Joe Goldberg

Joe Goldberg

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Photo Credit: Netflix

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew up… in a completely dysfunctional family. 

Living… in New York City. Joe lives in a cheap, grungy apartment with loud neighbors. He has taken Paco, the boy next door, under his wing, much to the dismay of Paco’s family. Joe helps Paco out a lot, showing a kinder side of Joe. Joe lends Paco books and provides stability, much like Mr. Mooney did for him. 

Profession… bookstore manager. Joe’s day job is managing the bookstore for Mr. Mooney, a man he met in his teens who helped him discover literature as an escape from his unhappy family life. Joe keeps a collection of rare books in the basement. The books storage container, a large secured glass box, doubles as a prison for Joe’s victims, which should shed some light on what Joe does in his free time…

Interests… books, women, and revenge but necessarily in that order. Joe works in a bookstore because he has found a refuge in reading, and it might help him curb some of his illegal tendencies. Joe has formed a habit of stalking women in order to understand them thoroughly. He uses this information to manipulate them into falling for him. His “modern” twist on romance has led to some unpleasant fatalities, but for Joe, it is all part of the game. 

Relationship status… complicated. Joe’s dating history is pretty murky, but at any given moment, Joe is probably pursuing his next target. Joe has a bad habit of killing the women he dates, but that doesn’t stop him from giving up hope that he will find the one. His mantra is “sometimes we do bad things for the people we love,” but more often than not, Joe ends up doing bad things to the people he loves. 

Challenge… finding love in the modern world. When someone catches Joe’s eye, he becomes obsessed. It isn’t normal, and parts of it definitely aren’t legal. Joe struggles to balance his past victims with his new ones. And it’s hard to keep up with everything. As Joe says, “Pro tip of the day: screen your calls when you’re trying to burn a body, because it turns out things slip out that you didn’t actually wanna say.” 

Personality… charming, evil, and oh, so manipulative. Joe’s internal monologue reveals a lot of what is going on in his head, but it’s almost too much information. Joe thinks he has good intentions: finding love, happiness, and stability. But in order to get what he wants, he fails to respect personal boundaries or the law. He is persistent and obsessive, and he lives his life through the twisted narrative he concocts in order to control those around him. 

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