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Lt. Frank Castle, US Marine Corps / The Punisher

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/frank_07.jpg
"One batch. Two batch. Penny and dime."

Species: Human

Citizenship: American

Portrayed By: Jon Bernthal

Voiced By: Andrés Skoknic (Latin-America Chilean Spanish dub); Mark Ullod (European Spanish dub), Takayuki Sakazume (Japanese dub)

Appearances: Daredevil | The Punisher

"Well, loss doesn't work the same way for everybody, Red. We don't get to pick the things that fix us, Red. Make us whole. Make us feel purpose. My moment of clarity? It came from the strangest of places."
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A former Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, Frank Castle is now a vigilante waging a one-man war on crime to avenge the death of his family.


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    # - K 
  • The Ace: Frank's status as a One-Man Army comes from pure skill and talent. He was the best man in his platoon and he on his own routed the enemy in a Last Stand situation. Fisk is thoroughly impressed and praises him for his talent for killing.
  • Action Dad: A father of two, at least before their deaths, and a Marine soldier.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: He is significantly more noble than most of his usual depictions. While Comics Frank has even tried to kill retired thieves and drug addicts, this version sticks to only the truly deserving such as killers of the innocent, rapists, and child pornographers.
    • In his main series he doesn't even focus on killing criminals, instead targeting the conspiracy that killed his family. The only times he's killed people not connected to the Central Park shootout were 1) the pawnshop owner, 2) Lance and his buddies, and 3) the chop shop thieves.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Downplayed yet noticeable; in the comics, Frank is typically characterized as stoic and business-like in his approach to killing criminals, his narration done in a Film Noir sort of style and his speech patterns being rather direct, to the point of Brutal Honesty. Plus, he's not very social and doesn't really try being nice to anybody, save children; even people who've managed to get on his good side, he tends to keep at arm's length. But Jon Bernthal plays up his Hair-Trigger Temper aspects, as a result of Frank being portrayed in the series as having Extreme Emotional Disturbance — making him much less The Stoic and more a Deadpan Snarker Screaming Warrior. Plus, Frank's a lot nicer to civilians and other people here than he would ever be in the comics — eschewing the Cruel to Be Kind aspects of his personality for the most part and Petting the Dog much more frequently. Considering the most popular version of the comic book character is Garth Ennis's interpretation of him as a man in his mid-to-late fifties who has been the Punisher for over thirty years (with no contact from other superheroes to rein him in), this change in personality is justified by the Age Lift the MCU gives him. MCU!Frank might currently be much kinder than the comic book version, but it's not hard to imagine him developing that colder personality after decades of fighting.
    • Frank is also more remorseful about the war crimes he committed during his military service as compared to the Ennis version, likely because he unknowingly helped traffic heroin and personally executed innocent civilians as a pawn of a corrupt CIA agent.
  • Agony of the Feet: Finn takes a power drill to his left foot while torturing him.
  • All for Nothing: His whole scheme with the Irish Mob doesn't get him any information on his family's deaths, as they simply don't care enough to remember.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Matt and Foggy insist upon using the PTSD defense in his case, but Frank adamantly refuses to be classed as such as he believes it to be offensive to actual sufferers of the condition since his trauma did not come from actual combat. Part of it is Frank's denial that the war crimes he took part in and Frank not understanding that combat is not the only thing that could lead to PTSD.
  • Anti-Hero: Of the Unscrupulous Hero kind, with the entire run on Daredevil Season 2 juggling if he's this or a Nominal Hero. He targets criminals, but unlike Matt seeks to kill them. He also has one hell of a temper, and is not afraid to unleash it (non-lethally) on people who get in his way. He also isn't shy about using dark methods to make a point.
  • Appropriated Appellation:
    • Frank's moniker, "The Punisher", first came up in an NYPD psych profile, and then was picked up by the media and run with, much like Matt's own "Daredevil" alias.
    • The skull motif comes from a newspaper article that featured the x-ray scan of Frank's head.
  • Arc Villain: The first four episodes of Daredevil season 2 are dedicated to getting him off the streets.
  • The Atoner: Among many other shady things he did for Rawlins, he was the one who executed Ahmad Zubair, Dinah's partner in Afghanistan. This is one of the main reasons he goes after the man.
  • Ax-Crazy: All is not well in Frank's head. A good chunk of Daredevil rationalizes this as PTSD, grief, and a brain injury, but flashbacks in The Punisher showcase Frank always had a deep talent for carnage and violence and always fought like a raging berserker.
  • Badass Baritone: He definitely has a deep voice, bordering on Guttural Growler.
  • Badass Beard: Sports a medium-length one after six months of living as Pete Castiglione on a construction site, before shaving it off as he slowly returns to his Punisher ways. The fact that it makes him resemble a more muscular John Wick was probably not unintentional.
  • Badass Longcoat: Downplayed as he normally wears jackets, but eventually dons his signature black trenchcoat in the Daredevil season 2 finale.
  • Badass Normal: Frank doesn't have heightened senses like Matt, let alone Avengers level superpowers. He is, however, a retired Marine, highly trained in hand-to-hand combat and numerous weapons. Frank was considered gifted in warfare even among fellow marines.
  • Band of Brothers: Frank considers the Marines who served alongside him as his second family, even going so far to admit that there were indeed times he thought he'd rather be fighting with them out there on the battlefield rather than being with his own children. Which is why his relationship with Billy Russo deteriorates as badly as it does, when Frank discovers Russo's role in the death of his actual family.
  • Batman Gambit: Frank breaks into Carson Wolf's house, beats him up, ties him to a chair to interrogate him, shoots him in the leg and then Wolf breaks free and grabs Frank's gun. Wolf grants Frank the courtesy of telling him everything he knows before Wolf kills him. And then Wolf discovers that Frank only loaded a single bullet into the gun.
  • Battlecry: He has a primal guttural scream that he lets out when he needs to pump himself up or when he's reached his full berserker rage and everything and everyone in front of him is about to be torn to shreds.
  • Berserk Button:
    • He manhandles his own son when the boy makes a comment about him "killing hajis", much to Frank's own horror after he realizes what he's doing.
    • He also has a very low opinion of bombers.
    • Do not call him a psychopath and don't call him insane or crazy.
  • The Berserker: When out of plans, he relies on his instinct and just charges in screaming, best shown during his tour in Kandahar where he starts screaming to psyche himself up before clearing out the ambush by using whatever is at hand. Also, like the Berserkers of old, he becomes almost impervious to pain when he gets fully pumped up and it takes a lot of opponents throwing everything they have at him to even slow him down.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In Season 2 of his own show, Frank has mellowed out somewhat, and is perfectly capable of interacting with others at a bar in a friendly manner. It's a far-cry from how we first saw him, and he's laughing and joking around just like anyone else. However, once a group of thugs show up, he rips through them like paper.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones:
    • Frank has a special hatred for purveyors of child pornography as he kills a pawn shop dealer because the guy tried to offer him child porn. For one who had a daughter, this makes even more sense.
    • Also do not call him insane. The first time he visibly loses his cool in the series is when Matt calls him "a nutjob" which leads to Frank punching him in the face, knocking him out. This makes defending Frank in his trial difficult for Foggy and Matt. He refused insanity and PTSD as a defense. In the latter case, Frank obviously has a much better understanding of what Post-Traumatic Stress really is than the average Hollywood character (or writer), and he makes it clear that it'd be an insult to people who genuinely suffer from it.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the finale, when Matt finds himself both outmatched by Nobu and outnumbered by his goons, Frank arrives on the scene with a sniper rifle and starts picking them off.
  • Blood Knight: It's clear he derives satisfaction from violence, but only when it's applied to people he believes genuinely deserve it. When he hurts innocents, he's immediately remorseful. Even when he invades Colonel Bennett's base, to get information on the men who got his family killed, he admits to David beforehand that he feels genuinely nervous at the idea of hurting another soldier. And in fact, when one soldier does confront him in the tunnels, Frank tries as long as possible to talk the soldier into letting him go and only nonfatally shoots the soldier when this fails.
  • Breakout Character: The praise for Bernthal's portrayal in season 2 of Daredevil led to Frank getting his own show.
  • Came Back Wrong: Taking a bullet to the head and being taken off life support for a minute before miraculously reviving has left Frank with permanent brain damage. Daredevil season 2 says he's now in an ongoing state of extreme emotional disturbance as a result, constantly feeling as if his wife and children have just been killed in front of his eyes, even years after the event.
  • Character Tics: Frank has a perpetually twitchy trigger finger. He tends to tap his fingers together or squeeze his index finger like he's pulling a trigger.
    • He is normally fairly relaxed, but when he gets agitated or angry, he starts to shiver and twitch.
  • Catchphrase: "Fair enough." One of Frank's go-to lines, whether ironic or sincere, and occasionally used as a Pre-Mortem One-Liner. It tends to make him sound more reasonable than he is, since he won't be talked out of his crusade, but has no real expectation of others' praise or understanding. Which ties into the show's other catch phrase, "Do what you gotta do." Billy and Frank exchange both lines a few times over the first season.
  • Chekhov's Gun: He's a fan of Earth, Wind & Fire. It's how he alerts Karen to his presence after she's been taken hostage by Schoonover.
  • Chest Insignia: He eventually sprays his iconic white skull onto some bulletproof chest armor in the last episode of Daredevil season 2. He drops the vest in the first episode of his own series after killing the last members of the Dogs of Hell, the Kitchen Irish, and the Mexican Cartel, but wears it once again after he embraces the Punisher persona at tne end of season 2.
  • Chick Magnet: He was in a happy marriage with Maria. Sarah Lieberman gave him a kiss. And during season two of his own series, he had a brief fling with a waitress. Then, there's his heavy Ship Tease with Karen Page.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Has been on both sides.
  • Cold Sniper: A ruthless vigilante who during his time in the Marines was a scout sniper.
    Frank: One shot, one kill.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Frank is willing to pick up whatever is nearby to bash into enemies' heads. This includes hitting Matt with a wrench or using a door as a shield from gunfire.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: A far cry from the visionary Wilson Fisk or the amoral Kilgrave, Frank is a well-intentioned Knight Templar doing what he believes is truly necessary, putting down the scum of Hell's Kitchen that pollutes the streets. He serves as a Shadow Archetype to Matt, rather than an Evil Counterpart. His predecessors also both had huge power and influence, with many followers in their stead, while Frank operates completely alone as a One-Man Army.
  • Crazy-Prepared: You never know when you might need a razor blade. So Frank hides one in his forearm, which he then covers by a bandage.
  • Crusading Widower: Just like in the comics, Frank Castle starts his war on crime because his family was murdered by criminals.
    Frank: I need to take care of the scum that killed my family.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Frank wears black and has a skull motif on his armor, but he is a vigilante who hunts down and kills dangerous criminals. He is also a close ally of the Defenders.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frank gets in quite a few quips over the season, such as calling Daredevil a psychiatrist and asking if he charges by the hour when Matt asks him about his past/motivations, and calling Foggy's opening statement in court a "pretty thick slice of bullshit".
  • Defector from Paradise: Under torture from Rawlins, Frank has a vision of the dead Maria asking him to come home with her into the afterlife. Frank instead chooses to remain so he can have his revenge on Rawlins, at which point all he can see is darkness.
    Maria: Come home, Frank. Let's go home.
    Frank: I am home.
  • Defiant to the End: When bound hand and foot and facing Cold-Blooded Torture at the hands of the Irish mob, he taunts and insults them, and tells them to bring it on. At one point he pretends he's going to tell Finn what he wants to know, and talks softly so Finn will get close enough for a headbutt. This prompts Finn to get out the drill, and Frank still doesn't stop talking smack.
  • Dented Iron: He's already been severely dented when he's introduced, having taken a bullet to the head that's left him with severe mental issues. Over the course of subsequent appearances, Frank's injuries pile up (being repeatedly beaten up (mostly by Daredevil), tazed, shot and power-drilled in the foot) and his face gets progressively messed up with each fight.
  • The Determinator: Nothing can keep Frank down. You can beat him, torture him, shoot him, Frank will keep coming after you until he kills you.
  • Deuteragonist: For Daredevil Season 2.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: He was hyped as the main antagonist of the season, but serves as the main antagonist just for the first four episodes. Afterward, the Blacksmith and the Hand take over and Frank becomes a more neutral character for Daredevil, then lead protagonist for his own show.
  • Disney Death: A drug smuggling ship explodes with him still aboard. Naturally, he's still alive.
  • The Dreaded: The Punisher quickly establishes himself among criminals as something even more terrifying than Daredevil. The latter might break a few bones and smash up your operations but the former will send you to your grave without a second thought. This also makes him this to the police and District Attorney, since he can start gang wars by himself. In Luke Cage (2016) one of Blake Tower's arguments against arming ESU cops with the Judas bullets is that a guy like Frank Castle might get his hands on it.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: At the end of the first season of his own series, Frank's managed to kill everyone who had anything to do with his family's death and appears to be making his first real steps at growing into a relatively healthier individual by attending PTSD therapy sessions. Plus, he's officially legally dead as far as the law is concerned, so he's now completely free to start a new life as Pete Castiglione.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: A former Force Recon Marine and member of an illegal CIA-sanctioned joint taskforce composed of personnel from different Special Forces units. Of course, the unit’s trigger-pullers were told that everything they did was cleared by the President and authorized by Congress, though some of them started having doubts about that before it was over.
  • Enemy Mine: He has no love for Wilson Fisk, but he takes the man's offer simply to find out information about who was behind his family's death. Once that's done, Fisk tries to have him killed, which naturally doesn't pan out.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Frank has no interest in killing Matt, even when he has the Devil of Hell's Kitchen at his mercy, as even after all the people he has killed, he only cares about targeting gang members. He also doesn't unmask him despite having him at his mercy since he doesn't care who he is under the mask. He later tells Karen that he never wanted to shoot her when he was chasing down Grotto, whom she was protecting at the time, because he only goes after criminals who deserve it. In addition, he has a bit of extra hatred for anyone who'd deal in (or presumably make or read, etc.) child pornography. After buying supplies from a pawn shop dealer, the dealer offers him child porn. He responds by killing the guy with a baseball bat.
    • When Finn, whose son he killed, has him captured and is preparing to torture him for...his money Castle stole. Even though Frank made it his mission to slaughter people like this, he's still rather incredulous about this kind of attitude.
    Frank: Your kid's in a box. But you want your money, huh?
  • Et Tu, Brute?: When Micro brings up the possibility of Billy Russo being involved in some way with the death of Frank's family, Frank calmly refutes his theories while insistently declaring that Russo is family to him. Sure enough, when Frank discovers that yes, Russo indeed had a major hand in the death of his family, it hits hard.
  • Fallen Hero: Frank was a former war hero and family man before they were all killed. Now he's an extremely dangerous vigilante that is far more feared than respected.
  • Friend to All Children: Despite being quite blunt to adults, he’s quite genial and fatherly to children. As such, he lectures kids if they do wrong and tries to be a good example to them.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Frank's journey took him from being a marine sniper and war hero to a Vigilante Man who plays Judge, Jury, and Executioner. And he was an unwitting war criminal when in Operation Cerberus.
  • Genius Bruiser: Frank isn't just a crack shot and terrifying close quarters combatant; he's also a gifted tactician who can plan and execute complex missions all by himself. As a veteran of the Marine Corps and a CIA black ops unit, military strategy and covert operations are second nature to him. While not nearly as technically proficient as David, he also deduces pretty quickly that he was using gait recognition to track him, so he forms a limp trying to throw David off the trail. Finally, he seems to have a pretty solid grasp of psychology, able to predict how his targets will react with startling accuracy.
  • Gone Horribly Right: By taking down Wilson Fisk and his criminal empire, Matt wanted to prove to others that they could stand up to crime. He succeeded, though it’s zig-zagged, as Frank would do what he does with or without Matt.
    Karen Page: Maybe we created him, all of us. We never stopped to think that Daredevil's actions could open the door for men like this. Men with guns.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Frank is a trained military man, but his fights with Matt show the differences in their styles. While Matt is flipping around and pulling off acrobatic martial arts, Frank prefers to throw hard punches and slams, using the bare minimum of movements to conserve energy but inflict an effective amount of damage on his opponent.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: With Matt being A Lighter Shade of Grey. While both are obviously incredibly flawed individuals, his approach is clearly presented as the morally more dubious one, though he's certainly not without his supporters.
  • Guttural Growler: His voice is always very growling and intimidating. Bordering on Badass Baritone.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Frank is portrayed in the series as having Extreme Emotional Disturbance as a result of a bullet that had been lodged in his brain. As such, he's not The Stoic he was in the comics, being generally much more prone to just going on a literal Roaring Rampage of Revenge, complete with actual roaring.
  • Happily Married: Unlike some depictions of the character, this version of Frank is shown to have deeply loved his family, rather than have felt disconnected from them. It's to the point that he was finally planning to retire from active service out of fear from becoming too disconnected from them. It's also clear when he talks to Karen in the diner that he didn't just love but respected his wife as a strong, passionate woman, and his daughter in particular was the apple of his eye.
  • Hero Antagonist: Serves as one of Matt's main adversaries in Season 2 of Daredevil, despite being an Anti-Hero who only targets violent criminals, though the Hand serve as the Big Bad for Season 2.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: He adopts a dog the Irish Mob had been using for fights, after murdering its previous owners. Finn manages to (apparently) get Frank to confess where he hid some stolen money by threatening to kill it.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Frank skirts the line between this and I Am What I Am. When Matt asks him what happens the day someone feels Frank deserves to die, he freely advises that "they better not miss." and later admits he's beyond saving, but he certainly wasn't shy about sharing his much higher opinion of his own methods compared to Matt's. Likewise, one could argue his courtroom rant has hints of both bitterness and pride. In the end, while he chooses to fully embrace his "Punisher" persona, he admits it's not a choice one should make (or at least not if it's not what one believes in) as he actually talks Matt out of considering killing the Blacksmith.
  • Hidden Depths: Fan of Bruce Springsteen (one of the few times he's seen positively giddy is in a flashback when his wife gave him tickets for a Springsteen concert as a birthday present), knows how to play the guitar (although he admits he's a slow player) and a decent cook (at one point he gives Lieberman some Vietnamese food he made himself as a hangover cure, which turns out to be anything but hideous).
  • Hollywood Healing: Sometimes. Frank is often left with ''horrific' bruises and cuts to his face after a fight, yet will normally be perfectly fine by the next episode.
  • Hope Is Scary: He comes to this realization at the end of Season 1 after completing his revenge on Rawlins and Russo. As he shared with Curtis's veteran support group, he's scared that he has to find a reason to live other than having a war to fight or obtaining vengeance for his family.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: For all it's worth, when it comes to friends or his family, Frank sometimes can be very gullible. He has such utmost trust in Billy Russo that he never realizes until it's too late that Russo is in league with Rawlins, and he is easily tricked into being used by Fisk to get rid of Dutton.
  • Horrifying Hero: Being saved by the Punisher isn't the most relieving experience unless he personally know you. He just kills every bad guy around in a very violent and frequently-gruesome way and then says you can leave.
  • Hypocrite: Frank criticizes Matt for wearing a mask, saying, “You go home at night, right? Take that mask off. Maybe you think, was it you who did those things? Maybe it was somebody else. Well see, soldiers, we don’t wear masks. We don’t get that privilege." It’s not like, oh, a huge chunk of his military history is off the record, right? It’s not like he, y’know, did wear a mask while torturing and executing civilians, right? No of course not. That was somebody else. And he intended to go right home and forget all about it.
  • I Am What I Am: What he ultimately decides, burning down his old home and embracing his identity as The Punisher. Earlier, his furious rant in the courtroom seems to be half this, and half telling the court where to shove it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Not to Matt's super-powered level, but put a rifle in the man's hand and if he wants to hit something, he will, as any Scout Sniper should. He also pulled off what was possibly the first ever warning headshot in fiction. Goes even further in his series, where he lands a perfect headshot on a target two miles away.
  • Implacable Man: Once Frank gets moving, there isn't much that could keep him down. Gunshot wounds, severe beatings, out-manned and outgunned. He'll stop at nothing until whatever he wants to kill is dead.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Frank recites the lines from one of his young daughter's books called "One Batch, Two Batch" as he murders several criminals with a sniper rifle. It's implied he took the phrase to Afghanistan too.
    Frank Castle: One batch, two batch. Penny and dime.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: What ultimately becomes of Frank and Karen's shared feelings for each other. Karen wants Frank to find an 'end' to his war and Frank could never allow Karen to get hurt.
  • I Work Alone: Never says it outright, but clearly expresses his desire to wage his war on crime by himself, although his interactions with Karen indicate that he doesn’t want to see anyone he cares about getting hurt. He avoids this by avoiding getting close to anyone.
    Frank (to Karen): Just get away from this thing. Get away from me. ....just stay away from me.
    • And later, more aggressively:
    Frank (to Matt): When are you gonna learn!? Mind your own god! damn! business!
    • Continued in his standalone series, when Donny shares a sandwich with him after Lance trashes Frank's lunchbox.
    Frank (to Donny): Look, Donny, thanks for the sandwich. You know, I... appreciate that. But I'm not looking for a pal, yeah? ... And whatever it is you're looking for... I'm not it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While he's brutal and at times rude, Frank isn't wrong about how his trauma and experiences differ from Matt's. Matt has a Secret Identity and can hide behind a mask to deflect criticism and blame onto his other self in theory, while for soldiers like Frank was, it is him, not a false face identity, that is hurting people, forcing him to live with his actions every day.
      Frank: You run around this city in a pair of little boy's pajamas and a mask. You go home at night, right? Take that mask off, maybe you think it wasn't you who did those things, maybe it was somebody else. Well, see, soldiers we don't wear masks, yeah? We don't get that privilege.
    • He also has a point about his methods. It's a simple fact that criminals who aren't breathing won't be making any more victims, and he focuses his efforts on murderers, pedophiles, drug dealers, and the like. Karen herself even acknowledges that right or wrong, his methods often do work, although the fact that she's projecting her guilt over killing James Wesley means she has some level of bias.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: When dealing with people who don't know who he is and are not criminals, he can be downright amiable. For example, in the midst of interrogating Matt on the roof in "New York's Finest", a Vietnam-veteran Marine shows up and asks him what he's doing. Frank has a very friendly conversation, recognizing Jerry as a fellow Marine, then sends him on his way. There's also all of his interactions with Karen.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: His entire M.O is dishing justice on really, really horrible people. The pawnshop owner who tried to sell him child porn is just one example.
  • Knight of Cerebus: While Daredevil was already violent, the arrival of the Punisher makes the show Bloodier and Gorier and Castle's ramifications causes some of Matt Murdock's worse turmoil, leading to Nelson & Murdock to shut down, and Matt progressively shunning off his friends away from him.

    L - Z 
  • Lightning Bruiser: Matt found him surprisingly fast, and knocked Matt on his ass after one good punch.
  • Made of Iron: True to the comics, Frank has an extremely high tolerance to pain. Frank comes out of fights riddled with bullet wounds, bruises, and cuts, but it never stops him. He's even able to keep fighting after he was drilled through the foot as torture. On the same note, he's an interesting case of Dented Iron, as he shows all his wounds and bruises days later.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Given he has plenty of late nights, Frank loves to down cup after cup of black coffee and carries a thermos when out on patrol.
    • When Karen jokes to Schoonover she's running on at least 5 cups of coffee, Schoonover retorts Frank would call that "a good start". While talking with Karen in a diner, Frank keeps asking the nearby waitress for refills on his coffee.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In order to truly break Frank in season 2, Russo deceives Frank into believing he accidentally shot and killed innocent women behind a wall when he thought he was getting Russo. Frank breaks down almost immediately and doesn't even bother fighting back when the cops arrive to arrest him.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: With a name like "The Punisher", it's easy to understand that he's very dangerous.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: With very few, select exemptions, and the damage is never permanent. Frank punches and quickly disarms a cop after having a gun pulled on him, and is more than happy to beat the hell out of Matt. Normally he'll avoid so much as scratching an innocent person but if they try and stop him they'll be eating floor. He once threatens to kill an old man if Matt alerts him to what's going on, but admits quickly afterwards that he was bluffing.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Played with; in an early episode of Season 2 he has to buy equipment from a crooked pawn shop owner, and even though he had no intention of killing him (before the idiot offered him child porn), he was extremely taciturn and abrupt. Of course, that guy was pretty rude from the getgo and clearly a slimy individual. In contrast, when in a diner in a later episode, he is courteous and amiable to the waitress. When dealing with honest people, Frank will either be polite or leave them alone altogether, unless they get in his way while pursuing a target. He will tolerate shady characters to a point, but that point is one of no return.
    • This continues in the standalone series, with Frank maintaining a reserved-but-polite attitude towards waitresses and food-service staff.
  • The Nicknamer: He refers to Matt as "Red".
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Frank's most brutal moments are the times where he beats his opponents to death. Especially with his pragmatic nature where he uses his environment to ruthlessly kill in a murderous rage.
  • Not Me This Time: The murders that happen between when he escapes prison and when he fakes his death on the boat, are in fact the work of Schoonover and Rawlins's assassins.
  • Not So Different:
    • Frank tells Matt that for all his Thou Shalt Not Kill morals, he really is "one bad day" from becoming a true Vigilante Man like Frank who murders criminals rather than just beating them to a pulp.
    • It takes a while, but Matt acknowledges that he and Frank have definitions of justice that are closer to each others than that of the police. Which is why he ultimately gives Brett the credit for catching him.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Over the course of Daredevil and his own series, Frank is attributed with single-handedly killing at least two hundred people. note  The police already have enough evidence to charge him with murdering 37 criminals halfway through the season. We see Frank single-handedly taking out 32 Taliban fighters all by himself to save the rest of his unit after Rawlins leads them into an ambush on bad intel. Brett Mahoney even confuses Frank's actions for the work of an entire gang, with "knowledge and hardware to take out half the city."
      Matt Murdock: Tell me. Tell me who they are.
      Cartel Member: No "they". Him. It's one man.
    • During his stay in prison, Fisk tries to kill him by unleashing an entire cell block of inmates on him. Not only does Frank manage to defeat and kill ALL of them with only a small shiv and what weapons he can take from his opponents, but he even puts up a fight against the prison guards in riot gear who move in afterward, even though he is visibly exhausted from the aforementioned slaughter.
    • Frank takes on over thirty of Billy Russo's heavily-armed professional mercenaries singlehandedly in a single protracted engagement, and kills all of them. It's telling that the main issue with taking down Agent Orange isn't actually killing him, but just finding him.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: The most tragic moment in his life that jump started his career as the Punisher was losing his family (a wife, a son, a daughter) in the crossfire of a gang shootout. He loved his family and seemed to be especially close to his daughter.
  • Parental Favoritism: Frank was more attached to his daughter. Not to say that he didn't love his son, but it's easy to tell which child he was closer to. His daughter was sweet as anything, and a balm for his psyche, increasingly tormented by his actions in Kandahar. His son, however, idolized him for reasons that were beginning to disturb him; the first time he came home, he was a little weirded out by how his son had painted a giant artist-grade mural of a Marine on the wall of the house because he remembered how Frank once said, "Marines scare bad guys." The second time he got mad at a racist remark that Frank went overseas to "kill lots of Hajjis." Especially since he was doing exactly that in Kandahar, and was starting to realize the whole thing was illegal as hell.
  • Parting Words Regret: One of Frank's last moments with his late daughter before her death was when he refused to read her a storybook. He had no idea this would be the last chance he ever had to do this.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: For many crimes, Frank is not an advocate of the rehabilitative effects of prison. He prefers the morgue. If there are remains enough to send there.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Aside from him being genuinely nice when interacting with Karen, Frank seems to have retained strong sympathy and respect for other war veterans. When meeting with a Vietnam veteran on the roof, he displays genuine camaraderie toward the old man, and he refuses to use a PTSD defense during his trial because he feels it would be insulting to people actually suffering it. And then there is of course his literal dog-petting as he genuinely cares for the dog he saved from the Irish mob.
    • In .380, he actually refuses to accept Matt's help, even after Matt suggests that just once, he's do things Castle's way, saying that there would be no going back if Matt did so. Despite his dim view of a no-kill rule, he seems to have come to respect Matt's choice to hold himself to it.
    • He quickly becomes something of a Parental Substitute to the Lieberman children, caring deeply for them. And later to Amy Bendix in his second season.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: He makes a number of sexist remarks. He does, however, get angry when his son uses a racial slur when asking him about the targets he killed while on tour.
  • Raised Catholic: Frank was at one point Catholic. Another thing he has in common with Matt.
  • Rated M for Manly: The man is a formidably armed ex-marine with excepcional knowledge in combat. He's also Made of Iron and One-Man Army. Not to mention that during his fights, things end up very similar to what a violent scene by Quentin Tarantino would do. To call him a badass would be an understatement.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Matt asks why he kills all his targets: "'Cause I think you're a half-measure. I think you're a man who can't finish the job. I think that you're a coward."
  • Redemption Rejection: Kills Billy by the finale of season 2, just as Billy attempts to apologize for "whatever he did" to Frank's family. The fact that Frank shoots Bill in the chest literally just as Billy tries to say the word "sorry," implies that Frank deliberately killed him before the guy could properly make out the rest of his apology.
  • Relative Button: Anybody threatening Karen Page will send him into an instant fury to kill that threat in order to protect Karen.
  • Revenge: Basically the whole point of the show is Frank getting vengeance on the people who gunned down his family.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Frank will do anything and everything to avenge his family.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Frank is intent on killing the members of every last organized crime group in Hell's Kitchen as retaliation for the murder of his family.
  • Screaming Warrior: In particularly harrowing scenarios, Frank's prone to just screaming his lungs out in the heat of battle, at least partially as a way of keeping his head in the game.
  • Sadist: He has no qualms about violence, and is implied to enjoy it. To clarify, he not only kills criminals, but also tortures them and often leaves them in horrible agony. Just ask the Mexican Cartel.
  • Sadistic Choice: As a Mythology Gag to the comic the scene was based off of, Frank is out to snipe Grotto. Matt attempts to stop him, insisting that Grotto deserves a second chance at rebuilding his life. Castle manages to incapacitate Matt and bind him up with a gun with one bullet in his hands pointed at Castle's own head. Castle then has Grotto at gun point after Grotto admits to Mat all the people he killed, including an elderly lady and Frank is set to kill Grotto. Meaning that the only way Matt could stop Frank's vigilante justice would be to violate his own ideals by fatally shooting Frank himself or let Grotto die. Matt chooses to pull the trigger, at his own chain, freeing him. But it's too late as Castle had already shot Grotto in the stomach.
  • Secret Keeper: Heavily implied to know Matt is Daredevil when he meets Matt Murdock out of costume. He also probably got a good look at him in the Season 2 finale.
  • Semper Fi: Like in the comics, he's a retired Marine. This explains all his military gear and tactical training. We later learn that Castle was considered a badass even among his fellow marines, wiping out an enemy ambush at a landing zone single-handedly.
  • Setting Update: Details of his military career are adapted from the Born miniseries but now take place in The War on Terror.
  • Shadow Archetype: As in the comics, the Punisher is portrayed as a darker version of Daredevil: a low-powered vigilante who lost his family, but who readily kills in contrast to Daredevil's vow not to.
    Frank: You know you're one bad day away from being me.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Defied by the man himself, and in detail. While Frank is clearly suffering severe mental trauma, Frank says that he "never had a problem" with killing, in combat or otherwise. When Karen tries to suggest using PTSD as a defense, he promptly clarifies for her that whatever happened to him psychologically, his tours in the Middle East had nothing to do with it; he knows men that did crack, has nothing but sympathy for them, and refuses to cheapen their sacrifices by claiming PTSD when it is explicitly not true. Instead, it's entirely the death of his family after he returned from war that drives him now, to the point that despite knowing members of his unit committed war crimes, he never thinks of targeting them till after it comes to light they were involved in killing his family and trying to kill him.
    Frank Castle: It wasn't on a battlefield. That's not where my life went to shit.
    • Subverted to a degree later as his series shows his tours did affect him, Frank is mostly in denial that his participation in CIA's torture project broke him emotionally, although that wasn't technically on the battlefield, and the loss of his wife and children made the existing damage much, much worse. Frank's recurring nightmares indicate just how much he blames himself for their deaths.
  • Shipper on Deck: He, of all people, ships Matt and Karen. When Karen bitterly says that she's hurt by Matt's behavior, Frank points out that the only reason why she feels so strongly is because she trusted Matt enough to open herself up to such emotions and that her anger is a sign that she truly loves Matt. Frank goes on to explain that he and his wife were like that and that she would drive him crazy and he'd give anything to be able to feel that frustration again.
  • Ship Tease: The chemistry he has with Karen is insane, but really it doesn't go anywhere, neither in Daredevil or his own series. This is mainly while it's obvious that both of them care for each other, he also knows that her heart belongs to Matt, while he considers himself still married to Maria even long after her death.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Despite his attachments with Karen Page and Sarah Lieberman, Frank has made is clear that Maria is the only person he ever wanted to be with, in life and in death. However, in Season 2 he goes into a brief fling with a woman named Beth.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: To the point that the trial judge has to tell him to watch his language when he testifies in his own case. He also drops the only Precision F-Strike in the second season of Daredevil, which was also the first example in the MCU where it is clearly audiblenote .
    • In keeping with Frank being a lapsed Catholic, most of his swearing is some variation on "Goddamn", "Jesus Christ", "for Christ's sake", or something to that effect.
  • Skeleton Motif: Like all other adaptation, Frank uses a white skull over a black shirt for his Punisher identity.
  • Sociopathic Hero: He's a vigilante like Matt, but some of Frank's methods are a lot less friendly than just a bullet in the head.
    Matt: You left men hanging from meat hooks.
    Frank: They got off easy in my opinion.
  • Spanner in the Works: Foggy and Matt's first plan to reduce his sentence through a plea deal is dependent on him pleading guilty. He pretends to agree, then pleads not guilty, sending his case to court. Then, their plan to win his case in court is dependent on proving that he is suffering from Extreme Emotional Disturbance and that the deaths of his family were covered up. Elektra then shows up and sabotages the trial by threatening the medical examiner and rendering his testimony useless. Then Frank throws his own defense and gets himself indicted by a mad outburst about how he likes killing criminals. Of course, Fisk had been propositioning him from behind bars.
  • Strong and Skilled: In terms of human qualities he is this as he is a trained Marine and is very strong. He can usually over power and slam grown men like ragdolls and is very pragmatic/brutal with his skill. This makes Frank an incredibly great fighter as he is shown to take out multiple opponents and quite literally is a One-Man Army.
  • Super Hero Origin: Frank's motivation to becoming the Punisher was his family being killed in the crossfire of a gang war. The emotional trauma he experienced combined with the brain damage he experienced has led his mind to be constantly in a state of stress, where he keeps reliving his wife being murdered every time he goes to sleep.
  • Survival Mantra: "One Batch, Two Batch, Penny and Dime", a phrase taken from a book he used to read to his daughter that he says to calm his nerves before gunning down thugs.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Like their relationship in the comics, the times he works with Daredevil tends to be this due to their conflicting ideologies and fighting styles, with Matt occasionally trying to disarm Frank. The two do eventually come to respect one another to an extent. His working relationship with Micro has shades of this.
  • That Man Is Dead: Tells Karen that he's 'already dead' before he kills The Blacksmith. And at the end of season two, he burns down his family home, destroying every last piece of his old life and embracing his Punisher persona completely. That is, until he takes out the last of the Irish, at which point he retires and tries to rebuild his life while staying solely in touch with Curtis Hoyle. It doesn’t work in any sense, as he still loves and misses his family and is tormented by nearly-nightly nightmares about their deaths.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When Frank wants to take someone down, he makes extra sure that they won't get back up. Such as when he practically mauls William Rawlins once he finally gets him hands on him.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: Got shot in the head at point blank range and survived. Downplayed, because the injury put him in a coma and when he was taken off life support he died. While he was able to come back from it after a minute, Dr. Lee confirms that the bullet caused brain damage that keeps him in a permanent state of emotional volatility.
    • Also survives Billy Russo winging him in the head, but since it doesn't hit his brain, only his skull, this may not count.
  • Tranquil Fury: This seems to be Frank's default state of mind, after the damage done to his brain from a point-blank gunshot. Upon learning that the clerk he's buying weapons from is selling child pornography, his response is to calmly turn the "open" sign to "closed", grab a baseball bat, and beat the man to death.
    • Interestingly, averted relatively often battle, with Castle frequently screaming at his opponents.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Besides his love of black coffee, in his standalone series he is occasionally shown eating eggs, bacon and toast for breakfast.
  • Troll: In his standalone series, he frequently taunts Micro about getting to know his wife.
  • The Unfettered: Frank dismisses Matt's self-imposed rule against killing as cowardice and a half-measure at best. He refuses to let such "cheap morality" get in the way of his crusade against crime.
  • Unstoppable Rage: There are times when Frank is a cold vigilante and then there are times when he unleashes all his berserker rage and goes on a warpath. This rage boost that Frank gets when his adrenaline is up allows him to become very brutal and very dangerous as shown when he starts to let loose his prominent animalistic, guttural roar as he rampages through his enemies and quite literally rips them apart. He also becomes impervious to pain in this state allowing him to go beyond human limits.
  • Verbal Tic: Frank tends to end even statements with "you know," "yeah" or "hmm." Sometimes piled on top of each other. Y'know?
    Frank: 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.
    • Interestingly, based on some interviews, the "you know" aspect may also appear in Jon Bernthal's regular speech. Whether this was the actor influencing the character or vice-versa is unknown.
    • This characteristic gets de-emphasized between Frank's guest stint on Daredevil and season 1 of his own show, and then down another notch in season 2, suggesting that it may be related to his trauma.
  • Vigilante Man: He hunts and murders criminals, with little regard for the law.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He and Billy Russo, by way of Adaptation Origin Connection, were best friends when they both served as marines in Afghanistan, to the point where Frank regarded Russo as part of his family. And then Russo became an active player in Operation Cerberus and allied with the people who had Frank's family killed.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Compared to the many superhumans of the MCU, Frank is completely within human limits, but is exceptionally well trained and an immensely competent One-Man Army.
  • Weapon of Choice: When he's armed, you can bet it'll be with an M1911 variant. Seems to have been his preferred choice since his time in the Marines, too - fitting for the Marines' strict adherence to tradition. This seems to be a nod to Frank in the comics, who was deeply fond of the pistol's design.
    • Particularly, he seems to favor the Kimber Warrior, which was his sidearm in the Marines and a frequent carry weapon as a vigilante.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: His goal is to stop crime by killing the people who perpetuate it.
  • Would Hit a Girl: True to his character, he doesn't show mercy on account of a criminal's gender.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: He never goes after non-criminals. Even when fighting Matt and shooting him in the head, he makes sure to hit his armor so as to make it a warning shot instead of a kill shot (although it still leaves Matt with a nasty concussion). He does admittedly, have a rather liberal definition of criminal, gunning after Grotto who seems to be attempting reformation (though Grotto had murdered a man and his innocent wife for the Kitchen Irish, and was mostly concerned with saving his own ass). Ultimately seems to be more a case of Never Hurt an Innocent.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: He really doesn't like kids getting hurt. The Pawnshop owner should've watched his words when he admitted having child pornography in Frank's earshot. Makes a lot of sense since he was a father himself at one point before he lost his son and daughter.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: In his first two fights with Daredevil and in the prison fight later in the same series, we see him employ several take-downs such as chokeslams and suplexes. In his own series, he uses a bodyslam on Billy Russo and spears Carson Wolf, then hip-throws him onto a table.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Inverted, with regards to his refusal to identify his mental issues with PTSD. He repeatedly insists that whatever trauma he suffered has nothing to do with his time at war, and thus refuses the PTSD defense. This might give the impression that he thinks that PTSD only comes from combat, however this is mostly in response to Matt and Foggy trying to use a "traumatized vet" narrative in his legal defense. Frank rightly regards this as low-hanging fruit and considers it insulting to veterans with actual combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress. He knows that the condition can arise from non-combat-related trauma, he knows that witnessing the murder of his wife and children messed him up psychologically (causing Extreme Emotional Disturbance, which is not the same thing), and he knows that the things he was involved with on his last tour do weigh on his conscience, but he won't put convenient labels on it.
  • You Remind Me of X: It's nonverbally implied this is the reason why Frank is so connected to Karen of all people. As she shares similar features to Maria.


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