WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

In Altered Carbon, Bancroft kills himself by shooting himself in the stack, I.E: a bullet to the front of the neck.

From what I understand, if someone "dies" and their stack is intact, they could be "spun back up".

He not only killed himself but he also destroyed his stack, meaning it should have "real killed" him, I.E: dead forever.

Why is it that he was able to come back after he "died", was that "him" or was that just a clone of him.

If it was a clone, was it "him" or just a "previous version" of himself, in other words, could he be held accountable for the actions of his (now dead) clone?

  • 1
    I have a tip: Read the book. Don't take this some smart comment - it's not intended as such. It's just that, as is often the case with book adaptations, the book is sooo much better. The answers to both of the questions you have asked about Altered Carbon are quite evident in the book.
    – SiHa
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 10:08

2 Answers 2


The REAL (or at least "current") Bancroft did die but was almost instantly re-sleeved into a cloned body and a backup of his stack on a satellite.

Unfortunately, the backup was missing the last two days of Bancroft's memories which, conveniently for the plot, included his own self-termination.

One of the sticking points of the mystery was the fact that Bancroft was killed with a gun that only himself and his wife, Miriam Bancroft (Kristin Lehman) had access to - leading some to dismiss the death as an attempted suicide.

Bancroft, in his arrogance, didn't think it possible that he would ever commit suicide, and in a way he was right. The shooting was not an attempt at real death, but instead merely a way of wiping his memory of a horrible crime, so that he wouldn't have to live with the guilt.


  • It should have been obvious that it wasn't an attempt at a real death, since he knew full well that a backup existed. Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 20:50
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    @Acccumulation It's been a while since I've seen the season, but wasn't there evidence that someone tried to destroy his backups as well but didn't succeed in doing so?
    – DeeV
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 22:12

The stack was merely a storage medium - one of the plot points in altered carbon was folks were transmitted as data as a means of interplanetary transport, and the rich (and military) had backups they could restore as needed into sleeves. There's also cases where there's more than one copy - its illegal but both Dimi the Twin and the protagonist have them in various parts of the story.

Pretty much, in the altered carbon universe, death is mostly meaningless - if you have money. A blown out stack kills that instance of you if you're too poor for backups, but the rich can back themselves up and pretty much not even worry about a blown out stack.

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