“Gotham” producer on the future of Keatoya and Fish Mooney’s sexual fluidity

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DC Comics fans have been thrilled to see the comic book character of Renee Montoya brought to life on Fox’s Gotham, and were even happier to see she had a romantic history with Barbara Kean when the show premiered. The love triangle of Renee (Victoria Cartagena), Barbara (Erin Richards) and Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has been fun to watch, and we’ve been hopeful the show will go deeper into the Keatoya relationship now that it’s returned for the second part of Season 1.

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“It was always part of the DNA of the program of the show,” Gotham executive producer John Stevens said of the storyline at a Fox TCA party on Saturday. “A lot of that is because Renee Montoya, in the canon of DC, is a very famous lesbian character and so we wanted to make sure we were honoring that and carrying that through.”

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John also notes that the writers’ room is always looking for love triangles, and Renee was a perfect third for Barbara and Jim.

“We knew we wanted someone inside the GCPD to be with Gordon, who’s investigating him, and Montoya felt like a strong character to be standing against him,” John said. “I’m not sure where it’s going, honestly, because we’re not completely sure ourselves. A lot of times when you’re doing these kinds of stories, I feel like you have a literary wildcatter —’I think there’s oil out there! Let’s go out and try to find it!’ And then as a producer, you’ve gotta put the characters together and see, do they have chemistry? Do they not have chemistry? And when we had Erin and Victoria together: Oh! They have chemistry! They work really well together, so it’s something to keep writing towards.”

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Gotham has a huge cast, with at least 10 central characters battling it out for screentime each week. Because of that, we won’t see a lot of Barbara and Renee together in the next few episodes since they just had a few big ones.

“It’s the kind of thing where you’re playing with levels all the time,” John said. “Like Alfred gets a big story in 10, so now he can go down. And now they can get a big story, and now they can get a big story. It’s kind of like cocktail party: ‘Did I talk to them? Now I have to talk to them.'”

In a clip from this week’s episode, we see Barbara go home to see her parents, where she lies to them about being happy with Jim. Renee has just thrown her out after saying they were too dangerous for one another, and Barbara is struggling with substance abuse.

“Barbara’s storyline keeps building until the end of the season,” John said, but no word on how or if it will include Renee.

Someone who is a part of almost every episode is the most powerful and revered woman (if not person) in Gotham, Fish Mooney. Played deliciously evil by Jada Pinkett Smith, Fish has no line she won’t cross, and John said her sexual fluidity definitely factors into that.

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“Part of it is thinking that Fish uses sexuality as part of her power, and we also wanted a character who saw no boundaries either — legal, sexual, anything — who was driven out of the guiding principal, ‘I’m gonna do what I want, at all times,'” John said. “We wanted an anarchic character — somebody who could create chaos because everybody else is like, ‘No, no — I’m going to follow this path. I’m not going to anger that person.’ But Fish is like, ‘No, I’m going this way.’ And because of that, dominoes start to fall.”

Gotham airs Monday nights on Fox. Live tweet with us using #gaytham.

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