- "He claims that he was attacked by a....giant half-man, half-bat...thing."
- ―Jim Gordon to Captain Grogan, after interviewing a criminal attacked by Batman.
- ―Captain Grogan
- "That's what he said. I'm not making this up, Captain."
- "So...is he high or something?"
- ―Captain Grogan.
"The Message" is the second episode of the television series Knight of Gotham. The episode marks Bruce Wayne's first appearance as Batman, and the beginning of his mission to fight the injustice of Gotham City. It was directed by Dane Brenson and written by Frank Miller, who was brought on board to act as a "special guest writer" for the show.
The episode begins where the last one ended, with Bruce Wayne kneeling in front of a bust of his father, praying for guidance against his war on crime after a disastrous scouting mission to the East End. At that moment, a bat flies through a nearby open window, and lands on the bust. Struck with inspiration, Bruce decides to become a creature of the night. At that moment, Alfred Pennyworth walks into the room. Bruce declares that he will become...a Batman.
Exactly one week later, a gang of thieves are engaging in a robbery of the Gotham Art Museum at nighttime. The only people there are some security guards, who are inexperienced and surrender when the thieves demand that they do not stop them or they'd kill them. The thieves go to separate areas of the museum to begin stealing things. In one exhibit, one thief is attempting to take a version of the famous "The Thinker" statue. Suddenly, there is a noise of shattering glass. The thief, startled, turns around to find the source of the noise, and notices that a window has been broken. Raising his gun, he begins searching to see if anyone else is there, calling out "Who's there? Show yourself!". One of the other robbers shouts out, "Shut up, there's no one else here!" from another part of the museum. Shaking off his suspicion, the thief returns to the statue. Suddenly, a dark figure appears behind the thief. He suddenly turns around, gun raised, before saying, "What the fu - " before a black gloved hand grabs his throat.
The scene cuts to two more thieves in another area of the museum, at an exhibit showcasing the works of Leonardo da Vinci. They hear their comrade letting out a scream. The thieves at the Da Vinci exhibit quickly run towards the direction of the scream, and they see their comrade, knocked out cold under the broken window. The two men, one of them an African-American and the other a Filipino, look at each other, and the African-American asks if the police possibly knew they were there, and the Filipino comments that they couldn't possibly know, and even if they did, they wouldn't do anything about it anyway, calling the GCPD "a joke". However, they both send a text to their apparent leader, a bearded Latino standing guard over two security guards, both tied up. The leader looks at the text, nods, then pulls out his gun and walks off towards the others. He is seen calling the others, telling to "keep an eye out." The scene shifts to another robber, a Caucasian man with a lazy eye, getting off his phone, obviously after receiving the call. The robber with the lazy eye walks down a hallway, gun raised, and continues for several minutes. Suddenly, he turns a corner, and sees both the African-American and the Filipino knocked out cold. Quickly, he takes out his phone and tries to call the leader, but at that moment, his phone battery dies. Swearing loudly, he notices that one of his comrades' phones is one the ground and is working, so he picks it up and starts to call the leader, but at that moment, the same dark figure who attacked the first robber appears behind the robber with the lazy eye, and applies a Vulcan nerve pinch to him. He then picks up the robber's phone and dials the phone number for the GCPD.
The scene then cuts to the leader, who is looking at phone, confused as to why the call from the robber with the lazy eye was suddenly dropped. He turns a corner and finds himself in another hallway. He calls out for the others, and when none of them answer, he calls out, "Where the fuck is everybody?!" At that moment, his phone goes off, indicating that he's received a text. He reads it, and all it says is, "Behind you". He turns around, and the dark figure punches him in the face, then in the stomach. The robber falls to his knees, clearly in pain, and asks, "Who the fuck are you?!" The figure picks him up by his shirt, and we see the figure clearly for the first time: Batman. He calmly replies, "I'm Batman" and punches him again.
The scene shifts to the outside of the museum, where several police cars are parked. Jim Gordon, now wearing a badge indicating he is a sergeant now. Accompanying him are two unidentified cops. All of them walk into the museum, where they see the robbers, all still unconscious and tied up. Gordon tells the other two cops that they were gonna bring them in.
The scene shifts again to the GCPD headquarters, where the thief leader is sitting in an interrogation room, where Captain Peter Grogan (head of the Major Crimes Unit) is talking with an attractive blonde woman he refers to as "Lieutenant Essen". They are talking about the thief, and Lieutenant Essen asks if Captain Grogan wanted her to interrogate him. Grogan responds that he wants Gordon to interrogate him first. At that moment, Gordon walks in. Grogan says, "Ah, Sergeant Gordon! We were just talking about you." Gordon and Lieutenant Essen's eyes meet for the first time and they greet each other, and after Gordon calls her "Lieutenant Essen", she says, "Why so formal, Jim? Call me Sarah" and gives him a warm smile. Gordon smiles back and nods, while Captain Grogan rolls his eyes. Gordon then enters the interrogation room and begins talking to the thief. They soon get on the subject of who attacked the thieves. The leader describes their attacker as a "giant half-man, half-bat thing". Gordon looks amused at that statement, seeming to think that he was joking with him, but the thief tells Gordon that he was dead serious. Gordon's look of amusement turns to one of disbelief. He then leaves the interrogation room and informs Captain Grogan of what the thief told him, to which Grogan looks disbelieving too, and asks whether or not the thief might be high. Grogan decides to send Lieutenant Essen in. As Gordon leaves, Essen gives him another warm smile, to which Gordon leaves looking impressed with himself.
The next morning, Bruce is back at Wayne Manor, doing push-ups in his room. Alfred comes in and shows him a copy of the Gotham Gazette, showing the headline "THIEVES CLAIM TO BE ATTACKED BY HALF-MAN, HALF-BAT", followed by the subtitle "GCPD CLAIMS THAT ALCOHOL AND/OR DRUGS MIGHT BE A FACTOR", telling him that he made an impression. Bruce chuckles at the headline, musing that "Batman" might take a while to catch on. Bruce then shows Alfred a bust of his father standing against the far wall of his bedroom, telling him that he found a convenient way to get to "the cave". He walks over to the bust, presses one of the eyes on it, and the wall slides away, revealing what looks like a dumbwaiter system. The two men step into the elevator, and descend down, finally reaching the cave, where they immediately see the Batsuit held in a glass case and a bank of computers, plus a large assortment of other gadgets. Alfred looks impressed, and Bruce comments that he had help from Lucius. Alfred makes another comment that the cave seemed to be much bigger than the space he used, and Bruce comments that he planned to make use of the excess space in time. He then remembers he needed to attend a meeting with Lucius.
The scene shifts to a dimly-lit office, where Carmine Falcone is reading the "half-man, half-bat" article with apparent interest. The bearded Latino thief is sitting in front of him, calling him "boss", assuring him he was telling the truth. Falcone scoffs, claiming that it was just "an idiot in a costume trying to be a hero". The thief asks if he should notify "the boys" to beef up security at "the party." Falcone laughs, assuring him that no one would be stupid enough to come after him, as he virtually owned Gotham.
The scene shifts to the main conference room at Wayne Tower, where a board meeting is just ending. Lucius Fox watches all the board members go, then leaves the room himself. Standing just outside the room is Bruce, who immediately thanks him for "the suit". Lucius smiles, then holds up the same copy of the Gotham Gazette that Alfred showed Bruce earlier, commenting that he made an impression, revealing that he is aware of Bruce's dual identity.
The scene shifts to Lucius' private workshop beneath Wayne Tower, where Lucius is looking up a diagram of the Batsuit, telling Bruce about how the cape is made of shape-memory fibers, enabling him to effectively glide through the skies of Gotham. Bruce looks delighted, and asks if that was all. Lucius hands Bruce a grapple gun, telling him that it would make it easier him to travel across rooftops. Bruce takes the grapple gun, looking like Christmas has come early.
As Bruce is seen leaving Wayne Tower, he hears someone call his name. Turning around, Bruce sees that it is Gabriel Iglesias, one of his best friends since high school. The two friends embrace, and Gabriel invites Bruce to his show at the Stacked Deck club that night, to which Bruce accepts.
The scene shifts to Bruce watching Gabriel's show at the Stacked Deck that night. As he's watching, Carmine Falcone walks in, greets Bruce, and sits down next to him, then asks him if he'd like to come to a party he'd be hosting at his penthouse the next night. Bruce, though he is clearly interested, declines, claiming he'd be busy. Falcone is obviously let down, but takes it in stride.
After Gabriel's show is over, Bruce briefly congratulates him on his performance, then promises to do lunch with him soon. Gabriel says hello to Alfred, who arrives to pick Bruce up, before Bruce leaves. As Alfred is driving him home, Bruce informs Alfred of Falcone's penthouse party, believing that all of the officials that Falcone has bought off would likely be there. He then picks up the Gotham Gazette with the "half-man, half-bat" article. He reads through the article, then apparently notices something. Asking Alfred if the entire GCPD was in Falcone's pocket, Alfred replies that he believes so. Bruce then asks, if that were the case, why would any of them care if the gang of thieves that were stopped by Batman were released from police custody only 24 hours after they were captured. Alfred asks what he means, prompting Bruce to read from the article: "Commissioner Loeb released the five thieves from the custody of the GCPD early this morning, much to the chagrin of Sergeant Jim Gordon of the Homicide Division, who claimed that he didn't understand why the criminals were not facing justice." Bruce then comments he'd like to find out more about Jim Gordon.
The next day, Gordon is at the GCPD headquarters having an argument with Commissioner Loeb. Loeb is telling Gordon to stop nosing around where it isn't his business. Gordon responds saying he simply wanted to know why he let the thieves go. Loeb angrily tells Gordon that he was the police commissioner, and not Gordon. He then orders Gordon out of his office. As Gordon leaves, Flass laughs at him derisively, saying "Nice try, Jimbo!" He then runs into Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya and asks them, "Loeb's bought off too, isn't he?" Montoya tells him she believed so. Gordon demands that they work to relieve him of his position; they have that legal right if it is believed the Police Commissioner is unfit for the position, and being associated with a mob boss qualifies for that. Allen laughs sadly and tells him that they could never prove it, and even if they could, the evidence would never see the light of day, thanks to, in Montoya's words, Falcone's "manipulation of all the red tape", implying that he controlled the entire city government, or was at least paid up with it. Gordon asks angrily if there was anyone in Gotham that wasn't crooked. Still angry, Gordon prepares to go on patrol, this time with Lieutenant Essen.
That night, Gordon pulls into his driveway, and waiting for him is Allen. After telling Gordon that his wife and kids went shopping, he hands him a note that was left for him at the GCPD's headquarters. All it contains is a phone number that he doesn't recognize. Gordon, against his better judgment, calls the number, and a deep voice on the other end (that the audience recognizes as Batman's voice) tells him that he wasn't the only one that wanted to stand against corruption in Gotham. Batman informs Gordon that the time to take a stand was coming, and he could use his help for his war on crime. He then informs him of the penthouse party, and that he planned to expose anyone and everyone who attended for what they really were, and as soon as he did, Gordon would have a lead to begin investigations against them. Before Gordon can reply, the call ends. When Allen asks about the call, Gordon tells him that he just spoke to "either the bravest or stupidest human being on the whole planet." Allen looks quizzically at Gordon for a moment, but Gordon does not elaborate. They fist-bump each other before Gordon returns to him home and Allen begins walking away from the house. The scene pans to the roof of Gordon's house, where Batman is seen crouching, watching Allen. Allen turns to look at the house one last time, before catching a brief glimpse of Batman. However, he blinks, and Batman is gone. Shaking off his suspicion, Allen continues walking.
The scene shifts to Batman standing on the rooftop of another building. He is taking to Alfred via his cowl headset, asking for Commissioner Loeb's car. When Alfred asks why, Batman replied that it was because he knew that Loeb was among the more prominent officials in Falcone's pocket, and was sure to be at the penthouse party. Alfred is seen browsing the GCPD Security Database on the Batcomputer, and eventually finds Loeb's file. According to the data, his car was a navy blue Cadillac ATS. Relaying this info to Batman, Batman asks him to hack into the surveillance network to search for Commissioner Loeb's car. After a few minutes, Alfred pinpoints the car to a crossing not far from Batman's location, at 16th Street and Romero Avenue. Batman travels across the rooftops and begins following the car.
The scene shifts to the Lacey Towers Apartment Building, where a black PT Cruiser is seen pulling up to the front entrance. Two men step out: one of them is Alderman Rupert Thorne, head of the Gotham City Council, and the other is his bodyguard, a muscular African-American man who appears to be Thorne's bodyguard, whom Thorne simply refers to as "Mr. Jones". The nearby doorman tells Thorne that "they're waiting upstairs". Thorne enters the building and enters and elevator, which takes him to Falcone's penthouse, where the party has gotten started. Other guests include criminal lawyer Jack Coleridge, Judge Matthew Shaw, Mayor Hamilton Hill, Jack Grogan, Arnold Flass, and other assorted criminals and mob bosses. Thorne finds Falcone in the crowd and asks if he managed to invite Bruce Wayne, to which Falcone replied that he couldn't. Thorne also asks if everyone was here, to which Falcone replies that Commissioner Loeb still needed to show up. Thorne joins the festivities, and a few minutes later, Loeb arrives, immediately talking to Grogan, both of them talking trash about Gordon.
Batman is watching from a nearby rooftop adjacent to the penthouse balcony. He informs Alfred that he has arrived at the party, and Alfred asks if he knew how exactly he was going to crash it. Batman tells Alfred not to worry, for he had that covered. Meanwhile, inside the party, Thorne is talking to Falcone, about how he heard that "an idiot in a bat costume" stopped some of his boys at the Gotham Art Museum. Falcone comments that it was "just one guy, nothing more", and that it would never happen again, because "this is Gotham City after all". Suddenly, something that looks like a grenade flies into the room, and after a moment, stars spewing thick white smoke into everywhere. People are coughing and swearing, and suddenly the sound of glass shattering is heard. Batman is seen flying into the room from the direction of the balcony and begins beating up on the partygoers. Grogan, Flass, and Loeb all pull out their pistols and attempt to fight back, but the bullets bounce off Batman's suit. Batman attacks all three of them, and soon they're unconscious. Thorne's bodyguard then launches himself at Batman, managing to pin him to the ground in a type of submission hold, but Batman manages to break free with a well aimed kick at the man's groin. The smoke soon clears, and everyone in the room is either down or unconscious. Falcone is heard asking "Who the hell are you, and who the fuck do you think you are crashing my party?!" Batman calmly replies, speaking to the room at large: "I'm not just some idiot in a costume, as some of you constantly keep saying. I am the one who is going to bring all of you to justice. I am the one who is going to free this city from the grip of crime. And I want you all to remember my name: Batman." And with that, he leaps out of the smashed window and flies off into the night. Falcone shakily stands up, an angry look on his face, and stares off after him.
- Michael Fassbender as Batman / Bruce Wayne
- Timothy Dalton as Alfred Pennyworth
- Bryan Cranston as Sergeant Jim Gordon
- Courtney B. Vance as Lucius Fox
- Steve Buscemi as Captain Peter Grogan
- Brian Cox as Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb
- Terry Crews as Crispus Allen
- Robert De Niro as Carmine Falcone
- Cote de Pablo as Renee Montoya
- Allison Doody as Lieutenant Sarah Essen
- Jerome Ehlers as Jack Coleridge
- Kelsey Grammer as Rupert Thorne
- Lance Henriksen as Matthew Shaw
- Gabriel Iglesias as Himself
- Chris Jericho as Arnold Flass
- Lester Speight as Waylon Jones
- Alfred Robles as Robber #1/"Boss"
- Edwin San Juan as Robber #2
- Wil Sylvince as Robber #3
- Shaun Latham as Robber #4
- Dov Davidoff as Robber #5
- The five thieves are all portrayed by stand-up comedians who appaered on Gabriel Iglesias' television show Stand-Up Revolution.
- In the episode, Waylon Jones is not identified by his full name. Thorne refers to him only once as "Mr. Jones", and the credits list him as "Rupert Thorne's bodyguard". This was done in order to hype the full debut of the Waylon Jones/Killer Croc character later in the series.
- Though neither of them physically appear in this episode, both Jack Napier and Eddie Martinez are mentioned by Carmine Falcone when he tells Thorne that "Jack and Eddie are handling security" in response to if Lacey Towers was being protected.