- "I'm a businessman. You can't have organized crime without law and order."
- —Carmine Falcone
Carmine Falcone, also known as Don Falcone, was the former head of the Gotham City mob, that he ruled over with his personal crime syndicate. After a gang war was started between his and Maroni's crime families by the Penguin, Carmine decided to retire from the life of crime. He eventually returned to Gotham for a short time to observe the marriage of his son Mario and Lee Thompkins. After Mario was infected with the Tetch virus and therefore killed by James Gordon to stop him from stabbing Lee, Carmine seeked out vengeance by sending Victor Zsasz to do a hit on Gordon. On request of Lee, Carmine eventually cancelled the attack and returned to retirement. Since he was told by his doctors that he was dying due to unknown reasons, Falcone moved to Miami to give him more time due to better air conditions and to be close to his daughter Sofia. When James Gordon traveled down south to persuade Don Falcone to help him win back Gotham City from ruling crime lord Oswald Cobblepot, Carmine refused due to his state of health, but Sofia eventually followed Jim back to the city against her father's wishes. Despite him stating that he will not return to Gotham, Don Falcone received a call from Penguin weeks later, informing him about the gang war erupted between the Cobblepot crime family and Sofia, causing Carmine to travel back to the city to take his daughter back south, since she was going to lose. After Carmine called her a disgrace to the Falcone name and revealed his support for Cobblepot towards Sofia, she had her father murdered and blamed Penguin for the hit.
Crime boss of Gotham
When Carmine's daughter Sofia was a child, she once broke her ankles while playing with her cousins, causing her to cry in pain. Carmine told her to put ice on it but her mother went to the hospital with her. On the way she explained her daughter that cold actually increases the pain. What's needed instead is warmth.
During their investigation of Thomas and Martha Wayne's murder, GCPD detectives James Gordon and Harvey Bullock consistently come at crossroads with Fish Mooney, who orders their execution when Gordon blames her for framing an innocent man, Mario Pepper, as the Waynes' murderer to quickly close the case. As Mooney's gang are about to kill Gordon and Bullock in her isolated plant, Falcone arrives with his men, gunning down Mooney's men while saving the two detectives. While confronting her right-hand man, Butch Gilzean, Falcone orders him to remind Mooney that she would need his permission if she wants to kill policemen in the future.
After the rescue, Falcone credits his friendship to Gordon's father - a former district attorney in Gotham City who knew how to manage the criminal element by working with Falcone - as the reason why he saved him and Bullock and explains how "Gotham is on a knife edge." Falcone informs Gordon that Mario Pepper was framed for the Waynes' murder because the city needed to see swift justice done, ending their conversation by saying that there cannot be "organized crime without law and order.” Later, he orders Bullock to make sure that Gordon kills Oswald Cobblepot as a test of loyalty, and to be a "part of the program." While faking Oswald Cobblepot's murder, James learned from him that Carmine's power is slipping, to the point where his rivals and even his subordinates like Mooney are about to rise up in a mob war.
Falcone later makes a visit to Mooney's Nightclub, where he reveals to Mooney that Cobblepot told him about her plans to take over the control of the mob from him. After Mooney swiftly denies saying so, Falcone seemingly forgives her. However, this was a ruse as Falcone slyly extorts the identity from Mooney about her latest lover, a waiter in her club named Lazlo, and has him beaten by his men as a means of showing Mooney her place. After Carmine Falcone leaves, Fish Mooney plans to bide her time until she has enough power to take on Carmine Falcone.
Carmine visits Fish Mooney at her restaurant to make sure there are no hard feelings while mentioning that his partner Natalia had been mugged. Falcone vows to find the person responsible and the ones who helped him.
It is revealed that Carmine Falcone is backing the Wayne Plan for the Arkham District that Mayor Aubrey James is endorsing. When Sal Maroni's restaurant is attacked, Sal Maroni claims that Carmine Falcone's men are responsible. After Mayor James' plans for the Arkham District are announced, James Gordon mentions to Bruce Wayne that Carmine Falcone will control the small housing development while Sal Maroni will handle the refurbishment of Arkham Asylum.
Sal Maroni plans to rob a casino that is owned by Falcone's family. Later Don Falcone meets with the mob leaders on his side including Fish Mooney and a Russian mob boss named Nikolai. Carmine discusses with them about what to do with Sal Maroni. A disguised Liza later visits Carmine Falcone in the park where she hums, and then shares, the aria "O Mio Babbino Caro" with him.
After finding out that Cobblepot is alive, Mooney meets with Falcone telling him to kill Gordon. Falcone wants to talk to Gordon and sends hitman Victor Zsasz to fetch Gordon. Further in the episode, Gordon and Bullock apprehend Mayor James and use him to get to Falcone in order to bring him in. Falcone anticipated this and revealed that he has Victor Zsasz keeping an eye on Barbara Kean (who had returned to Gotham City in an attempt to talk Falcone into not eliminating Gordon). This caused Gordon and Bullock to give up their plan so that Falcone can release Barbara which Falcone does. Around the final parts of the episode, it is revealed that Cobblepot was working for Carmine Falcone. A flashback reveals that the night that they had met Gordon, Cobblepot and Falcone formed a deal that Falcone would place James Gordon in charge of killing Cobblepot since he knows that Gordon would spare him. In exchange, Cobblepot would forge an alliance with Maroni, snitching for Falcone, and tells him that Mooney and Nikolai are conspiring against him. After the flashback, Falcone tells Cobblepot that everything is going as planned. However, he has reservations about sparing Gordon, though Cobblepot assures him that in time, "he'll see the light."
Falcone had Penguin abducted to find out if Maroni was responsible for the robbery of his money, at the armory. However, Penguin vehemently denied to Falcone that Maroni had nothing to do with the robbery. Penguin then suggested to him that he had a mole, suggesting Fish as the culprit. Despite Falcone doubting this due to Cobblepot's hatred of Fish, Penguin offered to find the mole to prove his suspicion to the Don. Later, Falcone had summoned all his lieutenants for a lunch, in which he kills Bannion for failing to secure the armory. As the blow had cost them dearly, Falcone tells them all that their tariffs would be raised 25% until the reserves could once again be filled. He also warns them that once he found the person who had robbed him, they would wish that they could die slow like Bannion did.
After Falcone has one of his men killed, he meets with Liza and offers to set her up with a business telling her that she needed to find a young man and get married. However, Falcone is told by Liza that she feels safe with him. Later, Falcone is contacted by an unknown person who tells him that they've abducted Liza and that an intermediary would be in contact with him soon. Afterward, Falcone calls Penguin telling him that he needed him, as someone took Liza. Falcone is later called by Fish Mooney, who pretends to parade as an intermediary. However, Falcone calls her as being Liza's kidnapper, and then agrees to Fish's terms of leaving Gotham with Liza, and never coming back. Victor Zsasz tries to give him a pep talk later and tells Falcone that he could take out Fish's crew easy, though Falcone tells him that his job was to keep him and Liza safe. Soon after, Falcone is finally visited by Penguin, who informs him that Liza was the mole set on him by Mooney. Although Falcone is initially reluctant to believe Penguin. Falcone receives a phone call from Fish telling him to meet her at her place, for the transaction. When meeting with Mooney, Falcone requests that Liza be seen as part of the deal, where he mentions that a "little birdie" told him about their partnership. Zsasz and several mercenaries enter the building after killing a number of Mooney's gangsters waiting outside. Falcone strangles Liza to death in front of Mooney, scolding Fish for using a girl of his mother's likeness against him. Falcone calls for Oswald, who relishes having taken Fish down. Before Falcone has Mooney and Butch Gilzean led away to their undetermined fates, Cobblepot takes the opportunity to mockingly say goodbye to Fish.
At Mooney's nightclub, Penguin tries to Falcone of Maroni's threat to his life, however, Falcone continues to talk about the re-decoration of Fish Mooney's club, to Oswald's frustration. Falcone then tells Penguin that he has decided to give the club to Penguin as a reward and that he would deal with Maroni. At Falcone Manor, Falcone is visited by Maroni to address the issue of Penguin. Despite wanting revenge against him, he decides to leave him alive after Falcone gives shows him Judge Stanley Turnball who Falcone had abducted when he had been out with a younger man.
Mob War and retirement
Carmine went to a dock where he was attacked by Maroni's men. When he saw Penguin, he was pleased, only to learn he was played the whole time. As Penguin went to kill Falcone, Gordon arrived and apprehended Cobblepot and Gilzean for attempted murder. As Gordon planned on slipping away from Maroni's men at the hospital, Cobblepot reminded Gordon that he owed him a big favor, forcing Gordon to take Penguin and Gilzean with them. They escaped to Falcone's warehouse, where he believed he couldn't be found. They were greeted by Selina Kyle and Fish Mooney, much to their surprise. The four were tied up as Fish called Maroni and told him about their whereabouts. After Fish killed Maroni, a firefight broke out, allowing them to slip away. As they escaped, Falcone told Gordon he couldn't continue and he wished to end his life of crime. They were eventually stopped by Selina Kyle and Fish's new henchmen. Falcone told Fish he was retiring from crime. Penguin killed all of Fish's henchmen, allowing the rest to escape yet again. They arrive at Barbara's apartment, only to find Barbara knocked unconscious. Later, Falcone told Gordon it's time for law to save the city and that there isn't a better man than him. He then gave Gordon a pocket knife which was given to him many years ago as a birthday present from Gordon's father before walking off to leave Gotham and retire. After leaving the city, Oswald took over his and Maroni's businesses and formed the Cobblepot crime family.
Visits to Gotham
At the time when Jim Gordon was incarcerated at Blackgate Penitentiary upon being accused of murdering Carl Pinkney, Harvey Bullock had to call in Carmine Falcone to help him get Jim out of Blackgate. With help from some of Carmine's contacts in prison, Harvey snuck Jim Gordon and Peter Davies out of prison. After thanking Carmine for his help, Jim is offered to be snuck out of the country or be given a safe place to hide out in Gotham. Gordon opts to return to Gotham City and find a way to clear his name.
Carmine Falcone later visited his son Mario and Leslie at a restaurant. While mentioning that Mario brought honor to the restaurant, Leslie states that she has moved on from Gordon. Carmine then does a toast to their relationship.
Carmine Falcone hosted an engagement party for Leslie Thompkins and Mario. He meets Nathaniel Barnes at the party, who comments that Carmine should be behind bars. After stating that he is retired, Carmine told him that Gotham City was built by people like him and walks off telling Barnes to enjoy the party. The engagement party is later secretly attended by Dr. Maxwell Symon as Gordon and Bullock arrive in an attempt to apprehend him.
During a rehearsal dinner a valet was killed by a car bomb planted in Falcone's car. When questioned by Gordon, Falcone assumed it was a failed mob hit, due to him making many enemies over the course of his criminal career. Falcone plans to deal with the matter himself, however Gordon refuses and says he will find the people responsible. Falcone gives Gordon a day. It transpires that the hit wasn't intended for Falcone, but Mario himself. Mario is ambushed outside the hospital but Gordon saves him, however the assassins escape. While Mario is kept at the GCPD for his own protection, Gordon goes to visit Falcone in hopes of finding out why someone would want to have his son killed. But things are cut short when Gordon learns that Mario has walked out of the GCPD. Gordon rescues Mario again from a third attack, but manages to apprehend one of the assassins and brings them into custody. When the assassin is alone in the interview room, Falcone lets himself in and begins torturing the man with a knife. He extracts the man's tooth and finds it has the symbol of an owl on it. Gordon and Bullock enter the room at that moment and threatens him with arrest, but Falcone assures them the suspect wont be pressing charges. Before taking his leave, Falcone warns Gordon to stay out of it. Falcone meets Kathryn - a representative of The Court of Owls - in her limousine. Despite knowing the vast power of the Court, Falcone warns that if they harm his son he will use everything he can to take them down, even if Gotham has to burn. Kathryn says she will step down from going after Mario, but will call upon Falcone in the future.
On the day of Mario and Lee's wedding Falcone has Gordon - who tries to warn Lee about Mario - removed from the premises. Falcone then does Lee the honor of walking her down the aisle and giving her away to his son. The happily married couple are then sent to a secret boat house belonging to Falcone to enjoy their honeymoon. A panicked Gordon turns up at Falcone's office and warns him that Mario is infected with Alice Tetch's blood. Falcone begins to piece together the reason the Court went after his son, but told Gordon he would be sending his two guys after Mario to retrieve him. However, Gordon shoots down the two of Falcone's underlings, and convinces Falcone to let him go and save Lee. Falcone makes Gordon promise that he brings Mario back home safely, and gives him the location of the boathouse. Despite Gordon's promise however, he ends up shooting Mario dead upon arriving at the boathouse after finding an enraged and infected Mario in the process of stabbing Lee from behind.
After Mario's funeral, Falcone contemplates putting a hit on Gordon in retribution for killing his son despite it being difficult as he has considered Gordon just as much a son as Mario. He asks Leslie about what to do and if she could bear Gordon being killed as she isn't used to regrets. Falcone hires Zsasz to do the job for him. Zsasz goes on the hunt for Gordon and narrowly misses killing him only to be knocked out which leads to Gordon's escape. After Leslie visits Nathaniel Barnes (who he himself was infected with Alice's blood) at Arkham Asylum and sees how far it has driven him over the edge while realizing that Gordon was telling the truth, she asks for Falcone to call off the hit. As Zsasz is close to killing Gordon at his apartment, Falcone makes a house call and tells Zsasz to stop. Zsasz happily stops trying to kill Gordon and goes on his way. Gordon apologizes for what happened to Mario, but Falcone leaves the scene quoting "If it were up to me, you'd be dead".
Upon finding out that Carmine Falcone paid a high-priced lawyer to represent Michael Ness who was responsible for the accident that killed Peter Gordon and had gotten Michael Ness' plea, James Gordon later pays a visit to Carmine Falcone. Although Carmine states that Gordon has a lot of nerve showing up at his house after what happened to Mario, Gordon asked him for the identity of the man who orchestrated the hit on Peter Gordon. Carmine Falcone denied any involvement in the death of Peter Gordon since he still respected him and told Gordon that it was his uncle Frank Gordon that called the hit.
Having been told he was going to die due to unknown reasons, Falcone retired to his estate in Miami to be close to his only daughter Sofia. When James Gordon traveled to Miami to persuade Carmine Falcone to help him win back Gotham from ruling crime lord Penguin, Sofia just came back from a horse ride and she and Gordon briefly noticed each other in front of the Falcone estate. While Gordon talked to her father on the terrace, Sofia interrupted them by wishing Carmine a good morning and giving him a kiss on his cheek. Carmine then asked her how Artemis was, to which she replied that she whipped him into shape. On Sofias demand, Carmine introduced her and Jim Gordon to each other. Gordon then wanted to stand up to greet her, but she refused and sat down too. Thereupon, she asked Gordon what he is doing in Miami, to which Carmine responds to Jim that he can go ahead, since he has no secrets from his children. James then began explaining that Penguin took control over Gotham and the GCPD had turned its back on the city, but there are still families loyal to the Falcones left and Carmines help is needed to knock Cobblepot off his perch. Carmine thereafter asked Gordon if he was sure that wasn't about James and his loss of power in Gotham. Jim replied that this issue was bigger than him, but Carmine told him that even though he always admired the fight in Gordon, he can't do what Jim is asking for. When asked by Gordon about the reason, Falcone told him that he is dying, although the doctors don't know why, maybe old age or karma. Carmine then explained that he can't go back to Gotham with Jim, because the doctors seem to think the air is better down in Miami for him to give him more time and he is not the one to argue with doctors. Consequently, Sofia responds that she will go back, but Carmine told her to be quiet, because she is not ready for Gotham. In the end, Carmine explained to Gordon that there was a time in his life when he would have done anything for the city, but that those days are gone. He tells Jim he is sorry, but Gordon is on his own. Regardless though, Sofia followed Gordon back to Gotham to help him take down Penguin.
- "What matters is that after everything you've done I still consider you my daughter. That's enough."
- —Carmine Falcone's last words to Sofia[src]
Despite Carmine stating that he will not return to Gotham, he eventually made a deal with Penguin after latter one called and returned to the city to take Sofia back south. At the Falcone Manor, Carmine met with his daughter who brought the uninformed Sirens with her. As soon as Don Falcone entered the room, his presence seemingly caused the Sirens to be tense. After he kissed Sofia on her forehead, he noted that she looked tired and then turned to Barbara Kean, telling her it is good to see her again, with her replying 'Likewise. So this is weird'. Sofia then asked her father why he returned to the city, but Carmine asked her a counterquestion, what he told her when she wanted to return to Gotham. Carmine called her a disgrace to the Falcone name and afterwards watched as Sofia sayed her goodbyes to Jim Gordon. Don Falcone then allowed her to collect some roses that her mother used to like. However, a black van showed up and opened fire upon Carmine, Sofia, Jim and the guards. Carmine died from the gun shot wounds.
- "Goodbye, old friend. I will not forget all that you taught me."
- —Oswald Cobblepot making his final farewell to the deceased Carmine Falcone[src]
The funeral of Don Falcone took place in the same church where his son Mario married Lee Thompkins about one year before. Many mourners attended, including Penguin and Victor Zsasz, latter one very touched by the death of his longtime crime boss.
An old and sage-like man, Falcone appeared as a cold, skilled and quiet mobster, but not devoid of a moral compass. Particularly, he was certain that there was no law and order without organized crime, stating that Gotham would fall in chaos without it. In fact, despite the last time troubles, Gotham was maintained in order by Falcone and his organization, that controlled the several branches legal and illegal of the city. He was also tough against his rivals. When his power was seriously threatened, he would never surrender to the events.
- The character was created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. He first appeared in Batman #404 (1987), in the Batman: Year One storyline. Falcone is nicknamed "The Roman," where his stranglehold over Gotham City's organized crime is referenced as "The Roman Empire" at least once. The character is based on Marlon Brando's portrayal of Don Vito Corleone from the 1972 film The Godfather.
- Before leaving James Gordon, Falcone pats him on the face and says "in bocca al lupo". This Italian expression literally means "in the mouth of the wolf". The intent of the phrase is to wish the other good luck as he or she heads into danger.