Mark Hoffman

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Mark Hoffman
Saw character
Costas-mandylor-iv.jpg
Costas Mandylor as Mark Hoffman in Saw IV
First appearanceSaw III (2006)
Last appearanceSaw 3D (2010)
Created byJames Wan
Leigh Whannell
Portrayed byCostas Mandylor
Voiced byTobin Bell
(while using puppet)
In-universe information
GenderMale
Association(s)John Kramer (mentor; deceased)
Amanda Young (fellow apprentice; deceased)
Angelina Acomb (sister; deceased)
Lawrence Gordon (eventual successor and enemy)
M.O.Cleverly constructed traps, mimicking those of the Jigsaw Killer
StatusUnknown

Detective Lieutenant Mark Hoffman is a fictional character and the secondary antagonist of 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[edit]

Saw III[edit]

Saw III briefly shows Hoffman during the investigation of Troy's chain trap. Hoffman is shown to be listening in on Officer Daniel Rigg's conversation with Detective Allison Kerry about Jigsaw's ability to continue his work. Unnoticed by the others, Hoffman pockets a chain fragment from the trap's aftermath and Kerry comments as to why the door had to be cut open by the police to secure the crime scene. He is very apathetic and glib while speaking to Rigg and Kerry. Rigg shows that this bothered him. Amanda and Hoffman then place 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, proceeds to sabotage the test by switching John's letter for Amanda with one of his own: a letter informing her that if she does not kill Lynn Denlon, he will tell John what she had done (she was the person that sent Cecil Adams to steal drugs, which resulted in Jill Tuck's miscarriage). Amanda does so, but is killed by Lynn's husband, Jeff Denlon, who then proceeds to kill John as well.[1]

Saw IV[edit]

Hoffman listening to the tape found in Jigsaw's stomach after his autopsy

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 revealed 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.[2]

Prior, Hoffman knocks out Rigg and makes it seem that Detective Eric Matthews and himself 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 Eric's 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.[2]

Saw V[edit]

Hoffman has a more significant role in Saw V. After FBI agent Peter Strahm enters Jigsaw's sickroom following the events of Saw IV, Hoffman comes in from the scene of Rigg's final test and locks Strahm in. Strahm finds a hidden back door leading into a passage, where a microcassette warns not to proceed any further. Ignoring this message, Strahm moves down the passage, where Hoffman captures him and places him into a trap intended to kill him by drowning. Much to Hoffman's bewilderment, Strahm escapes his trap and is carried away on a gurney, while Hoffman makes himself out to be a hero, taking credit for the rescue of Corbett Denlon and ending the Jigsaw murders.[3]

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 of trying to blame Jigsaw for something he had done, and blackmailed Hoffman into becoming his apprentice; he subsequently helped John find victims and set up several of the games seen in the first three films.

Strahm begins to pursue Hoffman as a five-person trap set up by the latter plays out. Hoffman plants evidence to frame Strahm as the last Jigsaw apprentice. This deception eventually leads Strahm's superior, FBI agent Dan Erickson, to put out an all-points bulletin for Strahm's immediate arrest for the Jigsaw murders.[3]

Meanwhile, Strahm trails Hoffman to a dark basement with the hopes of finding him there. Strahm instead finds a glass box with a cassette tape from Hoffman. The tape states that Strahm will need to trust him and get into the box (filled with broken glass) if he wants to live. Strahm chooses not to heed the warning and instead throws Hoffman into the box, which safely lowers Hoffman down into the floor while the walls slide together, crushing Strahm to death. Hoffman is left as the hero from the Jigsaw murders, and Strahm (still believed to be alive by the world at large) is considered a suspect as Jigsaw's second apprentice.[3]

Saw VI[edit]

In Saw VI, Hoffman traps a health insurer, William Easton, 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.

FBI 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. 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 him. 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, telling her that if she failed to do so, he would reveal her involvement in Jill's miscarriage to John.

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.

Saw 3D[edit]

In Saw 3D, 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 Matt 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 original reverse bear trap, killing her. Hoffman destroys his hideout and prepares to flee the city, but is attacked by three people wearing pig masks. One of the men is revealed to be Dr. Lawrence Gordon, 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.

Characterization[edit]

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 fucking 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.[4]

Future[edit]

In May 2021, longtime Saw series director Darren Lynn Bousman stated that Mandylor returning as Hoffman in a future Saw or Spiral film had been discussed.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saw III Unrated Edition (DVD). Lions Gate Entertainment. 2007.
  2. ^ a b Saw IV Unrated Director's Cut (DVD). Lions Gate Entertainment. 2008.
  3. ^ a b c Saw V (DVD). Lions Gate Entertainment. 2009.
  4. ^ "B-D Chats With the Cast and Crew of 'Saw VI', New Traps Revealed!". Bloody-Disgusting. 2009-05-21. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  5. ^ "Spiral director talks future of the Saw franchise". Entertainment Weekly. 2021-05-16. Retrieved 2021-05-16.