A graduate of Gotham University Law School and chief judge of the city court, Marlowe rose through the ranks of the judicial system to become mayor of Gotham. Although Marlowe failed to deliver a single formal speech during the campaign — a result of his deep disdain for public speaking — he prevailed by a slim margin of votes which led some to speculate that there was vote tampering in the election.
Marlowe's tenure as mayor was beset by administrative failures and political scandals, including charges he participated in a scam that artificially inflated the price of bread. The New Jersey state legislature conducted an investigation into corruption in Gotham, and concluded Marlowe was a “dictator” who had “abdicated” his powers to underworld bosses. He was removed from office, and committed suicide only six weeks after leaving office.
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment as mayor was the awarding of the city's first subway contract, which made the industrialist family The Cobblepots very wealthy. Upon his death, The Gotham Bugle remarked: “Seth Marlowe became involved in probably more scandals than any mayor in the city's history.”