In his high-school years, Hugo and Thomas Wayne were on the same Cricket team along with Anu Schwarts, Kyle Davis, Andrew Weininger, Travis Quegan, Paul Weathered, and Grant Gardner. Strange earned the nickname "the philosopher" while at school. The two remained friends until adulthood when Thomas placed him in-charge of Pinewood Farms. At the facility they looked into fixing human ailments, which including disease and even death. But soon Strange began experimenting on people to "push the boundaries of human evolution" creating monsters, with one of the subjects Karen Jennings being given a reptilian arm to replace her damaged one. Thomas shut down the project and put Karen into protection.
Hugo looked to reopen the project, but with Thomas in the way this wouldn't be possible. Hugo turned to a casino owner and gun hirer named The Lady, who then in turn hired a hitman named Matches Malone to kill Thomas and his wife Martha. Malone confronted the couple and their son Bruce in an alleyway after they had gone out to see a movie, and gunned the couple down. Malone then fled the scene, leaving Bruce to scream in anguish over his parent's brutal killing. At that point Strange wasn't even suspected, as no link could be found at that moment with Thomas and the corruption at Wayne Enterprises. Hugo would feel regret for this but asserted that he did what he had to do and that Thomas should have just walked away. A man named Mario Pepper ended up being set up for the crime, and others suspected by leading detective of the case Jim Gordon ranged from the mob (who helped set up Pepper) to corrupt billionaire Dick Lovecraft, the latter whom ended up getting assassinated for knowing something about the Wayne murders.
Employed by the Court
With Thomas dead and out of the way, Strange was hired by a mysterious society known as The Court, who were the true runners of Wayne Enterprises and working above the Board of Directors. Strange's primary task was to find the means to bring the dead back to life. The Pinewood project was reopened, with it taking place at a secret underground facility known as Indian Hill, located under Arkham Asylum. To avoid attention, a toxic waste dump was used as a cover for Indian Hill's more sinister activities. At some point Hugo Strange was employed as the chief of psychiatry at Arkham Asylum, leaving him to carry out the day-to-day running of the asylum (in which he appeared to look for a way to rehabilitate patients) as well as gaining access to the underground lab via a secret elevator to check on the progress. He worked alongside another doctor at the asylum named Ethel Peabody.
Badly injured individuals were delivered to the asylum, one of them being Bridgit Pike who had been badly burned all over her body. Declared dead, Pike got transferred to Indian Hill where she witnessed other people being horrifically experimented upon by the scientists of the facility. Corpses of individuals were also brought to Indian Hill for Strange, with a few notable being Fish Mooney, Jerome Valeska and controversial mayor Theo Galavan, the third whom Strange had a great interest in.
When Oswald Cobblepot is sent to Arkham Asylum after confessing to killing Theo Galavan, Strange meets him for a session and says he will cure him of his sickness. After meeting Oswald, Strange takes a secret elevator down to the Indian Hill facility and is informed about Mr. Freeze and his ability to reanimate a corpse, something that Strange was looking to perfect with the bodies that he has in Indian Hill's possession.
Strange oversaw the group therapy sessions which Barbara Kean was a part of. He later released her from Arkham Asylum, telling Ethel that he is going to study her.
Resurrecting the dead
Strange then focuses solely on his experiments reanimating the dead, starting with Indian Hill Patient 44. While overseeing the reanimation process, he was notified by Peabody that someone from Wayne Enterprises looked into the identity of Karen Jennings. Strange was later notified that Jennings was captured and sent back to Blackgate Penitentiary. He then sends Victor Fries after the transport carrying her. Fries successfully kills her. Strange is later present to witness the premature resurrection of Patient 44, also known as Theo Galavan, who brutally murders the staff in the room and screams out the name of Azrael.
After resurrecting Theo Galavan, Strange watches Galavan suffer from his shattered mental state and recites fragments from the sacred book of The Will and Order of St. Dumas. Afterward, Strange met with Jim Gordon at Arkham Asylum questioning him about the death of Karen Jennings and his participation in the Pinewood Farms program. However, Strange denies involvement in the atrocities of the program which, according to him, were the work of Thomas Wayne. After that, Gordon gives Strange an envelope with a court order to exhume the body of Victor Fries, but Strange is quick to tell him that Victor's body was cremated. Gordon then reveals that he only did so to get confirmation that he was the one behind it all, and afterward Strange realizes that Gordon gave him an empty envelope. Strange refuses Edward Nygma's offer to take Gordon down, though Nygma unintentionally gives him an idea of how to solve his problem with Theo Galavan. Using The Will and Order of St. Dumas which told the story of the immortal warrior Azrael, Strange goes into the reanimation lab to speak to Galavan, but the resurrected Galavan quickly attacks him. However, after Hugo presents himself as Dumas, the founder of the Order, Strange convinces him that he's the immortal warrior Azrael, under his service. Professor Strange later equips Galavan with a sword and armor and orders Theo to kill James Gordon.
Strange later brings back former crime boss Fish Mooney, infusing her with cuttlefish DNA. Mooney is brought back seemingly with all her memories intact, prompting Strange to relay this new development to his employers: the Court of Owls. Around that time, Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox come to Arkham seeking a tour, in reality being there to find out the location of Indian Hill. Strange knows this, and has Bruce, Lucius, and Jim Gordon, who has been investigating the Wayne murders and stowed away with Bruce and Lucius, apprehended. The Court then orders Strange to move all his research and test subjects to the facility upstate and to destroy Indian Hill. Strange has Bruce and Lucius locked away where Edward Nygma attempts to find out what they know about Indian Hill and who they have told about it, and Jim Gordon brought down to Indian Hill, where a cast is made of his face, allowing Basil, an Indian Hill patient able to stretch his skin, to impersonate Jim Gordon.
Under orders from the white-haired female member of the Court, Hugo Strange has most of his patients loaded onto a bus bound for facility upstate while having a bomb set to blow up the Indian Hill facility. Upon finding that Fish Mooney has the power to put anyone she touches into her thrall, Hugo manages to escape her and plans to have Victor Fries slay the remaining inhabitants starting with him killing Selina Kyle. Bridgit Pike came to Selina's defense and dueled Victor Fries until Hugo Strange was accidentally caught in the crossfire upon seeing Gordon, Fox, and Wayne escaping. Gordon resuscitated Strange who states that the bomb will go off any minute. After Gordon and Fox deactivated the bomb and the police arrived at Arkham Asylum, Hugo Strange was arrested by the police who claims that the "monsters" that the Indian Hill facility made are still out there.
Strange was put on trial where Peabody testified against him in exchange for her being put under house arrest and not going to prison. Strange was sent to an undisclosed location. Apart from Peabody, no one else that worked at the Indian Hill facility was exposed for the atrocities committed there. Six months following the escape of his experiments, Fish Mooney began leading the remaining escaped monsters to find Strange so he can prevent them from dying as the use of their powers causes them to weaken due to her body rejecting the new cells that her abilities are creating. Peabody ends up being captured by Nancy and Sid of Fish Mooney's gang to see if she knows of Strange's whereabouts. When she doesn't prove to be useful upon not knowing where Strange is being held, she gets her life force drained from her by Marv and is killed.
It was revealed that Strange was incarcerated in an old mansion that conceals a high-tech laboratory where the scientists there are trying to get information about Indian Hill from them. Under the control of Fish Mooney, Bullock leads her, Marv, Nancy, and Sid to Strange. After taking out the guards, Fish, Nancy, and Sid make their way to Strange's cell as Fish confronts him. She tells Strange that she wants him to fix her and make her an army. Strange initially declines her request, but changes his mind when Fish reminds him that the police are approaching. When the angry mob breaks through, Fish and Marv escape out the back with Strange while Nancy and Sid hold off the mob. Cobblepot then confronts Mooney and Strange while sending Marv on his way. When asked by Cobblepot why she didn't kill him, Mooney states that she was his umbrella boy and that she turned Cobblepot into Penguin. Cobblepot decides to spare Mooney and sends the two of them on their way while telling Mooney not to come back to Gotham.
Not much is known about these events but after saving Fish Mooney's life he was taken once again to work for the Court and had the Alice Tetch virus weaponized.
- Genius-level intellect/Expert psychologist/Master tactician: Hugo's brilliance knows no bounds and he is a master tactician as well as a professional psychiatrist. He was able to resurrect the dead, create "monster" like creatures, and give several of his subjects special abilities.
Behind the scenes
- In DC Comics, Hugo Strange was introduced in Detective Comics #36 in February 1940 and was one of the first recurring enemies of Batman. He was also responsible for discovering Batman's true identity as Bruce Wayne, being one of the few villains on his intellectual level.
- This is the first live-action incarnation of the character Hugo Strange.
- Hugo Strange is inadvertently the catalyst for the events of the whole show, as he contracted Patrick Malone to kill Thomas and Martha Wayne, which resulted in Penguin snitching on Fish Mooney. Carmine Falcone then ordered Jim Gordon to kill Penguin, but instead spared him, and Penguin returned to Gotham and eventually became a kingpin, thus setting in motion the rest of the series' events.