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Max Eckhardt is a fictional character and an adversary of Batman. His first and only appearance in the Batman franchise is the 1989 Batman film, where he is played by the late William Hootkins, not counting the comic book adaptation of the movie.
Eckhardt is a lieutenant of the Gotham City Police Department, and one of the many corrupt officers on the payroll of mob boss and close friend Carl Grissom. Although Eckhardt never directly comes face to face with Batman, he discards all claims about the mysterious vigilante, and even belittles Alexander Knox, a reporter, for believing in Batman. Moments afterwards, Eckhardt meets with Jack Napier (the man who would become the Joker), 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 he'll deal with it. Napier then tells Eckhardt "you ought to think about the future", but Eckhardt merely scoffs at him, telling Napier he has no future ("You're an A-1 nut case and Grissom knows it."). 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. As Eckhardt attempts to leave during the chaos, a vengeful Napier calls him and reminds him to "think about the future". Napier proceeds to shoot Eckhardt in the chest, killing him. Napier falls into a vat of chemicals moments afterwards during a fight with Batman, starting his transformation into the Clown Prince of Crime.
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