DC Animated Universe

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"Lock-Up" is the ninth episode of the third season of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on November 19, 1994.


Bolton drags Scarecrow

Lyle Bolton drags Scarecrow away.

Batman & Robin, having captured the Scarecrow, return him to the gates of Arkham Asylum. Scarecrow is shaking with terror, and begs them to let him go, saying he only escaped to get away from..."him". Lyle Bolton, Arkham's imposing new chief of security, appears at the entrance and takes hold of Scarecrow, telling him that he'll be the only escapee from Arkham on his watch. Bolton apologizes to the heroes for Scarecrow's escape and makes an ominous vow that he won't let them, or the people of Gotham down again. Robin is impressed by Bolton's dedication, but Batman detects something sinister beneath Bolton's professional demeanor.

Bruce Wayne makes inquiries, and Dr. Bartholomew convenes a review hearing, attended by Bruce, Commissioner Gordon, and Mayor Hill. It was the Wayne Foundation that endowed the new post at Arkham and suggested Bolton as "the perfect man for the job", but Bruce now says he has some misgivings.

During the hearing, Bolton is all civility and earnestness stating "If anyone's got a problem with my methods please tell me." but as Dr. Bartholomew questions Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, and Ventriloquist, it becomes clear that Bolton has intimidated them into remaining silent about what they really have to say about him. When Bruce recommends that Bolton's contract be extended for another eighteen months, the inmates panic and finally begin screaming that Bolton has been verbally assaulting them and physically abusing them behind the walls of the asylum.

Bolton loses control and bellows that the inmates are scum who should be beaten to death. It takes several large orderlies and a timely kicked-over chair from Bruce to restrain Bolton while the villains tremble in fear. Shocked, Dr. Bartholomew immediately fires Bolton, who says that he's been wrong: The real problem isn't the inmates, but the "soft-hearted" police, "pandering" doctors, and "gutless" bureaucrats who refuse to recognize them for the scum they are. Swearing revenge, Bolton is dragged out.

Later, in his home, Bolton watches an unflattering news report on him by Summer Gleeson, and includes the "liberal" media in his list of targets.

Batman and Lock-Up fight

Lock-Up takes on Batman.

Six months later, just after Bruce and Gleeson have had an interview over dinner, Gleeson is abducted by getting locked inside her own car and placed inside an armored police car, manned by Bolton, now wearing a costume and calling himself "Lock-Up". Bruce confronts Lock-Up as Batman. Lock-Up declares that, together, he and Batman will make Gotham safe: Batman will catch the crooks, and Lock-Up will make sure they never see the light of day again. Batman refuses to accept Lock-Up's brand of "justice", and the two fight, but Lock-Up makes a getaway.

One by one, other city officials go missing. Detective Bullock uses the Bat Signal to contact Batman and inform him that both Gordon and Bartholomew are missing. Anticipating that Mayor Hill will be next, Batman has Bullock set up security at Hill's mansion, but even with this and Batman & Robin's presence, Lock-Up throws a smoke bomb into the mansion, takes Hill, and incapacitates the Batmobile. However, Lock-Up leaves a cargo locker behind with a serial number on it. Batman deduces that it is the registration number of a decommissioned naval vessel moored out at sea, that was used as a temporary prison while Stonegate Penitentiary was being built. Bolton was its chief of security.

Batman & Robin make their way out to the ship, where Lock-Up has imprisoned Gleeson, Gordon, Bartholomew, and Hill, and booby-trapped with automated deathtraps. Robin makes his way to the holding cells where the hostages are kept, while Batman fights Lock-Up. Their fight accidentally triggers the ship's propulsion system, driving the ship onto a reef and causing it to upend. As the ship takes on water, Robin frees the hostages and gets them to safety.

Batman stops Lock-Up

Batman stops Lock-Up.

Batman and Lock-Up fight each over directly above the ship's upturned propellers, but after they both plunge into the water, Batman manages to gain the upper hand and subdue Lock-Up.

To catcalls and jeers from the other inmates, Bolton is ushered into his own cell at Arkham. Bolton, however, is satisfied, since he now believes that he will truly be able to keep an eye on all the other inmates, taking his revenge for costing him his old job.

Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • Robert N. Skir has credited Paul Dini with the original idea for this episode.[1]
  • The episode's original title was "Cage Without a Key," a double entendre for where Bolton wanted to put the prisoners, as well as the state of his own mind.[1]
  • Multiple changes were made to this episode from script to screen;
    • The original pitch for this episode would have seen the Mad Hatter being taken back to Arkham as opposed to the Scarecrow. Skir commented on that saying "not the Mad Hatter. You bring the Scarecrow back, cause he's the master of fear, and if this guy's afraid, you know that whatever inside there is gonna be the most frightening thing ever." "And they came back with well, yeah, but we wanna work with Roddy," convinced by that logic, Skir went to work writing the scene for the Mad Hatter. However, it was changed to the Scarecrow when the script editors went in for rewrites.[1]
    • In the original script, when Robin went to investigate Lyle Bolton's apartment, he walked into the criminal's closet which slammed shut behind him, trapping him there leading to him quipping "This will make a great headline. Boy wonder gets outsmarted by closet," before exploding his way out.[1]
    • The original script contained a sequence in which Lock-Up started to piece together the conection between Batman and Bruce Wayne. "The two of them are fighting, and Lock-Up looks up at Batman and goes "You think I don't know your secret? You think I don't know the relationship between you and Bruce Wayne? He's funding you! I know he's funding you! The same way he's funding me to keep them locked up, he's funding you to catch them," recalls Skir. "And that got cut, but I love the idea that this guy was so twisted that he could actually figure out what Bruce Wayne was doing, but not make that vital connection that they're the same guy."[1]
  • Robert N. Skir has noted many inspirations he drew from while writing this episode:
    • He originally wanted to name Lock-Up "Deadbolt" with his real name being "Jason Bolton" after Jason Bolt from Here Comes the Brides.[1]
    • The idea for Batman and Lock-Up's fight on a sinking ship was inspired by "Great Expectations".[1]
    • Lock-Up's personality was highly inspired by Travis Bickle from "Taxi Driver", with the scene where he tips over the TV being lifted directly from that film.[1]

Production inconsistencies[]

  • When Lock-Up is first seen kidnapping Summer Gleason, his mask completely covers his mouth. However, for the rest of the episode, his mouth is visible.
  • After putting Mayor Hill in his cell, Lock-Up rattles the bars with his nightstick, but the sound effect is missing.
  • When Mayor Hill is first put in the cell with Commissioner Gordon, he has handcuffs on. After Gordon falls to the ground after the bars were electrocuted, Hill helps him up and is free of the handcuffs.


  • Robert N. Skir has stated that the line "Another fine villain made possible by a grant from the Wayne Foundation." is his favorite line of dialogue he's ever written.[1]
  • Harley Quinn's line "No, nada, ixnay, zero, zilch, bupkis, nothin'." was lifted from Joker's dialogue, "Zero, zip, zilch, nada", during the auction scene in Harlequinade. Dini and Burnett showed the tape from the recording session to Skir and Isenberg when they were pitched the story idea for Lock-Up.[1]
  • Bruce Weitz would later voice Superman villain Bruno Mannheim in Superman: The Animated Series.
  • Along with Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya, Lock-Up was one of a few original characters created from the series who were incorporated into the mainstream comics continuity. In fact, Lock-Up's incorporation actually preceded that of Harley, the most prominent example of such characters.
  • Final appearance of Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, and the Ventriloquist & Scarface in this series.
  • When Bolton goes berserk during the hearing scene, there is a humorous moment when Bruce Wayne, still in his guise of the indolent playboy, rather than the world's finest unarmed combatant, subdues Bolton by "accidentally" tripping him.
  • This is one of two episodes of Batman: The Animated Series that begins with Batman & Robin escorting the apprehended Scarecrow back to Arkham Asylum. The other one is "Harley's Holiday".
  • The Joker can be heard laughing as Bolton is being led to his cell.
  • The naval vessel USS Halsey was presumably named for famed US Navy Admiral Frederick Halsey of WWII. Real vessels were given the name Halsey, however, this ship's prefix F-84 indicates the vessel was a frigate which the real vessels never were.


Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne/Batman
Loren Lester Dick Grayson/Robin
Maitre d' (uncredited)
Bob Hastings Commissioner Gordon
Mari Devon Summer Gleeson
Robert Costanzo Detective Bullock
Lloyd Bochner Hamilton Hill
Richard Dysart Dr. Bartholomew
George Dzundza Ventriloquist & Scarface
Henry Polic II Scarecrow
Arleen Sorkin Harley Quinn
Bruce Weitz Lyle Bolton/Lock-Up

Uncredited appearances[]


Scarecrow: Don't take me back there, please! Look at me, Batman! I'm shaking with fear! Me, the Scarecrow! I wasn't even to go back to crime this time! I just had to get away from... him!

Harley: (regarding Bolton) I got nothin' to say.
Dr. Bartholomew: But surely you must have something you wish to...
Harley: You got a hearing problem or somethin'? No! Nada! Ixnay! Zero! Zilch! Bupkis! Nothing, okay?

Bolton: Before I came here, Arkham was a revolving door for every maniac in Gotham. I kept them in. Me! Now I realize I was wrong to punish those pathetic miscreants! They're only SYMPTOMS! You're the cause: The gutless police, mindless bureaucrats, and coddling doctors! YOU SHOULD ALL BE LOCKED UP IN A CAGE WITHOUT A KEY!!!

Robin: Another fine villain made possible by a grant from the Wayne Foundation.
(Batman glares)
Robin: Only kidding.

Batman: I've seen how you treat your prisoners. Forgotten and scared, without hope or compassion.
Lock-Up: Can it be you actually care for those creatures? You're just as crazy as they are!

Lock-Up: We could have rid Gotham of the fools in City Hall and the the police department! We could have made our own order!
Batman: I was born to fight your brand of order!


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Batman: The Animated Podcast episode 19. Lock-Up - Echo Kellum, Robert N. Skir