- "The only way out is to find something that you care about."
- ―Frank Castle
After exacting revenge on those responsible for the death of his wife and children, Frank Castle uncovers a conspiracy that runs far deeper than New York's criminal underworld. Now known throughout the city as the Punisher, he must discover the truth about injustices that affect more than his family alone.
Frank Castle, as the "Punisher", hunts down and murders the last members of the gangs who killed his family. Six months later, he is awakened at 3:00 every morning by nightmares of his family's deaths. Castle passes much of his time working, taking down an old building. This angers the other workers, who are denied extra pay due to Castle's overtime. He also visits Curtis Hoyle, a veteran that Castle served alongside before his family died, and mentions that his time in Afghanistan involved some activities that he did not want to discuss. A new worker, Donny Chavez, attempts to befriend Castle, and proves himself to be eager to please the other workers. He agrees to help them steal money from a local gang, but he accidentally reveals his identity to the gangsters. The others attempt to kill Chavez at the worksite, but Castle is there and kills them first. He then kills the gangsters before they can hunt Chavez. Meanwhile, Homeland security agent Dinah Madani begins investigating Castle's Afghanistan troop, believing they killed her previous partner.
A man calling himself "Micro" monitors cameras around New York City, and begins tracking Castle from the building where he murdered the gangsters. He contacts Castle and tells him to check a disk that he had left for Castle at his old family home; the disk contains footage of Castle and his unit in Kandahar, torturing and murdering Madani's partner Ahmad Zubair. Madani had that video before it was stolen, and now wants to discuss Castle—who is believed to be dead—with his old army friend Billy Russo. Her superior Carson Wolf forbids her from this, but she convinces him to use Russo's new business Anvil for field training, and talks to Russo then. Castle's journalist friend Karen Page agrees to help him find Micro, and learns that he is former NSA analyst David Lieberman, who was caught leaking secrets and was believed to be killed. Wolf covered up the story, so Castle tortures and kills him, learning that the death of his family was just one attempt to kill him. He is then able to follow Lieberman back to his base of operations.
Castle tortures Lieberman, and learns that as an NSA analyst, Lieberman had been sent the video of Zubair's murder for assessment, and chose to act with his conscience and send it to Madani. Soon after, Wolf hunted Lieberman down with special forces, shooting him and framing him for a crime. The shot hit Lieberman's cellphone and he was able to go underground. Lieberman gets the upper-hand on Castle, who reveals that in Kandahar he was selected for a special unit, Cerberus, alongside Russo, and they were used by a mysterious agent to hunt down and kill high value targets. Castle had not known who Zubair was when he was ordered to kill him, and had grown increasingly disillusioned with his command. When they ignored his and Russo's advice and went ahead with a mission that killed several other members of Cerberus, Castle was able to complete the mission in an intense killing spree, but he and Russo then transferred from the unit. Now, Castle agrees to work with Lieberman to hunt down those behind Cerberus.
Requiring weapons and ammunition, Castle gets Lieberman to search law enforcement databases for known shipments of guns. Castle follows a lead to dealer Turk Barrett, but finds that the shipment was a special delivery and does not serve their needs. Barrett says that the main shipment is going to someone else, and Lieberman soon finds that Homeland security is working on an operation to buy the shipment in hopes of arresting those selling the weapons. Madani, now acting-Special Agent in Charge, wishes to investigate Wolf's murder, but is warned against pursuing the matter by another superior, and is instead told to focus on the weapons operation. She helps coordinate the operation, the plans for which Lieberman learned by hacking into Homeland security. He and Castle are able to disrupt the agents and hijack the weapons, but they are pursued by Madani. Lieberman crashes into Madani's vehicle, seriously injuring her. Castle saves her life, revealing himself to her and explaining that he killed Wolf.
Despite being told to take time off and recover, Madani returns to work intent on continuing her investigation and now focusing on Castle. Her team is interrogated regarding the failed weapons operation, but she does not reveal that Castle is alive, and instead convinces another agent, Sam Stein, to help her. She interviews Page, who later tells Castle about Madani's investigation. Meanwhile, William Rawlins—the agent in charge of Cerberus—receives a medal for his achievements during wartime, and is asked by the Deputy Director of the CIA Marion James to serve as her deputy when she is promoted. Lieberman points out that the video of Zubair's murder must have been made by one of the other Cerberus soldiers, and Castle believes it was Gunner Henderson, who also knew what they were doing was wrong. They find Henderson living in seclusion, but Rawlins sends soldiers to kill them, discovering that Castle is alive. Castle and Henderson are able to kill the attackers with Lieberman's guidance, but Henderson is fatally wounded.
Lieberman calls the authorities to find Henderson's body, and gets Hoyle's help to tend to Castle's injuries. Hoyle later bails Lewis Wilson, a young veteran that he had been trying to help rehabilitate, out of jail; he had been arrested protesting for the right to bear arms, and had been abandoned by another veteran he had admired, O'Connor. Hoyle reveals that the latter had lied about serving, and Wilson finds and kills O'Connor. Madani and Russo sleep together, and he realizes that she is using him to investigate Castle. She tells him that Castle is alive, and Russo broadcasts a message that Lieberman picks up. Castle meets with Russo to explain that Cerberus was a front for a major drug operation, and that he is fighting to take down those responsible. Russo offers to give Castle a chance at a new life instead, but Castle turns him down. Madani finds Henderson's body, and deduces what happened. She also gains proof that Castle is alive from his blood being at the scene. Russo later meets with Rawlins, whom he is working with.
Wilson considers committing suicide, before making homemade bombs. Russo tells Madani that he does not believe Castle is alive. She realizes that Henderson was only targeted after she had started investigating him, and that her office may be bugged; Madani and Stein find the device. Castle and Lieberman plan to take their next target, Col. Morty Bennett, one of the leaders of Cerberus. Rawlins and Russo expect this, and also discuss Madani's investigation, with Rawlins comfortable that she has no leads. He also tells Russo that he should have killed Castle when he had the chance. Castle infiltrates the military base where Bennet lives, but Russo is expecting him and attacks him with a group of soldiers. Castle fights them off, not knowing who Russo is beneath a mask, while Lieberman gains remote access to Bennett's phone. Castle then escapes, being forced to injure a young soldier on his way. They track Bennett's phone to Rawlins, who has Russo kill Bennett. Castle attempts to shoot Rawlins, but he is standing behind bullet-proof glass.
Russo visits his mother in a psychiatric hospital, injecting her with a drug that she is addicted to. He later tells Madani that he grew up in the system. Lieberman and Castle identify Rawlins. The cameras that Lieberman is using to keep watch on his family go down, and he sends Castle to investigate. Castle has been spending time with Lieberman's wife Sarah since meeting her while investigating who "Micro" was, and finds out that she had disconnected the internet as punishment for her son, Zach. Castle reconnects the internet, and has some drinks with Sarah. She kisses him, but they both acknowledge that this is a mistake. She then asks Castle to intervene with Zach, and he realizes that the boy needs a father figure to spend time with. Knowing that she is being watched, Madani sets up a new operation, but releases false plans to be found. When Russo arrives at a warehouse with a team of mercenaries per that latter plan, he is ambushed by Homeland security. His team are all killed, but Russo is able to kill Stein and escape without Madani seeing him.
Castle agrees to contact Madani about Rawlins, but while he and Lieberman are watching her to ensure she is not corrupt, Wilson's bombs go off around New York, killing several people and injuring others. He targeted those he considered to be anti-guns, as explained in a letter he sends to Page in the hopes that she will champion him standing up against the system and publish his letter in her paper. She goes on the radio to disavow Wilson, who anonymously calls in to threaten her. Castle recognizes Wilson from the radio, having met him when visiting Hoyle once, and has Lieberman find Wilson. Meanwhile, Hoyle searches for Wilson, and when he tries to stop him, Wilson beats Hoyle with his own prosthetic leg and ties him to another bomb. Castle comes across this scene, and convinces Wilson to disarm the bomb, but not before Wilson calls the police. Castle is chased from the scene, his face caught on camera. Lieberman goes to Madani and tells her about Rawlins, as Castle is identified on television as being alive, and labelled a bomber.
Wilson targets Senator Stan Ori, an anti-gun proponent who is planning a fundraiser for victims of the bombings, and has hired Anvil as security. Wilson kills one of Russo's men and steals his uniform. Madani informs her superior Rafael Hernandez of everything she knows, and he informs her that the team from the warehouse were all ex-Anvil. Madani confronts Russo about this at the hotel where the fundraiser is to be held. Page arrives at the hotel to interview Ori before the fundraiser, during which Wilson blasts his way into the room and attempts to shoot Ori. Castle arrives to protect them, but Wilson reveals that he is wearing an explosive belt and takes Page hostage. Wilson and Page enter an elevator, while Castle is chased down the stairs by Anvil soldiers until he is confronted by Madani and Russo. Russo shoots at Castle and then refuses to let Madani arrest him; she realizes that he had killed Stein. Before the standoff escalates, police arrive and arrest Russo and Madani. Castle escapes and finds Wilson. Castle helps Page get free, and Wilson blows himself up. Castle escapes while Det. Sgt. Brett Mahoney investigates and interrogates the survivors, including Russo, Ori, Page and Madani, all of which are released from police custody.
Castle ends his partnership with Lieberman and takes up the mantle of the Punisher again. Madani confronts Russo about Stein's death, but he pretends to not be involved. She convinces Hernandez to take further action anyway, and they go to James, telling her about Rawlins and Cerberus. With the police searching for Castle, Zach goes against Sarah's wishes and calls the authorities. When police officers arrive with the intention of taking them away, Sarah's daughter Leo hides. Before Castle leaves Lieberman, they see footage from his house of Sarah and Zach being taken away. Castle sends Lieberman to find Leo, while he waits for Russo to trace his phone from Sarah's. A group of soldiers arrive at the base, and Castle kills them all, only stopping to question a soldier about where Russo, Sarah, and Zach are, though this is unsuccessful. James confronts Rawlins, who offers up Russo as a scapegoat to clear the name of the CIA, which she accepts on the condition that he resigns. Castle collects Madani, and they meet up with Lieberman and Leo.
Castle makes a deal with Russo to swap himself and Lieberman for Sarah and Zach's release; Lieberman has locked his computer containing all their files on Cerberus and Rawlins, and has a timer counting down on them. Castle officially confesses to his crimes for Madani, while Lieberman secretly does so only if their deal is changed: at the swap, Lieberman is apparently caught in the crossfire when Homeland agents arrive, with Castle being taken by Russo and Sarah and Zach going free. Lieberman then revealed to his family that this was a ruse so that he could be with them. While being held captive, Russo confesses to Castle that he knew of the plan to massacre Castle’s family yet he did nothing to prevent it. Castle is tortured by Russo until he unlocks the computer, allowing them to destroy all of the files (not knowing that Lieberman has already given copies to Madani). Russo promises to kill Castle quickly in exchange, but Rawlins arrives to torture Castle himself, wanting revenge. Russo helps Castle get free, and Castle kills Rawlins. Russo then tries to kill Castle, but Madani arrives in time to stop this after being tipped off to their location by Lieberman.
Lieberman and Madani race Castle to her father, a doctor, who saves Castle's life. Russo kills a group of agents sent after him, and then finds Hoyle and holds him hostage. Castle arrives, and Russo agrees to meet with him that night, choosing to do so at the carousel where Castle's family died. Madani tracks Castle's phone there, and decides to follow him despite being told to take no further action by Hernandez and James. Castle and Russo fight, and when Madani arrives, Russo shoots her in the head. Castle eventually gets the upper hand, but chooses not to kill Russo. He instead smashes Russo's face into glass, forcing him to live with major disfigurement for the rest of his life. Castle is taken into custody, while Madani and Russo are taken to hospital; they both survive. Three days later, Hernandez and James free Castle, giving him a chance at a new life at the request of Madani. Russo is officially blamed for his crimes. After several hearings and debriefs, Lieberman is released and returns to his family. Castle joins Hoyle's support group for veterans.
- Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle/Punisher
- Ebon Moss-Bachrach as David Lieberman/Micro
- Ben Barnes as Billy Russo
- Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani
- Daniel Webber as Lewis Wilson
- Paul Schulze as William Rawlins
- Jason R. Moore as Curtis Hoyle
- Michael Nathanson as Sam Stein
- Jaime Ray Newman as Sarah Lieberman
- Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page
- Shohreh Aghdashloo as Farah Madani
- Kelli Barrett as Maria Castle
- Aidan Pierce Brennan as Frank Castle, Jr.
- Nicolette Pierini as Lisa Castle
- Tony Plana as Director Rafael Hernandez
- Kobi Frumer as Zach Lieberman
- Ripley Sobo as Leo Lieberman
- Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Deputy Director Marion James
- Tim Guinee as Clay Wilson
- Geoffrey Cantor as Mitchell Ellison
- Rick Holmes as Senator Stan Ori
- Jeb Kreager as Gunner Henderson
- C. Thomas Howell as Carson Wolf
- Shezi Sardar as Ahmad Zubair
- Delaney Williams as O'Connor
|3 AM||1.01||November 17, 2017||Steve Lightfoot||Tom Shankland|
|Former Marine Frank Castle takes the law into his own hands while struggling to come to terms with his traumatic past.|
|Two Dead Men||1.02||November 17, 2017||Steve Lightfoot||Tom Shankland|
|A mysterious phone call force Frank's hand. Meanwhile, Madani goes digging for suspects and Curtis delivers a message.|
|Kandahar||1.03||November 17, 2017||Steve Lightfoot||Andy Goddard|
|Frank skips the subtetly while interrogating Micro. Brutal memories of secret missions shed light on Frank's past.|
|Resupply||1.04||November 17, 2017||Dario Scardapane||Kari Skogland|
|Madani and Sam plan a delicate operation, Curtis tries to connect with Lewis and Frank encourage Micro to get his hands dirty.|
|Gunner||1.05||November 17, 2017||Michael Jones-Morales||Dearbhla Walsh|
|Frank and Micro go looking for answers from a reluctant witness. Madani and Sam learn of a looming investigation. Rawlins sees a ghost.|
|The Judas Goat||1.06||November 17, 2017||Christine Boylan||Jeremy Webb|
|With Frank in bad shape, Micro calls on Curtis for help. Madani and Russo continue to mix business with pleasure. Lewis stands up for his rights.|
|Crosshairs||1.07||November 17, 2017||Bruce Marshall Romans||Andy Goddard|
|Lewis struggles with the ramifications of his actions. Frank and Micro pursue another face from the past. Madani and Sam go bug hunting.|
|Cold Steel||1.08||November 17, 2017||Felicia D. Henderson||Antonio Campos|
|Russo opens up to Madani about his past, Sarah shares her concerns about her son with Frank, and a decoy operation takes a turn.|
|Front Toward Enemy||1.09||November 17, 2017||Angela LaManna||Marc Jobst|
|Following a deadly explosion, Karen lands in a bomber's crosshairs - and Frank isn't happy about it. Meanwhile, Curtis makes a grisly discovery.|
|Virtue of the Vicious||1.10||November 17, 2017||Ken Kristensen||Jim O'Hanlon|
|An attack on a high-profile politician is examined (and reexamined) through different perspectives. Madani faces a painful truth.|
|Danger Close||1.11||November 17, 2017||Felicia D. Henderson||Kevin Hooks|
|As danger knocks on Sarah's door, Frank takes his quest for vengeance to the next level with some help from an unexpected ally.|
|Home||1.12||November 17, 2017||Dario Scardapane||Jet Wilkinson|
|Frank makes a damning confession. A shootout leaves Sarah wondering what to believe. Rawlins goes in for the kill, once and for all.|
|Memento Mori||1.13||November 17, 2017||Steve Lightfoot||Stephen Surjik|
|As the authorities close in, an exhausted but unbroken Frank vows to put an end to the war that has consumed his life.|