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Agent 47 (often referred to as 47, Mr. 47 or Codename 47, as well as his alias Tobias Rieper) is a fictional character and protagonist in the Hitman video-game series. Created by IO Interactive, the character was developed around David Bateson, who also provided the in-game voice. 47 has appeared in all four installments of the Hitman series, in the novel Hitman: Enemy Within, as well as the film adaptation in which he was dramatized by Timothy Olyphant. A genetically-enhanced clone trained to assassinate targets, the agent's name is derived from the last two digits of his assigned barcode which is tattooed on the back of his head, reading 640509-040147.

Appearance and capability

Agent 47 is a hired gunman working for the International Contract Agency. According to the storyline of the video-games and the film, he is of British descent and can speak French, English and Russian fluently. He is frequently depicted in his usual attire of an Italianmarker black suit, black leather gloves, white striped dress shirt and red tie. Alternative costumes are rarely seen; however, in Hitman: Codename: 47, he is seen wearing guerrilla camouflage in the jungle, while in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin he wears a protective parka in the Japanese mountains and a blue turban in the Middle East. In a reversal of the norm, 47 wears an entirely white suit and white gloves at the end of Hitman: Blood Money at his own funeral. 47's weapon of choice is a pair of customized AMT Hardballers, dubbed "Ballers" in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and "Silverballers" in Hitman: Contracts as well as subsequent games.

Character design

According to Jacob Andersen, lead designer of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Agent 47 went from being "a mean old hairy guy" to having "hi-tech glasses" before getting to his current design. More inspiration came from "comic books, Hong Kong movies," and other similar media.

According to Game Director Rasmus Højengaard (Hoejengaard), the idea of a clone whose future is decided by the people that created him, intrigued the Hitman team. Hojengaard felt the idea of creating the "ultimate assassin" by cloning "evolved with the character before the first Hitman game was done".

47 is modeled after David Bateson, the veteran actor who has voiced 47 in every Hitman game.


47 is a genetically-enhanced clone and the culmination of decades of secret research into gene augmentation. His creation was funded by a cabal of criminal masterminds who donated their own DNA to the project.

In the 1950s, five men of various nationalities served in the same unit of the French Foreign Legion. After their stint was finished, four of those men returned to their respective countries and founded their own criminal empires. The remaining one, Dr. Otto Ort-Meyer, ran a mental institution which he used as a cover for genetic experiments. In exchange for research funding, Ort-Meyer provided his former comrades with donor organs harvested from clone bodies, which significantly extended their longevity. In Hitman: Codename 47, each of Ort-Meyer's accomplices are said to be 60-70 years old but appear 10-20 years younger.

The men whose DNA contributed to 47's creation are often referred to within the series as the "Five Fathers", consisting of Dr. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer, Lee Hong, Pablo Ochoa, Franz Fuchs and Arkadij Jegorov. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer is a discredited German scientist living in Romaniamarker, whose radical theories were deemed insane by his peers. Ort-Meyer believed that genetic recombination and human cloning could be used to produce a perfected version of the human species, superior in strength and mind and unburdened by conscience. His ultimate goal, unbeknownst to his associates, was to create an army of flawless and unquestioningly obedient supermen. When Ort-Meyer's associates become suspicious of his motives, he employs 47 to systematically eliminate each of them. When 47 discovers Ort-Meyer's plans, he manages to eradicate his latest series of clones, known as the Mr. 48s, and snaps Ort-Meyer's neck.

Lee Hong is a Chinese crime lord. Hong eventually rose to the head of the Red Dragon triad, becoming a powerful ganglord in Hong Kongmarker. 47 weakens Hong's influence before assassinating him.

Pablo Belisario Ochoa is a notorious Latin American drug dealer and formed his own drug cartel by violently eliminating his rivals. However, his methods earned him great animosity, and he was eventually forced to flee to a compound deep inside the Columbianmarker rainforest. Pablo appears to be heavily-inspired by fictional character Tony Montana from the film "Scarface".

Franz Fuchs is a former member of the Hitler Youth, apparently resenting the collapse of fascism. He developed a career as a professional terrorist-for-hire, organizing attacks such as the attempted chemical bombing of the G7 leadership. He works closely with his brother and partner, Fritz. It isn't revealed whether or not Fuchs is based on the real life Franz Fuchs, who was also a terrorist.

The final person who contributed to 47's DNA was Arkadij "Boris" Jegorov. Jegorov was a staunch anti-Communist. Jegorov became a worldwide arms dealer who smuggled weaponry for his older brother, Russian mafia boss Sergei Zavorotko. At the time of his death, he attempted to traffic in nuclear weapons.

Ort-Meyer's research produced many failed attempts and aborted mutants, including Mr. 17, but ultimately he managed to perfect the process enough to produce an assembly line of genetically augmented clones. 47 belonged to Ort-Meyer's fourth series of clones, possessing a 47th chromosome which, combined with DNA harvested from the world's most dangerous criminals, endowed him with levels of strength, speed, stamina, and intelligence significantly above the human norm.

In Hitman: Blood Money, it is explained that American interests had repeatedly attempted to replicate Ort-Meyer's success, but were largely unsuccessful. 47 is the only successful healthy cloned specimen, and nothing has yet come to parallel him; while other attempts have come close, they were plagued by problems such as albinism and extremely short lifespans (eighteen months). Ort-Meyer's research was distributed among many covert cloning labs, but is insufficient; a sample of 47's bone marrow is needed to fill in the DNA gaps, making him an extremely valuable specimen.


Born on 5 September, 1964, in Romania and tagged with the identity 640509-040147 on the back of his head, 47 was raised with the other "Series IV" clones by the asylum's staff. From the beginning, Dr. Ort-Meyer identified 47 as his most promising creation. While maturing, 47 was quiet and showed little social behavior, his only display of affection being toward a runaway laboratory rabbit he adopted much to Ort-Meyer's displeasure. 47 also had a fairly negative relationship with the asylum staff, attributed to his chronic uneasiness stemming from his regular medical checkups and frequent injections. On one occasion, 47 stabbed a doctor repeatedly with several needles, prompting Ort-Meyer to increase the personnel assigned to him.

Along with the other clones, 47 was trained from youth to kill efficiently. Instructed in the use of firearms, military hardware, and more classic tools of assassination, 47 can wield virtually any weapon with ease. During his training, he was noted for his exceptional marksmanship, as well as for attacking the asylum staff with homemade slingshots, all of which were promptly confiscated.

47's first human kill was a fellow clone, "Number 6", who bullied 47 constantly. Twelve years old at the time, 47 was smart enough to make several preparations (such as oiling the squeaky hinge of a door, and stashing a makeshift crossbow to kill a guard dog while escaping). That same night, 47 also first escaped the asylum and saw the outside world, which he had previously been taught about in class. One of the first things that catch his eye is a row of luxury clothing stores, which may have influenced his choice of attire. He is caught by an asylum doctor at a bus stop, who instead rewards young 47's first kill with a restaurant breakfast before they both return to the asylum.

After 30 years of relentless training under the tutelage of Dr. Ort-Meyer, 47 discovered a gap in the asylum's security. After escaping his cell and killing a security guard, 47 disguised himself in the guard's uniform and escaped from the asylum grounds. Unbeknownst to him, 47's escape was deliberately orchestrated by Ort-Meyer, who concluded that 47's escape into the outside world was the final challenge in his training.


47 was soon employed by the International Contract Agency, a clandestine organization providing assassination and mercenary services. With a lifetime of training and genetically augmented physical abilities, 47 soon rose to become the Agency's most effective and most requested employee. He retired between the events of Hitman: Codename 47 and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, before later returning to work there. He enjoys his only notable human friendship with his manager-of-sorts, Diana. After the events of Hitman: Contracts, which makes the I.C.A. much less powerful, 47 briefly threatens to find a new employer. He continues with the I.C.A. until the events of Hitman: Blood Money, in which the organization is momentarily destroyed, loses all assassins, and 47 falsely believes Diana betrayed him and tried to kill him. At the end of the game, the I.C.A. returns to power, though Diana admits to a client of royalty that she currently cannot provide 47's services, and has "completely lost track of him". The lead up to the rumored Hitman 5 is 47 walking into an illegal-activity Chinesemarker business, using a fake name and asking what they have to sell, "preferably in the back".



47 is an introverted character who almost always speaks in a calm, formal manner in his natural setting. However, he is usually seen alone. He has one minor exception in one of the final cutscenes in Hitman: Blood Money, where he shouted "Bitch!" at Diana when she injected him from behind with a syringe.

One of his mottos appears to have become "trust no one." He once demonstrated a high degree of devotion to Father Vittorio, the Sicilian priest who gave him shelter in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, going so far as to rescue Vittorio from the Russian mafia even though there was no monetary reward in it (in fact, according to Vittorio, 47 donated a large percentage of his earnings from Hitman: Codename 47 to the Catholic Church). In the end, 47's work spilled over into the Sicilian church, prompting him to sever his ties with it and become a nomad once more. 47 places a significant measure of trust in his Agency contact and liaison, Diana Burnwood. She is the one character in the whole game series that 47 has constant contact with. As a rule, however, they never meet face-to-face unless absolutely necessary, especially during a mission.

On rare occasions, 47 can also show a warm side to his personality. When being raised by Dr. Ort-Meyer, he befriended a rabbit. A recurring character in the series with whom he has shown considerable forbearance is Lei Ling (renamed to "Mei Ling" in Hitman: Contracts), rescuing her from sex slavery in the first game in exchange for a safe combination. The player can optionally rescue her again from the exact same situation in the sequel, although in return he gets a keycard. In two other levels in the same sequel, the player can optionally rescue a prisoner being beaten by a couple of guards (in return, the prisoner tells 47 the location of his target) and a German ambassador about to be killed by a Spetsnaz agent. In Hitman: Blood Money, 47 picks up a small canary during his travels. However, he later kills the canary to silence it when he hears an intruder approaching his position - whether he felt remorse afterward is left ambiguous by the possible appearance of tears in his eyes contrasting with his usual detached, formal speech.


Agent 47 is an anti-hero. His profession makes him perform deeds that can be considered immoral by most standards. However, his targets often consist of people who surround or have surrounded themselves in immoral activities. In this sense, he becomes the hero by delivering 'justice' to the individuals who are either too powerful or well connected to be judged by the law. In the trailer of Hitman film, he is described as a "necessary evil".

47 will kill anyone he has been assigned to assassinate without any hesitation and with no exceptions. However, has been known to spare individuals whom he has not been specifically ordered to kill (a few cutscenes in Hitman: Contracts show him knocking out rather than killing various henchmen and bystanders), and even to occasionally offer assistance to those in need. However, he has also demonstrated a willingness to kill innocents if they pose a liability. In Hitman: Blood Money, 47 murders a (presumably) innocent mailman due to the CODE RED scribbled on the package. Blood Money's final mission also shows 47 executing an innocent priest and a reporter, both of whom knew his identity. Though it is up to the player to decide how 47 will accomplish the missions he is given, the games generally encourage discretion; the more silent and unobtrusive the player is, the higher the reward.

In Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, 47 confesses his sins to Father Vittorio, and performs an act of Catholic symbolism by making the Sign of the Cross before performing his first hit after coming out from retirement. His confession to Father Vittorio in the opening sequence hints that Agent 47 is not entirely devoid of a conscience.

Outward appearance

47s Barcode as based on images from Dr. Ort-Meyer's journal.
47, like Ort-Meyer's other clones, is completely bald, although whether this hair loss is a side effect of the cloning process or part of Ort-Meyer's design is never disclosed. The only visible hair on 47's body are his eyebrows, which are brown. His skin is very pale and he has blue eyes. His facial features are often considered imposing by other characters, with a long face, large cheekbones, prominent brow, and recessed forehead (several female characters from the video games and movie find him attractive, and 47 sometimes gets very close to having sex with some of them). According to information found in Blood Money, he is 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) tall.

47's most recognizable feature, at least to the viewers, is a barcode that is prominently tattooed on the back of his head, which lists his date of creation and series identification number (640509-040147). 47's barcode tattoo serves two functions: it identifies him among the other clones and acts as a security key to access Dr. Ort-Meyer's laboratory. 47's barcode is implied to be in Code 39; according to Dr. Ort-Meyer's journal, the barcode was added to the tattoo in 1975, one year after the code was developed. Curiously, the characters in the games appear oblivious to the tattoo, including newspaper descriptions of 47 in Blood Money failing to mention it.

Abilities and reputation

47 killing the ninja guard using fiber wire in the mission Shogun Showdown.
While not quite superhuman, 47's physical capabilities are at the peak of human performance. He is resilient enough to shrug off numerous gunshot wounds and continue moving for long periods, and can survive falls from multi-story buildings without apparent injury. 47 is strong enough to shatter concrete, quick enough to dodge bullets at close range, and his stamina is such that he can sprint great distances without tiring. Thanks to his training and genetic augmentation, 47 is proficient with all types of firearms, and has nearly perfect accuracy, his aim limited only by the mechanical inaccuracies inherent in the weapon he is using. He is also capable of operating most types of vehicles, from automobiles to aircraft. Additionally, 47 is very resourceful, able to disguise himself in multiple settings and use his environment to perform his assignments without drawing attention.

47's enhanced DNA also allows him to remain perfectly calm in any situation. He never shows any signs of fear or anxiety even when completely surrounded by enemies. This trait allows him to effectively disguise himself and enter restricted areas without raising any suspicion from nearby guards, even when they already suspect someone may have infiltrated their ranks. 47 never shows any positive emotions during the course of the series and has only displayed anger once in the entire series (towards Diana in Hitman: Blood Money in one of the final cutscenes).

Due to his successful track record, 47 is usually given the Agency's largest and most difficult assignments. 47 completes all of his assignments with unwavering accuracy, fulfilling all of his objectives and always eliminating his targets without hesitation. 47's stealth and cunning are legendary; he is regarded by the world as an urban legend, and few even know of his appearance. The degree of 47's professionalism is such that in the trailer sequence that plays on the title screen of Blood Money, the speaker states that once a client has contracted 47 to perform an assassination, he cannot be called off and will fulfill the contract through to the end even if the client changes their mind, meaning that the client must be absolutely certain of their desire to have the contract fulfilled before they contact The Agency and request 47.

Hitman film

In the 2007 Hitman feature film, Agent 47 is portrayed by Timothy Olyphant. His backstory differs significantly from that of the video game; it is stated that the organization he works for (renamed to International Contract Organization) uses and trains orphans and rejects, who are considered 'expendable', into professional assassins. 47 is considered the best of them. 47's personality is generally consistent with the games as he displays the same dedication to killing his targets, a tendency to favor stealth over brute force (where appropriate), and willingness to eliminate innocents when necessary. He also demonstrates compassion in his protection of a woman named Nika, as well as sparing Interpol agent Mike Whittier, despite Whittier having seen his face. A sequel is going to be made starring Timothy Olyphant again, and is set to be released by the end of 2010.



  1. Gamers Hell Interview
  2. interview
  3. Ort-Meyer: I discovered the true power of 47 chromosomes. Do you think that was easy? As always, I was ahead of my time. They shook their bony little heads, looked at me with those beady little eyes and said I was crazy. You, my friend, are living proof that I'm not! Eidos Interactive Hitman: Codename 47 (US) 2000-12-25
  4. Ort-Meyer: Man was made at the end of the week's work, when God was tired. I quickly improved on all of the built-in flaws. I'll show the whole world who's right - and decide who will be left! Eidos Interactive Hitman: Codename 47 (US) 2000-12-25.
  5. Man dressed in suit: Look at this. It seems your brother was involved in a lot more than just smuggling guns for you. Eidos Interactive Hitman 2 (in English) 2002-10-1
  6. 47: It's dangerous to meet in person. You're normally more prudent. What's going on? Eidos Interactive Hitman: Blood Money (in English) 2006-5-30
  7. Untitled Document
  8. 47: I've killed... many people. For money. Out of ignorance. Out of evil. Out of hatred... [...] But Father, I don't belong -- I'm not of this world, so why should God forgive me? Eidos Interactive Hitman 2 (in English) 2002-10-1

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