"Heart of Steel" is a two-parter composed by the thirty-ninth and fortieth episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. Part I originally aired on November 16 and part II on November 17, 1992.
It's closing time at Wayne Enterprises and a woman deliberately leaves her briefcase behind. Security finds it and takes it in finding that it's only a bunch of papers but other than the fact that there's no ID nothing seems to be unusual about it. Deciding the briefcase is ordinary enough the security guards decide to leave and bump into Bruce Wayne who's on his way out. Now alone, the briefcase sprouts metallic legs and a mechanical eye and makes its way into the research and development lab. Once there, it uses a laser cutter to enter into the safe and starts stealing microchips setting off the alarm in the process. Security locks up Bruce in their office and go to investigate. Bruce, however, has no intention of standing around and enters into a secret panel in the wall. Security makes it to the robot but it easily knocks them out with gas. It then tries to escape down the elevator but finds that Batman is there waiting for it. Batman tries to capture the robot but its laser cutter is too much for him and it manages to fly away. Unwilling to let it end so easily, Batman goes to another secret compartment and unfolds his glider.
Out by the beach, the woman who left the briefcase waits for the robot to reach her and takes the stolen microchips. She then gets into her car and instructs to take her home. As she rides, Batman starts to follow but the car's surveillance system spots him and the car starts shooting at him. Batman's glider is hit and he falls into the ocean. Though relatively unharmed, he's lost the car.
Batman returns home and leaves his glider in a pair of robot arms. He then receives a call from Lucius Fox who reports that all the "protein-silicon wafer chips" were stolen. Fortunately, the design specs are still safe and without them, the chips can't be duplicated. Alfred asks about the chips and learns that the Chips are the first step to actual thinking machines that have intuition, and a will of their own but can think faster than humans. Alfred notes that if they succeed, humans could become obsolete.
Karl Rossum shows Bruce Wayne his greatest creation: H.A.R.D.A.C..The next day, Commissioner Gordon goes to Wayne Tech to investigate the theft and speaks with Bruce and Lucius. They explain that the only other person working on that kind of project is Karl Rossum who works for Cybertron Industries. Gordon believes this to be a dead end as Rossum is retired. However, Bruce explains that the loss of his daughter sent Rossum into semi-seclusion but not full retirement. During the talk, Gordon's daughter, Barbara Gordon, arrives carrying a teddy bear, Woobie, who seems to be very important to her father. She talks with Bruce for a bit then she and her father leave to start the investigation.
Bruce heads out to Cybertron Industries to speak with Rossum, another expert on "wetware." He's greeted by a robot that leads him to Rossum. Rossum greets Bruce mentioning he knows what was stolen but no one has tried to sell him the chips. He shows Bruce some of his minor inventions such as a foot massager. Then, he shows him his crowning invention: H.A.R.D.A.C. (Holographic Analytical Reciprocating DigitAl Computer), an artificial intelligence. Rossum's assistant, Randa Duane comes out of the machine and shakes Bruce's hand. He notes that her hand is cold but she claims that it's because she was in the cold room. Rossum is reluctant to explain what H.A.R.D.A.C.'s functions are, so Bruce asks Randa on a date so he can get more information. Meanwhile, H.A.R.D.A.C. starts construction on a robot designed to look like a human. When Bruce and Rossum leave, Randa talks to H.A.R.D.A.C. who scolds her for not getting the design specs and points out that some powerful people are getting too curious. H.A.R.D.A.C. then tells Randa to see the placement of his new robot.
Later, there's a knock at Gordon's door and he answers only to discover himself standing outside the door. However, before he can react, he's knocked out with a taser and his replacement enters the house. Seeing the robot, Barbara asks him who was at the door but he doesn't respond. Thinking something is wrong, Barbara grabs his arm and discovers that he's cold. Her father, however, claims that he's fine and goes to read the paper, swatting Woobie away before sitting down. Noticing the weird behavior, Barbara becomes suspicious.
Meanwhile, Randa arrives at Wayne Enterprises to go on her date, leaving her makeup kit behind. The makeup kit turns out to be a robot. It accesses the computer and takes the information.
Back at Wayne Manor Bruce and Randa talk about Rossum's inventions but before Bruce can turn the conversation towards how Rossum knew what was stolen, he receives a call from Lucius and has to leave.
While Bruce is investigating the theft, he mentions that the thieves only got to dummy files and the real ones are at his house. Hearing this H.A.R.D.A.C. calls up Randa who knocks out Alfred then searches the house. Using specialized goggles, she finds the Batcave and reports that Bruce Wayne is Batman to H.A.R.D.A.C.. She then goes to the central computer and takes the design specs of the wetware chips.
Bruce returns home and finds Alfred, dazed but relatively unharmed. Believing that Randa must have something to do with Alfred's condition, he becomes Batman and searches the Batcave. However, when he tells the computer to scan the place, it malfunctions and the robot arms used to hold the glider grab him.
- This episode foreshadows Barbara Gordon's desire to become Batgirl.
- H.A.R.D.A.C. returns in the episode "His Silicon Soul."
- Another android duplicate of Commissioner James Gordon would appear in the third season of Gotham Girls, this time made with technology invented by Victor Fries. That duplicate would be destroyed in a similar fashion as the Harvey Bullock duplicate in this episode: by Batgirl throwing it in the Bat signal.
- Kevin Conroy as Batman / Bruce Wayne
- Bob Hastings as Commissioner James Gordon
- Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred
- William Sanderson as Karl Rossum
- Jeff Bennett as H.A.R.D.A.C.
- Leslie Easterbrook as Randa
- Melissa Gilbert-Brinkman as Barbara Gordon
- Brock Peters as Lucius Fox
- Written by Brynne Stephens
- Directed by Kevin Altieri
- Supervising Composer Shirley Walker
- Music Composed by Harvey Cohen
- Animation Services by Akom Production Co.
- Layout Services by NOA Animation
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