Daredevil: Why Wesley Is Killed Off In Season 1

James Wesley was murdered in Daredevil season 1 after being a loyal confidant and right-hand man to Wilson Fisk – but not without good reason.

James Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore) died in Netflix’s Daredevil season 1 when he was killed by Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) – but why was such an initially integral character killed off so soon in the show? James Wesley was the right-hand man to Wilson Fisk, responsibilities included overseeing Fisk’s criminal empire. Wesley was a loyal friend and partner to Fisk, but would also kill anyone who crossed Fisk.

When the emergence of Daredevil threatened the safety and longevity of Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) and his criminal underworld, Wesley remained loyal. After discovering that Marlene Vistain, Wilson Fisk’s mother, had revealed incriminating evidence and information about Fisk to Ben Urich, and his confidant, Karen Page, Wesley knew he had to protect Fisk. Knowing the danger that the information they had could do real damage to his boss, Wesley kidnapped Page. Wesley intended to get Page to confess her knowledge of Kingpin and the evidence against him – however, his overconfidence ultimately led to his downfall. After receiving a phone call from Fisk, Wesley glanced down at his jacket pocket, allowing Page to launch forward, disarm Wesley and shoot him dead, which allowed Karen to escape and confide in Foggy.


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Wesley’s murder in Daredevil season 1 as used a plot device in order to root Fisk’s decisions to his grief and propel Karen’s story further. The death of Wesley served as Karen’s hidden secret, a fire in her that kept her fighting for what was right – which, simultaneously, put her in the firing line of Wilson Fisk. Whilst Karen used the murder of Wesley to further destroy Kingpin, telling Fisk in Daredevil season 3, episode 8, “Matt Murdock isn’t the person you should be worried about. I killed Wesley,” his death wasn’t just important for the development of Karen. It lit a fire in Fisk, and motivated the criminal to destroy the lives of the ones who had murdered his right-hand man. Wesley was the balance needed to control his boss’ deep anger and rage; when Fisk was getting out of control, it was Wesley who brought him back. Losing Wesley gave the criminal and villainous Fisk the drive to succumb to this anger and rage, and without the death of his friend, the Kingpin may have never become as vicious or cruel as he is in the show from this point onwards.

Keeping his purpose in mind, it would have been interesting to see how Wesley’s presence around Fisk in the later seasons changed the overall outcome, as killing him off so soon potentially undermined the impact his death could have had both on the show, and on audiences themselves. Whilst it was a great idea by showrunners to kill off Wesley in Daredevil season 1 in order to allow Karen’s character to develop further – and gave Fisk the motive to become even more villainous – more could have been done with the character. Considering the dynamic relationship between loyal confidant, Wesley, and the perfect criminal Kingpin, allowing one of the very few figures Fisk trusted to remain alive longer could have allowed for viewers to see a far different side to the criminal overlord.

James Wesley, though sometimes perceived as a lapdog or servant to Fisk, ultimately was his closest friend and confidant, and this undying loyalty to a criminal kingpin was what led to his demise. Wesley had to die for Daredevil to continue on its plot, as his death propelled the development of other characters’ stories, especially Karen and her relationship with violence and Kingpin. His presence in the show, whilst maybe short, was not small – and his murder changed the future of Daredevil.

Next: Everything We Know About Daredevil Season 4

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