, Falcone is just the perfect king for a city as corrupted and rotten as Gotham.