Harleen Quinzel, an orphaned NYU graduate student with an Honour's Degree in criminal psychology, gets a job as a junior psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum in Gotham City. Disdainful at having a blonde young woman amongst his staff of older, more serious shrinks, the supervisor - George Barrie - throws her in at the deep end by getting her to monitor the Joker's state of mind on a weekly basis. Using her initiative, Quinzel tries role-reversal, in which she's the inmate and he's the psychiatrist. The plan is vetoed by her boss, warning her to stick to the procedures regarding psychoanalysis of those locked away here. She agrees, but the Joker uses what he learned about Harleen's personality flaws, he is able to play her and to manipulate her. His plan succeeds, as she starts to see the world from his perspective. The unfortunate side-effect is that she finds herself falling in love with him. One night, the supervisor rides roughshod over Quinzel's belief in her abilities. Her mind snaps, the red mist descends and she kills him in a violent and gruesome manner. Mentally destroyed, the Joker plays the final trump card to turn her into a psychopath and a sociopath. Her sanity now irreversibly poisoned, she creates a persona to fit her new twisted state of mind - Harley Quinn!
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