Gotham Season 2: Who Killed Bruce Wayne’s Parents?

With Gotham season 2 on hiatus, we ponder its big mystery – who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne? Spoilers...

This article originally appeared on Den of Geek UK.

This article contains spoilers for Gotham season 2 up to episode 11, Worse Than A Crime.

According to TV Guide – who dropped this sizeable revelation at the end of their midseason interview with Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller – Bruce Wayne will find out who killed his parents at some point between now and the end of season 2.

Yep, we’re just 11 episodes from solving the central mystery that has plagued Master Bruce since the pilot will be apparently be solved. Here’s a reminder of the pilot’s murder scene for anyone who might wish to refresh their memory before we get into speculation mode…

Will this burly killer be someone we’ve already met? Will it really be Matches Malone, as teased by a possibly lying Silver St. Cloud?

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And is the identity of the killer really important, or are they just a triggerman operating under the orders of a larger organization? Here are all the possibilities, and a few we can rule out…

Mario Pepper

Just in case your memory of .’s very first episode has become a bit cloudy in the last year and a half, let us not forget that ex-con and Poison Ivy’s dad Mario Pepper was identified as the Wayne killer back in episode 1. Bullock shot Pepper (portrayed by Daniel Stewart Sherman) dead when it looked like the crook was about to kill Jim Gordon. The Wayne-esque necklace found in his flat made it any easy case to close.

Of course, this was too good to be true. Although the public think the killer was found, Jim later realised that Pepper didn’t possess a pair of shiny shoes to match the description of the Wayne Killer, and he was actually framed by Fish Mooney with the help of the GCPD.

We can rule out Mr Pepper, then, unless Heller is plotting some major backtracking.

Fish Mooney/Butch Gilzean

Could the fact that Fish Mooney framed Mario Pepper tell us something more about Jada Pinkett Smith’s mob boss character? Could it be that she was framing him to cover for someone else who killed the Waynes on her behalf? The triggerman has a similar frame to Fish’s at-the-time loyal lieutenant Butch Gilzean. What their motive would be isn’t entirely clear, besides shaking up the Gotham underworld or maybe distracting the police from something else.

Regardless, there’s certainly story potential in the idea of the Wayne murders being orchestrated by someone that Bruce can’t get his hands on. Fish disappeared into a river at the end of season 1, and the fact that it wouldn’t be possible to bring her to justice could further motivate Bruce towards become Batman. He can’t stop Fish, so he’ll have to stop everyone else instead.

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The Wayne murders did indeed shake the criminal underworld of Gotham City. In the year and a bit since Bruce’s altruistic parents were gunned down, all of Gotham’s old guard of gangsters have been shoved out of the picture – Maroni is dead, Fish is gone, and Falcone is retired. And none benefitted more from this reshuffle than Oswald Cobblepot.

Could it be that Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin was playing the long game all along? The Wayne murders were the perfect crime to start a chain reaction resulting in gang warfare, but could Oswald have predicted that? It’s a long shot, but you can’t quite rule it out. Obviously Oswald has a completely different physique to the triggerman, but perhaps he paid someone else to do it.

Purple Suit Man

Full credit to the YouTubers from Universe Box for this one. The purple-suited man in the image above was hanging out at the GCPD in episode 2, and when Bullock stepped on his foot he angrily proclaimed, “watch the shoes, clown!”

Bullock gave him a kicking for his statement, and the purple-suited man was never seen again. He could well have been wearing shiny shoes, though, and certainly has a similar build to the Wayne killer. He even looks quite a lot like the police sketch made from Selina Kyle’s description, but admittedly that could have been and utter pack of lies from the junior Catwoman.

Would Heller be so cheeky as to show us the Wayne killer as a minor background character so early in the series? Well, it’s a possibility.

A version of the Joker

In that Universe Box video, they suggest that maybe the purple-suited chap is a version of the Joker and that Gotham would take a cue from Tim Burton’s Batman movie. Therein, the Waynes’ killer was a young Jack Napier, before he fell into a vat of chemicals and became Gotham’s Clown Prince Of Crime.

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However, the purple suited guy seems way too old to be the Joker to David Mazouz’s Batman. It seems unlikely that Heller would set up a thirty-year age gap between the pair, so we can probably rule that one out. And it’s probably not worth wondering if Jerome was the killer, either, since the murderer presented in the pilot is clearly a heavy-set adult (and Jerome surely couldn’t afford to hire anyone else to do it… and why would he?). 

In all honesty, it doesn’t seem likely Gotham will go down the Joker-killed-the-Waynes route. The killer didn’t display any Joker-esque tendencies at all.

Matches Malone

It’d be foolish to trust Silver St. Cloud’s suggestion that Malone killed the Waynes, but considering that she thought herself to be in serious danger at the time, there’s a slim chance she was actually telling the truth (if she even knew the true killer, that is – perhaps Theo Galavan lied to her).

The only M. Malone from the comics is Matches Malone, an orphan criminal who specialized in insurance fraud and arson with the help of his brother Carver Malone. When a ricochet from his own bullet killed Matches, Bruce Wayne adopted his identity to infiltrate the criminal underworld.

In the pages of the comics he was never identified as the Wayne killer, but the show could change that if Heller wanted. Gotham has cast Breaking Bad alum Michael Bowen as Matches Malone, and issued a character description dubbing this version as “a weathered, philosophical hit man who may be the triggerman behind one of the most important crimes in Gotham’s history.”

So, the evidence appears to be stacked against Matches. There’s every chance that he could be the killer, but he could equally be a red herring to tee up a big twist. Even if he did do it, Jim/Bruce would still need to find out who hired him (unless he had a personal motive).

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Theo Galavan

No one hates the Waynes more than Theo Galavan, who seemingly dedicated his entire life to plotting his attack on their legacy. And isn’t it convenient that, by the time he arrived in Gotham, the only Wayne left standing was a small boy that Galavan assumes could be convinced into signing away his parents’ company?

It seems plausible that Galavan – with the help of The Order Of Saint Dumas – orchestrated this entire chain of events. He had the Waynes killed, allowed Bruce enough time to become obsessed with the case, and then entered the scene dangling answers in front of the orphaned child, in the hope of nabbing his signature.

As with most people on this list, Galavan looks nothing like the triggerman from the pilot. But a man with his wealth and influence could easily afford the luxury of hiring a hit man (Matches Malone, perhaps?). Maybe we’ll find out more when Indian Hill start their experiments on Galavan.

Wayne Enterprises

If Galavan or one of Gotham’s gangsters didn’t order a hit on Thomas and Martha Wayne, their own company is surely the only other real contender. It’s already been shown that Thomas Wayne was researching the inner workings of Wayne Enterprises, so perhaps the fact that he died before exposing the company’s evildoing is no coincidence.

Perhaps Michael Potts’ character, Sid Bunderslaw, – one of Wayne Enterprise’s board members – has a larger role to play in the series going forward. He’s the one who told Bruce that Thomas had kept quiet about illegal activity within the company, and was last seen being abducted by Galavan in a bid to dig up dirt on the Waynes.

Maybe Bunderslaw will return to the show in the second half of season 2, and perhaps he’ll even have a change of heart after months of being tortured by Galavan. He could confess to Bruce about arranging the murder, forcing the young Wayne to bring him to justice. Or maybe Galavan just killed him.

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Either way, the theory that the Waynes were killed by their own company remains one of the most popular theories.

Joe Chill

And finally, in many versions of the Batman mythos there isn’t a conspiracy around the murder of the Waynes at all. Often, they were just the unlucky victims of a desperate crook in need of cash – Joe Chill. This how events were presented in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (pictured above), with an added emotional gut-punch hitting Bruce Wayne when Falcone has Chill murdered before his eyes before Bruce could exact his own revenge.

It’d be interesting to see Gotham play into a chain of events like this. Bruce spends years investigating the murder of his parents, believing there to be a grand machination behind it. He suspects Wayne Enterprises, he’s sceptical about Galavan, but in the end it was just a simple street-level crime. The sort of thing he hasn’t given much thought to. The sort of thing that happens every day, to good and honest people.

This would be an important lesson for the young Batman-to-be to learn, that research and detective work – while useful – doesn’t save lives. He also has to get out there on the streets if he wants to stop others going through the same tragic events as him.

It’d be a ballsy move for Heller to tee up all these conspiracies only to tear them down, but Joe Chill as the killer still seems somewhat plausible. It’d certainly keep comic book purists happy, as well as developing Bruce’s character and pushing us closer to a recognisable Batman as the series’ endgame. It’s my personal favorite theory, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.

If you’ve got a theory that I’ve missed, please do plonk it in the comments below…

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Gotham season 2 returns on Monday the 29th of February.