|“||It's not who you're underneath, but it's what you do that defines you.||„|
|~ Rachel's motto|
|“||Dear Bruce, I need to be honest and clear. I'm going to marry Harvey Dent. I love him, and I want to spend the rest of my life with him. When I told you that if Gotham no longer needed Batman we could be together, I meant it. But now I'm sure the day won't come when you no longer need Batman. I hope it does and if it does I will be there, but as your friend. I'm sorry to let you down. If you lose your faith in me, please keep your faith in people. Love, now and always, Rachel||„|
|~ Rachel Dawes' letter to Bruce which Alfred burned following Rachel's death to spare Bruce pain of reading it.|
Rachel Dawes is the former love interest and childhood friend of Bruce Wayne/Batman, and the girlfriend of Harvey Dent. She is one of the two deuteragonists (alongside James Gordon) of Batman Begins, a major character of The Dark Knight, and a posthumous character in The Dark Knight Rises.
She was played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins (as a child by Emma Lockhart) and by Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight.
Rachel is a childhood friend to Bruce Wayne. Rachel's mother worked for Bruce's parents, and the two would often play together on the grounds of Wayne Manor. After Bruce's parents are murdered by Joe Chill, Rachel's mother seeks other employment and leaves Wayne Manor with Rachel. She and Bruce remain close friends even after he fell in the batcave.
Rachel enrolls in law school and gets an internship at the Gotham City District Attorney's office during her first year. After Chill is murdered for testifying against Mafia boss Carmine Falcone, Bruce reveals to Rachel that he intended to kill Chill himself. Rachel was horrified, and slaps him in the face with anger and tells Bruce that his late parents would have been ashamed of him.
Soon afterward, Bruce leaves the United States and Rachel continues her studies in law school and graduated. Years later, she becomes an Assistant District Attorney full-time and has a brief relationship with her boss, District Attorney Carl Finch. Later, Rachel dedicates her career to eliminating crime in Gotham City which made her enemies of Falcone and Dr. Crane, Arkham Asylum's chief psychiatrist who is in Falcone's pocket.
Falcone eventually sends two thugs to kill her. Anticipating that Falcone would attempt to kill her, she carried a taser on her which she threatened to use on one of the thugs she faces upon leaving a train. The thug fled because he witnessed his partner get beaten down by the arrival of Batman. Batman also supplied her with incriminating photographs relating to a judge to ensure she would have the method of sending Falcone to jail when the time came. Batman became her new savior. Around the same time, Bruce runs into Rachel in a hotel, and was surprised that he didn't call her and is disappointed that he has become a selfish playboy. She told Bruce that deep down that while he may still be the same great kid who he used to be, it's not who he is underneath, but it's what he does do that defines him.
Later, Crane drugs her with his fear toxin at Arkham while she was evaluating Falcone who has suffered a psychotic breakdown. Batman rescues her again, administers an antidote and tells her that Crane is working with a terrorist organization called the League of Shadows. He gives her instructions for a plan to save the city from the League's attack. Rachel delivers the samples of an anti-toxin to Batman's ally, Gotham City Police Department detective James Gordon.
The League starts a riot in one of Gotham's slums and Rachel is trapped. Crane, who has now assumed the criminal alter ego of "The Scarecrow", attacks her again. She defends herself and a boy caught in the riot by firing a taser at the insane doctor. Soon, the city is overrun by Arkham's inmates who the League has released and Rachel and the boy are surrounded by lunatics led by Falcone's henchman, Victor Zsasz. Batman saves them at the last minute and gives Rachel a hint as to his secret identity. As Rachel realizes that her masked savior is Bruce, he leaves to save the remaining innocent bystanders.
One morning after the riot was over, Rachel goes to the ruins of Wayne Manor which had been burned down by the League and reconciles with Bruce. Despite their mutual attraction, Rachel decides that they can't be together if he's determined to lead a double life. She kisses him goodbye and leaves him to fulfill his destiny, hoping that he'll come back to her when Batman is no longer needed in Gotham. She's very proud of Bruce, having saved Gotham and given the city hope.
The Dark Knight
Rachel had become the assistant DA to Harvey Dent, a man who is challenging the mob in Gotham in a legal manner, and the two began dating, creating a love triangle between herself, Dent and Bruce. Bruce never had a chance to step in the ring, but he did one noble thing: step aside and let her figure out who she wants to be with. He also become a great ally and supporter for Harvey Dent.
When the mob hires the Joker to kill Batman out of desperation, the Joker says he will people until Batman reveals his identity. Despite Bruce's initial reluctance to give in to the Joker demands, he finally decides to turn himself in not wanting anyone else to die because of him. He asks Dent to assemble a press conference which he'll show his true identity and be arrested. Afterward Rachel tries to convince Bruce not to turn himself, but he remains firm in his decision. Bruce kisses Rachel one last time, hoping that the two will be together once he reveals his identity. But Harvey, realizing how important Batman is, says that he's the Batman in order to keep the real Batman free.
Rachel confronts Alfred about this deception, but Alfred simply suggests that Bruce and Harvey both recognise that Batman represents something more than a man. This is when Rachel realizes Bruce intends to use Harvey as bait to capture the Joker as he tries to kill him. The plan appears to a success when Batman and Commissioner Gordon capture him. During this time, Joker manipulates two cops into bringing Dent and Dawes to different buildings in the city. There, both of them are tied up with bombs and barrels of gasoline surrounding them, along with a radio that allowed the two of them to speak to each other before one of them dies. The Joker reveals the locations to Batman and the police during his interrogation, but deliberately switches them, knowing that Batman would go and save Rachel and as part of a plan to orchestrate Dent's downfall. Batman sets out to save Dawes while Gordon goes to rescue Dent, unaware of the falsehood in Joker's words until Batman arrives at the storage to find Dent, not Dawes as he believes, inside. Still, Batman manages to get Dent out, arriving moments after Rachel had told Harvey that she's gonna marry him, having previously requested time to consider his proposal. Her final words are " I don't want to live without you and I do have an answer for you: my answer is yes." Although half of Harvey's face is caught on fire and hideously burnt in the explosion that occurs seconds after their escape from the building. However, Gordon arrives too late to save Rachel and she dies when the bombs surrounding her are detonated, her last words assuring Harvey that it's okay for him to be saved instead of her.
Her body was never recovered as it was vaporized in the explosion and Bruce and Harvey are mourning over her death. Earlier before her death, Rachel left Alfred a note for Bruce, leaving it unsealed so Alfred could also read it and know the right time for Bruce to read it. She explains in the letter that because she truly loves Harvey and thinks that Bruce will never be able to give up his life as Batman. Therefore, she's going to marry Harvey, but that she'll always love Bruce and he'll remain as her friend. Alfred goes to give it to Bruce after her death but instead takes it back moments later when he decides that it's not yet time and then later burns it when he hears that Bruce believes that she would have waited for him, knowing that it would never be the right time.
The Dark Knight Rises
Following the deaths of Rachel and Dent, Bruce has retired into seclusion for eight years, seeing his only chance for a normal life destroyed along with Rachel. When Bane attacks Gotham City, Bruce decides to return to his crime-fighting life to oppose him and in an attempt to stop him, Alfred finally reveals to Bruce that Rachel chose Dent over him and that he burned the letter in order to spare Bruce the pain. This revelation puts a severe strain on Bruce's relationship with Alfred who leaves Wayne Manor when Bruce decides to continue as Batman.
Throughout the film, Bruce keeps a picture of Rachel. After Bruce and his allies defeat Bane, Talia al Ghul and the rest of the League of Shadows, Bruce retires his role as Batman after fulfilling his vows to turn Gotham into a city of order. Later, he passes his legacy as Gotham's Dark Knight to Detective John Blake and enters a relationship with Selina Kyle, proving that Rachel was wrong about Bruce not being able to move on from being Batman.
She is a good-hearted person, who is willing to help any way she can. While also wanting to protect Gotham City, she and Bruce disagree on how it should be done, as while Bruce is the violent vigilante Batman, Rachel works inside the law. Sometimes, however, she can come across as uptight. She usually takes her job as District Attorney very seriously and is not easily corrupted. Unlike Bruce, James Gordon, Lucius Fox, Alfred Pennyworth, John Blake and Harvey Dent they are the ones doing the heavy lifting and stopping crime and corruption. Batman is mostly the only one who is commended for stopping the crime and corruption in the city.
- Holmes' performance is often favored by fans, despite a Razzie nomination.
- She was the first major female character to be killed off in the Batman films.
- Fans felt that her overall character arc in The Dark Knight Trilogy was very minor.
- She is viewed as an unpopular character by fans.
- It is unknown if Rachel's mother was alive at the time of Rachel's death seeing as she was never mentioned in the second movie.
- Gyllenhaal took over the role in The Dark Knight after Holmes had to finish her role in Mad Money.