DC Animated Universe

"Pretty Poison" is the ninth episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on September 14, 1992, and introduces Poison Ivy.



An unseen person leaves clips of environmental tragedies that need to be punished.

On a strip of bare land, Mayor Hill announces the beginning of construction for a new, modern prison, Stonegate Penitentiary, which will go a long way toward making Gotham safe for its citizens. Hill commends District Attorney Harvey Dent as the driving force behind the prison's construction. He also thanks Bruce Wayne and the Wayne Foundation for funding the project. Together, Harvey and Bruce dig the first shovelful of dirt during the groundbreaking ceremony.

Before the first bulldozer starts excavating the land, a pair of hands belonging to an unseen person carefully uproots a tall wild rose growing in the ground, and pots it.

Five years later, an inmate of the completed Stonegate prison escapes with the help of a helicopter-flying accomplice. Both are stunned when a tow cable is wrapped around the chopper's tail, causing it to crash, and both of them are apprehended by Batman.

At the same time, Harvey Dent is seated in a restaurant with his very beautiful girlfriend, Pamela Isley, waiting for the arrival of Bruce.

Batman delivers the escapees to the police, then calls Alfred to say he's running late for his dinner date. Alfred calmly reports that he's already warned Dent and Isley. Batman rushes home, hurriedly changes, and drives to meet his friend.

Later, as all three of them share a laugh over after-dinner coffee, Isley notices the time and says she has to run. Before leaving, she grabs Dent and plants a deep kiss on him. Dent, a little flushed, announces that he's proposed to her. Surprised, Bruce reminds him that they only met a week ago. Dent assures Bruce that Isley's the one... then he passes out and goes face-first into the dessert. Bruce laughs initially, but when Dent does not move, he realizes something is wrong.

Dent is rushed to the hospital and put into a coma. The GPD is notified, and they rush down there too. The doctors report that he has been poisoned and they cannot stop the process without the antidote. Gordon places a guard outside his room and orders Bullock to find out who did this after Bruce tells him the name of the restaurant. Bullock grills the staff at the restaurant but is unable to find out how Dent was poisoned.

Bruce speaks with the doctor, who doubts Dent was food poisoned but knows that the poison will kill him soon. Bruce discreetly lifts a sample of Dent's blood from the hospital and returns to the Batcave. An analysis reveals that the poison was extracted from a rare plant, the Wild Thorny Rose. Batman says they can use the same extract to create an antidote, but Alfred reports that the rose is extinct, meaning that Dent is likely doomed.

As Bruce watches over Dent in the hospital, Isley comes running to him. He offers some words of comfort, but she breaks down. Bruce walks her to her car, and she leans in to kiss him, which Bruce turns into a hug. Suddenly suspicious, he remembers the huge kiss Isley planted on Dent just before he passed out. As he drives home, he contacts Alfred and asks him to check Isley's background.

Alfred reports that Pamela Isley holds a Ph.D. in botany and is employed by a cosmetics company as a chemist working on perfumes. She also offers a weekly lecture series at the university on rare and extinct plant species. Both he and Bruce reach the obvious conclusion that Isley is responsible for the poisoning.

Poison Carnivore Plant

The carnivorous plant used by Poison Ivy to kill intruders.

Batman goes to confront Isley at a greenhouse where she has a laboratory. When he enters, he is seized and held prisoner by a gigantic Venus Fly-trap, large enough to engulf him. Isley appears in a green costume and calls herself "Poison Ivy". She admits that she did poison Dent, in retaliation for plowing up the wild plants to build Stonegate, which would have left the Thorny Rose extinct had she not saved it.

While the flytrap's branches hold Batman's head steady, Ivy applies a coating of the poison to her lips, then gives him a kiss. He spits immediately but is already feeling its effects while Ivy mockingly holds up a bottle of the antidote she developed.

Poison Fire

Poison Ivy sees that Batman has her "precious baby".

Regaining his strength, Batman cuts himself free of the plant and attacks, while Ivy shoots at him with a crossbow attached to her wrist, accidentally shooting the plant fatally in the process. In the struggle, an overhead lamp is broken and falls to the floor, beginning a fire. Ivy grabs the rose and attempts to flee. Batman narrowly saves her from a falling lamp but ends up hanging from the edge of a trapdoor over a pit of spiked plants, now dizzier than before. Ivy prepares to finish him, but Batman reveals the rose in his other hand. He offers the rose in exchange for the antidote. She surrenders it and, as soon as she has hold of the plant, forgets about everything else. Batman breaks them both out of the greenhouse before the fire destroys the rest of the foliage.

Dent awakens in the hospital to see Commissioner Gordon, Detective Bullock, and Bruce standing over him. While assuring him that he will recover soon, Bruce confides to Dent that he thinks Isley is not the one for him. In her cell, ironically in Stonegate, Ivy huddles the rose protectively, vowing revenge against Batman.


  • After this episode, Ivy is regularly incarcerated in Arkham Asylum rather than Stonegate.
  • Pamela Isley and Harvey Dent cross paths again in "Almost Got 'Im", after their respective transformations into Poison Ivy and Two-Face. The only thing Two-Face's personalities can agree on is how much they hate Ivy. "We used to date", explains Ivy.

Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • This episode's working title was "The Rose and the Thorn."[1]
  • When discussing the design for Poison Ivy's Venus Fly-trap, Bruce Timm noted "it wasn't intentional, but the Venus Fly-Trap creature looks like a vagina with teeth. Originally it looked like Audrey II [Little Shop of Horrors], and I said 'Naww, let's not do that, what other kind of plant can we do? What if it's like a big snow-peapod?' I started sketching it out, and stopped when I realized what it looked like, but it worked. In a way, it's a very good visual metaphor for what she is, a man-killer."[2]
  • Sunrise had issues animating Poison Ivy's rear as seductively as the producers wanted it, so the task was assigned to storyboard artist Chen-Yi Chang, who animated the sequence at Warner Bros. and then shipped the cels overseas for Sunrise to film.[2]

Production inconsistencies[]

  • When Gordon answers the phone after Dent is poisoned, the cord moves through the phone.
  • Also, both times when Gordon picks up the phone to be informed of the prison break and Dent's hospitalization, he says, "What?!" much too quickly for the person on the other side to fully explain the situations to him.
  • The Doctor repeats the line "Get the EKG and move him into OR, ICU Number 3 Stat" twice
  • In his initial struggle with the plant, Batman snaps a few of its teeth. The later fight shows all the plant's teeth intact.
  • In the end credits, Melissa Manchester and Neil Ross are credited for additional voices, but accidentally read "Melissa Manchester as Neil Ross".


  • First appearance of Poison Ivy and Renee Montoya.
  • At the initial voice record for the episode, Andrea Romano had asked singer Melissa Manchester to come in to read for Poison Ivy, while Diane Pershing had been there that day to do a bit role for "additional voices." Per Bruce Timm, acting wise Manchester wasn't quite what Timm and the others wanted, so they asked Pershing to read for the role, and "she knocked it out of the park." Manchester took Pershing's original role and is credited for the episode as "additional voices."[3]
  • Ivy's biography gives her age at this time as 28, her height at 5'2", and her weight 105 lbs.
  • Ivy's address is listed as 69 Green Street, Gotham City
  • The greenhouse climax was adapted into a stage in the Super Nintendo game The Adventures of Batman and Robin, which featured the giant Venus flytrap as a boss.
  • In the comics, Ivy has the power to secrete poisons from her body at will, often administered through a kiss.
  • One of the perfumes developed by Ivy's cosmetics firm is called "Nightshade", a reference to a branch of the plant family that has several poisonous members.
  • Rosaceae Vularis is an imaginary type of rose. It does not translate to "wild thorny rose", but rather to "normal rose".
  • Batman's exchange with the severely frightened escapee is mirrored in the Batman: The Brave And The Bold episode "The Super-Batman Of Planet X" (where Kevin Conroy guest stars as the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh) by the villain Rohtul, who, due to being held in ice, exclaims "Who are you?" as the escapee does, and Earth Batman who says, "Your worst nightmare—A Batman with superpowers".
  • The newspaper featuring Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent was reused nineteen years later in the Young Justice episode "Downtime". It is seen in Artemis's and Paula's apartment and the banner in the background reads "Future Site of the new Gotham Penitentiary".
  • Boyd Kirkland has listed this episode among his favorites to have directed during Batman: The Animated Series, describing Poison Ivy as a "complicated, interesting and sexy character."[4]


Actor Role
Lloyd Bochner Mayor Hill
Kevin Conroy Batman
Andre (uncredited)
Robert Costanzo Harvey Bullock
Bob Hastings James Gordon
Rose Cafe chef (uncredited)
Richard Moll Harvey Dent
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Alfred
Getaway Pilot (uncredited)
Diane Pershing Poison Ivy
Ingrid Oliu Renee Montoya
Melissa Manchester Additional voices
Model (uncredited)
Nurse (uncredited)
Neil Ross Additional voices
Dishwasher (uncredited)
Doctor (uncredited)


Escapee: Who are you?
Batman: I'm your worst nightmare.

Escapee: Big wings!
Montoya: Yeah, yeah, big wings. Move it along, pal!

Bullock: So what'd you put in this mousse?
Chef: Chocolate, sugar, eggs, cream...
Bullock: Strychnine?
Chef: No, no. No strychnine. But I added just a pinch of vanilla.
(a stressed Bullock turns his attention to the waiter)
Bullock: You know who did it! TALK!
Waiter: Hey, I just clean the dishes, okay?

Alfred: Ms. Isley is a research chemist with Chez Gerard, the cosmetics firm. She works on the development of new fragrances. Their newest is a perfume called Nightshade.
Model: (Sprays some on) It's deadly.

Poison Ivy: You see, Harvey had to pay for his crime.
Batman: What crime?
Poison Ivy: Why, murder, of course. Plowing up a field of beautiful wildflowers for that silly penitentiary of his. This little rose would be extinct today if I hadn't saved my precious from those horrible bulldozers. The blood of those flowers are on his hands! (calms down and smooths hair) So his fate was sealed...(applies lipstick)...with a kiss. And now so is yours.

Poison Ivy: Enjoy extinction, Batman!
Batman: I'm not going alone.
(shows her the plant)
Poison Ivy: No!
Batman: The bottle for the weed. What's it going to be?

Poison Ivy: They can bury me in the ground, as deep as they like. But I'll grow back. We always grow back. (talking to her rose) Don't we, baby?


  1. "Animated Knights" by Bob Miller - Comics Scene Magazine #55 (February 1996)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Episode Guide" - Cinefantastique Vol. 24 #6/Vol. 25 #1 (February 1994)
  3. Bruce Timm forum post (2021)
  4. Boyd Kirkland Interview (Apr. 1, 1998)