Getting to Know Gotham's Robin Lord Taylor

Damian Holbrook
Michael Lavine/Fox

Gotham

WHO HE PLAYS Oswald Cobblepot, the manipulative, murderous, but still oddly lovable Penguin-to-be on the Batman prequel. "Oswald's gift is that he looks into people's motivations and he exploits that for his own goals," says the scene stealer. So far, that's meant big trouble for everyone in Oswald's orbit, especially his reluctant ally, Det. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), and Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), the mobster he's been plotting to usurp since the pilot. And it's only going to get worse. "As Oswald goes up, she goes down," says Taylor. "Fish goes through some serious stuff. And it's not good."

WHERE YOU'VE SEEN HIM Law & Order. Fresh out of Northwestern University (where he trained with Bob's Burgers' Kristen Schaal and his best friend, comic Billy Eichner), Taylor landed an agent, moved to New York City, and proceeded to book a series of guest spots on the franchise. "My favorite thing is when they run marathons on cable," he says with a laugh. "You always catch some of the episodes I have done. You get the escaped cult member, then the tattooed car-stereo installer, and finally the murderous gay-basher who kills Cheyenne Jackson's husband. Quite a range!"

WHY WE LOVE HIM Because he's not your average Penguin. With sad, soulful eyes and a scary-ass violent streak, Taylor has transformed the usually cartoonish baddie into someone both human and horrifying. "If the producers wanted me to re-create something we've seen before, they would have told me that," he says of his volatile take on the role. "I knew they wanted something unique and different."

BIRDS OF A FEATHER Looks like Oswald won't be the lone member of Batman's rogues' gallery for much longer, now that Penguin has finally crossed paths with future villain the Riddler (aka Edward Nygma). "It is one of my favorite things we have shot so far," he says of his "meet cute" with Cory Michael Smith's Gotham PD forensics scientist. "The biggest hint about their
futures is their little dynamic...and obviously, we'll see that play out [later in the season]."

Mondays, 8/7c, Fox

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