The next episode of Gotham, “The Trial of Jim Gordon,” isn’t the series finale of the Fox show. However, it is the final installment of the series that was filmed before production wrapped. In the episode, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is near death after being shot and finds himself hallucinating a trial to determine whether or not he deserves to live, taking a deep look at everything Gordon has done since Gotham’s pilot, for better or worse.
This particular episode also happens to be directed by Erin Richards, who plays Barbara Kean on the series. Having her at the helm for the final scenes filmed for the show created a special environment on-set, as the cast said goodbye to the characters they’ve embodied for five seasons. “It was the most emotionally satisfying end to this journey that you could possibly imagine,” Robin Lord Taylor, who plays Penguin, told GameSpot at the TCA press tour. “To have someone who had been with all of us since the pilot, and to have her be one of us, as the actors, and just her connection to the crew, it was just so warm and beautiful and just super fitting to the family that we had built together over these last couple of years.”
Additionally, as McKenzie–who wrote the episode–explained, the final scene of the episode was as close to a Gotham family reunion as you could expect. “We shot that in the confines of the set, in our big GCPD set–which is the first one that we built, the one that’s lasted for five years–in front of everyone you know,” he said. “The principal cast, most of [whom] are in character and some of whom just showed up on the day. The crew and our background players that have been there for five years, many of them. It was really wonderful that Erin was directing. It was a nice way to say goodbye.”
For Richards, getting to direct her first episode of TV and having it also be the final installment of a series she’s spent five years on was a unique experience. “It was like the most creatively inspiring, the funnest, the most challenging. And then just the most perfect way to end the most beautiful story,” she said. “I could not ask for anything better. And I was so present for every moment. I don’t know if directing does that, but I just felt like I was really experiencing every moment of it, which meant that I wasn’t really sad when we finished because I could not have possibly have asked for anything more.”
And once the final frame of “The Trial of Jim Gordon” has aired, the home stretch begins for Gotham. There will be only three episodes left as the series rockets to its Batman-filled conclusion. Given how often Gotham carves its own path, though, it remains to be seen whether Gordon will actually survive his trial and be around to see it all happen.
Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox.