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Villains Wiki

I know he didn't commit suicide, so look me in the eye, and tell me what happened to my grandfather. Tell me everything.
~ Ransom to Marta Cabrera, attempting to make her take the fall.
I'm warning you!
~ Ransom to Harlan when he learned that he and the other members of the family have been cut out by Harlan.

Hugh Ransom Drysdale, or better known as Ransom Drysdale, is the main antagonist of the 2019 mystery film Knives Out.

He is the son of Richard Drysdale and Linda Thrombey, and the grandson of the late Harlan Thrombey, whom Ransom had conspired to murder out of anger for cutting him out of his inheritance. He is described as a spoiled trust fund playboy.

He was portrayed by Chris Evans, who also played Lucas Lee in the 2010 film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Robert Pronge in The Iceman.


Ransom is the son of Richard Drysdale and Linda Thrombey. He is the grandson of Harlan Thrombey, a renowned murder mystery novelist and writer. He is an eccentric but spoiled brat, whose livelihood as a playboy is predicated on his family's wealth. This makes him arrogant and unpleasant in nature, but unlike the rest of the family, he does not hide this part and has no patience for that. However, while his family is indeed unpleasant and full of hypocritical jerks, Ransom is the only one who is truly evil because he is willing to do anything to have his part of the inheritance, including murder. He is overall a selfish, heartless, psychopathic and somewhat immature person, in addition to all his family's flaws. He behaves like a spoiled teenager, even though he is in his thirties. He claims to be seeking his "birthright," but does not care about the rest of his family as long as he gets his own share. He is fully aware of his disgusting nature and he takes pride in the hate his family has on him. That said, he can be charming, charismatic and polite when he wants to be, in order to have what he wants. This is seen when he succeeds in earning Marta's confidence to help him get to the bottom of the case. He is also lazy, as he refuses to work and has no intentions in doing so. But he is intelligent, as seen with his plan to frame Marta for the murder of Harlan. However, his plan has several failures. For example, he himself hired the detective Blanc, thinking he would not find the truth behind the affair and he underestimated Marta's good nature, thinking she would not try to save the life of Fran. He also displays remarkable stupidity in some areas, thinking that "stupid" is spelled with an "o" instead of a "u".The psychopathic part of his personality comes when he is cornered by his self-confession of Fran's murder, by trying to murder Marta with a knife, simply out of spite and refusal to accept his failure.

Despite this, he brought out a valid point, by correcting his mother when she said she is a self-made person, by pointing she started from the million his grandfather gave to her. When it becomes clear that he has grabbed an accessory knife instead of a real one, however, he utters a discouraged "shit" and does not resist arrest any further, walking calmly and quietly into the police car, even if his father tries (badly) to corrupt his path to freedom. As he gets ready to get into the car, he also looks up at Marta with nothing but calm and an ambiguously respectful nod.


On the night of Harlan's eighty-fifth birthday, during a party at his estate, Ransom had learned from Harlan that his inheritance, documented in his will, would go down to his young nurse Marta Cabrera, and that Harlan had intended to cut out Ransom and the rest of the family from the will. Ransom conspired to kill Harlan for doing this, intending to frame Marta by tampering with Harlan's medication in his study.

However, since Marta is a qualified nurse, she still injected the right product without reading the labels, simply because of her natural instinct.

After Harlan ended up killing himself to protect Marta, fearing she would be framed for his death, Ransom skipped Harlan's funeral to cover his tracks by switching back the medication, unaware he was watched by Fran, the estate's caretaker. Fran blackmailed Ransom after deducing he killed Harlan.

After the funeral, in an attempt to further cover his tracks, Ransom anonymously arranged for the private investigator Detective Benoit Blanc to investigate the family, while Ransom drugged and ultimately killed Fran with a morphine overdose. When the revelation that all of Harlan's inheritance has gone to Marta is revealed, Ransom goes on the run with her, urging her to confess to him what had transpired from her account the night of Harlan's death. To further implicate Marta in Harlan's death, Ransom redirected a part of Harlan's toxicology report and the blackmail letter intended for him from Fran to Marta, justifying the slayer rule; if Marta would be found guilty of Harlan's death, the rest of the family would regain the inheritance.

Later, Ransom would burn down the examiner's office with a molotov cocktail, ensuring that the remaining parts of the toxicology report would be destroyed. After Marta finds Fran's corpse when Ransom sends her an address via e-mail to her body, Ransom is taken into questioning, when Detective Blanc finds a part of the toxicology report on Fran's body (which reveals that Harlan wasn't poisoned at all with the incorrect medication), and deduces correctly that Ransom was the killer, and had intended to frame Marta for both Harlan and Fran's death.

When Ransom learns from Marta that Fran was still alive in the hospital, Ransom admits to his crimes under peer pressure. However, Marta vomits on Ransom, due to her inability to lie without vomiting, as Fran had really died at the hospital, swearing retribution against Marta after she had manipulated him into confessing to murder and arson, Ransom furiously attacks Marta with a retractable knife, only to learn it is a stage knife. With his crimes exposed, Ransom is placed in police custody and taken to jail while his family is forced out from the Thrombey Manor, which is now fully owned by Marta.

My house.
My rules.
My coffee.



  • According to Chris Evans, he actually begged Rian Johnson to cast him as Ransom Drysdale in Knives Out, telling him what he wanted to do with the role and what he could bring to the film.
  • Director Rian Johnson has admitted that he regrets filming the scene in which Ransom eats Biscoff butter cookies with milk. Johnson explained that while the scene perfectly illustrates Ransom's character, he felt bad for Chris Evans, who had to eat the very buttery cookies during the whole day the scene was filmed.
  • Ironically, the slipcover of the Blu-ray release of Knives Out actually gives away the mystery that Ransom is the culprit behind Harlan's death by having the knife display pointing towards him, essentially spoiling the film.
  • According to the screenplay of Knives Out, Ransom is in his early thirties.
  • While explaining why would Linda and the rest of the Thrombeys not return in Knives Out 2: Murder in the Mediterranean, Jamie Lee Curtis stated that following the events of Knives Out, Ransom learnt to knit sweaters in prison and is now apparently in that business. This is most likely not canon, however.


Agatha Christie's signature.png Villains
(Non-Poirot & Non-Marple)

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford
Conspiracy (Mr. Brown, Mr. Brown's decoy & Mr. Whittington) | Elise | Sir Phillip Stark | Mrs. Lancaster | Miss Bligh | N & M

And Then There Were None
Anthony James Marston | Mrs. Ethel Rogers | General John Gordon Macarthur | Mr. Thomas Rogers | Emily Caroline Brent | Justice Lawrence John Wargrave | Dr. Edward George Armstrong | William Henry Blore | Philip Lombard | Vera Elizabeth Claythorne | Isaac Morris | Edward Seton

Other Mystery Stories
The Wife of the Kenite (1923): Conrad Schaefer
The Red Signal (1924): Jack Trent
The Mystery of the Blue Jar (1924): Ambrose Lavington | Felise Marchaud
The Man in the Brown Suit (1924): Sir Eustace Pedler
The Witness for the Prosecution (1925): Leonard Vole | Romaine Vole
The Fourth Man (1925): Annette Ravel
S.O.S. (1926): Mr. Dinsmead
Wireless (1926): Charles Ridgeway
The Last Séance (1927): Madame Exe
The Sittaford Mystery (1931): Major Burnaby
The Hound of Death (1933): Dr. Rose
The Strange Case of Arthur Carmichael (1933): Lady Carmichael
Philomel Cottage (1934): Charles Lemaitre
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (1934): Roger Bassington-ffrench | Moira Nicholson
Murder is Easy (1939): Honoria Waynflete
Death Comes as the End (1944): Yahmose | Nofret | Satipy | Sobek | Ipy | Henet
Towards Zero (1944): Nevile Strange
Sparkling Cyanide (1945): Ruth Lessing
Crooked House (1949): Josephine Leonides
The Mousetrap (1952): Georgie Corrigan | Maureen Lyon | Mrs. Boyle
Destination Unknown (1954): Thomas Betterton
Ordeal by Innocence (1958): Jacko Argyle | Kirsten Lindholm | Rachel Argyle
The Pale Horse (1961): Zachariah Osborne
Endless Night (1967): Michael Rogers | Greta Andersen

Adaptational, Homage & Non-Canonical
Ordeal by Innocence (2018): Bellamy Gould | Leo Argyll
Knives Out (2019): Ransom Drysdale
Other Adaptations: Leonard Waynflete

See Also
Hercule Poirot Villains | Miss Marple Villains