John Doe has a magnificent vision of a crime that will live in infamy, inspired as a mix between his repugnance for the sins of humanity and Dante’s Inferno. He has spent however many years plotting, and has now laid an intricate series of horrific murders in motion, each leading to the next and fitting an overall pattern of the Seven Deadly Sins. Not only that, he is a man of infinite patience, methodical, and exacting – he has prepared for this a year in advance and, as one of the detective says, had them find one of his victims “a year later, to the day, just as he planned.” John has kept a man alive for a year, barely functioning, just to fill the Sloth portion of the Sins. He also has chosen his victims for their various manifestations of impurity in their lives, and none of them connect; they are seemingly random. He has planned it, knowing the outcome he intends, and when they stumble upon him, he spares one man’s life because to do otherwise is not part of his master plan. He believes his crime will be talked about and studied forever, as people attempt to figure out the mind behind it. Though a cruel man, John sees people in a Fe way – “we see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it’s common, it’s trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night. Well, not anymore. I’m setting the example.” He also needlessly makes his victims suffer and admits that he derives some pleasure from it; but no more than he assumes Mills would take from assaulting him. He intuitively understands that the only thing stopping Mills from exacting punishment on him is the “consequences,” not because he is good.  He can be polite and charming when he needs to be, and even allows one victim the chance to save herself – though he knows she won’t, because her sin is vanity and she could not live with a disfigured version of herself. John has thought things through carefully and decided what they mean to him, in a universal sense; he quibbles with Mills over his definitions and corrects him when it comes to Mills’ perceptions about him. He is not good when forced into a situation that wasn’t pre-planned and finds himself scrambling to save his own life, after running into two cops in his apartment building. Rather than be discreet, he panics and shoots at them, leading to an intense chase through the apartment building.

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John is obsessed with moral purity and sanctification, with religious images and icons, and feels repugnance when faced with the sins of the world – but he also includes himself as a sinner, just one tasked with an almighty purpose, as a martyr to a higher calling. He passes harsh judgment on the natural sins that others indulge – saying how he would find it difficult to eat faced with such a morbidly obese glutton; that the ‘whore’ was spreading sexual diseases; that the lawyer was allowing rapists and murderers to go free; etc. He has given up his life to punish them, and believes he is setting a good and pure example, as benefits his lofty ideals. He has also numbed himself to their pain and remains cold and distant toward everyone, though he does lose his temper when he believes he has been misjudged.