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Joe Swanson
Family Guy character
Joe Swanson.png
Voiced by Patrick Warburton
Character information
Relatives Wife: Bonnie
Children: Kevin (deceased) and Susie
Gender Male
Hair color Brown
Occupation Police officer
Show information
First appearance "A Hero Sits Next Door"

Joseph "Joe" Swanson is a fictional character in the Fox animated television show Family Guy. He is voiced by actor Patrick Warburton. He is a macho paraplegic police officer in the Quahog Police Department who is at many times subject to intense anger problems. He is married to Bonnie Swanson, and has two children, Kevin, who was killed in Iraq, and Susie.[1]


Fictional character biography

Joe is characterized by his over-zealousness, machismo, short temper, and by-the-book attitude. He is devoted to his wife Bonnie and son Kevin and his daughter Susie and takes great pride in his line of work. He is friendly towards Peter Griffin, Cleveland Brown, and Glenn Quagmire and the four are often seen together at the local bar. Joe's enthusiasm can occasionally go too far into rigid perfectionism, however; he sets high, unreachable standards for himself and others, especially Kevin. He has a domineering relationship with his son, whom he pushes very hard in part to live vicariously through him.

In his first appearance in the episode "A Hero Sits Next Door", in which he moves to Quahog, Rhode Island from Providence, Joe reveals that he became paraplegic after falling from an orphanage roof while attempting to apprehend The Grinch for stealing Christmas presents. In the episode, "Ready, Willing, and Disabled", Joe began to doubt his self-worth after a thief escaped arrest. To bolster his spirit, Peter encouraged him to enter the Special People's Games in the decathlon. Joe went on to win the decathlon, but only after Peter spiked his water bottle with steroids. Joe became a sports celebrity with endorsement deals, and even became subject of a highly inaccurate ABC movie, Rolling Courage: The Joe Swanson Story. At a celebration with Mayor Adam West, Peter exposed Joe's steroid use after Joe failed to acknowledge Peter's contribution as his coach. Joe neared depression again, but encountered the thief that had previously evaded capture and this time successfully apprehended and by mistake, killed him.

Abusing authority

Despite being a police officer, Joe has been sent to federal prison at least twice. In "One If by Clam, Two If by Sea" after he and the others were framed for burning down their hangout, "The Drunken Clam," and again in "Airport '07" after he, Peter and Cleveland hijacked an airplane in order to have Quagmire re-hired as a pilot.

Though a capable officer, Joe has been known to abuse his authority. In "Barely Legal," instead of looking out for suspects related to Brian and Meg's disappearance in this episode, Joe spies on Bonnie from Peter's house as she undresses (pretending that she is a stranger who is getting naked). In "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One," Joe blackmails a woman into aiding Lois' campaign for mayor, disregarding the fact that the woman was a victim of rape and being questioned.

Legs healed

In "Believe It or Not, Joe's Walking on Air", Joe underwent a successful leg transplant. However, Peter, Glenn, Cleveland, and his wife became annoyed by the newly mobile Joe, as he became arrogant and hyper-competitive. The guys tried to beat Joe in the spine so he would be paralyzed once more. They failed. Bonnie tries the same with a gun but misses and hits Joe in other places such as the shin and legs. In order to save himeself more pain, Joe takes the gun and shoots out his own spine shouting "here give me the gun" before he shoots himeself.

This was not the only time Joe had a leg transplant. He got new legs after Peter ate them when they were starving on a raft made of blow-up sex dolls. However, the guy who Joe got the legs from was also paralyzed. Throughout the show, Joe has had four different pairs of legs, including his dead wife's legs in the future. In the episode Ocean's Three and a Half, Joe was shown to have a lack of control over his bowels, like many other paraplegics, and a possible erectile dysfunction, suggested by a line from Bonnie in the same episode "now let's go put your penis on". A collison with his son Kevin while skiing causes his legs to work; moments later he is hit again and back to being paralyzed.

In "Stew-Roids", Joe's son was revealed to have died in Iraq.


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