Harley Quinn is a villain of the DC Comics universe. She was created by Paul Dini and the writers of the television show Batman: The Animated Series, and her popularity led to her becoming integrated into the official DC Comics canon. She has since appeared in numerous games based on the Batman license and the greater DC Universe. In most of her voiced appearances, she has been played by actress Arleen Sorkin, who also served as a partial inspiration for the character when she was first conceived.
Harley Quinn first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series in a episode called " The Joker's Favor". The story involves someone jumping out of a cake and holding a number of police officers hostage. After discussions between the creators (that the Joker doing it himself would be much too bizarre) they decided to create what was meant to be a one-time character who turned into Harley Quinn. This character was modelled on Arleen Sorkin's appearance in a scene in the television soap Days of Our Lives in which she wore a jester costume.
In the comic/animated episode "Mad Love" her back story came more into focus. She was previously a psychiatrist in the Arkham Asylum and her real name was Dr. Harleen Quinzel. The Joker intended to alter her mind as a "joke" because her name sounds similar to harlequin (a french clown character) but developed feelings for her instead. Harley Quinn, while interning at Arkham, became fascinated by the Joker and volunteered to analyse him. She fell in love during their sessions and helped him escape. She was caught by her superiors and her license was revoked. Harley was then put into her own cell, but during a earthquake in Gotham they both escaped to become partners in crime.
Harley and Ivy
During the episode "Harley and Ivy" in the animated series Harley was kicked out of the hideout by the Joker and decided to rob the Gotham museum to get the "Harlequin Diamond". During this robbery the alarms were raised by the character Poison Ivy in another part of the museum. Both making their escape they join forces and commit a series of crimes together. Inside Ivy's hideout, Harley got a injection that protected Harley against toxins. A spin-off 3-part comic series called Harley and Ivy followed the plot to acquire a plant called the "zombie root" in order to create a toxin that would control the population of Gotham City. Harley often goes to visit and or stay with Ivy after she has a fight with the Joker. She seems to be her only criminal friend outside of Joker.
The Joker-Harley Relationship
The Joker and Harley relationship is one of the most complex and twisted in the DC universe. Harley has been absolutely obsessed with the Joker, and the Joker has fallen in love with Harley. But the Joker hates any feelings of affection and this has confused him immensely. In many comic book scenes he is seen physically abusing Harley in various ways, sometimes almost to the point of death, and then soon after kissing her. They have also had fights where they "break up" for a while. She wants to kill Batman to try and make the Joker happy and is often seen by Joker's side during the crimes they commit.
Harley Quinn is most noticed for her high intelligence and exceptional agility and strength. She is a highly skilled gymnast and psychologist and possesses high immunity to various toxins, even to the extent of Poison Ivy's touch having no effect on her. Harley is very skilled in using various weapons, particularly firearms. Her main weapons are a oversized wooden mallet and a boxing glove gun. She is also known to have pet hyena's.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
One of Harley's most notable appearances in a video game is as the accomplice of the Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum. In the game, after Batman manages to capture the Joker and return him to Arkham Asylum he discovers that he has been lured into a trap. Harley Quinn had managed to seize control of the security control room in the asylum and releases Joker, along with all of the other inmates into the asylum. Harley takes Warden Quincy Sharp hostage, claiming that she has been made the new warden of the complex in Joker's take-over, and later meets up with Frank Boles, a traitor guard who has taken Commissioner James Gordon hostage.
Frank Boles is killed by the Joker after he decides that he's outlived his usefulness and Harley orders her minions to break into the Batmobile, before taking Gordon to the medical wing of the facility. Joker scolds Harley after finding that Batman has managed to make his way into the medical wing to rescue Gordon earlier than anticipated, but the two make up almost immediately, and Harley takes Gordon deeper into the wing, to the area where Bane is being held. Despite the Joker ordering Harley to kill the commissioner should any of the guards manage to spot Batman, Batman manages to infiltrate the area, get the drop on Harley and rescue Gordon, however Harley manages to escape by releasing Bane, who attacks Batman.
Harley returns to Warden Sharp and makes a taunting broadcast to Batman in which she hits Sharp on the head with his own cane, causing the end to break off. Harley then moves Sharp to the penitentiary, however Batman is able to recover the tip of Sharp's cane and uses the DNA samples left on it to find his way to Harley and Sharp. Harley forces Sharp to read a threatening speech over the asylum intercom system as she tortures him, before leaving him and coming across the cell of Poison Ivy, who she releases.
When Batman finally catches up to Harley she releases the last of the inmates at her disposal to attack Batman, however, after they're defeated, the Joker removes Harley from the guest list of the party which was to be the climax of the night, and in her anger Harley attacks Batman. Batman manages to overpower Harley and leaves her locked in a cell, crying. If Batman grabs the Riddler trophy in a nearby cell, it will lock on him and Harley will begin laughing, thinking she has indefinitely trapped him. When Batman escapes again she resumes sulking.
Harley was voiced throughout Arkham Asylum by voice actress Arleen Sorkin who has taken on the role in the past.
Batman: Arkham City
At the end of Arkham Asylum the Joker injected himself with the powerful toxin known as Titan to fight Batman, but was defeated and was recaptured in the prison. The Titan has a fatal effect on Joker and leaves him dying, much to the distress of Harley. After learning of a plan concocted by the guards to kill the Joker, she kills one of them, takes their uniform and smuggles Joker out of the asylum to the Sionis Steel Mill in Arkham City which they use as their new hideout. With Joker terminally ill Harley takes on a more prominent role in leading his henchmen and plans. It is noted by Doctor Hugo Strange that with the Joker dying Harley's behaviour appears more "erratic and vicious" than before.
Harley begins kidnapping doctors in an attempt to try and cure the Joker but has little luck. After Batman hears news of a doctor she took from the Arkham Medical Centre he infiltrates the mill, takes out the majority of the Joker's henchmen and finds where Harley and Joker are holding the Medic. Batman also discovers a number of intercoms in the mill which take the form of a plastic, bobble-headed version of Harley holding a balloon and wearing her traditional costume. Interacting with these intercoms causes Harley to express her annoyance at being disturbed. Batman reaches the doctor but Harley uses a nearby intercom to overhear his conversation with her and orders Joker's henchmen to weld the door of the room they're in shut. Batman manages to escape and work his way deeper into the mill.
After Batman finally catches up with the Joker and Harley, she shuts herself and Joker in their office together, and after Batman breaks in she sends a group of henchmen to fight him. Unbeknownst to Batman Harley and the Joker have Clayface at their disposal, who disguises himself as the Joker. Once Batman defeats the henchmen and enters their office, he finds Harley sobbing over the Clayface who is disguised as the Joker's dead body. Harley begs him to leave them alone together but Batman forces her out of the way to analyse the Joker. After Batman is convinced that the Joker is dead Harley and the Joker surprise him, beat him unconscious, tie him to a chair and inject him with Titan. The Joker explains the situation to Batman and tells him that his poisonous blood has also been shipped to hospitals across Gotham, forcing Batman to find a cure.
After Batman manages to work with Mr. Freeze to create a cure for Titan, Harley steals it from Mr. Freeze's vault and attempts to return to Joker, however she is intercepted in the steel mill by Talia al Ghul who binds her, gags her and steals the cure. Once Batman finds Harley and ungags her she accidentally tells him that the Joker has stolen some of Mr. Freeze's technology and stored it in the boiler room of the mill. Joker finally succumbs to his illness at the end of the game and Harley appears highly distressed as she sees Batman carry his corpse out of the Monarch Theatre.
After the death of the Joker Harley becomes the new head of his operations, however it is uncertain if she will be able to maintain that position given the possibility of an uprising from Joker's henchmen and her emotional instability. With her psychotic obsession with the Joker it is likely she is in deep depression by this point and if Batman interacts with the intercoms in the steel mill once the game has ended he can hear Harley sobbing uncontrollably. He can also return to Harley and the Joker's old office to find a positive pregnancy test on the floor next to Harley's nurse outfit from Arkham Asylum. Harley may also be heard singing "Hush Little Baby" over the closing credits of the game. These clues seem to point to the idea that Harley is pregnant with the Joker's child, a possible major plot point if there is an Arkham City sequel.
Harley Quinn's Revenge
An epilogue DLC to Arkham City entitled "Harley Quinn's Revenge" was released and centred entirely around Harley and her actions after the death of the Joker. Here Harley lays a trap for Batman (who she blames for the Joker's death) by having her thugs kidnap and hold captive two Gotham City police officers in the Sionis Steel Mill, and setting up guards around the area to deter the police. After a stakeout between Harley and her thugs, and the GCPD (let by Commissioner Gordon), Batman is sent into the Steel Mill and Harley is able to knock him unconscious and imprison him within a shrine to the Joker using a special projectile.
After contact is lost with Batman, Robin is sent in to rescue him. Eventually Harley and her thugs face off against Robin, with Harley trying to take him out by rocket launcher. Robin manages to defeat Harley and takes the key card from her required to free Batman. Harley manages to stop Robin before he can free Batman however, and unleashes a Titan thug on him. After Robin manages to successfully incapacitate the thug and free Batman, Harley reveals that she has placed a number of bombs around the Mill and immediately arms them.
After she discovers that Batman has successfully managed to disarm the bombs, Harley releases a number of robots against him which he manages to defeat. I a final attempt to kill Batman and Robin she attempts to activate a bomb hidden in her shrine to the Joker, potentially killing herself. Batman manages to leap out of one of the windows of the mill with her as the bomb goes off, ensuring that they both escape safely, however, when his back is turned Harley attempts to sneak up behind him and stab him. She is stopped at the last moment by Robin and arrested by the GCPD.
A large number of negative pregnancy tests can also be found scattered around Harley's office in the DLC suggesting that the positive pregnancy test seen in the main game was simply producing a false positive.
In Arkham City Harley is voiced by Tara Strong.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon revealed on Twitter in 2009 that a Harley Quinn character had been developed as downloadable content for Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. However, due to the bankruptcy of Midway Games, she was never made available.
Lego Batman: The Video Game
Harley makes an appearance in Lego Batman, both as a playable character and as a boss. Batman and Robin must fight her at one point to rescue Commissioner Gordon, dodging her acrobatic tricks and waiting until she is dizzy to attack. In the final battle of the hero campaign they also face off against The Joker and Harley in a bell tower. As a playable character Harley's missions put her alongside the Joker, with Harley's abilities including a double jump, a pistol, a giant hammer, and seducing guards. Harley also owns a vehicle in the game known as the Hammer Truck.
DC Universe Online
Harley appears as part of the villain faction in the MMORPG DC Universe Online. Her powers are categorised as 'Gadgets', her origin is categorised as 'Tech', she uses two-handed weaponry, her movement style is 'Acrobatics', and she can be found in the Tech Wing of the Hall of Doom. For villains she is the vendor of the Joker's Punchline Iconic Battle Suit and must be rescued from Robin during one mission. For heroes she must be defeated in one mission from Commissioner Gordon and must be defeated in another mission from Batman, where she is holding Robin captive.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Harley is one of the playable combatants in the upcoming fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us. It will be one of the first games, if not the very first, to feature her with her post-Flashpoint redesign given to her as part of the DC Comics universe "New 52" reboot.