This ‘Punisher’ Politician Isn’t As Pure As He Wants His Constituents To Think


Spoilers for The Punisher ahead. In it's first season, Marvel's The Punisher keeps to the fringes of the comic book universe, but it's still part of an ever-expanding world on Netflix. Even Stan Ori on The Punisher is a Marvel comics character. Keep an eye out, because while his role on the series is a little different, he could cause trouble for our heroes down the line.

In the comics, Stan Ori is a Senator affiliated with the mafia, specifically the Bessucho Family. The Punisher kills his nephew, and the Senator uses both his criminal and political connections to take Frank Castle down. He only appears briefly and ultimately dies when both he and Frank are in Sicily. It's a short arc, but not atypical of the type of person who threatens the Punisher and his sense of justice in the comics.

On the Netflix series, the Senator, played by Rick Holmes, appears to be a decent guy at first. He and Karen appear together on a radio show (that's not Trish Talk for reasons unknown) to discuss Lewis' recent bombings in the city. He is staunchly anti-gun and plans a gala to support the victims, and contracts Billy Russo for private security. Ori is very concerned with his image. He doesn't want to be seen as afraid of the bomber. He doesn't want anyone to be taken out by gunfire on his watch. He's not the bravest person, and while there's no doubt that Lewis is a domestic terrorist at this point, Ori is quick to paint him as a coward on the radio, which isn't exactly helpful. "You don't represent anyone but yourself," Lewis spits at him on the radio, and he might be right.

Will Ori be a good guy on The Punisher? Nobody seems to be on his side — not Karen, or Ricky Langtry the radio host, not Frank Castle, and certainly not Lewis Wilson. The lines between the real world and the Marvel world get a little blurry with characters like this. In our world, the case for gun control is a little different. We don't have to deal with grumpy dads in bird suits, ninja outreach programs, or alien invasions. Even if you might vote for him IRL, it's not hard to see why someone like Ori could become just as much of an obstacle for our heroes in the Defenders universe as the villains.

As Ori becomes a target, Billy and Frank are forced to reconnect and even work together a little bit — until they don't, that is. Billy ultimately turns on both Frank and Madani. Episode 10 centers on an attack that occurs during an interview between the Senator and Karen Page that brings all of the characters and their conflicting motives together. Frank becomes a suspect in the attack. It's a mess, and the truth is muddled as everyone's versions of the story are slightly different in the episode and the Senator is definitely trying to make himself seem like the morally pure person in the situation. Unfortunately, that's out the window when he pushes Karen into one of Billy's guys so he can save himself.

So this isn't exactly the Stan Ori that fans of The Punisher comics might remember — unless he's secretly corrupt — and not just a coward — and that has yet to be revealed. That would be one of "life's little ironies" as Billy Russo says. While it seems like Ori's nephews are safe for now, he's got plenty of reasons to start a vendetta against Frank Castle. He could easily become one of the Punisher's next nemeses. All in all, it's nice that the Senator's name is borrowed from Marvel comics, but whether or not it speaks to the character's destiny remains to be seen.