Lieutenant Mark D. Hoffman is a fictional character in the Saw film series. 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.
Hoffman is the main antagonist in the second trilogy and has a particular dislike of Jigsaw's previous apprentice Amanda Young.
Saw III briefly showed Hoffman during the investigation of Troy's chain trap. Hoffman was shown to be listening in on Lieutenant 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.
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 the first two films.
Prior, Hoffman knocks out Lieutenant Daniel Rigg and makes it seem that 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 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 for dead 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 much more significant role in Saw V. FBI Agent Peter Strahm was locked in Jigsaw's lair following the events of Saw IV, when Hoffman left Rigg and sealed Jigsaw's lair. Strahm finds a hidden door in Jigsaw's sick room and finds a cassette warning not to proceed any further. The warning is ignored and Strahm is abducted and placed into a trap intended to kill him. Much to Hoffman's bewilderment, Strahm escapes his trap and is carried away on a gurney while Hoffman tells everyone he was the hero and is responsible for ending the Jigsaw murders.
It is revealed that Hoffman is 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. Because of this, Jigsaw kidnapped Hoffman and blackmailed him into becoming his new apprentice.
Strahm goes on to pursue Hoffman as a five-person trap that he set up plays out. As the movie progresses, Hoffman is making it seem to others that Strahm is actually 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.
Meanwhile, Strahm trails Hoffman to a dark basement with the hopes of finding Hoffman there. Strahm instead finds a glass box with a cassette tape from Hoffman. The tape states that Strahm will need to trust him and jump into the box if he wishes to live. Strahm chooses not to heed the warning and instead throws Hoffman into the box as he attempts to intercept him. The box 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 now 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 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 major piece of evidence is when a technician analyzes the voice of Seth Baxter's tape and discovers that it is Hoffman's voice. Hoffman kills Erickson, Perez, and the technician, and asks, "Who else knows about me?" as he stabs Perez. Perez utters "everyone," before Hoffman finally kills her. Hoffman then sets the audio lab on fire to destroy the evidence, planting Strahm's fingerprints around the room to keep suspicion from himself.
The contents of Amanda's letter (as seen in Saw III and 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, and he 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: Amanda, 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. Jill stuns him, then puts him in the revised edition of the reverse bear trap but does not leave a key for him to free himself. To escape, Hoffman breaks several bones of his left hand to free himself from his bindings. To keep the trap from killing him, Hoffman throws his head through a window on the door, jamming the trap so that it cannot fully open when its timer runs out. He then pulls free of the device, tearing open his right cheek as a result, and survives.
It has been confirmed that Costas Mandylor will return for Saw 3D, reprising his role as Hoffman.
Saw V more deeply reveals Hoffman's original ties with Jigsaw. It shows how the murder of his younger sister Angelina Acomb by Seth Baxter led him to become vengeful and kill Seth. Hoffman chose to make Seth's murder appear like a Jigsaw trap in order to divert suspicion away from himself, but the device was inescapable.
From there, Hoffman is shown to be kidnapped by Jigsaw and blackmailed into helping him capture his test subjects. Eventually, Hoffman realizes this is the best way to rehabilitate criminals, so he becomes a willing apprentice to Jigsaw. He is revealed to have participated in capturing test subjects and setting up traps for each of the first three films, despite the fact that he didn't make a major appearance until Saw IV.
Unlike Jigsaw's other apprentice, Amanda Young, Hoffman obeys and believes in Jigsaw's mantra of teaching people lessons to appreciate life. This is confirmed when at the end of Saw V, Hoffman uses Jigsaw's methods of human predictability to ensure that Strahm fails his trap by allowing himself to be thrown into the glass box trap. Jigsaw once told Hoffman while they were setting up the nerve gas house from Saw II, "If you're good at anticipating the human mind, it leaves nothing to chance."
However, by Saw VI, it is evident that Amanda's inclusion in their games had caused a strain on Hoffman and Jigsaw's relationship. During the flashback to the Rack Trap in Saw III Jigsaw and Hoffman had become short with one another. First Jigsaw scolds him for using the wrong grease on the gears of the trap. Then Jigsaw chides him for his maltreatment of Timothy Young, stating "That's a human being, Mark." Hoffman remains unfazed and returns that Jigsaw wants Timothy Young to suffer as much as he does. Hoffman also displays his dislike for Amanda saying he doesn't need to be tested because he didn't waste his life, while pointing out the marks on her wrists from cutting; a sign she did not appreciate her life.
Initially, Hoffman imitated Jigsaw's M.O. with the murder of Seth Baxter. Hoffman made Seth's trap inescapable, despite the fact that Seth did what was required of him; Hoffman also cut a puzzle piece from Seth's flesh. Jigsaw later pointed out he used poor tools in the trap, making it an even worse recreation of a Jigsaw murder.
Hoffman eventually adopted Jigsaw's M.O., in which the traps he set were meant to allow victims a chance to free themselves. That is if he wanted them to.
Later, in Saw VI, Hoffman had used a lesser quality knife to cut the jigsaw piece out of Eddie's side, a detail that contributed to eventual discovery of identity by FBI agents Perez and Erickson. This is shown as a flawed attempt at imitating Jigsaw's methods, similar to Seth Baxter's trap.
Emulation of Jigsaw's icons
After becoming an apprentice to Jigsaw, Hoffman often adopted many of his iconic symbols. For instance, when he was capturing his victims he wore a pig mask, along with a black coat to mimic the black-red robe. He also used Jigsaw's "Game over" phrase at the end of Saw IV before leaving Rigg to die, and left a microcassette recording of game instructions for Strahm at the end of Saw V.
Prior to the release of Saw VI, actor Costas Mandylor spoke on his character, stating, "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.
|Saw • II • III • IV • V • VI • 3D|