|“||What are you doing here?||”|
— Erickson confront Peter Strahm[src]
Layout and Structure
The FBI Headquarters were a local base of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It housed numerous offices as well as a research lab and an archive for the storage of case files and other important documents. Due to the massive amount of work the FBI had to deal with every day, all incoming calls for any of the agents were answered and administered by the headquarters' switchboard. Besides the labs, offices and conference rooms, the building had an own parking garage reserved only for employees and visitors. (Saw V)
The Jigsaw Case
At one point, two of the agents, Peter Strahm and Lindsey Perez, got involved in the case of serial killer John Kramer, better known as the Jigsaw Killer. During their investigation, both John and his accomplice, Amanda Young, died at the hands of Jeff Denlon, one of their victims. However, John had previously targeted both of the agents as well, resulting in both of them being severely injured. While Perez went into hiding and thereby faked her own death with the assistance of their supervisor, Special Agent Dan Erickson, Strahm got discharged from the case due to his reckless actions throughout his investigation which had nearly resulted in his own death. (Saw IV, V)
Despite his discharge, Strahm continued the investigation on his own. Knowing that the agent suspected him, Detective Mark Hoffman, Jigsaw's secret accomplice and eventual successor, planned to throw suspicion on Strahm in order to protect his own identity. After setting up another game, Hoffman drove to the parking lot of the FBI headquarters, from where he tried to call Agent Strahm in his office. As he wasn't there, Hoffman was only able to talk to Special Agent Cowan, who offered to connect him to Strahm's supervisor, Erickson, to which Hoffman agreed. Erickson however wasn't available either. Therefore, Hoffman left a message on his mailbox.
Shortly afterwards, Strahm went to the headquarters after releasing himself from the Saint Eustace Hospital. Unnoticed by Erickson, he entered the research lab and used one of the computers to search for Hoffman in the international criminal database. However, this remained unsuccessful as there were no criminal records of him. After that, Strahm went to the room where the FBI's files were kept and examined the files of potential Jigsaw victims. Thereby, he noticed that Detective Hoffman had participated in every investigation related to Jigsaw after a man named Seth Baxter had been found dead. Strahm returned to the computer and locked up Seth Baxter. Upon doing so, he found out that he had killed his girlfriend, Angelina Acomb, who was in fact Hoffman's sister, during a domestic dispute. However, due to a technicality he was released from prison after five years, despite having been sentenced to life in prison, before he was found dead in a trap the next month. With these new information, Strahm took Seth's file, left the lab and thereby crossed Erickson's path. When the latter asked him what he was doing here, Strahm claimed that he followed Erickson's orders to take some time off and only wanted to get some things from his office. Despite his suspicious behavior, Erickson let him go.
Later that night, Strahm returned to the research lab once more. After his arrival, he took a look at the file of Paul Leahy, the first victim after Seth Baxter, and suspected that this had been the first time that John and Hoffman had worked together. Therefore, he left the headquarters again and took all the files with him this time. Unknown to him, Erickson noticed his presence. However, he was able to leave the building before his supervisor caught up with him. Eventually, Erickson called Detective Hoffman back. During their conversation, Hoffman told Erickson about Strahm's theory about a second accomplice of Jigsaw besides Amanda Young and asked him if Strahm had told him about it, which Erickson denied. When he asked who Strahm suspected in his theory, Hoffman said that Strahm suspected an insider with access to information about the investigation, but kept back the fact that he himself was the suspect. Erickson then ended the call and offered Hoffman to further discuss the situation the next day, which Hoffman accepted. As his suspicion of Strahm increased, Erickson went to the research lab and thereby discovered that the files of the Jigsaw victims were missing.
Shortly afterwards, Hoffman contacted John Kramer's ex-wife, Jill Tuck, and told her to go to Erickson in order to further fuel his suspicion. When she went to the building, she was taken to Erickson's office by Special Agent Cowan. Once they were alone, Jill told Erickson that she believed to be observed by someone from the FBI. When Erickson wanted to know who she suspected, she told him that it was the agent who interrogated her earlier. Realizing that she was talking about Strahm, he asked her if she had told anyone else about this, which Jill denied. After their conversation, Jill left the headquarters.
Only minutes later, Erickson finally finished work and went to his car. Unknown to him, he was observed by Hoffman who still sat in his own car on the other side of the parking lot. He used Strahm's mobile from the evidence room to call Erickson, but immediately hung up when Erickson answered it. Confused by this, Erickson immediately tried to call him back. Hoffman then rejected the call and turned off the phone. Therefore, Erickson became even more suspicious and ordered Agent Cowan to put a trace on Strahm's phone. Eventually, the phone was turned on again, enabling Cowan to find its location in an underground catacomb area at 1293 Sandburst Drive. Therefore, she immediately informed Erickson about the address. Shortly afterwards, Erickson called her again and ordered her to put out an APB on Special Agent Peter Strahm. (Saw V)
Reopening the Seth Baxter Case
Later that night, Strahm died in a trap set up by Hoffman. Thereby, his hand was severed. In the following days, Hoffman set up another game and used the hand to place Strahm's fingerprints at the crime scene. As every evidence pointed to Strahm, Erickson and Lindsey Perez decided to let Hoffman in on the latter's staged death and offered him to work together. Hoffman initially hesitated as the agents hadn't informed him about Perez' faked death earlier, but ultimately accepted the offer when Erickson promised him to inform him about all future information and FBI activities regarding the Jigsaw Case. (Saw V, VI)
Following the autopsy of Eddie, the victim of the latest trap, the pathologist, Dr. Adam Heffner, discovered that a knife with a tined blade had been used to cut the jigsaw piece from Eddie's skin, while the pieces of most previous victims had been cut off with a plain scalpel. Upon comparing this case with other previous cases, the agents had found out that the tined blade had only been used once before, to cut the jigsaw piece from the body of Seth Baxter, the murderer of Hoffman's sister. As a different knife had been used, Perez and Erickson had ordered to further analyze the video tape found at Seth's crime scene, thinking that it might have been recorded by someone else as well.
Later that day, Perez and Erickson received a laboratory report. According to this report, traces of Freon, more explicitly Dichlorodifluoromethane R-12, a chemical substance which wasn't produced anymore since 1994, had been found in Strahm's fingerprints. Furthermore, the uric acid levels and the eccrine gland residue of the fingerprints were inconsistent for an individual with an active epidural metabolism, leading to the conclusion that Strahm must've been dead already by the time his fingerprints were left at the crime scene. Therefore, Erickson called Hoffman to come to the FBI headquarters as soon as possible and thereby also informed him that the Seth Baxter tape had been found. Shortly after receiving the call, Hoffman arrived at the FBI headquarters, where he was greeted by Erickson and Perez, who informed him about the traces of Freon in Strahm's fingerprints.
In order to find out if the crime scene of the latest game was polluted or if Strahm's fingerprints were already contaminated with the substance before, Perez and Erickson planned to find out what was formerly produced in the building where Simone and Eddie's game had taken place. Erickson was then interrupted by a phone call from the FBI's technical lab. Hoffman asked Perez if there were any news about the Seth Baxter tape, which she confirmed. Despite the fact that the tape was in a bad state, they were able to authenticate that the voice on the tape wasn't John Kramer's voice. Therefore, they had sent the tape to the technical lab to rectify it so they could hear the original voice. When she told Hoffman about it, she realized that his stopwatch was running and asked if he was timing something, to which he responded that he did before receiving the call from Erickson. Moments later, Erickson told them that the original voice on the Seth Baxter tape was soon going to be decrypted and told Hoffman and Perez to accompany them to the external lab. (Saw VI)