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Joe Friday is the main protagonist and minor antagonist of the 1987 film Dragnet, based on the TV and radio series of the same name. In the film, he works to bust a cult of devil worshippers who are terrorizing Los Angeles, led by Jonathan Whirley, and to protect a girl named Connie Swail from them.


Friday is the detective who (along his partners) rotated through the various departments from week to week, allowing them to solve not only murders, but also fraud, arson, and drug-smuggling.


In his private life, Friday mostly kept to himself and maintained a low social profile. Like Webb, Friday was an Army veteran and a chain smoker, but in contrast Friday was a confirmed bachelor which often did not go unnoticed by his partners who regularly but futilely advised Friday to marry and settle down. In the original series Friday lived with his mother, but later lived alone in a small apartment. In contrast, two of his most prominent partners, Frank Smith and Bill Gannon, were married with children.

Friday's birth date was given as April 2 (the same as Webb's) in the 1969 episode "Community Relations", but this is in conflict with that given in the 1954 radio episode "Big Shock", where his partner attempts to give Joe a birthday present of fleece-lined slippers, when Friday informs him that his birthday is August 30, not March 30.

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