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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Harley Quinn from the DC Extended Universe. The mainstream version can be found here: Harley Quinn (DC).
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This Article Contains Spoilers - WARNING: This article contains major spoilers. If you do not wish to know vital information on plot / character elements in a story, you may not wish to read beyond this warning: We hold no responsibility for any negative effects these facts may have on your enjoyment of said media should you continue. That is all.

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

Harleen Frances Quinzel, Ph.D, also known as Harley Quinn, is a major character in the DC Extended Universe, appearing as the deuteragonist 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 one of the three protagonists of the 2021 film The Suicide Squad.

She was the Joker's psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, but ultimately 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 he broke up with her, leading her to renounce him. She has been associated with Joker’s Gang, Suicide Squad, and Birds of Prey, and has since started her own organization.

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

Biography

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 he overheard one mobster called Harley a "bad bitch". At Joker's behest, Harley flirted with the man and offered to have sex with him, but the terrified mobster refused, fearing Joker's retribution; sure enugh, Joker shot him in the head anyway. He and Harley 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 putting five prison guards 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 sadistic head guard, Hunter Griggs, to enter the cage but, knowing what she is capable of, he merely electrocutes the bars which knock Harley backward. As she lays on the floor stunned from the electrocution, flashback depicts Harley 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. 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 complicity 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 on a different outfit and takes a baseball bat and a gun instead. She ingratiates herself with the Squad, especially the assassin Deadshot, who affectionately calls her "Dollface".

However, Harley is unaware that Joker has already made plans to rescue her from the Squad. Along 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, so Waller orders her men to shoot down the helicopter with a missile instead.

Inside the helicopter, Harley has meanwhile reached the top. Overjoyed to be reunited, 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 Waller is kidnapped 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. Harley chooses an espresso machine. Also, 10 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, Harley tells the Joker that she wants credit for the crimes they commit together; in response, the Joker breaks up with up her and kicks her out of his gang. Harley finds herself alone and friendless, quickly learning that the majority of Gotham's criminals tolerated her only because they feared the Joker's retribution. One night, Harley goes to a nightclub owned by gangster Roman Sionis. After the latter's driver insults her, she cripples him, giving Sionis, who has always hated her, an excuse to put a bounty on her head. Thinking quickly, she decides to announce her breakup in a big way, stealing a truck and crashing it into Ace Chemicals, resulting in a massive explosion.

Harley soon starts finding enemies around every corner, unable to even enjoy her favorite breakfast sandwich without being attacked by someone she had done wrong while she was with the Joker. She tries to rebrand herself as a mercenary and finder of lost things, but her past finally catches up with her when she is captured by Black Mask's henchmen and brought before the crime lord himself, who plans to kill her in the most painful way possible. Upon overhearing that he had lost the Bertinelli Diamond, she offers to find it for him, describing herself as an expert finder and telling him that he has nothing to lose. The offer appeals to Black Mask and he decides 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 kill her and capture Cassandra. In an epic battle that tests her skills of martial arts, she takes down all challengers and finally manages to escape with Cain, though not before stopping Cain herself from fleeing.

She travels with Cain to a local grocery store where she loads 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 Harley lives her life and asks how she could be like her. In response, she gives Cain a summary of her life history. At this point, she and Cain race 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 takes her to her flat on the second floor, where she intends to lay low until she can turn Cain over to Black Mask. She bonds with Cain over cartoons and ice cream, and also introduces her to Bruce, her pet hyena, which she named after "that hunky Wayne guy". However, the cozy little affair is quickly broken up when Harley's flat is attacked by the Huntress, who is hoping that Harley could provide her with info on the location of Black Mask's right-hand man Victor Zsasz, the last of her family's killers. Harley and Cain manage to escape, but lose track of Bruce in the process, believing him to have been killed. Afterward, Harley finds Doc packing a vehicle outside and gets out of him that he had sold her out in exchange for a large amount of money. He tells her that his betrayal is just business, and that he plans to use the money to start over in a better and more profitable location.

Fearing for her life, Harley contacts Black Mask to renegotiate the terms of their deal. She promises to deliver Cain to him, in exchange for his protection from the myriad enemies who are now coming after her. She takes Cain to the Booby Trap, an abandoned amusement park on Amusement Mile at the Gotham waterfront. She travels there and ties Cain up, sitting her on a toilet. Having dosed her up with laxatives from the store and fed her greasy food, Harley hopes that she can get the diamond out of Cain before someone cuts it out of her. Cain, who had come to idolize Harley, feels betrayed, but Harleys tells her it is just business. Then, GCPD detective Renee Montoya showed up; she had been building a case against Black Mask and was now determined to rescue Cain and retrieve the diamond in order to put him away. Around the same time, Zsasz also arrives, in tow with Dinah Lance, a singer turned personal driver for the Black Mask Club. He had figured out that Lance had called Montoya and betrayed the group, and is determined to both kill Lance and secure Cain and the diamond once and for all for the Black Mask. Before he can do either, however, Huntress shows up and kills him with her crossbow pistol, finally avenging her family.

Harley is caught in the middle of all of this, but before she can do anything else, Black Mask arrives at the Booby Trap with a small army. She tells the group that they are going to have to work together to defeat him; they agree, and the battle begins. During the battle, Harley proves her mettle by using her martial arts skills to take down several of Black Mask's minions. Ultimately, however, she is not able to prevent Cain from being kidnapped and driven away.

A chase ensues, with Huntress pulling a rollerskated Harley on her motorcycle. Harley catches up with Black Mask's car and causes it to crash, but he escapes, taking Cain to a nearby pier. Harley pursues him there, leading to a final confrontation. She tells him that it is she, not the Joker, whom he needs to be afraid of. While he is distracted, Cain plants a grenade on him. In the process of trying to find the grenade, he drops his guard and she kicks him into the water. He is killed when the grenade detonates.

Harley and the others go to a diner to celebrate their victory. When Cain finally passes the diamond, she and Harley steal Canary’s car. They eventually give the Bertinelli fortune to Black Canary, Huntress, and Renee Montoya to help fund their vigilante team, the Birds of Prey. Harley and Cain then pawn the Bertinelli Diamond and use the proceeds to found their new business, Harley Quinn and Associates.

Zack Snyder's Justice League

Harley Quinn is mentioned in Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League, where she was killed in the Knightmare future where Darkseid takes over Earth with the assistance of Superman.

The Suicide Squad

Harley is sent with other inmates from Belle Reve penitentiary to the South American island nation of Corto Maltese after the government is overthrown by an anti-American regime. Under orders from intelligence officer Amanda Waller, the squad is tasked with destroying Jötunheim, a Nazi-era laboratory that holds a secretive experiment known as "Project Starfish". The team, led by Waller's subordinate Colonel Rick Flag, is almost entirely wiped out by the Corto Maltese military upon landing, and Harley is taken prisoner by the Corto Maltese government, who are plotting to use Project Starfish against other nations. A second team enters the country undetected and finds Flag, while Harley escapes the Corto Maltese government and reunites with the team to defeat the unleashed alien creature, Starro the Conquerer.

Personality

Harleen Quinzel (despite having a traumatized, dysfunctional childhood) was once a compassionate, highly organized woman who worked at Arkham Asylum before the Joker transformed her into mentally and physically into a lunatic 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 sadist 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 raging psychopath whom she affectionately called "Puddin", before their final breakup.

Despite her penchant for violence, Harley has a sweet, child-like disposition, 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, 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, frequently crying and binge-eating 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 insane deep down, and he had merely made 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 true.

Abilities

  • Peak Human Condition: Harley Quinn is at her physical peak, being able to hold her own against criminals and mercenaries.
  • Master Acrobat: As a former gymnast, Harley is a master acrobat, as she is shown to be able to pole dance, and flip on the roof of a car.
  • Marksmanship: Harley is a an expert marksman, killing Eyes of Adversary while performing acrobatics.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Suicide Squad is Harley Quinn's first cinematic appearance.
    • It is also her third live-action appearance. Her first was in the short-lived television series Birds of Prey, and second is a 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, 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 bisexual, as she dated two men and one woman before the Joker.

See Also/External Links

Navigation

           DC Extended Universe Logo.png Heroes

Justice League
Superman | Batman | Wonder Woman | The Flash | Cyborg | Aquaman

Suicide Squad
Deadshot | Harley Quinn | Rick Flag | Katana | El Diablo | Bloodsport | Rick Flag | Ratcatcher 2 | Polka Dot Man | King Shark | Peacemaker | Javelin | The Detachable Kid

Shazam Family
Shazam | King Shazam | Lady Shazam | Shazam Strong | Shazam Thunder | Shazam Lightning

Harley Quinn & Associates
Harley Quinn | Cassandra Cain

Birds of Prey
Huntress | Black Canary | Renee Montoya

Corto Maltese Freedom Fighters
Sol Soria | Milton

11th Street Kids
Peacemaker | Leota Adebayo | Vigilante | Clemson Murn | Emilia Harcourt | John Economos | Eagly

Others
Lois Lane | Jor-El | Martian Manhunter | Colonel Nathan Hardy | Alfred Pennyworth | Calvin Swanwick | Steve Trevor | Hippolyta | Antiope | Zeus | James Gordon | Artemis | Green Lantern Corps | Mera | Nuidis Vulko | Atlanna | Atlan | Karathen | Nereus | Wizard Shazam | Flo Crawley |

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Supporting Characters
Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe | Gotham Girl | Gray Ghost | Harley Quinn | Harvey Bullock | James Gordon | Renee Montoya | Jonah Hex | Julia Pennyworth | Lucius Fox | Katana | Lady Shiva | Night Runner | Olive Silverlock | Poison Ivy | Vicki Vale | The Creeper

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Mystery Analysts of Gotham | Wayne Enterprises | Birds of Prey | Teen Titans | Justice League

Theatrical Movies
Batman (1989): Batman | Vicki Vale | Alfred Pennyworth | Harvey Dent
Batman Returns: Batman | Alfred Pennyworth | Catwoman
Batman Forever: Batman | Robin | Dr. Chase Meridian | Alfred Pennyworth
Batman & Robin: Batman | Robin | Batgirl | Alfred Pennyworth
Batman Begins: Batman | Alfred Pennyworth | James Gordon | Lucius Fox | Rachel Dawes | Thomas Wayne
The Dark Knight: Batman | James Gordon | Harvey Dent | Alfred Pennyworth | Lucius Fox | Rachel Dawes | Anthony Garcia
The Dark Knight Rises: Batman | James Gordon | John Blake | Catwoman | Lucius Fox | Alfred Pennyworth | Harvey Dent | Rachel Dawes | Anthony Garcia | Thomas Wayne
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Batman | Superman | Wonder Woman | Alfred Pennyworth | Lois Lane | Calvin Swanwick | The Flash | Aquaman | Cyborg
Suicide Squad: Deadshot | Harley Quinn | Rick Flag | Katana | El Diablo | Batman
The LEGO Batman Movie: Batman | Robin | Batgirl | Alfred Pennyworth
Joker (2019): Thomas Wayne
The Batman (2022): Batman | Catwoman | Alfred Pennyworth | James Gordon

Direct-to-video Movies
Son of Batman: Batman | Robin | Nightwing | Alfred Pennyworth | James Gordon | Thomas Wayne
Batman vs. Robin: Robin | Batman | Nightwing | Alfred Pennyworth | Thomas Wayne | Martha Wayne
Batman: Bad Blood: Batwoman | Batman | Nightwing | Robin | Batgirl | Alfred Pennyworth | Lucius Fox | Batwing
Batman: Hush: Batman | Alfred Pennyworth | Catwoman | Nightwing | Superman | Lois Lane | Batgirl | Robin

Television
Batman: The Animated Series: Batman | Nightwing | Robin | Batgirl | Alfred Pennyworth | James Gordon | Catwoman | Harvey Dent | Charlie Collins | The Creeper | Earl Cooper | Gray Ghost | Michael Stromwell
The Batman (2004): Batman | Alfred Pennyworth | Robin | Batgirl | James Gordon | Lucius Fox | Detective Ethan Bennett | Ellen Yin | Justice League (Martian Manhunter, Superman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, The Flash, & Hawkman)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Batman | Superman | Wonder Woman | Green Arrow | Blue Beetle | Plastic Man | Aquaman | Red Tornado
Beware the Batman: Batman | Katana | Alfred Pennyworth | James Gordon | Metamorpho | Manhunter
Harley Quinn: Batman | Robin | Batgirl | Catwoman | James Gordon | Alfred Pennyworth | Justice League (Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman & Zatanna) | Lois Lane

Video Games
LEGO Batman: Batman | Robin
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes: Superman
Arkhamverse: Bat Family (Batman | Oracle | Robin | Nightwing | Red Hood | Alfred Pennyworth | Lucius Fox) | James Gordon | Catwoman | Azrael | Poison Ivy | Aaron Cash | Vicki Vale | Penelope Young | Anne Bishop | Fiona Wilson | Stacey Baker
Injustice: Batman | Harley Quinn | Catwoman | Black Canary | Deathstroke

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