Joe Fontana
Joe Fontana Skeleton
Name Joe Fontanta
Title Detective
Affiliation NYPD
Division Manhattan South Homicide Unit
Occupation Police officer
Status Alive (retired)
Actor Dennis Farina
First Appearance "Paradigm"
Last Appearance "Invaders"

Joseph "Joe" Fontana was a homicide detective on Law & Order from 2004 to 2006. He replaced Lennie Briscoe as Ed Green's partner after Briscoe retired. Fontana has a loose view on the law, willing to bend the rules to get what he needs.

Early Life

Born in Chicago, Joe Fontana grew up in "Little Italy", a working-class neighborhood composed primarily of Italian and Albanian immigrants. (L&O: "Enemy") He went to a Catholic school, finished high school, and apparently got decent grades - he was at least well-read enough to quote John Keats.

At some point, Fontana decided to become a cop, and joined the Chicago Police Department. At some point, he worked undercover. (L&O: "Gunplay") His tenure in the CPD was impressive, but he ended up leaving due to a conflict with a superior. (L&O: "Paradigm")

He transferred to the Homicide Department in the Bronx, though this may not have been his first stop in New York City. In 1995, he was one of the officers investigating the murder of 12-year-old Sara Dolan. He was convinced she'd been killed by her father, and thus pursued that angle for months, but failed to find the necessary proof.

In "Fame", Detective Cassady revealed in a conversation with Lieutenant Van Buren that Fontana had retired.

Officer-involved shootings


  • Like Fontana, Farina grew up in Little Italy and served a Chicago police detective. However, he worked in the Burglary Division for 20 years.