Harley Is Put On Trial and Joker Is The Judge





"Trial" is the ninth episode of the second season of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on May 16, 1994. Gotham City's deadliest criminals kidnap Batman and put him on a bizarre parody of a trial in Arkham Asylum. The Dark Knight's only hope rests with new District Attorney Janet Van Dorn, who, despite her anti-Batman stance, is forced into defending the Caped Crusader's life as well as her own.


At her latest trial, Poison Ivy is sentenced to be returned to Arkham Asylum yet again. Gotham City's newest District Attorney, Janet Van Dorn, presses for life imprisonment, but the court's hands are tied by the fact that Ivy was apprehended by Batman instead of a regular police officer. As she leaves the courtroom, Janet is quoted on television as saying (again) that Batman is a disgrace; he is responsible for creating all the "supervillains" in his rogues’ gallery, and acts outside the law. She feels that Batman has made the city dependent on his myth, instead of facing the reality of what needs to be done to suppress crime.

When Ivy is returned to Arkham, Harley greets her enthusiastically, confiding that the inmates will be throwing a party soon – courtesy of The Mad Hatter, who has planted his mind control chips on the asylum security guards.

Ironically, Janet is also Bruce Wayne's latest girlfriend. He arrives at a restaurant to keep a dinner date with her, but she is called away by a phone call. A short time later, the Bat-Signal appears, and Batman receives a note from Commissioner Gordon informing him that the kidnappers have Janet. He goes to the rendezvous, but is ambushed and knocked out.

Batman awakens wearing a straitjacket inside a cell in Arkham. Two-Face informs Janet that, true to her words on television, Batman is going to be put on trial – by them. And she will be his attorney. If she succeeds in defending him, they both go free; fail, and they both die. An impromptu courtroom is set up in the operating theater:

  • The Accused:Batman
  • Bailiff: Ventriloquist & Scarface
  • Prosecutor: Two Face
  • Defense Attorney: Janet Van Dorn
  • Jury: The Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, the Scarecrow, The Riddler and Harley Quinn
  • Judge: The Joker

The crime of which Batman is accused is "creating" each and every one of them: driving them to become criminals, freaks, and monsters. But Janet has studied the histories of the rogues thoroughly, and her defense is brilliant:

  • The Mad Hatter claims he was a harmless scientist, but admits that he was driven mad with love for his young assistant Alice;
  • Harley thanks Batman for creating her loyal "puddin'," which Janet undermines by revealing that the last time she escaped from Arkham, Joker ratted her out in hopes of reducing his own sentence;
  • Ivy says it is Batman's fault she is a criminal, since her only crime would have been trying to kill Harvey Dent (now Two-Face); but Janet goads her into admitting the depth and violence of her botano-phile sentiments;

Batman urges her to keep the farce going, while elsewhere the police follow the clues he has left.

In her closing argument, Janet admits she was wrong: without Batman, the rogues would have turned out exactly the same way; in truth, they created him, not vice-versa. To her own astonishment, the jury feels it has no choice but to find Batman not guilty. Joker congratulates Janet, then merrily declares that they're going to execute them both anyway, being the rotten scum they are.Batman is dragged into one of the treatment rooms and strapped to the electroshock couch. Before the switch is thrown, the Joker, who has swapped his judge's robes for a priest's cassock, begins to unmask Batman. Just then, Janet remembers a batarang Batman dropped hidden in her pocket, and throws it at the ceiling light, plunging the room into darkness. The moment's confusion is all Batman needs to break them out, tying up Harley in the process. Killer Croc then guards the door before Batman attacks him. In the confusion, the furious Joker snatches up the Ventriloquist's machine gun and fires wildly around the room, nearly shooting Harley and damaging a generator which electrocutes Croc. Batman and Janet flee the electroshock chamber, but the Scarecrow blocks their advance with a scythe. Behind them, the Ventriloquist, Poison Ivy, and the Mad Hatter arrive. Batman throws the Scarecrow into the other three rogues and runs off with Janet before being confronted by dozens of Arkham inmates led by Two-Face. Batman beats up an inmate and pushes him into the crowd before retreating from the scene with the D.A.

As they make their way to the exit, Commissioner Gordon and several policemen storm the asylum and hold the liberated inmates at gunpoint. The Joker pursues Batman and Janet outside, tying up Batman with a rope and swinging a heavy gavel at him. The Clown Prince of Crime is subdued after he is slammed by Batman's feet in the face.

As the new day dawns, Janet makes her peace with Batman, as they agree that what they both want most is a city that doesn't need him.