Screen: Netflix; Photo: Jessica Miglio / Fox

Battle Of The Corrupt Comic-Book Cop Shops

Daredevil's NYPD takes on Gotham's GCPD to determine which department is dirtier.

Comic-book publishers DC and Marvel have been battling it out on multiple fronts for more than half a century, from the newsstand to the small screen to the multiplex. We're going to settle that fight here and now. At least, in one tiny area.

Marvel's Daredevil and DC's Gotham have a great deal in common. Both shows trade in dark, gritty, violent urban realism (but without the realism, in Gotham's case). As a result, both shows depict police officers who have priorities above their sworn duty to uphold the law -- priorities which include, on many occasions, not upholding the law.

So the question is, which show features the truly bad boys in blue? Let's break it down for both cities' not-so-finest.

Where is the corruption more pervasive?

Jim Gordon has sworn not only to eradicate crime in Gotham City, but clean up the GCPD. Daredevil has no such champion within the NYPD as of yet. Furthermore, Gotham used to have Internal Affairs cops like Montoya and Allen, who seemed motivated to do the right thing when they were still on the show.

On Daredevil, a detective shoots a suspect in custody and Wilson Fisk is confident that IAB will make it go away. This mysterious crime boss just wants the police to "do their jobs. That's what I pay them for."

Winner: Daredevil.

Which has more dangerous interrogation rooms?

Gordon did get a suspect killed out from under him at the Gotham precinct one time, and he once beat some information out of a recalcitrant pimp, but the majority of the people he questions at the office get out safely. Whereas I can recall two interrogation-room scenes on Daredevil. In one, two detectives entrap a Russian mobster into saying the name Wilson Fisk and then shoot him for it. The detainee in the other scene exits the room under his own steam, but later dies for the same reason. That's a zero-percent survivability rate.

Winner: Daredevil.

Where does it go all the way to the top?

The police commissioner of Gotham City, Gillian B. Loeb, is known to be in bed with longtime crime boss Carmine Falcone. As is the mayor himself, Aubrey James. Both Gotham officials are, of course, fictional. On Daredevil, most of the NYPD's rank and file appear to be on the payroll of Wilson Fisk, but at this point in the Daredevil series, a fictional commissioner and mayor have not yet been introduced. And their real-life counterparts are still in office, though at least one of them has been a controversial figure, to put it mildly.

Winner: Gotham.

Which PD lacks honest cops fighting the system from within?

Obviously, Gotham's Detective Jim Gordon stands as a shining counterexample of what the Gotham City Police Department fails to stand for. And as much as he bitches about the corruption of his fellow officers, there are those who have his back. His captain, Sarah Essen, and his partner, Harvey Bullock, have both let him down a time or two, but ultimately they both have his back.

On the other hand, I've seen all of two good cops so far on Daredevil. One is a desk sergeant who takes bribes, but they're cigars for his mom and they come from the good guys so it's okay. The other is a two-month rookie who gets killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. By a fellow cop, no less.

Winner: Daredevil.

Which police department is more dangerous to actually work at?

Jim Gordon almost gets killed every week on Gotham, but that's kind of his job as the lead character. Most other GCPD cops are too self-interested to fall in the line of duty, though one or two have gone down for drug trafficking and domestic abuse.

In S01E06 of Daredevil, however, we see that even the dirtiest cops -- those most in the bag for Wilson Fisk -- aren't above being sacrificed to Fisk's plans. At this stage, an NYPD officer can choose between getting shot by Fisk's men or beaten by Daredevil. Or, in the case of the lucky Detective Blake, both!

Winner: Daredevil.


The victor in this face-off is clear -- and triumphs over its rival not just on this question, but on every other point of comparison.

Winner: Daredevil. Did the fictional NYPD win by cheating? Well, of course it did.

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