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Eric Matthews.jpg

Detective Eric Matthews is a fictional character from the Saw franchise. Portrayed by Donnie Wahlberg, he first appeared in a mockumentary entitled, Full Disclosure Report: Piecing Together Jigsaw, featured on the uncut version of the original film. He subsequently appeared as the main protagonist of Saw II (2005), and had a minor role in Saw III (2006), and again a major role in Saw IV (2007). Eric's final appearance was in the form of a photograph in Saw V (2008). Before the release of Saw III, it was stated that Wahlberg would not return as the character, but this turned out to be a hoax conceived by Lions Gate Entertainment to throw off fans of the series trying to dig up details on the film.

In the films, Eric is depicted as a corrupt police detective, who uses excessive brutality and framed several innocent people. He is one of the many people trying to solve the case of the Jigsaw Killer, and becomes directly involved when his son Daniel is among those forced to participate in one of Jigsaw's "games". Eric's patience is tested by Jigsaw, who forces him to wait until he reveals Daniel's whereabouts. Eric ultimately fails his test and brutalizes Jigsaw, forcing him to take him to the location of the game, only to end up captured. After six months in captivity, Eric becomes part of a game designed for his colleague, Officer Daniel Rigg; Rigg fails his test, resulting in Eric being killed by one of Jigsaw's contraptions.

Saw - Full Disclosure Report

Eric's first appearance was in the in-universe documentary titled "Full Disclosure Report" which was featured on the Saw: Uncut DVD. A reporter stated that Matthews' excessive force and bad temper might be one factor that was holding police back from solving the Jigsaw case. A clip of Eric entering his car was shown as a reporter asked Eric for some information on the case, also asking about the reports of Eric's brutality. Eric responded by pulling out his gun and yelling, "What brutality?". A fellow officer then pulled Eric back to his car.

Saw II

Eric's first major appearance was in Saw II, where he is introduced as the father of Daniel Matthews, and as an ex-detective doing desk work. He was called to the scene of one of the Jigsaw Killer's recently discovered games, where Eric was asked by his ex-partner, Detective Allison Kerry, to identify the victim, who turned out to be Michael, a police informant used by Eric. While leaving the scene, Kerry pointed out a message written on the ceiling, which stated, "LOOK CLOSER DETECTIVE MATTHEWS." Annoyed with Kerry for bringing him to the scene to be goaded into the investigation by the message, Eric announced that he had enough work to do, while having to deal with his wife's divorce lawyers.

Later, while trying to sleep, Eric remembered the brand name of a padlock used on the device that killed Michael. With this information, he decided to tag along with Kerry and SWAT Commander Daniel Rigg to an old warehouse that they believed to be Jigsaw's latest lair. Finally coming face to face with Jigsaw inside, Eric was put into a test. Eric was told that he had a problem to deal with, and uncovered numerous computer monitors that displayed a camera feed that showed his son, along with seven others, being held captive in a house. Confronting Jigsaw, Eric was told that Daniel was in danger of the nerve gas that was being pumped into the house, but that if Eric were to sit and have a conversation with Jigsaw for long enough, he would get his son back. Eric, under advice from Kerry, reluctantly sat and began his test.

During his conversations with Jigsaw, it was revealed that Eric had once been a ruthless and brutal police officer who used extreme measures to complete his assignments, going so far as to plant evidence on suspects and shoot down unarmed suspects. However, Jigsaw seemed to state that Eric at least felt alive during those times, but was now cowering behind a desk. Eric eventually left the conversation with Jigsaw to watch his son's progression through the house with the seven strangers, only being convinced by Kerry, who was revealed to at one point to have been Eric's mistress, to threaten Jigsaw's work as a way to find his son's location. When that did nothing, Jigsaw revealed that the seven strangers in the house with Daniel were in fact seven ex-convicts who had been arrested by Eric after being framed with false evidence. Eric, under Rigg's advice, began to aggressively attack Jigsaw, punching and kicking him repeatedly and breaking his finger in order to find out where his son was being held. Jigsaw stated that Eric's game was over, and that he would take Eric to the house.

Together, they escaped from the building without Eric's team, and drove away in a van. Jigsaw gave Eric directions to the house along the way. Leaving Jigsaw in the van, Eric went through the back door of the house, and found the corpses inside in a state of decay, as if having been there for an extended period of time. He managed to get into the foundation of the house, where he stumbled across the bathroom from the first film, where his son had already been to. Expecting to find Daniel there, Eric was attacked by Amanda Young, dressed in a pig mask, and rendered unconscious. It was revealed that the feed of the house that Eric had seen was not in fact live, but had been a recording. Daniel had been locked in a safe that had sat a few feet away from Jigsaw during Eric's test. When Eric woke up, he was shackled by the ankle to a pipe in the bathroom with his gun unloaded and his flashlight out of reach. Amanda revealed herself to be Jigsaw's apprentice before sliding the door shut, leaving Eric to die.

Saw III

Eric managed to free himself from his shackle in Saw III, mere minutes after having been locked away, by smashing and breaking his foot to the point that it could slip through. Flashbacks later in the film showed him escaping the bathroom. Limping through the basement hallways, screaming for his son, Eric quickly passed Amanda, who hid herself and began panicking. Eric attacked Amanda and severely beat her with ease, despite his injuries. When he demanded to know where Daniel was, Amanda spat in Eric's face and kicked his broken foot, then began to walk away. Eric taunted her, saying, "You're not Jigsaw, bitch!", which prompted her to turn back toward him. It is unknown what she did next, but she seemed to believe that Eric was dead as she told Jigsaw that she "returned the favor" for him taking her life from her. Jigsaw corrected her, saying that he had cleaned up her mistakes.

He is also spoken of by Kerry during the film, describing the guilt that she felt after his disappearance and having hallucinations of him.

Saw IV

It is revealed in this film (which takes place concurrently with Saw III) that Eric had been missing for six months. As Daniel Rigg began his own series of tests, he learned that Eric was still alive. Flashbacks show that after he taunted Amanda, she did not kill Eric and instead beat him unconscious out of anger. He was dragged into a cell by another man, where he was imprisoned until the time came for Rigg's tests. During this time, he was supplied with food and a heavy iron brace for his crushed foot. He and Mark Hoffman (the man who imprisoned him) were at opposite ends of a seesaw scale; Eric stood on a slowly melting block of ice with a chain-noose around his neck, while Hoffman was strapped into a chair with an electrode by his feet. If Eric slipped off the ice, he would be hanged and the runoff water would tip to Hoffman's end and electrocute him. Tired of being used as a pawn, Eric was ready to give up, saying "I don't want to play anymore" and twice attempting suicide by jumping off the block.

These attempts were thwarted by Art Blank, another man in the test who was forced to watch over Eric and Mark. Once the 90-minute timer for Rigg's tests had run out, Art would be able to release them and himself. Eric realized that if the door was opened ahead of time, two large ice blocks would swing down from the ceiling and crush his head. Art gave him a gun and one bullet with which to stop anyone from coming in. As Rigg approached the door, Eric shot out through it and hit him in the stomach. Rigg entered the room with one second to spare, releasing the ice blocks and killing Eric.

Saw V

His picture is on display at a memorial for the officers who had died during the Jigsaw case.

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