"Shadow of the Bat" is the season premiere of the second series of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on September 13 and 14, 1993. It depicts the first appearance of Batgirl, a new identity adopted by Barbara Gordon when her father is arrested on charges of corruption. It is concluded in Shadow of the Bat Part II.
Rupert Thorne is supervising a loading at a warehouse late at night. They are interrupted by a squad of GPD officers, led personally by Commissioner Gordon and Deputy Commissioner Gil Mason. Thorne tries to run, but is caught on the roof by Batman.
The news reports that Thorne makes the third Gotham City mob boss who has been apprehended thanks to information supplied by Mason, supposedly from a secret informant. Bruce Wayne is suspicious, however.
At their home, Barbara is practicing a gymnastics routine, while James Gordon teases her about her burgeoning relationship with Mason. Then Mason himself appears at their door and reluctantly places Commissioner Gordon under arrest; evidence found in the warehouse raid implicates Jim in taking bribes from Thorne.
Barbara, outraged, complains to District Attorney Janet Van Dorn, who says the evidence is solid, and also that there are warnings that Gordon might flee the country if allowed bail. Harvey Bullock encourages her to trust her instincts, and tells her the police department will be holding a public rally to gather support for Gordon.
Batman sneaks into the police evidence room to examine the proof. He then confers with Gordon in his cell, and tells him that the proof looks as though it was forged by someone other than Thorne's gang, and that there have been rumors on the street of a new organization moving in. Gordon asks him to look in on Barbara.
Batman does, and Barbara begs him to make an appearance at the rally, to show the public that the Dark Knight is also on Gordon's side. Batman refuses, saying the most important thing is for him to find evidence of Gordon's innocence. He tells her that her old man has told her to stay out of it. But after Batman's gone, Barbara resolves that one way or another, Batman will be there.
Instead of Batman, Bruce decides to investigate in his disguise of "Matches" Malone. Dick Grayson protests at not being allowed to come with him, but Bruce suggests that Robin appear at the rally in his stead.
At the rally outside police headquarters, Gil is giving a speech on behalf of Commissioner Gordon. Robin prepares to swing overhead, but then a figure dressed in a bat costume does it first. It turns out that Barbara has donned her own Batsuit for the sake of appearances. After the crowd's enthusiastic reaction, she plans to slip away, but then a car speeds past the podium and the rider opens fire with a machine gun.
Instinctively, Barbara leaps into action, catching the banner over the street and pulling it down over the car's windshield, causing it to crash. As she starts to run, Robin catches up with her and grabs at her cowl, tearing away a piece of it and letting her hair fall loose. Summer Gleeson catches footage of the mysterious "Batgirl" fleeing into an alley.
Barbara chases one of the masked thugs into an alley and pulls off his mask, getting a good look at his face. He manages to get away, however, and she has to run before Robin catches up with her.
Watching the news report of the incident, Dick notices something strange: in slow motion, it is clear that Mason ducked well before the guns appeared out of the car's windows.
Barbara slips into police headquarters and looks through the mugbooks, finding the face of the thug she tackled. Excitedly, she goes to Mason's apartment to tell him, but stops short when she sees the thug himself sitting in his living room. Mason passes him off as a friend. Barbara hurriedly excuses herself.
Meanwhile, Bruce is undercover at the Stacked Deck. Wayne sees the thug make a phone call from the booth and, through lip-reading, realizes where he's going next. He follows the thug to an abandoned theatre, but is disabled by its security systems as he is entering. He comes around as a prisoner, confronted by Two-Face.
"Matches" claims to be interested in joining Two-Face's gang, but Two-Face, as always, lets his coin decide. It comes up "bad heads," and Bruce is knocked unconscious.
With Batman mysteriously absent, and deciding that she can trust no one except herself, Barbara dons her costume and prepares to enter the night as Batgirl.
- Barbara first appeared in "I Am the Night" and first aided Batman in "Heart of Steel Part II," but did not adopt a costume.
- Although Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson are shown dating in later episodes, he does not become aware of her secret identity until The New Batman Adventures.
- Mason apparently never awakes from his coma, since his first act would likely be to expose Barbara.
- Kevin Conroy as Batman
- Robert Costanzo as Detective Bullock
- Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon
- Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred Pennyworth
- Greg Burson as Mad Dog
- Mari Devon as Summer Gleeson
- Melissa Gilbert as Barbara Gordon
- Loren Lester as Robin
- Tim Matheson as Gil Mason
- Lynette Mettey as Janet Van Dorn
- Richard Moll as Two-Face
- John Vernon as Rupert Thorne
- Story by D. O'Flaherty & T. Ruegger
- Teleplay G. Wolf & T. Ruegger
- Directed by B. Kirkland
- Supervising Composer Shirley Walker
- Music Composed by Carl Johnson
- Animation Services by Spectrum Animation Studio
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|Fire from Olympus||Shadow of the Bat Part II|