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Man, what the hood done for me? Always dragging me down. Ever since I got out of the hood sh*t been cracking! That's everybody's dream, to get out of the hood...
~ Carl Johnson
After five years on the east coast... it was time to go home.
~ Carl Johnson
Ah sh*t, here we go again
~ Carl Johnson's famous quote

Carl Johnson, better known by name as CJ, is the main protagonist of the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. CJ is a co-leader of the "Grove Street Families" (GSF), along with his brother, Sean "Sweet" Johnson, GSF is a criminal gang dedicated to the alleged marijuana trafficking, arms smuggling, and bank robberies. Sweet suggested that CJ was born in the Johnson House, a two-floor home in Grove Street, a cul-de-sac in Ganton, Los Santos, which was owned by the Johnson family matriarch, Beverly Johnson. Carl is the second child of a family of four (in birth order): Sean, Carl, Kendl, and Brian.

Five years prior to the beginning of the game, CJ left San Andreas and took up work in Liberty City out of discontent for the degrading situation of Los Santos. There, in Liberty City, he earned his living working for the Family mob Leone. As the game opens, CJ arrives back in Los Santos following news of his mother's death, only to be located by corrupt police officers Frank Tenpenny, Eddie Pulaski, and Jimmy Hernandez, who immediately framed him for their recent murder of a fellow police officer who threatened to expose their illegal racketeering.



Carl Johnson was born in the crime-ridden Los Santos suburb of Ganton. He had three siblings, Sean "Sweet", Kendl and Brian. At some point, his father left the family. At some point Sweet, CJ, and Brian befriended Lance 'Ryder' Wilson and Melvin 'Big Smoke' Harris and joined the gang known as the Grove Street Families. 2 decades later in the late 1980s, Brian was killed and Carl was blamed for his death. After that, he moved to Liberty City and did petty crimes and car thefts until 1992 when his mother Beverly accidentally got killed in a drive-by shooting.

Return to Los Santos

After arriving in Los Santos, Carl was kidnapped by members of the CRASH police force and was framed for the murder of a police officer. He returned to Grove Street and began to work for the Grove Street Families again. He also encountered a member of the Los Santos Aztecas named Cesar Vialpando, his sister Kendl's boyfriend. While on a mission to weaken the Ballas, Carl and Sweet discovered that Big Smoke and Ryder were working with Frank Tenpenny, the leader of CRASH as well as the Ballas.

Carl then helped Sweet fight with Ballas members but was arrested by Tenpenny and was exiled to the vast countryside.

Betrayed by Big Smoke and Ryder

During his time in the wilderness, Smoke, Ryder, and the Ballas unleash a wave of drugs onto the city. He befriends an aging hippie with a marijuana farm named the Truth and works with him for a while.

He also forms a partnership with Cesar's deranged cousin, Catalina and robs "soft targets" with her until Carl wins a race against her new boyfriend, Claude. He wins a run-down San Fierro garage from Claude and begins fixing the business up.

He also begins working for a blind triad leader nicknamed 'Woozie'. He and Cesar succeed in killing off Ryder when a corrupt government agent named Mike Toreno blackmails Carl into working with him, in return offering to release Sweet from prison.

Later Carl ventures to the desert town of Las Venturas where he becomes Woozie's partner at his casino called the Four Dragons Casino. He also helps Woozie to get rid of the various mafia gangs that are causing him problems and infiltrate Salvatore Leone's gang.

After some odd-jobs and a brief trip back to Liberty City, Carl performs a daring heist on a casino Leone owns. He also becomes the manager of the disgraced rapper Madd Dogg after thwarting a suicide attempt.

Final showdown

After Carl returned to Los Santos, he first went to the prison to pick up his brother Sweet. After Tenpenny was announced innocent, riots began all over San Andreas. Carl then takes control over most of the streets of Los Santos. Sweet then finds out where Big Smoke is hiding, then both he and Carl go pay him a visit.

After Carl takes Smoke down, Tenpenny then appeared and tells Carl his plan is to escape with the money. Carl and Sweet then chase down Tenpenny in a high-speed chase, which leads to the death of the corrupted officer. After everything is over, Carl and his friends get their first Golden Record.


After the final mission, Kendl tells Carl where he's going, Carl responds with saying Just going to hang out in the streets. He then gets a call from Catalina while having sex with Claude, witch leads to Carl calling her sick. Carl can then go roam the streets like all other GTA protagonists.


Carl Johnson is a pragmatic and quite charismatic gang leader (though his charisma can be enhanced throughout the game). He can be extremely violent, ruthless, and destructive when necessary. He manages his problems in a boss-like fashion, which often involves brutal shootings. That being said, most of his victims also tried to murder CJ as well. He has no problems hunting down or wiping out anyone that gets in his way - especially Ballas members or policemen, or committing petty crimes such as robbing houses and various places. The only characters he genuinely fears are those in a position of authority such as Frank Tenpenny, or utter psychopaths such as Catalina.

On the other hand, unlike his two predecessors (who were hardened criminals with little remorse) Carl Johnson displays much more decency and empathy. He is overprotective of his gang and his brother Sweet. He also displayed regrets immediately after defeating Big Smoke, despite the fact that Big Smoke coldly betrayed him and left him for dead somewhere in the countryside.

Some even question his intelligence, though Carl Johnson proved many times to be a skilled manager and strategist. Carl even uses manipulation and deception in order to gain what he wants, an example is when he successfully tricked Millie into giving him the access key necessary to organize the raid of the Caligula.

Unlike Ryder and Big Smoke, Carl Johnson is not interested in drugs and actually despises them. This is shown multiple times throughout the game, such as when he beat a crackhead attempting to give Sweet some PCP. Despite this, however, CJ seems to get along pretty well with the Truth, who is a drug-addict and dealer. He also holds a grudge against the C.R.A.S.H. - especially Tenpenny - and the cops in general, often nicknaming them "bribe-taking assholes" or "bitches".


  • "You an asshole to the end! Punk motherf-cker!!"
  • "Hey, Smoke!"
  • "What's your problem now?! It's me!"
  • "Seeing my homie! What's up with you?"
  • "You callin' CJ a b-tch?"
  • "Go! Run away, homie!"
  • "I'm a Grove Street gangster what you expect?!"

See also

Heroic Deeds

During Free Roam

  • Giving people taxi rides.
  • Picking up injured civilians with an ambulance to a hospital.
  • Extinguishing burning vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Doing Vigilante missions and killing criminals.

During the Storyline

  • Sweet's Girl: Carl escorts and rescues Sweet and his girlfriend to Grove Street from Seville Boulevard Families.
  • Burning Desire: Saves Denise Robinson from a burning Vagos house that he himself set aflame.
  • House Party: He, along with other Grove Street members and Sweet, protect Grove Street from being attacked by Ballas.
  • The Green Sabre: Saves Sweet from being killed by Ballas, though Sweet is later being held in a hospital prison.
  • Jizzy: Saves the girl from being attacked by 2 men.
  • Air Raid: Defends Zero's transmitters from Berkley's bombers.
  • The Da Nang Thang: Rescues the refugees from the Da Nang Boy freighter.
  • Mike Toreno: he and T-bone Mendez save Mike Toreno from Da Nang Boys.
  • Outrider: Escorts and makes sure Mike Toreno is driving his van to safety.
  • Interdiction: Escorts and protects Mike Toreno's helicopter from being destroyed by other helicopters.
  • Don Peyote: Rescues Maccer and Kent Paul from the desert and take them to Caligula's place.
  • The Meat Business: Helps and protects Ken from being attacked by Sindaccos and escorts Ken to exit the abattoir safely.
  • Madd Dogg: Saves Madd Dogg from a suicide attempt by jumping off the building and then later takes him to a hospital.
  • End of the Line: Saves Sweet from falling to his death when his grips are stomped by a cop by driving his car closer.



External links


           598px-Grand Theft Auto logo series Heroes

3D Universe
Grand Theft Auto III
Claude | 8-Ball | Maria Latore | Luigi Goterelli | Joey Leone | Toni Cipriani | Asuka Kasen | Kenji Kasen | Ray Machowski | Salvatore Leone | Mickey Hamfists | Phil Cassidy | Old Oriental Gentleman

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Tommy Vercetti | Ken Rosenberg | Lance Vance | Juan Cortez | Avery Carrington | Kent Paul | Umberto Robina | Steve Scott | Mitch Baker | Phil Cassidy | Love Fist | Mercedes Cortez | Candy Suxxx | BJ Smith | Hilary King | Cam Jones | Doris | Earnest Kelly | Alberto Robina | Victor Vance | Jethro & Dwaine | Lazlow Jones

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Carl Johnson | Sean "Sweet" Johnson | Cesar Vialpando | The Truth | Wu Zi Mu | Mike Toreno | Ken Rosenberg | Kent Paul | Maccer | Madd Dogg | Zero | Kendl Johnson | Big Bear | Ran Fa Li | Jimmy Hernandez | Denise Robinson | Jethro & Dwaine | Beverly Johnson

Grand Theft Auto Advance
Mike | Jonnie | Cisco | Yuka Kasen

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Toni Cipriani | Ma Cipriani | Maria Latore | 8-Ball | Phil Cassidy | Leon McAffrey | Ray Machowski | Toshiko Kasen | Mickey Hamfists

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Victor Vance | Lance Vance | Louise Cassidy-Williams | Phil Cassidy | Umberto Robina | Reni Wassulmaier | Phil Collins
HD Universe
Grand Theft Auto IV
Niko Bellic | Roman Bellic | Little Jacob | Brucie Kibbutz | Manny Escuela | Patrick McReary | Derrick McReary | Gerald McReary | Bernie Crane | Phil Bell | Jon Gravelli | Dwayne Forge | Kate McReary | Hossan Ramzy | Gordon Sargent | Real Badman | Mallorie Bardas-Bellic | United Liberty Paper Contact | Karen Daniels | Johnny Klebitz | Thomas Stubbs | Ashley Butler | Karen Daniels | Malc | Dave Grossman | Terry Thorpe | Clay Simons | DeSean | Angus Martin | Jason Michaels | Luis Fernando Lopez | Gay Tony | Yusuf Amir | Adriana Lopez | Armando Torres | Henrique Bardas | Mori Kibbutz | Jerry Kapowitz | Troy | Dessie | Joni | Abdul Amir | Evan Moss | Jim Fitzgerald

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Huang Lee | Wade Heston | Hsin Jaoming | Xin Shan | Ling Shan

Grand Theft Auto V
Michael De Santa | Franklin Clinton | Lester Crest | Lamar Davis | Dave Norton | Ron Jakowski | Jimmy De Santa | Wade Herbert | Amanda De Santa | Tracey De Santa | Chop | Martin Madrazo | Patricia Madrazo | Denise Clinton | Isiah Friedlander | Solomon Richards | Brad Snider | Chef | Eddie Toh | Karim Denz | Taliana Martinez | Daryl Johns | Gustavo Mota | Hugh Welsh | Karl Abolaji | Norm Richards | Christian Feltz | Paige Harris | Rickie Luckens | Andreas Sanchez | Floyd Herbert | Tanisha Jackson | Barry | Mary-Ann Quinn | Cletus Ewing | Maude Eccles | Joe | Josef | Manuel | Nigel | Mrs.Thornill | Tonya Wiggins | Dom Beasley | Omega

Grand Theft Auto Online
GTA Online Protagonists | Simeon Yetarian | Gerald | Agent 14 | Bogdan | Phoenicia Rackman | English Dave | The Black Madonna | Dixon | Carmine Conte & Matteo Milleri | Solomun | Alan Jerome | Bryony | Sacha Yetarian | Tao Cheng | Georgina Cheng

Vercetti Gang | Vice City Bikers | Cubans | Grove Street Families | Varrios Los Aztecas | San Fierro Triads | Vance Crime Family | McReary Crime Family | The Lost MC | The Families

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