Kosta Panigiris In ‘The Tourist,’ Explained: Why Is He After Elliot And Luci? 

Dwelling in the past and the opportunity for a fresh start have been recurring central themes in this Stan original. Most of the lead characters are haunted by something from their past, which is reflected in their actions as they take a dip in the contemplation of new opportunities in life. The exploration of this introspection adds depth to not just the narrative but the characters as well, unraveling the complexities of human experience. These characters confront their personal demons as they explore a plethora of emotions, which the narrative does a great job of depicting, weaving through their individual stories. Through the display of this aspect of human nature, The Tourist creates a rather compelling story that resonates with the audience. Some of the characters bravely face the challenges of letting go of their past, contributing to a thought-provoking spectacle, while for others, the past plays a key role in their antagonism. Kosta Panigiris is one such character, the chief antagonist of The Tourist.


Spoilers Ahead

What Is Kosta’s Story?

Kosta Panigiris is a complex character whose life is shaped by a violent past and the challenges of mental illnesses. Born into poverty in Athens, he becomes the notorious leader of an international drug ring based in Hong Kong. The different facets of his character reveal a struggle with schizophrenia, aggravated by his use of hallucinogens like LSD. The violent tendencies rooted in his childhood trauma provide a glimpse into the demons that haunt him. The source of his inner turmoil becomes evident as he engages with this condition, something that has plagued him since a young age. Seeking solace and guidance, he turns to his elder brother, Dimitri. Dimitri is seen accompanying Kosta at all times, often seen calming his violent breakouts in the face of important decisions, but also serves as the devil on his shoulder, which is a major reason for his collective paranoia and violence towards others. As the series reveals to us that his brother died a lowly criminal in Athens during his childhood, another layer of this notorious man’s psyche is peeled away. The devil on his shoulder is actually a figment of his imagination—well, to be precise, a cumulative manifestation of his trauma, schizophrenia, and LSD abuse. It appears that the imaginary brother was initially a coping mechanism to deal with the grief of losing Dimitri, but later on, he transforms into Kosta’s alter-ego— a reservoir of trauma and aggression, serving as both a confidant and a devilish influence, often displaying the interaction of his conscious self between distorted perception and reality.


Kosta’s violent acts serve as the language which this devil prefers to speak in, painting a vivid picture of a man wrestling with mental illness. First taking form in his childhood, when he killed his dog for barking too much, the scenes depicting Kosta’s aggression are raw and intense, each act becoming a testament to the deep scars on his psyche. The violence is not merely a means to an end but a haunting manifestation of the chaos within him. Under the facade of a formidable criminal, lies a deeper layer of Kosta Panigiris’ psyche—his narcissistic personality. This aspect of his character serves as a protective mask, concealing the deep-seated fears of abandonment and lack of control that haunt him. Kosta’s narcissism becomes another brick in this wall, which hides his vulnerability stemming from a pattern of people abandoning him throughout his life. Grandiosity, arrogance, and an insatiable desire for power act as camouflage for the insecurities lurking beneath the surface. This narcissistic facade is, in essence, a defensive exoskeleton to repel the pain of perceived rejection and loss.

What Makes Kosta Chase Relentlessly After Elliot?

As the mastermind of an international drug ring, Kosta Panigiris faces existential boredom, gnawing at him despite the plethora of wealth that he has amassed through his criminal enterprise. Accumulating every possible form of material possession that he can have has disillusioned him, making him seek gratification through violence. For Kosta, each act of brutality becomes a twisted form of entertainment, a morbid game that he plays with his targets, degrading them into the roles of his prey, with him being the hunter. On multiple occasions, we see the events of the series being referred to by him as ‘The Hunt.’ This disturbing perception transforms his violent expressions into a perverse source of satisfaction that can satiate his ever-growing appetite for adrenaline. Another revelation adds further intrigue to Kosta’s character—his most prized possession, a bag containing a million dollars. This bag was the first million he earned from nothing, posing as a manifesto for his ability to turn his life around. The pride he takes in this achievement becomes a defining aspect of his character, showcasing his journey from a poor boy to one of the most feared criminals in the world. In a similar manner, capturing Elliot Stanley and reclaiming the stolen bag transcends financial pursuit, as one million means nothing to the likes of Kosta. It transforms into a hunt, a twisted game that satiates his appetite for dominance. The stakes are not just about wealth but also about power and control. Elliot, who was an integral part of Kosta’s criminal empire as his accountant, dared to defy his authority by running away with his fiancé, stealing a bag that symbolizes Kosta’s rise from poverty. The act of betrayal triggers Kosta’s predatory instincts. In the warped corridors of Kosta’s mind, Elliot becomes more than a thief; he morphs into an elusive prey in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. The thrill of the chase and the anticipation of reclaiming what he perceives as rightfully his fuel Kosta’s perception of Elliot as prey, transforming the pursuit into a psychological hunt.


What Finally Happens To Kosta?

Even with the shocking revelation that his long-presumed dead brother is alive and leading a reformed life in an ashram in India, Kosta Panigiris remains unaffected. The video call with his reformed brother, intended by Luci Miller to be a turning point in his life, becomes a clash of opinions, with Kosta clinging obstinately to his imaginary brother, whom he believes to have stayed with him through all those years. The distorted sense of pride derived from his criminal ways and the ego-driven need for control make an impenetrable barrier against a change of heart, dismissing his brother’s words as a betrayal of his beliefs. In the final moments of the video call, Elliot, who is held captive by the man, seizes an opportunity to escape by knocking out the lights, triggering an aimless shooting between Lachlan Rogers and Kosta, leading to the latter’s unexpected demise as he gets caught in the crossfire.

The way Kosta’s death plays out carries more depth than what meets the eye. The things Kosta feared the most— a lack of total control and oblivion, in the end, were companions of the unexpected fate that knocked on his door. He gets shot while shooting blindly in the dark, a metaphor for the lack of control that he feared. As he draws his last few breaths, Kosta, now fully aware of his imminent death, tries to make peace with it. The imaginary Dimitri, the devil of his making, holds his hand, offering him strength to come to terms with the situation. Having been the figure of both support and shadow throughout his life, his brother stays by his side even in death.


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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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