Police Report #3 – Gotham and The Flash

It’s time for another police report on the police and crime scene work depicted on Gotham and The Flash. For those new to this column and wondering why I’m qualified to write it, I am a full-time police officer with nearly twenty years experience and a State of Indiana certified crime scene investigator with nearly eight years experience in crime scene work.

This edition of the Police Report will take us to the mid-season finale episodes of both shows, so…

Warning: Spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own risk.


Episode #7 (“Penguin’s Umbrella”): Of course Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones) haven’t been disciplined for wasting the department’s and prosecutor’s time with their shoddy case against Gordon (Ben McKenzie) for a murder they couldn’t prove. In fact, they save Gordon’s life during a gunfight and earn his trust after Montoya’s apology. The worst part about the gunfight scene is that all the characters involved in it are supposed to be highly trained and at least good shots, but suddenly none of them can shoot worth a damn.

Before the shoot-out, however, Gordon goes to Barbara’s (Erin Richards) apartment to get her out of town. He finds two of Fish Mooney’s (Jada Pinkett Smith) goons there: her right-hand man, Butch (Drew Powell) and one of his goons – who has a gun on Gordon almost the entire time. Butch threatens Gordon and Barbara. He smartly shoots the gunman, wounding him, and knocks out Butch.

However, Gordon would’ve had his most justified shoot in the series so far in this scene. He (A) knows he and Barbara are targeted by Falcone (John Doman) and Mooney, (B) walks into Barbara’s apartment and discovers two known criminals and associates of Mooney are there, and (C) is threatened at gunpoint. He could’ve shot both men dead as soon as he walked in and the GCPD internal affairs division would’ve probably handed him a merit badge for the quick thinking.


“No, that’s okay. You can point a firearm at me and my girlfriend. I don’t mind, really.”

Episode #8 (“The Mask”): Lo and behold, we have far too many people in the crime scene where the first dead businessman is found in this episode. Bullock (Donal Logue), who apparently gets thirsty at every death scene, is drinking his morning coffee directly over the dead body. Gordon, wisely, snaps at a patrol officer who is enjoying a smoke a few yards away.

“Go smoke somewhere else,” he tells the officer…while Harvey continues drinking his coffee right next to him. Harvey’s coffee gets a pass, while a patrol guy’s cigarette does not.


“Say, Harvey, why not just eat a cheese danish over this corpse while you’re at it?”

Edward “The Riddler” Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) scores some points with me for using the minimal rat chew marks on the dead man’s ear to estimate the time of death (which is not, as TV shows and films would have you believe, an exact science).

Later, Gordon and Bullock go to an office building looking for a man missing a thumb. The place is full of beaten and wounded men. After interviewing the company CEO (during which the CEO – Todd Sashwick – smartly tells Gordon to prove he’s a murderer, knowing the GCPD’s case is weak), Gordon wanders down a hall and sees fresh blood on the floor. The trail leads into a restroom. Gordon draws his gun and enters the restroom. He comes face to face with the thumbless man (their primary suspect in the businessman’s murder), who runs but is caught by Bullock.

The problem? Gordon drawing his gun at the sight of blood. We have established that nearly every man in the office is wounded. Why does Gordon think the blood on the floor automatically belongs to the suspect? Men throughout the place have split lips, broken noses, scratches, cuts, and scrapes. What if the first man Gordon saw in the restroom (who wasn’t the suspect) spooked him and Gordon shot the guy? Whoops. Having his hand on his gun in the holster as he entered the restroom would’ve been a better idea, especially since the suspect got the drop on him and could’ve potentially taken Gordon’s gun (which was out of the holster) from him.

Episode #9 (“Harvey Dent”): Right away, Gordon does something dumb by bringing a female juvenile, Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment alone. Alone! I don’t care if she’s his star witness in the Thomas and Martha Wayne murders. He’s setting himself up for a genuine internal affairs investigation by doing this. He’s already figured out that Selina is a streetwise, manipulative kid, so why would he give her potential ammunition against him? The next time he doesn’t want to get her out of an arrest for theft, all she has to do is say, “I’ll tell someone you took me to your girlfriend’s apartment and molested me.”

No, wait, he has it covered because he has the GCPD sketch artist meet them at Barbara’s apartment. Excuse me? Now she can threaten the sketch artist with allegations as well. I understand that Gordon knows the GCPD is full of corrupt cops who may be tied to the Thomas and Martha Wayne murders and that they might kill Selina if they knew she were a witness. However, he’s taking the sketch artist into his confidence. Why not have the sketch done with Montoya and Allen in attendance? They’re in on the investigation with him and having multiple officers there negates Selina being able to make false accusations on anyone.


“Oh, yeah, you can totally trust me. I’d never do anything to force you into getting me out of an arrest.”

Later, Russian mobsters free Hargrove the bomber (Leslie Odom Jr.) from the armored truck carrying him from Blackgate Prison. The transport officers unwisely decide to get out of the truck right away to exchange gunfire with the mobsters. The wiser choice would’ve been to at first fire from the doorways of the armored truck as cover before moving to a better position.

Thanks to Hargrove planting a clue in one of his bombs, Gordon and Bullock find him in an abandoned machine shop. They go there without a bomb disposal team. This is the second dumb decision Gordon makes in this episode. They know they are going after an explosives genius with mental health issues and they don’t have a bomb disposal team / other officers on standby or making entry with them? When the mobsters grab Hargrove and run outside with him, they should’ve run into the gun muzzles of a SWAT team and a bomb disposal team.

The third dumb decision by Gordon (and the second by Bullock) in this episode is near the climax when Hargrove and the mobsters have raided Falcone’s vault at the armory. Gordon and Bullock hold the mobsters at gunpoint from one end and patrol units have them at gunpoint from the other. Yes, this is a crossfire situation. The mobsters could’ve fired a couple rounds, ducked under their truck, and potentially let the GCPD guys kill each other…and where is the bomb disposal team?

One last comment that isn’t law enforcement or crime scene related for this episode – Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto) uses a slide projector?

Episode #10 (“Lovecraft” – mid-season finale): Gordon and Bullock weren’t in this episode too much, but they’re in it enough to make me ask some questions about them.

First, Gordon runs into another “Why didn’t you shoot them?” situation (like in episode #7) when he goes to Dick Lovecraft’s (Al Sapienza) apartment to find out if he’s behind the attempted assassination of Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and Selina Kyle. The assassins, it turns out, are after Lovecraft as well. They walk into the apartment while Gordon is there, and Gordon for some reason doesn’t drill both of them as soon as he realizes they’re a threat.

Later, when he and Bullock track the assassins, Bruce, and Selina to a warehouse, Gordon proves he can kill a gunman at about twenty-five yards with a single shot, yet in an earlier episode (#7) he couldn’t hit Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) from across a room.

Near the end of the episode, Mayor James (Richard Kind) decides to get Gordon out of his hair by giving him the choice to quit or become a security guard at Arkham Asylum. Why did he wait so long to do something like this? Mayor James could name plenty of incidents involving Gordon that would’ve put him on leave for months (multiple shoots, crossfire incidents, a gunfight at police headquarters, etc.).

Gotham Lovecraft600x350

“I won’t suspend you for all your potentially disastrous shooting events, Gordon. I’ll make you a security guard! Ha, ha ha!”

The Flash

Episode #7 (“Power Outage”): Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) once again proves he is the greatest crime scene investigator in the entire world by announcing his recognition of electrical burn patterns at the homicide scene. He can now recognize tire tread, histotoxic hypoxia, bomb components, and electrical burn patterns on sight. When are the show’s writers going to learn they’ve made him smarter than Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh)? Also, no one, not even Barry, is wearing gloves at the “death by electrocution” crime scene.


Joe: “Ever seen anything like this?” Eddy: “Never, but I’m sure Barry has a thousand times.”

Later, the Clock King (Robert Knepper) takes hostages in the Central City Police station, even though he probably would’ve been dropped by a hail of gunfire after he disarmed and shot the first officer. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) is among the hostages and discovers Eddy (Rick Cosnett) is hiding nearby waiting to shoot the Clock King. Joe makes a motion for Eddy to wait. Eddy does until he can get closer, puts a round in the Clock King, but is then shot by him since the King was wearing a bullet-resistant vest.

But why have Eddy wait? As it was established in episode #6 (“The Flash Is Born”), Eddy is a crack shot. He fired “a dozen rounds” into a speeding vehicle and even landed multiple shots on the driver at considerable distance. He can do that, yet Joe doesn’t have the confidence that Eddy can shoot the Clock King from the other side of an office.

The size of the gun Iris (Candice Patton) takes out of Eddy’s ankle holster also seemed to change from the establishing shot of it to when she points it at the Clock King later. Ankle guns are usually smaller caliber and lighter in weight to keep them from bogging you down in a foot pursuit or even just walking around town. The gun Iris used looked like a full-size duty weapon. I could be wrong.

Girder (Greg Finley) returns in this episode when Dr. Wells releases him from his toilet-free prison cell to kill Blackout (Michael Reventar) in exchange for his freedom. Girder is killed in the battle, much to Barry’s shock. Barry calls Dr. Wells on his apparent disregard for humans in general, but where were the questions about what to do with his body?

Think about this: Barry is a CSI for the Central City Police. He now knows of a murder he can’t report without jeopardizing everything from the existence of metahumans to his secret identity. Something must be done with Girder’s body. Is Dr. Wells planning on cremating it? Will he let it rot at STAR Labs (like he apparently plans to do with Blackout’s body)? If he does either, we’re back to the CCPD’s several open cases involving Girder, and the cases involving the deaths caused by Blackout, never being closed since their bodies will never be found.

If Girder’s body is to be dumped to close up the CCPD’s cases involving him, what about the case involving Girder’s murder by Blackout? He will show the same wounds as other people (accidentally) killed by him. The CCPD will now have an open case involving the death of Girder. Barry knows all of this, but can’t or won’t report it.

The cold cases files at CCPD are getting enormous.

Episode #8 (“Flash vs. Arrow”): Good grief, look at all those people in that bank crime scene early in the episode! They’re everywhere! Victims, witnesses, road officers, bank employees, and probably the Marx Brothers for all I know are wandering around the scene. Whoever was in charge of keeping that scene secure needs to be fired.

Later, when Joe and his SWAT guys track down Prism (Paul Anthony) they forget basic tactics for high-risk felony arrests. Asking a suspect to do a three hundred-sixty degree turn is not uncommon (so you can visually inspect the suspect’s waist for weapons), but another, usually better option is to order the suspect to a kneeling position, handcuff him or her, and then do a pat-down for weapons. Also, the enraged SWAT officer racks a shell into the chamber of his shotgun when he turns on Joe and the others. Why isn’t that shell already racked? It would and should be on a high-risk felony arrest. If Prism would’ve turned and fired a gun, that SWAT officer could’ve been shot before he ever racked the shell.

Later, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) happily put their fingerprints all over the boomerang to be processed in STAR Labs for identification purposes. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) also has it stored in a plastic bag, which is worthless for preserving fingerprints (as handling the item in a plastic bag can cause prints to smudge) and DNA (since a sealed plastic bag doesn’t allow DNA samples to “breathe” and will cause the samples to putrefy). The boomerang should be stored in a cardboard box with zip ties.


Oliver: “Uh, shouldn’t that, you know, be sealed or something?” Barry: “Huh? But it’s so cool!”

Finally, Prism is put in STAR Labs’ toilet, shower, and sink-free prison where he will presumably die of starvation, dehydration, or sepsis. In the meantime, all those innocent people he enraged in the bank will be prosecuted for everything from local charges of battery to federal charges of attempted bank robbery because no one knows he exists and is to blame for their actions. The same goes for the SWAT officer who turned and fired on his fellow officers. This whole “We can’t let everyone know metahumans exist!” thing is getting out of hand.

Episode #9 (“The Man in the Yellow Suit” – mid-season finale): There are far too many people in the Mercury Labs scene involving the two dead security guards. Barry is also crouching near a dead body with latex gloves in his hands, which means he either hasn’t put them on yet or has removed them too soon (since he’s still in the scene).

Near the end of the episode, Joe and Eddy are talking about what they witnessed at STAR Labs (the attack of the Reverse Flash). Eddy can’t wrap his head around what he’s seen, even though the Flash assaulted him in an earlier episode. Joe finally reveals the existence of metahumans to Eddy and tells him that they are the only two people on the department who know they exist.

What about the members of Eddy’s Flash Task Force who were in STAR Labs when the Reverse Flash was captured? They saw him do all his super speed stuff before he took them out. They would certainly tell everyone in their squad what they saw. The only way they wouldn’t is if the Reverse Flash killed them. If that is the case, then how were their deaths explained to the department and their families? “Well, we were at STAR Labs to catch a guy and, uh, they just fell over dead?”


Cop #1: “Dude, are you seeing this?” Cop #2: “Yes, but don’t forget Det. Thawne made us sign that non-disclosure form. Don’t tell anyone!”

This also begs the question as to how Eddy convinced his captain to let him form the Flash Task Force. He had the fact that the Flash was spotted, or at least rumored to be, at every weird crime scene in the last few months, but that’s it. He would’ve had to explain what made the Flash so menacing (his apparent super-speed) that a special task force had to be created to capture him. This means that Joe and Eddy can’t be the only people on the department who know metahumans exist.

That wraps up the first half of Police Reports for both shows.  Am I thinking too much about all this?  Let us know in the comments section.  Stay safe.


About the author

Nik Havert