Didn't you hear? I came to town to help Fangs escape, stuck around, got hauled in during riot night.
— Joaquin to Archie[src]

Joaquin DeSantos was a recurring character on The CW's Riverdale. He was portrayed by Rob Raco.

Joaquin was a member of the Southside Serpents, who finds himself tied between a romantic relationship with the Sheriff's son and the mystery of Jason Blossom's murder. During this time, he briefly dated Kevin Keller, until leaving town before law enforcement could catch up to him over his involvement in Jason's murder. He later returned to Riverdale after getting a call from FP that Fangs Fogarty, a fellow Serpent, had gotten himself wrapped up in the murder investigation of Midge Klump.

Early Life

Very little is known of Joaquin's life. He resided on the Southside of town, and some time prior to the start of the series he presumably completed the Serpents Initiation, later joining the Southside Serpents, a dangerous biker gang of criminals and thugs.

Throughout Riverdale

Season 1

Infiltrating the Gang

Joaquin and Kevin kissing

Unlike his unruly fellow gang members, Joaquin attended the Twilight Drive-In to enjoy the film, and he did so, until he noticed Kevin Keller, shushing at them to quiet down from several feet away. With Kevin in sight, Joaquin followed him to the food stand, in which a brief confrontation took place. Moments later, the two are seen making out in a back alley, behind the drive-in. Before leaving, Kevin gave Joaquin his phone number, almost immediately, he noticed Kevin's last name was Keller, as in the sheriff's son. As to be expected, he was alarmed by the revelation, but not frightened off, in spite of the fact that he's a gang member. [1]

Joaquin, Archie, Kevin and Moose entering Whyte Wyrm

Upon learning that one of Kevin's friends had been attacked on the Andrews Construction work site, possibly by a Serpent, Joaquin agreed to assist them in gaining access to a known Serpent hang out called the Whyte Wyrm. He first reminded Kevin, Archie, and Moose to play it cool and to keep eye contact to a minimum. The plan was for them to find the guys that ambushed Moose, and call Sheriff Keller, but Archie took it upon himself to confront the potential attacker, who was a Serpent named Mustang. Joaquin warned Archie to back off, but he didn't, which led to a brief altercation that was broken up by FP Jones, the leader of the Serpents. Later that night, he joined FP at his home in the trailer park after discovering that the police had learned of their arrangement with Jason Blossom. The heat was on, so FP packed Jason's varsity jacket in a bag, and tossed it to Joaquin, to hide it in a safe place as insurance, just in case everything went to hell.

It was then revealed that Joaquin's relationship with Kevin was only a means to an end, they planned on using Kevin as an inside line to the Sheriff. However, Joaquin felt guilty as Kevin's feelings for him were genuine, but FP reminded him that they all had a role to play, even him.[2]

Shady Serpents

Joaquin at Jughead's party

Despite having earlier established that Jughead's 16th Birthday Party was supposed to be inner-circle only, Kevin invited Joaquin to the party, who he claimed was inner-circle because they were dating. Unbeknownst to neither Kevin nor Veronica, Joaquin eavesdropped on their conversation pertaining to her father's trial and his potential involvement in Jason Blossom's Death. As Jughead and Betty entered the house, everyone jumped out yelling surprise, then Kevin introduced Joaquin to Jughead. Then came the birthday cake, as Joaquin, Kevin, Archie, Veronica, and Ethel surrounded Jughead while he made a wish and blew out the candles. This small and quiet event quickly escalated into a full-blown house party as the party was crashed by Cheryl Blossom and Chuck Clayton, along with many of their classmates.

Joaquin and FP at Jughead's party

Joaquin and Kevin did not allow this to put an end to their good time, and proceeded to make out in the kitchen, until they were interrupted by FP, who asked Joaquin to show him to the bathroom, which was merely an excuse for them to talk privately. He informed FP that Hiram Lodge's daughter was also at the party, during which she mentioned her father possibly being connected to Jason's murder. He was then ordered to find out what the Sheriff knew, and to do that through Kevin. Unperceived by either of them, they were being watched from the next house over by Alice Cooper. Downstairs, Joaquin watched quietly as a devious game of "Secrets & Sins", took place, however, the game quickly turned violent between Jughead and Chuck Clayton, which resulted in FP bringing an end to the party.[3]

Joaquin and Kevin at Homecoming

Joaquin accompanied Kevin to Riverdale High School's Homecoming dance. After Archie and Veronica performed "Kids in America" on stage, he and Kevin slow danced, during which Kevin revealed that not only was that the first time he had brought a boyfriend to that kind of event, it was the first time he ever really had a boyfriend. Most of his past relationships consisted of brief hook ups with closeted guys. They were then interrupted by Jughead, who was looking for Betty. From a distance, Joaquin immediately spotted Sheriff Keller as he entered the dance and approached Mayor McCoy, leaving Joaquin in an uneasy state as he slowly backed away.[4]

Joaquin's Departure

Joaquin and FP dispose of Jason's body

Two days after FP's arrest for the murder of Jason Blossom, Joaquin was invited over to Archie's house, where Kevin, Veronica and Archie asked him about the call that he had received from FP. Joaquin claimed the call was simply a warning to lay low, but Veronica wasn't buying it as no one uses their only call so frivolously. As the sheriff's son, Kevin asked him if he knew anything. Hesitantly, Joaquin said he had always assumed that FP killed Jason, he never saw FP pull the trigger but on July 11th, he got a call in the middle of the night from FP, who needed his help with a clean up job at the Whyte Wyrm. The basement of the bar was off limits to everyone, but that's where he met FP, and that's when he saw Jason's body laying on the ground. He was terrified, so he never asked FP if he killed Jason, Joaquin only helped with disposing of the body and cleaning up the mess left behind. Veronica stated that FP had done jobs for her father, Hiram Lodge, in the past, she asked if he thought that killing Jason was one of them, but he wasn't sure. There was one time that he had overheard a conversation between FP and Mustang, the only other guy who knows about the clean up, and the Serpent that Archie had previously gotten into a fight with. They were talking about some rich guy, but he wasn't entirely sure who. They threatened to turn him to Sheriff Keller if he didn't take them to Mustang's place of residence, which was the City Centre Motor Hotel.

Inside the motel room, they found Mustang dead in the bathtub, it appeared that he had overdosed, but Joaquin couldn't stick around for when the police arrived, so he immediately exited, with Kevin right behind. Left without too many options, Joaquin decided it was best to leave town. He left on a bus headed for San Junipero, but not before sharing one last passionate kiss with Kevin, and informing him about the contingency plan between him and FP, which involved a duffel bag with Jason's varsity jacket inside.[5]

Season 2

Return to Riverdale

FP calls Joaquin back to Riverdale

Joaquin returns to Riverdale after getting a call from FP that Fangs Fogarty, a fellow Southside Serpent, needed to get out of town. Joaquin explains that he has a place in San Junipero that he can sneak Fangs out to. However, Jughead explains they first need to get Fangs out of the Sheriff Station in one piece as there is an angry mob outside who want his head for the death of Midge Klump. So Joaquin hangs back at the trailer while FP and Jughead prepare to retrieve Fangs.[6]

Season 3

Joaquin sits in the yard

Joaquin is locked up in the Leopold and Loeb Juvenile Detention Center. Much to his surprise, Archie comes out on the yard, flashing a snake tattoo and claiming that he is a Southside Serpent, who was put on by Jughead and got his tattoo from FP Jones. When Archie asks how he ended up in juvie, Joaquin explains that he stuck around town after returning to help Fangs escape and got hauled in during riot night. Joaquin then outs Archie to Slash and the other Serpents; stating that he isn't a Serpent. And because of that, Archie has to earn their trust if he wants their protection. A test of loyalty. Joaquin pulls a shiv out of his shoe and hands it to Archie, telling him to stab the lone Ghoulie across the yard. No need to worry about the guards as the Serpents pay them to turn a blind eye. However, Archie refuses and walks off.

Joaquin and Slash listen to Archie's idea

The following day, Archie steps back on the yard with a brand new pair of shoes. Joaquin questions if Archie has a death wish, to which Archie answers that he wants to live in fact. He's been thinking and most of them are going to be there for a long time, and he doesn't want to do that time living like an animal. Shivving each other in the yard might be what the guards and the warden and the rest of the world out there expects of them, but there's another way. And what way is that, Joaquin asks. If they weren't there, they'd be in high school, joining clubs and trying out for sports. All of them will play one game to remind everyone that they're not animals. Not Ghoulies versus Serpents. No gangs, Archie says. They'll mix it up for a clean, fair game. Mad Dog agrees with Archie. If they keep killing each other, the warden and guards are the only ones who win. As an added bonus, Archie offers up his sneaker to MVP.

Joaquin plays during the football game. However, things go awry when Warden Norton signals the guards to attack the players under the claim that they were rioting. Joaquin is one of the first to be knocked to the ground and beaten.[7]

Joaquin is beaten down

After Archie refused to work for Warden Norton, the warden approached Joaquin to take the spot Mad Dog had left. However, Joaquin is not particularly skilled and the Warden implies he will not survive many more fights. Archie witnesses Joaquin being beaten to the ground by another fighter, and agrees to take his spot on the team. Later, after Archie wins his second match, he returns to the team, and informs them of his plan to escape. Joaquin - still badly beaten - agrees to go with him. [8]

Joaquin and Archie plan their break out

At the Leopold and Loeb Juvenile Detention Center, Archie moves forward with his plan to stage a break out. He’s has gotten several other inmates to accompany him, including Joaquin, who approaches Archie to inform him that the electrified fence is down. They intend to squeeze through the dead wires but it won’t be long before the guards notice and turn the power back on, forcing the prisoners to act now. Joaquin signals his guys, who stage a fight to provide a distraction as Archie, Joaquin and the others make a break for the gate. Joaquin trips and falls. Archie doubles back to help him up. In that time, the guards arrive and begin shooting them with rubber bullets. As the inmates scale the prison fence, they are shot down. When Joaquin attempts to do the same, Archie pulls him down to the ground and shields him from the gunfire.

Joaquin stabs Archie

Joaquin wraps Archie’s hand in the locker room as he prepares for his final fight. Archie informs Joaquin that something might go down and if it does, Archie promises to come back for them. Joaquin kisses Archie and then stabs him in the abdomen with a blade. His reason for this betrayal; the Warden promised him he would ascend. As Archie struggles to stand, he is taken away by Captain Golightly.

Joaquin comes face-to-face with Kevin

Joaquin manages to escape the pit and makes his way through the woods. While running, he comes in contact with Kevin. When Kevin reveals that he’s there to help break Archie out, Joaquin tells him that it’s too late for Archie. Kevin asks where Joaquin is going. For one, he isn’t going back to the Serpents. Joaquin has joined a different gang, one that he does not disclose to Kevin. But, he does warn Kevin to leave the area before running off himself.[9]

Fangs and Sweet Pea catch Joaquin

Joaquin is captured and taken to Fox Forest by Sweet Pea and Fangs at Jughead's request. They’ve tied him up and in the process of doing so discovered a gargoyle mask on his person, meaning he is one of the Gargoyle King’s disciples. Jughead has a lot of questions, but he starts with why Joaquin shivved Archie instead of protecting him. The Warden said Joaquin had no other choice. Joaquin explains that in juvie, you’ll do anything to survive, even if that means being the Warden’s pawn. However, in some ways, the Warden was a pawn too. Joaquin saw him with game cards that told him what to do. Whoever sent the cards wanted Archie dead. From the moment he was locked up, he was marked. Jughead asks if by marked, Joaquin is referring to the symbol that Warden Norton branded on Archie’s hip. However, Joaquin is not. He reveals the brand in which Jughead is referring to means sacrifice. It means that Archie had to die. Joaquin is seemingly under the impression that Archie died. Jughead informs him this is not the case. When Jughead asks who was giving the Warden his orders, Joaquin refuses to answer. Jughead pulls out his knife as Sweet Pea and Fangs hold Joaquin up. They threaten him. With no other choice, Joaquin tells Jughead that he saw Warden Norton meet with him once. Joaquin says that Jughead knows him. The man in the black suit, he says.

Joaquin's dead

Joaquin is then released. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to make it far. Joaquin ends up dead from cyanide poisoning later that day. His body is taken to Sunnyside Trailer Park, where he is left under a plastic tarp to be found by Sweet Pea and Fangs. His lips are blue and he has the sacrifice symbol on his forehead.[10]

Physical Appearance

Joaquin has a slim build, with tan skin, medium-length black hair, and very light blue eyes. At first glance, he comes off as grungy and dangerous, the fact that he is affiliated with the Southside Serpents doesn't help. Apparently, when joining the gang, members are required to tattoo the gang's symbol of a serpent on their body. He wears clothing similar to many of the Serpents and has a snake tattoo on his right wrist.


Admittedly, Joaquin is a member of the Southside Serpents, however, while he can be intimidating, he does not appear to be as ruthless and savage as his fellow gang members, but merely a man of few words and rather quiet. He has a conscience, as evidenced when he revealed to FP that he felt bad for stringing Kevin Keller along into thinking they had a genuine relationship, as Kevin had real feelings for him. Joaquin is also fairly calm and relaxed, even under the most dangerous of situations, like leading Kevin, Archie and Moose into a Serpent inhabited bar. It's implied that Joaquin developed true feelings for Kevin, as he professed he was going to miss Kevin as he boarded a bus to San Junipero before things got messy in Riverdale and he got caught in the cross fire.


Kevin Keller

Main article: Kevin and Joaquin

Joaquin leaving town

Despite the fact that both Joaquin and Kevin lived in Riverdale, the two of them had never crossed paths before the night of the final showing at the Twilight Drive-In, where they hooked up and exchanged numbers in a back alley. Since then, they have evolved from being casual hook ups to having genuine feelings for one another. However, unbeknownst to Kevin, Joaquin's initial reasoning for initiating the relationship was to gather information on the Jason Blossom murder case from Sheriff Keller through him. As the two of them continued to see each other, Joaquin began to show remorse for his deceitful ways. Following the revelation that Joaquin had a hand in the disposal of Jason's body, he opted to leave town before the heat came down on him, as it did FP Jones, thus bringing an end to his relationship with Kevin.

FP Jones

FP talking to Joaquin about a back-up plan

Joaquin and FP are connected via the Southside Serpents. It is currently unclear how far back their partnership goes but they are very loyal to one another. On July 11th, Joaquin received a call in the middle of the night from FP, who needed his assistance with a clean up job at the Whyte Wyrm. It was in the basement that he saw Jason Blossom's body laying on the ground with a bullet hole in his head. He then helped FP dispose of the body and clean up the mess. He and FP kept quiet about their involvement in the murder, while also keeping a close eye on the case via Kevin Keller, who Joaquin forged a relationship with. In case things ever got bad, the two of them created a contingency plan, which consisted of a USB hidden in Jason Blossoms Varsity jacket. However, when FP was arrested, Joaquin got a call from FP, telling him to forget the plan as it was too dangerous.


Season 1

Season 2

Season 3


  • Unlike most of the other characters, Joaquin is not a character from the Archie Comics.
  • Joaquin's last name was hinted to start with a "D" by his actor Rob Raco on twitter and was finally confirmed to be "DeSantos" in Chapter Twelve by Archie's mother.
  • The bus Joaquin took in Chapter Twelve is to San Junipero, which is a reference to the namesake episode of the British anthology series "Black Mirror".
  • Despite being a teen himself, Joaquin isn't shown to attend Riverdale High School nor was he mentioned to attend Southside High before he left town.
  • Joaquin's sexuality is never stated on the show, despite his relationship with Kevin.


See also: Category:Images of Joaquin DeSantos


  1. Grassi, Michael (writer) & Piznarski, Mark (director) (February 16, 2017). "Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show". Riverdale. Season 1. Episode 4. The CW.
  2. Cohen, Julia (writer) & Katzenberg, David (director) (March 30, 2017). "Chapter Eight: The Outsiders". Riverdale. Season 1. Episode 8. The CW.
  3. Lundin, Britta & Paterson, Brian E. (writers) & Wilkinson, Dawn (director) (April 13, 2017). "Chapter Ten: The Lost Weekend". Riverdale. Season 1. Episode 10. The CW.
  4. Aguirre-Sacasa, Robert (writer) & Sullivan, Kevin (director) (April 27, 2017). "Chapter Eleven: To Riverdale and Back Again". Riverdale. Season 1. Episode 11. The CW.
  5. Grassi, Michael (writer) & Seidenglanz, Rob (director) (May 4, 2017). "Chapter Twelve: Anatomy of a Murder". Riverdale. Season 1. Episode 12. The CW.
  6. Lawrence, Yolonda (writer) & Smith, Gregory (director) (May 2, 2018). "Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow of a Doubt". Riverdale. Season 2. Episode 20. The CW.
  7. Grassi, Michael (writer) & Woolnough, Jeff (director) (October 17, 2018). "Chapter Thirty-Seven: Fortune and Men's Eyes". Riverdale. Season 3. Episode 2. The CW.
  8. Allen, Aaron (writer) & Hunt, Jeff (director) (October 24, 2018). "Chapter Thirty-Eight: As Above, So Below". Riverdale. Season 3. Episode 3. The CW.
  9. Murray, Greg & Hasan, Ace (writers) & Romanowsky, Pam (director) (November 14, 2018). "Chapter Forty: The Great Escape". Riverdale. Season 3. Episode 5. The CW.
  10. Chambers, Cristine (writer) & Talalay, Rachel (director) (November 28, 2018). "Chapter Forty-One: Manhunter". Riverdale. Season 3. Episode 6. The CW.
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