- "They don't know Gotham like I do. I got brains, you ask anyone."
- —Butch Gilzean to Theo Galavan[src]
Butch Gilzean is a criminal, and is an experienced member of the Gotham City underworld crime system. He was a former underling of Fish Mooney but later came to be second-in-command under Oswald Cobblepot after being brainwashed by Victor Zsasz to do the latter's bidding. The Galavans later cleared him of his brainwashing and after Cobblepot was deserted and left for dead by his own men, Butch took over as the new leader of Gotham's underworld. But within a couple of months retook his position as Penguin's second in command. Months out of jealousy for the Penguin's preference over Edward Nygma he hired mercenaries to take on the alias of the Red Hood Gang in order to stage a rescue for Oswald and win his favor again only to be caught out by Nygma. Sent to hospital from injuries sustained during the coup Tabitha Galavan hijacked the ambulance and sent him into hiding.
Growing up alongside fellow Falcone gang member Jimmy Saviano, Gilzean and Saviano were delinquents at an early age. One time, the pair robbed a butcher shop, stealing several pounds of meat for their families. Despite a brotherly relationship, Butch withheld several prime cuts from Saviano, leaving his partner-in-crime clueless that he had received the inferior ground beef.
Working for Fish Mooney
Butch allows Fish's umbrella man, Oswald Cobblepot, to blow off steam on an employee who had been stealing from Mooney named, Raoul. Later, Butch is told by Fish that Bullock threatened her, and while Bullock is untying Gordon, he's knocked out. However, the two Detectives are saved by the timely intervention of Carmine Falcone. Don Falcone entrusts Butch Gilzean of reminding Fish Mooney that she has to ask him before killings cops before releasing the two Detectives.
Butch is present when Fish furiously swears to kill Falcone and wishes that she could make Cobblepot suffer more.
Butch is told by one of Mooney's henchmen to make Falcone's latest lover Natalia undergo an unfortunate accident. As such, he later sets up a mugging.
When Fish auditions singers, she tells Butch to keep looking after the first audition. Butch objects because the girl was pretty, but Fish tells him that she didn't want a pretty girl but a weapon.
When Fish discovers that Cobblepot was still alive, after overcoming a fit of rage, she sends Butch looking for Gordon so she could talk to him. Butch later goes to Barbara Kean's penthouse and holds her hostage. Butch begins harassing her and reveals that Jim did not kill Cobblepot as he was told. Gordon returns home and ends quickly defeats both Gilzean and his associate. He later intercepts a truck belonging to Maroni loaded with weapons worth millions, and shoots both of the employees inside the truck.
Butch and Fish met with Kasyanov and his people to give them a pickup truck and the location of the secret vault where Falcone kept much of his money. Later while the Russians were robbing the vault Butch, who was located nearby, activated the bomb placed under the van, that ends up killing Kasyanov and all his men.
After Fish Mooney had Liza abducted, and Falcone agreed to her terms, Butch was excited and wanted to celebrate. Later, after Falcone confronts them at Fish's nightclub, Butch witnesses Liza killed, and he and Fish are then led are led away to their undetermined fates, after Cobblepot takes the opportunity to mockingly say goodbye to Fish.
Butch Gilzean later manages to free himself and knocks Bob unconscious, then frees Fish Mooney. Butch and Fish later arrive at the nightclub in order to exact revenge on Cobblepot. However, Zsasz arrives with three associates, and there is a gunfight, and Mooney and Gilzean flee. Butch sends Fish out the window to escape while he buys Mooney some time which ends with Gilzean getting wounded by Zsasz.
Working for Oswald Cobblepot
Butch was later brainwashed by Victor Zsasz, in order for him to work for Oswald Cobblepot.Butch later helps Penguin steal Maroni's alcohol having police officers "confiscate it". They later have a toast together.
Butch later informs Penguin that Maroni had arrived at his club, and couldn't get his mother out in time.
During the events of the Falcone-Maroni Gang War, Butch accompanies Cobblepot when he attempts to kill Falcone in the hospital but are stopped by Gordon. Gordon and Bullock take Falcone, Penguin, and Butch to one of his safehouses, but Fish Mooney and her gang ambush them. Butch is then recruited back to Fish's crew but he is struggling to stand beside her since he is still under Cobblepot's control. After Fish kills Maroni and recaptures Falcone, Bullock, and Gordon who try to escape Cobblepot comes in and shoots the majority of Fish's crew and chases her up to the roof. With Fish and Cobblepot struggling for who gets to control Gotham, Butch arrives holding the two at gunpoint, since his mind is still struggling to choose a side, Butch shoots both Fish and Cobblepot. After realizes what he had just done Butch rushes to his friend and apologizes for what he has done, Fish forgives him and assures him she'll be fine, but before either could react, Cobblepot knocks Butch down and pushes Fish gaining complete control of Gotham and with Butch now completely at his mercy.
Butch reports to Cobblepot that Odgen Barker is in debt, though Odgen believed it was forfeit as Carmine Falcone is retired, though Cobblepot believes he still owes him the 70 grand.
Butch later questions Penguin as to why they're killing mayoral candidates. Penguin tells him about his mother's kidnapping and Butch tells them that they had to find her.
With help from Selina Kyle, Butch is sent by Oswald to recruit the Pike Brothers into committing an arson-based robbery on a building owned by Wayne Enterprises. Cobblepot later cuts off his hand, so that he can go under cover to rescue Gertrud Kapelput from Theo Galavan. Unfortunately, Theo learns of this and has his sister deprogram Butch, causing him to side with them.
Later on, a scraped and hurt Butch returns to Cobblepot, revealing his mother is located at the waterfront. Arriving at the waterfront they discover his mother behind bars. Theo and Tabitha appeared and Cobblepot ordered Butch to shoot them dead, however, due to him being reconditioned to now be loyal to them Butch guns down two bodyguards working for Cobblepot. Although Tabitha unlocks the door to let Gertrud out, she stabs her in the back when she embraces Cobblepot, killing her much to the shock of Butch. Theo orders Butch to kill Cobblepot and dump both of their bodies, but Cobblepot taunts Theo that he won't do the dirty work himself. Theo decides to execute Cobblepot himself, but he stabs Theo in the neck and escapes.
Running the Gotham Underworld
Butch is later visited by Gordon and Bullock who want to know where Penguin is. Butch tells them that is isn't Penguin's lap dog anymore and asks them to leave if they do not have a warrant. They are interrupted when Zsasz arrives with a horde of killers to kill Butch. Zsasz, waiting outside of the diner Butch is in, states that everyone who leaves now will not be harmed whereas everyone who stays will die. This leads to Butch's men deserting, leaving their boss and friend alone. Gordon than ties Butch to the heater, stating that they will leave Butch here for Zsasz if he does not talk. Butch reveals that Galavan orchestrated Penguins attacks and forced him by threatening his mother. Before Butch can reveal more, Zsasz starts his attack. While Bullock and Gordon fight off the attackers, Butch escapes.
Four weeks after Theo Galavan was killed and Oswald Cobblepot ends up on the run, Butch Gilzean started running Oswald's business. After killing one of his underlings with a drill bit attachment where his hand should be, he is then visited by Tabitha Galavan who successfully persuades him to start a partnership with her. Both of them make out as it is secretly watched from the ventilation by Selina Kyle.
Much to Butch and Tabitha's astonishment they are visited by Oswald after he is released from Arkham Asylum and deemed "sane". Although Tabitha attempts to go in for the kill, Butch stops her. Oswald claims he is a changed man and much to the awe of Butch and Tabitha claims Butch is his "friend", despite everything he put him through. Butch chooses to spare Oswald's life, as he acknowledges that he has lost a lot and that they are now "even". However, he does allow Tabitha to tar and feather Oswald as a punishment, although Oswald leaves Butch's place in high spirits and sees the experience as a joke.
With only a day into Barbara staying with them, Butch appears to be annoyed and also very unnerved with her, as Barbara seems to be slipping back into insanity. He shared his concerns with Tabitha, although she claimed Barbara is harmless. They are then distracted by the TV when it is revealed Tabitha's brother Theo is alive again and causing chaos in Gotham City.
Deal with Cobblepot
After Tabitha is stabbed and hospitalized by her brother, Butch is at her bedside and pleads with an unconscious Tabitha not to die. Penguin shows up and Butch pulls a gun out on him, believing he intends to kill her. However, Penguin tells Butch that the main one behind their problems is Theo himself. The pair of them form an alliance, and head to Wayne Manor where Theo plans to finish his original mission of killing Bruce Wayne. Penguin distracts Theo before he can kill Bruce, Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth and steps aside, showing Butch armed with a rocket launcher. Butch fires upon Theo, incinerating and killing him. The pair of them then leave.
A day later Butch along with Barbara is at Elijah Van Dahl's mansion watching Oswald display his step-mother Grace's head, much to his discomfort. Later on that evening Butch, Oswald, and Butch's crew plan to kill Hugo Strange for the torture he inflicted on Oswald at Arkham Asylum. As a prison bus embarking from Indian Hill crashes through the streets, Butch and his crew fire upon it, with Butch himself using a minigun. The bus crashes and Oswald's approaches it, thinking Strange is inside. But to the disbelief of Butch, an alive Fish exits and approaches Oswald, causing him to faint. Fish turns to Butch and winks at him, causing him and his gang to flee the scene in horror.
Butch became Oswald's henchman once again, seemingly willing to take orders from him with no apparent issue. Six months following the incident with the prison bus, Butch accompanies Oswald to a press conference at the GCPD precinct, where Oswald accuses the police force of trying to hide the truth from the public, and urged the people of Gotham City to find Fish Mooney. The pair head to a nightclub named The Sirens which is ran by Barbara and a full recovered Tabitha, the latter whom Butch still has feelings for. During a meeting between Oswald, Barbara and Tabitha Butch is sent to the bar and out of the way. There he is approached by Selina and sends her on her way for being too young to be attending the club. When Oswald returns to Butch, he reveals Selina stole his wallet.
Butch and Oswald are called back to the bar as Barbara has been threatened by three mobsters, also her and Tabitha killed both of them and injured one. It turned out Butch hired them as he hoped Tabitha would run to him for protection. Angry, Oswald shot the last remaining mobster in the head and told Tabitha that the only reason he hasn't murdered her in retaliation for killing his mother is because Butch has not given him permission yet.
The following day the pair of them watched a news report on a hostage situation at an abandoned mansion, which Fish is involved with. Both Butch and Oswald rally citizens in Gotham and arrive at the Gotham to take down the monsters. Whilst the mob cause a scene outside the mansion much to the anger of Nathaniel Barnes who is trying to keep the situation under control, Oswald sneaks off after getting a tip off from Gordon that Fish is escaping into the woods round the back.
Although somewhat brutish, Butch Gilzean's tough exterior hides a sentimental and emotional side. This side is revealed when he breaks down in tears over Fish Mooney's death and Tabitha Galavan's sustained injuries and hospitalisation. Gilzean was deeply loyal to Fish, demonstrating more loyalty than usual for a mobster. Even after being kidnapped and tortured into the servitude of Oswald Cobblepot, his sense of loyalty is hard to surpess as he was seen apologising to Fish after previously shooting her and crying after she was (seemingly) killed by Penguin. Despite being loyal to Penguin, this was only due to the traumatic mental torture he suffered from Zsasz and when Tabitha reversed this process, he betrayed Cobblepot.
With Fish dead and no longer under the control of Penguin, Gilzean became his own man as he was no longer anyone's stooge and opportunistically took full control of Cobblepot's assets when the latter was incarcerated within Arkham Asylum, becoming the new "King of Gotham." Filling the power vacuum that Penguin left in the criminal underworld. Even with this new and slightly ruthless personality, he showed genuine care regarding Tabitha and allowed her to share his power and was even willing to work with Cobblepot to avenge her when she was injured by her resurrected brother. Gilzean is commonly underestimated by many people who see him as a thoughtless toady due to his large and violent frame. Though sometimes appearing thuggish dim-witted, he also has a good deal of street smarts and knows Gotham better than most. Part of this may stem from always being a henchman and not needing to use his brains or the mental torture he suffered at the hands of Zsasz. In any case he was intelligent enough to fool Penguin and betray him when he went to save his mother from Theo Galavan.
Unlike many mobsters, Gilzean is not a vengeful individual as he seemed consent enough that Penguin lost a mother and was broken down enough by Strange's doctors in Arkham Asylum when he entered his house, chose not to kill him but instead tar and feather for cutting off Gilzean's hand, claiming he believed in "an eye for an eye."
Other than Mooney, the one person who Butch truly cares for is Tabitha. Even when she attempted to push him away, he still insists that he loves her and is even willing to put his life on the line to protect her. She eventually reciprocates his feelings.