In The Dark Knight, the police discover a Joker card with DNA on it. At first they have no idea whose DNA it is and even Batman doesn't know about the DNA that exists on the card. The police run an analysis on the card and identify that the DNA belongs to Commissioner Loeb, Judge Serillo and Harvey Dent.

Bruce throws a party for Harvey to try and secure his position as the DA and, at the same time the police discover who the DNA belongs to. We see Bruce arrive at the party, it's assumed that he mingles for a while, then suddenly knocks Harvey out to protect him and tells Rachel that they're coming for him.

How could Bruce have possibly known what was about to happen? He didn't know that the card with the DNA even existed and he had no way of knowing what the police discovered in terms of the DNA on the card. How could Bruce have possibly known that the Joker was about to attack?

3 Answers 3


The novelisation of The Dark Knight by Dennis O'Neill gives a slightly different (and expanded) version of events. The murders of Loeb and Surillo had just become public knowledge and Bruce (rightly) suspected that Dent was next on the list due to the invasion that was in progress downstairs:

There was no longer anything festive about Bruce Wayne’s fund-raiser. For several minutes, the guests had been answering their cell phones or reading text messages, and their smiles were vanishing, replaced by expressions of anxiety. But no one left. Apparently they believed that there was safety in numbers.

Alfred turned on the massive flat screen television and tuned it to a cable news channel. The anchorman confirmed what the partygoers already knew.

Bruce got out his cell phone and speed-dialed a number. He stepped into a spare bedroom, spoke his name and listened, then asked, “Surillo and Loeb?”

Meanwhile the door of the private elevator slid open, and the Joker stepped out, holding a shotgun and followed by several other armed men. “Good evening,” the Joker said, racking a shell into the gun’s firing chamber. “We’re the entertainment.”...

...Bruce stepped silently from behind the refrigerator. Rachel’s eyes widened. She opened her mouth to say something, but Bruce was already using his fingers to press three spots on Dent’s skull. Dent slumped over, and Bruce caught him.

In the film, the invasion happens a few seconds before he attacks Harvey which, as you've noted, makes less sense.

  • So, in the novel, it's not happening at the same time as it is in the movie?
    – Robert
    Nov 16, 2014 at 1:48
  • No. In the novel the Joker fires the shotgun before Bruce grabs Dent. In the film it's the other way around.
    – Valorum
    Nov 16, 2014 at 1:57
  • Is there any further explanation about who is Bruce talking to on his cell phone?
    – Kreann
    Nov 16, 2014 at 2:26
  • @deion - I assumed it was the bat computer
    – Valorum
    Nov 16, 2014 at 9:35
  • @Richard, was my guess too, thinking that he spoke his name to be voice IDed, but then why would he 'ask, “Surillo and Loeb?"' (as opposed to wondered, muttered, said, exclaimed, etc.). Sounds like he is talking to somebody, although could be a way of accessing a new data entry in the batcomputer...
    – Kreann
    Nov 16, 2014 at 15:12

At some point in the movie Rachel tells Harvey Dent that Bruce's penthouse is the safest place in the city. That should be obvious, since Bruce is Batman, but the thing is that Bruce's penthouse has a state of the art security system, starting with the panic room (where he has access to Batman's gear).

When the Joker gets from the lift to the party, Wertz is showing his badge to the camera (to be granted access). Joker is just hiding behind him. Batman is running software in the batbunker to identify Joker's face (we can see this in a couple scenes, specially after one of the Batman copycats gets killed by the Joker and the video is sent to the TV).

Presumably (since there is no in-movie evidence), Bruce penthouse security system is linked to the batbunker's computer and the software is able to detect the Joker in the elevator. After getting a positive match, the software triggers some kind of alarm that warns Bruce that the Joker is at his gates...

Extra: Information about the movie penthouse can also be found at the Gotham Cable News viral site.

Where does the richest man in Gotham move when his house burns down? For Bruce Wayne, the answer was easy - find the priciest luxury tower in town and buy the entire top two floors.

With seven bedrooms, six baths, marble flown in from Italian rockyards, two ballrooms, and panoramic city views, Wayne's new residence represents the ultimate in city living.

Wayne Industries is using the apartment to test out radical new technologies for home use. It's a "digital home" where your every whim - from music to lighting to video and games -- can be granted via fingertip access points.

Wayne gutted the interior and invested millions in a renovation. And today was the move-in date.

Curiosity seekers and photographers jostled for a view as Bruce Wayne moved his belongings - thinned out from the fire -- into the penthouse suite at Gotham Century Towers.

  • Rachel doesn't tell Harvey that until after Loeb's funeral. Sorry, but your answer doesn't provide insight as to how Bruce could possibly know what the police found out and what the Joker was planning.
    – Robert
    Nov 16, 2014 at 1:50
  • @Robert, what does that timing have to do with it? Bruce has that apartment from the beginning of the movie. The security systems don't change. Bruce doesn't need to know about the police findings. He only needs cameras on his building and the batbunker systems.
    – Kreann
    Nov 16, 2014 at 2:07

He was standing out on the balcony of his penthouse looking down when a group of thugs, including the Joker himself, showed up outside. I have always just assumed he saw them coming, then ran inside to grab Dent.

  • But he wasn't looking down. He looked down for a split second, then Rachel confronted him. Plus, they were at least 30 stories up, there's no possible way he could have made out what people looked like from that distance.
    – Robert
    Nov 16, 2014 at 0:42
  • @Robert: If more than a dozen people got out of a few cars and were carrying weapons, he'd notice. Especially if they were wearing masks and warpaint. Nov 16, 2014 at 0:46
  • Yeah, he could make out that they are carrying weapons, not in the split second he looked over the balcony though. He also wouldn't be able to make out whether they were wearing masks or not. It's nearly impossible to tell what someone's wearing from 100 feet away add another 200 feet plus to that and the only thing you can make out is shapes.
    – Robert
    Nov 16, 2014 at 0:48
  • Then you gotta add in the fact that it was night time. A person with perfect vision has difficulty making out what a familiar person looks like from 50 feet away at night, and that's with street lights being factored in.
    – Robert
    Nov 16, 2014 at 0:49
  • 1
    What makes you think he was only looking down for a split second? I have a balcony. When I am out there, I look down, straight ahead, to the side, etc.. I am constantly chaging the direction of my vision, even when staring pensively waiting for Maggie Gyllenhaal to return my love (she never does). I once made out a whole damn baseball game from my hotel room at night in Seoul, which was 24 floors up. I also noticed a hot girl in a bikini, despite it being night. Gave me an excellent excuse to go down to the lobby. I think you're underestimating how well-lit the entrance to a building would be. Nov 16, 2014 at 0:53

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