Leslie Maurin “Lee” Thompkins

Leslie ThompkinsGotham takes a break for the winter, but we already have a trailer for what’s coming in the second half of the first season… and we also get a glimpse at one of the future major additions to the cast. Poor Jim Gordon has been demoted and now serves as a security guard for lunatics in Arkham Asylum, and that’s where we’ll find him; luckily enough, he’s not alone to fight the good fight, and he meets a doctor who reportedly will become his new love interest, after Barbara Kean dumped him: she’s Leslie Thompkins, portrayed by Morena Baccarin. In the show, she suffers some major changes from her original appearance, as she’ll be portrayed as Hispanic instead of Caucasian, and most of all she’s going to be definitely younger than we’re used to see her (but that’s almost consistent with the story’s time setting). Waiting to see new love stories be born in Gotham, let’s see who Leslie is in the comics.

Born and raised in Gotham City, Leslie Thompkins became a doctor mostly because of career issues, without a specific “call” to answer to. Everything changed the moment she met another young doctor, Thomas Wayne, who on the opposite believed that through his profession as well he could make a difference in a city ridden by crime and corruption. Leslie’s friendship with Thomas made her change her perspective over what she was doing, and she adopted Wayne’s vision making it her own, finally understanding what being a healer meant. When Thomas and his lesliethompkinscomics1wife Martha got killed in Park Row, Leslie immediately rushed on the scene, only to find her friend’s son Bruce alone and scared: she stayed with the boy much of the night, until his butler (and later legal tutor) Alfred Pennyworth arrived to take him home; from that moment, she started paying many visits to the boy, trying to pass Thomas’ spirit to him. She also became good friends with Alfred, and the two more than once became romantically bonded. She also decided to pay Thomas’ memory the respect he truly deserved, and she opened in Park Row (known after the murders as Crime Alley) a free clinic in which she offered her services to anyone who needed them, even if they were renowned criminals, smugglers, drug-addicts or even vicious killers, believing that through compassion and empathy even a crooked city like Gotham could, with time, become something else. She however became more and more worried for Bruce Wayne, since the boy was becoming increasingly antisocial, following an evolution of grief that would have led him to travel the world to train and to come back as the city’s vigilante, Batman. Leslie learnt that the man behind Batman’s mask was Bruce when she found herself consoling, the same way she had done with little Bruce, a young girl who had lost her boyfriend, the supervillain Wraith, accidentally killed in a fight with Batman: needless to say, it was a shock to her.

Leslie Thompkins believed it was her fault if Bruce had become a violent vigilante, sure that she hadn’t been able to transmit to him his father’s true ideals of mercy and pacifism. Her doubts about Bruce’s way of “making things better” only increased when he started to train teenagers to be his sidekicks first, and heroes on their own after, putting their lives in danger and increasing the city’s level of violence. On her side, Leslie always stayed faithful to lesliethompkinscomics2her conduct, helping everybody asking for it, and never allowing violence of any form in her clinic, preventing even the police from arresting criminals as long as they stayed with her. When Gotham City was struck by a major earthquake, the US Government exploited the occasion to cut all the bridges and accesses to the city and transforming it into a No Man’s Land: Leslie’s one became the only active clinic in town, and with the major criminals of Gotham battling one another to conquer the respective territories she was almost overwhelmed by the number of patients. Her way of doing things, however, was respected also by the most vicious killers of the city, and when Mr. Zsasz was brought in to be cured from the wounds he had suffered in a battle with Killer Croc, the latter didn’t pursue his enemy, repressing his urge to kill to stick to Thompkins’ rules. Leslie crossed the line when Batman brought to her Spoiler, one of his protegees, a young girl named Stephanie Brown who had been seriously injured by Black Mask: sick and tired of all the violence caused by Batman, she decided not to cure her, letting her die, hoping that the Dark Knight would have understood what he was doing and stopped it at the death of yet another teenager (in a retcon, it seems she only faked the girl’s death, curing her nevertheless and bringing her along in her self-imposed exile). Stephanie died, and Thompkins left Gotham, going to Africa over her shame and sense of guilt. Batman, who blamed himself for Stephanie’s death believing he didn’t act soon enough, reached his former mentor and forced her to confess, blaming her for killing a girl following the necessity of making a statement. He also told her she was now just another killer for him, and that if she ever came back to the US he would have had her arrested. This was the end of Thompkins’ dream of a violence-free Gotham… maybe.

Leslie Thompkins is an idealist and a pacifist, a woman who firmly believes in the possibility of a world free from any form of violence, in which mercy and compassion are the basis of any human relation. She is a skilled doctor, truly dedicated to every one of her patients, but she’s also a healer intended in a more extensive meaning, never forgetting to take care of heart, soul and mind as well as of the body. Accepting no compromise to her “no violence” rule, Leslie managed to create the one and only free clinic in Gotham City, a place that also the worst lunatics Gotham offers respect as some kind of a sanctuary. Strong-willed and determined, Leslie Thompkins will stop in front of nothing to fight for what she believes to be a better world.

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