Harvey Bullock (comics)

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This article is about the DC Comics character. For the TV-movie writer, see Harvey Bullock (writer).
Harvey Bullock
Cover to Gotham Central #22 (October 2004).
Art by Michael Lark.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #441 (June 1974)
Created by Archie Goodwin (writer); Howard Chaykin (artist)
In-story information
Full name Harvey Bullock
Team affiliations GCPD
Supporting character of Batman

Harvey Bullock is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Batman.[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Prior to the 1984-85 DC maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, Bullock is a crooked police detective under instructions from Gotham City's Mayor Hamilton Hill to sabotage Commissioner Gordon's career[1] when he is formally re-introduced in Batman #361, cover dated July 1983, in the story entitled "The Most Successful Species", written by Doug Moench and penciled by Don Newton. His method of doing so is to pretend to be exceedingly clumsy, thereby spoiling whatever Gordon is trying to do, seemingly accidentally. After inadvertently giving Gordon a heart attack, however, Bullock turns over a new leaf. His character later develops into a well-meaning cop who (probably) is exceedingly clumsy, similar to the later animated version. He also forms a close bond with Robin, based initially on their mutual love of old movies. Subsequent to this, he is a Bishop in the spy organization Checkmate.


Following the continuity changes brought about in most of DC's comics by Crisis, Bullock is perhaps the most controversial police officer in the Gotham City Police Department. His colleagues in the Major Crimes Unit will swear up and down that he is a good cop, despite his reputation for taking bribes,[2] brutality, and ties to organized crime. However, he also has elements of the earlier character, including a fondness for doughnuts and a hidden sentimental streak. He also has a romance with a widow he meets at work.[3]

This new post-Crisis Bullock was retconned as having been loyal to Gordon from the start. Even before he makes detective, he stays by Gordon during one of the Joker's earlier rampages. He saves Gordon's life with careful driving and helps him work through the clues. Eventually, without Batman's assistance, Bullock and Gordon stop the Joker from causing an explosion that would have leveled Gotham City. During the entire case, Bullock plays the part of (or was) the "bad cop," intimidating and threatening whoever gets in his way. At this point, Bullock still wears a regular police uniform.

Made detective[edit]

Several years later, Bullock is made detective. He again works closely with Gordon, as part of a small crew of people Gordon knows he can trust. This group includes Maggie Sawyer, Harvey Dent, and Detective Cohen as they try to bring down Sal Maroni. Though Gordon knows of and has recordings of Bullock's brutality against suspects, he brings him in because the man has never accepted bribes. The events surrounding this squad work around the events of Batman: The Long Halloween. Bullock and the group are then joined by Crispus Allen, they take down a gathering of Gotham's "freaks", such as the Joker, Clayface and Scarecrow.[4] Later Bullock is partnered with Renee Montoya and they both become very loyal to each other. For a time Bullock works with the international spy agency Checkmate.[5] They confront threats ranging from counterfeiters to cult-terrorists. He has a rocky relationship with those above him, such as defying intelligence expert Amanda Waller over the proposed murder of heroic vigilante Black Thorn.[6]

Bullock is badly injured during a confrontation with the KGBeast, who has gained control of a small nuclear weapon. Robin and several members of the Gotham City Police Department brave a burning chemical plant, partly to save his life. Bullock almost dies during this incident, but is saved by CPR administered by Robin. Mackenzie "Hardback" Bock, a newcomer to the force, becomes involved, helping Robin carry Harvey out of harm's way. The nuclear bomb is then neutralized by Batman.

Bullock also gained his own story arc: "A Bullet for Bullock" by Chuck Dixon. The story is about someone trying to kill him, which was also adapted into an episode for Batman: The Animated Series.

Bullock is on the front lines during the "Knightfall" storyline when Arkham empties and its inmates riot through the streets. Bullock takes control when Riddler takes an entire talk show hostage.[7] He's almost obliterated by a bomb planted in the mayor's mansion; he is saved at the last second by Batman.[8]


In the Batman: Cataclysm storyline, Bullock is confronting Anarky in a shopping mall when an earthquake hits Gotham City. Both save their own lives by diving into a hollow art structure. Despite this, Bullock's arm is impaled by a tube of metal. He does not let this stop him, and makes his way back to the badly damaged police headquarters.

As soon as he learns Gordon is missing, he slams his arm against a wall, knocking out the bar and institutes a search. Bullock finds and saves a rattled Gordon from the debris of his own office.[9]

A few weeks later, Gotham is shut down and closed off by the government in the incident known as No Man's Land. Bullock and several other officers, Renee included, willingly stay behind to assist Gordon. Bullock sticks by Gordon through the death of many fellow officers. When SWAT leader Billy Pettit revolts and takes even more officers with him, Bullock sticks with Gordon. Renee herself is even lost for a while due to Two-Face. In the end, efforts led by Lex Luthor re-open Gotham. Gordon, Bullock, Renee and the remaining officers (Pettit and the others had been killed) are given their jobs back. Bullock is then promoted to lieutenant and becomes the shift commander of the GCPD's Major Crimes Unit.[10]

In the "Officer Down" storyline, disgruntled former officer Jordan Rich attempts to kill Gordon. Afterwards, a vengeful Bullock reveals Rich's location to the Mafia, thereby indirectly killing the shooter. When evidence of this comes out, he resigns from the force.[11]

He then appears in the "Unresolved" story arc in Gotham Central, where he has descended into a life of alcoholism and is shown contemplating suicide.

Back on the force[edit]

As part of DC's "One Year Later" storyline, Bullock has returned to the GCPD, with the understanding that he is not allowed a single mistake. The circumstances behind this are unknown, the only clue so far being the line: "Six months since Harvey Bullock made his discoveries." Batman and Bullock have made their peace, agreeing to give each other a second chance after their past disagreements; Batman tells Bullock that he considers the ledger "erased".[1]

Bullock is seen as one of the leads against the fight of a war between unauthorized Joker and Batman gangs.[12]

Later it is established he keeps in regular communication with his mother and has two cats, one of which, Sprinkles, has cancer.[13]

While little has ever been told of Harvey's past prior to him joining the Gotham City Police Department, he himself has stated that he was once a welterweight Golden Gloves competitor and was good enough to go pro, but chose not to because he disliked the "regimented lifestyle".[14]

New 52[edit]

Bullock is sent to meet and greet Jason Bard, whom Gordon has recruited for the police force. Bullock is shown to be on friendly terms with fellow Gotham cop Maggie Sawyer. Hours later, Bard arrests James Gordon for manslaughter after a train crash. [15]

During the investigation into a long-running series of police murders, Bullock is kidnapped and replaced by a female killer known as Jane Doe. Jane is obsessed with the figurative and literal taking of other people's lives. That it was only Batman who noticed Bullock had been replaced causes the detective great distress. [16]

Harvey assists in city-wide riots by helping James Gordon, now exonerated thanks to Batgirl, wire the entire city to display the Bat-signal. This raises the morale of the citizens and calms much of the panic. [17]

Other versions[edit]

Batman Adventures[edit]

In the comic book The Batman Adventures, Bullock is forced to resign after Oswald Cobblepot becomes mayor, thanks to Temple Fugate rigging the elections to exact revenge on Mayor Hill. As with the DCU version, he becomes a private detective.

Earth One[edit]

The Batman: Earth One graphic novel features a very different version of the Bullock character. This Bullock is young and handsome, the former star of a reality show called "Hollywood Detectives". He comes to Gotham in order to solve the old Wayne Murder case. Despite his flashy exterior, he is a well-trained and highly qualified police officer. He is partnered with James Gordon, who he at first believes is taking bribes. He later finds out that the real reason Gordon doesn't stop crimes is because he fears that the mob will kill his daughter like they allegedly killed his wife. When Barbara Gordon is kidnapped by a murderer known as the Birthday Boy, the two go to rescue her, and they manage to do it with Batman's help. However, finding the bodies of Birthday Boy's previous victims breaks Bullock and he becomes an alcoholic.[18] As of Volume Two, Bullock begin to recover his alcoholism after being urged from Gordon that he needs Bullock as an ally.[19]


In Earth-Three a universe where all heroes are villains, Harvey's counterpart appears in Justice League #24 in Alfred's flashback. Harvey Bullock of Earth-Three is still a member of Gotham Police, however he is a corrupt cop and like the rest of GCPD of this universe he works under Owlman. He is seen with the Earth-Three version of Renee Montoya in an alleyway pulling their guns out and stopping a family who was out watching a movie nearby. They demand the family to empty out their purses and wallets "in the name of the law". The family however are also armed with guns and begin firing, Harvey then requests for backup but it is denied as the rest of the police are currently helping Owlman track down the Joker (who is a hero in this universe). Renee and Bullock are then run over by Alfred despite them being allies since the Outsider was trying his best to follow Owlman, it is unclear whether Alfred did not see them or he simply did not care since Gotham PD worked under Owlman and he believed them to be expendable. [20]


In the Flashpoint universe, Harvey Bullock is an alcoholic who patronizes Montoya's bar. Batman interrogated him for information on the Joker.[21]

Injustice: Gods Among Us[edit]

In the alternate reality of Injustice: Gods Among Us Superman has subtly taken over the planet and violently taken over Gotham City. Harvey Bullock is brutally beaten by a 'stormtrooper' (a super-soldier working for the Regime) for trying to show his badge. In response to Superman's various crimes, Harvey and many of Gotham's police take stolen Krytptonian technology and gain super-powers, putting them on Superman's level and thus starting a war to take back their city. In "Year Three," Bullock quits the Insurgency when they become affiliated with Doctor Fate and John Constantine, claiming that this is now out of his league. Detective Chimp though tells him that he's a good cop and that they need him to help take down Superman. But, before Harvey makes his decision, The Spectre bursts through the door and kills Harvey by obliterating him and his skeletal remains. [22]

JLA: The Nail[edit]

In the Elseworlds series JLA: The Nail, Bullock is shown to be Gotham's Commissioner of Police (Reference is made to Gordon having been murdered, but nothing specific is known about his death). Bullock is even shown defending Batman against reporters in one panel, an opposite of mainstream Bullock.[23]

Whom Gods Destroy[edit]

In this universe, Bullock and Montoya are two Secret Service agents assigned to Presidential detail.[24]

In other media[edit]


Harvey Bullock, as he appeared in Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Bullock appears in Batman: The Animated Series voiced by Robert Costanzo. This version of the character retains his comics counterpart's rough, oafish manner, albeit without the drinking and smoking (he chews toothpicks instead). Although he dislikes and distrusts Batman, Bullock develops a grudging respect for the Dark Knight when Batman saves him from The Joker in "The Laughing Fish". Bullock, along with Commissioner Gordon, Mayor Hill, and Carl Rossum, is saved again by Batman in the two-part episode "Heart of Steel" when he and the others are abducted for the evil HARDAC computer's master plan to create robotic duplicates out of Gotham's officials. The android Bullock has a notable fight scene against Batman in said episode, although Batman defeats the duplicate by pushing him off a building and onto the Bat-Signal. By the episode "The Man Who Killed Batman", Bullock is visibly saddened by the news of the vigilante's apparent death at the hands of Sidney "Sid the Squid" Debris. He has also used the Bat-Signal in Gordon's absence on two occasions, in the episodes "Lock-Up" and "A Bullet for Bullock". Bullock earns the wrath of Killer Croc after sending him to prison for killing a trade union member. Croc swears revenge on Bullock, and attempts to frame him for sabotage and kill him in the episode "Vendetta". Bullock is sent to prison, but Batman clears his name. In "A Bullet for Bullock", directly adapted from Detective Comics #651, Bullock teams up with Batman to find out who is behind several attempts on his life. At first, it appears to be a mob boss named Vinnie "The Shark" Starkey, but it is later revealed that it is actually his own landlord, who is tired of Bullock's rudeness and sloppiness.
  • Robert Costanzo as the voice of Detective Bullock later makes small guest appearances in Superman: The Animated Series. He reprises this role in the Static Shock episode "Hard as Nails". He is first seen with some cops arresting a gang of criminals that Batman had already caught. When Batman and Static visit Commissioner Gordon and Bullock, they tell them that Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn have held up a ship containing gold bricks.
Donal Logue portrays the character in his first live-action appearance.
  • Bullock made his first live-action appearance in the Fox series Gotham, played by Donal Logue.[25] In the series, he is Detective James Gordon's partner, who introduces the idealistic Gordon to Gotham's seedy underbelly. He is portrayed as willing to bend - and sometimes break - the law to get results. He also harbors ties to organized crime. It is revealed that GCPD's corrupt commissioner, Gillian B. Loeb, is blackmailing him; as years earlier, Bullock's sergeant had coerced him into killing a mobster as a favor for the Falcone Crime Family, and Loeb uses that information to bend Bullock to his will. Gordon eventually blackmails Loeb into giving him Bullock's file.[26] In Season 2, Bullock quits the police force after Loeb demotes him, stops drinking, and becomes a bartender.[27] In the following episode, however, he returns to the force after a gang of insane criminals calling themselves "The Maniax" massacres GCPD headquarters.[28]


  • Bullock appears in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, a film spin-off from Batman: The Animated Series, and is voiced again by Robert Costanzo. In the film, when Batman is framed by a mysterious killer for the deaths of several mobsters, Bullock conducts his own manhunt for the Dark Knight with support from corrupt Councilman Arthur Reeves. Bullock very nearly succeeds in catching Batman in a police chase that culminates in a gunfight inside a construction site and an explosion. Despite being severely injured and unmasked, Batman manages to escape from Bullock, who does not see Batman's face.
  • Bullock also appears in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, the sequel to Mask of the Phantasm and SubZero, again voiced by Costanzo. He aids Batman and Gordon in the investigation of the mysterious Batwoman and her ties to the Penguin and Rupert Thorne. His new partner is Sonia Alcana, who is also one of the three Batwomen.

Video games[edit]

  • Bullock also features as a non-playing character in the MMORPG DC Universe Online. In the hero campaign, the players encounter Harvey Bullock in a greenhouse that Poison Ivy is using as a hideout.
  • Harvey Bullock appears as an ally of Captain Gordon in Batman: Arkham Origins, with Robert Costanzo reprising his role from Batman: The Animated Series. It is later revealed through extortion files collected by Edward Nashton (a.k.a., Edward Nygma) that Bullock was ordered to become Gordon's partner by corrupt Police Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb. Bullock is first seen in the game during the Blackgate breakout where he, with Gordon, attempts unsuccessfully to bring down Batman. Bullock is also seen when Batman saves the Joker's life. He later helps Gordon disarm Firefly's bombs. Bullock also takes part in the counter-attack on Joker's men when they attack Blackgate a second time.
  • Harvey Bullock is referenced in Batman: Arkham Knight, in GCPD headquarters, the name "Bullock" can be seen in a board listing detectives shifts.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wallace, Dan (2008), "Sgt. Bullock", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 63, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5 
  2. ^ Robert Greenberger. (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Random House. ISBN 9780345501066. 
  3. ^ Batman (vol. 1) #397 (July, 1986)
  4. ^ Two Face: Year One #1-2 (September–October 2008)
  5. ^ Checkmate (vol. 1) #1 (April 1988)
  6. ^ Checkmate (vol. 1) #8 (November 1988)
  7. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 1) #662 (June 1993)
  8. ^ Batman (vol. 1) #496 (July 1993)
  9. ^ Batman (vol. 1) #553 (April 1998)
  10. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 1) #742 (March 2000)
  11. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 1) #762 (November 2001)
  12. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 1) #867-870 (September-December 2010)
  13. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 2) #32 (June 2014)
  14. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 2) #33 (July 2014)
  15. ^ Batman Eternal #1 (June 2014)
  16. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 2) #18-22 (May-September 2013)
  17. ^ Batman Eternal #52 (April 2015)
  18. ^ Batman: Earth One (July 2012)
  19. ^ Batman: Earth One Volume Two (May 2015)
  20. ^ Justice League (vol. 2) (November 2013) #23.4: Secret Society
  21. ^ Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance #2 (July 2011)
  22. ^ Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2
  23. ^ JLA: The Nail #1 (August 1998)
  24. ^ Whom Gods Destroy #3 (1997)
  25. ^ "'Terriers' star officially lands key 'Gotham' role". TV Guide. 2014-02-12. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Everyone Has a Cobblepot". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 18. March 2, 2015. Fox. 
  27. ^ "Damned If You Do...". Gotham (TV series). Season 2. September 21, 2015. Fox. 
  28. ^ "Knock, Knock". Gotham (TV series). Season 2. September 29, 2015. Fox. 
Preceded by
Sarah Essen Gordon
GCPD Major Crimes Unit Shift Commander
Succeeded by
Maggie Sawyer