Steven Mandagora was a powerful crime boss who had once murdered the parents of Helena Bertinelli.
Steven Mandragora was once an enforcer for crime boss Franco Bertinelli. One day, Mandagora grew tired of taking orders, so he turned on his boss and murdered him, together with his wife. Unknown to him, Franco's young daughter, Helena, watched the murder from the closet where her father had hidden her. Mandragora became a criminal kingpin himself.
Several years later, Mandragora was in federal protective custody (whether because he had been arrested or had turned himself in was unclear), and was being offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying about his business associates and rivals. Secretly, however, he was merely stalling for time while his underlings were rescuing his son, Edgar from a rival gang who had kidnapped him. Once Edgar was transported to the States, Mandragora planned to escape custody and disappear with his son.
He was also being tracked by Helena, who had grown up to become the vigilante Huntress. With the aid of the Question, she caught up with him just as he escaped his federal minders and was reunited with his son. She had planned to execute him, but the appearance of his son changed her mind: it revealed a more human side to him, and she was not willing to put another small child through the horror she had experienced.
Instead, she thwarted his plans to disappear, and he was returned to federal custody, now left with no choice but to cooperate for both his and his son's sakes.
Powers and Abilities
Mandragora proved himself to be a powerful opponent with high invulnerability. He was able to resist Black Canary's sonic 'Canary Cry' as well as explosive/stun arrows from Green Arrow. However, it does seem he could potentially be killed by more lethal means as he attempted convincing Huntress to let him live when she pointed her crossbow at him.
He also possessed a certain degree of super-strength.
In the comics, Mandragora was the Mafia underboss who ordered the murders of the Bertinelli family, though Huntress did not discover until much later on whose orders he was acting.
His animated version is more closely based on the comics character "Tobias Whale." Though he is an ordinary human in the comics, here Mandragora's strength and endurance hints that he has metahuman powers, a supposition bolstered by the fact that his son, Edgar, later appears as a powerful psychic in Batman Beyond and The Zeta Project.
"Mandragora" is also the medieval name for the poisonous Mandrake plant.