- "I'm the only authority you will need. I point, you shoot."
- ―William Rawlins to Cerberus Squad
William J. Rawlins III was the Director of Covert Operations for the CIA and founder of Cerberus Squad. While conducting assassination missions with Ray Schoonover, Rawlins came into conflict with Frank Castle, leading to Rawlins putting a hit out on Castle which had soon resulted in Castle's entire family being massacred. With Rawlins still continuing his career, he eventually learned that Castle had returned as the Punisher as he was seeking the truth about his family's murder, so Rawlins worked with Billy Russo to try and kill Castle before the truth could be exposed. While under continued pressure from his superior Marion James, Rawlins eventually captured Castle as he began torturing him to death, until Russo betrayed Rawlins and allowed Castle to then brutally beat Rawlins to death.
Rising through Rank
Born in 1962 into a family who had made all of their money in plantations, shipping and industry, William J. Rawlins III had studied business as he graduated from Yale University before he then moved into Harvard University where he had finished with a Summa Cum Laude. He worked for the family business at Rawlins Logistics Corp before being recruited into the CIA as an officer where he swiftly moved through the ranks as the head of covert operations. In this new role, Rawlins was sent over into Iraq and Afghanistan to supervise all CIA operations conducted there. During one of his assignments, Rawlins had been put in command of Ray Schoonover's units in Kandahar and had conducted all these operations with a great degree of autonomy and little oversight regarding his own methods.
- "Success here is a matter of perspective. It can't be measured in battles won or land claimed. Gentlemen, I'm here to offer you freedom. To wage the war that must be waged to finally win this thing. What we will do is dirty and tough, but it will speed an end of this war and safeguard our nation."
- ―William Rawlins to Cerberus Squad
Seeking to take out his military targets illegally and with precision, Rawlins then founded Operation Cerberus, with the operation now being funded by heroin sales made by Ray Schoonover. Both Rawlins and Schoonover brought together an elite team of soldiers to be a part of the new Cerberus Squad, with Rawlins giving a speech to them in which he claimed that all of their work would be dirty and tough but would speed an end to the war and also protect the United States of America, although he noted their victories would not be measured by battles they had won but would be a matter of perspective.
Rawlins then handed over to Major Schoonover who explained that their next missions would be to capture, interrogate and kill all high-value targets. During his speech, Schoonover noted that he did not care which branch of the United States Armed Forces the soldiers were from, as they were all now his dogs of war. As Rawlins looked on, Schoonover noted that their enemies operated without regard to honor or rules, neither would, leading to Billy Russo comparing the Operation to the Phoenix Program, which Rawlins took issue with as he then questioned if Russo had a problem with any of this.
When Frank Castle had appeared to be unsure of the mission until Congress had cleared it, Rawlins reassured him that they were fine with it. Rawlins informed the men that he would be the only authority they would need and when he pointed, all they had to do was shoot before Schoonover then introduced Castle and Russo as the team leaders to Gunner Henderson and all of the other members of the Squad. As the speech ended and Rawlins prepared to leave, Russo sat up to make a mocking joke about if Ann-Margret was coming to see them or not, much to the other soldiers' great amusement.
With the missions still being funded by Ray Schoonover's heroin, the true nature of Cerberus Squad was kept under wraps. While Rawlins and Morty Bennett were stuffing a child's corpse with their heroin to be shipped into United States of America, they were discovered by Henderson who was then ordered to simply remain silent about this. When Ahmad Zubair eventually managed to inadvertently learn of Operation Cerberus' true nature, Rawlins had then decided to end the problem before it started and made Zubair his target and had Cerberus Squad capture him, claiming that Zubair was a terrorist.
Tying Zubair up surrounded by all of their soldiers, Rawlins personally began brutally beating him down, while all the soldiers stood by and looked on. Despite Zubair insisted in his native Pashto that he was not a terrorist and was instead a good man, Rawlins was questioned by Gunner Henderson over whether or not Zubair might actually have any intelligence they would use, which Rawlins just instead casually dismissed. Eventually, Rawlins had claimed Zubair was lying to them, before ordering Frank Castle to execute him, and bury his body in an unmarked grave, and also remove the bullet from Zubair's skull.
- "What do you base that sound factual analysis on, Castle? This man has been a target for months. His whereabouts are finally confirmed. We're not gonna get this chance again."
"So what now? He's just here? He's just waiting to be caught."
- ―William Rawlins and Frank Castle
Having heard that yet another high-value target had just been located within Kandahar, Rawlins then ordered Cerberus Squad to head out and assassinate him. However when Ray Schoonover brought in Frank Castle and Billy Russo to explain the plan to them, they both questioned the risks involved, with Castle claiming that this was likely a trap. Rawlins insisted they go in, claiming that he trusted the intelligence gathered rather than the instincts of Castle. Schoonover agreed and ordered the men to get their teams prepared.
As he had been warned, their mission turned to be an Ambush, resulting in Schoonover losing an arm, several soldiers were killed and many more wounded. However as many of the men had been saved by the actions of Castle, when he had charged into the enemy's base and killed them all, allowing air support to take the remaining men back to base. Rawlins entered the room where these men were recovering, all suffering from pain and shock, however rather than showing any sympathy, Rawlins simply questioned if they had successfully killed the target as ordered.
Rawlins asked a second time if they had killed the target, which had enraged Castle as he charged forward and punched Rawlins in the face, puncturing his eye socket as a result. As Castle was pulled away by Russo and Gunner Henderson, Rawlins fell to the floor in shock as blood poured out of his damaged eyeball. As several men came to his aid, the still in shock Rawlins demanded that nobody touch him as he was helped back up to his feet. As a result of the assault, Rawlins was blinded in one eye, as he later claimed to have been injured in the line of duty to gain political points.
Killing Frank Castle's Family
- "I've watched friends die and I've left good men behind in shitty countries because that was the home they were born to. I don't know a single operative with any years under their belt who hasn't had to do something that gave them nightmares. But we endure those nightmares, embrace them, even so, that the rest of America can sleep peacefully. That's why you're here."
- ―William Rawlins
With the failure of the Ambush in Kandahar, Rawlins was then forced to end the operations of Cerberus Squad and returned into the United States of America where he continued his work with the CIA. Rawlins joined forces with Billy Russo and helped fund Anvil to work as their private military force under Russo's leadership. When Rawlins feared that Frank Castle would discover the truth with Cerberus, Rawlins arranged the Massacre at Central Park with the aid of Schoonover, blaming it on a drug deal.
While in the CIA Headquarters in Virginia, Rawlins gave a speech to the newest Agency recruits in which he noted that the people born within the United States of America were a fortunate people as they got to wake up in warm beds and live their own lives peacefully. Rawlins claimed that they as a nation had earned that peaceful life, telling the recruits that their job within the CIA was to identify and contain any dangers coming into the United States of America, promising that this would not be easy. Rawlins introduced himself and welcomed all of the newest recruits into the CIA.
As Rawlins was beginning to fear that his own part within Operation Cerberus could still be exposed in the wake of Carson Wolf's murder, Rawlins took it upon himself to bug the head office of the Homeland Security. While he listened back to the tapes, Rawlins heard Dinah Madani and Sam Stein discussing the names of all those who they currently suspected to be involved with Cerberus Squad, including Castle and Gunner Henderson. As Rawlins had believed Castle had recently been killed, he began considering if Henderson would need to become his next target in order to maintain his secrets.
Marion James' Offer
- "The king is dead. Long live the queen. It's time they gave you the big seat, Marion. They should have last time."
"That would have involved owing favors in places I didn't want any debt. I want you as my deputy director, Bill. I need someone who can make things happen and make hard decisions."
- ―William Rawlins and Marion James
For his long service to the CIA, Rawlins was presented with a medal, given to him by Marion James. James then commended Rawlins for outstanding service in the field while sustaining a serious personal injury. James, however, reminded Rawlins that he did not get to keep the medal due to the secrecy of their organization but he could have their admiration as she complimented him on taking out high-value targets, with Rawlins noting it had only cost him an eye.
Rawlins later visited James inside her office at the CIA Headquarters where she offered him a glass of her best scotch before they sat down and Rawlins then noted that he had heard a rumor that she would soon be leaving her current position to become Director of the CIA, as the previous director was now heading for a career in the United States Congress. Rawlins noted it was about time she had the job offer before James invited Rawlins to come on board as her new deputy director when she took the job, noting that she needed a man who could get things done and make the hard decisions.
Rawlins also noted that bringing in someone from covert operations would not sit well with Defence or State but James insisted that he should not worry about this, noting that he had personally led some of the most effective missions in the organization's history. James then asked Rawlins directly if he had any more secrets that could be exposed and ruin both of their careers, to which Rawlins claimed he did not, keeping silent about Operation Cerberus and the fallout from that. Rawlins then officially accepted the offer to be deputy director, much to James' personal as they raised their glasses.
- "Whoever you are, I'm coming for you."
- ―Punisher to William Rawlins
Fearing that Homeland Security would soon uncover his involvement in Operation Cerberus and thus ruin his chances for the position of deputy director, Rawlins took it upon himself to assassinate all the remaining members of Cerberus Squad, while also choosing not to inform Marion James about this mission. As he watched the mission unfold on his computer screen, Rawlins sent a small unit of soldiers to ambush and assassinate Gunner Henderson in the woods.
As the mission went ahead, however, Rawlins had soon discovered that Henderson was ready for a fight as several of the soldiers were dispatched by Henderson and another man who was assisting him, while a third party was warning them of the soldiers' movements. To his horror, Rawlins watched as, despite Henderson and the other man being wounded, they managed to subdue and kill all of Rawlins' soldiers until Frank Castle was revealed to be the man who aided Henderson. When Rawlins' men combed the woods, they found that Henderson died of his wounds while Castle had escaped.
Using Billy Russo
When Frank Castle's survival was discovered by Dinah Madani, who in turn informed Billy Russo, Rawlins was left with no choice but to order Castle's death in order to maintain their secrets. Russo had managed to arrange a meeting with Castle during which he offered him a place within Anvil overseas, during which Russo and Rawlins would then assassinate him. However, after several hours of waiting, Russo joined Rawlins in their car and informed him that Castle was not coming, much to Rawlins' great annoyance.
While at his country house, Rawlins was visited by Billy Russo who expressed his interest in the house. Rawlins questioned if Russo was still sleeping with Dinah Madani which he noted Rawlins had already known. Rawlins gave Russo a glass of whiskey before Rawlins told Russo that they did not have to worry about Madani anymore now that Gunner Henderson had just been assassinated by Rawlins' men. They then discussed finding Castle before Russo reminded Rawlins of how he had saved his life from Castle, as Rawlins, in turn, warned Russo that he could lose Anvil if Castle learned the truth.
Russo proceeded to remind Rawlins of how he had saved his own life from Castle back in Kandahar to which Rawlins simply expressed his gratitude before reminding Russo of how he had built his entire career for him. Russo then asked Rawlins what they now planned to do about Morty Bennett, to which Rawlins claimed that they could not warn him that the Punisher was coming as Bennett was simply a coward, while mockingly comparing him to a rat and a rabbit, while noting that Bennett would then either run away or talk so they would instead save his life and then take him under their protection where they would assassinate him afterwards once Castle was dead.
Dealing with Morty Bennett
- "Time's come for you to retire. Just like we always talked about."
"You backed me into a corner, William."
"And now I'm getting you out of it. We're gonna set you up with a new identity, new passport, the works. You're gonna take all that money I made you and start a new life."
- ―William Rawlins and Morty Bennett
As Morty Bennett had been rescued from the Punisher, Rawlins then him brought into his country house, where he listened while Bennett furiously accused him of allowing the Punisher to almost killing him, while Fort Bryon was given their false story. While Bennett insisted that he did not tell the Punisher anything about Operation Cerberus, Rawlins promised to get him out of the country with a new identity to ensure that the Punisher would never be able to locate him.
Rawlins ordered Billy Russo to take Bennett to any cheap motel until the assumption it would be a safe house for him, however, in reality, Rawlins and Russo had staged a crime scene with the corpse of the Mistress Bennett had been spending his time with. Under the orders of Rawlins, Russo had proceeded to stab Bennett multiple times and leave his corpse behind in the room, making it appear that he and the woman had killed each other. While Rawlins was walking through his country house, he got the phone call from Russo, informing him that everything had gone as planned, just as Rawlins had expected.
With the confirmation of Bennett's death, Rawlins had again believed that he was clear of his and all Cerberus Squad's illegal undertakings being exposed. As he walked around his own country house, Rawlins took a moment to look out of his window at all of the gardens in the night sky. However, Rawlins suddenly witnessed the bulletproof glass right above his head being cracked as the Punisher had attempted to assassinate him. Unaffected by this near-death experience, Rawlins watched as the lights around the house lit up, and the Punisher was then forced to escape having failed to successfully kill Rawlins.
Warning Billy Russo
Rawlins soon went for another meeting with Billy Russo just on the outskirts of New York City where he ranted about how the United States of America used to be built on industries like coal, iron, and steel whereas it was now run by markets and bankers who they were beholden to, with Russo noting that they were now both beholden to each other. Rawlins noted that they were now running out of time for them to go after Frank Castle, despite Russo warning that this would mean they would get in the way of a Homeland Security investigation, putting them at risk of being discovered.
Rawlins insisted that they had to kill Castle before he was arrested and confessed everything that happened with Operation Cerberus, so Russo agreed provided that they did not use anyone from Anvil's payroll, as he deemed it too risky and he had now lost too many of his own men already when they had gone after Gunner Henderson. When Russo insisted on finding outside operators who would not be cheap, Rawlins moaned about how it all came down to money, to which Russo noted that Rawlins had never had to worry about his money once in his life, which Rawlins merely scoffed at.
As Russo questioned if Rawlins still thought he was better than him, Rawlins insulted him by claiming that Russo's pride was a weakness. Still, Rawlins gave Russo the authorization to get his soldiers and wait for him to give him all the tactical plans from Homeland Security so that they could then allow the mission to go ahead. Rawlins then insulted Russo once again by questioning if he was now concerned about going against Dinah Madani, which Russo then denied as he stood over Rawlins and insisted that there was still nobody he was afraid of going against before Rawlins walked away from him.
Confession to Marion James
Rawlins met with Marion James in New York City where they went for a walk and briefly discussed how James' twin daughters were getting on and how they both wanted to go to Columbia University, with Rawlins noting that it was a great school while James noted that it was also an expensive school. Rawlins questioned if this was why James was in New York, but she claimed she was there to deal with the New York City Police Department Commissioner's son, who had turned out to be a skilled hacker who would be recruited into the CIA in exchange for not being sent to prison.
James then asked Rawlins why he was in New York and had insisted on talking to her outside where they could not be overheard. Rawlins confessed to James that Frank Castle was now a problem for both of them, noting that Castle had information that could be harmful to the CIA if it was to be revealed to the public. Rawlins explained that his career had been built by Operation Cerberus, brushing his methods off as unorthodox, claiming that he had done what he believed was right for the United States of America and that now Castle was ready to expose his illegal undertakings if he could not kill Rawlins first.
When James then questioned why Castle was attempting to kill him, Rawlins had confessed that it was because he already attempted to assassinate Castle, promising not to allow Castle to undermine the CIA or undo what he had achieved. Mortified by all the confessions, James then told Rawlins about how she used to suffer from panic attacks and noted that they stopped when James was honest about her actions, which Rawlins dismissed by claiming that he had made his judgment calls. Rawlins recommended that they instead focus on stopping Castle, noting that if Castle exposed all of Rawlins' criminal actions, then James' career would also be put under serious risk.
James cursed Rawlins for putting her in this position before Rawlins calmly explained that Billy Russo and his team of Anvil agents were now ready and prepped to take Castle out of the picture, and that all Rawlins needed to ensure this happened was access to a electronic surveillance apparatus in New York, to help them locate Castle first. Rawlins was then accused of attempting to get James to sanction a man's murder, as Rawlins argued that Castle was a terrorist, advising that James think of it as decommissioning unwanted ordnance, until James finally reluctantly agreed to assist with Rawlins' mission.
Using CIA surveillance equipment which had been supplied to him, Rawlins was able to discover that Frank Castle had been meeting with the family of David Lieberman when his son called a hotline in order to give up the information on Castle. Billy Russo sent a group of Anvil agents led by Jack to the Lieberman Residence where they kidnapped Sarah and Zach Lieberman. Rawlins then had both the mother and son tied up inside of a warehouse in the hope that Castle would seek them out, allowing Rawlins to then assassinate him.
While they were looking at the Liebermans, Russo then questioned if Rawlins had known that David Lieberman was alive, to which Rawlins noted that Carson Wolf had told him that he had been killed. Russo claimed that the entire situation was getting out of hand since he had killed several Homeland Security agents and Rawlins' own name was now known by Dinah Madani. Rawlins, however, noted that he had gotten Marion James involved in the operation, meaning if they were caught then the CIA would also come out looking bad, which James clearly did not want to happen, meaning they would be protected.
Russo however noted that none of them were safe now that Castle knew that he was involved, with Rawlins recommending that as they would all be in danger as long as he was alive, they go into Micro's Hideout where Castle had been tracked to using Sarah Lieberman's phone and finally assassinate him. Russo, however, had refused to go himself, refusing to expose himself any more than he already had, instead of sending in his Anvil agents. Russo suggested that Rawlins go himself, which he had refused to do, as he did not wish to get his hands dirty with their situation, which did not surprise Russo.
Fired from the CIA
- "The fact that the military was trafficking heroin is a matter of record. That can be laid at Russo's doorstep very easily. Castle dies, Russo takes the fall, the agency comes out clean."
"You've got it all worked out. My God, man, listen to yourself."
"Marion, I have always admired you because you're a realist. You've made hard choices for the greater good. So am I."
- ―William Rawlins and Marion James
While Billy Russo organized the Ambush in Micro's Hideout, Rawlins set up another meeting with Marion James within New York City. James furiously approached Rawlins and then informed him that Homeland Security knew his name and about Operation Cerberus, resulting in the deaths of five of their own agents, with James furiously reminding Rawlins that this was not how they do business.
Rawlins, however, claimed that he was not to blame and then instead suggested that they pin everything on Russo, noting that it was now known that the United States Armed Forces were selling heroin out of Kandahar which they could blame on Russo, taking the blame off Rawlins and Ray Schoonover. Rawlins concluded that if they blame Russo and kill Frank Castle then all of their problems disappear and the CIA would come out clean, with James horrified and demanding that Rawlins consider his actions, although Rawlins insisted that he was merely making difficult choices for the good of the CIA.
Rawlins demanded some loyalty from James, insisting that if she had then decided to hand him over to Homeland Security then her own career would be in ruins and it would damage the United States of America's position within the world, arguing that Ahmad Zubair and Castle were not worth the damage. Rawlins noted that Russo's fate was sealed when he killed Sam Stein and the other agents, so James agreed to burn Russo but still insisted that Rawlins would have no place within the CIA once this was done, much to Rawlins' horror as James insisted if he did not retire she would burn him too.
- "It will get much more painful if you don't."
"Yeah, I was wondering when you were gonna show up. What, you come here to tug on your little doggy's leash, huh? All right, Bill, why don't you bark for him, huh? Maybe, maybe do a trick, he'll throw you a bone? He doesn't like that."
- ―William Rawlins and Frank Castle
At the moment when Rawlins learned that Frank Castle had just been successfully captured, he went to Micro's Hideout to interrogate him, finding that Billy Russo was already attempting to get Castle to unlock Micro's computers which had been left with a countdown clock. When Castle began questioning if Russo trusted Rawlins, asking if Morty Bennett also trusted him before being murdered, Rawlins informed him that he and Russo had some mutual interests.
As Rawlins began putting on his leather gloves, Castle questioned if they were the same pair he used on Ahmad Zubair, to which Rawlins claimed that the gloves were special and to be used just for Castle's interrogation. Castle then invited Rawlins to finally do something, so Rawlins responded by slapping Castle hard around the face before repeatedly punching him. While Castle still continued mocking him, Rawlins took great personal pleasure from seeing the agony he was inflicting upon Castle, smiling as some blood sprayed on his face and continuing brutally hitting Castle for just over two hours.
Having taken a break, Rawlins returned back to the room to find that Russo had convinced Castle to turn off the computers in exchange for a quick and painless death. Rawlins watched as Castle entered the passcode and used the retinal scanner to stop the countdown, ending the threat of all the footage of Cerberus Squad torturing and killing Zubair in Kandahar being released to Homeland Security and them being arrested as a direct result. With this done, Rawlins went to the seemingly broken Castle and expressed his disappointment in him for having been broken quite so easily under the torture.
Castle, however, used their overconfidence to his advantage as he used his now freed hand to find a hidden blade under his chair, which he used to furiously stab Rawlins in the chest. Rawlins screamed out in agony as Russo desperately attempted to pull Rawlins away but Castle was still able to drag him over and bit into Rawlins' neck, causing the CIA agent to scream out in agony. As they wrestled on the floor, Russo struck Castle with his gun, finally freeing Rawlins from his grip as Rawlins proceeded to furiously kick Castle in the head out of anger and knocked him unconscious.
Insulting Billy Russo
- "I was the bulwark against our enemies. What I did was greater than you could ever measure! Do you know what you've done?"
"Did they take your pension away?"
"You are nothing but a grunt! You do not get to take me down. You are gonna beg to me."
- ―William Rawlins and Frank Castle
Enraged by Frank Castle's attempt to murder him, Rawlins furiously continued torturing him, striking Castle without mercy as he claimed that his work with the CIA was greater than Castle would even be able to consider, while telling him that a soldier in the United States Marine Corps was nothing more than a grunt and therefore Castle did not have the right to kill him. Rawlins continued beating Castle, telling him that he would make him eventually beg for his life.
Rawlins was interrupted as Billy Russo told him to stop, suggesting that they focus on wiping everything from all Micro's computers and leaving, with Russo noting he would kill Castle himself. Rawlins still refused, however, claiming that for everything he had taken from him, he would ensure that Castle had a prolonged and pain filled demise, refusing to even acknowledge the promise that Russo had made him for a clean death. Russo questioned what Rawlins had meant by Castle taking things from him, as Rawlins had inadvertently revealed that Marion James had taken his position from him.
As Rawlins attempted to keep Castle awake by pushing his fingers into Castle's wound, Russo dragged Rawlins away, as Rawlins then furiously reminded Russo that he was nothing but a tool to serve him. Russo claimed that he had gotten out of Afghanistan without being mentally damaged and because of Rawlins, he was being dragged into the mud, with Rawlins claiming that he had pulled him out of the mud. Rawlins went on to claim that Russo had now dirtied himself by killing some Homeland Security agents, noting that it was because of Rawlins and his CIA influence that Russo had gotten this far.
Russo claimed he wished he had just allowed Castle to kill Rawlins back in Kandahar, which caused Rawlins to laugh in his face. Sick of Rawlins' actions, Russo then approached Castle and placed his gun to the back on Castle's head, much to Rawlins' horror as he ordered him to stop. Unwilling to allow anybody else to kill Castle, Rawlins drew his gun and ordered Russo to step away and not deny him the chance for revenge against Castle. Seemingly willing to follow his orders again, Russo then stood back up and called Rawlins a sick man, as Rawlins noted that Castle still owed him one eye.
Final Fatal Mistake
- "It was always gonna come down to you and me, Frank. Time for quid pro quo. Boom, boom, boom. You're a dead man, your heart just doesn't know it yet."
"You're wrong. I'm a reminder."
- ―William Rawlins and Frank Castle
Seeing that his enemy was losing all sense of touch and therefore the sense of pain, Rawlins chose in inject Frank Castle with adrenaline in order to wake him up and ensure that Castle felt every bit of the pain which was coming his way. As Rawlins laughed at all Castle's panic as his heart burst into life again, the hacker was sent away once she had finished wiping all Micro's files and the footage of Cerberus Squad, while Rawlins had chosen the weapon he would use to finally end Castle's life and finally gain his cruel revenge against him.
With the Anvil agents now out of the room, Rawlins pick up his blade and told the panting Castle that everyone was always going to end between them this way. Testing that his heart was still beating hard enough, Rawlins climbed on top of Castle and aimed his blade right over his eyeball, intending to cut out Castle's eye as his revenge for Castle blinding him in one eye back in Kandahar. Rawlins told Castle that he was already a dead man, his heart just did not realize it had to stop beating yet as he prepared to tear out his eye and finally end Castle's life, smiling while Castle had continued panting in fear.
However, Rawlins discovered that Billy Russo had, in fact, betrayed him when Castle was able to free himself from his cut hand ties and blocked Rawlins' strike, knocking him to the floor. Rawlins look on in utter horror as Castle freed himself completely and stood over him, his body filled with the adrenaline Rawlins had given him and fury in his eyes. As Russo took away his gun and watched from a distance, Rawlins attempted to defend himself and stabbed Castle in the side, but Castle was unaffected and had grabbed Rawlins by the throat as Rawlins had desperately tried to free himself from Castle's grip.
Before Rawlins could defend himself, Castle knocked him down onto the floor with great force before he took his knife out of his own side and proceeded to plunge it multiple times into Rawlins' throat and his shoulder, telling him that he was not a dead man, but a reminder of all the crimes Rawlins had committed and the punishment that came for them. Despite all of the stab wounds already being fatal as blood poured out of Rawlins' wounds, the enraged Castle still proceeded to brutally beat him down, punching him repeatedly onto the skull until Rawlins was completely incapable of moving or defending himself.
Having looked up at Russo who was watching the brutality inflicted upon Rawlins with great delight while choosing not to do anything to aid his former ally, Castle decided to finally end Rawlins' life in the worst way possible, as he plunged his thumbs inside Rawlins' eye sockets and pushed his eyes inward. The pain from the attack was too much for Rawlins' heart, which gave out soon after. With Rawlins finally lying dead, Castle then rolled off Rawlins' bloodied corpse, struggling to breathe from the sheer amount of energy he had used up during the torture Rawlins had inflicted upon him earlier.
Following Rawlins' violent death, Micro's Hideout was raided by the Homeland Security agents who forced Billy Russo to go on the run before Dinah Madani saved Frank Castle's life before Rawlins' savage beating to stop his heart. Rawlins' corpse was then removed while Marion James and Rafael Hernandez looked on, with James noting that all of his injuries had made Rawlins looked as though he had been hit by a truck.
Following Rawlins' death, Russo was eventually arrested having been horrifically disfigured by the Punisher before the entire events leading up to Rawlins' death and Russo's arrest were pinned on Lewis Wilson, Russo and Rawlins himself, with Castle then being allowed to go free with a brand new identity.
In the wake of Russo's capture, Dinah Madani made a statement under the direction of James while recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, claiming that Russo was to blame for the entire situation. However, Madani was unhappy that these statements would put Rawlins in the clear while also leaving Ahmad Zubair's death unacknowledged. James eventually convinced Madani that not naming Rawlins in her statements would be the least worst option for all of them, which Madani regretfully agreed to.
- "Men like me make the plans, men like you shed the blood."
- ―William Rawlins to Billy Russo
William Rawlins was a ruthless tactician and sadist who furthered his career in the CIA through murder and manipulation. Completely void of any conscience, he had anyone who was involved in Operation Cerberus assassinated through a hit squad, while distancing himself from the operation and maintaining the image of a respectable CIA agent to both the agency and Marion James, albeit temporarily. He was shown to be skilled in torture and extracting information, something he revealed in until his first confrontation with Frank Castle, as it's heavily implied this confrontation broke him and was possibly the first time he ever truly felt afraid.
Despite this, Rawlins' inability to feel empathy and his sadism was also his biggest weakness and ultimately proved to be his demise. While intelligent enough not to cross his superiors, he treated anyone below his position beneath him and was outright flippant to Castle. After Castle and his team returned from an ambush that left many of their team dead, Rawlins not only showed no empathy or emotional support to the team, who was still in shock but proceeded to immediately ask if Castle had killed the target. Castle beat Rawlins for his lack of empathy permanently blinding him in the left eye and would have killed him, if Billy Russo hadn't pulled him off.
Having been forced to resign after being found out by James, Rawlins mercilessly tortured Castle intending to see him suffer before he died, revealing the full extent of his vendetta, shouting how Castle had taken everything from him, unintentionally revealing to Russo that his position at the CIA was terminated and therefore had no use for him anymore. He also berated Russo when the latter tried to stop him torturing Castle referring to him as a "Stupid Grunt". As a result of the insult and realizing he'd outlived his purpose, Russo secretly betrayed Rawlins to Castle. While Rawlins could have killed Castle there and then he could not resist prolonging Castle's suffering, he administered adrenaline to him in the order for Castle to feel as much of his torture as possible. Unaware that Castle's cords were cut, thanks to Russo, Rawlins attempted to cut out his eyes in revenge for his attack years ago, only to be viciously beaten stabbed and ultimately had his eyes gouged out by Castle.
- "Blood loss is gonna make you weak. You're gonna slip in and out of shock. You will know pain and fear. Fear, Frank. Your ribs must be cracked. I'm gonna take all the breath out of your lungs, out of your lungs, until you can barely whisper and the last word out of your mouth is gonna be, "Please, please, please""
- ―William Rawlins to Frank Castle
- Combatant: Including his history in the military, Rawlins had been trained to some degree of basic combat. Rawlins used this understanding of the human body to inflict torture upon both Ahmad Zubair, while he was in Afghanistan, and later used the same torture techniques of knowing how to inflict the most amount of agony onto a subject while keeping them alive on Frank Castle, whom he ensured suffered horrifically to gain his revenge for losing his eyesight in one eye due to Castle's furious punch.
- Expert Tactician: Alongside Ray Schoonover in Afghanistan, Rawlins formed a team of selected soldiers to engage in Operation Cerberus and the torturing, killing, and burying of Ahmad Zubair as well as other high-value targets. He would, later, turn on each soldier that who had been associated with their operation, assassinating each with the exception of Billy Russo whom he recruited.
- Marksman: Rawlins is skilled in the use of firearms, particularly pistols.
- Bilingualism: Rawlins speaks English and Pashto, as shown during his interrogation of Ahmad Zubair.
- SIG Sauer P229R: Rawlins' signature sidearm, notably having it holstered during the Capture of Frank Castle, only drawing it to threaten Billy Russo to ensure he followed his orders. The handgun was taken from him by Russo, who secretly had cut Frank Castle's cords, leading to Rawlins' demise.
- "Your stupid-ass gloves. Are those the same ones, or did you get yourself a new pair?"
"These are special. Just for you."
- ―Frank Castle and William Rawlins
- Leather Gloves: As Rawlins would begin torturing his victims, he would first put on a pair of thick leather gloves which would not only protect his own hands from pain but would ensure that more damage was done to his victims when he struck them. Having witnessed him wearing these gloves during the horrific torture of Ahmad Zubair, Rawlins was questioned by Frank Castle if he was using the same gloves as he prepared to torture him. The impact of repeated hits from the gloves fists came close to killing Castle.
- "Stay with me, Frank. You're gonna want to be awake for this. Adrenaline. A little something for what ails you. Whoa! Oh, there he is. Oh. Boom, boom, boom. Look at that. Oh, you're really quite something."
- ―William Rawlins to Frank Castle
- Adrenaline: During the torture of Frank Castle, Rawlins wished to ensure the dazed Castle felt every bit of pain being inflicted upon him, so he hit Castle with a shot of adrenaline. However, this eventually proved to be Rawlins downfall as the adrenaline gave the Punisher enough energy to break free.
- Yale University: Rawlins went to Yale University where he studied business. He successfully graduated from university and went to Harvard.
- Harvard University: After graduation from Yale, Rawlins went to Harvard where he had finished with a Summa Cum Laude.
- CIA Headquarters: Recruited as a high ranking CIA agent, Rawlins was given his own office in the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Being Director of Covert Operation, Rawlins gave a speech to the newest CIA recruits and welcomed all of them into the agency. For his long service, Rawlins was presented with a medal from Marion James who organized award in the Headquarters.
- Cerberus Squad Compound: Starting the Operation Cerberus, Rawlins established a military compound in Kandahar where he stationed the Cerberus Squad. In the compound, Rawlins and Ray Schoonover gave a speech to the squad members and were informing them about new orders. Rawlins also had a briefing with Schoonover, Frank Castle and Billy Russo about important mission and then Castle assaulted Rawlins in the compound, hitting him in his eye.
- CIA Safe House: Rawlins had organized several private meetings with Russo in one of CIA safe houses on United States territory which used by the agency for custody, shelter or interrogation. Later, under the orders of Rawlins, Russo brought Morty Bennett to the safe house following a failed ambush on Castle. Meanwhile, Micro managed to track down Bennett's phone and traced his last location. Prepared his sniper rifle, Castle waited when Rawlins comes close to the window and took a shot. However, windows in safe houses were bulletproof and Rawlins survived the attack.
- Micro's Hideout: When Anvil agents managed to uncover the location of Micro's secret hideout, Rawlins ordered Russo to bring captured Castle there. While Russo ordered his hacker to wipe out all information from Micro's computers, Rawlins proceeded to beat and torture Castle to eventually kill him. However, Russo betrayed him, letting Castle attack Rawlins and brutally murder him.
|Appearances for William Rawlins|
In chronological order:
- In the comics, William Rawlins is a former CIA agent who was involved with various crime organizations, most notably gangster Nicky Cavella whom he had a close relationship with. Rawlins ran afoul of the Punisher and his ex-wife Kathryn O'Brien who was seeking revenge for betraying her. Rawlins also wore an eye patch after getting his eye gouged by the Punisher.
- Rawlins' demeanor and role as overseer of a black-ops group and his plot of trafficking heroin from Afghanistan using the bodies of dead soldiers are based on Robert Bethell, CIA agent from the Punisher MAX comics.
- In reality, the CIA does not have a position called "Director of Covert Operations." It does have a Deputy Director for Operations (who heads the CIA's National Clandestine Service), and a paramilitary Special Activities Division (headed by a Chief). Rawlins' role in the series would be analogous to either of these.
Behind the Scenes
- Declan Mulvey was a stunt double for Paul Schulze in the role of William Rawlins.
- Brian Bergdoll was a stand-in for Paul Schulze in the role of William Rawlins.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Punisher: 1:08: Cold Steel
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Punisher: 1.03: Kandahar
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The Punisher: 1.05: Gunner
- ↑ The Punisher: 1.06: The Judas Goat
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 The Punisher: 1.07: Crosshairs
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Punisher: 1.11: Danger Close
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Punisher: 1.12: Home
- ↑ The Punisher: 1.13: Memento Mori
- ↑ The Punisher: 2.07: One Bad Day
- ↑ Translates to: If you want your family to see another sunrise, you will stop talking. You understand me?"