In Terminator 2, they break into Miles Dyson's workplace (can't remember the name of it) and begin to plant explosives in order to destroy all the work he had been doing

When the police get to the scene a small team eventually break into the building and work their way upstairs. Arnie and the guys escape leaving the badly injured Miles Dyson with the detonator for the explosives.

When the team of police find Dyson, he is sat up against a counter of some sort holding a heavy weight above the detonator trigger. The policemen see this and after Dyson says, "I don't know how much longer I can hold this", the officer in charge rather assertively says "MOVE OUT! MOVE OUT!" and they try and make their exit.

They're clearly not fast enough as the building blows up a few seconds (if that) later. So my question is: why did they not try and take the detonator or heavy weight off of Dyson? You can tell by the size of the building that they had no chance of getting out in time and he was in no state to resist them.

I understand they might not have been able to react fast enough to him dropping the weight, but it surely makes more sense to try and do something or at least try and talk him out of doing it. Instead they leave (slowly I might add) even when it's plain that they won't make it.

  • As a side note, I think they made it out of the explosion radius. Didn't he just blow a single floor instead of the whole building. Additionally the movie at other times tries to emphasize, that Arnie and the gang are not directly killing anyone (apart from collateral damage from the T-1000 maybe). But it may also be that I don't remember this too well.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 16:54
  • the bit which emphasizes that arnie is not directly killing people is before when he pushes the desk out of the window and uses the mini gun to hold the police back. the part my question refers to is after this bit
    – jampez77
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 17:01
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    Yes, I know, but there are other incidents (when John repeatedly urges Arnie not to kill anyone), and Dyson effectively killing all these plicemen directly afterwards wouldn't fit this general moral theme. The movie wants to make clear, that this is now another kind of Terminator and it is now morally legal to be on Arnie's side, compared to the first movie. The movie letting Arnie spare all these guys and Dyson just immediately afterwards explicitly warning the others, while still killing them (even if not on purpose), just doesn't fit.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 17:07
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    ...Or maybe the movie's previous moral emphasizes just got me there and I want to believe the policemen didn't die ;). I guess this get's quite an interresting analysis when thinking about it.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 17:13
  • You made me really think about this: movies.stackexchange.com/q/9860/49.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 18:57

3 Answers 3


Dyson is threatening to blow up the building with an improvised dead man's switch. If the police try to disarm him, he's guaranteed to drop the weight and set off the explosives. They have no chance of success in disarming him. He is giving them a chance of getting out of the building by telling them he doesn't know how much longer he can hold the weight. A small chance is better than no chance, so the officer in charge gives the order to move out. It's only obvious that they don't have enough time after the fact.

  • that's a good answer but why would they not try and talk him out of it? wouldn't that be part of there job?
    – jampez77
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 17:00
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    @jampez77 Yes, normally one person might stay behind to try and talk him out of it while the rest get a safe distance away. But in an instance where the trigger is something that the bomber physically can't keep open, it makes sense for everyone to run for it. Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 17:12
  • Yes you are right about the dead man's switch. But no, you and the OP are wrong that they don't have time to get to safety. Only Dyson dies in the explosion (and he might've been fatally wounded already, anyway).
    – Dronz
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 5:02
  • @Dronz - I think the "don't have time" isn't reference to getting out, it's reference to having time to try and get the device from him, without setting it off, and having time to still get out if attempts don't look good. Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 16:42
  • @Dronz If you watch carefully, Dyson dies before the explosion and when he dies, he drops the weight and sets off the explosions. Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 7:23

The situation that they were in was that he was clearly dying, and struggling to hold the weight up. He was resigned to dying there. Therefore, it is unlikely that they could reason with him before he tripped the explosive either intentionally or not.

Hence, they have two choices which are either attempt to take the detonator off him and make the IED safe themselves or run.

The police captain would have looked at the distance between him and Miles, and determined that he would not be able to reach him before detonation.

Therefore, he chose to move outside, and hope that Miles lived long enough for at least some of his men to escape. For all he knew, Miles might be able to hold it for another 30 seconds, or the explosives might not be as powerful as they looked.


Miles was deeply conceived by Arnold and the company after attempt upon his life that works on survived parts of the terminator from first movie must be destroyed. He understood that there's no way back and their mission must be accomplished to save the humanity. So he warned the police team about some amount of time left for escape from the building but holding his hand with heavy thing above detonator was consciously arranged to create situation of no turning back. He wouldn't let them disarm him even at the expense of their lives. It was obvious for police. That's why he wasn't disarmed.

  • Is there support for this? Or is this just guesswork?
    – JohnP
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 19:29
  • If you mean sources from internet or the directors crew - then no. I have such answer because I think it's obvious and logical. Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 19:34
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    Is it just me, or does seem to be a rehash of @Bill The Lizard's answer that was accepted over five years ago?
    – BillDOe
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 21:27

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