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Carl Johnson
Appearance(s): Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Full name: Carl Johnson
Also known as: CJ


Place of birth: Ganton, Los Santos
Home: Johnson House, Los Santos
Nationality: American
Family: Beverly Johnson (mother)
Sean Johnson (brother)
Kendl Johnson (sister)
Brian Johnson (brother)
Affiliations: Grove Street Families
Frank Tenpenny
Mike Toreno
Wu Zi Mu
San Fierro Triads
Leone Family
The Truth
Varrios Los Aztecas
Businesses: Doherty Garage
Four Dragons Casino
Wang Cars
Zero RC
Voiced by: Young Maylay

Carl "CJ" Johnson is the protagonist in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.



Carl "CJ" Johnson, born in Los Santos, San Andreas, is one of the leading members of the Grove Street Families, along with his brother, Sean "Sweet" Johnson. Sweet suggested that CJ was born in the Johnson House, a two floor home at a Grove Street cul-de-sac in Ganton, Los Santos. After the death of his younger brother, Brian, Carl escaped the pressures of gang life and moved to Liberty City in 1987, where he had the opportunity of working with Don Salvatore Leone's son, Joey Leone in the car theft business, and is once seen mugging a passer-by on the streets in Liberty City. GTA San Andreas begins with CJ's return to Los Santos upon the death of his mother. It is supposed that CJ has been based on various well-known rappers such as Dr. Dre.  This supposition is highly unlikely.

GTA San Andreas

In 1992, CJ receives a phone call from Sweet on the death of his mother and returns to Los Santos, only to be confronted by members of C.R.A.S.H., consisting of officers Frank Tenpenny, Eddie Pulaski and Jimmy Hernandez. Throughout the storyline, CJ is forced to work for C.R.A.S.H., after learning that he has been framed by the organization for the murder of an Internal Affairs police officer called Ralph Pendelbury, whom C.R.A.S.H. members had also silenced to prevent him from exposing the team's activities. Interestingly, CJ's appearance at the beginning of the game is similar to Chris Tucker's character in the film "Money Talks".

Early in the game, CJ aids all the senior members in reviving the Grove Street Families, by killing crack dealers in the neighborhood, acquiring firearms and regaining gang territory. Carl also does some work for C.R.A.S.H. to keep Tenpenny off his back. Due to Carl's work, Grove Street is nearly brought back to it's feet. However, all the effort comes to an end when Varrios Los Aztecas leader and close friend, Cesar Vialpando calls CJ and they find out that two of the senior Grove Street members, Ryder and Big Smoke, have betrayed the gang to change side with the Ballas and C.R.A.S.H., while Sweet is ambushed and wounded by rival Ballas gang members in a shootout under the Mulholland Intersection. This leads to Sweet being arrested by the police. CJ manages to save Sweet from dying but is also arrested once the police raid the scene. CJ and Sweet's arrests also leads to the downfall of the Grove Street Families as well as Cesar's Varrios Los Aztecas which results in total domination of Los Santos by the Ballas and Los Santos Vagos.

C.R.A.S.H. releases CJ from being arrested in order to perform another job for them. They leave CJ in Whetstone to eliminate a witness against them. CJ, later on, starts committing a series of robberies along with Catalina, Cesar Vialpando's cousin, the heist targets include a betting shop, a liquor store, a gas station and a small town bank. CJ meets Triad leader Wu Zi Mu "Woozie" during a street race and aging hippie The Truth through Tenpenny. Catalina ditches CJ for her next boyfriend, Claude, and in another street race CJ beats them, gaining the deed to Claude's run down garage in Doherty, San Fierro. Carl prepares to leave the Badlands after helping The Truth burn down his cannabis crops because of the police discovering the farm.

Once CJ arrives in San Fierro with Cesar, The Truth and Kendl, he discovers that the garage he won from Claude is completely useless. Due to Kendl and The Truth's suggestions, he hires Dwaine, Jethro and Zero to work in the garage. CJ re-encounters Woozie in San Fierro and he explains, after a little recon, who the drug dealing organization, the Loco Syndicate are. Woozie hires CJ to help him sort things out with the Triads' enemies, the Da Nang Boys. CJ infiltrates the Syndicate through one of the members, Jizzy B and assists T-Bone Mendez and Mike Toreno run their drugs in an attempt to learn about a big deal between them and the Ballas. After gaining trust from the group, Carl kills Jizzy, then Mendez and apparently Toreno as well as former friend Ryder in a big shootout down at Pier 69. CJ, later, blows up Big Smoke's huge crack factory in Doherty. CJ succeeds in making his garage into a successful business and illegal car shop with the help of Cesar and his friends. After sorting everything out in San Fierro, CJ receives an anonymous phone call from a man using a voice distortion, who offers a way to release Sweet from jail, CJ then travels to the desert, to a ranch in the middle of Tierra Robada.

Upon arriving at the ranch in Tierra Robada, CJ discovers it's Mike Toreno who called him there, and he believes Toreno will kill him, so CJ doesn't let Toreno explain himself, Toreno snaps and in a fit of rage yells out he isn't a drug dealer, but a government agent. Toreno has CJ to buy the abandoned airstrip, Verdant Meadows, near Las Venturas and orders him to perform near impossible tasks, such as shooting down FBI helicopters from a plateau to protect a drop off chopper, dropping goods from an airplane to Toreno's helpers in Angel Pine while flying below the radar level and riding a motorbike into an airplane and setting off a bomb inside it after jumping off the plane in a parachute. After this, Toreno leaves CJ without fulfilling his promise of having Sweet released. An angered CJ then decides to sabotage Toreno by pulling jobs for The Truth, like robbing a jetpack from Area 69 and stealing some green goo from a government train. After finishing the jobs for The Truth, Wu Zi Mu calls CJ to his casino, The Four Dragons Casino in Las Venturas.

Upon arriving in Las Venturas, CJ gets a share of Woozie's new casino, The Four Dragons Casino, and helps Woozie deal with the Mafia Families trying to sabotage the casino. He starts planning a heist on the Mafia-run Caligula's Palace along with Woozie. To do this, CJ starts working for Salvatore Leone, even taking a short trip to Liberty City, for his trust and easy access to the casino. While planning the heist, CJ saves the life of rapper Madd Dogg, partly because he had sabotaged the rapper's career to launch OG Loc's. After saving his life, CJ becomes Madd Dogg's new manager. In the process, CJ helps Ken Rosenberg, Kent Paul and Maccer fake their deaths so they can stop working for Salvatore Leone. Finally, CJ retrieves a dossier for Frank Tenpenny, witnesses the murder of C.R.A.S.H. agent Jimmy Hernandez and kills another C.R.A.S.H. agent, Eddie Pulaski. After CJ and the Triads pull the heist, Carl flies back to Los Santos and helps Madd Dogg take back his mansion from Big Poppa and Los Santos Vagos.

When CJ gets back to Los Santos, he helps Madd Dogg get back his rhyme book from OG Loc and also helps him start his career again. While CJ is listening to Madd Dogg rapping at the studio, Mike Toreno hacks into the house's P.A. system and tells CJ about a final job. Toreno says the job is very easy and reveals that the task is to sneak into a military ship, steal a Hydra assault plane, and use it to blow up four spy ships. After pulling the job, Mike leaves Carl to take care of the plane. Later on, Toreno returns to CJ and asks him for a "final job", CJ then snaps and puts a gun against Toreno's head. Toreno calmly tells CJ that he's "embarrassing himself" and mentions a "surprise". The phone rings and CJ answers, it's Sweet and he has been released from prison and the final job was actually to pick him up.

However, with Sweet returning to the neighborhood, CJ once again, though reluctantly, is forced by Sweet to rebuild the Grove Street Families' dominance in the city, and witnesses a city wide riot sparked after Frank Tenpenny was acquitted of corruption charges in court. To wrap up all loose ends in his life, CJ would finally confront and kill Big Smoke, before pursuing Tenpenny, who would die in a car crash in front of the Johnson House. In front of the dead and broken man, CJ prepares to shoot Tenpenny's corpse with his gun, but Sweet stops him. CJ says that he "just wants to make sure it's over", but Sweet decides that it is safer to not leave evidence. He then leaves Tenpenny with the words "See you around... officer."

After the riot breaks up, Madd Dogg visits the Johnson house with an announcement that he's received a golden record for his new album. Everyone inside then decides to keep a low profile with everything that they've accomplished. CJ himself then gets up and leaves the house only to get a prank call from Catalina who is heard having sex with her boyfriend, Claude.

Murders commited by Carl Johnson

  • Freddy - Killed by CJ and OG Loc after a bike chase for stealing Loc's "rhymes".
  • Alan Crawford - Killed on OG Loc's orders in order to sabotage Madd Dogg's career.
  • Little Weasel - Killed for betraying the Grove Street Families and joining the Ballas.
  • Kane - Killed on Sweet's orders to deal damage to the Ballas.
  • Jizzy B. - Killed in order to begin disbanding the Loco Syndicate and to obtain the location of the Syndicate's next drug deal.
  • T-Bone Mendez - Killed with the help of Cesar Vialpando to disband the Loco Syndicate.
  • Ryder - Killed for betraying the Grove Street Families.
  • The Snakehead - Killed on orders from Wu Zi Mu to weaken the Da Nang Boys.
  • Johnny Sindacco - Scared to death on order of Wu Zi Mu.
  • Benny - Killed in order to get access to Millie Perkins' Home.
  • Eddie Pulaski - Killed for arranging the assassination of CJ's mother
  • Big Poppa - Killed in order to recover Madd Dogg's mansion.
  • Big Smoke - Killed for betraying the Grove Street Families.  

Optional Murders 

  • Millie Perkins - Can be killed to gain quicker access to her keycard to rob Caligula's Casino.

Deleted Murders

  • Officer Carver - Would be killed for attempting to have Poncho arrested and make him talk.
  • Marco Forelli - Was going to be the mobster who CJ kills in Saint Marks but due to deleted audio, his name is never mentioned in the final game.

Family Tree

Carl Johnson is the son of Beverly Johnson (deceased). He is the second-oldest Johnson sibling. The oldest is his brother, Sean (Sweet). The youngest is his other brother, Brian (deceased), and the second-youngest is Kendl. Nothing is known about their father, although in "The Introduction", CJ mentions that he never met his father. CJ does not have any living direct relatives other than Sean and Kendl.


CJ is markedly different from the previous playable characters in the Grand Theft Auto series. While Claude and Tommy Vercetti are both depicted as completely heartless and feeling no regret for all of the people that they kill, CJ is depicted as having a considerably less violent personality, occasionally giving his victims a chance to redeem themselves. An example is his failed attempt at convincing Eddie Pulaski to see that he was no more than Tenpenny's pawn. Furthermore, CJ displays genuine remorse for having to kill fellow Grove Street friends Ryder and Big Smoke, who he considered close friends. However, CJ still has no problem with killing members of other gangs, and willfully slaughters any that get in his way of reclaiming Grove Street Families turf or try to sabotage his businesses.


CJ was voiced by Chris Bellard, known as Young Maylay.  Some say he bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Dre, though this is debatable. Rumors circulated the internet for a while that Dave Chappelle was supposed to voice CJ, but these were most likely just wishful thoughts on the part of Chappelle's fans.


  • An Easter Egg in Grand Theft Auto IV suggests that CJ possibly died after 1992. However a reference of his death is never directly made. Either way, this is not considered canon for the GTA III Era.
  • Carl is the most customizable character in a GTA game to date, featuring clothes, tattoos, and hairstyles and the ability to change his physical appearence such as make him fat or strong.
  • At the end of the game, CJ is a very successful man. He had executed a major heist, owns a partnership in a Las Venturas casino, a successful rapper's manager, own businesses and real estates throughout San Andreas, a licensed pilot, owns a car garage in San Fierro, and most of all, he is a leading member of Los Santos' most powerful gang.
  • Carl Johnson is extremely anti-narcotic. He repeatedly refuses to take place in drug deals, and when a crack dealer tries to sell cocaine to him, CJ will always respond negatively. Also he dislikes Ryder because he is often under the influence of drugs. The only time CJ works for a drug deal is in the mission Outrider, when he makes sure a van reaches its destination un-damaged (the van is delivering some drugs to a crack factory in Doherty, San Fierro). Although he does this mission in order to gain the trust of the heads of the Loco Syndicate, and then kill them, because they are providing Big Smoke and the Ballas with drugs.

Carl JohnsonCatalinaOG Loc (Jeffrey Cross)Big Smoke (Melvin Harris)Sean "Sweet" JohnsonSalvatore LeoneMadd DoggWu Zi MuKent PaulEddie PulaskiKen RosenbergFrank TenpennyMike TorenoThe TruthCesar VialpandoRyder (Lance Wilson)

Jizzy B. •• Benny •• Berkley •• Big Poppa •• Michelle Cannes •• Claude •• Alan Crawford •• Derek •• Dwaine •• Emmet •• Freddy •• Colonel Fuhrberger •• Gal •• Guppy •• Hazer •• Jimmy Hernandez •• Jethro •• Kendl Johnson •• Jose •• Kane •• Maria Latore •• Ran Fa Li •• Little Weasel •• Maccer •• T-Bone Mendez •• Mike •• Su Xi Mu •• Ralph Pendelbury •• Millie Perkins •• Old Reece •• Denise Robinson •• Barbara Schternvart •• Jimmy Silverman •• Johnny Sindacco •• The Snakehead •• Sunny •• Big Bear (Barry Thorne) •• Tony •• Helena Wankstein •• B Dup (Mark Wayne) •• Mr. Whittaker •• Zero •• Katie Zhan

Richard BurnsBilly DexterLianne ForgetForth Right MCThe FunktipusJulio GJohnny LawtonLazlowChristy MacIntyreMauriceMary-Beth MaybellPhillip MichaelsHans OberlanderJohnny ParkinsonJames PedeastonMarshall PetersMary PhillipsPeyton PhillipsSageTommy SmithDerrick ThackeryMarvin Trill

Characters in GTA San AndreasCategory:Characters in GTA San Andreas • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas • Category:Characters

This article uses material from the "Carl Johnson" article on the GTA wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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