- "I fear that the path you've chosen isn't going to be an easy one."
- ―Madame Gao to Daredevil
Madame Gao is a very powerful woman running her own trade of heroin in Hell's Kitchen. While fighting off the efforts of the vigilante Daredevil, Gao betrayed Wilson Fisk and as a result decided to leave New York City to reflect upon the future. However she soon returned to continue her heroin trade, gaining a rival known as the Blacksmith, so Gao manipulated Daredevil and Punisher to kill him.
Work in New York City
- "Heroin is illegal, and as far as territories go, New York is only one of mine."
- ―Madame Gao
Madame Gao is a master in the drug trade; she is in charge of an illegal drug manufacturing operation where her subordinates allowed themselves to be blinded, except for the security guards. Gao was approached by Wilson Fisk for assistance in his ambition to change Hell's Kitchen. To this end, he proposed assisting her in the distribution of her heroin. Together they worked out a system where Gao's blind workers would take bags of heroin to Vladimir and Anatoly Ranskahov who would help deliver it.
One night, Madame Gao sat atop an empty building, along with Nobu Yoshioka, Leland Owlsley, Anatoly Ranskahov, and Vladimir Ranskahov, awaiting the arrival of Wilson Fisk. When Owlsley complained about the cold and how Yoshioka did not seem bothered, Gao claimed that men like Yoshioka who had blood on their hands stayed warm. Eventually James Wesley came instead of Fisk, citing that Fisk was too busy to come in person, and for that he wanted to apologize to Gao personally.
Gao listened as Owlsley protested about Fisk's absence and Anatoly and Vladimir called Wesley a lapdog. When Wesley questioned Anatoly and Vladimir about why their payment was short, they explained that a masked man freed their captive girls and beat up Turk Barrett and their subordinates. Gao spoke in Mandarin, but only Wesley understood, asking if the masked man took the girls for himself, but the Ranskahovs informed her that he had let them go. Gao quietly listened as the meeting continued and tensions between Wesley and the Ranskahov brothers increased.
War with the Russians
Gao was later called for another meeting, this time without the Ranskahov brothers; Leland Owlsley commented on the pints of blood being drained from a nearby car, to which Gao only laughed. They were interrupted by the arrival of James Wesley and Wilson Fisk; Gao told Fisk she was happy to see him. Fisk however announced that the Ranskahov brothers were no longer a part of their organisation since Fisk had murdered Anatoly the night before due to a personal matter which he did not share with the group.
Both Gao and Nobu Yoshioka expressed their anger at the news and demanded to know how their work could continue without the assistance of the Russians. Gao was told to continue moving her shipments of heroin to the Russians until Fisk could take over the distribution. The group reluctantly agreed on the matter and departed while Fisk offered to walk Gao to her car, where she asked if he wanted something from her, but Fisk insisted that he only wanted to put the matter behind them as quickly and effectively as possible.
Controlling Wilson Fisk
Without much effort, Gao learned the location of Wilson Fisk's Penthouse and arrived for a meeting with him. Fisk poured her tea which he had brought back from his last trip to China, of which Gao approved, but she assured him that she had not come to his home for tea. Gao then began speaking to Fisk in English and revealed that she was aware that Fisk spoke both Mandarin and Japanese and did not need James Wesley to translate for him, so Fisk ordered him to leave.
They began speaking to each other in fluent Mandarin and Gao told him that neither Nobu Yoshioka nor Leland Owlsley were happy with Fisk's handling of recent events. She called Fisk emotional and sloppy, making an example of her discovery of his residence as proof that Fisk was losing control. Before she departed, she told Fisk that if he did not restore his business to order, she would cut him from their organization and begin dealing with Yoshioka and Owlsley directly. She calmly left Wilson Fisk's Penthouse, thanking him for the tea as Fisk fell into a rage due to Gao's threat and overthrew the table.
Making a Choice
- "There is conflict within you."
"Man cannot be both savior and oppressor, light and shadow. One has to be sacrificed for the other. Choose, and choose wisely, or others will choose for you."
- ―Madame Gao and Wilson Fisk
Gao had a meeting with Wilson Fisk on a rooftop garden. When he arrived, she commented on James Wesley's absence, as he was no longer needed to translate. Gao spoke to Fisk in Mandarin and told him a metaphorical tale of a snake that died after biting an elephant. When Gao expressed her disappointment at Nobu Yoshioka's death, Fisk claimed that he did not expect Yoshioka to go against the masked man himself.
Gao warned Fisk that the Hand was preparing for retaliation. She asked him if his ambition would ever turn to her, but Fisk assured her that she had his respect. She told him that his mind was distracted since falling in love with Vanessa Marianna. She told him to decide if he was the savior or oppressor of the city. Believing Fisk's love for Marianna would endanger their business, Gao decided to join forces with Leland Owlsley and together they planned to poison Marianna at the benefit Fisk was attending. Although Marianna did drink the poison, she was rushed to the hospital in time to be saved.
Encounter with the Masked Man
- "All those people, you took their eyes."
"No, they blinded themselves."
"Why would they do that?"
"Because they have faith."
- ―Masked Man and Madame Gao
While in her warehouse, Gao watched over her blind workers as they continued producing Steel Serpent Heroin. However, she spotted the masked man inside her warehouse, who was snooping around for answers about the drug trade in New York City. Gao yelled a warning to her workers and ordered them to attack, hoping that their sheer numbers would overwhelm him and he would be detained long enough for her to escape.
While her workers found and surrounded the intruder, Gao took two armed guards with her and attempted to escape during the fight. However, as Gao quickly moved through the warehouse towards safety, they were attacked by the masked man who quickly defeated the guards and confronted Gao, causing a fire to break out when one of her guards shot a nearby barrel. With just Gao and the man alone in the slowly burning room, Gao stood tall and prepared for the confrontation with the feared vigilante.The man demanded to know why her people had been blinded, but Gao assured him that they had blinded themselves because of their faith in what she stood for, and the now the masked man had taken that faith away from them. The man questioned if their faith was in her drugs but Gao insisted it was about more than heroin and that he had no faith at all. When the man asked about Wilson Fisk, Gao struck him in the chest and knocked him a few feet across the floor. As the man recovered from the shock, Gao vanished without a trace, while the warehouse burned down.
Reflecting upon the Future
- "I will visit my homeland, and reflect upon the future."
"It is a considerable distance further. We shall not speak again."
- ―Madame Gao and Leland Owlsley
Having escaped from her warehouse before the New York City Police Department could find and arrest her and her business burned to the ground, Gao met with Leland Owlsley to discuss the recent events. She greeted Owlsley in English, apologizing for her lateness. She informed Owlsley about the encounter with the masked man and the destruction of the heroin. When Owlsley suggested she bring in more heroin, Gao explained that she never had any interest in drugs.
They discussed the risk of Wilson Fisk discovering their plan to assassinate Vanessa Marianna, with Gao noting that Fisk believed that the poison was meant for him. Owlsley then asked if Gao was responsible for killing James Wesley as well, but she assured him she was not as Wesley had never shown her discourtesy. As Gao left the meeting, she informed Owlsley that she was returning to her homeland to reflect upon the future. Knowing that Fisk would likely learn the truth about Marianna's poisoning, Gao told Owlsley that they would not speak again.
Lurking in the Shadows
Hunting down the Blacksmith
- "I see from the uniform you've taken the devil's name to heart."
"Yeah, I had to, because of people like you."
"So you continue your fight, but for how long, I wonder."
- ―Madame Gao and Daredevil
Gao either returned or never left New York City, continuing her heroin trade despite running into trouble when a rival dealer known as the Blacksmith began stepping into her territory. Gao was visited by Daredevil who demanded to know how and where he could find the Blacksmith. Once Gao had ordered her men to leave, they discussed the Blacksmith, with Daredevil threatening to call the New York City Police Department to her location if she did not assist him in the search.
As Gao explained how the Blacksmith was eliminating her chemists and street dealers, causing her work great trouble. Daredevil assured her that he could end the Blacksmith's career the same night. Gao directed him to the docks as her men believed he brought his drugs over by ships although she did not know which pier and therefore could not have him killed herself, advising him that the ship would be well guarded. As Daredevil thanked her for all her assistance and prepared to leave, Gao warned him that his path would not be an easy one before allowing him to leave.
Madame Gao is a ruthless criminal, able to gain complete trust of her subordinates and even make them blind themselves. While working with others, she is highly calculating and even spoke only Mandarin to make them underestimate her and let them believe she would not understand them without translation. She was quick to turn on her allies but seemed to respect Wilson Fisk more than the rest of his associates, as she warned him that he was losing himself on his mission. Despite this, she ultimately ended up trying to kill Vanessa Marianna as she considered her a distraction for him. She seemed to have some level of respect for Daredevil, however, and when their interests temporarily aligned, she willingly gave him information on the Blacksmith.
Madame Gao speaks a lot in riddles and surrounds herself with an air of mysticism during her interactions.
- "I speak many languages."
"All of them."
- ―Madame Gao and Wilson Fisk
- Omnilingualism: Gao is fluent in Mandarin, English, and Japanese, and she claims to be able to speak all languages.
- Master Martial Artist: Gao is highly trained in martial arts, able to push Daredevil to the floor and sliding a few feet with a strike to the chest, although he was still suffering from his injuries taken in the duel with Nobu Yoshioka, her appearance as a frail old woman fooled Daredevil enough to catch him by surprise. He even spat out blood seemingly because of how hard she hit him.
- Wilson Fisk
- Leland Owlsley †
- Nobu Yoshioka †
- Anatoly Ranskahov †
- Vladimir Ranskahov †
- James Wesley †
|Appearances of Madame Gao|
In chronological order:
- Steven S. DeKnight confirmed Gao is connected to the Iron Fist villain Steel Serpent, whose seal was visible on the heroin packets.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Daredevil: 1.01: Into the Ring
- ↑ Translates to: "The man he shipped goods to himself, or to make you into idiot?."
- ↑ Translates to: "You have broken the balance without consulting us!"
- ↑ Daredevil: 1.05: World on Fire
- ↑ Daredevil: 1.08: Shadows in the Glass
- ↑ Daredevil: 1.10: Nelson v. Murdock
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Daredevil: 1.12: The Ones We Leave Behind
- ↑ Daredevil: 2.11: .380
- ↑ Marvel's Daredevil: Season 1 Spoiler Conversation with Showrunner Steven S. DeKnight