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"Look, you got half a life left to live, my friend. If you don't, you might as well be dead."
"I am dead, Curtis. You didn't hear?"
"Bullshit. You got a name, a passport. As I recall, Frank Castle's dead. Pete Castiglione, he's got a life."
Curtis Hoyle and Frank Castle

3 AM is the first episode of the first season of the television series The Punisher.


Former Marine Frank Castle takes the law into his own hands while struggling to come to terms with his traumatic past.


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In rural Alabama, the Punisher chases down two members of the Dogs of Hell, forcing them off their motorcycles and then running them over with his truck. In Juárez, the last member of the Mexican Cartel arrives home to a hero's welcome. Across the border in El Paso, Texas, the Punisher kills him with a single round from a sniper rifle. At JFK International Airport, the last survivor of the Kitchen Irish, Mickey O'Hare tries to flee to Dublin, Ireland. The Punisher tracks him down and strangles him with his own tie. With his family avenged, the Punisher burns the vest he spray-painted the skull onto.

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Six months later, Castle is working construction in New York City under the name of "Pete Castiglione." Keeping to himself and working his anger out by destroying walls with a sledgehammer, he is hassled by other workers led by Lance who thinks he is not all there. Lance also hates the fact that Castle's constant work from early to late is making them all look bad and resulting in less overtime. Castle does not rise to the bait, even when they knock over his lunch pail and tread on his sandwich. The new guy on the crew, Donny Chavez, tries to befriend Castle but is kept at arm's length.

At a veterans support group, Curtis Hoyle helps other veterans through their trauma, including Lewis Wilson, O'Connor, and Isaac Lange. Castle listens outside. Once the group leaves, he talks to Hoyle, who is an old friend from his days in Afghanistan. Hoyle encourages Castle to let the Punisher stay dead since the whole world believes it anyway.

At the New York office of Homeland Security, Dinah Madani meets her new partner, Agent Sam Stein. She is annoyed that she was transferred from Kandahar to stop her looking into the murder of Ahmad Zubair, a local police officer. Although discouraged from investigating the murder, Madani asks Stein to get her all the information they have on Ray Schoonover and Frank Castle.

Chavez tries to ingratiate himself with Lance and his friends by offering to buy the first round at a local bar. However, he gets stuck with the whole bill. During the night, Lance tells Paulie that he needs to do another job since he is in debt to a loan shark from the Gnucci Crime Family. The next day at the construction site, Paulie tells Lance that they can hit a high-stakes card game run by the Gnucci's, figuring that Lance would love to pay the loan shark off with their own money. Scut is injured on the job, forcing Lance and Paulie to recruit Chavez to help them out. Castle overhears everything but does not involve himself, even ignoring Scut's accident.

Madani meets with her mother, Farah Madani. Over a glass of wine, they have a frank conversation about what Madani hopes to achieve.


Castle tries to read in his apartment, but flashbacks and visions of his wife's murder compel him to return to the construction site and continue working. Lance, Paulie, Chavez, and Leo rob the Gnucci card game, but during the heist, Chavez drops his wallet revealing his ID for all to see. Fleeing the scene, Lance decides to kill Chavez so he does not rat them out once the Gnuccis catch up with them. They beat him up and throw him in a hole being filled with cement. Seeing the commotion, Castle uses the sledgehammer to kill Lance, Paulie, and Leo but not before Lance reveals the location of the card game. Castle throws a rope down to Chavez who hauls himself out of the cement to find the bag of money tied to the end with the words "Leave Town" written on it in blood.

Castle heads to the Linello's where Tony Gnucci is preparing to go after Chavez, starting at his grandmother's house. Castle kills them all. As he leaves, someone watches him on surveillance cameras, identifying him by "gait recognition mode."


Main Cast:

Guest Stars:









Song title Artist Location(s)
Give In Los Dos Cartel Sicario heads into a building as a party rages on both inside and outside. Punisher watches from a sniper hole in El Paso.
The Punisher Main Title Tyler Bates Opening credits.
Keep It Running Tyler Bates Frank Castle tries to read his book but finds himself unable to concentrate. Lance, Paulie, Leo and Donny Chavez rob the Gnucci Crime Family.
Hell Broke Luce (Remastered) Tom Waits Frank Castle takes on Lance, Paulie and Leo. Castle shoots Paulie as he tries to drive away. Castle tortures Lance into telling him about the robbery.
Made an Enemy Tyler Bates Frank Castle walks away after taking out the Gnucci Crime Family members at Linello's.
The Punisher End Title Tyler Bates Micro watches footage of Frank Castle, overjoyed at this return. End credits.


  • The episode's title "3 AM" is a reference to the time when Frank Castle violently awakes from his slumber every night. "3 AM" is usually known as the witching hour, or devil's hour, where demons and all manner of bad things come out to play.
  • Micro's last words at the end of the episode, Welcome back, Frank, are a reference to the Punisher comic book story arc Welcome Back, Frank, which also included the Gnucci Crime Family.
  • Castle is reading The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a compilation of articles that the iconic author wrote between 1931 and 1937. The title essay relates to the haplessness of life and the author's own crack or loss of hope.


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