|“||I want to play a game. The rules are simple. All you have to do is sit here and talk to me, listen to me. [Eric puts a walkie-talkie on the floor] If you do that long enough, then you will find your son in a safe and secure state.||”|
— John explains the rules to Eric[src]
At one point during his series of murders, John Kramer, better known as the Jigsaw Killer, targeted Eric Matthews, a corrupt detective who had faked the evidence in several of his cases, resulting in the conviction of numerous innocent people, including John's apprentice, Amanda Young. In order to test Eric, John and his apprentices set up a deadly game, which was going to be directly connected to Eric's game. Therefore, John's other apprentice, Detective Mark Hoffman, obtained the police files of the seven people framed by Eric, as all of them were going to be tested as well. These people were Jonas Singer, his manager Gus Colyard, the prostitute Addison Corday, the drug dealer Xavier Chavez, Laura Hunter, Obi Tate, and Amanda, who participated in the game as well and played as another victim, primarily to observe the game's progress. Additionally, Daniel Matthews, Eric's son, with whom he had a strained relationship after cheating on his mother, was tested as well. All of these people were abducted and taken to a run-down house. When they woke up, they learned from an audio tape left by Jigsaw that they were all breathing in a deadly nerve agent, similar to the Sarin Gas used during the Tokyo subway attacks on March 20, 1995. In order to survive, they had to overcome the tests prepared for them all around the house, so they could obtain syringes with the antidote. (Saw II, V)
While the game was going on, John abducted Michael Marks, a police informant working for Detective Matthews. During surgery, Dr. Lawrence Gordon, John's oncologist and third apprentice, placed a key behind Michael's right eye. After that, Michael was placed into another trap called the Death Mask. When he awoke, he received his instructions via a video tape. Given only 60 seconds to cut out his eye and obtain the key to escape the trap, Michael attempted to do so but ultimately failed, resulting in his death.
After that, John returned to his hideout at the Wilson Steel Plant and waited for Amanda, who arrived later on with the unconscious Daniel Matthews, the only survivor of the Nerve Gas House besides her. John locked Daniel up in a safe, together with a sufficient supply of oxygen, and prepared a video broadcast of the game's recordings in another house at 237 North Hyde Crescent, which was almost identical to the actual Nerve Gas House. After that, he set up a booby trap and waited for the police to arrive at Wilson Steel, as John left a message for Detective Matthews at the crime scene of Michael's death, which was found soon afterward during an asbestos disposal. (Saw II)
Eric Matthew's Test
The day after Michael's death, Detective Eric Matthews, Detective Allison Kerry, and a SWAT team led by Sergeant Daniel Rigg arrived at John's hideout after Eric had discovered an engraving of Wilson Steel on the metal parts that the mask had been built of and was therefore able to deduce the hideout's location. John was warned of their presence when the booby trap was set off by three SWAT officers, leaving two of them dead and Officer Pete Baker heavily injured. When the remaining police forces reached John, Officer Rigg ordered his men to arrest him. However, they refused to do so after John told Eric it'd be best if John stayed where he was until Eric took care of his "problem". He then instructed Eric to watch the surveillance monitors in the next room. When Eric saw the recording of the game at the Nerve Gas House, thinking it was a live broadcast, he immediately attempted to attack John, but was inevitably held back by Rigg. John then explained to him the rules of his test. Eric's colleagues had to leave the room, while Eric merely had to sit down and talk to John for a period of two hours, until a timer went off and caused John's safe to open, revealing Daniel Matthews, who was still trapped inside, unbeknownst to his father. However, he didn't tell Eric that the game's broadcast was only a recording.
Eric unsuccessfully tried to call his son, as he was hoping that Jigsaw was only bluffing. Kerry tried to calm Eric down. However, this attempt remained unsuccessful as Eric got more and more nervous, especially when the first victim, Gus Colyard, was killed by a booby trap only a few minutes after the game began. On Rigg's advice, Kerry called for a tech team to trace back the video broadcast. After a talk with John Kramer, Eric told his colleagues about his ultimatum: In order to save his son, he had to just sit down and talk to John until the end of the game. Kerry then got into an argument with Rigg, who suggested using violence to grill John about the victims' whereabouts. She told him this wouldn't work, stating that John fits a certain psychological profile. Eventually, she convinced Eric to agree to John's challenge and talk to him while she kept an eye on the progress of the game. However, when talking to John, Eric placed a walkie-talkie beneath his chair, so his colleagues were able to listen to their conversation.
When they began to talk to each other, John introduced himself to Eric by his name. However, when Eric asked him if he would rather be called "Jigsaw", John claimed that this nickname came from the police and the press, not from him. Furthermore, he revealed the true meaning behind the jigsaw pieces that he cut from his deceased victims' skins, which gave him his nickname. They were a symbol of an important piece of the "human puzzle" that the victims, who failed their tests, were missing in John's opinion: the survival instinct. He also told Eric about his attempted suicide after he was diagnosed with cancer and how his survival of this event caused him to start his mission. During their conversation, he frequently provoked Eric by talking about his violent behavior towards a suspect approximately five years ago and the bad relationship he had with his son after he cheated on his wife with Kerry. By telling him the truth about his self-imposed mission and confronting him with his past mistakes, John wanted Eric to understand him and his work. (Saw II)
However, as the timer was ticking down and Eric's desperation grew due to the tech team running late, Kerry advised him to destroy all of John's notes and plans in his hideout in order to provoke him. Eric followed her advice, but John remained unimpressed by his outburst of rage and his threats to kill him if he didn't get his son back. John just calmly watched him and casually commented that he wouldn't bring him in by destroying all the evidence. Eric then stopped his tantrum when the technical team arrived to trace the recordings of the game. When he decided to end his talk with John, the latter told him to take a look at the files of the seven people once framed by Eric for crimes they didn't commit and commented that they were about to find out that Daniel was his son. When the recordings showed how his frightened son was pursued by Xavier Chavez, Eric brutally beat John up and threatened him with his gun, forcing him to disclose Daniel's whereabouts. Heavily injured, John ultimately offered to take him to the house, but demanded to go there with Eric alone. Eric agreed and left the building with John in a hidden elevator. Pursued by the SWAT officers, Eric and John took one of their armored vehicles to flee. While on their way, John told Eric how to get to the Nerve Gas House, where the game was taking place. Meanwhile, the tech team managed to trace the video broadcast back to the second house at 237 North Hyde Crescent. At that point, neither Eric nor his colleagues knew that the game was over long ago and that John merely presented them a recording of the events that he had broadcast from the second house.
When Eric and John finally arrived at the Nerve Gas House, John gave him the key and waited in the car as Eric entered the building. As he searched the house, he stumbled upon the dead body of Laura Hunter. He ultimately reached the room where the game had begun and also found the corpses of Gus Colyard and Jonas Singer, which already showed obvious signs of decomposition. Furthermore, he discovered a used syringe which had once contained a dose of the antidote the victims had to find in order to survive the effects of the nerve gas. Screaming for his son, Eric went through an open trapdoor at the floor of the room and entered an underground tunnel network. Upon following the tunnels, Eric eventually reached a grimy industrial bathroom where he found the remains of Xavier Chavez, as well as two victims of Jigsaw's earlier tests, Adam Stanheight and Zep Hindle. When he went further into the room, he found a lifeless body covered in a cloak and lying in an empty bathtub, which he initially believed to be his son. However, when he approached the person, he was taken by surprise and injected with an anesthetic. Eric tried to shoot the attacker, who wore a sinister pig mask, but due to the narcotic, he ultimately lost his consciousness. The attacker was actually Amanda Young. While Eric was unconscious, Amanda shackled him by the ankle to the same pipe as Adam Stanheight's corpse. (Saw II)
|“||Hello, Eric. You probably don't even remember me, but you changed my life once. You sent me to prison. I was guilty of a lot of things, but not for the drug charge you framed me for. You wouldn't know the things you lose when you're locked away. The second time somebody changed my life, I was guilty, but my life was saved that day. I found myself a father, a leader, a teacher. What is the cure for cancer, Eric? The cure for death itself? The answer...is immortality. By creating a legacy, by living a life worth remembering, you become immortal. So now we find the tables are turned. It is I who will carry on John's work after he dies, and you are my first test subject. Now you are locked away, helpless and alone...||”|
— Eric Matthews' tape[src]
Afterwards, Amanda took the magazine from his gun and disappeared, leaving only the empty gun, a flashlight, the hacksaw, and a tape recorder in the room. Once Eric woke up, he was disorientated at first but eventually found the tape lying next to him. When he started the tape, he realized that it was recorded by Amanda and that she had merely pretended to be a victim of Jigsaw during the game. She revealed to him that she was going to be John's successor once he died and that Eric was her first test subject. Seconds later, Amanda appeared. Eric angrily shouted at her and threw the tape at her, but she closed the door with the words "Game Over", leaving Eric alone in the room. (Saw II)
Eric started to panic and tried to grab his gun. As it was out of his reach, he used one of his shoes to pull it toward him. However, his desperation worsened when he realized that the gun was empty. He then used the shoe to obtain his flashlight, which was the only remaining source of light in the pitch dark bathroom. He furiously tried to break the pipe he was chained to, but this did not work, much to Eric's dismay. However, only a few seconds later, he found a hacksaw and used it in an attempt to cut through his chains. Unfortunately, this attempt remained unsuccessful as well. As his fear grew even further, he searched the room with his flashlight and ultimately discovered a sawed-off, decomposed and shackled foot lying in the opposite corner. Eric eventually realized that he had to use the hacksaw to cut off his own foot in order to break free from his shackle. Eric tried to pull himself together, but quickly gave up and burst out crying as he couldn't bring himself to do it. However, he discovered the lid of a toilet tank lying next to him on the floor. He grabbed it and ultimately used it to smash his foot several times while screaming in agony. When he was finished, he broke his foot one last time and was finally able to pull it out of the shackle.
Despite his heavy injuries, Eric took the flashlight with him and managed to reach the door, which was still unlocked. He desperately yelled for his son while stumbling through the tunnel network outside the bathroom. Eventually, he found a loose metal rod which he used as a crutch. While searching his way to the exit, he soon realized that he wasn't alone and that Amanda was still in the tunnels with him. Therefore, he went into hiding behind a corner and when Amanda passed his way, he struck her in the head with the metal rod. Stunned by the blow, she tried to crawl away and fight off Eric. However, he managed to gain the upper hand despite his smashed foot. He bit the back of her knee and smashed her head against the wall several times, demanding her to tell him where his son was. When Amanda refused to answer and instead spit blood in his face, Eric grabbed his knife and threatened her. She then embraced her opportunity and brutally kicked his foot. Overwhelmed by the pain, he fell to the floor, giving Amanda the chance to leave. As she was weaving towards the exit, Eric shouted after her, insulting her and telling her she was nothing compared to Jigsaw. This caused Amanda to stop for a moment, before she finally went back to take her revenge and kill Eric. (Saw III)
Unbeknownst to Amanda, Eric survived her attempted murder and was later found by Detective Hoffman. While he was almost unconscious, Hoffman dragged him away and took him to a cell somewhere in the tunnels. Shortly afterwards, he braced his foot and gave him an orange coverall which resembled a prison uniform. After his awakening, Eric was regularly supplied with food, and spent the next six months in his cell. (Saw IV)
- Originally, Eric was supposed to slam his foot on the floor several times in order to free himself from his chain.
Public Execution Trap • Pain Train • Horsepower Trap • Lawnmower Trap • Bobby's Trial • Suspended Cage • Silence Circle • Impalement Wheel • Hangman's Noose • Wisdom Teeth Combination • Brazen Bull • Sentry Gun Trap • Cyanide Box • Reverse Beartrap