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|“||Throughout this ordeal, if we've learned anything, it's that human life is sacred. And we've learned that, every day, life should be cherished. Justice is the backbone to every peaceful society. And I believe that true justice has been served.||„|
|~ Mark Hoffman|
Mark Hoffman is the secondary antagonist of Saw IV and the main antagonist of its three sequels, and one of Jigsaw's secret apprentices. Like his mentor and other apprentice, he designs death traps that, for survivors, give them reason to appreciate their lives. Unlike Jigsaw's other accomplice, Amanda Young, many of his traps give the victims the chance to escape, but unlike Jigsaw, he has no emotion towards his victims.
In the films he appears in, he is played by Costas Mandylor.
Much of Hoffman's backstory is presented in Saw V. It was revealed in the movie that Hoffman had spent nearly twenty years as a police officer. His early life is completely unknown and his sister, Angelina, is the only family member of his who is seen, and only in flashback. It was mentioned that Angelina was his only family before she was murdered by her abusive boyfriend, Seth Baxter.
Seth Baxter spent five years in prison before being released on a technicality. Angered by this, Hoffman set up an inescapable trap that mirrored the M.O. of the Jigsaw Killer, and did so in a manner that will kill him regardless of his choice. Hoffman even went as far as to create a fake Jigsaw tape for him using audio filtration equipment, likely obtained from the police station. Hoffman then abducted Seth and placed him in the trap, then watched as the murderer of his sister was painfully cut in half by it, despite doing what it took to escape, by crushing his hands. The incident was promptly blamed on the Jigsaw killer.
Arriving to his apartment, he unknowingly meets John Kramer (Jigsaw) in an elevator. Noticing that only one button (the button he pressed upon entering) was lit, he was then attacked from behind and abducted. Hoffman then wakes in Jigsaw's lair at the time and strapped to a modified double-barreled shotgun aimed at his head. John calmly warns him that if he attempts to escape, he will trigger it and kill himself. John then explains that he has evidence that proves Hoffman committed Seth's murder, and then proceeds to test Hoffman's will to survive by pulling the unloaded barrel's trigger. He then releases Hoffman and offers him an ultimatum: he can kill John and have all the evidence released, thus destroying him and his career, or learn to see how Jigsaw's method of "rehabilitation" truly works. As Hoffman ponders his choice, John shows him he could have killed him by firing the loaded barrel, and questions what his sister would think. Hoffman then accepts his offer.
Hoffman firsts assists John by abducting a victim and placing him in a razor-wire maze trap. Hoffman informs John during the trap that the police are apparently getting closer. John then instructs Hoffman to plant evidence that will lead the police to his personal doctor. He later assisted John in putting together the test of Eric Matthews by placing Amanda (as John instructed) in the house along with the other seven victims. During this, John gave Hoffman advice on how to predict people's actions regarding chance.
Hoffman briefly appeared in Saw III, which was his first appearance, but his role was further expanded in the following movies.
Hoffman was first seen at the site of a victim of one of Amanda Young's inescapable traps. Hoffman confirmed the victim wasn't Eric Matthews (who was abducted by Jigsaw 6 months earlier) and elaborated on how the game progressed to other police officers. He then stole a piece of the trap, and listened as Detective Kerry pointed out the trap was inescapable. Amanda and Hoffman then place Kerry in a trap which kills her even though she did as she was instructed to.
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 one of the subjects, he would tell John about her role in his wife (Jill Tuck's) miscarriage. Amanda does so, but is killed by the subject's husband, who then proceeded to kill John as well.
Hoffman, detective Rigg and a team of other officers discover Kerry's corpse near the beginning of the film. Hoffman chastises Rigg for breaking rules, then sends him home. Hoffman then meets with Agents Strahm and Perez, Kerry's two FBI contacts. As they examine the trap that killed Kerry, Strahm points out that she was too heavy for Amanda Young to lift into the device - implying a second apprentice. Hoffman disagrees, which causes tension between the two later on.
Hoffman later abducts Rigg and places him in his own test, while placing himself and Eric Matthews as two victims of the game. Simultaneously, Strahm and Perez follow clues at each one of Rigg's tests, which apparently leads to Perez's death.
In the end, Rigg fails his test, killing Matthews, John's lawyer (who was also a part of the game) and apparently Hoffman himself. Hoffman then leaves the electric chair he was supposedly trapped in and tells Rigg "Game Over" for failing his final test. Hoffman leaves Rigg to die and finds Strahm (who arrived at the plant) in the room containing the corpses of Amanda, John and the other two subjects from the previous film. As Strahm is not looking, Hoffman shuts the door, locking him inside, and leaves.
Sometime after this, Hoffman is called down to a morgue after John's autopsy. There he receives a tape (found in John's stomach) that warns him he will not go untested.
Saw VHoffman apparently abducts Strahm while he attempts to escape near the beginning of the film, and places him in a trap meant to kill him. He leaves the facility with the daughter of one of the victims and it appears they are the only survivors until Strahm is wheeled out, who managed to survive the trap. Hoffman is later given a promotion for surviving Jigsaw's "last" game. Following his promotion, Hoffman discovers a note in his office reading "I know who you are." Unnerved by this, Hoffman begins trying to move suspicion of his identity as an apprentice to someone else.
Strahm, however, is suspicious of Hoffman's story, and tells him this. Hoffman leaves Strahm with a threat not to get involved. Later, Strahm's superior officer, Erickson, throws him off the case for his handling of it. Using this to his advantage, Hoffman then starts trying to make Strahm appear to be the second apprentice. He then has Jill Tuck help strengthen Erickson's suspicions.
Strahm eventually gains evidence of Hoffman's involvement, learning that Hoffman stayed on every investigation following Seth's death, and makes a theory that Hoffman leaked information on other officers. He then goes to find Hoffman.
Meanwhile, a game which John had Hoffman set up ends with the deaths of three of the game's five victims. Hoffman steals Strahm's cell phone and places it at the end for Erickson to track and find it. He then leads Strahm to his house and into a test similar to his first. There, Strahm finds a box full of broken glass and a tape player. The tape, from Hoffman, tells Strahm to trust him and get in to survive (mirroring his first test near the beginning). Hoffman arrives minutes later and is attacked by Strahm, who throws him in the box and locks him inside. This action seals the room.
After Strahm demands how to open the door, Hoffman points to the tape, which Strahm had paused before Hoffman entered. The tape informs Strahm that, if he does not follow the rules, he will die being named the apprentice. The box begins to lower into the floor, and the walls begin to close. Strahm attempts to escape, warning Hoffman that he still knows his identity. Hoffman then watches as Strahm is crushed to death above him.
Saw VIFollowing Strahm's death, Hoffman uses one of his severed remaining hands to plant fingerprints at the site of another game. He later arrives at the site after being called there by Erickson, who confirms the results. Erickson then introduces him to Agent Perez, who survived her trap in Saw IV. Hoffman reluctantly agrees to work with them. Later, he is again called to the morgue with news from Erickson and Perez: the coroner proves that the knife used to cut a Jigsaw piece from one of the victims was different than the one used by John Kramer, and used only in one other instance - the murder of Seth Baxter. The two explain that they are looking for the tape (which Hoffman had modified to make his voice sound like Jigsaw's) to prove Strahm was behind it as well.
Unnerved by this, Hoffman arrives at Jill Tuck's clinic and forcefully takes control of John's final game, which was meant for them both to perform. In the process, he demanded Jill give him the envelopes which came in the box Jill received from John's will.
Hoffman abducts John's former insurance agent, William Easton, and places him through a series of tests. During the game, Hoffman is forced to leave due to more developments in the case. Perez informs him that Strahm's fingerprints showed signs that they were contaminated, and that the tape was found. The three then go to the location where it is being decoded. Perez then begins questioning Hoffman's attitude and her belief of Strahm's involvement. Erickson takes over and reveals to Hoffman that, according to signs on Strahm's fingerprints, he was dead when they were left. Immediately following this, the tape is decoded, revealing Hoffman's voice. Hoffman then proceeds to kill Erickson, the technician and Perez. As Perez is dying, he demands to know who else knows. She tells him "everyone" before he finally kills her.
Hoffman quickly works to re-establish Strahm as the apprentice by planting his fingerprints around the room and setting it on fire. He arrives at the building where William's game is taking place just as it is ending. As the final seconds begin, Hoffman discovers a printout of his letter to Amanda. As he reads it, Jill enters and activates a device under his chair that knocks him unconscious. Jill then begins strapping him down before placing a modified Reverse-Beartrap similar to Amanda's on him. As he begins to wake, she shows him that she had received a sixth envelope from John, which instructed her to test Hoffman.
William's game culminates with his death at the hands of a vengeful son of a client who died when William dropped him from their insurance. Immediately after, Jill leaves Hoffman to die with a 45-second timer on the device. Hoffman proceeds to break one of his arms with the device, freeing himself, before sending his head through a window as the timer ends. The device catches on the window frame and opens partially. Hoffman eventually manages to slip out, tearing his right cheek open as a result.
Saw 3DAfter surviving the reverse bear trap, Hoffman stitches the wound on the side of his face, leaving a large scar. Jill witnesses his survival, as she was standing outside the door when he placed the reverse bear trap between the bars, and ran off. She runs to internal affairs and tells Officer Gibson that Hoffman is trying to kill her and that he is a Jigsaw apprentice. After setting up two more saw traps, he gets into a body bag that one of the victims is placed in, kills Dr. Heffner, and many officers, some by stabbing them in the throat. He sets up a device that shoots Gibson dead. He finds Jill and chases her, eventually catching her and placing her in the original reverse bear trap. With no key to escape, the trap tears Jill's mouth open, killing her. Hoffman burns down his hideout, which explodes (along with Billy the puppet), but while walking away he is attacked by three figures in pig masks, who knock him out. Two of them (though unrevealed until the writers' commentary) are Brad and Ryan, two previous test subjects, and their leader is Dr. Gordon, who survived his test and was nursed back to health by Jigsaw.
Dr. Gordon was now an accomplice to Jigsaw, helping him with the surgical parts of his traps (such as placing a key behind Michael's eye), and a tape that Jill gave to Dr. Gordon told him to protect Jill and take immediate action should she be killed. Dr. Gordon chains Hoffman in the Bathroom from the first movie. When Hoffman awakens, he tries to grab the hacksaw to cut his foot off, but Gordon takes it away. He says "Game over" and locks Hoffman inside, leaving him to die.
The writers' commentary for Saw 3D has confirmed that Hoffman does not survive.
Hoffman's traps work on the same principle as all of Jigsaw's other traps. Most of Hoffman's traps are escapable, as Hoffman almost prefers to see people mutilated for life, as made evident in Saw VI with the amount of pleasure Hoffman took in questioning Simone about her missing arm. However, Hoffman was not above constructing inescapable traps, such as Seth Baxter's pendulum, the machine gun turret, the cube and the reverse bear trap for Jill. Other traps were escapable, but relied on multiple people dying, such as The Carousel or The Hanging Room. As shown in Saw V and Saw VI, the crushing room was survivable, had Strahm listened to Hoffman and entered the glass coffin. Following his attempted murder in Saw VI, Hoffman appears to have gone back to his original use of traps by putting Jill in a trap in which there is no escape. The first and last traps Hoffman constructed were inescapable. Hoffman's traps are also more brutal and horrific than Jigsaw's or Amanda's (such as The Silence Circle trap or The Blade Table), and typically result in more severe torture and mutilation, as he did it for his own personal enjoyment. Hoffman also did not care if innocents were caught in a trap and painfully killed, such as Joyce Dagen.
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. He also shows signs of needing to be in control of situations, and modifying them to make himself in control if he isn't. Hoffman is clearly a sociopath, as shown by how he continues to do traps after Jigsaw and Amanda's death when it is no longer necessary out of enjoyment. It is shown in Saw VI that he listens to the audio tapes of his victims suffering. Because of Hoffman's remorseless and psychotic behavior, he has the highest kill count of every character in the Saw franchise, at 21. This is not counting the people who were killed in his traps, which was also more than Jigsaw or Amanda, (his traps were also more brutal and occasionally even involved innocents) or the deaths that were connected to Hoffman and indirectly responsible for, such as Lynn Denlon.
Hoffman appears to be uncomfortable with actually seeing the results of his actions. This is evident several times in Saw V (first hinted at when he turns away after Seth dies, then shown more explicitly at the end, when he first watches as Strahm's arm is crushed, then looks away in disgust as the walls finally close) and Saw VI (shown first when he looks away when arriving at the Pound of Flesh trap, then with hints of regret as he reads over Amanda's letter).
Saw V and Saw VI show the lengths Hoffman will go to in order to protect his identity. When his identity is threatened, he becomes much more brutal and willing to break any rules and kill anyone he has to. This was shown in Saw V and Saw VI, when he kills four FBI agents after his identity is revealed, and especially Saw 3D where he kills several officers to get to Jill. Hoffman also is willing to go to great lengths to get revenge against people who have wronged him, something Jigsaw noticed in Saw V. This is demonstrated in how he tortured and killed Seth Baxter, his sister's killer, and when he tracked down Jill Tuck and executed her, killing several police officers in the process without remorse.
Prior to the release of Saw VI, Costas Mandylor stated in an interview that, "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?", later saying that, when compared to Jigsaw and his morals, the rough edges of Hoffman are more pronounced.Director Kevin Greutert stated that, in Saw 3D, Hoffman has gone "batshit insane" due to Jill's attempt to kill him.