Gotham is historical fiction of the time the NYPD was created against the wishes of the populous who feared the creation of a standing army. These untrained “copper stars” patrolled the city in 16-hour shifts, trying to keep members of the populace from robbing, swindling, thrashing, raping and murdering one another. Timothy Wilde was assigned to patrol the Sixth Ward, the most dangerous area of New York at the time. It was full of lawless street gangs, abandoned children and ramshackle slums teeming with impoverished immigrants. Tim encounters new depths of depravity when 10-year-old Bird Daly alerts him to the activities of a serial killer in a black hood who is kidnapping and butchering child prostitutes — “kinchin-mabs,” as they’re known in the street slang called “flash-patter.” Tim is assigned by the head of the police department to detect who the killer is, thus becoming New York’s first detective.
This takes place when the Potato Famine in Ireland is worsening and thousands of immigrants are fleeing to the new world. In 1850 New York had a population of 60 000 in 50 years it had increased to 500 000. You can imagine the social problems created in that situation.