Gotham Knights: What Is the Court of Owls?

Gotham Knights debuted Tuesday night on The CW, introducing viewers to the series' new take on Gotham City and Batman lore as it dives into the story of Turner Hayes, the adopted son of Bruce Wayne who, along with three unlikely criminals, are falsely accused of the billionaire's murder. The series premiere did a lot of table setting, as it were, setting into motion the major events that will shape the series as well as introducing some concepts and characters that factor into what will be its major mystery of who really killed Bruce Wayne. Among those things introduced in the episode is the Court of Owls — and here's what you need to know.

Warning: spoilers for the series premiere of Gotham Knights beyond this point.

Early in the episode, viewers get a glimpse of an unusual coin with an owl on it in Bruce Wayne's possession right before his tragic death. It's a coin that neither Harvey Dent. nor Turner Hayes seem to know much about, but the symbol on the coin appears at the end of the episode as well. After escaping the corrupt police who are in on the frame job against them, Cullen Row reveals that he swiped Detective Ford's watch — and that strange owl symbol is on the back. It's then that Duela reveals that things are far worse than they imagined and that the symbol belongs to the Court of Owls, a terrifying secret society and organization that really runs Gotham and that if the Owls are behind this, they're as good as dead. Duela may not be entirely wrong, either. The episode ends with Detective Ford being beheaded in a parking lot by a mysterious masked figure.

What is The Court of Owls?

Created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and first appearing in Batman (vol. 2) #6 in 2012, the Court of Owls is a secret society and criminal organization in DC Comics, functioning as adversaries of Batman. Comprised of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of Gotham the Court of Owls has existed from the city's founding and outside of being an urban legend, the general population has no idea it even exists. The organization is said to use its power and influence to truly run the city and assassinate anyone who gets in their way — assassinations carried out by their own fully indoctrinated and trained agents called Talons.

Outside of comics, The Court of Owls has appeared several times in other media. On television, the organization has appeared in Gotham and Harley Quinn and has also factored into the animated movie Batman vs. Robin. The organization also appears in the Gotham Knights video game, though the game has no connection to the television series.

Gotham Knights premieres on Tuesday, March 14 at 9 p.m. on The CW.