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"I don't 'try' and I never stop. You won't see me coming and you won't feel a thing."
—Victor Zsasz to James Gordon[src]

Victor Zsasz is a hit-man and enforcer formerly in the employ of Carmine Falcone and currently allied with Oswald Cobblepot after Falcone's retirement. He has a habit of carving a scar into his body, for every kill he has caused. Leading his own gang of female assassins, Zsasz is one of the most feared assassins in Gotham City.

Biography

Hitman for Falcone

"Hello, everyone. My name...is Victor Zsasz. I'm sent here personally by Don Carmine Falcone himself on a matter of deep concern to him, so please be respectful. I'm here for Jim Gordon. Only him. Everybody else, mind your business and we're cool. So, where's Jim, man?"
—Victor Zsasz to the officers of the GCPD[src]

Victor Zsasz is sent by Carmine Falcone to the Gotham City Police Department to collect Jim Gordon. Two women in black leather accompany him. When Jim refuses to go, Zsasz demonstrates the power and fear he commands by ordering the police officers to leave. He then attempts to assassinate Gordon. However, after a pitched firefight, a wounded Jim escapes when Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen arrive on the scene. Victor Zsasz then kills a female police officer that he had shot during the firefight, and marks it on his arm as his 28th kill. Later on, he is seen keeping an eye on Barbara Kean (who had attempted to negotiate with Falcone to drop his hit on Gordon) at the time when Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock arrived to bring in Falcone, after picking up Mayor Aubrey James. Gordon and Bullock drop their plans in exchange for Falcone having Zsasz release Barbara. [1]

Zsasz provides the pep talk that turns Don Falcone's thinking around when the mob boss is planning to give in to Fish Mooney's coercion. Zsasz is later seen discussing with Falcone about Fish Mooney's ploy, Liza who he then finds out was sent in by Mooney. Zsasz then accompanies Falcone when he kills Liza and overthrows Mooney's club.[2]

After Fish Mooney and Butch Gilzean return to the club, finding Oswald Cobblepot trying himself as the head of the club, Zsasz arrives under orders from Falcone and engages in a gunfight with Gilzean, where he shoots Butch in the leg after he kills one of Zsasz's henchwomen. Mooney and Butch try to block off the hit man but he follows them down into the basement, where Butch helps Fish escape out a window, but Zsasz catches Butch and discusses what to do to him, whether he should kill him or torture him.[3] With Penguin struggling to manage his new nightclub, Zsasz gives him Butch who is brainwashed by order of Falcone.[4]

Working for Penguin

"Gonna kill him now?"
"No, make him a nice cheese toastie, yes, kill him now, please!"
"Just wanted to be clear.
"
—Victor Zsasz and Oswald Cobblepot regarding Gillian Loeb's fate[src]
Victor Zsasz pointing his gun at Commisioner Loeb after being told to kill him by The Penguin

Zsasz and Penguin threaten Comissioner Loeb.

After Falcone retires from the criminal life, Zsasz begins working for Oswald and helps him threaten Commissioner Gillian Loeb to reinstate Gordon at the G.C.P.D. and resign his position as commissioner.[5]

Zsaz is sent by Penguin to kill Mayoral candidate Randall Hobbs. He enters and says he was there to volunteer. He singlehandedly kills all five of Hobbs' security guards and then chases the candidate out of the building. The Strike Force arrives outside and tries to stop Zsasz. A gunfight ensues and they bring the candidate to safety. Zsasz gets shot and shoots a fire hydrant on his way down, allowing him to escape unseen.[6]

After Butch is freed from his conditioning by Theo Galavan and his sister Tabitha and betrays Oswald, Zsasz, and his crew, are sent to kill Butch who has set up his own gang and hanging out at a bar. The gang retreat and Gordon and Bullock are forced to hold the fort until reinforcements arrive. Zsasz retreats after a barrage from heavy machine gunfire.[7]

Zsasz was present at a meeting along with other members of the Cobblepot crime family when Oswald (now the mayor of Gotham City) stated that he wanted the leader of the new incarnation of the Red Hood Gang dead and his head on a stick for destroying a statue of his late mother. Zsasz later took part in a scheme with Oswald's chief in staff Edward Nygma to expose Butch (now working with Oswald again) as the culprit for instigating the attack. During a party celebration held by Oswald at a nightclub The Sirens, Zsasz and Nygma convince Butch that they want to break off from Cobblepot and try to convince him to execute him wearing the Red Hood mask. But when Butch is skeptical, Zsasz reveals his underlings have his former lover Tabitha Galavan hostage in the kitchens, which pressures Butch to commit the act. Wearing the red hood Butch shoots at Oswald when he is on stage, but it turns out the bullets are blanks. Zsasz sneaks up on Butch and shoots him down, and Nygma unmasks Butch, showing him it was all a setup and convincing Oswald Butch has turned on him. Tabitha manages to break free and attacks several goons and allows Butch to attack Nygma, however Oswald knocks Butch out who is subsequently arrested and taken away.[8]

Hunting James Gordon again

Zsasz is called in by Mario Calvi who tells Zsasz to hold Gordon at gunpoint. After holding Jim prisoner for a couple minutes, Zsasz tells him that he is free to go, as he was only instructed to keep Jim occupied for a few minutes. Jim asks Zsasz for his weapon back, but Zsasz declines. Jim then knocks Zsasz out, retrieving his weapon and sets off after Mario.[9]

Zsasz later visits Jim Gordon after Mario Calvi's funeral where he has a message. When Gordon least suspects it, Zsasz will avenge Mario on Carmine Falcone's behalf. Before leaving, Zsasz tells Gordon "Nice shot on Mario. I never liked him." While trying to follow Dwight Pollard, Gordon and Bullock are ambushed by Zsasz and his henchwomen. While behind some garbage cans, Gordon tells Bullock that Falcone placed a hit on him. Gordon makes a run for it in order to draw Zsasz' firepower away from Bullock. Taking the fight to the kitchen, Gordon ends up in a shootout with Zsasz which resulted in both of his henchwomen getting shot. Gordon then fights with Zsasz and manages to subdue him. After recovering, Victor Zsasz raids Gordon's apartment at the time when Bullock was visiting. As Gordon, Bullock, and Zsasz have each other at gunpoint, Carmine Falcone shows up stating to Zsasz that the job is cancelled. Zsasz then takes his leave.[10]

Enforcing Penguin's licenses

"No license. No crime."
—Victor Zsasz to Merton and his gang[src]

In the aftermath of the Tetch Virus outbreak, Oswald Cobblepot and his crime family played a major role in restoring order to the city, though their methods were controversial to say the least. Cobblepot and his men dealt with criminals with violence and deadly force, but did manage to cut the crime rate in half. The next step in Penguin's plan was to create a system of unionized crime by issuing "licenses of misconduct" that allowed only chosen criminals to commit crimes in exchange for a portion of their profits. Anyone who committed a crime without a license was dealt with using deadly force. Cobblepot even went so far as to legitimize this new arrangement by making a deal with the city government. He referred to his new regime as the "Pax Penguina."

When Merton, Grady Harris, and their fellow gang members interrupt a wedding reception and demand cash and jewelry, they are stopped by Victor Zsasz. He tells them that they must be licensed by Penguin to commit crimes. After the gang refuses to back down, Zsasz shoots Merton's finger off, telling the rest to leave the loot behind. The bride and the groom then run to Zsasz to thank him, but their joy quickly vanishes, since Victor allows another gang operating under Penguin's licensing to rob the wedding guests.

After the crime license business is actually implemented, Zsasz is sent by Penguin to hunt down any criminal not abiding to this rule. In this position, Zsasz tracks down Tabitha Galavan and Selina Kyle and infiltrates their apartment. Despite holding guns, Zsasz claims that he has come in peace. He states that the two were hard to track down, and, looking over the run down apartment, asks Tabitha why she lives like that when she used to be richt. Tabitha reminds him that Penguin stole her club and Zsasz replies that Tabitha killed his mother, so they should just call it even. Tabitha asks Zsasz why he has come and Zsasz reminds Tabitha that every criminal in Gotham now needs a license from Penguin. Zsasz invites Tabitha to come to the opening of Penguin's new club the next evening. where she is supposed to "kiss the ring" and get her license. Zsasz then leaves the apartment after implying that Tabitha doesn't really have a choice. Once Zsasz is gone, Tabitha claims that the two need to find a new place immediately but Selina stops her and convinces her that it is in their interest to join Penguin. When Selina heads to the opening alone to swear loyalty to Penguin, Zsasz confronts her and asks her why she has come alone. To the surprise of both, Tabitha reveals herself and tells Zsasz that Selina has not come alone after all.

Guarding the Iceberg Lounge

Together with Zsasz and other henchmen, Penguin stops a gang of thugs from deploying fear gas onto the guests. When Zsasz asks whether he wants the gang executed here or downstairs, Penguin then claims that he has an entirely different idea. Zsasz then watches as Penguin presents the captured gangsters to the guests downstairs. When suddenly the lights go out, the gangsters free themselves. Zsasz draws his gun and tries to shoot the gangsters but cannot do so, as darkness and the chaos prevent him from getting a clear shot without harming the guests. While Zsasz tries to aim, [[Tabitha Galavan|Tabitha|| knocks him out from behind and takes one of his guns. When Zsasz gets back up, he aims his gun at the nearest combatant who is revealed to be Alfred Pennyworth. While he aims his pistol into Alfred's face, Alfred in turn points his shotgun at Zsasz. Both men lower their weapons as the situation is defused.[11]

When Penguin visits Barbara Kean's weapons dealership, Zsasz accompanies him. Zsasz is overjoyed to see all the different guns and rifles and takes one of the rifles with him when they leave. Before they leave, Penguin threatens Barbara that he will send Zsasz to end her with her own merchandise should he hear even rumors about Barbara attempting to make moves to contest him.[12]

At the Iceberg Lounge, Penguin is informed by Zsasz that some thieves tried to robb one of Penguin's shipments. Penguin is outraged but Zsasz tells him that Zsasz men managed to scare them off before they could steal anything. Penguin tells Zsasz that the shipment is required for a black market auction he is holding for Gotham's elite this very night, so the items have to be safe. He orders Zsasz to bring him to the warehouse the items are located; he wants to make sure they are all accounted for. After the two have left the Iceberg Lounge, a woman breaks in and starts melting Edward Nygma out of the ice block. When Penguin and Zsasz return, they find Nygma gone and Penguin screams and rages. Penguin furiously orders Zsasz to find the culprits, kill them and have Nygma back at the Iceberg Lounge in time for the auction. Eventually, Zsasz returns and informs Penguin that there is no sign of Nygma anywhere in Gotham. He reveals that he believes that it was an inside job and Penguin orders him to kill whoever is responsible for hiring staff for the Iceberg Lounge as this person hired a traitor.

Eventually, the trail leads the two to Myrtle Jenkins. Although Nygma has already fled Jenkins' custody, Penguin and Zsasz turn up at her place and interrogate her. After learning that Nygma cannot even solve the simplest riddle, Penguin orders Zsasz to make an example of her and Zsasz executes Jenkins by shooting her in the head.[13]

Away from Gotham

Some time later, Victor Zsasz left Gotham City to visit his bubbie. In order to find a replacement for his task of the security consultant of the crime family, Zsasz recommended another hitman, Headhunter, to his boss Oswald Cobblepot. However, Headhunter turned out to be a failure during the hunt for Professor Pyg and was later killed by Penguin himself.[14]

Personality

"Alive is a very broad category. A man with no hands can still be alive."
—Victor Zsasz threatens James Gordon[src]

Whilst a sociopath and cold-blooded killer, Zsasz demonstrates loyalty to both Falcone and Cobblepot in turn and seems very willing to be directed by a boss, as long as he is let off the leash at regular intervals. He appears to view his killing as a form of art, planning meticulously in many cases, always prepared with an escape route, and happy to confront multiple gunmen head-on. He demonstrates a substantial degree of discipline and professionalism when carrying out his tasks. His formidable combat skills and natural wits make him one of the deadliest and most feared killers in Gotham. He shows neither remorse nor empathy at any point. He also has a morbid sense of humor.

Zsasz's true loyalties seem to lie ultimately with Carmine Falcone, since he came to "guard" Jim Gordon at Falcone's request even when he was supposed to be working for the Penguin's organization. Although he continues to work for Cobblepot, he takes jobs for Falcone whenever he is needed. He maintains his loyalty to Penguin as one of his top enforcers.

Appearances


Trivia

  • Like in the comics, Zsasz carves a tally mark into himself for each kill. In the comics, which are set several years after the series, his body is nearly covered in the cuts he's made.
  • Zsasz's surname is a palindrome.

Notes

  • The character was created by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle. He first appeared in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1 (June 1992) and is usually depicted as a nihilistic serial killer rather than a professional hitman. Zsasz's name is derived from that of real-life psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, whose name Grant saw while visiting a library.

References

  1. Heller, Bruno (writer) & Bailey, Rob (director) (November 3, 2014). "Penguin's Umbrella". Gotham. Season 1. Episode 7. FOX.
  2. Edlund, Ben (writer) & Egilsson, Eagle (director) (January 19, 2015). "What The Little Bird Told Him". Gotham. Season 1. Episode 12. FOX.
  3. Brown-Mostyn, Megan (writer) & Stanzler, Wendey (director) (January 26, 2015). "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon". Gotham. Season 1. Episode 13. FOX.
  4. Heller, Bruno (writer) & Hunter, Jeffrey (director) (February 16, 2015). "The Blind Fortune Teller". Gotham. Season 1. Episode 16. FOX.
  5. Heller, Bruno (writer) & Cannon, Danny (director) (September 21, 2015). "Rise of the Villains: Damned If You Do...". Gotham. Season 2. Episode 1. FOX.
  6. Cannon, Danny (writer) & Scott, T.J. (director) (October 12, 2015). "Rise of the Villains: Strike Force". Gotham. Season 2. Episode 4. FOX.
  7. Hull, Robert (writer) & Fink, Kenneth (director) (November 2, 2015). "Rise of the Villains: Mommy's Little Monster". Gotham. Season 2. Episode 7. FOX.
  8. Thé, Denise (writer) & Scott, T.J. (director) (October 17, 2016). "Mad City: Anything for You". Gotham. Season 3. Episode 5. FOX.
  9. Stephens, John (writer) & Cannon, Danny (director) (November 28, 2016). "Mad City: Beware the Green-Eyed Monster". Gotham. Season 3. Episode 11. FOX.
  10. Cannon, Danny (writer) & Egilsson, Eagle (director) (January 16, 2017). "Mad City: Ghosts". Gotham. Season 3. Episode 12. FOX.
  11. Stephens, John (writer) & Cannon, Danny (director) (September 21, 2017). "A Dark Knight: Pax Penguina". Gotham. Season 4. Episode 1. FOX.
  12. Cannon, Danny (writer) & Milito, Lous Shaw (director) (September 28, 2017). "A Dark Knight: The Fear Reaper". Gotham. Season 4. Episode 2. FOX.
  13. Lilien, Steven & Wynbrandt, Bryan (writer) & Tonderai, Mark (director) (October 5, 2017). "A Dark Knight: They Who Hide Behind Masks". Gotham. Season 4. Episode 3. FOX.
  14. Blake, Peter (writer) & Behring, John (director) (November 2, 2017) "A Dark Knight: A Day in the Narrows". Gotham. Season 4. Episode 7. FOX.

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