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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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7 Answers 7

I just got through watching it again and heres my take on why the cops came back. The Dad called the cops and also came over. Mom said everything was fine and the cops left. Heres where the answer lies. The cops would have called the Dad back to inform him that everything was alright. Obviously the girlfriend would have answered and explained that he went over there and that he was really worried. The cops would have now known that the Mom was lying and that the Dad was there and something was going on. The other thought I had was maybe the Dad drove over there and the cops ran the plates on his car and started connecting the dots

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Do you remember when the mom called her husband? She was like (i dont know the exact words but something like this) "they were 3 men in the house" blah blah. And a little more information before the line was cut. When the police officer asked her "what was the end of the sentence" she said that there's 3 things she would do if you come and jump on the bed with her right now and said she hung up before she says those things. WHICH IS A LIE that the cop knew. He grew more suspicious because the line wasn't cut right there.

And like the comment above. On how he didn't blink and the mom didn't blink too. I think that was one too. And maybe of course it was too obvious that the mom is acting sooooooo strange.

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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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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

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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