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In the movie Panic Room, how did the police know to come back? The police arrive at the house the first time as a result of Stephen Altman calling them. Meg Altman convinces them that there is nothing wrong and they leave.

However, they return within minutes/seconds of Burnham smashing the back window in an attempt to escape. Not just one/two patrol men either, but a full crew in tactical gear.

I know there were some pistol shots, but the gun was silenced so I don't think this should account for them coming back.

Was there something in Meg's conversation with Officer Keeney that let him know something was up, or was it something else?

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5 Answers 5

It has been a few years but the police officer could tell something was wrong, her mannerisms and body language were all off.
He asked her several times about any issues, the fact that she would not say anything told him that there was a serious issue - hence he made sure that the police came back mob-handed.

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In the movie, the cop tells her something along the lines of "if you're in some type of danger that you can't reall talk about right now you can use a signal or something., like maybe blink a couple of times." Throughout the whole time he talks it is clear that he does not blink (a signal) and neither does Meg. and so him not blinking was a signal to Meg to actually NOT blink if something was wrong. Or maybe he's just good at body language.

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I think there were more than a few shots: the robbers beat up Stephen, Meg used a sledgehammer to smash cameras and knock Raoul down the stairs. So the neighbors might have complained of the noise again.

Also, the police might have tried to check again later with Stephen, or his new wife might have called the police. The new wife would tell them that he went over to Meg's house and never came back.

It doesn't seem very realistic to me that the police would respond with such attention and force, but it is a rich neighborhood.

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You could be on to something there alright, I had considered that his new wife might have rung the police, but was wondering if there was something visible in the film that I missed. –  AidanO Jan 10 '13 at 10:49
I love the film and admire its plotting, but I don't quite believe all of it. For me, the first problem is when Meg comes out of the panic room, sees (apparently) Stephen barely conscious on the bed, but leaves the room instead of checking on him. –  Hew Wolff Jan 11 '13 at 19:05
there were a few odd bits alright, for me it was that she didn't just open the door and get reception on her mobile while the guys were down stairs!! –  AidanO Jan 14 '13 at 9:05

When Officer Keeney asked Meg to give him a signal, she does not, but she does respond with "You guys are good, they really do train you guys." This is saying something IS wrong and because of your training, you have picked up on it.

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Well, the lead officer the way that he kept looking at her throughout the conversation, I think he always knew something was wrong because of the previous 911 calls and the odd way she was acting. Also, after he told her about the blinking twice, she said something about if there was someone in the house or something? And then a moment later ran her hand through her hair, which I always was supposed to be a clue to the officer.

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