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We're bad guys. It's what we do!
~ Harley Quinn to Rick Flag and her most famous quote.
I'm the one they should be scared of! Not you! Not Mistah' J! Because I am Harley f*****g Quinn!
~ Harley Quinn to Black Mask

Doctor Harleen Frances Quinzel, also known as Harley Quinn, is a major character of the DC Extended Universe. She is one of the deuteragonists of the 2016 film, Suicide Squad; the titular main protagonist of the 2020 film, Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn); and will appear in the upcoming 2021 film, The Suicide Squad and an upcoming Gotham City Sirens.

She was originally the Joker's psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, however, as time went on, she fell in love with him and helped him escape from Arkham. Since then, she teamed up with him and become his partner in crime before being kicked out by him, leading her to make her way and renounce him. Since then, she had been apart of Joker’s Gang, Suicide Squad, and Birds of Prey, before starting her organization.

She is portrayed by Margot Robbie, who also played Flopsy Rabbit in Peter Rabbit.

Story

Early Life

Harleen Frances Quinzel was born on July 20, 1990. Harley's family life was largely dysfunctional as her father, who traded her for a six pack, constantly tried to abandon her though she always found her way back home. At some point in her childhood, he sent her to an orphanage run by nuns. After graduating high school, Harley pursued a college degree and went on to earn a Ph.D. in psychology, and experienced several heartbreaks from two guys and one girl.

Fascinated by the criminal mind, Harleen undertook a psychiatric medical degree before taking a job at Arkham Asylum in Gotham City. Here, she eventually became the psychiatrist of The Joker, whom she became fixated with and fell in love with him. She helps his escape, and eventually completely devotes herself to him, proving this by free falling into a pit of the same chemicals that mutated the Joker himself. Over time, she becomes listed as an accomplice involving The Joker's murder of Robin.

On October 13, 2014, she and Joker were celebrating at a club when one mobster called Harley a "bad bitch" in Joker's hearing. After toying with the man, Joker shot him in the head and the two of them left the club in Joker's Jokermobile. However, they were pursuit by Batman and during the chase, Joker crashed his car through a railing and into a river. Although Joker escaped the sinking car, Harley was not so lucky and crashed through the windshield. Due to her being unable to swim, Batman jumped after her to save her. Although he saved her life, Harley attempted to kill him so he simply knocked her out. Harley was then imprisoned at Belle Reve.

Suicide Squad

After attacking the prison guards and putting five of them in the hospital, Quinn is kept in a cage without a bed which can be electrocuted by a guard. On one occasion, Harley attempts to provoke the prison guard, Hunter Griggs, to enter the cage but, knowing the extent of her abilities, the man merely electrocutes the bars which knock Harley backward. As she lays on the floor stunned from the electrocution, flashback depicts Harley Quinn on the night she was brought to Belle Reve, laying against the wall soaking wet and cackling to herself while the guards hold her at gunpoint.

After which, she is strapped to a chair by Griggs and force-fed varieties of milk formulas via feeding tubes shoved through her nose and down her throat leading down to her stomach, forcing her to drink the "medication" while being forced to take part in a selfie with Griggs as he captures her pain on camera, much to Harley Quinn's dismay. As more flashbacks show Harley Quinn's past as well as sequences of her falling in love with the Joker, Harley wakes up from the floor screaming at Griggs and attempt to attack him for hurting her, only to accidentally hit the prison bars and knock herself out on the head.

Harley is eventually forced to join Amanda Waller's Task Force X and is sent to Midway City to stop Enchantress and her brother, Incubus. To ensure the loyalty of the Squad, Waller has nanite explosives implanted into each team member's neck which can be triggered should a member refuse to follow orders. At a makeshift military base outside Midway City, the Squad is equipped with their gear. After glancing over a suit and a giant hammer, she decides for a different outfit and takes a baseball bat and a gun instead.

However, Harley is unaware that Joker has already made plans to separate her from the Squad. Together with his henchmen, Joker invades the facility in which the nanites were fabricated and kidnaps a scientist. He then heads to Midway City after Harley.

While being flown into Midway City, the Squad's helicopter is attacked and crashes. On foot, the Squad is forced to fight their way through waves of Enchantress' henchmen, eventually arriving at their target location where they are supposed to extract a high-value target. This target is revealed to be Waller herself and the Squad is outraged. Due to the threat of being blown up, the Squad is forced to comply nonetheless and the entire group heads to the roof where their escape helicopter is already hovering. However, the helicopter is revealed to be hijacked by Joker and his men. Joker's henchman, Jonny Frost opens fire at the squad with a minigun, forcing them to take cover. Joker then forces the kidnapped professor to disarm the nanite inside Harley's neck. Now free from Waller's influence, Harley leaves her cover and leaps over the edge of the roof, grabbing a rope hanging down from the helicopter. The helicopter then flies off, leaving the stunned Suicide Squad behind. Waller, however, orders Deadshot to shoot Harley who is still hanging on the rope. Refusing to kill a team member, Deadshot misses deliberately and Waller orders the military to shoot down the helicopter with a missile instead.

Inside the helicopter, Harley has meanwhile reached the top. Overjoyed to be reunited with her lover, Harley and the Joker share an embrace, kissing passionately. After rejoining the Joker, both are warned by Frost that a missile is coming their way and they attempt to escape together. Unfortunately, the missile hits the helicopter, killing the pilot and the impact throws Harley backward, causing her to fall out of the helicopter. Harley lands on a rooftop, surviving with ease but is forced to watch as the helicopter crashes into a skyscraper and explodes, seemingly killing the Joker.

A heartbroken Harley then rejoins the Squad. When Amanda Waller is taken by Incubus, the entire Squad teams up to save her and defeat Incubus and Enchantress. Afterward, Waller forces the entire group to resume their captivity but allows them some form of reward for their cells. Harley chooses an espresso machine. Also, ten years are taken off each member's prison sentence.

Back in Belle Reve, Harley reads a romance novel while drinking espresso when the prison wall is blown up and masked men enter the precinct, shooting the guards. The men open Harley's cell and their leader removes his mask, revealing himself to be the Joker, who had survived the crash. Harley hugs him and the Joker tells Harley to come home and the two of them escape.

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Sometime after returning home, the Joker broke up with Harley and kicked her out of the gang after she told him that she wanted some credit for the crimes they commit. This caused her to shed her former image and look for "emancipation. Quinn found herself somewhat adrift, as while she was seemingly free, she had not publicly announced her breakup. Those few that she did tell simply didn't believe her and she found herself largely alone and friendless. One night, Harley went to a nightclub owned by gangster Roman Sionis, the Black Mask. After the latter's driver insulted her, she promptly crippled him. She then met a burlesque singer named Dinah Lance, the Black Canary. Thinking quickly, she decided to announce her breakup in a big way, stealing a truck and sending it hurtling into Ace Chemicals, resulting in a massive explosion.

She soon discovered, however, that declaring her independence came with consequences, as it resulted in pretty much everyone she had ever wronged deciding that it was open season on her; like Detective Renee Montoya, Ralph Murray, Black Mask, and a tattooed Happy. Those with grudges were numerous and she soon started finding enemies around every corner, unable to even enjoy her favorite breakfast sandwich without being attacked. She tried to refashion herself as a mercenary and finder of lost things, but her past finally caught up with her.

She was eventually surrounded and captured by the Black Mask. She was not entirely certain why she had done to anger the misogynistic sociopath, but listed his possible grievances against her as "have a vagina," "pronounced it 'expresso'," "voted for Bernie" and "calling him Romy." He planned to exact this punishment on her, but upon overhearing that he had lost a diamond, she offered to find it for him, describing herself as an expert finder and telling him that he had nothing to lose. The offer appealed to him and he decided to let her go, but not before putting out a general reward of $500,000 to anyone who could bring him Cassandra Cain, the young pickpocket who had taken the diamond.

Harley tracked Cain to the Gotham City Police Department, where she enacted a daring plan using paintballs, pyrotechnics, and martial arts to storm her way past the cops and steal a keycard to make her way to Cain's cell. She breaks her out, but her actions also result in the release of the other prisoners in the cell-block, resulting in a three-way fight between her, the escaped prisoners and the other mercenaries sent to try to capture Cassandra Cain. In an epic battle that tested her skills of martial arts, she took down all challengers and finally managed to escape with Cain, though not before stopping Cain herself from fleeing.

She traveled with Cain to a local grocery store where she loaded a cart with a large supply of laxatives and food items intended to try to get the diamond out of Cain. At the store, Cain expresses admiration for the way she lives her life and asks how she could be like her. In response, she gives Cain a summary of her life history, saying that the only way to be like her is to have done all that. Cain was astonished that her rich life, that she could shop at such a fancy store, but she explained that they weren't shopping, they were stealing. At this point, she and Cain raced with the cart, running down an aisle and straight through a checkout lane, pushing away a worker before bursting out the door and away.

Harley then took Cain to Doc's Place, where she intended to lay low. As they had a meal at the restaurant, she told Cain to always order the Mongolian beef with extra hot sauce to mask the taste. She then took her to her flat on the second floor, where she intended to lay low until she could turn Cain over to the Black Mask. She bonded with Cain over cartoons and ice cream. She also introduced Cain to Bruce, her pet hyena. Cain was at first shocked at Bruce being a hyena, but quickly grew used to the idea. However, the cozy little affair was quickly broken up when Harley's flat was attacked by the Huntress, who was hoping that Harley could provide her with info on the location of Victor Zsasz, the last of her family's killers that she had yet to track down and kill in return. Harley and Cain managed to escape, but lost track of Bruce in the process, believing him to have been killed. Afterward, Harley found Doc packing a vehicle outside and got out of him that she had sold her out in exchange for a large amount of money. She expressed shock over this, thinking that he was the one person that she could truly trust, but he told her that it was just business and that he planned to use the money to restart his business in a better and more profitable location.

Realizing just what she was up against, Harley contacted Black Mask to renegotiate the terms of their deal. She would deliver Cain to him, but in exchange, she wanted the protection of him and his organization from the myriad enemies that were now coming after her. The Black Mask reluctantly agreed to this deal and she agreed to deliver Cain to the Booby Trap, an abandoned amusement park on Amusement Mile at the Gotham waterfront. She traveled there and tied Cain up, sitting her on a toilet. Having dosed her up with laxatives from the store and greasy food, she hoped that she could get the diamond out of her before someone cut it out of her. Cain, who had come to idolize her, felt betrayed. Then, Renee Montoya showed up. A detective with the Gotham City Police Department, Montoya had been building a case against the Black Mask and was now determined to rescue Cain and the diamond before Black Mask could capture her. Around the same time, Victor Zsasz also arrived, in tow with Dinah Lance, a singer turned personal driver for the Black Mask Club. He had sussed out that Lance had called Montoya and betrayed the group, and was determined to both kill Lance and secure Cain and the diamond once and for all for the Black Mask. Before he could do either, however, Huntress showed up and killed him with her crossbow pistol, making him the last victim of her spree of revenge.

Harley Quinn was caught in the middle of all of this, but before she could do anything else, the Black Mask arrived at the Booby Trap with a small army. She told the group that they were going to have to work together to defeat him, each of them has their reasons. Renee Montoya was dumb enough to be building a case against him, Dinah Lance because she had betrayed him, the Huntress. After all, he was the mastermind behind those who had killed her family and Cain. After all, he wouldn't stop until he had killed her and secured the diamond. They agreed and the battle began. During the battle, Harley proves her mettle by using her martial arts skills to take down numerous minions of Black Mask. Ultimately, however, she was not able to prevent Cain from being snatched and driven away.

A chase ensued, with Huntress using her motorcycle to pull Harley as he traveled on rollerskates. This enabled Harley to catch up with Black Mask's car. She caused them to crash, but he escaped, taking Cain to a nearby pier. Harley pursued him there, leading to a final confrontation. She told him that it was her that she needed to be afraid of. While he was distracted by her, Cain planted a grenade on him. In the process of trying to find the grenade, he dropped his guard and she kicked him into the water and as he fell, he was blown up by the grenade.

With Black Mask dead and his organization dissolved, Harley and the others are at a diner talking. When Cain finally poops out the Diamond, she and Harley steal Canary’s car and eventually gave the Bertinelli fortune to Black Canary, Huntress, and Renee Montoya to help fund their vigilante team, the Birds of Prey. Harley and Cain then pawned the Bertinelli Diamond at a pawnshop and used the proceeds to found their association, Harley Quinn and Associates, while also she set up taking on Cain as an apprentice.

Personality

Harleen Quinzel (despite having a traumatized, dysfunctional childhood) was once a highly intelligent calm, and compassionate young lady who worked at Arkham Asylum before the Joker transformed her into a mentally and physically psychopath named "Harley Quinn". Through the shock therapy and the Joker's manipulation, her mind and emotions were twisted to the point where she transformed into a person barely recognizable from the woman she once was, becoming a homicidal, sadistic, child-like, and somewhat psychopathic villain, who would use sexuality and her playful personality to achieve her goals or to entertain herself, usually harming others in the process. She followed the Joker in whatever he demanded of her, blindly smitten with the ruthless psychopath, affectionately referring to him as "Puddin", before their final breakup.

Harley carries almost an innocent persona, wide-eyed and bright, finding humor in otherwise dark situations, much like Joker himself. After attacking Belle Reve guards and seriously injuring a couple before finally being restrained, she maniacally began giggling to herself in a sinister way, happy and pleased with how funny she found it, showing how fractured her psyche had become. However, despite her psychopathy, Harley is still highly intelligent, even showing traces of her psychologist's expertise, as Harley was able to make swift breakdowns of the psychological profiles of her teammates, knowing exactly what to say to get under their skin, though Deadshot calls her out on this. Her intellect also extends itself to tactical skills, as Harley notably assisted the Joker in the murder of Robin, suggested to Deadshot and Captain Boomerang a feasible escape option from Suicide Squad, and even swiftly improvised a plan to weaken and take down the extremely powerful Enchantress, which proved successful.

Harley is also quite tough and pathologically fearless (another trait she shares with her boyfriend), fighting alongside Suicide Squad and having fun doing so. With the team, she is shown to get along well with them, once she got to know them a bit better, with Harley acting as a bartender at a derelict bar. She even seemed horrified before El Diablo's death, imploring Rick Flag not to blow him up (while defeating Incubus). She has a very dim view on regular life, stating "normal is a setting on the washer" to El Diablo, who lost his family because of his powers; however, until her emancipation, Harley once had the dream of having a family with the Joker, as Enchantress' implanted vision revealed.

Following her breakup with the Joker, Harley Quinn was initially devastated beyond endurance, frequently crying and binging to relieve the pain she was going through. As a mark of her pathological fearlessness, she also adopted and tamed a hyena. After her emancipation, she was forced to look out for herself. She was troubled by the specter of those who told her that she couldn't succeed on her own but quashed those voices to make her way. Although she at first sought the protection of the Black Mask from the powerful enemies she had made, she eventually displayed remorse at selling out Cassandra Cain to him and turned over a new leaf by fighting off him and his forces before making Cain her apprentice.

Harley’s experiences with her new team have been a journey of renewal for her as she finds a new family that has experienced similar hardships and have similar goals. Also, her ability to genuinely love, while impaired by her subjection to chemicals, seems to have been restored as her regard for human life increases, albeit to a limited extent, coupled with her gradually realizing that everything people do inevitably carries some form of the aftermath. Despite this, she never truly reached hero status, as most of her decisions were still rather self-serving. Although often painted as a victim of psychological abuse, the Joker himself claims very little credit for Harley's condition. According to Joker, Harley was always mad deep down and that he had merely made all her madness rise to the surface. It should be noted, however, that Joker's insanity occasionally induces him to make conclusions that only make sense to him, hence this might not necessarily be the actual case.

Trivia

  • This was Harley Quinn's first cinematic appearance.
    • This is also her third live-action appearance. Her first was in the short-lived television series Birds of Prey, and second is a very brief cameo in Arrow.
  • Harley Quinn was created for Batman: The Animated Series, and later incorporated into the DC comic book universe.
  • In an interview with Empire magazine, producer Richard Suckle described the character as "a fan fave. Funny, crazy, scary... You can't come up with enough adjectives to describe all the different things you see her do".
  • Harley Quinn is considered to be a bisexual, as she dated two men and one woman, before the Joker and might have some attraction to other males and females.

See Also/External Links

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Man of Steel
Superman | Lois Lane | Jor-El
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Superman | Batman | Wonder Woman
Others: Alfred Pennyworth | Lois Lane | The Flash | Aquaman | Cyborg
Suicide Squad
Deadshot | Harley Quinn | Rick Flag | Katana | El Diablo
Others: Batman
Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman | Steve Trevor | Hippolyta
Justice League
Justice League: Superman | Batman | Wonder Woman | The Flash | Cyborg | Aquaman
Others: Alfred Pennyworth | Mera | Lois Lane | Hippolyta
Aquaman
Aquaman | Mera | Nuidis Vulko | Atlanna
Shazam!
Shazam Family: Shazam | King Shazam | Lady Shazam | Shazam Strong | Shazam Thunder | Shazam Lightning
Others: Wizard Shazam
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Harley Quinn & Associates: Harley Quinn | Cassandra Cain
Birds of Prey: Huntress | Black Canary | Renee Montoya

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