Costas Mandylor as Mark Hoffman in Saw IV
|First appearance||Saw III (2006)|
|Last appearance||Saw 3D (2010)|
|Created by||James Wan|
|Portrayed by||Costas Mandylor|
|Voiced by||Tobin Bell|
(while using puppet)
|Association(s)||John Kramer (mentor; deceased)|
Amanda Young (fellow apprentice; deceased)
Angelina Acombe (sister; deceased)
Lawrence Gordon (eventual successor and enemy)
|M.O.||Cleverly constructed traps, mimicking those of the Jigsaw Killer|
Detective Lieutenant Mark Hoffman is a fictional character from the Saw franchise. He is portrayed by Australian actor Costas Mandylor. While the character was first shown as a police officer in Saw III, later films in the series have expanded his role and revealed him to be an apprentice, and subsequently the successor of the Jigsaw Killer. Like his mentor and partner, he designs death traps that, for survivors, give them reason to appreciate their lives. Unlike his mentor, however, he has no emotion towards his victims and generally displays a very monotone personality.
Fictional character biography
Saw III briefly showed Hoffman during the investigation of Troy's chain trap. Hoffman was shown to be listening in on Officer Daniel Rigg's conversation with Allison Kerry about Jigsaw's ability to continue his work. Unnoticed by the others, Hoffman pocketed a chain fragment from the traps' aftermath and commented as to why the door had to be cut open by the police to secure the crime scene. He was very apathetic and glib while speaking to Rigg and Kerry. Rigg showed that this bothered him. Amanda and Hoffman then place Allison Kerry in a trap which kills her even though she did as she was instructed to, revealing that this was a trap meant to kill her.
As they begin to put John's final tests into action, Hoffman and Amanda begin fighting over John's affections and legacy. Hoffman tries to win John's favor by warning him against Amanda's now murderous take on his legacy. John instead chooses to allow the game to progress. Hoffman, knowing the test was actually meant for Amanda, proceeded to sabotage the test by switching John's letter for Amanda with one of his own: a letter informing her that, if she did not kill Lynn Denlon, he would tell John what she had done (she was the person that sent Cecil to steal drugs, which resulted in Jill's miscarriage). Amanda does so, but is killed by Lynn's husband, Jeff, who then proceeds to kill John as well.
In the opening scene of Saw IV, Hoffman is called to the police morgue to hear a cassette tape that is found in Jigsaw's stomach during his autopsy. It is later discovered that the events of Saw III and Saw IV occurred at the same time, so this scene actually happened after the events of those two films.
Prior, Hoffman knocks out Officer Daniel Rigg and makes it seem that Eric Matthews and he have been captured by Jigsaw, and that Rigg must save them both. Rigg completes a series of tests, leading him to Jigsaw's lair and the location of Hoffman and Matthews' trap. Despite previous warnings to not go through unsecured doors, Rigg enters the room of their trap before the timer expires, causing Eric's death and apparently killing Hoffman as well. However, Hoffman releases himself from his bonds, having never been in any danger, and reveals himself as Jigsaw's second accomplice. Hoffman leaves Rigg to die and walks out of the room. The morgue scene replays with a more detailed message to Hoffman, stating that Jigsaw's work is not over, and that Hoffman will not go untested.
Hoffman had a more significant role in Saw V. After FBI Agent Peter Strahm entered Jigsaw's sickroom following the events of Saw IV, Hoffman came in from the scene of Rigg's final test and locked Strahm in. Strahm found a hidden back door leading into a passage, where a microcassette warned not to proceed any further. Ignoring this message, Strahm moved down the passage, where Hoffman captured him and placed into a trap intended to kill him by drowning. Much to Hoffman's bewilderment, Strahm escaped his trap and was carried away on a gurney, while Hoffman made himself out to be a hero and took credit for ending the Jigsaw murders.
It is revealed that Hoffman was the one who set up Seth Baxter's inescapable trap in retaliation for the murder of his sister and made it look like a Jigsaw trap. Jigsaw subsequently kidnapped Hoffman, accusing him to blame him for something he had done, and that he copies him, and blackmailed him into becoming his apprentice; the two began working together to find victims and set up several of the games seen in the first three films.
Strahm began to pursue Hoffman as a five-person trap set up by the latter played out. Hoffman planted evidence to frame Strahm as the last Jigsaw apprentice. This deception eventually led Strahm's superior, FBI Agent Dan Erickson, to put out an all-points bulletin for Strahm's immediate arrest for the Jigsaw murders.
Meanwhile, Strahm trailed Hoffman to a dark basement with the hopes of finding him there. Strahm instead found a glass box with a cassette tape from Hoffman. The tape stated that Strahm would need to trust him and get into the box (filled with broken glass) if he wanted to live. Strahm chose not to heed the warning and instead threw Hoffman into the box, which safely lowered Hoffman down into the floor while the walls slid together, crushing Strahm to death. Hoffman was left as the hero from the Jigsaw murders, and Strahm (still believed to be alive by the world at large) was considered a suspect as Jigsaw's second apprentice.
In Saw VI, Hoffman traps an insurer, William, who denied a man's claim for medical help, leading to his death. It is later revealed that William played a key part in the death of Jigsaw himself by rejecting his own insurance claim, and that this is part of a wider game in which Jigsaw wants Hoffman to collaborate with Jill. Displeased, Hoffman visits Jill and tells her he will do it alone, demanding the information she was given about the targets for the trap. Jill gives Hoffman five envelopes that Jigsaw had given her for the next game.
Agent Lindsey Perez, thought to have died in Saw IV, is revealed to be alive. She figures out that Hoffman is Jigsaw's real apprentice, not Strahm as Hoffman made it seem. The key evidence is an audio lab analysis (with Hoffman present) of the tape from Seth Baxter's trap, which proves to contain Hoffman's disguised voice. Hoffman attacks Erickson and Perez, uses the technician as a shield against Perez' gunshots, and demands, "Who else knows about me?" Perez says, "Everyone," before Hoffman finally kills her. He then sets the audio lab on fire to destroy the evidence and finish off the three victims, planting Strahm's fingerprints around the room to keep suspicion from himself.
The contents of Amanda's letter (as seen in Saw III and Saw IV) are shown in a flashback which explains that Hoffman had discovered that when Cecil robbed Jill's clinic for drugs, he was not acting alone. Amanda, visibly going through withdrawals and desperate for another high, pressured Cecil into doing so, she inadvertently caused Jill to miscarry her and John's unborn child, Gideon. In the letter, Hoffman blackmailed Amanda into killing Lynn Denlon, telling her that if she failed to do so, he would reveal her involvement in Jill's miscarriage to Jigsaw. Amanda's letter reads:
You were with Cecil the night Jill lost Gideon. You killed their child. You know it, and I know it, so do exactly as I say.
Kill Lynn Denlon, or I will tell John what you did.
One of John's last requests to Jill is to test Hoffman, from one of the envelopes containing Hoffman's photograph. Jill stuns him, straps him into a chair, and puts him in an updated version of the reverse bear trap but does not leave a key for him to free himself. To escape, Hoffman slams his head down onto his left hand, breaking it so that he can slip it out of the strap. He tries unsuccessfully to pry the lock open with a screw driver, then throws his head through a barred window on the door; when the timer runs out, the device becomes jammed in the bars and cannot open fully. He then pulls his head free, tearing open his right cheek as a result, and survives.
After escaping the updated reverse bear trap, Hoffman leaves, taking medical supplies, and returns to his hideout where he stitches his cheek and bandages his hand. Jill meets with Gibson, an internal affairs detective at Hoffman's precinct, and tells him that Hoffman has been involved as an accomplice in nearly every Jigsaw murder. The police attempt to raid the area where Hoffman is, but he hides himself in a body bag and is rolled into the coroner's office. After escaping from there, he goes on a killing spree at the police station. He then finds Jill and puts her in the reverse bear trap, killing her. Hoffman destroys the hideout and prepares to flee the city, but is attacked by three people wearing pig masks. One of the men is revealed to be Lawrence, who survived his amputation. Lawrence takes Hoffman into the bathroom from the first film, chains him by the ankle to the pipes, and throws away the hacksaw he used to cut off his own foot before he can do the same. Lawrence then shuts off the lights and leaves, closing the door and leaving Hoffman to die.
Hoffman outwardly acts as a hard-working and responsible police officer. Under the Jigsaw persona, however, he is much more cold-blooded and very apathetic towards his victims. He also shows signs of needing to be in control of situations, and modifying them to make himself in control if he is not. It is also shown in Saw V that Hoffman loved his sister and was angered when her killer was released from prison.
However, Saw V and Saw VI showed the lengths Hoffman will go to in order to protect his identity. When his identity is threatened, he becomes much more brutal, with a willingness to break any rules and kill anyone he has to. This was shown in Saw V and Saw VI, when he murders three FBI agents and a lab technician (one indirectly, the others in cold blood) after his identity is revealed. In Saw 3D, Hoffman kills six police employees personally and several more indirectly in order to kill Jill Tuck.
Prior to the release of Saw VI, actor Costas Mandylor stated of his character, "Hoffman is sort of torn of becoming a mad man or becoming a guy that's more composed, coming from a pure place like Jigsaw. That's my character's dilemma; does he go f**king crazy or follow the rules of the boss?" Costas also mentioned that, when compared to Jigsaw and his morals, the rough edges of Hoffman are really shown.