Crispus Allen had his start as a police officer in Metropolis but transferred to Gotham City with his wife Dore and his two teenaged sons Jake and Malcolm. He joined James Gordon's Major Crimes Unit and was partnered with Renee Montoya, replacing her old partner Harvey Bullock. Because of his well-dressed and proud style, he had to put up with Bullock referring to him as "Peacock." But he was a good detective. He was one of the GCPD's best, and he was so by doing things by the book.
When it came to the subject of Batman, he was no fan but understood the vigilante to be an unfortunate necessity of Gotham City.
Greg Rucka and Shawn Martinbrough created Crispus Allen in Detective Comics as a supporting character and part of an expanded presence of the Gotham City Police Department in the series. Partnered with the character of Renee Montoya, he quickly became one of the primary faces of the police in Gotham City for several years.
Major Story Arcs
Following the shooting of James Gordon, Crispus alongside his partner Renne Montoya begin searching for Catwoman, the prime suspect in the shooting. However, Nightwing, Azrael, Batgirl and Robin manage to uncover evidence of her innocence with the the shooter being revealed to be a Gotham cop by the name of Jordan Rich. The Gotham Police Department, arrest him and bring him in to gain a confession. During the course of the interogation Chris plays good cop, while Montoya plays bad cop, attacking Jordan. However Chris's refusal to call in the Batman leads to Jordan's being released.
Bruce Wayne: Murderer?
For further details: Bruce Wayne: Murderer and Bruce Wayne: Fugitive
When Bruce Wayne was framed for the murder of Vesper Fairchild, Cris was put as the primary detective on the case, and he believed in Bruce Wayne's guilt. The evidence was clear. There seemed to be no reason to doubt it. After all, he had no idea this man was really Batman. Bruce Wayne going fugitive after being charged did not help Cris' impression on his guilt. Instead, Cris believed Wayne's butler Alfred somehow aided in the escape, yet he was not convinced that Wayne had actually left Gotham as most speculated. The case was closed when David Cain waltzed into the precinct and confessed to framing Wayne.
Cris found himself in some trouble after an incident where he had to shoot the Black Spider to save Renee's life. However, another person was shot by a stray bullet during the exchange, and he was pointed at to take the blame. A key piece of evidence that would show he was not the shooter, a bullet, went missing. The lead forensics technician, Jim Corrigan, was notoriously crooked and known to steal evidence to sell to wealthy collectors of crime memorabilia. No one had ever been able to prove it though. Renee beat the hell out of Corrigan to find out what happened to the bullet and got it back with the help of the Internal Affairs officer who was investigating Corrigan. Cris was cleared of any fault, but he was outraged that Renee blew the corruption case on Corrigan to do it.
Cris opened his own case on Corrigan, investigating the man in secret and alone. Because of Renee's actions and IAD's help in it, they had lost all credibility when it came to Corrigan. This was something Cris had to do on his own. He compiled his case against Corrigan using one of Corrigan's friends as an informant, but Corrigan found out. When Cris came to meet with his informant, he walked right into an ambush. Corrigan shot him several times in the back, and he died on the scene before his body was found.
The whole MCU knew who had done it, but Corrigan covered his tracks too well in the end. The case against him fell apart, causing Renee to quit the force and sink into depression.
Becoming the Spectre
This was not the end of Crispus Allen. The Spectre was in need of a host, and he was chosen. But when faced with the offer, he refused. He was the first to refuse the Spectre in a long time, but he did so nonetheless. Rather than pass on, he was given one year to reconsider. He haunted Gotham City as an unseen spirit for that year, watching his family and his friends. He even satisfied his curiosity about who Batman truly was. When the year was up and the Spectre returned, Cris accepted the offer. He wanted to see Corrigan punished for his murder, and he did. Only it was not in the way he wanted. Rather than punish Corrigan as the Spectre, he had to watch his youngest son Mal pick up a gun and murder Corrigan in an alley. For that act, God demanded vengeance, and Cris had to kill his own son. He hugged Mal and gave his son a peaceful death. He had begun to understand the Spectre's duty, but he also began to hate God for it. In life, he was an agnostic who never gave much thought to faith and God. That had changed.
Cris continued on as the Spectre, facing off against Eclipso who had taken on a new host as well. It was a conflict in which there seemed to be no way to win. Disaster would follow whether the victor was the Spectre or Eclipso, so Cris found a way to stop it without either one winning. Cris convinced Eclipso's host that he was the one in control and could put a stop to the fight. Eclipso could not do anything he didn't want. Cris' words were effective, and Eclipso was forced back inside of his host. Unfortunately, Cris couldn't stay to help the new host of Eclipso any more. The Spectre had work to do.
For further details: Final Crisis
For the murder of the Martian Manhunter, an act that was essentially genocide, Cris went after the villains responsible. He melted Dr. Light down into a candle and burned Effigy to death inside of a replica of a lantern. But when it came to Libra, Cris found himself powerless. The wrath of the Spectre could not touch the man, and Cris was defeated.
Afterward, Cris received a new calling. His new target was someone all too familiar. Renee Montoya, now the Question, was to be the next to face God's wrath for being the technical leader of the Order of the Stone, a vile cult based off the Crime Bible. He found her trying to prevent the Order of the Stone from getting the Spear of Destiny and reunited with her for the first time since his death. As an act of final kindness, he brought her back to Gotham City to see her love Batwoman one last time. He promised her he would make it quick and painless, as that was all he could afford to do. But before he could carry out her sentence, the Radiant appeared and granted God's mercy upon Renee. This outraged Cris, because he wanted to know where God's mercy was when he had to kill his own child.
Further discussion had to wait. Darkseid had unleashed the Anti-Life Equation upon the Earth. Cris and Renee found themselves faced with an enslaved horde of Darkseid's followers, who used to be their friends and fellow officers of the GCPD. Cris found that the power of the Spectre could not hold them back. Because their free will had been robbed from them, he was not allowed to visit God's wrath. Their souls were still essentially innocent. But as far as Cris was concerned, God was just abandoning them. They took refuse in a church, sealed off by the Radiant's power. Renee told him what she had learned from the Crime Bible about what was happening. Cain was coming and would be armed with the Spear of Destiny, which he would use to kill the Spectre. Cain did come and turned out to be Vandal Savage. Cris went out to battle him and was defeated, getting the Spear of Destiny plunged into his back.
This cut Cris off from the power of the Spectre, and he found himself an unseen spirit once again. That was the final straw for him. Whatever lingering hope or belief he had in God coming through for them was gone. If God could allow all this to happen, then God could go to hell. Not wanting to watch Renee and everyone die, his spirit departed to visit his son's grave. As such, he did not know what was transpiring back at the church. He did not know that Renee was not giving up and had wrestled the Spear of Destiny back from Vandal Savage, mortally wounding herself in the process. Rather than heal herself, she used the spear selflessly on Cris. She healed what was broken inside his spirit. That was the loss of his son, who she brought back with the power of the spear.
Cris was made whole again, and therefore so was the Spectre. He struck down the Order of the Stone, all those who willingly followed Vandal Savage. He then used the purified spear to reverse all the damage it had done in Savage's possession. And finally, he cast out Savage, cursing him to live his eternal life shunned by everyone so he would never find refuge. He better understood what he was as the Spectre now. He was not merely God's wrath and vengeance. He was God's mighty fist on the Earth. He thanked Renee for what she had done and departed with the Radiant.
For further details: Blackest Night
In his role as the Spectre, Crispus investigated the empty grave of Boston Brand, Deadman, along with the Phantom Stranger, Zatanna and Blue Devil. He said that he could sense that Brand's corpse was now wandering the Earth. The group was then confronted by Pariah, who had been transformed into a Black Lantern. He exploded after giving them a warning and released swarm of black rings. One came to Crispus and transformed him into a Black Lantern, suppressing the Spectre's influence.
Now controlled by the Black Lantern Corps, Crispus went after Hal Jordan and the alliance of Lanterns with all the power of the Spectre at his disposal. To combat him, the lightbearers freed the entity Parallax. Parallax's power was enough to force Crispus free of the black power ring that had enslaved him, and in turn, he helped free Hal Jordan from Parallax's possession.
For further details: Brightest Day
In the aftermath of Blackest Night, it became known that the sentient entities of the Emotional Spectrum were to be found on Earth. These Emotional Embodiments were like Parallax, and the Spectre had some history with the rage entity specifically. Knowing that it was now somewhere on Earth, Crispus began pursuing it.
Strangely, the Spectre spirit took the driver's seat when the time came to finally confront the Butcher entity, expressing some past experience against the embodiment of living rage. Atrocitus was also present for the confrontation, and the Spectre agreed to help contain the Butcher within Atrocitus' power battery. Once complete, Atrocitus defended a human against the Spectre's overeager wrath, and the Spectre found that Atrocitus was protected for the time being due to currently carrying out a holy mission against Krona.
Actor Andrew Stewart Jones portrays Crispus Allen in FOX TV series Gotham, partnered along side Renee Montoya. He and Montoya are part of a special police unit, and they seem to be, besides James Gordon, about the only honest cops in the city (or, at least, the only ones shown so far in the show). Ironically though, they find themselves on the Gordon's trail for the murder of Oswald Cobblepot. Gordon won't trust them with the truth (that he didn't kill Cobblepot) though, so they end up arresting him, whereupon the supposedly dead Cobblepot arrives at the station creating a whole different, and very possibly worse, kind of trouble for Gordon.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
An African-American GCPD cop credited as "Allen" appears in the film, played by actor Rob Brown.
Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)
He first appears in second story named: "Crossfire", part of a series of anime shorts set between the events of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Allong with Ana Ramirez, they are special cops part of MCU personally chosen by Lt. Gordon. He is skeptical about Batman´s methods, thinking he is a vigilante and making Gordon know his discomfort. They are sent to escort Jacob Feely, the mysterious man in black previously captured in the first short. They managed to escort Feely to Arkham Asylum without delay. But at their regress they are trapped in a crossfire between Maroni and the Russian. At the end Batman defeats all henchmen and saves Ramirez from Maroni´s threat.
Later he reappears in "Darkness Dwells". Ana and Crispus escort Lt. Gordon in Gotham´s sewers in order to investigate the releasing of a powerful toxin by Scarecrow, he is later seen in a Helicopter backupping Batman´s mission.Finally, he appears on "Deadshot", when he gets from Batman a PDA that links Ronald Marshall with previous Deadshot´s missions.