When we first meet Agent Madani at the beginning of The Punisher series, she's on a quest to find who killed her friend (and possible lover) Ahmad Zubair in Kandahar. As the series progresses we learn how she is connected to Frank Castle and the Micro. The video that she received that set her on this quest was emailed by Micro. And one of those in the room torturing him is Frank Castle. But who shot Ahmad Zubair on The Punisher? With everyone in the room wearing masks, it's impossible to tell. Warning: This post contains The Punisher Season 1 spoilers.
Micro actually thinks at first that the one wearing the camera (and therefore not the shooter) is Frank. But Caste says no. Looking at the room, he says the angle must belong to his friend Gunner Henderson. So who was it? After all she's been through with Billy Russo, Madani clearly wants to be told that it's her former lover who pulled the trigger, and is the reason the man is dead.
But Frank won't let her have that one either. No, it wasn't Billy Russo who shot your boy. It wasn't Agent Orange who pulled the trigger (though he gave the order.) It wasn't Schoovoner or Bennett either.
It was Frank who did it.
As Micro correctly notes later on, it's not just that Frank pulled the trigger and is this terrible person for it. Frank knows killing this guy was wrong. Just like he knows many of the deaths he's responsible for by "only following orders" are just as wrong. "Just Following Orders" doesn't excuse anything. It's why Frank is so ready to die at any moment, and it's why he doesn't flinch when guns are put to his head. He's not convinced those on the other end of the weapon are wrong.
It's also part of what drives Frank's endless war. Part, as we realize later is because without a war, Castle has no idea who he is as a person. But also because he was made to do terrible things by terrible people. And those people need to go down. By hook, or by crook, as they say.
If Frank can't do them in by crook, the way he did Carson Wolf, he'll do it by hook, by recording those like Rawlins and Russo beating the living snot out of him, for having the gall to exist with a conscience in the first place.
Frank's lucky. When Madani hears from his own mouth it he who killed Zubair, there's a long moment, when we wonder if she'll turn back against Frank, having heard the truth. But Madani has gone past that place now. As Micro said, one day she'll realize there's no real justice to be had in the justice system, and sometimes the only way to get what you want is to do it by not following the rules. Today's that day.
The rules would have said she arrest Castle right there and then. Instead, she lets him and Micro go, even allowing Micro to fake his own death, while Castle goes off with Russo and Rawlins to make the tape that gives Homeland Security leverage over the CIA on this matter.
It's all very questionable, but then again so is the backstory that leads up to it. Do the ends justify the means? In the end does it matter? Zubair was just another dead Afghani, in a war full of them, all killed by Americans, whether they were guilty or not. In a world like that, how can there be justice? Sometimes, there's no justice. There's just answers, and exhaustion.