Benjamin "Ben" Urich was an investigative journalist at the New York Bulletin who specialized in writing exposes on the criminal empires within Hell's Kitchen, leading to the arrests of many high-ranking gangsters. When his wife became ill, Urich found himself becoming less passionate about his work until Karen Page asked for his help exposing a new criminal empire that had appeared in New York City. Urich focused much of his efforts in finding the truth, despite clashing with his editor Mitchell Ellison and all those who doubted the claims. Just as Urich came close to bringing the truth to the people, he was murdered by Wilson Fisk in his own home, leaving Nelson and Murdock to complete his work.
Exposing Crime Rings
Working for the New York Bulletin, Ben Urich wrote a number of stories about various events in New York City, such as the Teachers Union scandal, a toxic runoff, Veteran Affairs kickbacks, a confrontation between the Hulk and Abomination in Harlem, and the Battle of New York. He took the most pride in exposing organized crime in Hell's Kitchen, through his stories he was able to bring several Italian Mob members to jail as well as destroying crime rings. One of these stories focused on the arrest of Silvio, who upon his release ten years later, became an informant and friend to Urich. During his career he met Brigid O'Reilly who taught him some card tricks.
His wife Doris was hospitalized with a debilitating chronic life-threatening illness with some occasional symptoms of idiosyncratic impaired cognition. Due to his wife's need for constant care, Urich dedicated much of his time and money ensuring she got the best treatment possible. Urich was often advised to consider moving her into a nursing home due to her depleting mental state.
Search for the Kingpin
Urich met with his contact in the Mafia, Silvio, to discuss the recent criminal activities in Hell's Kitchen. Silvio claimed the Don Rigoletto had been murdered and there was a new criminal leader, only nobody knew who it was and what he was planning. Silvo made it clear that the reason he had given Urich the information was that when the newspapers wrote articles exposing his mob, Urich was the only one who did not mention Silvio's family in his article.
Back in his office at the New York Bulletin, Urich spoke to the Metro-General Hospital about applying for an extension for his wife's care. He was approached by Mitchell Ellison who asked about Urich's new pitch, based on Silvio's information about the new player controlling all the crime rings, including Union Allied Construction. Ellison suggested that he stop writing stories about gang violence and consider writing about social events, such as whether or not Hell's Kitchen would get a new subway line. Urich relented and in exchange Ellison promised to help him with his insurance for his wife.
He later went to visit Doris in Metro-General Hospital. There he once again pleaded with Shirley Benson to extend his wife's stay, as he claimed that a nursing home was not the right place for her care. He argued that he had filled out all the necessary paperwork but she insisted that he still had a thousand more steps to take and told him to speak to her in his office. She insisted that she would not be put on the streets but Urich claimed that she needed time to recover so she could come home. Benson begrudgingly agreed to extend her stay by five days; as a thank you, Urich left her favorite sandwich.
Having been cleared by Benson, Urich went silently walked into Doris' hospital room where he found her sleeping in her bed. Instead of waking her, Urich quietly sat beside his wife and held her hand. While sitting in the darkness of the room and comforting his sleeping wife, Urich considered his current position, knowing that the rate of pay he was on would not be enough to support Dorus if she was forced to leave the hospital and go into a nursing home. He stayed beside Doris for quite some time before leaving the hospital to return to work and let her continue sleeping.
Urich returned to his office and was visited by Karen Page, when she said she was there because she had read his newspaper articles he initially assumed she meant one of the articles about the subway line which he had written recently, but she explained that it was his article on Union Allied as well as his previous organized crime articles she was referring to. Page asked for his help in exposing a criminal empire working in Hell's Kitchen which she believed was connected to Union Allied and had been killing people across the city for unknown reasons.
Helping Karen Page
Urich and Karen Page met for coffee the next day to discuss the new case, which involved Union Allied Construction, the company which had previously attempted to assassinate Page in prison after she had accidentally discovered a money laundering scheme, now trying to discreetly rebuild itself. Urich suggested that Page should forget about the case as it was too dangerous; when she argued that Urich had spent his entire career at the New York Bulletin taking on other cases similar to this, he told her that he was now too old and too smart to continue digging into such stories and turned down the offer.
Urich did, however, continue digging into the case and saw Page at an auction for Union Allied's office equipment. He sat behind her and told her not to acknowledge him, noting that a few other people at the auction were there to look for people like her investigating Union Allied, and her actions were how you got caught. Urich advised her to bid on something so to not draw unwanted attention to herself, when she asked how he knew she would be there, Urich told her it was because it's exactly what he would have done as a young reporter.
Urich met Page at a diner where she told him that she had bought some office equipment for Nelson and Murdock. He explained to her that he had gone to the auction to investigate the case and while he still wanted her to stop looking into the case, he was planning on exposing it himself. Page became excited that she was right about Union Allied, so Urich told her the story of how some of his first contacts were murdered for feeding him information. Urich advised her not to visit him at his office, not to tell anyone else and sign the agreement offered to her by Union allied.
Back in his office, Urich began using playing cards to make a map of the crime rings in Hell's Kitchen, including the Russian Mafia, Steel Serpent dealers and the Yakuza, all leading up to the unknown man in charge. Urich was suddenly interrupted as reports were coming in of massive explosions across Hell's Kitchen. Mitchell Ellison debriefed the journalists on the story and told them it was likely to be caused by gas explosions. Urich asked for the locations and realized that the places were all controlled by Vladimir and Anatoly Ranskahov.
Urich traveled to a location where the New York City Police Department had surrounded an Abandoned Warehouse where it was believed that the Masked Man had taken a police officer hostage. Urich approached Christian Blake and Carl Hoffman and tried to get a statement but only got sarcastic remarks. When Urich asked about the officer inside the building, Blake and Hoffman demanded to know how he got the information; Urich simply smiled and reminded them how long he had been doing the job, they told him that it had been long enough for him to become a pain in the ass.
When the television crews arrived, Blake mocked Urich, claiming he was no longer relevant to the media; Urich remained confident, claiming he still had some good stories in him, and the pair might be in them one day. Seeing that there was no hostage negotiation happening, Urich confronted Blake about the lies they were giving them. Midway through their confrontation, Urich witnessed Blake getting shot in the chest by a sniper; Urich desperately tried to save the detective's life by stopping his bleeding while ordering Hoffman to get him medical help.
Advising Karen Page
- "This is the job, researching, gathering facts. It's long and boring and complicated and half the time you still come up empty."
"Well, you're just a little ray of sunshine."
"Just giving you the lay of the land. For every exposé I've had published, there were a dozen that didn't pan out."
- ―Ben Urich and Karen Page[src]
Urich met with Karen Page in his car as they discussed how Union Allied Construction had reappeared as a series of new smaller companies so Urich recommended that Page let it go, but Page refused. Urich explained that he had found connections with the Yakuza, although it only mattered what he could prove. As they discussed Christian Blake's shooting, Urich recommended that Page stayed away from the Masked Man. Urich promised if they could connect the facts it he would take the story to Mitchell Ellison, although he told Page he did not wish to put her in harm's way.
Urich was visited by Page and Foggy Nelson, whom she had told of their investigation. Urich berated Page over her foolishness at bringing another person into their team as it would endanger in; however, Page insisted that Nelson was a highly skilled attorney and had recently saved her life. Urich relented and he and Page told Nelson of the details of their investigation and how they were looking for the "King of Diamonds" who ran the crime rings of Hell's Kitchen, Urich and Page also made it clear that they believed that the Masked Man was likely working against Fisk.
Meeting the Masked Man
During a rainstorm, Urich was sent by Mitchell Ellison to speak to a man who turned out to be a crazy man in a tin foil hat. Annoyed and getting soaking wet in the rain, Urich hung up the phone on Ellison and tried to get into his car. He instead found himself face to face with the Masked Man; although he was initially nervous around him, Urich gave him a chance due to the stories he had been told by Karen Page.
The man insisted he was not responsible for blowing up the Russians, but told him he wanted him to expose the man responsible, Wilson Fisk, whom Urich had never heard of. The man told him that Fisk was connected to the Russians, Chinese and the Japanese crime rings and was using Leland Owlsley to move their money around. Urich told the man that if this was true, then he needed sources to prove that these accusations were factual so they could expose Fisk. However, the man insisted they just needed to let the city know who he was so the people could furiously tear him down.
Returning to his office, Urich began writing the story, exposing Fisk's name to the public and accusing him of hiding in the shadows and slowly destroying their city. Just as he neared finishing the article, however, he switched on the TV and saw that Wilson Fisk was making a public statement which contradicted everything in Urich's article. Fisk claimed he was doing nothing but good for Hell's Kitchen and the Masked Man was a criminal. Seeing that the public strongly supported Fisk, Urich knew that his article was now meaningless, so he was left with no choice but to delete it.
With Wilson Fisk's plan going into action, Urich continued to dig for more information on him, but could only find facts that would portray Fisk in a sympathetic light. At the Nelson and Murdock Law Office, Urich met with Karen Page and Foggy Nelson. Urich explained to them that everything had changed as Fisk reputation was at an all-time high. Matt Murdock then arrived and was introduced to Urich. Urich told the group about his encounter with the Masked Man and gave them the information he had been given. The group began debating ways to bring down Fisk's reputation.
Supporting his Wife
Returning to his wife's bedside, Urich was present when she awoke from sleep; the pair joked and flirted with each other. When she asked Urich what the doctors were saying, Urich claimed that they thought she was improving. They discussed the story Ben was working on and Doris offered him support and they talked about what Ben was like as a young, fearless journalist and she assured him his best work was yet to come. During their conversation, Doris became confused; she greeted him as if they had not been talking for the last few minutes. They were interrupted by Shirley Benson who informed Ben that his wife could no longer stay at the hospital.
Back in his office, Urich began looking at brochures for caring homes when Mitchell Ellison came in to ask why he had given a piece he was writing about a fundraiser to another journalist. Urich skirted the issue by claiming it was personal. Ellison then told him that one of the paper's editors was retiring to spend time with his grandchildren; Ellison asked if Urich would be interested in replacing him, as it would offer Urich a higher salary to support his wife. Urich turned down the offer, claiming that he was and always would be a reporter, not an editor, but thanked Ellison nonetheless.
Urich then decided to visit Karen Page at the Nelson and Murdock office. He found the door unlocked and no cream in the fridge; when Page arrived, he informed her of both. Urich gave Page a box containing every bit of research he had done into the Wilson Fisk story, as he felt he should no longer pursue the story any further as he should be focused on caring for his wife, whom he had decided to bring home instead of putting her in a caring home. Page asked him to go with her to visit a nursing home upstate which she had just discovered; Urich reluctantly agreed.
As they drove together, Urich told Page about his wife's treatment and the struggles he had been having with keeping her in care, noting how she could have good days and bad days. When she asked why he had kept it so secret, he told her that saying it meant it was true. Page attempted to comfort Urich by saying that there was nothing worse than having choices made for you and that everyone had to deal with shit, to which Urich joked that he had to deal with shits like her. She told him that everyone has secrets and he told her that the truth always comes out in the end.
They arrived at the Saint Bénézet Retirement Care, which was huge and clearly expensive. Urich told her he clearly would be unable to afford to bring his wife here but Page insisted they have a look around nonetheless, even if he did not bring his wife there for care. During their walk-through, Page was stopping by an elderly man who told her that she was very pretty, leading to Page and Urich discussing happier times. Although Urich suggested that they should return home as there was nothing more to see there, Page appeared to be reluctant and continued to bring Urich through the various hallways.
Page convinced Urich they should speak to one of the people living in the hospice. Although Urich protested, Page went into Marlene Vistain's room and spoke to her, although Vistain was clearly confused by their presence she was also happy to be receiving the company. Vistain told them that she had been married three times in her life, revealing her first husband was Bill Fisk and her son was Wilson Fisk, meaning Fisk's mother was not dead as he had claimed. She went on to reveal that as a child, the young Fisk had murdered his father by beating him to death with a hammer.
Urich met with Karen Page the next day to discuss what they had learned; he made it clear that he was furious that Page had manipulated him into continuing with the story by using his emotions about his wife against him. Page apologized and continued to try to convince him to print the story but Urich remained reluctant as the story was not very convincing enough go stand to print.
Urich explained to her how Wilson Fisk could spin the story to his own benefit, as he could make himself appear as a more sympathetic character in the eyes of the public by talking about how he was trying to protect his mother from the press and he had only tried to save her life as a young boy. Urich told Page about a fundraiser Fisk attended in which many guests were poisoned, including Fisk's lover Vanessa Marianna, which likely meant someone was trying to assassinate Fisk, noting that those who got to the top of the crime rings would make a lot of enemies looking to tear them down.
Late that night, Urich was called by an emotional Page who informed him that Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson had fallen out and the law firm was likely over, although she was completely unaware of the reasons. Urich comforted her by advising her to keep one foot ahead of the other; she thanked him for being there. She asked him if he was still angry at her because of her lies and thanked him for caring despite not writing the story. In reality, however, Urich had begun researching into Fisk's family history and had learned that his father was a failed councilman named Bill Fisk.
Urich was met by the Masked Man who made it clear his absence was due to a recent fight that nearly killed him. The vigilante asked Urich about the Steel Serpent heroin that he had taken from the man who had murdered Elena Cardenas. He revealed that after the Russians had been wiped out, Fisk had taken over distribution of the heroin; he planned to disrupt that business. When Urich said he was working on something that could help, the Masked Man told him to keep his head down. Urich revealed a woman was the head of the Chinese drug trade and they were using blind workers to deliver the heroin.
Fired by Ellison
When he arrived at his home having finished work, Urich found Karen Page waiting for him who demanded to know why he had not yet published the story about Fisk murdering his father. Urich told her that he was still considering it. Page insisted that it needed to be out there because she believed Wilson Fisk might know about their talk with Marlene Vistain.
Urich allowed Page into his home and, after pouring them both a drink, Urich revealed he had been in contact with a mobster who might have more reliable information on Bill Fisk's relationship to Don Rigoletto, to whom he owed money to. When Urich asked why Page thought they might know about their investigation, she told him it was just a feeling; he tried to convince her to put it online herself but she believed no one would believe her. Urich promised to write up the story and give it to his editor Mitchell Ellison.
Urich went to work the next morning and was informed by M. Caldwell that Ellison's son had a cello performance at the school he was currently attending, so Ellison had not had time to read Urich's article exposing Fisk. He called Page to update her and continued to reassure her that he intended to do his best to make sure that the story was published in some form; their phone call was brief as she was interrupted by a call from Matt Murdock and had to say goodbye to Urich as he continued to wait in his office for his boss to return and finally finish reading the exposé.
When Ellison did arrive, he read Urich's story and refused to run it stating there was no evidence to support the story. Urich lost his temper and claimed Ellison was a sell-out, claiming he was effectively a whore. Ellison suspended Urich but he still begged him to read the story again as Fisk was still killing and could be stopped; Ellison argued that Fisk was trying to save the city. Urich asked how much Wilson Fisk was paying him to stop Urich from writing about crime; with this Ellison fired Urich on the spot, telling him that his stories were shit and his was done trying to protect him.
Buying a bunch of flowers, Ben visited Doris Urich in the hospital. He did not reveal that he had been fired and continued to keep the mood light and flirty. Urich suggested that they should go to Paris together, like they had always planned, when they were young. Doris told him that she could tell by the look in his eye that he had a story he needed to tell; Ben told her that it was not so easy as Ellison believed it was a pile of shit and had fired him. She was not angry or disappointed but instead told him it was a good thing, as all Urich ever needed was a good story to tell.
After the visit, Urich walked out of Metro-General Hospital and called Page to explain the situation. Page tried to comfort Urich over the firing, but Urich remained calm, explaining that the New York Bulletin was not the same newspaper he had joined decades earlier and that he was likely better off without them. Urich went on to tell her he planned on writing a blog revealing Wilson Fisk's entire plan as he truly believed that this story needed to be told so Fisk could finally be stopped and locked away in jail.
Murdered by Wilson Fisk
Urich returned home with his possessions from his office at the New York Bulletin. Pouring himself a drink he opened up his computer to begin writing the blog exposing Wilson Fisk, looking at a picture of him and Doris. Just as he began typing however, he was interrupted by Fisk himself who was sitting watching him from Urich's sofa.
Urich told him to leave his home, but Fisk asked that they have a conversation off the record. To his surprise, Fisk said he wished to apologize for showing Urich so little respect before revealing he did indeed have someone under his pay at the Bulletin. Fisk mocked Urich's attempts to reveal the story by using the internet as he believed that the internet was filled with nothing but videos of cats and celebrity news. Fisk asked Urich if he was involved in James Wesley's murder, which he explained he was not, and if he had been alone when he questioned Fisk's mother, Marlene Vistain.
Not wanting to endanger Karen Page, Urich insisted he had been alone. Remaining calm, Urich told Fisk that he was not easily frightened while being threatened, but Fisk told him that as he had gone after his mother and gotten her involved, he was not here to threaten him, but intended to kill him. Fisk launched from his seat and attacked Urich, wrapping his massive hands around his throat and strangled him; although Urich fought back, before long Fisk had choked the life from him and left his corpse on the floor of his home with a photograph of himself and his wife lying broken beside him.
Karen Page's Career
- "Run the article, it'll sell papers, it's sexy."
"You sound like a whore."
"Well, I learned how to be one from you. I get lucky sometimes. Sure, land a story that makes a difference like Union Allied, but most of the time, now, working for this paper, I might as well be wearing lipstick and a red dress."
- ―Ben Urich and Mitchell Ellison[src]
Having been an investigative reporter for most of his life, Ben Urich was a cynical and heavily determined man who would fully devote his resources and time into unraveling conspiracies and on-going criminal activities within New York City and publicize them to its citizens. He is not a fame or attention-seeker, though, and is motivated by a high sense of justice towards crime, although this could cause him to spend less focus on his wife, Doris Urich, which he admits himself, until she became sick and had to retire from his job to devote his attention to her and her health.
Urich was extremely moral and strong-willed, refusing to allow himself to be intimidated or threatened by a multitude of individuals his story threatened to hurt and, at risk of his own safety, stories he published anyway. He was willing to risk his job and position at the New York Bulletin if it was ethically correct to do so, preparing to write a story on Wilson Fisk's true nature and insulting Mitchell Ellison, further by claiming he was bought off by Fisk after he refused to do such without evidence.
Being a reporter, Urich refused to allow himself to judge a situation or individual in a black-and-white perspective and appears to be without bias in most regards. He judged this on his first meeting with the Masked Man, despite him being framed for a terrorist attack on Hell's Kitchen and murdering several New York City Police Department officers, including the hospitalized Christian Blake, Urich stood by his belief that no story is one-sided because of the conflicting claims that he was also saving people and assisted the vigilante with locating Madame Gao.
- Master Investigator: To be added
|Appearances for Ben Urich|
- In the comics, Ben Urich is The Daily Bugle reporter who has determined that Daredevil is Matt Murdock. Investigating crime in New York City, Urich used to encounter Kingpin, Elektra, Bullseye, and the Punisher.
Behind the Scenes
- Ben Urich is a mainstay of the Daredevil comics, which meant his death came as a surprise to many fans, including showrunner Steven S. DeKnight when he came to replace Drew Goddard. He learned Marvel wanted to take a risk in killing someone as important as Urich in the comics.
- The decision to kill off Urich was made by Marvel before DeKnight joined the show. He explained that Marvel "really wanted to show that toward the end of the season because we knew we’d get some sympathy for Fisk, to have him do something truly terrible that would propel Matt into that final endgame in the confrontation with Fisk. And to let the audience know that the gloves were off: just because he was a beloved character in the comics, doesn’t mean he’s safe... Urich gets murdered because he committed the unforgivable sin in Fisk’s mind: he went to Fisk’s mother. The last thing you want to do with Fisk is at all involve, insult, drag through the mud the women in his life he loves. That will be a serious trigger for him."
- Ben Urich in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the second live-action incarnation of the character, following an incarnation portrayed by Joe Pantoliano.
- Daredevil: 1.03: Rabbit in a Snowstorm
- Daredevil: 1.06: Condemned
- Daredevil: 1.07: Stick
- Daredevil: 1.12: The Ones We Leave Behind
- Daredevil: 1.04: In the Blood
- Cloak & Dagger: 2.03: Shadow Selves
- Daredevil: 1.01: Into the Ring
- Daredevil: 1.08: Shadows in the Glass
- Daredevil: 1.09: Speak of the Devil
- Daredevil: 1.10: Nelson v. Murdock
- Daredevil: 1.11: The Path of the Righteous
- Daredevil: 1.13: Daredevil
- Marvel's Daredevil: Season 1 Spoiler Conversation with Showrunner Steven S. DeKnight
- 'Daredevil' Postmortem: Steven DeKnight on Season 1 Deaths and What's Next