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You know, we arrested a dentist last week. He liked to play with kids a bit too much. He lived two blocks from here. The sewer lines run under this neighborhood, too.
— Tapp alludes to his distrust towards Gordon.[src]

Detective David Tapp, also known as Bob, is a fictional character from the Saw franchise. He serves as the secondary protagonist of the first Saw film.

He was portrayed by Danny Glover.

Biography

Cecil Adams' Death

David Tapp was a homicide detective who worked for the Metropolitan Police Department. At some point in his career, Tapp got involved in the investigation of a serial killer case. The first victim was a drug addict named Cecil Adams, who died of blood loss in early 1995 after falling into a cage filled with razor wire. He had eight parallel cuts on his face, and a jigsaw piece had been cut from his skin, leading to the killer being nicknamed "Jigsaw." (Saw, Saw IV)

Seth Baxter's Death

Years later, in June 2003, another victim of Jigsaw was found in a deadly trap. A man named Seth Baxter had been cut in half by a giant pendulum-shaped blade. Additionally, both of his hands had been crushed by two mechanical vises. It turned out that the man used to be the boyfriend of Angelina Acomb, the sister of one of Tapp's colleagues, Detective Mark Hoffman. Seth had murdered her during a domestic dispute in 1997. Even though Seth received a life sentence in 1998, he was released from prison in May 2003 after five years due to a procedural error. Because of Hoffman's connection to Seth, Detective Allison Kerry undertook the investigation. (Saw V)

Paul Leahy's Death

Tapp and Sing investigate Paul's death.

The next victim that was found was a 46-years-old drug addict named Paul Leahy. Jigsaw had chosen him to participate in one of his gruesome games because Paul had sliced his wrists earlier, not because of depression but rather to attract attention. Therefore, Jigsaw had taken him to a cellar. The back part of the basement area was fenced-in and, thereby, basically turned into a cage. This cage was filled to the brim with razor wire. Upon examining the crime scene on March 19, 2004, the investigators found an audiotape, which Jigsaw had left for Paul. According to the tape, Paul was supposed to crawl through the razor wire to reach the exit door and save his life. However, the wounds he received in the process were so severe that he ultimately died of blood loss. When Tapp and his partner, Detective Steven Sing, arrived, Kerry presented them with the recording. Furthermore, she found a peephole in the door to the adjacent room, indicating that Jigsaw had been present during Paul's game and watched his demise. (Saw, Saw IV, Saw V)

Mark Wilson's Death

Shortly afterward, the detectives were called to another crime scene. The victim, a man named Mark Wilson, had been trapped inside a dark room with the only light source being a single candle. Furthermore, he was injected with a slow-acting poison and was informed by an audiotape that the only antidote was inside a safe. Mark had to find the correct combination among hundreds of numbers written all over the walls to save himself. This task was made even more difficult as the entire floor was covered with broken glass shards. Additionally, Mark's body was slathered with a jellylike, flammable substance. When walking around the room with the candle, Mark accidentally ignited the jelly, causing him to burn alive. While investigating the crime scene, Kerry noticed another peephole in one of the walls and informed Tapp and Sing that she had already found a similar one at the place of Paul's death. Furthermore, the detectives found a penlight and immediately sent it to the forensic lab. (Saw)

Amanda Young's Survival

Soon after Mark's body was found, Amanda Young, a drug addict, came to the police station after escaping a trap set up by Jigsaw. After a doctor examined her wounds, she was interrogated by Detective Tapp. Amanda told him how she had woken up at an unknown location and found herself strapped to a chair. While she was unconscious, Jigsaw had put a mechanical device on her head and hooked it into Amanda's upper and lower jaw. Amanda had received her instructions from a mechanical ventriloquist puppet named Billy, which spoke to her via a video recording. The doll described the device on her head as a "reverse bear trap," which would rip her mouth open if she did not manage to free herself within 60 seconds. To do so, she had to cut the key to the device from the stomach of her supposedly dead cellmate, Donnie Greco. When the tape ended, Amanda successfully freed herself from the chair and ultimately obtained the key by disemboweling her fellow prisoner, who was, in fact, still alive at that point. (Saw)

First Suspect

Tapp and Sing visit Gordon at the hospital.

Shortly afterward, the forensic lab results came in, and the fingerprints on the penlight found at the scene of Mark Wilson's death were identified as those of Dr. Lawrence Gordon, a renowned oncologist. Tapp and Sing immediately went to Gordon's working place at the Angel of Mercy Hospital and waited for him in his office. They asked him about his whereabouts on the previous night between 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock. When Gordon asked Tapp why he wanted to know about this, the latter showed him the penlight with his fingerprints. After that, Gordon was taken to the police station for further interrogation. On the advice of his lawyer, Brett, he told the officers that he had met up with one of his medical trainees, Carla, with whom he had an affair.

Even though Carla confirmed his alibi, Detective Sing asked him to stay a little longer and listen to the interrogation of Amanda Young, whom they requested to repeat her testimony in Gordon's presence as they wanted to see his reaction. The doctor agreed and was visibly shocked as Amanda described her traumatic experience, and even more so when Sing told him that Amanda's fellow prisoner was still alive and merely paralyzed with an opiate overdose when she cut him open. When Tapp asked her if she was grateful for what Jigsaw had done to her, she answered that he had helped her. However, despite this, she was still traumatized by those events and burst into tears. After the interrogation, Tapp drove Gordon home and implied that he still was not entirely convinced of the doctor's innocence. (Saw)

Jigsaw's Hideout

Tapp and Sing spot the graffito.

Soon afterward, Tapp further examined the video found at the scene of Amanda Young's game. When Sing was about to leave work, he asked him to go to the bar at the corner for an after-work beer with him and their colleagues, which Tapp declined with thanks as he wanted to continue his examination. Sing joked that Tapp should find himself a girlfriend and was about to leave the room when Tapp held him back upon spotting a graffito on a wall behind Jigsaw's puppet. This graffito was associated with K2K, a small gang from 118th street. Besides that, Tapp heard a fire alarm in the background and ordered Sing to check the recent fire reports for the area. With Sing's assistance, he ultimately found out about a fire in a rear house close to an abandoned mannequin factory at 213 Stygian Street. Although they did not expect to get a warrant, the detectives left the police station and went to the factory.

Tapp discovers Jeff Ridenhour.

Minutes later, Tapp and Sing arrived at the factory. Armed with a shotgun, Sing broke through the front door and entered the building, followed by Tapp, who gave him cover. Upon going upstairs and examining the location, they found the K2K graffito and recognized it as the same one from the video. When they searched the hideout, they found a box with tiny figures that the killer had used to visualize another deadly game, which Jigsaw had already planned for the future. Furthermore, they found a pig mask used by Jigsaw for abducting his victims and the mechanical ventriloquist puppet that had given Amanda Young the instructions for her game. Moments later, they suddenly caught a sound coming from under a large red cloth. Upon investigating the noise, they discovered a man named Jeff Ridenhour strapped to a mechanical chair. However, when they wanted to free him, they heard a nearby elevator. Eager to finally arrest the killer, Sing initially refused to follow Tapp's order, who told him to hide until they got a better look at Jigsaw, but ultimately gave in. The detectives quickly put the cloths back on Jeff and the puppet and went into hiding. (Saw)

Steven Sing's Death

Tapp holds the killer at gunpoint.

Moments later, Jigsaw arrived, disguised with a black cloak and hood. Tapp and Sing observed him as he approached Jeff and told him that he would become a test subject for one of his gruesome projects. At this moment, the detectives left their hiding spot and aimed their weapons at Jigsaw. Jigsaw reacted quickly and activated the mechanical chair by stepping on a pressure button on the floor. Thereby, two drills started to approach Jeff's head from both sides. While Sing desperately tried to deactivate the contraption, Tapp held Jigsaw at gunpoint. Even though Jigsaw told them that the key to the trap was in a box next to Jeff, Sing could not find the right one in time as there were dozens of keys attached to the key ring. In the last nick of time, Sing saved Jeff nonetheless by shooting the drills. However, the shots distracted Tapp and allowed Jigsaw to slash his throat with a hidden blade and run away. Sing pursued him and shot him in a hallway, causing him to collapse. Thinking that he was dead, Sing approached his body and thereby stepped on a tripwire. This carelessness proved to be fatal as the wire triggered another trap, which caused Sing to be killed by four shotguns attached to a ceiling beam. Afterward, Jigsaw, who wore bulletproof body armor under his cloak, left the factory without any significant injuries. (Saw)

Obsession

Tapp, who survived his injury, was saved later on, along with Jeff Ridenhour. However, he suffered a mental breakdown due to his role in Sing's death. Furthermore, he was discharged from the police force for invading Jigsaw's hideout without a warrant. However, because of his feelings of guilt, he decided to continue the investigation on his own to end Jigsaw's games for good. Still considering Lawrence Gordon the main suspect, his distrust towards the doctor grew into a downright obsession. Convinced that Gordon was the killer, Tapp rented a run-down flat across from the doctor's apartment and focused on observing him from then on. Due to his obsession, he wallpapered his flat with countless newspaper articles about everything that had to do with Jigsaw in any way. He also had a picture of Sing to remind him of his failure and keep him motivated for what soon became his vendetta against Gordon and Jigsaw.

Tapp observes Gordon's apartment.

In the fall of 2004, Tapp used the alias of "Bob" to hire a freelance photographer named Adam Stanheight and paid him $200 per night to observe Gordon. Meanwhile, Tapp continued watching Gordon from his apartment. Some days later, Adam and Dr. Gordon were both abducted by Jigsaw without Tapp's knowledge. While observing Gordon's house, Tapp spotted a man, Zep Hindle, standing at the window. Unbeknownst to him, Zep held Gordon's wife, Alison, and his daughter, Diana, hostage. Zep had been poisoned by Jigsaw and was forced to abduct Gordon's family. To obtain the antidote, Zep had to kill them in case that Gordon failed his test. Meanwhile, Gordon was forced to play another game during which he had to kill Adam by 6 o'clock. (Saw)

Death

When the clock eventually struck six, Zep prepared himself to finish his task and execute Diana and Alison. However, before doing so, he called Gordon and forced Alison to tell him that he had failed his test. Unbeknownst to him, Alison had secretly managed to get free from the cords restraining her hands. Therefore, she was able to take him by surprise and wrenched his weapon from him. While holding him at gunpoint, she ordered him to shove the phone to her as she wanted to talk to Lawrence. Unfortunately, she was distracted by her daughter, giving Zep the chance to attack her. They engaged in a fight, during which Zep triggered several shots and thereby caught Tapp's attention. Zep managed to get his weapon back but was injured when Alison grabbed a pair of scissors from a drawer and stabbed him in the leg, causing him to collapse. At this moment, Tapp stormed into the apartment and opened fire on Zep, while Alison grabbed the chance to free her daughter and escaped with her.

Tapp's corpse

When his magazine was empty, Tapp charged at his opponent but was incapacitated when the latter smashed a glass vase on his head. As he could not kill Gordon's family, Zep set out for the location of Gordon's game, hoping that he would still be given the antidote if he killed the doctor. However, Tapp quickly recovered and pursued Zep in his car to an abandoned industrial building. He followed him into the building and finally outran Zep, who was slowed down by his leg injury, in an underground tunnel network. The men engaged in another fight, during which the former detective quickly gained the upper hand by brutally battering Zep. However, during their scuffle, Tapp was shot in the chest, collapsed, and eventually succumbed to his wound, allowing Zep to continue his way. (Saw)

Post-Mortem

After Jigsaw's death at the hands of Jeff Denlon, another one of his victims, on the night of April 28, 2006, Tapp and his deceased colleagues - Daniel Rigg, Eric Matthews, Steven Sing, and Allison Kerry - were given a memorial. A picture of him stood next to those of his colleagues. On this occasion, Detective Hoffman and the Chief of Police each delivered a speech to honor them and their efforts. (Saw III, Saw V)

Personality

David Tapp was a hard-working detective, eager to solve every case he was confronted with and bring justice to both the victims and the offenders. He was also good friends with his partner, Steven Sing. However, his eagerness eventually turned into an obsession when Tapp started working on the Jigsaw case. When Sing was killed by one of Jigsaw's traps and Tapp was subsequently discharged from the police force, his mental state worsened to the point where he suffered an emotional breakdown. Obsessed with ending Jigsaw's games and driven by his feelings of guilt for Sing's demise, Tapp severely neglected himself for the sake of his investigation.

He was also very stubborn as he was convinced that Lawrence Gordon was the Jigsaw Killer, although the latter had an alibi for the time of the murders. Therefore, he started observing Gordon's house and meticulously wrote down everything he thought to be important in any way. Despite being a respected and experienced detective, Tapp was willing to break the service regulations and even the law if it served his investigation. This recklessness ultimately led to Sing's death and also cost him his own life later on.

Trivia

  • Danny Glover was initially supposed to return to film new scenes for Saw V. These plans were abandoned as he was unavailable due to his schedule.
  • Some fans speculated that Adam Stanheight might still be alive despite his on-screen death in Saw III. According to some of these theories, Tapp's corpse was used to replace Adam's body in the bathroom to cover up the latter's survival.
  • In an early draft for Spiral, it would have been established that Ezekiel Banks was related to David Tapp, but Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger opted not to go in this direction as it "didn't pass the smell test."
  • David Tapp is one of the playable characters in the video game Dead by Daylight.

Appearances and References

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