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His name is John, Dr. Gordon. He's a very interesting person.
— Zep talks about John Kramer.[src]

Zep Hindle is a fictional character from the Saw franchise. He serves as the secondary antagonist of the first Saw film.

He was portrayed by Michael Emerson.


Early Life

Zep at the hospital

Zep Hindle was an orderly who worked at the Angel of Mercy Hospital. Unlike some of the doctors, he genuinely cared about the patients and listened to them if they needed someone to talk to. One day, Zep made acquaintance with the civil engineer John Kramer, who was at the hospital because he had been diagnosed with colon cancer and an inoperable brain tumor by Dr. Lawrence Gordon around the end of 1994. Over the years, he regularly returned to the hospital for routine check-ups to keep track of his declining health. During one of these examinations in late March 2004, Gordon introduced him to his medical students. However, he was interrupted by Zep, who reminded him that John was "a very interesting person" as he was disgruntled by the fact that Gordon continuously only called him "the patient." Annoyed by this interruption, Gordon sarcastically thanked Zep for the information. (Saw)


Five months later, Zep was abducted by John Kramer, who was, in fact, a wanted serial killer known as Jigsaw. John injected him with a slow-acting poison and left him an audiotape, which provided instructions for Zep and told him to kidnap Dr. Gordon's wife, Alison, and his daughter, Diana. He had to hold them captive while Gordon was forced to play one of Jigsaw's games. Furthermore, Zep had to kill Gordon's family if the latter did not pass his test by killing a young man named Adam Stanheight by 6 o'clock. If he followed the orders provided for him, Zep would eventually be given the antidote to save himself. (Saw)


Zep, hiding inside Diana's closet

At night, Zep invaded Dr. Gordon's apartment and hid in a closet in Diana's bedroom. However, Diana noticed that someone was there and woke up her parents. When Diana told her father that there was a scary man in her room, Gordon eventually put her back to bed and managed to cheer her up for a moment. However, only moments later, he was paged by Carla, one of his medical students, who asked him to come to the Hotel Barfly. Gordon told Diana that he had to go back to work. When her father was about to leave, Diana asked him if he would abandon her and Alison. Surprised by her concerns, Gordon told her how much he loved them and would never leave them. He left the room then, promising Diana he would read her favorite time story to her the next day. As he prepared himself to leave, he got into an argument with Alison, who had been waiting outside the room. Angered by his cold attitude towards them, Alison openly admitted she was not happy with their marriage anymore. When Gordon told her they would talk when he came back and tried to kiss her, Alison turned away, telling him to leave. Moments after Gordon left the apartment, Diana startled up from her bed when she heard a noise. Zep, covered with a bedsheet, stepped out of Diana's closet and approached the girl. Alerted by her daughter's screams, Alison stormed into her bedroom and turned on the light. She tried to protect Diana and attacked the intruder but was quickly overpowered by Zep, who took both of them to Alison and Lawrence's bedroom and tied them to one of the bedposts.

Zep stands at the window.

After tying them up and gagging them, he took a photo of them, which he gave to Jigsaw or one of his accomplices, as it would be used as a clue for Gordon in his game. Furthermore, he anonymously called Dr. Gordon at the hotel and told him that he knew that he had an affair with Carla, thereby luring the doctor out of the hotel to be abducted. Due to his sadistic tendencies, Zep took pleasure in mentally tormenting his hostages. When Diana cried and desperately begged him to let them go, he took out a stethoscope and used it to listen to Diana's heart tones. Alison told him to leave her daughter alone when Zep suddenly held a gun to her head and listened to Diana's heartbeat as it increased. When he was done, he gave Diana her teddy bear and stepped to the window. Unbeknownst to him, he was observed by David Tapp, a discharged homicide detective, who had rented a run-down apartment across the street to keep an eye on Gordon, whom he believed to be the Jigsaw Killer. Meanwhile, the actual killer or one of his accomplices watched Zep from the street and took a photo of him, which was later used for the game played by Adam Stanheight and Lawrence Gordon.

Zep oversees Adam's and Gordon's game.

Afterward, Zep set up a timer and a monitoring system in Gordon's office to witness the latter's progress in his game, which took place in a dilapidated bathroom in an underground tunnel network. When Gordon and Adam found the camera, which was hidden behind a one-way mirror, and yelled at whoever was behind it, Zep just casually made sport of them, taking pleasure from seeing Gordon suffer. At one point in the game, Gordon found a cellphone and tried to call the police. To his disappointment, the mobile could not be used to make calls but only to receive them. Shortly afterward, Zep called him and let Diana and Alison talk to him. When the doctor answered the call, his frightened daughter begged him to save her and her mother. Afterward, he also spoke with Alison, who warned him not to trust Adam as he had known him long before their game began. After that, Zep ended the call and put Alison's gag back into her mouth.

Alison holds Zep at gunpoint.

Sometime later, Adam suddenly found the photo of Zep standing at Gordon's window. Adam showed him the picture, causing the shocked doctor to recognize the man as Zep Hindle. Seconds later, the time of their game was over. As Gordon had not managed to pass his test by killing Adam in time, Zep turned off the surveillance system and returned to the bedroom to finish his task and execute Diana and Alison. However, before doing so, he called Gordon again and forced Alison to tell him that he had failed his test. Unbeknownst to him, Alison had secretly managed to get free from the cords restraining her hands. Therefore, she was able to take him by surprise and wrenched his weapon from him. While holding him at gunpoint, she ordered him to shove the phone to her as she wanted to talk to Gordon. Unfortunately, she was distracted by her daughter, giving Zep the chance to attack her. They engaged in a fight, during which Zep triggered several shots and thereby caught Tapp's attention. Zep managed to get his weapon back but was injured when Alison grabbed a pair of scissors from a drawer and stabbed him in the leg, causing him to collapse. At this moment, Tapp stormed into the apartment and opened fire on Zep, while Alison grabbed the chance to free her daughter and escaped with her.

When his magazine was empty, Tapp charged at his opponent but was incapacitated when the latter smashed a glass vase on his head. As he could not kill Gordon's family, Zep set out for the location of Gordon's game, hoping that he would still be given the antidote if he killed the doctor. However, Tapp quickly recovered and pursued Zep in his car to an abandoned industrial building. He followed him into the building and finally outran Zep, who was slowed down by his leg injury, in the 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 succumbed to his wound, allowing Zep to continue his way. (Saw)


Zep and Adam fight for the gun

Moments later, Zep reached the bathroom and opened the door. In a last desperate attempt to save his family, Gordon had used his shirt to stanch his leg and, despite Adam's efforts to calm him down, cut off his chained foot with a hacksaw. After he had freed himself from his chain, he crawled to the middle of the room and took a revolver from a dead man's hand. Then, Gordon used a bullet he had found earlier and shot the frightened Adam, who collapsed immediately. As Zep entered the bathroom, Gordon frantically yelled at him and tried to shoot him, even though he had no more bullets. Unimpressed by his threatening gestures, Zep aimed his gun at Gordon and wanted to kill him as the doctor did not kill Adam in time. However, before he could do so, he was attacked by Adam, who had survived the gunshot. As they lay on the floor and struggled for the gun, Adam disarmed his enemy and smashed his head with the lid of a toilet tank. (Saw)


Zep's corpse

Gordon crawled towards his cellmate and eventually convinced him to stop. In pain, Adam burst into tears as the bullet had injured his shoulder. Gordon told him he would bleed to death if he stayed with him and promised to get help. Despite Adam's desperate attempts to hold him back, the severely wounded doctor crawled out of the room. When he was alone, Adam searched Zep's body for a key to his shackle. To his surprise, he found the tape recorder in his jacket pocket, which contained Jigsaw's instructions for Zep. Adam realized that Zep was also just another Jigsaw victim when the actual killer, John Kramer, who had posed as the dead man in the middle of the room, got up from the floor and removed his mask. He told Adam that the key to his chain was in the bathtub. However, as Adam realized that the key had gone down the drain when he woke up earlier, he aimed Zep's gun at John, who incapacitated him with an electric shock. While Adam lay on the floor, shivering, John turned off the light, closed the door, and left the screaming young man with the words "Game Over." (Saw)

Zep's decomposing body

After his death, Zep's corpse remained in the bathroom. Several months later, the decomposition of his body had significantly progressed when the bathroom was used for another deadly game in October 2005. On the run from Xavier Chavez, a dangerous murderer and another test subject of Jigsaw, the teenager Daniel Matthews found the bathroom, accompanied by Jigsaw's accomplice, Amanda Young. The latter pretended to be a victim on her own. The next day, Daniel's father, Detective Eric Matthews, found the room, too, while looking for his son. However, when he entered it and approached the bathtub, Amanda subdued him and chained him to another pipe. When he woke up, he immediately panicked but ultimately managed to free himself by smashing his foot with the toilet tank's lid. Thereby, Eric was able to pull his foot out of his shackle. (Saw II, Saw III)

Zep's rotten remains

Over two years after his demise, nothing more than his skeleton was left of Zep's corpse. On the night of March 12, 2007, Lawrence Gordon returned to the underground bathroom once more. After his escape, he had become John Kramer's accomplice and came back to fulfill a final task given to him by his mentor. After Detective Mark Hoffman, another one of John's accomplices and his eventual successor, got out of control and murdered John's ex-wife, Jill Tuck, Gordon kidnapped Hoffman with the assistance of two pig-masked helpers. They took Hoffman to the underground bathroom, left him barefoot, and chained him by the leg to the same pipe as Adam's rotten corpse. Shortly afterward, Gordon himself entered the room one final time. As he turned on the light, Hoffman woke up. The latter immediately panicked and tried to grab the hacksaw previously used by Gordon to cut off his foot. However, Gordon picked up the saw and, after cruelly remarking that Hoffman would not get the same option he did, threw it out of the room. While Hoffman yelled at him in anger and despair, Gordon turned off the light, closed the door, and left him to die with the mocking words "Game Over." (Saw 3D)


Zep Hindle was a compassionate worker at the Angel of Mercy Hospital who genuinely cared about the patients and often listened to them when they needed someone to talk to. Therefore, he disliked the doctors' impersonal and cold attitude when dealing with their patients and would stand up for them if he felt that they were not treated respectfully.

Despite his compassion for the patients, Zep also suffered from an inferiority complex due to his seemingly unimportant position at the hospital and developed an exceptionally sadistic personality. When he held Gordon's family hostage, Zep mentally tortured them and enjoyed the sense of power he had over them, which he probably had not felt ever before. His aversion for Gordon soon turned into hatred. Therefore, it can be assumed that he felt somewhat satisfied when the latter failed his test.


  • In Leigh Whannell's original screenplay for Saw, Adam found Zep's driver's license after killing him, revealing Zep's full name to be Shepherd Hindle.
  • In the original screenplay for Saw, Adam killed Zep by strangling him with his shackle.
  • In the original script, Zep's age was listed as 32.
  • During Zep and Adam's fight at the end of the first film, actor Leigh Whannell accidentally punched Michael Emerson.
  • Throughout the series, several soundtrack pieces included Zep's name in their title, albeit spelled differently (as a reference to the funk band Zapp). These tracks include "Hello Zepp," "Zepp Overture," "Zepp Five," "Zepp Six," "The Final Zepp," "Zepp Eight," and "Zepp Nine" and are usually played during the plot twist near the end of each film, thereby serving as a tribute to the first film's finale.
  • Zep bears similarities to Art Blank, a character from Saw IV. Both of them were initially presented as the main antagonist of the respective films they appeared in until both of them were revealed to be Jigsaw's victims near the end of both movies. As part of their tasks given to them by Jigsaw, both men were ordered to keep two prisoners under guard while the films' main protagonists had to face a game on their own. Eventually, both of them were killed by one of these protagonists. Additionally, Art and Zep showed a level of sympathy towards John Kramer at some point in the past - Art used to be John's friend and business partner, whereas Zep cared for John during the latter's hospital stay.

Appearances and References