Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Gotham Knights season 1, episode 5, “More Money, More Problems.”An aspect of Harvey Dent’s character that was ignored in the movies The Dark Knight and Batman Forever plays a major role in the origin story of Two-Face in the Gotham Knights show. Played by Supernatural‘s Misha Collins, the Gotham Knights version of Harvey Dent has played a minor but pivotal role in the series to date, acting as the lead investigator into the murder of Bruce Wayne. This was in keeping with the character’s original heroic nature, with no hints that he might become the villain that he is in the mainstream DC Universe.
That changed with Gotham Knights season 1, episode 4, “Of Butchers and Betrayals,” in which Harvey uncovered evidence linking him to the murder of Mayor Hamilton Hill. The early presumption was that this evidence had been planted by the Court of Owls in order to frame Harvey. However, Gotham Knights season 1, episode 5, “More Money, More Problems,” introduced a twist, as Harvey Dent confessed to a psychiatrist colleague that he was experiencing lost time and feared he might be doing bad things in his sleep. This teased Harvey Dent’s medical history from the comics, which has been ignored by every live-action incarnation of the character to date.
Harvey Dent’s Dissociative Identity Disorder Comics History Explained
The symptoms of anxiety, detachment, and memory loss that Harvey Dent describes to his psychiatrist in Gotham Knights are sometimes associated with Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID. In the most extreme cases, DID can involve the development of an entirely new personality. In the modern Batman comics, Harvey Dent is diagnosed as having DID as a result of an abusive father, who would flip a coin to decide how he would treat Harvey This led to the creation of Harvey’s Two-Face persona after he was scarred by gangster Sal Maroni.
Batman Forever & The Dark Knight Ignored Harvey Dent’s Dissociative Identity Disorder
Despite being a major aspect of Two-Face’s background in the comics, Harvey Dent’s Dissociative Identity Disorder has never played into his most famous live-action interpretations. The Two-Face of Batman Forever was a manic criminal who never manifested any sign of the good man that was Harvey Dent fighting his alter ego for control. By contrast, Aaron Eckhart showed the fall of Harvey Dent and how he became Two-Face in The Dark Knight. However, there was no indication that this Harvey Dent had developed a second personality. All he had in common with the Two-Face of the comics was an obsession with fairness and justice administered by a coin flip.
How Harvey Dent’s DID Sets Him Up To Become Gotham Knights’ Two-Face
Gotham Knights season 1, episode 5, “More Money, More Problems,” tackled Harvey Dent’s history of mental illness directly and with surprising sensitivity. Previous episodes showed Harvey finding a mysterious car key in his pocket after falling asleep in his office. He later determined this key belonged to Hamilton Hill’s car and had gone missing from the scene of his murder. Harvey also discovered that the Court of Owls coin found on Mayor Hill’s body was the exact same coin that Bruce Wayne had been found clutching when he died. The records in the GCPD evidence locker showed that Harvey Dent had been the one to check out the coin.
Harvey approached a psychiatrist colleague about these facts, making reference to his abusive father, who had Dissociative Identity Disorder. Harvey described how his father beat him suddenly and then became another person who had no memory of what he had done. Harvey feared that maybe he had developed the same condition and another personality that was doing things without his knowledge. The psychiatrist dismissed Harvey’s concerns, noting that Dissociative Identity Disorder is not believed to be hereditary and that it was far more likely he just picked up the mayor’s key by accident at one of the clubs they both attended.
The final scene of Gotham Knights season 1, episode 5, “More Money, More Problems,” left little doubt that there was something wrong with Harvey Dent as he woke up in the bed of his former lover, Rebecca March. Harvey had no memory of how he got there or of repeatedly calling Rebecca asking to see her that night. While it is possible this is all part of a plot organized by the Court of Owls to make Harvey Dent doubt his sanity, the odds seem good that the Harvey Dent of Gotham Knights is taking his first steps to become Two-Face.
Gotham Knights season 1 continues on Tuesdays on The CW.