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|Real name:||Jerome Valeska|
|Affiliations:|| Theo Galavan|
|Portrayed by:||Cameron Monaghan|
Jerome Valeska is a recurring villain in the television series Gotham and serves as a possible origin story of The Joker (though this could be a red herring). He makes his debut in the 16th episode of season 1 "The Blind Fortune Teller", and then appears in the opening three-episodes of season 2 "Rise of the Villains". It was being confirmed that Jerome will return for Season 3.
Jerome is a psychopathic young man, who worked at Haly's Circus which came to Gotham City. He murders his mother, with his motive that she was a "nagging drunken whore" and a blind fortune teller named Paul Cicero helps Jerome with disposing of the hatchet he used to kill her. Detective James Gordon investigates the case, and with help with Cicero who puts his knowledge down to spiritual contact, helps the police find the weapon. Gordon comes to the conclusion Jerome is the killer and brings him in for questioning. Jerome shows his true colours by dropping his caring, grieving son act and breaks down into maniacal laughter. Jerome is then sent to Arkham Asylum.
A few months later Jerome is kidnapped from Arkham along with several inmates (including Gordon's ex-fiancee Barbara Kean) and are given the opportunity to work for billionaire industrialist Theo Galavan to spread fear across Gotham. Jerome then heads a group of the inmates in a gang named the Maniax to spread fear and chaos. He eventually became the leader and spokesperson for the Maniax when he "won" a game of Russian roulette by clicking three times and getting nothing. One of his first crimes was having several abducted people thrown off a building into the pavement, with each one having a letter that spelled out "Maniax!" He eventually hijacked a gas truck and proceeded to ambush a school bus containing cheerleaders for Gotham City High School, dousing the cheerleaders with gasoline with the intention of torching them. However, he was forced to delay setting them on fire due to his lighter being temperamental, which gave enough time for the GCPD to arrive. However, he then told his allies to stand their ground, knowing full well the GCPD cannot risk shooting at them and endangering the hostage cheerleaders. He then tried to fire at James Gordon when he tried to get to the Bus, but after running out of ammo, ordered for them to light the bus up in flames, making a getaway by spraying the hose and boarding the truck while laughing hysterically. As plan B, he and his group then proceeded to infiltrate the GCPD with fake police uniforms and then proceeded to massacre the entire area, including Sarah Essen. He ultimately left, although not before leaving a video message to Gotham telling them to be "free like [the Maniax]" instead of being cogs in a machine, and vowing ominously that Gotham "ain't seen nothing yet."
During a children's gala Jerome intervenes and kills the deputy mayor. He then contacts Gordon and demands as ransom for the hostages $47 million, a helicopter, his dry cleaning, and a pony, also making sure to make the demand via video camera. He then plots to kill Bruce Wayne and holds him at knife point. However Theo betrays Jerome and stabs him in the throat. Jerome bleeds to death and dies, but no before forming a smile on his face.
Despite his death, Jerome leaves a legacy of fear and chaos in Gotham City, and several people are shown to imitate his maniacal laughter. It is also heavily implied that this legacy would ultimately spawn Gotham's worst curse.
His corpse was retrieved by Hugo Strange, who then proceeded to experiment on it and the bodies of several criminals, including, ironically enough, the man who killed Jerome, Theo. He was ultimately revived and transferred to a different facility, although Fish Mooney (who had been revived earlier) had proceeded to hijack and crash the bus, with Jerome and the other freaks escaping the bus with the unwitting help of an old woman.He may be the joker or the example of what the real joker wants to be.