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I will exercise mercy if your confession is compelling. But if not, I will purge and I will be reborn.
~ Joe "passing sentence" on his victims
It's my right to purge!
~ Joe's most famous quote

Joseph "Joe" Owens is one of the main antagonists of the first season of the TV series The Purge. He is a former factory worker who rounds up everyone who he feels has mistreated him and "judges" them in mock court trials.

Joe first appears to be a heroic man who protects people on Purge night. It isn't until after he captures Penelope Guerrero that his true motives become clear: he has concocted an elaborate scheme to serve his own twisted form of justice to the people he feels have wronged him.

He is portrayed by Lee Tergesen, who also portrayed Chet Donnelly in the TV series Weird Science and voiced George Pissedofferson in The Boondocks.


Joe is a former factory worker who started a business installing Purge Night security systems after being laid off. He lives with his elderly, disabled father. On Purge Night, he goes out into the street and saves several people from Purgers - only to hold them hostage in a kangaroo court, claiming that they have all wronged him and must be judged. Among the "defendants" are:

  • Jane Barbour, an African-American woman who walked out on their one Tinder date after he made off-color, racist jokes
  • Rick and Jenna Betancourt, two nouveau riche financiers who backed out of investing in Joe's business
  • Penelope Guerrero, a Hispanic teenager who did not thank Joe for holding open the door for her
  • Charlie, a homeless drug addict who bullied Joe in high school
  • Eileen, a labor representative for the factory that laid off Joe, his father and several of his friends

He allows each of them the chance to defend themselves, but has already decided that they will all die. He kills Jane, Charlie and Eileen, but Penelope manages to get the better of him, stabbing him in the eye with a screw. The remaining captives flee from an enraged Joe before Penelope's older brother Miguel, who has been looking for her all night, saves their lives. Joe is about to kill Miguel in an indoor swimming pool when the alarm marking the end of Purge Night sounds; he immediately backs off, reasoning that killing someone off-Purge is "just murder". He promises to find and kill Miguel and Penelope next year. In order to protect his sister, Miguel shoots Joe twice and kicks him into the pool, where he drowns.


Behind his friendly, "average guy" exterior, Joe is an angry, bitter, vindictive man who believes that the world has cheated him. He resents anyone who has the money, happiness and/or good fortune he feels has been unfairly denied to him. He especially resents Hispanic and African-American people, who he believes receive government assistance that he deserves; rich people; and women who ignore or reject him. He is a big fan of Bobby Sheridan, a motivational speaker who preaches that killing people during the Purge is a way for white, American men to reclaim their "rightful place" as the most powerful members of society.


I. Will. Purge!
~ Joe listening to motivational tapes before putting his victims on trial
I will exercise mercy if your confession is compelling. But if not, I will purge and I will be reborn.
~ Joe before beginning his mock trials on the people he has captured


           ThePurgeLogo.png Villains

Grace Ferrin | Polite Army (Polite Leader) | Henry

Big Daddy | Old Elegant Woman | The Bikers (Young Ghoulface) | Lorraine | Diego | Hearst Brothers | Hanover Sisters | Mr. Hearst | Wealthy Family

New Founding Fathers of America (Edwidge Owens | Caleb Warrens | Harmon James) | Earl Danzinger | Eric Busmalis | Chief Couper | Kimmy | Uncle Sam

New Founding Fathers of America (Arlo Sabian | Dr. May Updale | President Bracken) | Capital A | General Smiley | Skeletor | The Smileys | Klansmen | Anna and Elsa


Season 1

Joe Owens | Henry Bodreaux | David Ryker | Rex | Good Leader Tavis | Mercy Cult | Ross Bailes | Lila Stanton

Season 2

Ben Gardner | Demon Purger | The Jackals | Haywood Diedrick | Andrea Ziv | Hector Carmona | Clint | Officer Reynolds | Silas Barker | Paul Barker |

Forever Purge logo.png
Elijah Hardin | "Mother" Hardin | The Purge Purification Force | Thing 1 & Thing 2 | Kirk | Demon Cowboy Purgers | Construction Worker Purgers |