|Portrayed by||James Purefoy|
|Profession||Serial Killer |
English Professor (formerly)
|Affiliation||The Followers (Leader 2003-present)|
|Family members||Claire Matthews - Ex-wife|
Joey Matthews - Son
- " Don't blame yourself for my actions. Those victims were mine!"
- ―Joe to Claire[src]
Professor Joseph "Joe" Carroll is the main antagonist, a diabolical serial killer who created a cult of serial killers via the cyber library and the archnemisis of Ryan Hardy all through visitations at the prison where he was being held.
Born and raised in Ireland, he moved to the United States where he studied and became a professor of literature.
2003EditHe taught Sarah Fuller at Winslow University, emphasizing the Romantic Period, with which he was obsessed. His lectures focused on writers such as Thoreau, Emerson, and his favorite and idol, Edgar Allan Poe. In 2003 he published his first and only novel, The Gothic Sea, which was inspired by Poe's last and unfinished work, The Light-House (according to Claire he fancied himself as Poe and that his novel was his way of finishing what Poe began in his unfinished work). However, it was a flop commercially and critically (though some of his followers loved it, including Emma) this angered him and caused him to begin murdering female students.
Like Poe, Joe believed in the "insanity of art" and that it needed to be physically and emotionally "felt". He began to create his own form of art - eviscerating college girls. He gouged out their eyes as a tribute to some of his favorite works of Poe: The Telltale Heart and The Black Cat--because Poe believed the eyes were one's identity, the windows into one's soul. He remarked during one of his lectures, in which Sarah Fuller was present, that nothing was more beautiful than the death of a beautiful woman.
One night, Joe waited for Sarah and her roommate to return so that he could kill them. He only managed to kill Sarah's roommate, Annie because she screamed and Ryan Hardy, who had been following him, broke into the house and saved her. Carroll then stabbed Ryan in the chest (which would create the need to have a pacemaker in his chest for the rest of his life) but was shot from behind and later apprehended by the FBI. ("Pilot")
Because Joe was in prison, Claire demanded and received a divorce and full custody of Joey, which left Joe very angry. Over the years, Joe was visited by numerous followers, including Christopher Byrd, Rick, Maggie, Emma, Jacob, Roderick, Charlie, and Molly, all of whom showed their loyalties to Joe and willingness to be a part of his cult. Over the next nine years, Joe plotted his revenge against Ryan Hardy, having discovered of his romantic relationship with his ex-wife. Joe swore he'd make Ryan suffer. Jordy, a prison guard who was a part of Joe's cult, gave Joe unlimited internet access to make a website. This site was used to recruit a group of followers who would bend to his will. Charlie Mead, a former military cyber-spy, created the website and through the site, Joe instructed he and Emma to watch over Claire, and Jacob and Paul watch over Sarah so he could "finish what he started".
In 2010, after he was denied further legal services from his lawyer, Olivia Warren, Joe sent Hank Flynn to cut off the ring finger and little finger of her left hand as a threat and to force her to do his bidding as the need arose.
Before Joe planned his escape, he sent a letter to Claire with questions only she and Ryan would be able to answer. Claire then knew that he was aware of her relationship with Ryan.
2013EditJust a few months before he was set to be executed, Joe escaped from the prison in Richmond, Virginia, killing five guards in the process. He set out to take care of unfinished business, finding and killing the one who got away, Sarah Fuller and Krista Byrd. With the help of two of his Followers, Jacob and Paul, who had been posing as a gay couple living next door to her for several years, she was shortly captured and killed. He was later found by Ryan Hardy and arrested again. ("Pilot").
From prison, Joe continued to play games with Ryan. His followers, Emma, Paul, and Jacob kidnapped his own son, Joey, telling Ryan that his "sequel" has just begun. Knowing he won't talk to Ryan about Joey's location, Claire is allowed in the interrogation room and asks Joe where Joey is. Joe ignores her questions and instead asks about his letter he sent, demanding that she tell him if she slept with Ryan. An angered Claire confirms that she willingly slept with Ryan, but advising him that it was after the divorce. She then angrily told Joe that she would never love someone as cruel and slaps him in the face demanding Joey's location. Joe begins to choke her until Ryan and the guards intervene. After the prison guard, Jordy, attempted to kill Claire, Joe admits his satisfaction Ryan in stopped him, but shows disappointment that Jordy is still alive although he knows that Jordy has nothing to offer and will not say anything.
After Joey is located, Joe calls his lawyer, Olivia, and tells her she must do certain things, one of which was giving a televised statement on his behalf; a coded message to Hank Flynn and Charlie Mead with instructions to act. Olivia realizes what she has done and is being asked to do. She tearfully begs Joe to not bring her in this, but he says she can't stop since he recruited her for her intellegence and optimism, saying "we're just getting started".
Once Joe discovers Emma moved Joey away from the farmhouse, he then had Olivia file a motion in 4th Circuit Court regarding his 8th Amendment rights and the necessity of being moved to another institution. Because the pleading had merit as Ryan broke his fingers during interrogation, Joe had a case and was allowed to be transferred to a Federal Prison in Georgia. Joe's escape plan was now in motion; Olivia regrettably plotting with the warden and unnamed Followers. The warden's daughter was kidnapped, so he falsified video of the transit from the prison while Joe his in the trunk of Olivia's car. Hardy discovered the plot by comparing different sally-port exit videos and had the tranport stopped. It was discovered that Joe was not in the vehicle, and the warden, knowing that the plot was discovered, advised Hardy that Carroll's people had his daughter.
Olivia stopped behind a warehouse on East Cary Street in Richmond, Virginia, and let Joe out of the trunk. She gave him a suit to wear instead of his prison jumpsuit. Olivia then drove him to his desired location at which she was forced to call Ryan and tell him that "Joe Carroll is killing me and it's your fault!" She tried to refuse but ultimately, Joe strangled her to death in her own car as Ryan Hardy and Mike Weston listened.
After arriving at an unnamed hotel, Joe's followers meet him to further his escape. Ryan shows up, and Joe, holding him at gunpoint, reveals his growing hatred of Ryan during the nine years he spent in prison. He states his belief that Claire left him because of Ryan. Ryan's offers his life in exchange for Joey's location, but Joe refuses, stating he wants Ryan to suffer until he's satisfied that he has suffered enough. A helicoptor is waiting on the roof to take Joe to his safe house.
Joe arrives at the Bunker for the Followers and has an emotional moment meeting his son during which he begins to cry. Joey acknowledges that he is afraid of his father and does not want to see or speak with him because he is a "bad man". Joe watched him as he slept and tried to prove he was not as bad as people claim. Over time, Joe seems to bond with his son over S'mores and a promise that Joey will see his mother soon. tim promises Joe he will get his wife back. Charlie and several others are dispatched to find her. After the first failed attempt, Charlie says he wants to die as an apology--so his life will mean something. An emotional Joe agrees, stating that he's honored that Charlie would go this far for him. He then kills Charlie with a knife to the gut with the others looking on, crying with him. In a later attempt to get Claire to come out of hiding, he kills two women in the Richmond area with the name "Claire Matthews" because, as he tells Ryan, "love hurts".
Joe, upset over events, allows Emma to seduce him. Emma continues to try to have a relationship with Joe, her feelings clearly showing. Joe finally tells Emma that he loves his wife and refuses to have intercourse with her again.
After several murders and failed attempts, Joe's followers succeed in getting Claire. Joe continued to mock Hardy, who continues to offer his life in exchange for Claire and Joey. Ryan, who insists he wants to quit, is refused the chance because Carroll says that "this is his (Hardy) story", and he wants to see Hardy grow into the man he will become.
Joe is later is greeted by Molly, Ryan's neighbor. She later gives him data on Ryan over the years and film over the times they had sex (when Ryan was drunk and unable to focus), but pushed her away due to his feelings for Claire. In the morning, he is visited by tim and asks to start the next phase, to which Joe says not yet, prompting tim to remind him about what everyone has done for him, causing Joe to snap and tell him to leave.
Once Claire is brought to his home, he has her join dinner with him in a nice dress, marveling over her beauty. As she tries not to be so fearful, he offers her a drink, to which she agrees. During the dinner, Claire questions Joe about everything he's doing and the people he has, to which Joe says they're his friends and gave them a home, prompting Claire to question why he encourages them to murder. Joe states he has a monomaniacal need to kill and chooses to embrace it which causes Claire to question why he brought her and Joey in this, which Joe says it is cause he loves them and tells Claire she will love him again. Claire, holding his hand begs him to let her see Joey, but Joe refuses, stating Joey is his "trump card" and chooses to hold onto it for a little bit longer. At this point, Claire finally snaps and gives Joe a very loud yelling stating if he wants her to love him he has to show her a shred of the man she once loved to bring her her son and just as she storms off, Joe stops her and attempts to kiss her, causing her to push him away and storm to her room. Later, he talks with Roderick about how Vincent led the FBI to the bunker, causing him to angrily punch tim about his decision to let him go. He warns him not to ruin this for him, causing tim to say it's for them.
Once in her room, Joe meets Claire again and says he does believe in his heart she will love him again and presents Joey, causing mother and son to have a tearful reunion. He then watches Molly's video's on her and Ryan sleeping together at one point.
After Claire attempts to leave, tim forces an ankle monitor on her as Joe enters saying trust is needed. While working on his new book, he continues to struggle on what motivated Ryan, so he calls him questioning what motivates him. Ryan doesn't answer causing Joe to ask if it was his fathers death, which has Ryan noting Joe's tone of voice is different and stating he's getting closer knowing the loss of the bunker is a huge blow, causing Joe to angrily hang up. After discovering all the major items in the bunker are gone now, Joe learns of Daniel Monroe, the man who gave Joe the house and bunker could be tracked to them. he ignores tim statements about him being trusted and has him and Jacob go to kill him. Once he kills Daniel, he holds Mike Weston hostage to force Ryan down and question what motivates him. After Ryan mentions how his father died, Joe notes how similar they are and are motivated by death, but Ryan disagrees. After Jacob brings down Debra as insurance, Joe, satisfied with the information he gained from Ryan, leaves with Jacob.
He returns home with, whine in hand, greeting Claire intent on telling his day to her, to which she tells him not tonight having done enough pretending today. She says his efforts aren't gonna work, causing him to scoff at her statements which only become anger after discovering Claire read his book, where she stated it was awful and criticizes him believing he'll get away with all this and how he didn't learn his lesson from his last book. Joe almost goes to strike her, but leaves frustrated and angered. He then goes to Emma and willingly has sex with her again.
In the morning, Joe orders Emma to keep a close eye on Claire and Joey, to which Emma notes is near impossible due to having stolen her son and sleeping with her husband, to which Joe tells her not to tell Claire that. Just then, a very frantic tim comes in and informs Joe about Mike recognizing him and his position of Sheriff being done. Joe criticizes him for not killing Mike and over tim statements over leaving Daniel Monroe alone. Joe tells him to calm down, but tim says they're in trouble and Joe is to blame and begins to question what is Joe really trying to do. He points out Joe's faults over doing nothing but righting his book and trying to win over a wife that will never want him back. This sends Joe over the edge and begins to strangle tim and throws him down. tim then realizes he was just being used and Jacob interrupts them with Ryan on the news about one of Joe's followers turning themselves in to make a deal. Joe shuts it off telling them all they should not worry.
After Joey is kidnapped, he tells a very worried Claire to be calm and warns her that he's having a really bad day. He sends Jacob and two others to find tim and kill him. At night, he receives a call from Ryan on tim phone, realizing tim was captured and warns tim he will personally peel the skin off his body should anything happen to Joey. After hanging up, he is visited by Emma who tries to console him over losing Joey, and as she makes a move, he tells her to stop her advances knowing she's been sending "signals" in their relationship, to which Emma says it's called sex as Joe says that is all it is. He then tells her to worry about Joey since it is her fault for not watching over him like she was supposed to. Shocked by Joe blaming her, she tries to explain how Claire wouldn't let her near her causes Joe to slap her, resulting in her running off crying.
After watching the news over Ryan having saved his son, he scoffs telling his men to turn it off and is annoyed seeing Claire crying, to which she angrily retorts it is cause their son is safe, causing Joe to just scoff that it's thanks to Ryan "bloody" Hardy. Afterward he works on his book till he's interrupted by Claire who wants to make a deal. She promises him she'll stay on the condition he let Joey go. Joe refuses, but Claire can see it's not the life she wants nor does he and she won't struggle anymore and will stay with him. Joe is surprised Claire would do that and she says she fell in love with him once and could do it again. Joe comes closer to her and notices she's scared of him, which she says it will take time. They lean in and kiss, to which Joe then places his hands on her. However, Claire took advantage of his affection to her and pulls out a knife and stabs him in his stomach. She attempts to dig the knife deeper till Joe manages to push her away and pull the knife out. She tries to run away till Joe catches her and tells his men to take her away. He's later tended to his wound and calls Ryan about how his day has "not been well" and his book has taken a "turn" and must now do a re-wright. When Ryan asks where Claire is, Joe says how Claire will no longer be the leading lady nor ride off with him in the sunset and says now it is time for Claire to die. He hangs up, takes a drink from his glass and angrily throws it into the fireplace.
The next morning, he finishes the re-wright and still plans to kill Clair. After having his remaining followers perform a diversion for him at the town's gym, Joe takes Clair by boat to a lighthouse, like in his novel, so that he may kill her there once Ryan shows up.
Presumed Death Edit
After Ryan is drugged and taken to the lighthouse, Joe engages in conversation with him about how his story will end. Before he attempts to gouge out one of Claire's eyes, Joe is tackled by Ryan and the two engage in a struggle before the former runs away. Outside, Joe hides in a shed while Ryan pursues him. Taking him by surprise, Joe makes Ryan shoot a barrel of flammable liquid which combusts. Ryan manages to overpower Joe and throws him into a corner in the shed just before a rafter falls, trapping him. Leaving Joe behind, Ryan watches as the shed explodes. Later that morning, authorities recover what remained of Joe's body and confirmed that he is finally dead through DNA and dental records. However, in Season 2 it would be revealed that his death was faked and that he planted a dead body of someone very similar to his dna and dental records.
One year after his presumed death, Joe, with a beard now, has been living in hiding with a woman named Judy, a woman who's had an obsession with Joa and her daughter, Mandy. Despite Judy's best efforts to "cure" Joe, Joe realizes he can't change and embraces himself by killing a priest and later Judy with Mandy's help. After watching the news of the twins, Mark and Luke, who are apparently new members of his cult, Joe sets out to meet them. On the way, he meets a woman named Jenna, one of his followers and a former FBI agent. He reveals his intentions of going after Joey again, but for now focuses on the others. He reunites with Emma Hill as she cries seeing him again. They all then go to a mansion with the twins and their mother Lily Gray.
As a serial killer, Carroll targeted female students that attended the university where he taught. He would gain control of them with his looks and charm or simply take them by suprise. He would then restrain them and torture them in a number of ways (the most common method was stabbing them in numerous non-fatal locations on the body), he then killed them by savagely eviscerating (mutilating) them. His signature for both the FBI and police was cutting out his victim's eyes, as a reference to his favorite Poe stories "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-Tale Heart", in which the eyes are a prominent part of the imagery within the stories.
- Among Carroll's possessions in prison were books by Faulkner, Melville, Hawthorne, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron. From Ryan's remark, "Still the romantic" it is likely these authors were included in Carroll's lectures at Winslow.
Victims killed by him personally
- 2003, The Winslow University killings:
- Twelve girls killed during his serial killer years:
- Eleven additional unnamed girls
- Twelve girls killed during his serial killer years:
- The first prison escape:
- Five unnamed prison guards
- Sarah Fuller (stabbed and gouged her eyes out)
- The second prison escape:
- Olivia Warren (manually strangled)
- Two unnamed police officers
- Charlie Mead (stabbed at his request for failure)
- The attack at the Monroe house:
- Daniel Monroe (stabbed)
- The Lighthouse killing:
- Neil Meyer, owner of the lighthouse (stabbed repeatedly)
- The first prison escape:
Victims killed by his followers on his orders or because of his orders
- Unspecified dates in 2003:
- Two unnamed girls attributed to him during his serial killer years (killed by Tim Nelson)
- Unspecified date in 2008:
- Robyn Stewart (stabbed repeatedly by Paul Torres in his car; body was presumably buried)
- "Icepick" woman (manipulated into committing suicide)
- Jess and two unnamed sorority girls (killed by Jordan Raines)
- Two unnamed police officers (killed by Paul Torres)
- Stan Fellows, a critic of Carroll's book (set ablaze by Rick Kester)
- Dean Phillip Barnes (stabbed by Rick Kester for denying Carroll tenure)
- Troy Riley (stabbed in the throat by Maggie Kester)
- Unnamed bystander (killed by Louise Sinclair slashed his abdomen with a straight razor)
- Bo (shot in the temple by Charlie Mead)
- Claire Dobkins, née Matthews (shot by a harpoon gun by Amanda Porter)
- Claire Matthews (killed by Amanda Porter; pushed from her flat)
- Unnamed college student (stabbed and killed by Amanda Porter)
- Unnamed police officer (shot by Louise)
- Unnamed hotel guest (shot and killed by Tim Nelson)
- Unnamed U.S. Marshall (shot and killed by Tim Nelson)
- Unnamed U.S. Marshall (shot and killed by Brock Wickford)
- Marshall Ferguson (shot through a door and killed by Tim Nelson)
- Brian Fowler (throat slashed by Jacob Wells)
- Tim Nelson (shot and killed by Jacob Wells, Ethan, and Michael)
- Aaron (committed suicide on Joe's orders)
- Unnamed reporter (stabbed to death by Annabelle Lee)
- Five unnamed people (killed with knives, axes and other bladed weapons at the evacuation center by his Followers
- Debra Parker (buried alive by Alex Lipton)
- Unnamed cop (shot with a sniper rifle by Alex Lipton)
- Two unnamed police officers (shot to death by Emma Hill)
- Claire Matthews (stabbed twice by Molly)