Southland's Ben McKenzie Cast as Gordon in Gotham

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<i>Southland</i>'s Ben McKenzie Cast as Gordon in <i>Gotham</i>

I guess we can just call him “Commissioner.”

Well, actually not yet. This is a prequel, after all. Entertainment Weekly reports that Ben McKenzie, best known for playing heartthrob Ryan Atwood on The O.C, has been cast to play a young Detective James Gordon on Fox’s forthcoming show set in Batman’s hometown, Gotham.

The vision for Gotham is to be a true prequel. Earlier this year, Fox chairman Kevin Reilly said the show will feature many well-known characters from the DC Universe, including a young Bruce Wayne, but they won’t appear as we’ve known them for decades. Joker and the Penguin are expected to appear, but not in their iconic costumes.

Expect the same for Gordon, who’s visually defined by his horn-rimmed glasses and mustache. The casting of McKenzie solidifies that Fox is serious about creating a distinct origin story, with a look and feel all its own. Those worried that McKenzie might bring a little too much Laguna Beach to Gotham should rest assured. The actor played a cop for five seasons on the underappreciated police drama Southland.

There’s a lot of buzz around Gotham, and rightfully so. With the success of Nolan’s Batman films, and the excitement of the forthcoming Batman vs. Superman, Fox has a lot riding on the new drama. But the real question is, how long does the show have to run before McKenzie grows the ‘stache?