Actress Jada Pinkett Smith speaks onstage at the "Gotham" panel during the FOX Network portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 20, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith speaks onstage at the “Gotham” panel during the FOX Network portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 20, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California

*Even in a place like “Gotham,” a black woman is still worried about water touching her hair.

Let’s just say that the introduction of Jada Pinkett Smith’s crime boss character Fish Mooney in the pilot of Fox’s anticipated Batman prequel makes it clear that her outward appearance is just as important to her as the business she handles in Gotham’s seedy underworld, where future villains like Penguin, Poison Ivy, Catwoman and The Riddler are just beginning to operate.

Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney in Fox's "Gotham"

Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney in Fox’s “Gotham”

Mooney has a deceptively smooth verbal game, but will not hesitate to administer a beatdown at any given moment – by her own manicured hands. The chance to play a woman like this, Jada says, was something she couldn’t refuse.

“I think women make very interesting villains,” Smith told TCA critics in Beverly Hills on Sunday. “I think often times what drives a woman in all our stories is very different than what we’re used to seeing; [than] how stories are created for men and what drives a man to do what he does.”

(L-R) Actors Cory Michael Smith, Camren Bicondova, Robin Lord Taylor, Jada Pinkett Smith, Donal Logue, and Benjamin McKenzie, and producers Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon speak onstage at the "Gotham" panel during the FOX Network portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 20, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California

(L-R) Actors Cory Michael Smith, Camren Bicondova, Robin Lord Taylor, Jada Pinkett Smith, Donal Logue, and Benjamin McKenzie, and producers Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon speak onstage at the “Gotham” panel during the FOX Network portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 20, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California

Ultimately, Smith gives props to the writers who created Fish Mooney, one of “Gotham’s” lone characters who was not part of the DC Comics universe before the show.

“I think it’s always very interesting when you find someone who can really penetrate the internal life of a woman and get the truth of what makes a woman tick and makes her do what she does,” said Smith. “Someone who knows how to write a great female villain, they can be very, very interesting and scary because there are corners of a woman’s darkness that are not seen very often and can be terrifying.”

Below, Jada describes how she and executive producers Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon created the look and feel of Fish Mooney.

“Gotham” premieres Monday, Sept. 22 on FOX. Watch the trailer below: