The Killers of the Saw Franchise Explained: The Accomplices, Successors, and Copycats of Jigsaw

Who helped Jigsaw? Who took over after he died? Who was inspired to continue his work years later? This article explains the motivations and actions of every person who Jigsaw inspired to follow his way of thinking and acting.

Amanda Young is the most famous of Jigsaw’s followers in the Saw franchise, but she is far from the only follower.

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For a franchise whose main villain is dead for the majority of the series, Saw should be commended for how they kept the spirit of Jigsaw alive. Jigsaw gathered a small group of accomplices and apprentices, and he even inspired copycats. The story of how this extended family of death came together and fell apart gets incredibly twisted (in every sense of the word), so this article lists all of the killers in the Saw franchise and explains what their contributions to the saga are. John Kramer, Jigsaw himself, is excluded from this list since his story is longer, and since it serves as the backbone of the entire franchise. Major spoilers ahead.

You can read all about John Kramer here: The Rise and Fall of Jigsaw: Making Sense of the Saw Franchise. Read all about the members of law enforcement who tried to stop the Jigsaw killings here: Law Enforcement in the Saw Franchise Explained: Police, FBI, and More.

Amanda Young

Appearances: Saw, Saw II, Saw III, Saw VI (flashback)
Shawnee Smith as Amanda Young in Saw III (2006).
Amanda Young was played by Shawnee Smith.

Amanda Young is Jigsaw’s most recognizable accomplice. She bought into Jigsaw’s philosophy, and she saw him as a father figure and a mentor. However, she was never able to separate her emotions from her and Jigsaw’s work. The traps she ran herself tended to be inescapable. She also appeared intensely jealous whenever Jigsaw showed interest or affection for other people. For these reasons, Jigsaw tested Amanda more than once, eventually leading to her death.

Amanda urges Cecil to rob the Homeward Bound Clinic in Saw VI (2009).
Amanda (seen here with Cecil in a flashback from Saw VI) indirectly led to Jill and John losing their baby.

Before she met Jigsaw, Amanda was put in jail when she was framed by Eric Matthews for a drug offense. She developed a heroin addiction in jail, and she attended Jill Tuck’s Homeward Bound Clinic after her release. There, Amanda met Cecil Adams, and she was the person who urged Cecil to rob the clinic which led to Jill’s injury and miscarriage. Some time later, Amanda was abducted by Jigsaw and placed in the Reverse Bear Trap. She survived and got off of drugs, attributing the changes in her life to Jigsaw’s test.

Amanda Young tries to escape from the Reverse Bear Trap in Saw (2004).
The Reverse Bear Trap is one of the most iconic traps in the history of the Saw franchise, and it was featured heavily in advertising leading up to the release of Saw in 2004.

Later, Jigsaw went to Amanda’s apartment and recruited her to his cause. Amanda took part in Dr. Gordon and Adam Stanheight’s test (as seen in Saw), first by kidnapping Adam in his apartment, then by helping Jigsaw set up Gordon and Adam in the bathroom location. After the test (and after Jigsaw took Gordon away), Amanda returned to the bathroom and killed Adam (who was weakened and dying from a gunshot wound, dehydration, and starvation). These actions revealed Amanda’s fragile emotional state, which Jigsaw noticed.

Amanda stands in front of Daniel in Saw II (2005).
Amanda protected Daniel from Xavier in the Gas House in Saw II.

Later, Amanda was planted as a fake victim in the Gas House series of traps (as seen in Saw II). Amanda was there to help make sure rules were followed, and to ensure that Daniel Matthews made it out of the house alive. Amanda and Daniel were the only two people to survive the Gas House. Amanda delivered Daniel to Jigsaw, then she went back to the Gas House. In the basement, she waited in the bathroom from Gordon and Adam’s test. Detective Eric Matthews, Daniel’s father, eventually made his way to the bathroom while searching for his son. Amanda subdued Eric and left him chained to a pipe.

Amanda stands in front of Allison Kerry in Saw III (2006).
Amanda revealed herself to Det. Kerry just before Kerry was killed.

Eric quickly escaped the bathroom and found Amanda in the hallway. They fought, but Amanda took advantage of Eric’s shattered leg (broken in his escape from the bathroom) and left him writhing in pain in the basement of the Gas House. In the weeks after, Amanda was allowed to run two traps, but both of her traps were inescapable. During this time, Jigsaw made plans for his final games and the traps he intended to be run after his death.

Amanda and Lynn in Saw III (2006).
Amanda was aggressively antagonistic towards Lynn Denlon (on the right, played by Bahar Soomekh) throughout Saw III.

Amanda and Mark Hoffman set up Jeff Denlon’s tests. Amanda kidnapped Dr. Lynn Denlon and forced her to keep Jigsaw alive long enough to see the end of Jeff’s trials. Amanda oversaw Jeff’s tests, not knowing that she was also being tested. Jigsaw’s final test for Amanda was that she must keep her emotions out of the games and keep Lynn alive. Jigsaw intentionally made Amanda jealous through his interactions with Lynn. Also, Hoffman planted a letter for Amanda indicating that he knew she was involved in the death of Jigsaw’s unborn child (revealed in a Saw VI flashback). These factors led to Amanda shooting Lynn in front of Lynn’s husband Jeff. Jeff then killed Amanda by shooting her in the neck. Amanda died knowing that she had once again become a test subject, and that she had failed.

Mark Hoffman

Appearances: Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, Saw 3D
Costas Mandylor as Mark Hoffman in Saw IV (2007).
Mark Hoffman was played by Costas Mandylor.

Mark Hoffman, as played by Costas Mandylor, was Jigsaw’s most active accomplice, and he was Jigsaw’s direct successor. He was a detective in the Metropolitan Police Department, and he rose to the rank of Detective Lieutenant before his crimes were exposed. Though Hoffman was a valuable accomplice for John Kramer, the two of them never fully agreed on their philosophies. Hoffman had no problem murdering people, and he used the Jigsaw traps as more of a path to revenge than as a chance for redemption for those who were being tested.

Hoffman lies for Rigg in Saw IV (2007).
Hoffman lies to defend Rigg from a charge of attacking a citizen.

Earlier in his career, Hoffman was loyal to his fellow officers, though his methods of showing that loyalty weren’t always legal. For instance, he saved Officer Rigg’s job when he lied to authorities about an incident in which Rigg punched a suspect, saying that Rigg was attacked first (Saw IV). Hoffman also killed a suspect who threatened Officer Matt Gibson, after the suspect was disarmed and had surrendered (Saw 3D).

Hoffman leaves the site of the pendulum trap that he made in the style of Jigsaw., as seen in Saw V (2008).
Hoffman leaves the site of the pendulum trap that he made in the style of Jigsaw.

At a time before the first Saw movie, Hoffman’s sister Angelina was murdered by her boyfriend. The killer, Seth Baxter, was found guilty, but he was released from prison on a technicality. By this time the Jigsaw murders had recently begun, and that gave Hoffman an idea. Hoffman abducted Baxter and placed him in a trap meant to copy Jigsaw’s methods (the Pendulum trap in Saw V). Despite some discrepancies that would later lead investigators to realizing Baxter’s murder wasn’t done by John Kramer, the trap was still attributed to Jigsaw.

Jigsaw holds a mirror up to Mark Hoffman in Saw V (2008).
Jigsaw either believed he could change Hoffman’s murderous ways, or he just saw that having a police officer on his side would be a huge advantage.

John Kramer abducted Hoffman after he figured out that he was responsible for the fake Jigsaw murder. Kramer set Hoffman up in what appeared to be a rudimentary trap with a shotgun, but the gun wasn’t loaded. Kramer actually just wanted to give Hoffman a choice: join him as an accomplice in future Jigsaw tests, or send Kramer to jail which would also expose himself as the person who killed Seth Baxter. Hoffman chose to join Jigsaw, and they worked together to set up numerous traps.

Hoffman and Jigsaw set up a trap in the Gas House in a flashback seen in Saw V (2008).
Hoffman understood that some of Jigsaw’s games (like the gun in the peephole in Saw II) relied on varying degrees of chance, despite Jigsaw assuring him that he left nothing to chance.

Jigsaw disapproved of Hoffman’s idea that some people deserve to die, and he disapproved of the rough way Hoffman treated the people they abducted for their games. From Hoffman’s perspective, he thought Jigsaw relied too much on luck for his traps, and pointed out that Jigsaw was kind of a hypocrite when he claimed to not enjoy hurting people who deserve it. Despite their differences though, they managed to coexist well enough.

Amanda and Hoffman as seen in Saw VI (2009).
Amanda thought she would outlast Hoffman as Jigsaw’s apprentice, but Hoffman took action to get rid of Amanda.

When Jigsaw recruited Amanda Young, Hoffman and Amanda acted as rivals. Hoffman knew that Amanda was involved in the accident that injured Jill and cost her and John their unborn baby. He used that information to push Amanda into killing Lynn Denlon (revealed in Saw VI) which then led to Amanda’s death at the hands of Jeff Denlon (in Saw III). At the same time, in another part of the same building, Hoffman participated in the final trap for Officer Rigg’s trials by pretending to be a victim (in Saw IV). After Rigg failed the test and everyone else in the room died, Hoffman tried to kill FBI Special Agent Peter Strahm by placing his head in a box that filled with water. Strahm survived.

Hoffman gets a promotion in Saw V (2008).
Hoffman was promoted for his work in “stopping” the Jigsaw murders.

Hoffman intended for everyone in the tests of Saw III and Saw IV to die, and he would emerge as the only survivor and a hero for saving Jeff Denlon’s daughter who had been kidnapped and held at the site of the tests. His plan mostly worked, but it also convinced Strahm that Hoffman was involved with Jigsaw. To cover himself, Hoffman began to frame Strahm as Jigsaw’s unknown accomplice. Hoffman also manipulated Strahm into following him into the basement of the house previously used in Saw II, and Strahm was killed.

Mark Hoffman in a reverse bear trap.
Mark Hoffman survived the new Reverse Bear Trap, but it left him with a large scar on his cheek.

Strahm’s death was kept secret, and Hoffman continued to frame Strahm, using his severed hand to place fingerprints at the sites of new Jigsaw traps. Despite the framing, Hoffman was close to being exposed as the person responsible for the death of Seth Baxter, so Hoffman killed the investigating FBI agents, Erickson and Perez. Hoffman returned to the location where trials were being conducted for William Easton (in Saw VI), and he was subdued by Jill Tuck. Jill, following John’s last request to her, set Hoffman in a new version of the Reverse Bear Trap, but he managed to escape.

Hoffman is left to die in the bathroom from the first Saw movie.
Hoffman wasn’t given a chance to survive in the end.

Hoffman knew he was about to be exposed as Jigsaw’s successor (if he wasn’t exposed already), so he went into hiding. He also conducted series of trials for author Bobby Dagen which had been planned by John Kramer prior to his death (in Saw 3D). While those trials were happening, Hoffman found and killed Jill who had gone to the police for protection. Hoffman then decided to burn his hideout and disappear, but he was attacked by multiple people in pig masks. One of his attackers was Dr. Lawrence Gordon who, unknown to Hoffman, was another accomplice of Jigsaw’s. Gordon took Hoffman to the bathroom from Saw, chained him to a pipe, and left him in the dark with no chance of escape. Hoffman, presumably, dies.

Jill Tuck

Appearances: Saw III (flashback), Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, Saw 3D
Betsy Russell as Jill Tuck in Saw VI (2009).
Jill Tuck was played by Betsy Russell. Jill never actually killed anyone, but she could definitely have been accused of attempted murder in one instance.

Jill Tuck was the ex-wife of John Kramer, the original Jigsaw Killer. She knew that John was Jigsaw after his first victim, Cecil Adams, was discovered. Jill disapproved of John’s actions, and she wanted him to stop. Even so, she still kept John’s secret as long as she could, even after John’s identity as Jigsaw was revealed when his hideout was raided by Detectives Kerry and Matthews (Saw II).

John and Jill in much happier times as seen in Saw VI (2009).
John and Jill in much happier times.

Prior to John becoming Jigsaw, Jill and John were happily married. Jill worked at the Homeward Bound Clinic for recovering drug addicts. She believed in helping people, even when John grew wary of the people Jill was exposed to on a daily basis. Jill became pregnant, and she and John were both excited for the eventual arrival of their son Gideon. However, one night Cecil Adams tried to rob the Homeward Bound Clinic, and Jill was injured when Cecil slammed a door into her midsection. Jill recovered, but her child couldn’t be saved.

Jill cries out in pain in Saw IV (2007).
Jill lost her baby because of Cecil’s robbery of the Homweward Bound Clinic, and Cecil robbed the clinic after being urged to do it by Amanda Young.

Jill and John became distant from each other, eventually leading to their divorce. Around that time, John was also diagnosed with colon cancer and an inoperable brain tumor. John’s mental and physical condition worsened, and even though Jill tried to reach out to him, John continued to pull away. When Jill later read a newspaper article about the death of Cecil Adams, she confronted John. John admitted that he was involved in Cecil’s death, and he told Jill to stay away.

Jill Tuck with John Kramer in Saw VI (2009).
Jill last saw John shortly before the dual trials conducted at the Gideon Meatpacking Plant (as seen in Saw III and Saw IV, though the flashback seen here is from Saw VI).

Jill would still see John from time to time as the Jigsaw games continued, and she knew about Amanda Young and Mark Hoffman as Jigsaw’s accomplices. John tried to convince Jill that his way of “helping” people was better than hers, and Jill tried to convince John to stop killing people. They never reconciled, but they still cared for each other in their own ways. On the night of John’s death, Jill was interrogated by FBI Special Agent Peter Strahm. Jill wouldn’t give Strahm any good information, remaining loyal to John until the end.

Jill receives a box from John in Saw V (2008).
Jill receives a box from John after his death.

After John’s death, Jill received a box from John with various messages, requests, and envelopes. Among the contents of the box were instructions for further tests which Hoffman took and performed himself. One test was saved for Jill specifically to conduct. John’s final request for Jill was to test Mark Hoffman with a new version of the Reverse Bear Trap. Before she used the trap, Jill delivered another envelope from the box marked for Dr. Lawrence Gordon.

Jill Tuck in the reverse bear trap in Saw 3D (2010).
Jigsaw claimed to leave nothing to chance, so is it possible that he knew his request to Jill for her to test Hoffman would lead to Hoffman killing Jill?

Jill knew where the trials were happening for William Easton (Saw VI) since she’d seen the plans from the box, and she went to the site of the trials to wait for Hoffman. Jill shocked Hoffman to knock him out, then she set him up in the Reverse Bear Trap. Jill didn’t leave a key for Hoffman, and she expected him to die. Hoffman managed to escape the trap, so Jill hid and then ran away. She later went to Officer Matt Gibson of the Metropolitan Police Department and offered to testify against Hoffman in exchange for protection and immunity. Despite her precautions, Hoffman eventually found her and placed her in the original version of the Reverse Bear Trap. Jill Tuck was killed when her face was ripped apart.

Dr. Lawrence Gordon

Appearances: Saw, Saw 3D
Cary Elwes as Lawrence Gordon in Saw (2004).
Lawrence Gordon was played by Cary Elwes.

Lawrence Gordon was an oncologist at the Angel of Mercy hospital, and he was the doctor who diagnosed John Kramer with colon cancer and an inoperable brain tumor. Dr. Gordon’s home life wasn’t great, his marriage was in trouble, and he was having an affair with a medical student when he was first introduced in Saw. All of these factors, plus his callous attitude when giving patients news of their impending death, made him a target for Jigsaw.

Dr. Gordon shows Jigsaw a picture of Lynn Denlon in Saw 3D (2010).
Gordon worked at the same hospital as Dr. Lynn Denlon, and he is the person who brought Lynn to Jigsaw’s attention.

Gordon was one of the subjects of the Jigsaw game carried out in the bathroom seen in Saw. After a long ordeal, Gordon escaped the room and the chain that held him by cutting off his own foot. As he crawled away, he cauterized his leg wound by burning it on a hot pipe. Jigsaw found Gordon, took him away, and nursed him back to health. After that, Gordon joined Jigsaw by becoming his accomplice and helping with some of the more delicate medical aspects of the traps. Gordon’s role in helping Jigsaw was kept secret from Jigsaw’s other accomplices Amanda Young and Mark Hoffman.

Lawrence Gordon smiles at a saw in the bathroom he survived years prior in Saw 3D (2010).
Though bringing back Gordon for the seventh Saw movie might feel a bit cheap as far as surprise revelations go, his presence, and the presence of the original bathroom from the first Saw, provided a good bookend to close out the ongoing saga of the first seven films. Having him be the person to end Mark Hoffman was a nice touch.

After John Kramer’s death, Dr. Gordon received a package left for him and delivered by Kramer’s ex-wife Jill Tuck. The package contained a message from Jigsaw that asked Gordon to watch over Jill. If anything ever happened to Jill, Gordon was to “act immediately.” After Jill was killed by Mark Hoffman, Gordon and a group of people attacked him. Gordon took Hoffman to the bathroom where Gordon himself had been tested, and he chained Hoffman to a pipe by his ankle. Gordon then left Hoffman to die.

Logan Nelson

Appearances: Jigsaw
Matt Passmore as Logan Nelson in Jigsaw (2017).
Logan Nelson was played by Matt Passmore.

Logan Nelson was a medical examiner who worked with police during the investigation of the Jigsaw copycat murders that took place approximately ten years after the death of John Kramer. In fact, Nelson was the Jigsaw copycat, and he was one of Jigsaw’s first protégés. He used his position as a medical examiner to frame a detective on the case, Brad Halloran, for the crimes.

Logan Nelson accidentally mislabels John Kramer's x-ray in Jigsaw (2017).
Nelson’s mistake had a ripple effect that influenced the paths of many people’s lives.

Years before, Nelson was working as a resident at the Angel of Mercy hospital where John Kramer had some tests done. Nelson accidentally mislabeled John’s x-ray, causing his brain tumor to not be detected until it was too late to do anything about it. For that reason, John selected Nelson as one of five subjects for a series of tests conducted at an abandoned pig farm.

Jigsaw and Logan Nelson work together to create the Reverse Bear Trap.
The series of traps at the pig farm took place at an unknown time early in Jigsaw’s career, though it was definitely before Amanda Young’s test in the Reverse Bear Trap (as evidenced by Jigsaw and Nelson creating the Reverse Bear Trap together). The tests and the victims were also never discovered by police or the public.

Nelson was nearly killed in the first trap in which five people were pulled towards saw blades by a chain around their neck. Nelson’s back was cut multiple times, but Jigsaw rushed in and saved him. Jigsaw changed his mind about Nelson, believing that he shouldn’t die for an honest mistake. Jigsaw helped Nelson recover from his injuries, and he took him on as his first apprentice. Or rather, Nelson says he was Jigsaw’s first apprentice. For all we know, Jigsaw could have already recruited Mark Hoffman and simply didn’t tell Nelson about him.

Logan Nelson prepares the games at Jill Tuck's pig farm in Jigsaw (2017).
Why Nelson wasn’t seen with John Kramer in the years between his recruitment by Jigsaw and his recreation of the pig farm games (pictured here) is never adequately explained.

About ten years after the death of John Kramer, Nelson decided to recreate the traps Jigsaw originally ran at the pig farm. He did it as a test for himself to see if he could do what Jigsaw did, but he also did it as revenge against Det. Halloran. Halloran was a dirty cop, and a criminal Halloran protected had killed Nelson’s wife. Nelson chose three criminals who had gone free thanks to Halloran. By placing the bodies of the three victims in strategic places, and by manipulating evidence, Nelson successfully managed to frame Halloran as the new Jigsaw copycat.

Logan Nelson stands in a doorway at the end of Jigsaw (2017).
Nelson spent time in the military and was in the Battle of Fallujah (in 2004), but Nelson also says that Jigsaw helped him recover from his time at war, so that causes some potential havoc to the Saw timeline.

The final two subjects in Nelson’s tests were himself and Halloran. They were both fitted with collars that had lasers in them. Nelson faked being a victim and was “killed” when the lasers turned to point at his head. Using a recreation of Jigsaw’s voice, Nelson got Halloran to confess to being responsible for the deaths of innocent people. That’s when Nelson revealed that he hadn’t really been killed. The lasers were harmless. Halloran’s lasers were not harmless though. Nelson explained everything to Halloran and accused him of getting his wife killed. Nelson did not give Halloran a chance of escape from the laser collar. Halloran died when the lasers cut his head into segments, and Nelson left the pig farm free and clear of any suspicion of his crimes.

William Emmerson

Appearances: Spiral
 Max Minghella as William Emmerson in Spiral (2021).
William Emmerson was played by Max Minghella.

William Emmerson was a Jigsaw copycat who targeted officers in the Metropolitan Police Department. Emmerson’s stated goal was to clean up the corruption in the police force, but his actions also indicated that he wanted revenge. Emmerson’s traps had a strong sense of poetic justice to them.

Zeke and Emmerson/Schenks meet in Captain Garza's office in Spiral (2021).
Zeke didn’t want a partner, but William was forced upon him by Captain Garza.

When Emmerson was young, his father was killed by a police officer. Years later, using the name William Schenk, he entered the police force and became a detective. While still a rookie, he managed to get himself partnered with Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks, the former partner of the officer who had killed his father so many years ago. Emmerson began his series of Jigsaw traps immediately prior to being assigned as Zeke’s partner, and he and Zeke investigated the murders together.

The pig puppet from Spiral (2021).
Emmerson used pig imagery like Jigsaw (with his pig masks), but the pigs meant something entirely different when associated exclusively with the police officers in Spiral.

As more officers died, Emmerson faked his own death as part of a Jigsaw trap. Emmerson continued his traps, and he also abducted Zeke’s father. Getting ready for his final act, Emmerson then abducted Zeke. Emmerson wanted to recruit Zeke to his side since he knew Zeke was an honorable cop, and because Zeke had protected Emmerson when his father was killed.

Emmerson escapes via elevator in Spiral (2021).
Emmerson escapes, using the same “shh” motion Zeke used towards him when he was a kid.

Emmerson set up Zeke’s father Marcus in a trap. He then gave Zeke a choice: free Marcus and let Emmerson escape, or shoot Emmerson and condemn Marcus to die a slow death. Zeke chose to save Marcus, so Emmerson started his escape. A secondary trap started as police entered the room. The trap forced Marcus to move like he was about to fire a gun, and the police opened fire. Marcus was killed, Zeke was distraught, and Emmerson got away.

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.