Sarah Essen ('til death do they part)

Sarah Essen

(’til death do they part)

by Phil Perich for the Before the Bat Podcast

2 weeks ago, those of us who watch the show Gotham lost the character of Sarah Essen, for comic book fans, this was deja vu.  I thought I’d summarize the character’s history as we said our goodbyes.  Did you know:


  1. Sarah Essen first appeared in Batman #405 (March 1987). During the Batman: Year One storyline Sarah is brought in to be a partner of then lieutenant James Gordon.  As the two work closer together, they give in to their feelings and have a brief affair. Sarah figures outthat Bruce Wayne is Batman but is later convinced otherwise by Gordon.  By the end of the story, Sarah leaves for New York.

2. Batman #458 (January 1991) shows the return of Sarah to Gotham years later.  With Sarah now a widow and Gordon long divorced, the two start a serious relationship that ends up with the couple getting married in Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #2 (1992).

3. For a few months in the 1990’s, James Gordon is demoted from his job as Police Commissioner and replaced by his wife Sarah Essen-Gordon.  After Gordon is reinstated by the new mayor, Sarah goes on to accept a job as a liaison between the GCPD and the mayor’s office. 

4. Sarah meets her end at the hands of the Joker at the end of the No Man’s Land storyline in Detective Comics #741 (February 2000).  Sarah had tracked down the Joker and dozens of infants he had kidnapped to the basement of the then abandoned police station. Sarah gives her life to save the lives of the children. 

Upon his discovery of the Joker’s act, Gordon is tempted to kill him, but in the end just shoots him in the leg.  Batman watched their whole confrontation, but lets Gordon make his own decision.  

5. The TV show Gotham was the first live action appearance of first Captain, then Commissioner Sarah Essen.  This version of the character was never romantically involved with Jim Gordon and was portrayed brilliantly by Zabryna Guevara before the character’s death by the joker wannabe Jerome Veleska,

You can grieve with me in the following ways: or

@nightwingpdp or @beforethebatpod on Twitter

Before the Bat: the Gotham podcast on Facebook

you can hear me and my friends discuss all things Gotham and Batman every week on my podcast Before the Bat: the Gotham Podcast. 

I also write for two other blogs, the Flash/Arrow blog and the True Believers blog. All my podcasts, blogs, and those of others can be found at

Until next week, be good! Rest in Peace Sarah Essen!

Posted on October 12, 2015 and filed under Television, Comics.