No exception: the rules matter
In the first John Wick, Ian McShane's tight-lipped Winston, the proprietor of the Continental Hotel, was a bemused observer of the deadly mechanics surrounding him. He was above the fray. He didn't like to get his hands dirty. With his ornate speaking style, the Deadwood actor was perfectly cast as a mysterious and not entirely trustworthy confidant. He oozed menace and class in equal measure.
John Wick: Chapter 2 forces him to put his cards on the table. As the film draws to a close, Wick kills Santino D'Antonio on the grounds of the Continental, breaking the rules of the hotel and getting himself excommunicated from the secret society at the same damn time. We then see Winston put out a High Order mandated hit on Wick through a complicated process involving a team of glasses-wearing, tattooed office-workers. (These ladies need their own spin-off graphic novel or something.) Basically, Winston is forced to turn on Wick. In the Wick-verse, rules are rules.
Before he sends his longtime colleague off to a near certain death, though, Winston delays the hunt for Wick by an hour. How exactly does he do this? By filling an entire park with his own secret network of assassins. As the two say their goodbyes, Winston "freezes" the entire park in what has to qualify as the biggest and most deadly flash mob in the history of Manhattan. The message is clear: don't mess with anyone who was on Deadwood.