DC Database

Quote1.png For all you know, the Batman could change on a regular basis-- and you've dealt with five of them. Maybe the only constant has been the costume. Quote2.png
Sarah Essen-Gordon src

Sarah Essen was a member of the Gotham City Police Department and the second wife of Police Commissioner James Gordon. She first met Gordon during his first year in Gotham and they started an affair. Since Gordon was married and had to take care of his newborn son, Sarah moved out of Gotham to avoid further complications. Years later, Sarah returned to Gotham and she resumed her romance with Gordon. They married and lived as a work couple for several years until Sarah was murdered by the Joker.


Born in Chicago, Sarah Essen endeavored to become a police officer. After achieving the rank of sergeant, she transferred to Gotham City where she became romantically involved with Lt. James Gordon.[1] Sarah knew that James was married with a son on the way, and she soon brought the affair to a close. Unable to work with Jim any longer, she put in a transfer to New York City.[2]

Sarah eventually married, but years later her husband died so Sarah returned to Gotham and resumed her romance with the now-divorced Jim Gordon. Jim had become Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department[3] and Sarah resumed her role as a member of the GCPD.[4][5]

Return to the GCPD

While Jim Gordon recovered from a stroke, Sarah set out to capture the notorious criminal known as Catwoman.[6] In the process, Sarah came across photographer Vicki Vale and together, they teamed up with Catwoman to capture a member of a white slave trade organization. Although this was a major hit to Gotham's crime, Essen was disappointed she couldn't capture Catwoman.[7] Sarah and James continued dating and eventually, they decided to officially become engaged.[8] Gordon proposed a short time later[9] and soon they were married.[10]

Shortly after their wedding, word got around that the assassin Headhunter was looking to kill James Gordon, and Sarah became very worried for him. As Gordon went out looking for the assassin, Sarah turned on the Bat-Signal and asked Batman to save her husband. When Batman left her behind, she was so infuriated that she shot the Bat-Signal. Fortunately, her worries were over when Gordon returned safely, carrying the assassin to the GCPD Headquarters.[11]


 Main article: Batman: Knightfall

A few days later, after the massive breakout from Arkham Asylum orchestrated by Bane, Gordon was attacked by Cornelius Stirk. Batman managed to save the commissioner, but Gordon was left in a state of shock and Sarah had to take him inside the GCPD Headquarters.[12] Shortly after this, the GCPD was overwhelmed with work from the several lunatics who were roaming Gotham. Sarah quickly commanded all the available officers to join her and go to Castleland Park to get the situation under control.[13]

When Batman was defeated by Bane, Sarah watched as her husband, Jim, tried to contact the vigilante to no avail and in return, she supported him as best as she could.[14] After Bane's defeat, Batman took a different approach to his crime-fighting methods and Sarah tried to make her husband realize that this Batman was not the man James knew, but he wouldn't listen.[15]

Jim temporarily resigned his position so that he could pursue a career in local politics. To fill the vacuum, Sarah took his place and operated as the city's newest Commissioner Gordon.

During a chain of events that has come to be known as No Man's Land, Sarah found Joker holed up in a room full of newborns, holding a gun in one hand and an infant in the other. If Sarah shot him, he would drop the baby and potentially kill it. He then dropped the baby anyway for her to catch, shooting and fatally wounding her when she saved the baby. Devastated by her death, Commissioner Gordon apprehended the Joker by shooting him in the leg, taking revenge for both his wife and daughter (it was later mentioned that the Joker's injury may prevent him from walking again).


  • Sarah Essen was a former smoker.



Gotham City Police Department 0001.jpg
GCPD Officer
DC Rebirth Logo.png

This character is or was an officer of, or held a title in the Gotham City Police Department, in any of its various incarnations. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the "GCPD members" and "Police Officers" categories.