DC Comics adaptations often wind up under the microscope when it comes to issues of gender and racial representation, partly thanks to the dearth of well-written female characters. The site “Has DC Done Something Stupid Today?” exists for a reason, after all. Gotham isn’t great in this regard since four of the five main characters are white men (Alfred, Gordon, Gordon’s partner Harvey Bullock, and the Penguin), but the cast isn’t completely lacking in diversity.
Jada Pinkett Smith is the biggest name in the Gotham cast, and will be playing sadistic crime boss Fish Mooney. And while she doesn’t make much of an appearance in the trailer, police captain Sarah Essen will have a major role in the show. The third central female character is Catwoman, who is probably the most interesting reimagining in the entire cast.
For better or worse, Catwoman is a character whose live-action adaptations have all been dominated by her sex appeal. Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt were iconic in the 1960s. Halle Berry was so bad she won the Razzie award for Worst Actress. Anne Hathaway sent mixed messages as a talented thief who went everywhere in a corseted leather catsuit and stiletto heels, and inexplicably dropped her life of crime (and her implied girlfriend) to elope with Bruce Wayne. In Gotham, Catwoman is still in her early teens, wearing what may be the most sensible costume in Catwoman history as she picks pockets and hones her craft as a burglar.