- "This life... follows you. It clings to you. Infecting everyone that comes close to you. We are cursed, you and I."
- —Viggo Tarasov to John Wick[src]
Viggo Tarasov (Russian: Вигго Тарасов) was a notorious Russian crime boss who was the former head of the Tarasov Mob in New York City as well as Iosef Tarasov's father, and an enterprising businessman with questionable roots. He also was the former employer of John Wick.
Viggo is one of the main antagonists in the John Wick films series, serving as the main antagonist in the 2014 live-action film John Wick and a posthumous antagonist in its 2017 sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2.
Viggo Tarasov inherited the leadership of the Tarasov Mob after his father died. It is mentioned that he always had a rivalry with another 'gang.' While Viggo was in a bar he saw John Wick kill 3 people with a pencil. This sparked the light in Viggo's eyes; he saw John's potential and hired him to be part of the mob. But while in the mob, Wick asked to leave so he could marry Helen. Unwilling to let his best and most capable henchman to leave his service, Viggo gave him an 'impossible task', implied to be assassinating many notable members of rival mobs. However, with the help of Italian criminal Santino D'Antonio, Wick succeeds and Viggo had no choice but to let him retire. The assassin's "impossible task" enabled the Tarasov family's rise to power in New York.
Viggo Tarsal is first seen when he was talking to a car mechanic named Aurelio about striking Iosef. Aurelio explains that he did it because Iosef stole John Wick's car and killed his pet puppy Daisy (which was a posthumous present from Helen) for fun. Viggo was shocked by this revelation and ended the call, realizing that John is intending to kill his son in revenge for his dog's death.
As a result, Viggo summons Iosef in his flat and punches the young man twice in the stomach after giving him a drink, much to the surprise of his lawyer Avi, who is present as well. The leader of the Tarasov Mob explains to his son that John was once his best hitman, which he refers to him as the "Baba Yaga" or the Boogeyman. Viggo explains that he saw John kill three men with a pencil and gave him a job assassinating many of his rivals with ease, but this changed when the legendary assassin met Helen and told Viggo that he wanted to retire to spend a new life with Helen. He agreed to let John go on the condition that he complete an "impossible task": killing all of his rivals in one night. Much to Viggo's surprise, Wick managed to accomplish the task, which led to the formation of the Tarasov syndicate, and Viggo released John from his work as agreed. The Russian mobster angrily berates Iosef for stealing John's car and killing his dog, but Iosef refuses to care and instead tries to persuade his father to undo the things he committed by finishing off John only to be swiftly dismissed and warned by Viggo, that John will eventually come for him and kill him.
Viggo later tries to reason out to John by a phone call out of seeking vengeance, but the protagonist silently refuses. Viggo so tells Avi to round up a 12-man hit squad to Wick's house to kill him before he can start hunting down Iosef, but John brutally kills them all and has the bodies professionally removed by Charlie and his crew. An unsurprised Viggo then places a $2 million contract for John's murder and personally offers the contract to Marcus, John's mentor and old friend, who accepts before decided not to kill the former assassin.
Upon learning that John had sought refuge in the Continental Hotel which had its rules forbidding killing in its premises, Viggo immediately doubles the bounty for those who are willing to break it and had Iosef secured at his nightclub, the Red Circle, but not long before John storms the nightclub and attempts to kill Iosef but to no avail after Iosef's head of security, Kirill, and his henchmen waylaid him while Iosef flees.
As he discovered his cache of money and paraphernalia materials destroyed by an arson set by John at a church within a safe house which serves as his front upon a confession of an Orthodox priest which he quickly responds by executed him, Viggo then kidnaps John and holds him captive which led to a conversation between the two men in which the gangster mocked his former hitman for leaving his old life behind, Viggo then tries to have his henchmen torture and murder John but he was able to escape (through Marcus' assistance by use of a sniper by killing the other henchmen) then engaging Kirill in a brawl before strangling the bodyguard to death, he then chases after the SUV and shoots the driver (Viggo) in it.
Under John's gunpoint, Viggo is forced to reveal Iosef's location at his safe house in Brooklyn. He tells his former associate that his son and his henchmen know of his arrival as John took note as he moved away from Viggo while he attempts to drive back to his condominium. Disappointed, the mobster returned to his penthouse and sat down in his chair at his office, smoking a pot of weed contemplating as his son is swiftly murdered by John. Later on, Viggo, Avi and some henchmen head to the house of Marcus where the crime lord savagely beats Marcus within an inch of his life for betraying his orders of killing John Wick, saying, "You had every opportunity to kill John Wick, and if you had done your job my son would be still alive!". He also taunts him by saying he always liked him and noting that he is the last of the old guard but Marcus is able to kill two bodyguards before Ms. Perkins shoots Marcus in his chest once and Viggo finishes him off, shooting him twice. After this, Viggo calls John to report this, planning to have Perkins ambush him. Perkins, however, was instead executed by Winston's henchmen for breaking the Continental's rules.
After this, Viggo and his cohorts head to the docks where they intend to escape John's wrath by leaving the city via helicopter, but they notice that they are followed by the assassin, who was informed about Viggo's location by Winston. While Viggo laughs insanely when John kills all of his remaining henchmen by shooting all of them, Avi panics and asks for a gun until he is handed one by Viggo when they are forced to stop the car. However, the lawyer is unable to shot Wick, who slams into Avi with the side of his car, killing him. Viggo then frontally drives his car into the legendary hitman's car but John is able to get out safely and confront the Russian on the dock. Viggo tells John no more guns, no more bullets, John replies "no more bullets", then he throws the gun, Viggo also tells John "just you and me, John", John than responds "you and me". They engage in a fistfight in which John gets the upper hand until Viggo pulls out a knife and attempts to stab John in the stomach. John forces Viggo to stab him in the stomach where he breaks Viggo's arm. John then pulls the knife out of his stomach and then jams the knife into the side of Viggo's neck. They both drop to the floor, Viggo looks at John and says to him his final words "Be seeing you, John." John looks at Viggo and responds "Yeah, be seeing you." Viggo then slumps over and dies.
- Skilled Martial Artist: Viggo was skilled in martial arts, being able to challenge John in their hand-to-hand fight.
- Knife Proficiency: Viggo was skilled to use knife, being able to wound John during their fight.
- Skilled Leader: Viggo also seemed to have extensive leadership capabilities, given his seemingly unchallenged rule of the mob in New York.
- Bilingualism: Viggo was capable of fluently speaking Russian, English, and maybe other languages.
- Despite being a powerful crime boss, he does not have a seat at the High Table, indicating that he and his organization are not held in the same regard as some of the other syndicates.
- Although John Wick was his best hitman, he never told his son about him, which is his greatest mistake.
- He has a huge stack of gold coins that are to be used in Continental Hotels.
- Viggo's death is referenced in John Wick: Chapter 2 where Santino D'Antonio's mute right-hand woman Ares signs mockingly "Be seeing you" at John after being fatally stabbed by him.