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John Kramer was right, the spiral. A symbol of change, evolution, progress. But why limit to an individual when you can apply it to a whole system? You got shot for doing the right thing. But let's face it, these cops? They're not going to clean up on their own. But we take a tongue here, a few bones there, they'll come around. We're going to fix a broken department. Okay? You and me.
— William Emmerson[src]

William Emmerson, also known as William Schenk, is a fictional character from the Saw franchise. He serves as the main antagonist of Spiral.

He was portrayed by Max Minghella.


Father's Murder

William was born and raised as William Emmerson, the son of Charlie Emmerson. The Metropolitan Police Department were under a list of policies called Article 8, which gave them the legal means to do whatever was needed to stop crime. This allowed for corruption, which Charlie witnessed. He saw a corrupt officer murder someone by pushing them off a roof. He was willing to testify against the officer, which put him in the cross-hairs of the other Metropolitan Police Department officers. When William was twelve years old, his father was visited by officers Peter Dunleavy and Ezekiel Banks of the Metropolitan Police. They questioned him on what he saw of the murder. Dunleavy went against orders and shot Charlie, which killed him. A horrified William witnessed from a cabinet where he had hidden. Officer Banks spotted the boy and raised a finger to his lip to shush him, as he worried Dunleavy would kill him. (Spiral)

Becoming a Police Officer

In an elaborate effort to exact revenge for the murder of his father, and punish its other corrupt officers, William assumed the alias of William Schenk and enrolled in the police academy. He knew that under his birth name, William Emmerson, he would never become a police officer, nor would he ever be partnered with Ezekiel Banks. How he managed to falsify his background checks is unknown, though he kept his nose clean as a rookie and caught the attention of captain Angie Garza. When Detective Marv Bozwick is brutally murdered in the subway, Garza called in homicide detective Ezekiel Banks to investigate. She assigned him the idealistic Officer Schenk as his partner. (Spiral)

Partnership with Ezekiel Banks

Ezekiel hated the idea of a partner as he found it hard to trust anyone after he outed Peter Dunleavy as a corrupt cop, as it had given him a target on his back. Captain Garza forced Schenk on Banks, who didn't care much for the small talk that Schenk brought. Schenk claimed that his entire reason for joining the police force was because of Banks's father, Marcus, though Banks warned that he wasn't his father. Banks also warned Schenk that his marriage wouldn't work as officers sign up for dying alone due to their hectic schedules. Schenk, however, is optimistic that not all marriages have to end in an ugly divorce like Banks's.

As they investigated the gruesome murder of Marv Bozwick, Banks begins to think the murders are related to the famed Jigsaw Killer. Fitch notes that if they're dealing with a copy cat things will be crazy. Things escalate when the copycat sends a threatening message to Banks and the Metro PD, revealing their motives as wanting the corrupt cops to come clean. Garza puts the entire department to work, much to Banks' chagrin.

When Detective Fitch is abducted and later murdered by the killer, some officers in the department begin to suspect that Banks is involved since both Boz and Fitch had connections to Banks. Schenk, however, agrees with Banks that someone else is pulling the strings and manipulating the events around them. He remains the only cop who believes Banks. Their investigation makes them cross paths with Peter Dunleavy, the man that Banks turned in for killing an innocent man. Banks warns Schenk that there is a code that he has to learn to follow, or he'll spend his days watching his back. Schenk later goes missing. (Spiral)

Faking His Death

A wooden box was delivered to the police station with the contents being a piece of tattooed skin. Banks recognized it as Schenk's skin. The copycat added a note to the box, taunting Banks for his inability to catch him and threatening to take his head. A vial is inside the box which leads Banks and the police to a butcher shop that Banks used to frequent with his father. Inside the shop, they find a skinned corpse that is identified as William Schenk.

With the world thinking he's dead, Schenk is able to use his knowledge of the police department to kidnap Angie Garza and place her in the basement of the station. He attaches her to machine that will pour hot wax on her face if she doesn't sever her spinal cord. His pre-recorded message to her warns that she never stuck her neck out for the innocent, so the cover-up will now be on her. Garza is able to sever her spine but can't escape the hot wax and is murdered. Banks discovers her body and is heartbroken. Her death, however, gives him a lead that he is unable to follow due to his abduction. (Spiral)

Reveal and Offer to Banks

Banks is kidnapped and forced to decide whether to let himself stay handcuffed to a pipe, or saw off his arm. Banks uncovers a third option when he picks the lock with a bobby pin. He finds Peter Dunleavy chained in front of a machine that hurls glass at his body. Jigsaw's voice narrates that Banks can either save the man who murdered someone in cold blood, or let him die. Banks attempts to save Dunleavy but fails as the man already suffered fatal wounds. He moves to the next room where he finds William Schenk, alive and well, applauding his investigative efforts and ability to navigate his tests.

Banks is initially confused as to how Schenk is alive, though he lays out the gory details. He lured Zeke's father, Marcus, to the abandoned location when he borrowed Zeke's phone for seemingly normal reasons. He then faked his death by copying his tattoo onto a corpse, then used a cover story of his wife and son to make Banks less likely to suspect him. He reveals that he doesn't have either and lied about them. He explains that he was emphatic for the previous Jigsaw's signature symbol the spiral. He viewed it as a symbol of change, evolution, and progress. He sought to fix the broken system that allowed for his father to be murdered. He reveals that his father was Charles Emmerson, the man that Peter Dunleavy murdered, and the reason Banks turned Dunleavy in.

Schenk didn't want to kill Banks, but rather, recruit him. He sought to scare the cops into going straight by killing the ones who commit corruption. He shows Banks his kidnapped father, Marcus, who is hanging in the air while blood drains from his body. Schenk gives Banks a gun with a single bullet - he can either kill Schenk or hit a target that will release Marcus and save his life. The only catch, is that if Banks saves his father then Schenk will escape. Marcus Bank was responsible for the polices that enabled the corruption to occur, which resulted in Schenk's father dying. (Spiral)


Unable to lose his father, Banks shoots the target to free Marcus. He removes the IV that is draining Marcus's blood but refuses to let Schenk escape, and attacks him causing them to fight. A SWAT team arrives but mistakes the situation due to Banks' past with the other victims. They believe Schenk is the one being held captive and aim their weapons at Banks. Marcus is suddenly pulled upwards by wires, as the SWAT team triggered a mechanism when they opened the door. Since a gun is affixed to his hand, the team mistakes Marcus for a threat and shoots him. Banks screams in anguish as his father is murdered in front of him. He looks over to see Schenk escaping through an elevator. Schenk raises one finger to his lips to shush Banks as Banks did to him after his father's murder. Banks lets out an emotional scream as Schenk escapes. (Spiral)


Initially, Schenk is shown to be charming, optimistic, and loyal. However, he is later revealed to be cold, calculating, manipulative and two-faced. He is also very intelligent, using Jigsaw's former methods and applying them to his own goal, whilst seemingly being capable of constructing traps similar to John's, despite them being more gritty and not as polished as his idol. Like John, Schenk constructed his traps to specifications that would allow his victims the chance to survive, in order to complete the ruse.

William had positive motives for assuming the Jigsaw persona, as he wanted to clean up corruption within the police force and get justice for the innocent people that had been harmed, including his father, who Schenk saw murdered by Dunleavy as a boy. However, Schenk chose to indulge in the darkest parts of himself to do so, through kidnapping, torturing, and killing police officers - including those who were never directly involved in his agenda. He became vengeful and twisted, as he viewed his victims as a means to an end - nothing in the larger scheme of things.

William can be described as a sociopath, as he has the ability to blend into society despite his mental instability. He concocted an entire back story to help him grow closer to Zeke and get the man to trust him, in an unsuccessful bid to attempt to recruit Ezekiel to his cause.


  • William is the first main antagonist who adopted John Kramer's modus operandi without having any ties to him.
  • William is the second character in the Saw franchise to have a secondary actor as a younger version of him, the first being Ryan.
  • He is the second police officer to take up Jigsaw's legacy, the first being Mark Hoffman.
    • However, unlike Hoffman, William tested people for justice, whereas Hoffman used Jigsaw's legacy for his own personal gain.
  • Before his identity was revealed, William, like Logan, tested people to exact personal justice and revenge against the corruption that resulted in the murder of a family member. For William it was his father, and for Logan, it was his wife. Both of them also succeeded in exacting their own revenge.
  • William is the third character to use Jigsaw's M.O. to exact revenge. The first two are Logan Nelson and Mark Hoffman.
  • William's last name may be a reference to Michael Emerson, the actor who played Zep Hindle.

Appearances and References