- For other characters with the same first name, see Dinah.
Professor Dinah Lance is a Greek and medieval history professor at Central City University. She is the mother of the late Laurel Lance and Sara Lance, as well as the ex-wife of the late Quentin Lance.
After Sara's apparent death in the sinking of the Queen's Gambit, Dinah eventually left her husband and surviving daughter. However, she returned in 2013 to make amends with her family and share her theory that Sara was still alive. Unlike Quentin or Laurel, Dinah never blamed Oliver Queen for Sara's apparent death, as she felt the most guilty for allowing her to board the Gambit in the first place.
In her youth, Dinah met and fell in love with Quentin Lance and the two moved into their own apartment together at Spring Street while they were in their early 20s. Dinah apparently turned down Quentin's multiple proposals until the right moment and insisted their love didn't require rings. She later became a college professor in Starling City.
Dinah and Quentin eventually married and on November 15, 1985, Dinah gave birth to their first daughter, Dinah Laurel Lance, who was named after her. On December 25, 1987, she and Quentin had another daughter, Sara Lance. Dinah was very close to her daughters as they grew up and would fondly watch them play together. She shared a particularly strong bond with her youngest daughter, Sara, in part due to their similar natures as "wild spirits".
When Laurel began dating Oliver Queen, Dinah developed a soft spot for the boy, unlike Quentin.
One day in late 2007, Dinah was grading some papers while Quentin prepared lunch. When Quentin suggested Laurel, who would attend law school soon, become a professor like her mother, Dinah dryly commented that academia was always fun. Sara then paid a surprise visit from college. A couple days later, Dinah came home from work early and caught Sara packing a bag with her belongings, including her Starling City Rockets baseball cap, for her trip on the Queen's Gambit with Oliver. Upon realizing her intentions, Dinah tried to prevent Sara from going, imploring her not to hurt Laurel. However, Sara insisted she was in love and wanted to follow her heart, even if no one else agreed - something Dinah had once done with Quentin. When Sara then left, Dinah didn't try to stop her.
When Sara was apparently killed following the Gambit sinking during a storm, Dinah was horrified and guilt-ridden over her daughter's death. While Laurel was away at law school, Dinah and Quentin's marriage became strained as Quentin buried himself in his work to cope with his grief, despite Dinah's pleas for him to go to counseling with her. Eventually, the two divorced around 2009. Dinah relocated to Central City soon after and became a professor at Central City University, teaching Greek and Medieval History. She had no contact with Quentin and Laurel for years, unable to face them with her unwitting role in Sara's death. However, Dinah felt that Sara was still alive and for years, used her intelligence and resources to try and find her daughter.
Searching for Sara and reconciling with her family
Over three years later in February 2013, Dinah returned to Starling City and tried to call Laurel, but her daughter refused to answer. Later that night, Dinah appeared at Laurel's door. She apologized for her past mistakes and proclaimed that Sara might still be alive.
The next morning, Dinah and Laurel met Quentin at Big Belly Burger, where Dinah told him her belief about Sara surviving the sinking of the Queen's Gambit. She showed that Lian Yu, where Oliver was recently rescued from, is surrounded by thousands of deserted islands in the same chain in the North China Sea, theorizing that Sara could've washed up on any one of them. Dinah then brought out a tourist photo of a woman on one of the islands wearing a Starling Rockets baseball cap, who looked similar to Sara, expressing how their daughter is a "survivor". However, Quentin refused to believe her and walked out, much to Dinah's disappointment.
The next day, Quentin went to see Dinah at Laurel's apartment. When he was unreceptive amidst her attempts to talk about the past, they ended up having an argument about Sara and their divorce. Dinah stated that Quentin buried himself in his work, taking case after case despite her attempts to help him. Quentin angrily pointed out unlike her, that he still stayed for Laurel. Shaken, Dinah admitted that abandoning Laurel is her biggest regret, but Quentin left her first.
Dinah and Quentin began working together to find Sara by gathering more evidence and contacting foreign governments. Later, Laurel had Quentin and Dinah meet her at CNRI, where she introduced them to Jenn, the girl in the photo Dinah found, whom Laurel had tracked down. Jenn explained the picture of her was taken in a fishing village called Zhengjiu, which is Mandarin for "Salvation", whilst she was on a six-month trip. Dinah rushed out, distressed.
Back at Laurel's apartment, Dinah refused to give up her search despite Quentin's protests. Laurel then wondered how Dinah knew Sara took her Starling Rockets cap on the Queen's Gambit, since it was why she was so convinced the girl in the photo was Sara. After some hesitation, Dinah confessed that she learned ahead of time that Sara wanted to go on the Gambit with Oliver and was ultimately convinced to grant her daughter permission to do so. Dinah broke down in tears, apologizing, as Quentin comforted her.
That night, as Dinah was about to leave for Central City, Laurel told her mother to keep in touch and call anytime, forgiving her. Dinah promised to do so. They hugged and exchanged "I love you's".
Reuniting with Sara
Dinah and Laurel talked on the phone. Laurel tells her mom she likes her new job as an assistant district attorney, which is helping after recent events. When Thea Queen arrived at the office, Laurel hung up, promising to call Dinah back.
When Laurel apparently overdosed, Dinah returned to Starling City and visited her daughter at the hospital alongside Quentin and Oliver. Later that night while watching over Laurel, Dinah was abducted from the hospital by a member of the League of Assassins to be used as leverage to get Sara to return to them, mainly Nyssa al Ghul. Much later, Quentin found Dinah, with Sara confirming what Dinah had thought all along, that Sara was still alive. However Sara then passed out from self-poisoning. Out of rage, Nyssa tried to kill Dinah and Quentin until the The Arrow intervened. After the fight was over, Quentin and Dinah had a proper reunion with their long-lost daughter as Laurel watched in shock. Though Dinah was overjoyed that Sara was home, Laurel wasn't and even threw a glass of wine at her out of rage in front of Dinah.
Dinah, along with Quentin, attended Sara's "Welcome Back" party at the Queen Mansion. Moira Queen happily told Dinah she was glad the latter has Sara back, understanding how painful it was believing her daughter to be dead all those years. Dinah and Quentin seemed to share a moment at the party but were interrupted when Quentin was called away to a bank robbery.
The next night at Laurel's apartment, the whole Lance family gathered for dinner in Quentin's attempt to rekindle his relationship with Dinah. When Quentin talked to Dinah about leaving Central City and coming back to Starling, Dinah admitted to being happy with her new life and her job there, not wishing to move back. When Quentin tried to persuade her even further, she admitted to also being in a relationship. An awkward silence followed, but then Sara and Oliver, who also attended the family dinner, congratulated her. However, Laurel stormed out upon realizing Sara and Oliver were together.
Later before returning to Central City, Dinah visited Quentin at the SCPD and apologized for not telling him sooner about her and Jeff. He tried to apologize for his intentions at dinner but Dinah assured Quentin that even though they're not together, she'll always care about him and is here if he ever needs her. She gave Quentin a kiss before leaving.
Losing Sara again
At the SCPD, Dinah paid a visit to her daughter and ex-husband for Christmas. She and Laurel later went out for coffee, during which Dinah asked where Sara was, and pressured Laurel to telling the truth. Laurel revealed that Sara was dead, but begged her mother to not tell Quentin. Later at the cemetery, Laurel and Dinah visited Sara's grave. Laurel promised her mother that she would find Sara's killer, no matter what it took.
Almost a year later, following Sara's resurrection and John Constantine restoring her soul, Dinah was contacted and informed by her daughter that she was alive, much to her surprise and joy. Sara later came to visit Dinah in Central City for a few days.
A couple weeks later, Dinah was visited by Laurel in Central City.
Losing another daughter
When Damien Darhk killed Laurel, Dinah came back to Star City and was once again in grief. She went to her funeral with her ex-husband Quentin. She told Quentin that Laurel will come back just like Sara did, but Quentin, who had hoped for the same thing before Oliver talked him out of it, no longer thought so. During the funeral, Oliver revealed to everyone that Laurel was the Black Canary, which shocked Dinah because she never knew that Laurel became the Black Canary after Sara was the Canary.
Dinah is a kind, caring, selfless, intelligent, compassionate woman who deeply loves her husband, Quentin, and daughters, Laurel and Sara. She has an open, impulsive, free-spirited disposition, contrasting Quentin's more structured nature.
Unlike Quentin and Laurel, Dinah didn't hold Oliver responsible for Sara's apparent death, partly because she knew the sinking of the Queen's Gambit wasn't his fault, and mostly due to her own role in what happened; for over five years, Dinah blamed herself for what happened to Sara and deeply regretted failing to stop her from going on the Gambit. Because of this, she also abandoned Quentin and Laurel, feeling accountable for their pain over what happened with Sara and Oliver and unable to face them with the truth.
In her drive to locate Sara, Dinah is shown to be studious, hardworking, resourceful, and determined. She spent years searching the world for her daughter, never giving up, stemming both from maternal instincts and a desire to absolve her guilt. Dinah stubbornly refused to cease her mission even after learning the photo she found of Sara was apparently a dead end.
After revealing to Quentin and Laurel that she let Sara go with Oliver on the Gambit, which was the real reason behind her decision to leave Starling City and quest to confirm her daughter was still alive, Dinah was able to start making amends with her family and begin moving on with her life.
Upon reuniting with Sara, Dinah was overjoyed to see her daughter and welcomed her with open arms, accepting Sara regardless of her transformation into a different woman. She was also understanding of Sara's relationship with Nyssa al Ghul. Despite remaining separated from Quentin, Dinah still cares for her ex-husband and is always there for him, encouraging Quentin to move on from their past as well.
- Maternal instincts: Dinah is shown to have strong maternal instincts when it comes to her children. The entire six years that Sara was "dead", she still maintained the feeling her daughter was alive somewhere. When Sara actually died, Dinah then lost those feelings, realizing Sara had died without needing to be told.
- High-level intellect/Expert Investigator: Dinah is a very intelligent individual, being a regarded college professor of Greek and Medieval History. In her efforts to find her daughter, Dinah analyzed and amassed evidence from other island rescues and looked in the islands surrounding Lian Yu, discovering a possible photo of Sara in Zhengjiu.
- Network: Dinah used multiple contacts such as foreign consuls in her search efforts for her daughter.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
- Dinah is the only known character who currently lives in Central City, the city where takes place.
- In an erased timeline Dinah, presumably along with everyone else in Central City, was killed by Vandal Savage using the Staff of Horus in his efforts to kill Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders. However, due to Barry Allen changing the time continuum, this disaster never occurs.
- She had appeared in every season of Arrow before Season 5.
- As of Season 6, Dinah is the only member of the Lance family who has not died; Laurel and Quentin Lance died in Seasons 4 and 6, respectively, while Sara Lance died in Season 3, but was resurrected in Season 4.
- Dinah's job as a European history professor may be a reference to Alex Kingston's recognizable role as Professor River Song on the British science-fiction show Doctor Who.
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, Dinah Drake-Lance is the first person to take on the legacy mantle of Black Canary, a member of the Justice Society of America and is also the mother of her successor, Dinah Laurel Lance.