Caspases are the key players of apoptosis and inflammation. They are present in the cells as latent precursors, procaspases, and are activated upon an apoptotic or inflammatory stimulus. The activation mechanism of caspases has been studied extensively by biochemical and biophysical methods. Additional structural information on active caspases with a variety of different inhibitors bound at the active site is available. In this study, we investigated the cleavage mechanism of caspase-8 from its zymogen to active caspase-8 by solution NMR and by biochemical methods. The intermolecular cleavage reaction using the catalytically inactive C285A procaspase-8 mutant is triggered by adding caspase-8 and followed by 15N,1H-NMR spectroscopy. The spectrum that initially resembles the one of procaspase-8 gradually over time changes to that of caspase-8, and disappearing peaks display exponential decaying intensities. Removal of either one of the cleavage recognition motifs in the linker, or phosphorylation at Tyr380, is shown to reduce the rate of the cleavage reaction. The data suggest that dimerization repositions the linker to become suitable for intermolecular processing by the associated protomer. Furthermore, analysis of inhibitor binding to the active caspase-8 reveals an induced-fit mechanism for substrate binding.