|Lt. Max Eckhardt|
Max Eckhardt was one of the many corrupt officers on the payroll of crimelord Carl Grissom. Although Eckhardt never directly came face to face with Batman, he discarded all claims about the mysterious vigilante, and even belittled reporter Alexander Knox for believing in Batman. Moments afterward, Eckhardt met with Jack Napier, one of Grissom's enforcers, to accept a bribe. Napier informs Eckhardt that newly-elected district attorney Harvey Dent is nosing around one of Grissom's front companies, but the fat cop broods that if there's a problem it's best to bear with it. Napier then tells Eckhardt of his plans to overthrow Grissom, but Eckhardt merely scoffs at him, telling Napier he has no future. A brief struggle ensues, and Eckhardt only decides not to shoot Napier when Napier's goon, Bob, aims a gun in his face.
Eckhardt later receives a call from Grissom, who informs him that he has set up a trap for Napier and his crew at Axis Chemicals (Napier had been having an affair with Grissom's mistress, and Grissom wanted revenge), and requests Eckhardt to ambush and kill Napier with a squadron of police officers. A gunfight erupts in Axis Chemicals between the police and the goons, during which Commissioner Gordon arrives and takes control, ordering the police to apprehend Napier alive. Eckhardt attempts to escape, but is shot in the chest and killed by a vengeful Napier, who falls into a vat of chemicals moments afterwards during a fight with Batman, starting his transformation into the Clown Prince of Crime.
To be added
- Although this has not been directly confirmed by the film's screenwriters, it is widely believed that Max Eckhardt was inspired by the comic characters Detective Harvey Bullock and Detective Arnold Flass, both of whom were, at least one point, corrupt policemen on crime's payroll, and partners of Commissioner Gordon. Also to be noted is Eckhardt's physical structure and attitude: overweight, unshaven and gruff, also characteristics of Bullock.