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Barbara Gordon was the daughter of Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon. She took on the mantle of Batgirl, and became Batman's main partner and protegé for many years. Later in life, she followed in her father's footsteps by becoming the Commissioner of the Gotham Police Department herself. Barbara is a supporting protagonist in Batman: The Animated Series and the tritagonist in it's sequel The New Batman Adventures. She is one of the four main protagonists (true main protagonist in season 3) of the Gotham Girls spin-off series. She also serves as supporting protagonist in Batman Beyond. She is voiced by Melissa Gilbert in Batman: The Animated Series and Tara Strong in The New Batman Adventures as a young woman and Stockard Channing as an elderly woman in the first season of Batman Beyond before being replaced by Angie Harmon.

History

Pre-Costume

When the renegade artificial intelligence HARDAC attempted to replace the most influential members of Gotham (including James Gordon, Mayor Hill, and Detective Bullock), Barbara was one of the few who initially felt something was wrong. Using a few skills she picked up from her father, Barbara managed to help Batman save everyone.

Batgirl

Barbara Gordon takes after her father, James Gordon. Like the Commissioner, Barbara is a skilled crime fighter dedicated to wiping out Gotham City's lawbreakers—but not as a police officer. When Commissioner Gordon is framed by the notorious villain Two-Face, Barbara dons a bat costume and finds that the uniform fits her better than she had first imagined. Whether they like it or not, Batman and Robin soon realize that they have a new red-headed ally in the form of Batgirl. In her daily life, Barbara is a student at Gotham State University. Her academic skills are matched only by her gymnastic ability, which she utilizes to her full advantage as Batgirl. Batman and Robin learn to trust and rely on Batgirl's contribution to eradicating Gotham's criminal element. Unbeknownst to either, Barbara and Dick Grayson also dated.

Early on, Batman deduced the masked red-head who fought so hard to clear Commissioner Gordon could only be Gordon's daughter, Barbara. Barbara was also found to be the only organ donor (either living or dead) to Nora Fries, Mr. Freeze's wife, and she was kidnapped. However, Dick Grayson was present during the kidnapping, and though he failed to save Barbara, he was aware of Freeze's plot. Batman and Robin managed to interrupt the operation before it took place; the battle that ensued caused Freeze's lair to explode. Batman, Robin, and Barbara were able to evacuate Nora and Koonak in time, but Freeze had fallen into the fiery blast and was assumed dead. In actuality, he and his polar bears survived. In Gotham, Nora was cured.

When Dick Grayson left Gotham, Batman found himself calling on Batgirl to work with him on special cases. Eventually, Batman told Batgirl the secret of his dual identity and granted her free access to the Batcave and all its technology. The Batcomputer quickly became her domain and now she even surpasses Batman, Robin and Nightwing in cyber-expertise.

Barbara lived in a private townhouse near Gotham's trendy Park Ridge. A service lift in Barbara's bedroom closet ran down to the secret basement where Barbara stores her Batgirl crimefighting gear. In addition to costumes and weapons, the basement also serves as garage for Batgirl's highly-advanced Batcycle, a gift from Batman.

Her double life as Batgirl sometimes puts Barbara at an emotional crossroads. As the daughter of the Police Commissioner, Barbara was raised with respect for law and order, but her actions as Batgirl technically label her a vigilante. If Batgirl were ever caught and unmasked, the scandal would certainly destroy Commissioner Gordon's career. Still, Gotham is a city that breeds an extreme kind of criminal and extreme crimefighters are needed to handle situations regular cops can't. Barbara believes the good she does as Batgirl is worth the potential risk to herself and her father. She often takes on some of Batman's dangerous villains including Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. She is great friends with Kara In-Ze, also known as Supergirl, and has teamed up with her in the past, most notably when Livewire escaped and joined forces with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Yet, later on, when her then-boyfriend, Dick Grayson, learned of her identity as Batgirl and got into an argument with Batman that he left Gotham and became Nightwing.

As her career in Gotham went on, Batgirl had an ongoing rivalry with the villainesses Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. She went on to play a central role in the mystery surrounding the disappearance of all of the men in Gotham City, an event that briefly brought her into conflict with the Gotham City police force, who had been taken over by a robotic duplicate of her father, and forced her to ally with her enemies. Eventually, she tracked down the true culprit, Dora Smithy, and defeated her in a final struggle at an abandoned ice cream factory, rescuing her father and ending the mayhem.

Batgirl was also with Batman when Tim Drake was kidnapped by the Joker and tortured into becoming a "son" of the Clown Prince. While Batman took on the madman, Barbara confronted Harley Quinn. In the fight, they fell off a cliff, and though Batgirl tried to get Harley back to safety, she fell into Arkham Canyon.

Trivia

  • Batgirl's relationship with Harley Quinn kind of mirrors that of Batman and the Joker; as they both hate other each greatly and view each other as their archenemy. Plus Batgirl openly views Harley as both her arch-nemesis and foil.

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