Jack Rafferty

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Jack Rafferty
Sin City character
Sin City (film) (promotional poster)
First appearance The Big Fat Kill
Created by Frank Miller
Portrayed by Benicio del Toro
Publisher Dark Horse Comics
Full name John "Jack" Rafferty
Gender Male
Affiliation(s) Basin City Police

Jack Rafferty is a fictional character in Frank Miller's Sin City, and an antagonist of The Big Fat Kill. He is mainly referred to by his nickname Jackie Boy. In the 2005 film adaptation of the comic books, he was portrayed by Benicio del Toro.


In the commentaries on the Sin City DVD, Miller has stated that at one time, Jack Rafferty was, in fact, a decent cop. However, after years on the force, he seemingly ended up being corrupted and worn down from the job. He specifically said how the Jack Rafferty we see in the movie is at rock bottom. Miller has confirmed there will be a graphic novel coming soon showing the rise and fall of Rafferty.

At the beginning of The Big Fat Kill, a drunken Rafferty is paying a visit to his old girlfriend Shellie. She wants nothing to do with him, but when he threatens to break down the door to her apartment, she lets him in out of fear, along with his pack of equally drunk friends. He wants her to call some stripper and waitress friends of hers and hit the town with him and his 'troops'. After she refuses, Rafferty strikes Shellie in the face after claiming he had never hit a woman in his life. While relieving himself in the bathroom, he is accosted by Dwight McCarthy, Shellie's new boyfriend, who had been hiding behind the shower curtain the whole time. Dwight threatens that if he does "ever so much as think [Shellie's] name... I'll cut you in ways that [would] make you useless to a woman." Dwight then shoves his head in the unflushed toilet.

Humiliated, Rafferty and his friends run off to Old Town, the prostitute quarter of Basin City, pursued by Dwight. After evading a police squad car by entering Old Town, where the cops are forbidden entrance while they are on duty, Rafferty tries to pick up a young hooker named Becky, who rebuffs him. He finally loses what patience he has and pulls what seems to be a 1911-style pistol (similar to Marv's.) on her. This cues Miho, Old Town's resident assassin, to cut off his hand with a Manji-shaped shuriken. She slices up his gang, then comes for him. While the wounded Rafferty is distracted by Dwight, Miho throws a metal rod into his gun's barrel. When he tries to shoot Dwight, the gun backfires causing the slide to lodge itself in his skull. Finishing the job, Miho purposely botches the decapitation, causing blood to spew from his neck, similar to "a Pez dispenser".

Dwight and the Old Town girls then discover that Rafferty is actually a 'hero cop', 'Iron Jack' Rafferty. If the cops find out that the Old Town girls killed him, the truce between them will be shattered, leaving them open to a hostile takeover by the mob. Realising this, Dwight offers to get rid of the bodies. Unfortunately, since there isn't enough room in the trunk of the scrapheap car they supply him with, Jack sits in the front with Dwight, 'where anyone who cares to look will see him'. As his frustration rises and the instinctive bottling of his rage and fear that is his weakness begins afresh, Dwight begins to hallucinate and imagines that Rafferty is talking to him, mocking him at every turn. This interferes with Dwight's driving and he attracts the attention of a motorcycle cop. At the mocking suggestion of Jack, Dwight slams on the brakes, driving the gun barrel further into Rafferty's head as he slams against the dashboard. The cop, believing Jack is merely stone drunk, tells Dwight that he's simply driving with a busted tail-light, and lets him go with a warning.

As Dwight is about to dispose of the bodies at the Santa Yolanda Tar Pits, an abandoned theme park of sorts, Irish mercenaries attack and cut off Jack's head to give to the mob. Miho pulls him out of the tarpits, where the car had landed after a grenade blew it up, and he then finds out that Gail has been captured and held hostage by Manute, one of the mob's enforcers. Dwight and Miho pursue and kill the mercenaries, retrieving the head. He calls the mobsters, offering to exchange the head for Gail. They agree, and the exchange is made. However, Dwight has packed the head with a dead mercenary's grenades and detonates it. The head explodes, eliminating Rafferty's head. The Old Town girls hiding on the rooftops shower the mobsters with bullets, killing them all.

Film appearances[edit]

During the making of the film, del Toro told makeup artist Gregory Nicotero that he felt that he needed to have some minor prosthetic work so that he could look even more like the character. In response, Nicotero squared off his chin and gave him a longer, thinner nose. The resulting look was not only strikingly similar, but was also subtle enough to not be obtrusive, given the make-up used for Mickey Rourke's Marv and Nick Stahl's Yellow Bastard; in guest director Quentin Tarantino's words, "you forget that that's not what [Benicio del Toro] looks like."

Quentin Tarantino directed the scene in which Dwight hallucinates that Jackie-Boy's corpse is talking. One notable suggestion Tarantino brought to the character was that his voice be affected by his partially severed neck and vocal cords, ranging from a throaty yet sibilant gurgle to a hoarse, guttural whisper.

Possible new Sin City appearance[edit]

Due generally to good reception to character Jack Rafferty (both in comic and film), Frank Miller has stated that he wouldn't mind doing a novel on the "rise and fall of Jack Rafferty". This novel would showcase Rafferty's slow but steady descent into alcoholism, womanizing and the formation of somewhat of a Messiah complex.