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- "Don’t ever get married, Sam. The second you do, that’s when they start to woman ya."
- ―Joe Lee Mickens, to Sam Merlotte[src]
Joe Lee Mickens was the father of Sam Merlotte and Tommy Mickens on the HBO original series True Blood. Played by American guest starring actor Cooper Huckabee, Joe Lee makes his debut on the episode "Beautifully Broken" in the series' third season. A violent person with a criminal record, he was in jail at the time of Sam's birth, hence his wife Melinda giving up Sam for adoption. Joe Lee, who knew of his wife and second son's shapeshifting abilities, used his family to fight in a dog fighting ring, ignoring the physical harm he placed on his family. Playing a recurring role through the series' third and fourth seasons, Joe Lee met an untimely demise in the Season 4 episode "Me and the Devil".
It was mentioned by Melinda Mickens that Joe Lee was in prison at the time of Sam's birth, and it was the reason that Melinda gave Sam up for adoption. Joe Lee also had used Melinda to shape shift into dogs to try to win dog fights.
Sam found Joe Lee and Melinda at their house by following Tommy, when he was looking for his parents. Joe Lee didn't recognize who he was as he had never seen him as a baby, and Melinda explained who he was. Joe Lee and Melinda took him and wanted him to stay the night at their house. ("Beautifully Broken")
Joe Lee and the rest of the Mickens came and visited Sam at Merlotte's Bar and Grill and Sam offered them a free meal, although Sam wanted to wait a while before they saw each other again. While serving beer shots to Joe Lee, Sam noticed that Tommy, who is underage, was also drinking some of the shots and told him that he couldn't have any. A drunk Joe Lee said that it was his kid and he decided what he wanted, but Sam made them leave. ("It Hurts Me Too")
When Tommy went to visit his mother Melinda, she lied to him claiming she left Joe Lee, he then surprised Tommy by choking him with a chain in an attempt to use him for dog fighting once again. Tommy, pretending he passed out, then used the chain on Joe Lee. Melinda tried to help Joe Lee by attacking Tommy, but Tommy killed him with multiple blows to the head with a pipe. After accidentally killing Melinda also, Sam helped Tommy, dumping the corpses into a river, where they were consumed by alligators. ("Me and the Devil")
|Season three appearances|
|"Bad Blood"||"Beautifully Broken"||"It Hurts Me Too"||"9 Crimes"|
|"Trouble"||"I Got a Right to Sing the Blues"||"Hitting the Ground"||"Night on the Sun"|
|"Everything Is Broken"||"I Smell a Rat"||"Fresh Blood"||"Evil is Going On"|
|Season four appearances|
|"She's Not There"||"You Smell Like Dinner"||"If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?"||"I'm Alive and on Fire"|
|"Me and the Devil"||"I Wish I Was the Moon"||"Cold Grey Light of Dawn"||"Spellbound"|
|"Let's Get Out of Here"||"Burning Down the House"||"Soul of Fire"||"And When I Die"|