As Richard's answer to this question shows, if it became known that Harvey Dent was dirty, the mass arrests he authorized under RICO laws would have been overturned and the criminals set free.

But long before Dent became Two Face and started killing people, he had already incriminated himself twice, including once in an incredibly public forum, with horrific consequences:

  1. When Gordon saved the mayor from assassination, Dent stole an ambulance and illegally interrogated a mentally ill (and therefore, not criminally culpable) man at gunpoint. Crimes Committed: Assault with a deadly weapon; Grand theft auto; wrongful imprisonment; aggravated vehicle theft; obstructing EMS; reckless driving [he drove away with the back doors open]; criminal mischief; attempted motor vehicle theft; battery; malfeasance in office; death threats; witness tampering; attempt to coerce; among others.

  2. In the middle of an extremely high profile press conference, he falsely claimed to be Batman, and allowed himself to be arrested. Crimes Committed: Filing a false police report; Obstruction of justice; Malfeasance in office; among others.

  3. In the process of his transfer to Central Processing, en route to lockup, several police officers were killed trying to protect him. Crimes Committed: Possibly Unwitting accessory to murder of peace officers; perhaps others.

  4. After Batman showed up and caught The Joker, Harvey (and Gordon) let him walk away. Accomplice to [every crime Batman has committed or will commit]; Obstruction of justice; interfering with a police investigation; malfeasance in office; among others.

Why wouldn't this laundry list of serious crimes, many of which are felonies, be enough to prove that Harvey Dent was "dirty"?

  • I don't think 'dirty' is the right word since it implies graft rather than vigilantism. I am not a lawyer, but I believe that prosecutors have latitude to prosecute cases in the public interest, so at least some of what Harvey did could be considered misguided but not necessarily requiring prosecution. You're right though, in real life, politics aside, much of what he did was probably illegal. Is there any parallel in real life to a maniac like the Joker though?
    – Phyneas
    Aug 30, 2015 at 18:35
  • @Phyneas - I was borrowing Richard's phrase. He said "dirty", so I did too.
    – Wad Cheber
    Aug 30, 2015 at 18:37
  • 1
    Gotham seems to be more ok with vigilanteism than most real towns.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Aug 31, 2015 at 16:03
  • 2
    When Dent publicly announced he was Batman, did that somehow automatically turn into a police report? While I'm not a public official, I don't think any police report would be filed if I stood at the Lincoln Memorial and yelled out, "HEY, I'M BATMAN!"
    – Ellesedil
    Aug 31, 2015 at 16:48
  • 1
    @WadCheber - Batman has a warrant for his arrest. So if you confess to being batman, of course you'll get arrested. That's different from claiming that you confessed to the crimes Batman is accused of - perhaps, you were sure of his innocence when doing said confession. Sep 1, 2015 at 3:52

2 Answers 2


TL;DR: Yes, but everything you listed was covered up by either the Batman or Gordon.

If the public knew about the events you listed, then yes, Dent might be considered "dirty", or at the very least, dishonest. However, all of the events were covered up by other parties:

  1. Nobody found out about this, not even Gordon. Batman intercepted Dent and nobody else knew that Dent took the ambulance, only that it disappeared from the scene. Either Dent or Batman could have dropped the ambulance at any street corner and it would simply be an unsolved vehicle theft. Batman most likely dropped the goon at the police station.
  2. Unless anyone says otherwise, Dent's public announcement would appear to be part of the plan to capture The Joker.
  3. The convoy & chase were part of an official, albeit secret, plan to draw out & capture The Joker. Police deaths & property damage are unfortunate, but nobody would hold Dent accountable for these events.
  4. This one is a little fuzzy, but the legality of the GCPD's cooperation with Batman has ALWAYS been fuzzy. The simplest explanation is that Gordon was the senior officer on location, and therefore it would be Gordon's decision to let Batman walk away.
  • As for #1, Batman clearly leaves Dent and the goon alone. Dent screams "You can't give in!" as Batman is leaving. Bats couldn't have brought the goon anywhere.
    – Wad Cheber
    Aug 31, 2015 at 17:58
  • @WadCheber - I'll have to go back and watch it again. I could have sworn Dent showed that he wasn't going to shoot the guy, then walked off while Batman was standing there.
    – Omegacron
    Aug 31, 2015 at 19:47
  • 1
    I literally just watched the movie yesterday. I can guarantee you that Batman walks away, leaving Dent and the schizophrenic alone.
    – Wad Cheber
    Sep 1, 2015 at 3:45
  • 2
    @WadCheber - yep, you're right, just watched it. But Dent flips his coin & tells the guy if it's heads he lives. Batman caught the coin as Dent was flipping it the second time, and Batman says "You'd leave a man's life to chance?", to which Dent replies "Not exactly." And since we find out later the coin is heads on both sides, it clearly means that Dent wasn't going to shoot the guy, he just wanted to scare him enough to make him talk. No idea how the goon got back to the police, though.
    – Omegacron
    Sep 23, 2015 at 19:31

Ultimately, you need to realise that not only is Dent Gotham's District Attorney but that he's also a politician and potential Mayor-in-waiting. Arguably #2 and #3 were excusable as "publicity stunts" (or the actions of a brave man, willing to act as bait to draw out a killer) and #4 wasn't public knowledge.

The crimes you've listed as #1 are the tricky ones. He certainly broke numerous laws but in the context of preventing a more serious crime, it's possible that these more minor infractions were simply overlooked.

Don't forget also that the only person with the authority to arrest Dent is Gordon (with whom he's in cahoots) and the only person with the authority to remove him from office is the mayor (whose life he's saved). This doesn't even take into account that Dent is publicly popular, nor that his bold actions just made the Mayor equally popular.

  • I think in most places, the crimes listed under #1 would merit immediate termination and arrest, and a complete review of every case he'd ever been involved in. Threatening to kill a mentally ill and incompetent person is a very serious offense. And I believe that under U.S. law, any police officer could arrest him.
    – Wad Cheber
    Aug 30, 2015 at 20:02
  • 4
    @wadCheber - Well it's a bloody good job he's best friends with the mayor, the police commissioner, all the lawyers and the city's richest man then, isn't it.
    – Valorum
    Aug 30, 2015 at 20:32
  • Yeah, in real life things often get swept under the rug when authority figures (police, mostly) go a little beyond what's legal in the pursuit of "law and order". And there is also no real evidence that the Joker of the movie is genuinely mentally ill or incompetent, he just seems like a sociopath (i.e. a person who may be impulsive and lacking in empathy but usually has a clear understanding of the social rules they are defying) who revels in chaos.
    – Hypnosifl
    Aug 30, 2015 at 20:53
  • 1
    I believe that he is referring to the captured "cop" wearing Rachel Dawes, on his name tag, and not the Joker
    – user001
    Aug 30, 2015 at 21:15
  • 1
    Isn't the only witness to (1) Batman himself?
    – DavidS
    Aug 31, 2015 at 8:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.