Ben McKenzie will play Young Commissioner Gordon in Gotham

Fox's Batman prequel TV series Gotham has officially chosen its lead actor. Ben McKenzie, best known for his roles in Southland and The O.C., has been cast as young James Gordon – before he was Gotham City's Police Commissioner, and before he met Batman.

Above: McKenzie in Southland

Ben McKenzie will play Young Commissioner Gordon in GothamS

Last month we learned that Gotham would be an origin series loaded with classic Batman characters. As Fox chirman Kevin Reilly put it at the time, the show will follow "the arc of how [the characters of Batman] became what they were... It's going to be this operatic soap that has a slightly larger-than-life quality."

Bruno Heller wrote the pilot script and will serve as executive producer with the episode's director, Danny Cannon.

A young Bruce Wayne is also slated to appear in Gotham, with the show presumably ending when Batman dons his cape for the firs time. No official word yet on which villains will be appearing on the show – but we're of course open to all manner of speculation.