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Punisher (Jon Bernthal in Netflix's Daredevil season #2) portrait

Punisher

(Frank Castle) (Netflix version)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

(Montage of people voicing many opinions about Castle) “I think he is an animal, a sick, twisted, venal… Hero. That’s what we should be calling him. Doing things the cops won’t do, Frank Castle is a… grotesque insult to the Second Amendment, a fascist without the authority. If you ask me, people like Frank Castle ought to be… applauded for putting all the thieves and muggers and rapists in the morgue, where they belong. Let those bastards feel scared walking down the street for a change.”


Context

This is the version of Marvel Comics’ Punisher that appears in the second season of Netflix’s adaptation of Daredevil. He is played by Jon Bernthal.

It is a well rounded and fleshed out fresh modern take on the classic Marvel character. Frank proved to be well received by fans on the second season of Daredevil despite this season not being well received by fans in general. He stole the show in quite a few scenes (Bernthal did a great job!) and his popularity caused Marvel and Netflix to almost instantly green-light him for his very own upcoming series.

This writeup contains SPOILERS, but it only covers Daredevil season 2.


Background

  • Real Name: Frank Castle
  • Marital Status: Widowed.
  • Known Relatives: Lisa (daughter, deceased), Maria (wife, deceased), Frank Jr. (son, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: None, US Marines Corps (earlier only).
  • Base of Operations: New York City, especially Hell’s Kitchen.
  • Height: 5’9″ Weight: 170 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black
  • Other Distinguishing Features: Usually scarred or wounded.


Powers & Abilities

Frank was elite marine who participated in several extremely dangerous missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. As such he is pretty much a best of the best cinematic military action hero with all the skills and experience to go with it and then some. In particular he excels at combat of any kind.

His precision planned military style ambushes quite often kill all or most of his targets and he has been able to take on multiple opponents in gun battles even when he is severely outmanned and outgunned. He was also able to evade elite SWAT teams sent to apprehend him on several occasions.

His prowess in hand to hand combat is also exceptional. He was able to engage an elite martial artist such as Daredevil multiple times and fight him on equal footing. He could take out no less than ten immates sent to kill him with make shift prison weapons while he was incarcerated and completely unarmed.

Punisher (Jon Bernthal in Netflix's Daredevil season #2) with a sniper rifle

It’s also notable that his style of combat very heavily favors offensive tactics. In any combat situation he usually focuses on doing as much damage as possible by taking out as many opponents as quickly as possible. Since offense is much more highly prioritized over defense he almost always walks away from combat bloodied even when engaging only a few foes whom he is far superior to.

He’s also a very unshakably determined man. He is virtually impossible to intimidate even when situations are dire. He never hesitates in combat no matter how dire the situation is. He was able to laugh in the face of his enemies while being tortured.

He’s also extremely perceptive and every vigilant that his line of work makes him a constant target. It’s nearly impossible to get the drop on him unless it’s by an extremely stealthy opponent.

History

Castle was raised a Catholic in Hell’s Kitchen and he later signed up for the marines the day after 9-11. While enlisted he was trained by Ray Schoonover. He would go on to successfully participate in several extremely dangerous and highly classified missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Stateside

He would go on to earn the title of Scout Sniper and was inducted into the Marine Corp Force Recon earning several distinguishing medals in the process. When he returned home from combat he was tearfully reunited with his daughter at her school and quickly realized how combat weary and worn he had become from war.

His first night home with his family his daughter implored him to read her her favorite bedtime story, but he refused due to being too tired and promising to read it to her the next night. That night would never come and this would go on to haunt Frank. The next day he took his family to Central Park which quickly turned tragic.

Frank and his family were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time as a three way mafia battle erupted around them. His family was brutally cut down before his eyes. He himself received a gunshot wound to the head amidst the chaos. While in the hospital he flat-lined, but Frank was not quite ready to die and came back to life a few seconds later.

Upon awaking he demanded to be released and taken home.

Punish the guilty

After recovering he set about targeting and gathering intelligence on the criminal elements responsible for his family’s death. He ambushed the Dogs of Hell, a biker gang, first. He killed a small group of them and then ambushed a meeting with an Irish mod. He killed all but one that were present. Finally he attacked a Mexican Cartel and hung them all from meat hooks.

Punisher (Jon Bernthal in Netflix's Daredevil season #2) face closeup

After that he sought to take out the remainders of the Irish Mafia which would prove more difficult. He procured an illegal encrypted police scanner from a seedy pawn shop. After the transaction was completed the pawnshop owner, realizing that Frank had money and little regard for the law, offered to sell him child pornography to make a bit extra on their transaction. Frank responded by beating him to death with a baseball bat.

He then sought to tie up loose ends starting with Grotto, the lone survivor of him ambushing the Irish. Grotto had offered the police his testimony on both the Irish and their mysterious attacker. Thus, he was under police protection in the hospital while recovering from his wounds. Frank walked into the hospital, knocked out the police guarding him and tried to kill him with a shotgun.

Grotto was only saved by a quick thinking Karen Page who just happened to be present. She rushed him out of the hospital and sped away in a friend’s car. Frank had a backup plan though. He had secured a sniper’s nest on the roof and was just about to shoot Grotto when Daredevil stopped him at the last second.

The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen managed to disarm Frank with his first surprise attack and thus the two engaged in fisticuffs. After a brutal pitched battle Frank managed to gain the upper hand. Realizing that his opponent was not a criminal and wearing body armor he shot him in the helmet with his secondary pistol knocking him out. He then made sure his opponent was alive before fleeing the scene.

Target reacquired

The Punisher’s recent activities made him a very high profile target for the ambitious Samantha Reyes. She set in motion a plan that would allow Frank another shot at Grotto. But Frank knew that this was an obvious setup and readjusted his tactics accordingly. He attacked the main base of the Dogs of Hell and brutally slaughtered them to a man.

He then took one of their trucks and strapped the lone survivor to the driver’s seat and drove it to the meeting point. Police mistook the oncoming truck to be Frank’s and opened fire. Meanwhile Frank had secured another sniper spot in the vicinity in order to take another shot at Grotto, but was once again foiled by Daredevil.

Their ensuing fight caught the attention of the police who turned their guns on the pair of vigilantes. After several close calls and Frank being shot in the arm he managed to push Daredevil through a glass ceiling and subdue him. Frank then took the unconscious Daredevil hostage. While hostage the two debated their very different methods of vigilante style justice before Frank once again knocked him out.

A challenge

While Daredevil was unconscious Frank captured Grotto on his own and brought him before Daredevil. After beating two murder confessions out of Grotto Frank handed the chained up Daredevil a gun with only one bullet in it. Castle informed him that if Daredevil intended to stop Frank from killing him he would have to shoot him.

Punisher (Jon Bernthal in Netflix's Daredevil season #2) pointing a .45 in the night

Daredevil managed to use the one bullet to shoot the chains off that bound him and the two once again fought hand to hand. During their fight Frank managed to fatally wound Grotto. While Daredevil was tending to the wounded Grotto Frank fired a grenade launcher at the remaining Dogs of Hell that had been pursuing them alerting them to their location.

This time around Daredevil was finally able to best the Punisher and successfully knock him out. He was however unwilling to let the enraged Dogs of Hell have him and he tried to defend the unconscious Castle from the bikers. During the battle Frank awoke and made his escape.

The prey traps the hunter

When he returned to his base he saw the Irish leaving the building he had been using. Realizing that they were primarily concerned with recovering their stolen money he hatched a risky plan. He hid the money in a van with a bomb attached to it and then allowed them to apprehend him.

Finn Cooley revealed himself to be their leader. He promised to kill Castle not just for the deaths of his men, but for also slaying his older son as well. They first tortured him to find their missing money and Frank pretty much mocked them for their efforts. It wasn’t until they threatened his dog that he finally gave them the location of his van that contained the money.

The gangsters that found the money where promptly blown to smithereens. While Cooley was distracted Frank managed to use a razor blade that he had hidden under his skin to cut his way out of his bonds. He killed Cooley, but was severely outgunned by the remaining gangsters. He was saved by the timely arrival of Daredevil who had been tracking them.

In the end though DD refused to let him kill any of the remaining gangsters. He helped the severely wounded Castle escape. Daredevil then carried Castle to a graveyard where Frank then explained what had driven him to kill all those criminals. As his origin story came to a close the police surrounded the scene, and Frank was captured while Daredevil quietly slipped away.

The trial of the century

Daredevil in his civilian identity persuaded his associate Foggy Nelson that they should take on Frank’s case as lawyers. Castle initially refused them, but changed his mind after Karen shared some of the information she had dug up on the murder of his family.

When they went to court Frank plead not guilty in order to expose Prosecutor Reyes’s connection to his family’s death and damage her political career. This forced Nelson and Murdock to change their legal strategy. The trial was long and convoluted with both sides managing to score points.

Nelson and Murdock decided to put Frank on the stand in order to defend his actions. But the night before he was set to take the stand he was approached by one of Wilson Fisk’s men who told him that Fisk has information on his family’s murder. Fisk would only share it if Frank was incarcerated at Riker’s.

The next day while on the stand Castle exploded with an enraged speech about how he had enjoyed killing criminals and would gladly do it again which promptly threw the trial. He was found guilty and sentenced to Riker’s.

The Kingpin and I, the Punisher

When they first met Fisk informed Castle that Dutton had the information that he sought. But Castle knew the Fisk’s motivation was suspect as killing Dutton would make Fisk the undisputed boss of Riker’s. Yet he agreed anyway due to his burning need to avenge his family.

Punisher (Jon Bernthal in Netflix's Daredevil season #2) aiming an assault rifle

Fisk handed him a shiv. He told Castle that he had arranged him to be transferred to Dutton’s cell block. Frank would only have seven minutes to extract the information, kill Dutton, and then escape. Frank, becoming the Punisher, subdued Dutton and then slowly pushed the shiv into his gut to extract the info.

Dutton informed him that the meeting was set up to draw out the mysterious criminal known only as the Blacksmith. Castle killed the remaining men on the cellblock still loyal to Dutton. He may very well have been able to escape, but the Kingpin betrayed him. He locked Castle in the cellblock with the remaining criminals who were itching to kill Castle due to his vigilante activities.

The unarmed Frank managed to kill the remaining ten men before he was too wounded to fight and was then apprehended by the prison guards. While recovering in solitary confinement Fisk paid him a visit. Thoroughly impressed by the Punisher’s sheer brutality he realized that if he were to release him then he could severely weaken competing crime syndicates while he himself was safe in prison.

Fisk bribed guards then released Castle. Frank went on the run.

The Blacksmith, part 1

Realizing that Frank was loose and how big a threat he was the Blacksmith began systematically murdering anyone who had anything to do with the massacre of Frank’s family. Karen Paige became a target due to her previously having looked into the matter. Frank confronted her, but she was initially skeptical of him and even threatened to shoot him.

Page was convinced once he managed to save her from a hail of automatic weapon fire. The pair escaped together and went on the run. While fleeing, Frank realized that they were being followed. He convinced Karen that they should stop at a diner for food and coffee in order to confront their pursuers. When the pair of men following them entered the diner Frank opened fire.

This led to a brief confrontation in which he killed one of the assailants and managed to beat the Blacksmith’s location out of the other before killing him as well.

Frank went straight to the Blacksmith’s ship and brutally gunned down the crew. Once on board he found a large shipment of heroin that the Blacksmith had been smuggling. A final assailant then attacked him, but was shot repeatedly for his effort. The Punisher then demanded that the man admit to being the Blacksmith

The Blacksmith, part 2

The assailant confessed, but just before Frank was able to pull the trigger Daredevil appeared. He explained that the thug was lying and that the real Blacksmith was elsewhere. More reinforcements arrived and another gun battle ensued. Frank managed to push Daredevil off the ship shortly before the incidental fire that their fight had cause made the ship explode.

Many thought that the Punisher was finally dead, but in truth he had just barely managed to escape. More importantly he had recognized some of the reinforcements. Thus, Castle was able to deduce that his former commander Ray Schoonover was the actual Blacksmith. Howbeit, Karen had also managed to uncover the Blacksmith’s identity on her own and went to his house to confront him.

The Punisher arrived shortly after. He managed to free Karen and take Schoonover hostage. After beating him Frank dragged Schoonover the Blacksmith out into the woods. Karen implored him not to kill the man, but Frank ignored her. He then summarily executed him.

While trying to dispose of the body stumbled upon a massive cache of weapons including a bulletproof vest which he would soon add his trademark skull to. The skull was partly inspired by an x-ray of his own skull shown during his defense in his earlier trial). Castle then tracked down Daredevil and shot several of the assassins that were attacking him. That gave Daredevil an opening to defeat Nobu Yoshioka.

Frank was last seen walking away from his house that he had set fire to. He will undoubtedly continue his crusade as the Punisher.


Description

Frank is a muscular male with crewcut, black hair, a broken nose and rugged looks. He has a pretty dark and moody voice. He almost always dresses in no nonsense black attire and his presence is abrupt, to the point and often somewhat unsettling. He is almost always bruised and bloodied in one way or another.


Personality

Frank Castle is a man of very deep feelings. And he is also a burnt out derelict of a man. He was simply a combat veteran who had seen too much violence and upon returning home wished to be nothing more than a loving family man.

Consumed with rage and bitterness over the slaughter of his family he became a new man with a new mission: to rid the world of criminals the only way he knew how, by waging a merciless war upon them.

He does do his best to not endanger innocents while in the field and protect them if they are in danger. Despite Daredevil being a constant thorn in his side he refused to kill him when given the chance, realizing that he was not a criminal.

Although he originally thought that Daredevil’s methods were weak half measures he does eventually grow to grudgingly respect him as a kindred spirit of sorts, a fellow vigilante.

He is painfully reeling from the loss of his family. He is driven by rage and is on a singular mission to find people who took his family from him, and to do it as brutally as possible. He will NEVER quit his crusade, is happy only when the combat is going on, and will then move on to the next target without much of a break. Frank thus has no real life beyond his punishing activities.


Quotes

“(To Daredevil) You hit them and they get back up, I hit them and they stay down.”

(While on the stand testifying at his own trial.) “You know those, uh… those people ? The ones I put down, the people I killed ? I want you to know that I’d do it all again. This is a circus, all right ? It’s a charade, it’s an act. It’s bullshit about how crazy I am. I ain’t crazy ! I’m not crazy. Okay ? I know what I did. I know who I am. And I do not need your help. I’m smack-dab in the middle of my right goddamn mind, and any scumbag, any… any lowlife, any maggot piece of shit that I put down, I did it… because I liked it ! Hell, I loved it ! I’m sittin’ here, I’m… I’m just itching. I’m itching to do it again. And you think… What, you think you’re gonna send me to a nuthouse ? Some doctor, they’re gonna get me to stop from doing what I want to do ? Well, that ain’t happening ! Not on my watch ! You people, you call me the Punisher, ain’t that right ? The big bad Punisher. Well, here I am ! You want it, you got it ! I am the Punisher ! I’m right here ! You want it, I’ll give it to you. And anybody who came here today to hear me whine, to hear me beg ? Well, you can kiss my ass ! Do you hear me ? I’m guilty. Come on, please, Judge ! I’m guilty, you hear me ? I’m guilty ! I’m guilty !”

“It’s… One Batch, Two Batch, Penny and Dime, you know? It was her favorite book. You gotta cross the ocean, and go fight. You see, whole time you’re thinking you’re gonna be scared, right ? But then you’re not. See, that part of it was always easy for me. Killing. Even watching my buddies die, it just didn’t mean nothing. The first time I got scared was on a plane on the way home. I kept thinking God was gonna pull the rug out from under us, you know ? Shit, that’s his kind of funny, you know. But the plane landed safe and we were home. Driving through traffic. Yeah, you pass fast food and donut shops and all that greasy shit, the shit you fought to protect, and then the car stops. We were outside her school. I get to her classroom, right ? She’s in there, but she’s got no idea. She’s got no idea Daddy’s home. I walk in, these kids, they’re not even studying, they’re-they’re doing some kind of yoga. Yeah. You know ? She’s there. She’s doing her poses, you know, she’s bending and, you know, she’s moving. She looks like a flower. Yeah. And you know, you can’t even understand it, you know, how does something like that have… How does something that beautiful have… How does that… how does that come from me, you know ? And she looks up and she sees me. I see her. By God, that’s real. That’s real, Red. Boom. In an instant, she’s across that classroom floor, she’s in my arms. She’s squeezing me so tight, I swear I was gonna bust a rib, you know ? We just stayed there like that, we’re holding each other. Teacher’s filming the whole thing on her phone, you know, she’s gonna put it on YouTube or some shit. She can’t hold the thing steady, because, you know, she’s… she’s bawling so hard, and the kids are all wailing, you know, they’re screaming. And me ? Shit, I’m the worst of all. I’m a… I’m a rubber-faced clown, you know ? I cried so hard. But not my baby. Not my girl. You know, she’s my girl. She’s… she’s not crying, she’s holding me up. My girl, she’s keeping me on my feet. She says, ‘I knew it, Daddy. I knew it.” And then we go home. To the wife, the boy. Place is the exact same, it’s like it was just holding its breath waiting for me to get back, you know ? Then it hit me. All of it, you know ? The first time I felt how tired I was, you know, I was just tired, you know ? You ever been tired, Red ?”” [Daredevil agrees] “So, you know. It’s just, I couldn’t do nothing, you know ? All the things. I couldn’t take my wife to bed. Ball with the boy. Shit… I was too tired, I couldn’t even drink a goddamn beer, you know ? But not her. My girl was up. See, she wanted to, uh, she wanted me to tuck her in. She… she outgrew it, she knew it, but she didn’t care. She wanted it. She had that book. Her favorite book was out on the pillows. One Batch, Two Batch, Penny and Dime, you know ? I read her that book every night before this shit. I read it every single night, but, see, that was over now, because Daddy’s home now. She looked at me and she begged me, Red. She begged. She begged. I said, ‘No. Daddy’s too tired, see. But I’ll… I’ll read to you tomorrow night. I promise.” Yeah. Never think that for her there was not gonna be any tomorrow, see ? The last time I’d see her, I’d be holding her lifeless body in my arms. Meat was spilling out of her, Red. The place where her face used to be. I think I’m done, Red. I think I’m done.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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The Punisher

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Anti-Heroic Seeking Justice
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 07 Occupation: Vigilante, ex-Marine
Inf: 06 Aur: 03 Spi: 06 Wealth: 004
Init: 022 HP: 035

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing): 04, Charisma: 05, Detective (Clue Analysis, Legwork): 04, Martial Artist (AV, RV): 06, Martial Arts (OV, EV): 04, Medicine (First Aid): 03, Military Science (Camouflage, Cartography, Danger Recognition, Demolition, Field Command): 05, Thief (Concealment, Stealth): 04, Vehicles (Land, Sea): 04, Weaponry (all but Exotic): 07

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Hell’s Kitchen of New York City), Headquarters (Confined, Van), Familiarity (military weaponry and protocol), Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes, Pain Management (low), Sharp Eye.

Connections:
Colonel Ray Schoonover, his ex-CEO in the US Marine (High in the series only), Daredevil (low only at the end of the second season).

Genre:
Gritty.

Drawbacks:
Guilt, Mistrust, CIA (avenging the murder of his wife and children), Public Identity, Serious Rage.

Equipment:
Frank carries a wide assortment of weapons for every mission. Some examples include:

  • Tactical vest [BODY 04, Invulnerability: 05, Skin armor: 02, Limitation : Invulnerability and Skin armor only vs bullets and slashing and piercing weapons ; Real Armour].
  • Brand name M1911 .45 pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 08, R#02]. Usually a Para-Ordnance or Kimber model.
  • .357 magnum revolver [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 06, Rec. STR 02, Drawback: Long reload]. In the second season of Daredevil, a S&W M327 Performance with 5″ barrel and two mounting rails.
  • Stakeout shotgun [BODY 03, Shotgun blast (Range 02): 06, Ammo: 04, Rec. STR 03, Drawback: Long reload]. In DDS2, a shortened Ithaca with a folding vertical front grip.
  • Drum-fed combat shotgun [BODY 04, Shotgun Blast (Range) 03): 06, Ammo: 08, R#02, Rec. STR 02]. In DDS2, a Mossberg 500 with the Knoxx Sidewinder feed conversion and tactical front grip.
  • 5.56mm assault carbine [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Ammo: 08, R#02, Advantage: Autofire] w/ Reflex sight [BODY 01, Telescopic vision: 01) and underbarrel 40mm launcher [BODY 02, Range: 06, Ammo: 01, Drawback: Long reload]. In DDS2, probably a SIG-Sauer 516 with a M203.
  • High-powered sniper rifle [BODY 01, Projectile weapons: 07, Range: 09, Telescopic vision: 04, Ammo: 04, R#02. Limitation: PW has No Range, use the listed Range instead]. Probably something in .338 Lapua Magnum. Examples in DDS2 have included a Nemesis Arms Vanquish, a suppressed DTA Stealth Recon Scout, and a Barrett MRAD.

Not yet the Punisher

The story of Frank Castle in the second season of Daredevil is really the origin story of the Punisher. He is not yet the Punisher during the start of the season, but slowly becomes that throughout the series, which is then a lead in to his own series. In this writeup we will also take some future assumptions into consideration.

One such assumption is to include some Skills which were not yet thoroughly demonstrated in the show. He is assumed to have them because of both his known and implied military background and combat experience, and he will very likely demonstrate them in his own series later. The audience isn’t shown much about how he gathers his intelligence, so it is entirely possible that he has other skills related to information gathering as well (besides the obvious ones he demonstrates, such as torturing thugs and listening to encrypted police broadcasts).

At the end, when he found his cache of weapons, he also picked up a compact disc marked “Microship”. Whether this contains the contact information of an actual person to enroll into his war (like in Marvel’s Punisher War Journal books) or some piece of useful technology was not revealed, but will no doubt be treated in his own show.

He will likely have SIA (bringing justice to criminals) in his upcoming series, thus exchanging his old CIA with this.


Previous Stats

During his enlistment in Iraq and Afghanistan he would have had Military Credentials (Low) and likely also Connections with the other members of his squad. There’s also no indication that he had any Drawbacks yet during this period of time. His Wealth fluctuates as well; it would have been significantly higher when he stole the money from the Irish Mafia and used it to purchase equipment.

By Dr. Peter S. Piispanen and Tom Eilers

Source of Character: Daredevil TV-series Season 2, character played by Jon Bernthal.

Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet, Darci, Nicolas Lemaçon, Drphibes.

Writeup completed on the 2nd of February, 2017.

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