|“||It's quite flattering how many people have responded to my story and if I can help a few people along the way, then I'm pleased.||”|
— Bobby talks about the public response to his book[src]
For most of his life, Bobby Dagen was an average man and the husband of Joyce Dagen. However, his life changed one day when he sat in a bar with his best friend, Cale. While passing their time, they watched a TV report about a woman named Joan, who had managed to survive a trap set up by an infamous serial killer known as Jigsaw. During the interview, Joan told her story of survival to the public, stating that she wished the same experience for everyone like her as it had made her stronger. Furthermore, she claimed to be grateful for her horrendous experience, despite her grudge against Jigsaw. Upon hearing her story, Bobby was impressed by the way these experiences changed the survivor's perspective on life. Thereby, Cale assumed that these people would be able to get rich with their stories if their experiences wouldn't leave them mentally unstable.
Eventually, Joan's story and Cale's suggestion inspired Bobby to tell his own story of surviving one of Jigsaw's games. In order to become rich and famous, he wrote and published his book "S.U.R.V.I.V.E. - My story of overcoming Jigsaw", in which he told his readers how he supposedly survived a deadly trap set up by the Jigsaw Killer and how his life developed afterwards. Each letter of "S.U.R.V.I.V.E." stood for one of the lessons Bobby had "learned" after his survival:
S - Start your life anew.
U - Understand your problems.
R - Redefine your priorities.
V - Verify your selfworth through commitment.
I - Ignore your detractors.
V - Value your loved ones.
E - Embrace every day as if it is your last.
To make his story more believable, he scarred his own pectoral muscles because, according to his story, he had to insert two hooks into his chest muscles and had been forced to hoist himself up to a platform in order to escape Jigsaw's trap. While Cale became his manager, he also hired Nina, a publicist, and Suzanne, a lawyer, who supported him despite their knowledge of Bobby's story being a lie. Furthermore, Bobby even lied to his own wife, Joyce, who believed his story and supported him as well.
One day, he organized an autograph session for the promotion of his book with the assistance of Nina. Thereby, he made acquaintance with Sara, a young woman who admired him and his book. Not knowing that his entire story was actually a lie, Sara claimed that while reading the book, she could feel everything Bobby supposedly went through and thanked him as the book also changed her own life in some way. After Bobby signed her copy of his book, she left the session. The next visitor of the session was a man named John Kramer. Unknown to Bobby, John was actually the Jigsaw Killer. When talking to Bobby, John hinted at his knowledge of Bobby's story being a lie, but was interrupted by Cale when Bobby had signed John's copy of the book. John thanked him for the autograph, but gave him the book cover of his copy, which showed a photo of Bobby, claiming that he wouldn't need it anymore, as they know each other now. After that he left the session. (Saw 3D)
Within the next months, John revealed his true identity to the public and eventually died six months later at the hands of Jeff Denlon, another one of his victims. Even though the games were continued after his death, Bobby went on with his lie undaunted and soon organized a national tour, thereby attracting even more public attention. At one point, he was invited for an interview by Donna Evans, the host of "Daybreak", a reality show. During the interview at the Stage 6 Studios, she asked Bobby about the attention he got due to his tour, during which he promoted his book. Bobby responded that he was quite overwhelmed and flattered by the great public response to his story, stating that it pleased him if his story helped other people. Donna also asked him about his actual experience in the trap. In a dramatic speech, Bobby told her how he had escaped by inserting two hooks into his pectoral muscles and hoisting himself up to a platform. While he had been close to accepting his impending death, he had eventually decided to fight for his life as in this moment something inside him had started to grow "from the bottom of his soul." Impressed by his dramatic story about what he called his rebirth, Donna thanked him for the interview and thereby further promoted his tour. (Saw II, III, 3D)
After the interview, Nina asked Bobby why he didn't kiss his wife after the interview as discussed earlier. Therefore, Bobby claimed that he had been afraid to seem unauthentic if he acted excessively emotional. Nina however insisted on him showing his love for his wife, calling it the "heart of the story." Suzanne agreed with Bobby, stating that too much emotion might cause his performance to feel like pandering, but was quickly rebuked by Nina who was annoyed since the public relations were her job. To cool the situation down, Bobby admitted that he had made a mistake. Cale however told him that he had done nothing wrong. When Bobby shared a private moment with his wife afterwards, she further encouraged him and stated that the people would feel that his story was real. Cale then interrupted them, reminding Bobby about a meeting with a self-help group for Jigsaw survivors the next day. Moments later, Bobby and the others left the studio. (Saw 3D)
As scheduled, Bobby attended the group's meeting the next day, accompanied by Joyce, his crew and a camera team which recorded the session, which took place in a local church. During the meeting, Bobby listened to the stories of the other survivors, including a woman named Sidney, who had been forced to kill her boyfriend, Alex, in order to escape one of Jigsaw's traps. However, she stated that Alex had frequently battered her and said that her game was the first time she took action against him. Therefore, she was berated by Simone, another survivor, as Alex had to die for Sidney to leave him and then told her about her own game, during which she had cut off her own left arm. Afterwards, she spoke to Bobby and asked him why he had brought a camera team with him to film their conversation. Bobby responded that he wanted to illustrate the fact that a traumatic experience such as the kind that each one of them had been forced to endure can have a positive outcome, such as a new perspective on life. As Simone attempted to contradict him, Bobby interrupted her, showing understanding and respect for her anger, and told her to take a look at the other survivors, who had all managed to find something positive in their horrific experiences.
In yet another one of his dramatic speeches, he encouraged the others not to be ashamed of their experience but to be proud of having been able to survive. Thereby, he unbuttoned his shirt and let the others take a look at his own scars. Furthermore, he talked about the value of beloved people, which he, according to himself, had never done before his martyrium, and then introduced Joyce to the group, while kissing and declaring his love for her. He was, however, interrupted by Dr. Lawrence Gordon, another survivor, who, unknown to Bobby, was an accomplice of Jigsaw and therefore knew about his lie. Therefore, he sarcastically mocked him and his "remarkable" ability to get something positive out of his horrifying experiences. Bobby however tried to act confident and thanked him. Therefore, Gordon and the other confused members of the group applauded him, showing their gratefulness of being part of his story. (Saw 3D)