A group of hitmen are filmed entering a Bronx, New York apartment putting on masks to cover their faces and then knocking on a tenant’s door. When the tenant opens, they open fire then take off.
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Contract killing is a form of murder in which one party hires another party to kill a target individual or group of people. It involves an illegal agreement between two or more parties in which one party agrees to kill the target in exchange for some form of payment, monetary or otherwise. Either party may be a person, group, or an organization. In the United States, the crime is punishable by 15 years to life in a state penitentiary. Contract killing has been associated with organized crime, world history, hunting, government conspiracies, politics and with vendettas. For example, in the United States, the gang Murder, Inc. committed hundreds of murders on behalf of the National Crime Syndicate during the 1930s and 1940s.
Contract killing provides the hiring party with the advantage of not having to commit the actual killing, making it more difficult for law enforcement to connect said party with the murder. The likelihood the authorities will establish that party’s guilt for the committed crime, especially due to lack of forensic evidence linked to the contracting party, makes the case more difficult to attribute to the hiring party. A study by the Australian Institute of Criminology of 162 attempted or actual contract murders in Australia between 1989 and 2002 indicated that the most common reason for murder-for-hire was insurance policies payouts. The study also found that the average payment for a “hit” was $15,000 with variation from $5,000 up to $30,000 and that the most commonly used weapons were firearms. Contract killings accounted for 2% of murders in Australia during that time period. Contract killings also make up a relatively similar percentage of all killings elsewhere. For example, they made up about 5% of all murders in Scotland from 1993 to 2002.
Three months prior, 47 (Timothy Olyphant) is completing a hit on a Nigerian warlord named Bwana Ovie, force-feeding one of his prisoners with plastic explosives. He remotely detonates the bomb, killing Ovie and three of his men. In a change of plans, 47 is told by his Organization contact, Diana Burnwood, that he is to kill his next target, Russian President Mikhail Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen), publicly instead of privately. He completes his mission, but before he can leave Russia, he is contacted by his employers. They tell him that there is a witness to the assassination and order him to intercept and kill her. When 47 realizes she has never seen him before, he does not shoot her, instead, he narrowly avoids an assassination attempt on himself, attempted by another Agent. His employers reveal his location to agents of FSB, who make plans to intercept him. As he is about to be taken, Diana calls to warn him and tells him that Belicoff himself ordered the hit. After he escapes from the hotel, 47 intercepts Nika (Olga Kurylenko), Belicoff’s mistress, the woman who supposedly witnessed his hit.