What Did We Learn About Fear on Gotham?

The Gotham episode “The Fearsome Dr. Crane,” had several important life lessons on fear.

Don’t Play “Tell Me a Secret” With a Mob Boss in the Woods

Sal Maroni, a large, strong man, with very fast hands, took Penguin into the woods to share secrets in a remote cabin. The fact pattern alone embodied every nightmare 1980s PSA with victims who ended up on milk cartons. Penguin, don’t go on car rides to someone’s cabin in the woods.

Men Who Wear Bow Ties Are Not Afraid of Baby Pigs

Wearing a bow tie takes confidence. Those of us who wear bow ties are used to those with knot envy mocking us. But we all know the truth: Bow Ties Are Cool.

Any man confident enough to wear a bow tie would not be afraid of a baby pig.

Now, being tied up in a slaughterhouse with pigs, complete with a creepy butcher wearing a pig mask who is preparing to slaughter you like an animal, screaming out in terror is totally normal in those circumstances.

Anyone who was “this little piggy went to the slaughterhouse” would have serious civil and criminal claims against Dr. Crane and his Pig-Butcher henchman. The butcher’s bill of crimes would include kidnapping, attempted murder, torture, assault, battery, intentional inflection of emotional distress, possibly cruelty to animals, and a host of other issues a district attorney would list in a criminal complaint.

Dr. Crane Has Seriously Violated the Hippocratic Oath

Doctors today do not swear to Apollo they will not cause hurt or damage to the sick, but they nearly take an oath to do no harm.

Dr. Crane went out of his way to cause harm, by inflicting the worst fears a victim had before killing them. In New York, this would be first-degree murder by torture, which is defined when a defendant acts in “an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim prior to the victim’s death.” NY CLS Penal § 125.27(x). Torture is “the intentional and depraved infliction of extreme physical pain” and “depraved” means the Defendant relished inflicting the pain upon the victim. Id.

Pretty sure a DA could prove Dr. Crane’s actions of hanging a man off a roof, who was afraid of heights, was murder by torture. Removing the victim’s adrenal glands would add desecration of a corpse to the list of crimes. Moreover, the attempts to kill the man afraid of pigs and drown a woman afraid of drowning were both attempted murder by torture (and conspiracies involving third parties).

Now, it was good to see Jim Gordon overcome his fear of an emotional connection with Dr. Leslie Thompkins, empowering him to grow beyond the toxic behavior of Barbara’s drug use and wildly inconsistent personality. Marry Dr. Thompkins and have a daughter named Barbara for a variation of comic canon. We are not afraid of that.

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Josh Gilliland
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.