|“||Wow, it's big. This is exactly what you've been looking for.||”|
— Jill upon seeing the workshop for the first time[src]
Layout and Structure
The workshop was a big room, divided into two parts by a parition. It housed numerous shelves, workbenches, a plotting board and a big amount of technical instruments for the design and construction of various things, such as toys, beds and others. (Saw IV)
John Kramer was a successful civil engineer and founder of the Urban Renewal Group, a foundation dedicated to property development for needy people under the motto "Four walls build a home." He was married to Jill Tuck, who ran the Homeward Bound Clinic, a recovery clinic for drug addicts under the motto "Cherish your life." They were expecting a child, which was going to be called "Gideon", like John's first building. At one point after Jill became pregnant, John bought the workshop as he had been looking for one for a long time already. Shortly afterwards, he proudly showed it to his wife. Thereby, he showed her an old clock he had told her about and which was part of a deal he had made. This clock greatly fascinated him as the clockwork was almost 300 years old and still worked. As a surprise for her, he also presented Jill his self-made presents for Gideon, a cot and a wooden puppet, showing that he was just as devoted to his son as he was to his wife. (Saw IV)
However, not much later their lives changed dramatically when Jill was accidentally injured by Cecil Adams, one of her patients who robbed her clinic, and thereby lost her and John's unborn son due to a miscarriage. Following Gideon's death, John suffered from severe depression, causing him to withdraw from both his wife and the Urban Renewal Group. Therefore, his partner and lawyer, Art Blank, asked Jill about his whereabouts. As Jill didn't know where he was, they became worried and she helped Art to search him. Eventually, they went to John's workshop. Initially thinking he wasn't there, she ultimately spotted him sitting on a chair in a corner and asked him not to get mad at her for bringing Art to the workshop. Art then asked him how he felt and condoled over Gideon's death. However, he also tried to convince John to continue his work for the Urban Renewal Group as 40 needy families were waiting to soon move to the houses John and Art had been working on. John however, who was annoyed and angered by his visit, told Art to leave immediately. After initially refusing, Art eventually left and told John to call him once he felt better. (Saw IV)
Shortly afterwards, life dealt John another blow when he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and therefore tried to commit suicide by driving his car off a cliff. However, he suddenly found a new purpose in life when he survived his attempted suicide and decided to spend his remaining days on testing other peoples' will to live by putting them in potentially deadly situations. John's first test subject was going to be Cecil Adams. For several weeks John observed him and felt vindicated in his belief that only those who were close to death were able to value their life, as he saw that Cecil just continued his life after Gideon's death and didn't change in the slightest. John spent much of his time following Cecil and preparing himself emotionally for the first part of his self-imposed mission. When the time had come, he followed Cecil to a Chinese festival in celebration of the year of the pig. While doing so, he saw how Cecil spoke to a saleswoman. After distracting her, he quickly stole one of the small terracotta figures from her booth before vanishing. Using a pig mask filled with chloroform, John pursued, sedated and ultimately abducted Cecil. Then, he took him to his workshop and strapped him to a chair with blades, that were adjusted to the armrests and pierced his wrists.
When Cecil woke up, he initially panicked. When he recognized John, he begged him to let him go and apologized for what happened to Gideon, begging him to let him explain his situation. John merely claimed to have forgiven Cecil and had just put him in the trap to help him change his life. After a brief discussion, John showed Cecil a vicious contraption consisting of various knives. When his frightened hostage asked him what it was, John responded that this was the tool which would save his life. Afterwards, he adjusted the device to Cecil's chair so that the eight horizontally arranged knives were positioned right in front of his face. While doing so, he reminded Cecil of his crimes and failures and told him that he'd have to press his face into the knives in order to free himself from his restraints as otherwise, he would bleed to death. Cecil angrily insulted him and yelled for help. However, eventually he pressed his face into the knives. As he did so, the immense pain caused him to scream and struggle until after a few moments, the chair unexpectedly collapsed and thereby released him. However, instead of being grateful, Cecil approached John and tried to kill him. John however evaded the attack easily, causing Cecil to fall into a cage filled with razor wire, where he ultimately died in front of John's eyes. After his death, John cut a jigsaw piece from Cecil's skin as a symbol of his lack of will to survive and also took the stolen soldier figure from his corpse, which he kept as a memento from then on. Finally, he disposed of Cecil's corpse.
Shortly afterwards, Cecil's corpse was found by the Metropolitan Police Department and his death was reported to the public. When she learned about his death in a newspaper article, Jill went to John's workshop to speak with him as she was worried he might have something to do with it. Thinking she was alone, she searched the workshop and quickly found a bunch of photos of Cecil on a table. When she went further into the room, she discovered a big, elongated contraption hidden under a big cloth. However, as she was about to drag away the cloth, John suddenly appeared by her side and grabbed her arm, angrily telling her that he didn't want her to come. He tried to drag her out, but Jill broke free and confronted him with the newspaper and the photos, asking what he had done to Cecil. John however merely responded that he had taught him not to take his life for granted. Shocked by this, Jill asked him what had happened to him. Angered by this, John grabbed a crowbar and smashed the old clock with it before he managed to calm down again. Then, he told her once more to go away, which she subsequently did. (Saw IV)
As his games continued, John soon became known to the public as the Jigsaw Killer. One of the detectives involved in the case was Mark Hoffman, whose sister, Angelina Acomb, was murdered five years ago during a domestic dispute with her ex-boyfriend Seth Baxter, who was convicted to a life sentence for murder. However, due to procedural errors, Seth Baxter was released from prison after merely five years. One month later, Hoffman eventually abducted him and put him in an inescapable trap of his own, which inevitably killed Seth. After that, Hoffman cut a jigsaw piece from his skin in order to make the murder appear to be another one of Jigsaw's tests.
However, John was watching Hoffman during his investigation on the Jigsaw Case and therefore knew that it was him who murdered Seth Baxter. John gathered evidence for Hoffman's guilt and sent him an anonymous message to his office at the police station, stating that he knew about his secret. When Hoffman, alerted by the message, returned home, he was already expected by John, who was waiting for him in an elevator. Together, they rode up, when Hoffman looked at the lift buttons and noticed that only his own floor was selected. At this moment, he realized that the other man seemed to hold something in his hand and asked him what floor he was going to while slowly reaching for his gun. However, before he could react, John suddenly attacked him and injected him with an anesthetic, causing him to pass out. After that, he took him to his workshop, where he strapped him onto a chair with a shotgun aiming at his head. As the detective woke up, John showed him a newspaper article about the murder of Seth, labeling it as a distasteful act of imitation and thereby revealing himself to be the actual Jigsaw Killer. Hoffman tried to free himself but stopped when John placed a mirror in front of him, showing him that his arm restraints were connected to the shotgun's trigger by a wire. They engaged in a discussion, during which John confronted him with Angelina's death, his drinking problem and his revenge on Seth.
Hoffman claimed that Seth hadn't deserved a chance to survive, which angered John as he saw killing as something vicious and distasteful, claiming that he himself gave all of his victims a chance. When he put his finger on the trigger, Hoffman prepared to die. However, when John pulled the trigger, he realized that the shotgun wasn't loaded. Moments later, John ultimately freed him from his restraints and offered him a choice: Hoffman could either become his apprentice and help him setting up his future games or John would publish the evidence against him and send it to the police. Hoffman said that he could also kill him as no one would believe John more than him. John however remained calm and asked him if he really wanted to ruin his own life for the legal system that had released Seth Baxter from prison. After a short argument, Hoffman finally agreed to John's offer. (Saw V)