Lost in Jigsaw's Maze? Here Is the Right Timeline for the Saw Franchise

Lost in Jigsaw's Maze? Here Is the Right Timeline for the Saw Franchise
Image credit: Lionsgate

The flashbacks have us puzzled every time.

At some point in its existence, any long-running franchise is doomed to confuse its fans. With 10 movies in the series, the Saw franchise can be a bit confusing when it comes to its timeline, especially if you are new to Jigsaw's games. Here is the correct timeline for John Kramer's legacy, in case you got a little lost.

Kramer’s Wife Has Miscarriage

Before the events of Saw, John Kramer was married to Jill Tuck, who was the director of the clinic for recovering addicts. One night, the clinic was robbed by two patients with names significant to the franchise, Cecil Adams and Amanda Young.

The robbery resulted in Jill's injury and the loss of her unborn son and played a pivotal role in John Kramer's evolution into the Jigsaw.

Cancer Diagnosis

Saw II explores John Kramer's backstory, revealing that he struggled with depression after his wife Jill miscarried and that he battled a brain tumor. When the tumor is diagnosed, Kramer is given only a few months to live, which is the catalyst for his suicide attempt in a car accident.

But when it doesn't work, Kramer believes he has a second chance, which leads him to the creation of life-or-death games so that others learn to appreciate what they have.

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First Traps

After being diagnosed with cancer and divorcing Tuck, Kramer took his revenge on Adams, his first victim, with a deadly chair contraption that earned him the name of the Jigsaw Killer. He continued the construction of torture devices in Tuck's barn and kidnapped his first group of five people for his ongoing torture games.

Mark Hoffman

In Saw IV, the audience was introduced to the detective Mark Hoffman, who had set Jigsaw up for his crime. When Jigsaw found out, he trapped Hoffman with a shotgun collar to ensure he cooperated, but Hoffman, to avoid being exposed for murder, reluctantly agreed to help Jigsaw and became a major antagonist in the Saw series.

Bobby Dagen

In Saw 3D, Bobby Dagen, a fraudulent survivor of Jigsaw, is put to real tests by the new Jigsaw after his lies are exposed. He must remove a fishhook from the stomach of his publicist, witness the violent deaths of his friends, and re-enact a fake test from his book in which hooks are driven through his chest.

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The First Saw

The first in the series, Saw introduced Dr. Lawrence Gordon, an affair-having doctor who lacks empathy for his patients, trapped in a gruesome game orchestrated by Jigsaw. Along with another man, Adam, he wakes up in a filthy bathroom and discovers a grisly ultimatum: kill Adam or his family will die. Gordon chops off his foot and later becomes one of Jigsaw's pupils.


The newly released installment brings back John Kramer and shows his journey between the first and second films. Kramer travels to Mexico in search of life-saving treatment for his brain tumor.

He undergoes a procedure but discovers it's a scam, and now the duped medical staff find themselves in an abandoned warehouse, forced to endure Jigsaw's tests in order to stay alive.

Saw II

The second installment follows corrupt detective Eric Matthews as he tries to save his son and others trapped in a house by Jigsaw. As the story unfolds, Matthews learns about Jigsaw's past and eventually becomes a victim in his game, ending up in the same bathroom from the first Saw movie.

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Kramer Dies

Saw III picks up where Saw II left off, with Detective Matthews on the run and Dr. Lynn Denlon is forced by Amanda to save Jigsaw's life. Jeff, Lynn's husband, arrives and kills Amanda and cuts Kramer's jugular with a saw after John hints that his legacy will keep on going.

Hoffman’s Demise

In Saw V, Detective Strahm, suspecting Hoffman as the new Jigsaw Killer, finds himself in a deadly trap he can't escape. However, in Saw: 3D, Mark Hoffman's reign as the Jigsaw Killer goes brutally wrong.

He kills Detective Tuck with a reverse bear trap and ends up captured by Dr. Gordon. Chained in the same bathroom from the first installment, he meets his anticipated demise.


A decade after Kramer's games, Jigsaw depicts the detectives' hunt for a new Jigsaw Killer. With a central game in the movie taking place before the first Saw installment, a character named Logan Nelson is revealed to be connected to Jigsaw's legacy.

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Kramer’s Copycat

The 2021 spin-off Spiral takes place right after Jigsaw, with no direct connection to previous Saw stories. Now detective Zeke Banks and his partner William Schenk are investigating a Jigsaw copycat murder. In the climax, Schenk is revealed to be the real Jigsaw Killer, who becomes John Kramer's copycat to clean up the corrupt police department.