- "I love Lynn and those girls, but we knew this day would come. Jefferson, I've known you since you were 12 years old. You're like my son, so I have to tell you the truth. The promise you made Lynn was well-intentioned, but it always had an expiration date."
- —Peter Gambi to Jefferson Pierce[src]
At some point, Gambi became a member of a government organization called the A.S.A.. He would later meet and train Lady Eve. In 1986, Peter was tasked with gathering meta-humans, but after realizing that the A.S.A.'s vaccine was killing children, he leaked the information to Alvin Pierce, who began an investigation. One day while Alvin was walking home from work with his son, Jefferson Pierce, Gambi waited on the side of the street, Alvin then noticed him and told Jefferson to go wait in the car. Gambi then told Alvin that he made a mistake by using names in the article that Alvin wrote, Gambi then tried to convince Alvin to give up his investigation as he knew it would get Alvin killed, but Alvin refused to give up his investigation and walked back to his car.
Eventually, Alvin was killed by Tobias Whale. Sometime later, Gambi watched Alvin's funeral from afar and saw as a young Jefferson was heartbroken. Gambi opened a shop called Gambi's Custom Tailoring around September 2, 1987. One night Jefferson Pierce, the son of Alvin Pierce, took part in a riot, and after accidentally setting off his powers for the first time and knocking out two swat officers, Jefferson ran down an alley and was knocked unconscious after absorbing the electricity from an electric fence. Moments later Jefferson was found in the alley unconscious by Gambi, who realized that Jefferson had powers, and knew that if the A.S.A. found out they would come after Jefferson. So, Gambi decided to take Jefferson in and raise him, all while keeping Jefferson's powers a secret.
He trained Jefferson in fighting and tactics. Some years later, when Jefferson began acting as the vigilante Black Lightning, Gambi designed him a protective suit to wear. Jefferson eventually retired from vigilantism, much to the chagrin of Gambi.
Nine years later, working from his tailoring shop, Gambi arrived to find an injured Jefferson in his shop. He helped patch him up, suggesting he continue his vigilantism. Jefferson disagreed, but after his daughters were taken, he returned to Gambi, who unveiled a new vigilante suit for him.
Gambi proposed bringing down Lala to find out who he was working for, but Jefferson told Gambi that he would be done after they brought down Lala. Later, Gambi discovered Will's body in a dumpster and alerted Jefferson, planning to use his cell phone to uncover evidence. Lynn Stewart showed up at the shop and the two passed blame back and forth: Lynn blaming Gambi for trying to pull Jefferson out of a situation he was content with, while Gambi blamed Lynn for keeping Jefferson from his true calling of being a protector. Jefferson then returned and became Black Lightning for good again after Lawanda White's murder and his failure to protect her as a simple civilian.
Gambi improved upon the gauntlets in Black Lightning's suit, allowing Jeff to try them out. He later helped Jefferson to create a detour route for Reverend Holt's march, sending them on a route that Jefferson could easily watch over the crowd safely from a high vantage point. Later, Gambi discovered Tobias Whale's photo on camera footage and deleted the images to hide the truth from Jefferson.
Shortly following, Gambi was led to a crime scene following the death of Ronald Wright, a dealer of Green Light. Jefferson called him, tipping him off to Wright, but Gambi reported that he'd already found his dead body. After this, Gambi assisted Jefferson in a mission to find a stash of Green Light, but Jefferson was distracted by explosion-like sounds. He investigated the other scene, but found nothing, and so returned to the original scene. Gambi took a rifle and investigated the scene himself, taking a photo of a fracture in the ground.
Installing the ability for Jefferson to fly into his suit, Gambi watched on as he tested it out. Gambi left to tend to matters upstairs in his shop, Tobias Whale and Syonide having entered his shop. Tobias requested Black Lightning's identity, but Gambi feigned any knowledge of it. Discovering Joey Toledo to be back on the streets, Jefferson confronted Gambi. Gambi claimed to have not known that he was back, but was interrupted when Jeff passed out mid-sentence. Calling in Lynn, Gambi suggested that his collapse and prior headaches were related to his suit's new hover function. Shortly following, Gambi entered his bunker to see Jefferson putting on the Black Lightning suit. He urged him to not go after Toledo in his condition, but Jeff ignored him.
Having been beaten up by Toledo, Gambi went after Jeff, rescuing him in a van, taking him back to his shop to be treated by Lynn. The following night, Gambi had Jefferson test his powers, having figured the problem with his suit, figuring it to be a problem with the level of resistance in the suit. They began talking about Toledo and Tobias, Jefferson getting suspicious that Gambi clearly didn't want him to pursue Tobias. Following the interaction, Gambi went to see Lynn at her work, arriving before her. He emphasized her need to get involved, as Jefferson intended to kill someone, an action he believed to be one that he wouldn't come back from. That night, Gambi's computers were notified of Jefferson's activity as Black Lightning, but he was soon shut out from seeing anything. The night after, Jefferson having finally set up an opportunity to kill Tobias, Gambi patched Lynn through to him, convincing him not to follow through. Instead heading to Bowman College to help Lynn, Jefferson unknowingly beat up Anissa. They called Gambi, who helped transport her so they could patch her up. Annoyed at Lynn having been attacked, Gambi went to see Lady Eve, who questioned him on the metahuman that had attacked her crew.
After Tobias had become a problem for Black Lightning, Gambi went to visit Lady Eve, asking that she take him out. She refused to do so, both as he made her plenty of money and for fear of ruining the social ecosystem, and so instead suggested he kill Joey Toledo. The following night, Gambi went to a club run by Toledo, shooting him, before placing a box of albino dust on him as a message to Tobias. The following day, Lynn visited Gambi, hoping for him to make Anissa a vigilante suit. Having completed some sketches, he showed Anissa, promising to make it if he gave her some time.
Gambi met with Martin Proctor, leader of the Freeland division of the A.S.A., who was annoyed that Gambi had not yet killed Black Lightning, and so Proctor told him he'd send others to do so. Shortly after, Gambi led Jefferson and Anissa through Freeland City Morgue. Jefferson sent Gambi photos of Lady Eve's burnt corpse, figuring her death to be from some sort of nuclear weapon. He traced radioactive signatures in the city, pinpointing the weapon's location to Hampton Woods. Believing Jeff to be in danger of going, he offered to go, but Jefferson refused. Following this, Gambi went to church, watching a choir boy sing. He was visited by Mrs. Johnson, who thanked him for dressing for her daughter's wedding. She gave him advice, before leaving. Shortly following this, Gambi was visited by Lynn at his shop. She hoped to find some of his contacts to answer some questions for her regarding Green Light, but he shut her down, Lynn correctly inferring that he had to do with the drug itself. Because of this, Lynn sent Jefferson to talk to Gambi, with Gambi revealing his real name to be Peter Esposito, as well as his involvement in Jefferson's and others' powers (and thus subsequently Alvin Pierce's death). Jefferson threateningly told him to stay away from his family.
Gambi visited Thomas Hidalgo, ambushing him in his car and injecting him with black mamba venom, only offering an antidote if he offered up the name of the creator of the weapon that framed Black Lightning, to which Hildago could only give him a lead. He proceeded to contact the lead, discovering his identity, Caleb Scott, and blackmailing him into the identity of the weapon's creator. Gambi went to the facility, discovering it to be housing the bodies of metahumans, including one he'd personally helped put there, discovering the base as that of the A.S.A. Due to this, Gambi contacted Anissa in an emergency. He explained how he and Jefferson weren't on good terms, and explained the situation, before handing her her finished suit.
Gambi was visited by Lisa, who asked if she could put up a missing poster for her friend Neema, while Gambi asked her as to the circumstances regarding Neema's disappearance. Shortly after, Gambi was visited by Martin Proctor and some henchmen, who threatened to hurt civilians if he didn't comply and go with them. Making it back to a basement, the A.S.A. tortured Gambi, attempting to get him to reveal Black Lightning's identity, to no avail. Proctor brought in Jefferson, understanding him to be Gambi's foster son, and threatened to kill him. However, Jefferson caused a power outage, allowing Gambi to kill the two other men and the two escape. Jefferson helped Gambi back to his basement, where he rested, before the two mended fences. Gambi requested that Jefferson keep his family safe and find the A.S.A. spotter, as the meta-human kidnappings had resumed.
Gambi sent Black Lightning and Thunder to a location he was certain the A.S.A. were holding the meta-humans, but they couldn't find them. Returning back to base, Gambi assured them that he could find the meta-humans based off of their energy signature. When Jefferson went to get out of the suit, Gambi made Anissa promise to look after Jeff. The following day, after Jefferson was arrested at the behest of the A.S.A., Gambi and Anissa began working on attempting to convince the A.S.A. of Jefferson's innocence. Gambi cobbled together some makeshift technology, creating a self-driving car that projected a hologram of Black Lightning alongside Thunder. That night, Jefferson returned home, Gambi swinging by with a bottle of wine. Jefferson, noting that he couldn't forgive him for his prior actions, acknowledged all that Gambi had done for him. They sat down for dinner and Gambi said grace.
During the Anti-Monitor Crisis, Peter as well as everyone in the multiverse except for the seven Paragons, was killed in an antimatter wave by the Anti-Monitor on December 10, 2019, only to be restored a month later, after the Paragons and the Spectre created a new universe.
Assassination attempt and saving Lynn
War for Freeland
Gambi holds a gun to Dr. Jace and reminds her of their past, that he spared her life forty years ago. She reveals to him that the leader of the upcoming Markovian invasion is Gravedigger. Gambi then goes to see Khalil Payne and offers him an artist's case, recommending that the young man gets help with his PTSD through the therapist Perenna, but, in the mean time, he should make use of his artistic skills to past the time.
Later, Gambi removes the eye of a minion of Lady Eve; he tells the minion to tell Eve not to miss when doing an assassination. Lady Eve meets with Gambi and tells him that she wants a truce; as a peace offering, she delivers a briefcase. Gambi takes the briefcase to TC who opens it. Gambi then goes to Jefferson and Lynn with the contents: the origin of Gravedigger.
Gambi's research has determined that Gravedigger has two objectives: to obtain followers in Freeland and to take Lynn and Jace back to Markovia. As he conveys his findings to Jefferson, Gambi also reveals that the government would rather nuke Freeland than to allow Gravedigger's victory.
When Black Lightning's team had a meeting about the upcoming invasion, Gambi was a presenter. After the meeting, Gambi reveals that he is afraid that Gravedigger is too powerful for the team and he questions Jeff about why he is placing Lightning on the second squad, instead of having their most powerful warrior on the front line.
Gambi later goes to Anissa Pierce's apartment with most of the team to have dinner and officiate the wedding of Anissa and Grace. However, before the ceremony could begin, Gravedigger approaches Freeland, causing the team to get battle-ready. As Black Lightning approaches the battle zone, he calls Gambi about what appears to be a projectile; it is Lightning, rejected from her battle with Gravedigger. Gambi instructs Black Lightning to restart Lightning's heart when there is no pulse.
Gambi has been displayed to care about people, so much that he was willing to give himself up to the A.S.A., in order to prevent them from shooting innocent civilians. According to Martin Proctor, Gambi would rather kill a corrupt A.S.A. agent instead of an innocent civilian. Gambi also has good morals, when he discovered that A.S.A.'s vaccine that gave some children meta-human powers, but was also killing some of these said children, he leaked the information to Alvin Pierce, not only to end the A.S.A.'s illegal experimentations, but also to bring them to justice.
Powers and abilities
- Abilities via meta booster: Lynn developed a serum that allowed access to specific meta-human powers. It could also be used it to steal powers from other meta-humans.
- "This...this is Gambi we're talking about. All right? The man has contingency plans for his contingency plans."
- —Jefferson Pierce to Anissa Pierce[src]
- Genius-level Intellect/Master Tactician/Leader: Gambi is naturally intelligent, easily finding solutions to problems what type of situation it may involve. Gambi has been shown to be naturally intelligent in terms of leadership and strategy. Jefferson has even described Gambi as someone who "has contingencies for contingencies." He also functions as the team's second-in-command when Jefferson is absent.
- Computer specialist/Expert computer hacker: Gambi possesses impressive computer hacking skills, as he has stated that he can hack into any database, including Freeland Police Department. He was also able to easily hack in Freeland's power grid and shut it down.
- Master engineer: Gambi is a skilled engineer as he created the Thunder suit for Anissa and the first and the second Black Lightning suit which was more armored and has more technology built into it such as goggles with "electric vision" and a feature that helped with the flight. Though the latter caused headaches to the user which was eventually fixed.
- Multilingualism: Gambi can speak English, Japanese, Russian and Markovian.
- Master of Deception/Manipulator: Gambi is highly skilled in deception, having kept his identity as a former A.S.A spotter a secret for many years. He was also able to make the Pierces believe that he was dead after his car exploded, as well as using these this situation to hunt down the person who attempted to kill him.
- Expert Torturer: Gambi is a highly skilled torturer, knowing many different torture methods in order to pry information from people.
- Stealth/Infiltration: Gambi was able to break into Lynn's lab before anyone was even there.
- Expert hand-to-hand combatant: Gambi is shown to be a highly skilled combatant in his own right from being a formal A.S.A. agent. He even threw Jefferson to the floor, who was reacting emotionally to stop him from exposing himself, with limited difficulty.
- Expert marksman: Gambi is skilled in handling various types of guns and is capable of killing if necessary. He was prepared to use a shotgun when he went to investigate a scene, and a pistol when Tobias Whale appeared in his shop. He also killed Joey Toledo with two shots to the chest, and even Martin Proctor during their final confrontation.
- Indomitable will/High pain tolerance: Gambi was able to survive being beaten half to death and waterboarded by Martin Proctor's agents while also refusing to reveal Black Lightning's identity. He also survived severe burns when he tried to help Jennifer calm down.
- Self-driving van: Gambi upgraded his black van so that he could control it from his computer in his shop's basement.
- Cloaking Device: Since Gambi is still trying to figure out who tried to kill him, he created a device that will cloak his physical appearance when he is out in public.
- Jefferson has mentioned that Gambi is Italian.
- Gambi has admitted that whenever Jefferson calls him "handsome", Gambi can't say no to him.
- Gambi hates golf.
- Anissa and Jennifer both refer to Gambi as 'Uncle Gambi', which the latter seems to enjoy being considered their uncle.
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, Peter Gambi is the man who murdered Jefferson's father, Alvin Pierce. However, in the series Tobias Whale is the one who murdered Alvin.
- Also, in the DC comics, Peter also has a brother named Paul, who is a tailor in Central City. While Paul never appeared on Black Lightning, it's unknown whether he'll appear in other Arrowverse shows in the future.
- Charles Barden was a stunt double for James Remar in the role of Peter Gambi.