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Tom Mullen is the main protagonist of the 1996 action thriller film Ransom. He was portrayed by Mel Gibson who later played Graham Hess in Signs.
Tom Mullen is a multi-millionaire who was an ex-combat pilot in the Air Force. After he left the Air Force, he started his own airline company called Endeavor airlines which made him wealthy. He is happily married to Kate and has a son Sean. Tom is a wealthy industrialist and a nice guy, who doesn't look or act like a rich snob. Tom cares about his son and very loyal to him. Unfortunately, Tom also has a dark past involving dealings with Mafia members.
Kate organizes a huge science fair in Central Park, Sean can't enter because his mother is charge of the event it wouldn't be fair to the other participants. Sean understood, but attended the event anyway. Tom had a phone call on his cell phone, Sean wandered off a little bit and he was abducted in the park. Tom and Kate found out Sean was kidnapped and they are demanding two million dollars for him and they are instructed not to contact the police in this matter. Tom didn't want to call the authorities, as they were instructed not to. He relents when he sees Kate's face. Kate asked Tom to call the F.B.I, but Tom had enough with the F.B.I. since they tried to bury him in the machinist strike. The FBI decides to clear him on that incident. Lonnie Hawkins is the F.B.I. agent who is in charge of the Sean Mullen kidnapping case and helps Tom bring him back.
In a conversation with Lonnie, he revealed that he suspected Jackie Brown, a mobster who was trying to usurp Tom's company in the machinist strike. Tom told Lonnie, that he did tried to pay him off, but it was sting operation to make him take that bribe, and he is in jail. Lonnie was okay with this. Tom thinks Jackie maybe the one who kidnapped his kid. He went with Lonnie to see Jackie in jail. Jackie revealed he had nothing to do with this. Since he was out of money, no more connections, he no longer has the resources, nor was inclined to, as he has children of his own. Jackie Brown was outraged that Tom accused him, and attacked him. In his eyes, Tom as equally guilty in the matter.
The kidnappers called and ordered Tom to do a simple task or obstacles if he wants to see his son. Tom did every task that the kidnapper told him. Eventually, Shaker revealed his reasons for kidnapping Sean. Tom was an easy target, he buys his way out of trouble. He resented Tom for being able to evade going to jail, since Shaker saw him as being just as much of a criminal. Shaker wanted to test Mullen to see if paying off Jackie Brown to save his airline was equally as important as saving his son. Tom delivered the money, but it went sour immediately, when one of the kidnappers was killed and when the FBI messed up the ransom demand. They ID one of the kidnappers is Cubby Barnes, a known scumbag who has a brother named Clark, also a known scumbag.
It is revealed that Maris, Cubby, Clark, and Miles are working for Detective Jimmy Shaker, a corrupt NYPD cop. Shaker gives Mullen another chance to get his two million dollars. This time, plans changed when Tom decided to do things his way. He did it Shakers way, and it didn't bring back his son. So, he arranged a live news event and makes an announcement that he is changing the two million dollars ransom money into a reward money as a bounty for Shaker's life. If he returns his son, unharmed he will withdraw the bounty. Now the stakes are up to him. Shaker tries to retaliate Mullen's plan. He entices Kate to come alone and meet him. Intimidating and abusing her, he tries to convince Kate to make Tom withdraw the bounty. Kate figured out from Lonnie, that he tried to pay off Brown to save his airline, but he won't save his own son. Tom is convinced that they will kill Sean, regardless if he gives him the money or not. When he saw Kate's bruised face, he decide up the bounty to four million and on the phone, and that he was not bluffing. Shaker called again, enraged. He was prepared to kill Mullen's kid, but he faked Sean's murder. Tom and Kate thought Shaker killed Sean, he didn't.
The kidnappers had enough of Shaker's brutality, and fearing their being implicated in the kidnapping, decide to walk away. Since Sean is blindfolded and they can't I.D. them, they are convinced that they will get off scot free.
Shaker looks at his posse leaving, he hatches a plan to collect the reward himself and return Sean safely. He kills his own posse, including his own girlfriend Maris.
Tom and Kate heard the news and Sean was brought back safe and sound, with Shaker posing as a cop of valor. Tom was still unaware that Shaker is the kidnapper, but thanked him. After a couple of days, when things went back to normal. Shaker went to see Tom, hoping to collect the reward. Sean sees Shaker and recognizes him as the mastermind behind the kidnapping. Tom saw Sean's looking at him with abject horror and soon realized that was Shaker the mastermind of Sean's kidnapping all along. When he provides Shaker a phony check, Shaker turns around and holds Tom hostage and tells him to to sign the check. Tom will still give him the money, he will do that by wiring his money to Shaker's account, with the provision that he can escort Shaker to his bank. All Tom wants at this point is for Shaker to leave the house. Shaker doesn't buy it and ask him to wire the money on the phone. When Tom refuses, Shaker lets him know who is in charge. Shaker is prepared to kill Tom if necessary Tom refuses to back down, and convinces Shaker that he is better off leaving the country with money and with an untarnished name than as a murderer with no money. Shaker complies, but he warns Tom that anything goes sour, he will come back and kidnap Sean again and this time he will kill him outright, without demanding a ransom. They decide to take Tom's private elevator, and as they go to the garage, Shaker knees Tom in the stomach as repercussion for harm being brought to Maris.
Tom was held hostage by Shaker, Shaker ordered Tom to call the airport from his car. Instead Tom called his friend Lonnie instead without Shaker knowing. Lonnie figure out, that Shaker was the kidnapper and put an A.B. unit on him. After Shaker and Tom wire the money, The F.B.I. and NYPD arrive to arrest Shaker. Shaker opened fire on his own fellow policemen. Tom and Shaker started to fight on the street, they both crashed in antique store window. Tom survived and so did Shaker. Shaker got up and has another gun and aims his gun on Tom. Tom already grabbed Shaker's gun when he got up. Shaker fires and misses. Tom and the FBI shoots Shaker and he's dead. The NYPD was about to arrest Tom thinking that Mullen had murdered one of their own, James Shaker, but Lonnie stopped them and tells them he is with the FBI. They let him go after Lonnie tells them that Mullen shot in self-defense, and that Shaker was the kidnapper all along. The kidnapping fiasco was over, Tom and his family go back to their normal life.