Eli Moskowitz, better known by his nickname Hawk, is one of the main characters of the YouTube Red/Netflix television series Cobra Kai, serving as a protagonist in Season 1, the secondary antagonist of Season 2 and a major antagonist in Season 3 up until the finale, where he redeems himself.
He is one of the top students of Johnny Lawrence's Cobra Kai dojo alongside Miguel Diaz, Aisha Robinson and Tory Nichols. While initially joining to be able to fight back against bullies, Hawk eventually comes to take the Cobra Kai mindset of "Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy" to its extremes and become a bully himself, as well as the top student of John Kreese after the old sensei reclaims Cobra Kai from Johnny. However, after realizing that Kreese's ways are wrong, he redeems himself by defecting from Cobra Kai, saving his former best friend Demetri, and joining Miyagi Do Karate and Eagle Fang Karate.
He can be compared to Dutch from the original movie due to his (formerly) sadistic nature.
Eli was born with a cleft lip and despite getting surgery to have it fixed, was left with a facial scar, resulting in him being made fun of in middle and high school for it. At the time, Eli's only friend was a fellow nerd, Demetri, whom Eli often talked about geeky subjects with. According to Demetri, Eli and him watched together every film of the Harry Potter film series, during which Eli cried when they saw the scene of Dobby the Elf's death. They were also fans of Doctor Who. Sometimes, Eli went for a sleepover at Demetri's house, but given his nature as a bedwetter, Demetri's mom always used a special mattress everytime he went for sleepover.
When Miguel Diaz joined All Valley High School he became friends with Eli and Demetri after they were the only two who let him sit with them at lunch. When Miguel used the karate training he received from Cobra Kai to fight back against Kyler and his gang of bullies, Eli thought it was cool that he stood up to them despite being beat up for it. After Miguel fought Kyler and his gang again in a massive lunchroom brawl and singlehandedly defeated all four of them, Eli was inspired to join Cobra Kai to become good at karate too.
However, after joining, Eli was frequently picked on by Sensei Johnny Lawrence for his lip scar, being nicknamed "Lip" by him for it. When Eli complained for him to stop, Johnny simply told him to "flip the script" and get an accessory to distract people from the scar. Eventually, Johnny's taunts caused Eli to leave the dojo, only to take Johnny's words of "flipping the script" to heart and return next day sporting a blue mohawk. Impressed, Johnny gave him his nickname of "Hawk" and told him to fall in with the rest of his students.
To compliment his new identity, Hawk got a tattoo of a hawk sporting a mohawk on his backside. Hawk later took part in a plan by Cobra Kai to get revenge against Yasmine for making fun of Aisha by throwing a party on the day of her birthday in a canyon where she intended the birthday party to be. Before the party, Hawk bought alcohol from the local mini-mart using a fake ID. When Yasmine and her friends arrived to find Cobra Kai already partying in the canyon, Yasmine was furious, but her friend Moon took notice of Hawk and went to go talk to him, with the two soon falling in love with each other.
On the day of the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament, Hawk was among Cobra Kai when they entered to compete in it. Hawk made it to the final four where he faced off against Robby Keene. However, after Robby made fun of his mohawk, Hawk attacked him out of turn and injured his back, causing him to be disqualified. The injury Hawk inflicted on Robby would lead to the latter's defeat against Miguel in the final round when Miguel exploited the injury to defeat him. Hawk was later seen as one of the Cobra Kai students cheering when Miguel won and received the trophy.
Following the tournament, Hawk went to a diner to go eat with the rest of Cobra Kai and Demetri. During this, Hawk sniped at Demetri for attempting to use Cobra Kai's name while not actually joining the dojo in order to impress girls.
The next day when Hawk and Miguel arrived in the Cobra Kai dojo, the two were reprimanded by Johnny for using "pussy" tactics to win the tournament and were both made to do fifty push-ups on their knuckles as punishment. Cobra Kai were later introduced to Johnny's Sensei John Kreese when Kreese persuaded Johnny to let him back into Cobra Kai. During a training exercise where Johnny tasked his students with manually pushing a cement mixer, when Hawk and several other students showed reluctance to participate in it, they were all scolded by Kreese for not listening to the "man who led [them] to the mountain top". With that, Hawk, Miguel, Aisha and a few other students got into the cement mixer and managed to get it to manually start moving, succeeding in the training exercise.
When Demetri left a bad Yelp review of Cobra Kai in response to being punched in the nose by John Kreese for mouthing off, Hawk and four other of his cronies in Cobra Kai went to go confront him in a mall to intimidate him into removing the review. When Demetri refused, Hawk and co. chased him down to beat him up, but the five Cobra Kai kids were fought off by Sam and Robby. Upon hearing about this, Moon saw that Hawk had become a bully and broke up with him. Following this Hawk went to go train in the Cobra Kai dojo where he was approached by Kreese, who told him that he hadn't "lost" he had simply allowed the fight to be over and that a fight wasn't over until he said it was. Inspired by this, Hawk and three of his cohorts went to the Miyagi-Do dojo and vandalized it, with Hawk stealing the late Mr. Miyagi's World War II Medal of Honor.
After hearing that one of his students had vandalized Miyagi-Do, Johnny forced all of his Cobras to do grueling training exercises until the culprit came forward. However, after Johnny left to go visit his old friend Tommy in the hospital and left Kreese in charge, Kreese told all of the Cobra Kai students that every action taken by one of them was an action by all of them. Kreese also used this opportunity to instill a more brutal mindset into the Cobras.
When Johnny returned, he and Kreese took the Cobras down to River Creek and divided them into two teams of Black and Red headbands, tasking each team with claiming all the headbands of the other team by any means necessary. During the competition, Miguel discovered Hawk had stolen the Medal of Honor and was the culprit behind the vandalism of Miyagi-Do, and fought and defeated him to take it back. When they returned to the dojo, Miguel asked Hawk if they were still cool, to which Hawk replied that though they were enemies for a day, they were Cobra Kai "for life".
Hawk later attended a party hosted by Moon that both Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do had been invited to. Hawk attempted to seduce a girl at the party to make Moon jealous so she would come back to him, only to discover the girl was Moon's new girlfriend. Later on, when Demetri revealed all of Hawk's secrets, including the fact that he used to be a bed wetter, to the party goers to get back at him, Hawk attempted to beat him up, only for the party to be interrupted by the police.
The next day at school, Hawk learned from Miguel that he had kissed Sam at the party and congratulated him on it, saying that he intended to have a "full rotation" of girlfriends by the time he reached the midterms. Later, when Tory went to go assault Sam as revenge for kissing Miguel, Hawk eagerly took part in massive brawl between the Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai kids that sprawled out of it. After beating up several Miyagi-Do, Hawk noticed Demetri, who had attempted to get a teacher to intervene, and chased after him. After cornering him, Hawk attempted to beat him up, only for Demetri to use the training he had learned at Miyagi-Do to fight him off and fling him into a trophy case.
However, Hawk soon got up and later returned to witness Miguel being knocked off a balcony by Robby, watching in shock as Miguel plummeted to ground and suffered severe injuries from impact. When a guilt-ridden Johnny Lawrence returned to his Cobra Kai dojo after hearing the news and going to visit Miguel in the hospital, he discovered that Hawk and all of his other students (with the possible exception of Aisha) had gone over to Kreese, who had managed to swipe the dojo from him thanks to a deal with Johnny's landlord Armand Zakarian. When Johnny attempted to approach Kreese, Hawk and all the other students blocked him. Hawk then proceeded to berate Johnny for teaching Miguel to show mercy, blaming him for the reason Miguel got injured and hospitalized and saying that if Miguel died it would be his fault too.
At the start of the series, Eli is shown to be very insecure and having very little confidence due to being made fun of for his lip scar. He was kind to Miguel after he asked to sit with them, and even complimented him later for standing up to Kyler. He was also even more submissive than Demetri when dealing with Kyler and his gang.
After joining Cobra Kai and becoming "Hawk", however, he becomes much more confident in himself, taking Cobra Kai's teachings to heart and developing an extremely aggressive mindset based on them. Hawk enjoys fighting a lot and was actively cheering when the fight between Sam and Tory-led to an all-out brawl. While Hawk is a formidable fighter, he still retains traits of his old self, such as being scared to tell his parents about his Hawk tattoo and showing respect towards students who can put up a good fight against him like Miguel.
Over the course of the series, Hawk's aggressive mindset leads him to become a bully himself, ironic considering he originally sought to be able to fight against bullies. Though he projects a "badass" persona, Hawk's ego is fairly easily bruised and he often reacts to insults towards himself and Cobra Kai with violence. Despite becoming a bloodthirsty sadist, Hawk also shows certain virtuous traits such as a sense of camaraderie with his fellow Cobra Kai students, not taking it personally when Miguel beat him in the River Creek Match. He also showed genuine love for Moon while they were dating and seemed to accept her decision to break up with him, albeit begrudgingly. When Miguel was severely injured after being pushed off a ledge by Robby Keene, Hawk was concerned for him and blamed Johnny for his injuries for teaching him to show mercy to his opponent. He also visited Miguel at the hospital something that even Tory, Miguel's girlfriend at the time didn't do.
Hawk seems to be the favored student of Kreese, as he was shown being advised by him one-on-one at several points in the series, and was the one most enthusiastic (with the possible exception of Tory) to embrace Kreese's harsher philosophy of not showing any mercy and not stopping until the opponent was defeated. However, during the course of the third season, Hawk slowly starts to have a crisis of conscience and become uncomfortable with Kreese's more ruthless methods, as well as the lines he's crossed before and since he took over. This, along with him recalling what Kreese, Johnny and Miguel had said to him over time and realizing how Kreese does not care about him, results in him switching sides after he and several other Cobra Kai students invade the LaRusso house and attack both Daniel and Johnny's students, as well as saving Demetri’s life and apologizing to him for bullying him, which Demetri accepted.
- Previously, his actor Jacob Bertrand also starred with Peyton List (who plays Tory Nichols) in the Disney Channel Original film The Swap.
- If he would've defeated Robby Keene without cheating, he would've faced Miguel in the finals, making the two Cobra Kai students face off each other. Had that been the case, Cobra Kai was going to win anyway (though the dojo still won when Miguel defeated Robby).
- In a way, Hawk mirrors Johnny Lawrence as someone who was bullied but gained confidence through Cobra Kai, only to end up becoming a bully himself.