- NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Agent Orange from the Marvel Cinematic film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Agent Orange (comics).
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|“||I point, you shoot.||„|
|~ Agent Orange|
William "Bill" Rawlins III, also known under his code name Agent Orange, was one of the two main antagonists (alongside Billy Russo) of the first season of 2017 Marvel TV series The Punisher. He is the MCU's adaptation of William Rawlins, one of the major antagonists in the comic book Punisher MAX.
He is a ruthless C.I.A. operative and was the leader of Project Cerberus, an operation during the war in Kandahar that specialized in eliminating targets. A member of this unit is Frank Castle and after a video has been leaked about the unit's brutal actions, Rawlins believes that Castle is the one responsible. By orchestrating the murder of Castle's wife and children, Rawlins inadvertently causes Frank to become the vigilante known as Punisher and after Frank has teamed up with the whistleblower and hacker Micro, he starts hunting down Rawlins. Likewise, Rawlins hunts down Frank whom he believes to be the last witness about their actions in Kandahar.
He was portrayed by Paul Schulze.
Rawlins was born into a wealthy and influential family in Virginia, his family owning plantations, shipping, and industry. He joined the military and climbed the ranks, eventually joining the C.I.A.
During the war in Kandahar, Rawlins was in charge of operation Cerberus. Working together with the hand-picked unit of Colonel Schoonover, which also included Frank Castle, Rawlins had the group eliminate several high-profile targets in the war zone. The operation was not sanctioned by the Senate and thus illegal.
During one of these operations, Rawlins obtained intel that an important target was located in a building in the war zone. During the plans for storming the building, Frank Castle voiced his concern that the building would be the ideal spot for an ambush and that the situation might be a trap. However, Rawlins ignored Frank's concerns and sent the unit in anyway. As expected by Frank, they walked right into a trap. In the firefight, several members of the unit were killed or wounded. Only due to a risky attack by Frank, the unit could be saved and return to base. Back at base, Rawlins seemed not to care one bit about his beaten and demoralized unit. When his only concerns were whether the unit killed their target, an enraged Frank Castle attacked him and brutally beat him in the head, leaving him blind in one eye. Frank had to be pulled off Rawlins by his comrades.
Eventually, one of the soldiers could not stomach the illegal violence anymore and secretly taped an interrogation of the unit, in which Rawlins eventually killed their target - undercover cop Ahmad Zubair. After the unit was disbanded and had returned to the United States, this tape fell into the hands of NSA analyst and whistleblower Micro, who uploaded it to a whistleblower site. When Rawlins and his group of conspirators found out, they believed that Castle was the one who made the tape and planned to get rid of him. The first step of their plan resulted in the brutal murder of Castle's wife and children, inadvertently sending him on his path to become the ruthless vigilante Punisher. During his vigilante actions, it seemed that Castle was killed and thus, Rawlins did not investigate further. As part of their conspiracy, they also intended to kill Micro but he survived as well, also presumed dead.
In truth, Castle survived and was contacted by Micro, teaming up with him to find out the truth behind the death of both Castle's and Micro's families.
|“||Now it's starting to make sense. This is not some field agent running rogue. I mean, it takes a guy like this to pull it all together and make it stick.||„|
|~ Micro realizes who Agent Orange is|
Together with Micro, Frank starts investigating the conspiracy, intending to kill everyone who had a part in it. He is especially interested in vengeance against Rawlins, whom he only knows as "Agent Orange".
Castle meets up with Gunnar Henderson, a former member of his platoon and the one who really made the tape about Project Cerberus. Fearing retribution, Gunnar has moved to a wooden hut in a secluded forest. However, while Franks talks to him they are attacked by a group of soldiers sent by Rawlins, who finally found Gunnar. Through the helmet cameras of the soldiers, Rawlins witnesses how Gunnar and Castle take out all of his men although both men are wounded - Gunnar later dies of his wounds. Through the camera, Rawlins also witnesses that Frank Castle is still alive.
In their attempts to take down Rawlins, Frank, and Mirco attack a military base in which a military member called Bennet, who is part of the conspiracy, is located. However, having anticipated this, Rawlins already stationed a team of soldiers led by Billy Russo - a former member of Project Cerberus and an old friend of Frank Castle. They attack Castle, who manages to flee. After Castle has escaped the military base, an outraged Bennett demands that Rawlins and Russo explain why Russo and his team were on the base. He claims that Rawlins used him as bait and Rawlins has a hard time explaining how he did not know of Castle's plans, given that he already stationed Russo and his team as a safety procedure. Eventually, Bennett asks what they are going to do next.
Rawlins promises Bennett that they will take care of it and reveals that the time has come for the man to retire. Rawlins promises that, as agreed, he will give the man a new identity and tells him that he has to leave the country, albeit with the money Rawlins made for him over the years. Begrudgingly, Bennett agrees and Rawlins reveals that Russo will take him to a safe house. According to the procedure, Bennett empties his pockets -leaving the smartphone Frank Castle has been tracking since the attack on the military base. Thus, while Russo takes Bennett to the safehouse where he kills him on Rawlins' orders, Frank attempts to assassinate Rawlins inside with a sniper rifle. However, the glass windows are bulletproof and when an alarm sounds, Frank is forced to retreat.
Although the assassination attempt on Agent Orange has been a failure, Micro can use the image from Frank's scope to analyze the man and find out his real identity - William Rawlins. They also realize that Rawlins is not some CIA operative, but is, in fact, the CIA Director of Covert Operations. Reading through his file, Frank reads that Rawlins was injured in the line of duty and realizes that this refers to him smashing Rawlins' eye. At the same time, Rawlins tells Russo that they need to find and eliminate Castle, as he is the last remaining witness to their actions in Kandahar.
Obtaining access to the electronic surveillance apparatus of New York City, Rawlins plans to track down Castle and have Russo hunt him down and kill him. However, in order to protect himself, Russo refuses to do so unless Rawlins accompanies him. However, Homeland security - having obtained information from Micro - start investigating Rawlins. Although the CIA director has his back at first when she finds out the full extent of Rawlins' actions she reveals to him that after he has cleared up the mess (by killing Castle and blaming everything on Russo) there will be no place for him at the CIA anymore.
After Castle lets himself being captured, both Rawlins and Russo bring him to Micro's former hideout. There, Micro has started a countdown and, as they believe Micro to be dead, they want the password to stop the countdown from Frank. When Frank, who is tied to a chair, refuses to talk, Rawlins starts torturing him. Eventually, Frank gives in and his chair is moved to the computer and one hand is untied so that he can deactivate the countdown. However, after having done so - the countdown is revealed to have no use whatsoever - he draws a hidden knife from underneath the chair and stabs the approaching Rawlins into the chest. While Russo attempts to bull Rawlins back from Russo, Castle instead pulls Rawlins towards him and sinks his teeth into Agent Orange's neck - only stopping when Russo intervenes. Russo helps Rawlins up and the wounded Agent kicks Frank into the head, knocking him out briefly. He then brutally and viciously beats up Frank, having seemingly lost his mind. When Russo tells him that they need to leave, Rawlins tells him that Frank has taken everything from him and will not die painlessly.
Unbeknownst to Rawlins, the countdown served a purpose after all - by accessing the computer Frank activated cameras which are broadcasting the events inside Micro's former headquarter to Homeland Security. Thus, they can see everything happening there and have more than enough incriminating information on Rawlins and Russo. They also hear an argument between Russo and Rawlins. Russo, realizing that Rawlins has lost it, argues and Rawlins spitefully reflects that after all, Russo is only a means to an end, a henchman. Fed up with Rawlins, Russo decides to put an end to his old friend Frank but when he aims his gun at Frank's head, Rawlins draws his gun to stop him. However, while holding his gun at Frank's head, Russo secretly cuts Frank free. Russo then seemingly gives in and lowers his gun. Claiming that Frank owes him an eye, Rawlins comes closer and injects him with adrenaline so that he is awake for the coming torture. Approaching him again with a blade, Rawlins is caught by surprise when Frank suddenly smashes him back and stands up. Rawlins attempts to defend himself against Frank but is overpowered and thrown to the ground. While Russo watches from afar, Frank stabs Rawlins multiple times into the chest and throat, throwing even more punches onto the dying man. Still not done, Frank drives his thumbs into Rawlins' eyes, finally killing Agent Orange.