Harvey Bullock: Good Cop or Rogue Maverick?

By  Phil Perich for Before the Bat: The Gotham Podcast

Spirit of the Goat.  That was great episode of Gotham.  Especially the flashback of Harvey Bullock.  It also gave me the inspiration for this week’s blog.  Harvey Bullock first appeared in Batman #361 (July 1983).  

In the beginning, Bullock is a corrupt police detective who tries to sabotage Commissioner Gordon’s career under orders from then mayor, Hamilton Hill.  Bullock pretends to always be very clumsy and “accidentally” ruin whatever Gordon is trying to do at the time.  But after his actions cause Gordon to have a heart attack, Bullock turns it around and becomes a good cop.  He develops a bond with Robin, over their shared love of old movies.  After the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot of DC comics, Bullock is shown to be a uniformed officer who, despite his coworkers singing his praises, is known for his police brutality, taking bribes, and his ties to organized crime.  The reboot also changed Bullock’s earlier behavior towards Gordon.  In the new history, Bullock is shown to have always been loyal to Commissioner Gordon.  Bullock is later on made a detective (as he was in pre-crisis stories) and became a part of Gordon’s inner circle, the few cops Gordon knew he could trust completely.  Bullock was portrayed on Batman: the animated series by Robert Costanzo.

The Batman titles of the 1990’s and the animated series often showed Harvey Bullock teamed up with partner Renee Montoya.

In the beginning of the animated series, Bullock is distrustful of Batman and sees him as just another criminal.  But after Batman saves him a few times, Bullock begins to see that Batman has his uses and is needed in Gotham.  Bullock is nearly killed when he and Robin attempt to stop the Russian assassin KGBeast from detonating a nuclear bomb in Gotham City. 

Bullock spends weeks in the hospital, where he meets a nurse named Charlotte.  He falls in love with her, but she is killed by a carjacker on their first date.  During the No Man’s Land storyline, where a earthquake ravaged Gotham is cut off from the rest of the country, Bullock is one of the few cops to stay and help Gordon try to keep law and order in a lawless town.  In the Officer Down storyline, disgruntled ex-cop Jordan Rich shoots Commissioner Gordon in an attempted murder.  After he walks from lack of evidence, Bullock reveals his identity to the Mafia and Rich quickly disappears.  When Bullock’s actions are discovered, he quits the police force.  

During the One Year Later storyline, he is reinstated to the force, with the provision that he is not allowed to make one mistake.  Harvey Bullock is portrayed on the new Batman prequel show Gotham by actor Donal Logue.

In the show, he is partners with Detective James Gordon and is shown to have ties to mobster Fish Mooney, who often supplies him with information on Gotham’s criminal underground.  That’s it for this week.  Keep reading the blog and listen to Podcast I cohost, Before the Bat: the Gotham Podcast and share your Gotham and Batman thoughts with me at:





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Until next week, be good. Remember justice doesn’t always wear a cape and cowl!


Posted on November 11, 2014 and filed under Comics.