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Some never appreciate life until they have to work to save their own. They go from cradle to grave, expecting the world to give them everything. I show them the possibility of death and the sacrifices they have to make to stay alive.
— John explains his philosophy to David Tapp.[src]

John Kramer, also known as The Jigsaw Killer or simply Jigsaw, is a fictional character from the Saw franchise. He serves as the primary antagonist of Saw: The Video Game and Saw II: Flesh & Blood.

He was voiced by Tobin Bell.


Early Life

John Kramer was a successful civil engineer. His architectural firm was responsible for designing and building half the skyline of the city he lived in. However, John eventually got bored with this work and turned his attention to a new project. Along with his lawyer, Art Blank, and an accountant named Solomon Bates, he founded Gideon, a foundation dedicated to property development for needy people. The company bought up abandoned real estate and renovated them into low-cost housing. John was voted Man of the Year for his philanthropic work. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Gideon Kramer

At one point in his life, John married a woman named Jill Tuck, who ran a free recovery clinic for drug addicts. Their life took a happy turn when Jill got pregnant by him. John, who had already meticulously planned that their son should be born during the Chinese Year of the Pig, also gave him his name, Gideon, inspired by his company. Despite their happiness, John soon started to worry about Jill's safety, who continued to work at the clinic even during her pregnancy. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Family Tragedy

One night, Cecil Adams, one of Jill's patients, tried to rob her and thereby accidentally slammed a doorknob into her stomach. Due to her injuries, Jill ultimately lost her unborn child. After Gideon's death, John suffered from severe depression, which eventually caused him to withdraw from his wife and the company. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Terminal Diagnosis

Shortly afterward, John's physical condition worsened. When he went to a hospital, the oncologist Dr. Lawrence Gordon diagnosed him with a frontal lobe tumor. When telling him about his diagnosis, Gordon clarified he wasn't expecting his patient to survive. Thereby, John realized that he had only learned to cherish his life when his death had been imminent. Because of this, he chose to spend the remaining time of his life on testing other people's will to live, hoping that this would convince them to value their lives and the lives of those around them. However, his newly discovered will to live couldn't bind him and Jill together again. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Cecil Adams' Test

At this time, John began to focus on other people's lives and chose Cecil Adams as his first test subject. After observing him for some time and thereby discovering that Cecil hadn't changed his reckless behavior in the slightest way, John felt vindicated in his plan. Thus, he spent much time observing Cecil and emotionally prepared himself for the first part of his self-imposed mission. When the time had come, John followed Cecil to a Chinese street festival in celebration of the Year of the Pig. He used a pig mask to cover his face and sedated Cecil in the crowd without anyone noticing him. After that, John took him to a hideout and strapped him to a chair. Thereby, two blades, which were attached to the ends of the armrests, impaled Cecil's wrists.

When Cecil woke up, John revealed a vicious device to his prisoner, which consisted of eight sharp knives. He bolted it to the chair, so the eight horizontally arranged knives were positioned right in front of his face. While doing so, John confronted Cecil with his crimes and further explained that he had to press his face into the knives to free himself from his arm and leg restraints. Otherwise, he'd bleed to death. Cecil insulted him and desperately screamed for help. However, when John showed no mercy, he pressed his face into the blades while screaming in agony. In the end, the chair suddenly collapsed and allowed him to escape. He immediately approached John and tried to strike him dead with a broken-off piece of the chair. However, John evaded his attack effortlessly, which caused Cecil to fall into a cage filled with razor wire, where he ultimately bled to death. After his death, John cut a jigsaw piece from his shoulder to symbolize Cecil's lacking survival instinct. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Mitsuka Ito's and Ronnie Navarro's Test

Still believing in his mission, John planned more games and created a mechanical ventriloquist puppet named Billy. He wanted to use it to speak to his test subjects and deliver them the instructions for their games. While looking for new test subjects, John turned his attention to Mitsuka Ito, a member of the local Yakuza, and Ronnie Navarro, a drug dealer and member of the Blood Eye Gang. John abducted the men and took them to a room where he had prepared his next game. He strapped their hands to ropes, which were attached to a pulley system. This system was connected to several large barrels filled with sulfuric acid. If both of them pulled simultaneously, the pulley would give them enough slack to reach the exit door. However, they ultimately failed to accomplish their task and were killed when their bodies were spilled with acid. After their death, John cut two jigsaw pieces from their skins before leaving them behind. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Paul Leahy's Test

John continued his deadly games and was given the nickname "Jigsaw" by the press and police due to the puzzle pieces he cut from his victims' bodies to symbolize their failure. His next test subject was Paul Leahy, a drug addict who had unsuccessfully tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists. Therefore, John prepared a deadly scenario in a basement. Within two hours, Paul had to find a way from the back part of the room to the exit door on the other side, while almost the entire room was filled with sharp razor wire.

Following Paul's abduction, John took him to the basement. After he undressed him and took him to the back part of the razor wire cage, John started the timer for the game. Then, he went into hiding next door. Through a peephole in the door, he was able to observe the game. When Paul's game was over, and he had succumbed to his injuries caused by the razor wire, John cut a jigsaw piece from his skin and then left the basement. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Mark Wilson's Test

Shortly afterward, John set up another game to test a man named Mark Wilson, who claimed to be seriously sick, while, in fact, he was perfectly healthy. After abducting him, John undressed him, slathered his body with self-made napalm, and trapped him inside a dark room with the only light source being a single candle. Furthermore, he injected him with a slow-acting poison and placed the only antidote inside a safe. To save himself, Mark had to find the correct combination among hundreds of numbers written all over the walls. However, when walking around the room with the candle, Mark accidentally ignited the napalm, causing him to suffer a heart attack due to the thermal shock. After Mark's death, John left a penlight, which he had previously stolen from Dr. Gordon, at the crime scene before leaving. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Amanda Young's Test

Later on, John prepared another game. This game focused on Amanda Young, another patient of Jill's clinic. After abducting her, he took her to an abandoned warehouse. There, he strapped Amanda to a chair and put a mechanical contraption on her head. This device, which was equipped with a timer, was hooked into Amanda's upper and lower jaw. He also abducted Donald Greco, another one of Jill's patients, and injected him with an opiate overdose, rendering him unable to move or feel anything. When John prepared Amanda's game, he made Donald swallow the key to her trap. After finishing all of his preparations, John left the building. When Amanda finally woke up, she received her instructions from a video, which showed John's mechanical puppet. Despite her panic and the short time limit of merely 60 seconds, Amanda killed Donald and managed to save herself in time. Following her survival, John disposed of Donald's mutilated corpse. (Saw: The Video Game, Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Evading Apprehension

Upon continuing his games, John chose a man named Jeff Ridenhour, who had tried to commit suicide due to being unable to cope with his everyday life, as his next test subject. After abducting him, he took him to his lair in an abandoned industrial building at 213 Stygian Street and strapped him to a mechanical chair before leaving his hideout again. Shortly afterward, Detective David Tapp and Detective Steven Sing, two homicide detectives who worked for the Metropolitan Police Department, managed to find and break into the building. When they searched the hideout, they suddenly caught a sound and discovered Jeff, still strapped to the mechanical chair. However, when they heard a nearby elevator, they went into hiding. Moments later, John arrived, disguised with a black cloak and hood. Tapp and Sing observed him as he approached Jeff and told him that he wanted to use him to test a bigger project. At this moment, the detectives left their hiding spot and aimed their weapons at John. John 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 John at gunpoint. Even though John told them that the key to the trap was in a box next to Jeff, Sing couldn't 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 John 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, John, who wore some kind of bulletproof body armor under his cloak, left the building without any significant injuries and anonymously called an ambulance for Tapp. (Saw: The Video Game, Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Zep Hindle's Test

Sometime later, John targeted Zep Hindle, an orderly working at the same hospital as Dr. Gordon. He injected him with a slow-acting poison and forced him to abduct Gordon's daughter, Diana, and his wife, Alison. 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 a young man named Adam, his opponent in his game. However, Gordon couldn't accomplish his task in time, but his family was saved by David Tapp, who had observed their house from his apartment across the street. As he couldn't kill Gordon's family, Zep set out for the location of Gordon's game, hoping that he'd still be given the antidote if he killed the doctor. Tapp pursued him and finally outran Zep 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 passed out, allowing Zep to continue his way. (Saw: The Video Game, Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

David Tapp's Trial

While wandering through the hallways, John found Tapp unconscious but still alive. He took him to the abandoned Whitehurst Insane Asylum, where he prepared a game for him. While doing so, he was aided by an accomplice nicknamed Pighead, who covered his face with a sinister pig mask. By forcing him to play one of his games, John wanted to cure Tapp of this obsession. While unconscious, John treated his gunshot wound and took the opportunity to hide a key inside his body. Besides Tapp, many other people were trapped at Whitehurst and needed the key to escape. After the surgery, another one of John's victims strapped Tapp to a wheelchair and took him to a toilet room somewhere in the asylum. Upon their arrival, he put a mechanical contraption on his head, which worked the same way as the trap used to test Amanda Young. (Saw: The Video Game)

David Tapp's First Test

When Tapp eventually woke up, he started to panic and attempted to free himself from his restraints. However, he stopped doing so when a TV turned on in front of him. John's mechanical ventriloquist puppet appeared on-screen and greeted him. The doll confronted Tapp with his obsession with apprehending Jigsaw and the sacrifices he had made in the process, such as Sing's death or the bullet wound caused by Zep Hindle. Thereby, it also introduced Tapp to his first test and reminded him of the device, which was hooked into his upper and lower jaw and would tear his head apart if he didn't manage to free himself in time. To illustrate the consequences that his failure might have, the trap's deadly function was demonstrated to him by another contraption, which destroyed the head of a mannequin on a chair right in front of him.

After the tape ended and the TV turned off again, Tapp got free from his chair and tried to remove the device. Although he didn't have a key, Tapp had spent much time examining the trap from the crime scene of Amanda Young's game while still working for the police and was, therefore, able to open it either way. Tapp quickly managed to remove the trap and threw it away, causing it to burst open only moments after hitting the floor. He angrily yelled at John that he wouldn't play this game but quickly realized that he had no other choice and tried to calm down. Meanwhile, he was observed by John over the surveillance cameras. (Saw: The Video Game)

David Tapp's Second Test

Following the beginning of Tapp's game, John went to the asylum's surgical theater. After escaping her trap and surviving her first game, Amanda Young had turned to self-harm to deal with her issues and emotional stress. Due to these self-harming tendencies, she was eventually abducted by John again and strapped to a medical chair.

When she woke up, she immediately panicked as John, who concealed himself with a cloak and a hood, worked on the chair for some final preparations. Amanda told him that she had passed her test already. However, he responded that she didn't, as she still hadn't overcome her drug addiction and self-harming tendencies, which were the reason for her test in the first place. To Amanda's surprise, he informed her that Detective Tapp was on his way to save her. Amanda tried once more to convince John to free her, promising that she didn't tell the police anything about him and that she would overcome her drug addiction and her acts of self-harm. However, John remained calm and denied her plea for freedom before leaving. (Saw: The Video Game)

David Tapp's Third Test

While Tapp faced his next game and successfully saved Amanda's life, John went to Jennings Foster, a crime scene investigator and one of Tapp's former colleagues. One day, Jennings had hit a homeless man with his car while intoxicated. However, instead of helping him, Jennings fled the scene. When Tapp learned about the accident, he insisted on investigating the case despite Jennings' protests. Afraid that Tapp might find out the truth, Jennings manipulated the evidence and framed an innocent man, who was subsequently sent to prison. However, John learned about the truth and abducted Jennings to serve as the next test subject in Tapp's game. Following his abduction, John took him to the asylum and strapped his unconscious body to a metal table underneath a giant pendulum-shaped blade.

Upon waking up, Jennings immediately screamed for help but was suddenly interrupted by John. To his surprise, John knew the truth about the hit-and-run accident. When John confronted him with his crimes, Jennings showed no remorse and, despite his fear, angrily insulted his abductor. He desperately tried to play it down by stating that no one would have missed the homeless man anyway, as he had no family. He also attempted to justify that he wrongfully incriminated an innocent man, saying that it was necessary to protect himself. His prevarications, however, didn't convince John to release him. Instead, he left him behind as Tapp was about to arrive for the next part of his game. (Saw: The Video Game)

David Tapp's Fourth Test

Soon afterward, John reached Whitehurst's chapel, where his third primary victim was held hostage. Following Detective Sing's death, his wife, Melissa Sing, suffered from severe depression. Unable to cope with her grief, she began to neglect herself and her son, Franklin, and blamed Tapp for her crisis as she deemed him responsible for Sing's demise. Due to the child neglect and Melissa's hatred for Tapp, John had chosen her to participate in Tapp's game and put her in another gruesome trap. Melissa was forced to stand between two metal plates equipped with numerous rotating saw blades with her hands strapped behind her back.

When she woke up, she was greeted by John and immediately insulted him, accusing him of having killed her husband. However, John defended himself, stating that the trap that killed Sing could've been easily disabled by police procedure if Tapp hadn't ignored it. These words further fueled Melissa's hatred for her late husband's partner. She demanded to see her son when John reminded her of how she had neglected him after Sing's death. Once again, Melissa blamed Tapp for her misery, expressing her hate and her desire for him to suffer. She tried to convince John that Tapp was, indeed, the one responsible for her and Franklin's situation. John, however, merely told her that Tapp was the only one who could save her. Afterward, he left the chapel, so Tapp's game could continue. (Saw: The Video Game)

Melissa Sing's Test

As with Amanda and Jennings, Tapp successfully saved Melissa and freed her from John's trap. Nonetheless, she couldn't forgive Tapp for his involvement in Sing's death and left him behind. Shortly afterward, John sent Pighead after her to force her to play another game. After subduing her, Pighead sewed her mouth shut and gave her an audiotape recorded by John, which informed her that he had also abducted her son. To save him, Melissa had to follow John's instructions and had to keep Tapp on track until 6 o'clock. Eager to see Franklin again, Melissa accepted her task and put several obstacles in Tapp's path. (Saw: The Video Game)

David Tapp's Fifth Test

Meanwhile, John went to Oswald McGillicutty, a journalist and the fourth pivotal participant in Tapp's game. Throughout the Jigsaw investigation, Oswald had been eager to receive internal information from Tapp to publish his story. However, as Tapp refused to help him, Oswald developed a personal grudge against him. He had used his articles to frequently degrade the detective and his entire unit and accused them of working sloppily, thereby allowing Jigsaw to continue his murder series. When Detective Sing was killed during the raid on Jigsaw's hideout, these newspaper articles accused Tapp of being responsible for his partner's death and subsequently destroyed his reputation entirely. Therefore, John had targeted Oswald and took him to the asylum, where he strapped him to another trap that could break his back and limbs by bending them backward.

While John finished his work on the deadly contraption, Oswald woke up. Upon seeing his abductor, he angrily yelled at him and attempted to threaten him. However, he stopped and started to panic when he realized that the man was, in fact, the Jigsaw Killer. Oswald tried to persuade him to let him go, claiming that his articles had helped John spread his message. However, John told him he couldn't free him and instead confronted him with his vendetta against Tapp. When he asked him for the reasons for his smear campaign, Oswald admitted that he wanted revenge on the former detective for not giving him information about the Jigsaw case. After finishing his preparations, John eventually left the room and allowed Tapp to enter. (Saw: The Video Game)

David Tapp's Sixth Test

John went to the crematorium, where another man, Obi Tate, was trapped inside a furnace. However, unlike the other victims at Whitehurst, Obi was there of his own free will. Seeing John's games as a gift, the young man had put up a newspaper ad to contact the killer as he desired to be tested. This attempt turned out to be successful, and John had told Obi to come to Whitehurst. Thereby, he wanted to show Tapp that not everyone saw his games as something evil.

When Obi woke up inside the furnace and was greeted by John, he was happy and expressed his admiration for his work, reaffirming his wish to participate in one of John's games. However, the latter asked him what the point of his game was if he wasted his life looking for a way to be tested. Obi asked John about the rules of his game and how he was supposed to free himself. To his dismay, John told him that he wasn't able to save himself. Instead, Obi had to rely on the help of Tapp to get out of the crematorium alive. Disappointed by this turn of events, Obi begged John for another test, stating that he wanted to feel the pain of going through it on his own. John responded that he first had to be saved by someone else to learn the true meaning of his games. Ignoring Obi's attempts to convince him otherwise, John ultimately left him behind for his game to play out. (Saw: The Video Game)

David Tapp's Seventh Test

After leaving the crematorium, John set out for Whitehurst's theater, where the last primary victim of Tapp's game was trapped. This victim was Jeff Ridenhour, the man Tapp and Sing had saved on the night of Sing's death. As this interruption had prevented John from testing Jeff, he saw Tapp's game as an opportunity to make up Jeff's test and felt vindicated in doing so when Jeff unsuccessfully tried to kill himself once more. After having been abducted and taken to Whitehurst, Jeff was strapped to a metal platform in a standing position. Behind the platform was a machine with several long, thin, pointy metal spikes that could impale his body.

Upon waking up, Jeff immediately panicked when he saw John. When asking him if he hadn't suffered enough already, John confronted him with the fact that Jeff had attempted to commit suicide twice before, promising that he would know the value of life the closer he came to losing it. Jeff told John that Tapp had kept harassing him after escaping from his hideout to get information about the killer. This frequent harassment was also the reason for his second attempted suicide as Jeff saw no other way to escape his situation. John, however, told him that he'd learn soon that there was no escape. He asked Jeff if he genuinely wanted to die, which the latter negated. Therefore, John confronted him once more with his second attempted suicide after escaping his first trap. To defend himself, Jeff blamed Tapp for having caused him to make this decision. After that, John disappeared. (Saw: The Video Game)

Pighead's Death

Throughout the game, John had realized that his accomplice, Pighead, tried to sabotage Tapp's game in an attempt to surpass him. John warned Tapp of his former ally by leaving an audiotape and told him that he held the only key to escape Whitehurst. Moments later, Tapp reached a yard, where he saw another prisoner trapped in a small area surrounded by a fence. Pighead, while waiting for Tapp, pushed a button and thereby energized the floor, killing the man behind the barrier. Afterward, he and Tapp engaged in a fight. However, as Pighead turned out to be a ruthless and capable opponent, Tapp was forced to keep him at a distance. Unable to defeat him by any other means, Tapp eventually lured Pighead into the fenced area and closed the door behind him. Afterward, he pushed the button and finally killed Pighead, who immediately collapsed due to the electrocution. Following his death, Tapp searched his body and found the key John had told him about. (Saw: The Video Game)

David Tapp's Final Test

In the atrium, John gave Tapp his final ultimatum. The detective could either choose to let go of his obsession with Jigsaw in exchange for the freedom of all remaining victims still trapped at Whitehurst, including himself, or decide to uncover the truth about Jigsaw and condemn all the other prisoners. Eventually, Tapp decided to choose freedom and escaped from the asylum, thereby freeing the rest of the people trapped inside.

Throughout the following days, the press frequently reported the events at Whitehurst and declared Tapp a hero. Although the newspapers redeemed his reputation, Tapp continued to suffer from severe depression. Unable to let go of his feelings of guilt for Sing's death, he began to doubt whether he made the right choice at Whitehurst by allowing Jigsaw to escape. In the end, Tapp couldn't overcome his obsession with Jigsaw and ultimately committed suicide in his apartment by shooting himself in the head. (Saw: The Video Game, Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Michael Tapp's Trial

Following Tapp's demise, John turned his attention to his estranged son, Michael Tapp, who worked as an intern for a newspaper. Although it was mainly Oswald McGillicutty's smear campaign that damaged Tapp's reputation, it had been Michael who published the truth about Sing's death. In doing so, he wanted to push his career and get revenge on his father for abandoning him and his mother, Kara, when Michael was still a child. For his betrayal, John targeted Michael as the primary test subject for his next game. By facing a series of tests, Michael should atone for his betrayal and uncover the truth that connected the other participants of the game with each other. These participants, among others, included Henry Jacobs, the corrupt Chief of Police, Joseph Poltzer, a crooked vice cop, Carla Song, a doctor and former mistress of Lawrence Gordon, Sarah Blalok, a drug dealer and police informant, and Solomon Bates, John's former business partner. When he continued his hunt for John after his discharge from the police, Tapp had found out that all of these people were members of a drug cartel. After making all preparations for the game, John sent a new accomplice of his, Pighead II, to abduct their victims. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Michael Tapp's First Test

Pighead took the hostages to the abandoned Holmes Hotel, where he trapped Michael and Solomon Bates in two cages connected to two separate tracks on the floor, which was covered with broken glass shards. When the men woke up, they were greeted by John's mechanical puppet that appeared on a TV screen and introduced them to their test. Once the game began, both participants had to push their cages forward. Whoever reached the end of their track first was promised to be freed. However, the puppet alluded to the tale of the tortoise and the hare, thereby indicating that the way to win the game was to let the other person reach the end first.

When the TV turned off, the prisoners started pushing their cages, and eventually, Solomon reached the end of his track first and was released. After he left the room, Michael made it to the end of his path and was freed as well. The TV turned on again and the puppet offered Michael another chance at survival by facing the next part of his game. Meanwhile, Solomon, who hadn't understood the clue related to the fairy tale, was subdued and put in another trap. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Michael Tapp's Second Test

John tells Michael about Jacobs

Having no other choice, Michael continued his way and was warned that he'd have to face numerous other prisoners. All of them were criminals who were once arrested by his father. Among them were several dangerous individuals such as Griff, a rapist, Zeke, a pedophile, Anton, a ruthless mercenary, Barry, an arsonist, Chuck, a drug dealer, Robert, one of Chuck's customers, Patrick, a psychotic knifeman, Donovan, a wife-batterer, and Dwayne, a highly aggressive thug. While making his way through the hotel, Michael eventually reached the lobby. Upon entering, he saw John, who was waiting in the ballroom behind a fence. John informed him that Henry Jacobs was trapped there. He was strapped to a chair and had a loaded revolver put in his mouth. To save him, Michael had to find a way behind the fence. While not directly revealing Jacobs' involvement in the drug cartel, John hinted at a secret that had shattered Tapp's trust in the Chief of Police. After that, he disappeared and left Michael to continue his path. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Michael Tapp's Third Test

John tells Michael about Gideon

John went down to the pool area on the hotel's lower floor. After her abduction by Pighead, Sarah Blalok had been taken there and was locked up inside a glass tank. She was the second primary victim Michael had to save throughout his game. However, the path to her was blocked by electrified water. Sometime later, Michael eventually arrived in the area and was warned that he had to pump down the water and cut the power first if he wanted to save the woman. Upon his arrival, he was forced to put on a mechanical vest equipped with nine shotgun shells arranged in two vertical rows. While looking around the pool area to find a way to Sarah, he tried to enter an adjacent room when suddenly, the vest made a beeping sound and caused him to back off. Seconds later, John appeared and calmly warned him not to get closer as there was a sensor on the wall, which would activate Michael's vest and kill him if he went any further. During their brief conversation, John told Michael that he once had a son who died before John began his work. Meanwhile, Pighead passed the room and shoved the water pump into an elevator moments before his mentor followed him. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

The Truth

Once their work was done, John and Pighead went to an abandoned chemical plant across from the hotel, where the next part of Michael's game was waiting for him. While Michael made his way through the building complex, he encountered several convicts previously arrested by his father and prevented two other people, Joseph Poltzer and Carla Song, from meeting a gruesome demise by saving them from John's traps. The farther he progressed, the more he learned about the drug cartel discovered by his father and felt remorse for what he had done to him. As Michael went on, he suddenly came across John, waiting for him behind a window. The latter confronted him with his past actions and played an audiotape. It contained a recording of a previous conversation between Michael and another man. While Michael's father had still investigated the Jigsaw case, he initially lied to his colleagues about the death of his partner, Sing. The man on the tape told Michael to sell the true story about the raid on Jigsaw's hideout to the editor of The Herald in exchange for a job. Michael eventually found the evidence he was looking for and sold it to the newspaper, destroying his father's reputation and causing his discharge from the police force in the process. Angered by being confronted with his sins, Michael tried to attack John but was held back when a roller door slammed shut between them. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Campbell Iman's First Test

As Michael was about to face the last stage of his game, John went to an abandoned railway building nearby, where he and Pighead had prepared another game. This game focused on Campbell Iman, a drug addict and terminal cancer patient. After learning about his impending death, Campbell had tried to find his son, whom he had abandoned when he was still a child and who had become addicted as well. Following his abduction, John or his accomplice performed surgery on the man, during which they placed a key behind Campbell's right eye. This key would later become the only way for Campbell to save himself from one of John's traps, a so-called death mask. Within 60 seconds, Campbell had to cut out his eye to obtain the key. Otherwise, the two halves of the mask, which were both spiked with nails, would close in on his head and kill him. Ultimately, Campbell was able to withstand the pain and managed to free himself from the vicious device.

Upon the beginning of his game, John's puppet appeared on a TV screen. It confronted Campbell with both his and his son's drug addiction and their strained relationship, stating that Campbell didn't even know if his son was still alive. However, it also offered to show him the truth about his son, but only if he was willing to play his game. After escaping the death mask, Campbell moved on to find a way out of the building. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)

Michael Tapp's and Campbell Iman's Final Test

Shortly afterward, Campbell and Michael ended up in a giant hall, although both of them were on different floors. Only a single wooden beam on each of their levels led to the other side of the room. John's puppet introduced them to their final tests and told them about each other as the men had never met before. Once the game began, the walls and ceiling, which were equipped with large v-shaped blades, would move towards each other. To survive, Campbell and Michael had to walk across the beam to reach a glass elevator on the other side of the chasm. However, the elevator was only big enough for one of them, so the other participant inevitably had to die.

  • Path of Blood: After the introduction to the game, the walls and ceiling began moving. Due to Campbell's desire to see his son, he walked over the beam and reached the elevator in time. As it went up, he saw Michael, who desperately tried to enter the cabin but was crushed to death by the ceiling right in front of Campbell's eyes. As the elevator went further up and finally arrived on the upper floor, the door opened. Another metal door next to Campbell opened as well, revealing John, who was already waiting for him. The latter informed Campbell that his son was alive and unharmed and offered him the chance to leave the building to see him. However, Campbell was furious and charged at John, yelling that he couldn't let his son live in a world with people like him in it. John evaded his attack effortlessly, and Campbell was subsequently impaled by a scythe swinging down from the ceiling. As he died, John ended his game and remarked on his failure with the words "Game Over."
  • Path of Flesh: After the introduction to the game, the walls and ceiling began moving. Michael walked over the beam and reached the elevator in time. As it went up and finally arrived on the upper floor, the door opened. Michael stumbled into a storage hall and was greeted by John's puppet, which approached him on a red tricycle and maniacally laughed at him. At the same time, three TVs turned on around him. John informed him that he had passed his test by bringing justice to the cartel members, who all died during the game, and offered him one final choice. Michael could take the files collected by his father to publish the truth about the cartel, although John told him that the people would forget about it soon. However, he could also choose to become John's apprentice to rehabilitate others by using his methods. In the end, two doors opened before Michael. The first one led out of the building, enabling him to leave, while the other gave him access to the cloak and mask of Pighead. (Saw II: Flesh & Blood)


John Kramer was a diligent and hard-working man who was just as devoted to his wife and his unborn son as he was to his work, which was dedicated to helping those who were disadvantaged by society. He had strong moral convictions and a strong sense of justice. Even before his transformation to Jigsaw, John believed that only the knowledge of impending death could show if someone were willing to fight for their survival. Furthermore, he had a genius-level intellect and an excellent understanding of facts in diverse fields of science. Still, he was also somehow spiritual and was interested in esoteric subjects such as Chinese astrology.

However, when his son died and he was diagnosed with incurable cancer, John suffered from severe depression and turned away from his wife and his work. Upon receiving his diagnosis, John realized that he had only learned to cherish his life when his death was imminent. Because of this, he decided to spend the remaining time of his life on testing other people's will to live in order to convince them to value their lives and the lives of those around them.

Therefore, John became the Jigsaw Killer and started to test other people's will to survive by putting them in gruesome, potentially deadly situations. Despite these games' immense brutality, John took no pleasure in his victims' suffering and death but instead saw it as a necessary evil for them to learn to appreciate their lives. Nonetheless, he occasionally tended to confront his victims with their sins in a mocking way. He always tried to keep an emotional distance between him and his test subjects during his games, so his personal feelings wouldn't affect his work.


  • Tobin Bell is the only actor from the films who voiced his character in the video game adaptions Saw: The Video Game and Saw II: Flesh & Blood and provided his likeness.
  • The main antagonist of the video game Heavy Rain, the Origami Killer, has a similar modus operandi. He forces his victims to participate in gruesome trials, during which they have to risk their own lives and, in one instance, mutilate themselves to save the lives of their loved ones. Furthermore, the characters Gordi and Charles Kramer share their last name with John.

Appearances and References