The Dark Knight-a secret line for eighty viewings


What secret have you found in the movie THE DARK KNIGHT?When Batman visits an incapacitated Harvey Dent in the hospital to leave the two-headed coin he finds at the crime scene of the explosion that killed Rachel (which Dent later notices the coin has a burned side to infer she had passed), he somberly apologizes.

This is, of course, because Dent’s girlfriend has passed, and Bruce has equal affection for his lost companion (not to mention Dent suffered burns to half his body).

Batman: I’m sorry, Harvey.


Or… is that the only reason why? Is there more to it? Is it possible this line carries double-meaning?

Remember one other important item of note, here: this was a two-headed coin. This is the same coin that Dent was using when pressing Thomas Schiff (the “paranoid schizophrenic”) to find out more about the Joker. He attempts to manipulate Schiff by threatening his life with each coin flip.

Harvey: You don’t think I will? No. That’s why I’m not going to leave it up to me. Heads, you get to keep your head. Tails, not so lucky.


We don’t know this coin is two-headed at the time (or those who don’t know comic book lore at least), and Bruce certainly doesn’t know about this when he intervenes.

Batman: You’d leave a man’s life to chance?
Harvey: Not exactly.


This dialogue exchange rings strikingly similar to Dent’s film introduction in the courtroom scene with Rachel.

Harvey: It’s my father’s lucky coin. As I recall, it got me my first date with you.
Rachel: You wouldn’t leave something like that up to chance.
Harvey: I don’t. (lands on heads) I make my own luck.


Clearly, Harvey never had any intention of ending Schiff’s life or actually torturing him. Dent did what he always does: he bet on himself. He trusted that he could use this tactic on Schiff to get the information he needed. It worked on coupling with Rachel, it worked in the courtroom against the mob, and later it works to lure out the Joker.


Harvey Dent is riddled with good morals, and he wasn’t about to play it differently in this situation, regardless of appearance. Bruce didn’t know or see this part of the picture, mostly because he couldn’t see clearly after Gordon was presumably killed. Bruce was fueled with rage and guilt. He couldn’t take the Joker rampaging through Gotham any longer, and he needed Dent to keep showing his true colors after he would surrender to arrest.

Thus comes everything thereafter: Batman vows to turn himself in, Dent takes the fall, the Joker pursues [Dent] and Batman saves him, two corrupt MCU detectives escort Dent and Rachel to different locations, the Joker forces Batman’s hand to choose one of them, Rachel dies in the explosion… you get the picture.

The point is this possibly all happens as a result of Batman’s succumbing to “give in” when he saw that Dent was possibly going against his morals to save Rachel and all of Gotham. Batman was not willing to see this happen… but of course, again, he was not aware that Dent had a two-headed coin.


So now we’re back to square one again. When Batman picks up the coin from the explosion wreckage, he sees both sides of the coin show a head. He visits Dent, places the coin down (with the unaffected side up, showing his instilled faith in the White Knight’s morals), and says: “I’m sorry, Harvey.”


Alas, we have a two-headed coin with a two-headed apology. How appropriate.

Those three words carry so much weight. He is sorry for what happened to both Rachel and Dent, but he is also sorry for not trusting Dent to be a “decent [man] in an indecent time.” It’s because of Batman’s decision to surrender to the police, the Joker, and all of Gotham that he feels guilty over everything else that ensued afterward. Dent even implies it (which is a nice way of putting it) at the end of the film when he held Gordon’s son hostage at gunpoint.

Batman: You’re the one pointing the gun, Harvey, so point it at the people responsible.
Harvey: Fair enough. You first.


That line is one of my favorite parts of this movie, just for how humanistic it is and how well the motifs and symbols leading up to it perfected the execution. I wanted to make sure that others knew the same.