Pride Month Spotlight: Harper Row from ‘Gotham Knights’

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Amanda Mazonkey/The CW

This article contains spoilers for Gotham Knights season 1.

The CW’s Gotham Knights is one of the most diverse and entertaining shows that aired this year. The series includes a varied spectrum of LGBTQ+ characters, from big-hearted trans vigilante Cullen Row to gifted baby sapphic Stephanie Brown.

One of Gotham Knights many fan-favorite characters is Harper Row. Originally created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, she first appeared in the comics universe in Batman #7. Harper is the bisexual older sister of Cullen Row. They both suffered at the hands of their abusive father. Harper would fix the things that her father broke and ended up developing a talent for engineering. Once she was able to emancipate herself, she did so, taking her brother Cullen with her and getting a job as an electrical engineer.

Harper’s work on Gotham’s electrical grid led to her discovering Batman’s enhancements to the city infrastructure, which allowed him to work undetected. Harper — soon to become the vigilante hero known as “Bluebird” — improved Batman’s setup and used it to track him down. Later, Harper saved Batman’s life by reviving him with a homemade defibrillator when he’d been defeated by the Court of Owls.

While Gotham Knights‘ Harper is her own character, the essence of what comic fans loved about the character has been maintained. She loves and fiercely protects Cullen, who is her trans twin in Gotham Knights. She’s opinionated, smart, and brilliant with gadgets, often aiding the Gotham Knights with “freek” and dramatic eyerolls.

Harper’s sexuality was also written into the comics from the beginning: she is bisexual, and had a huge crush on Batwoman. Gotham Knights has kept this key part of who she is and has taken both a “show” and “tell” approach to her romantic life — a fan appreciated development, as so often characters on TV have been given the label of bisexual and yet are only ever seen with one type of partner or conquest. Gotham Knights took care to make sure that Harper is always recognized as bisexual, utilizing conversations with her brother to highlight it as well as on screen love interests. In Gotham Knights, Harper is just as bi when she interacts with her ex Dylan (Episode 5, “More Money, More Problems”) as she is when she kisses Stephanie Brown (Episode 11, “Daddy Issues”).

The romantic arc that Harper goes through in season 1 of Gotham Knights is beautifully handled. Actress Fallon Smythe played Harper with such nuance and feeling that fans began to notice chemistry between her and Stephanie right back at the beginning of the season. Harper had a whole journey ahead of her to get over her false assumptions about Stephanie and realize her true feelings, but fans were behind “Sharper” the whole way.

Viewers only got one season of Gotham Knights on The CW, but Harper Row enabled many LGBTQ+ fans to see themselves on screen, and that has a cultural value that will continue far beyond the finale.

Gotham Knights airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. Stay up to date with our coverage on the show here. Additionally, make sure to check out Your Bat Is Dead, a Gotham Knights podcast by Nerds and Beyond! As always, stay tuned for more updates.

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