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Fox's 'Gotham' Enlists Jada Pinkett Smith as Penguin's Gangster Boss

She'll co-star in the Batman prequel from "The Mentalist's" Bruno Heller with "Southland's" Ben McKenzie.

Jada Pinkett Smith - P 2014
Courtesy of WBTV
Jada Pinkett Smith

Fox's Batman prequel Gotham has cast another of its big bads.

Jada Pinkett Smith is returning to the small screen, booking a co-starring role in the show, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Gotham is an origin tale centering on DC Comics fixture commissioner James Gordon (Southland's Ben McKenzie) and the villains that made Gotham famous.

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Pinkett Smith will play Fish Mooney, a sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner who has the street smarts and almost extra-sensory abilities to read people like an open book. Imposing and hotheaded, she’s not one to be crossed.

Mooney is the boss of Oswald Cobblepot -- aka The Penguin (played by The Walking Dead alum Robin Lord Taylor) -- who in Gotham is a low-level psychopath who hides his sadistic lust for power behind a polite demeanor.

The actress' most recent small-screen role was in TNT's medical drama Hawthorne, in which she played the head of a hospital for three seasons. Her credits include TV's A Different World as well as features Set It Off, Scream 2, Ali and the Matrix and Madagascar franchises.

The Warner Bros. Television drama pilot, which has a series commitment attached, is being written and executive produced by The Mentalist showrunner Bruno Heller. Danny Cannon (CSI, Nikita) will direct and executive produce the pilot.

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Pinkett Smith joins a cast that also includes Sons of Anarchy's Donal Logue as Gordon's partner and mentor Harvey Bullock; Zabryna Guevara (as their boss at the Gotham City Police Department homicide unit, Captain Essen); Sean Pertwee (Bruce Wayne's loyal servant Alfred); and Erin Richards (Barbara Kean, Gordon's love interest). Casting for the young Bruce Wayne has not yet been announced.

Pinkett Smith is repped by Paradigm, Overbrook Entertainment and Sloane Offer.

The Joker, Riddler and Catwoman are also expected to be part of Gotham, with the plan ultimately being for the series to end with Bruce Wayne putting on the cape and becoming Batman -- much as Smallville did with Clark Kent/Superman.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit