|The Walking Dead character|
Rick Grimes, as portrayed by Andrew Lincoln in the television series.
"Days Gone Bye"
|Created by||Robert Kirkman
|Portrayed by||Andrew Lincoln|
|Occupation||Cynthiana Sheriff's Deputy (comics)
King County Sheriff's Deputy (TV series)
|Family||Son: Carl Grimes
Daughter: Judith Grimes (possibly)
|Significant other(s)||Wife: Lori Grimes
Lovers: Jessie Anderson (comics), Andrea (comics)
Rick Grimes is a fictional character in the comic book series The Walking Dead and is portrayed by Andrew Lincoln in the television series of the same name. Created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore, the character made his debut in The Walking Dead #1 in 2003. The primary protagonist of both series, Grimes is a small town sheriff's deputy who awakens from a coma to find the world overrun with zombies. The series focus on Grimes' attempts to find and protect his wife Lori and son Carl, and his role as the de facto leader of a group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. In the comic series, he remains the longest living survivor, followed closely behind by his son Carl Grimes, friend and lover Andrea, Carol's daughter, Sophia, and Sophia's surrogate mother Maggie Greene.
Rick Grimes has been described as an everyman character who emphasizes moral codes and values. Lincoln obtained the role in April 2010; Kirkman felt he was an "amazing find". In preparation for the role, Lincoln sought inspiration from Gary Cooper in his work in the American western film High Noon (1952), as well as the television drama series Breaking Bad. Lincoln has been well-received for his portrayal of the character, and has been nominated for a Saturn Award for best actor on television.
Comic book series
Before the zombie apocalypse, Rick was a police officer in the small town of Cynthiana, Kentucky. While in a shootout against an escaped convict with his partner and best friend, Shane Walsh, Rick is wounded and subsequently awakens from a coma some time later. After being mistaken for a zombie and hit over the head with a shovel by Duane Jones, Duane's father Morgan takes Rick in and informs him about what unfolded during his coma. In search of his wife, Lori, and son, Carl, Rick heads to Atlanta, where it is said people were taken for protection. Rick runs out of gas and stops at a farm. Rick finds the owners inside who have committed suicide. Rick throws up outside and searches their barn where he finds a horse. Upon arrival, Rick is rescued from a large group of zombies by a fellow survivor named Glenn, who takes him to a camp where Rick is reunited with his wife Lori and son Carl, as well as Shane. Tension between Rick and Shane over leadership of the group and Lori's affections boils over in a confrontation which ends with Carl shooting Shane to protect his father. Afterwards, Rick leads the group away from Atlanta, trying to find shelter and safe haven from the undead.
Rick's early settlement plan proves to be disastrous, as the abandoned planned community he thought to be safe is ultimately found to be zombie infested, resulting in a death of one of their own. Lori Grimes, Rick's wife, shamefully admits to Rick that she is pregnant (presumably with Shane's baby), but Rick plans to care for it. Carl Grimes, Rick's son is later shot in the back by a man named Otis, who escorts Rick and another survivor, Tyreese, a recently joined member of Rick's group to the farm of Hershel Greene and his family. The group stays there for a brief amount of time before Rick is held at gunpoint by Hershel and forced to move out. While on the road again, two other members of the survivors discover a prison, where everyone seeks refuge and settles down.
Rick and the group settle into the prison where they meet the former prison inmates who hadn't managed to escape. Rick and Dale soon decide it's best to have as many people as possible at his new settlement, and decides to convince Hershel and his family to leave the farm and join him at the prison, as the farm grows increasingly precarious. The group's concept of the prison being a safe haven quickly diminishes when Rick and Tyreese find Tyreese's daughter, Julie, shot dead in an unsuccessful suicide pact with her boyfriend. Julie surprisingly reanimates as a roamer, which causes the revelation that everyone is infected of the mysterious virus, regardless of being bitten or not. After this event, the inmates try to assimilate with Rick's group with mostly disastrous results. This leads Rick into his first murder, that of the inmate Dexter, during an armed conflict with the other inmates.
Weeks after their conflict with the prisoners, Rick, Glenn, and the mysterious, katana-wielding woman Michonne, search for a nearby crashed helicopter which leads them into the town of Woodbury, Georgia. At the town they meet a man called The Governor, who leads Woodbury by extreme manipulation, cunningness, and ruthlessness. Fooled by The Governor's pseudo-hospitality, like most Woodbury inhabitants, Rick ultimately has his right hand severed in an attempt to get him to reveal the location of the prison. When the Governor sees Rick will never give up his family, he decides to torture both Glenn and Michonne instead, but yet again fails to find the location of the prison. Rick escapes the town with his group and new Woodbury ally, Alice Warren, after Michonne exacts her revenge on The Governor, as she tortures and mutilates him.
Rick happily reunites with his family after his captivity in Woodbury. Alice also begins updating Lori on her pregnancy. Alice delivers Lori's baby, whom the Grimes family name "Judith". However, their happiness is short-lived when the Governor, now horribly disfigured, finds the prison and captures Tyreese and Michonne. He manipulates his followers into believing Rick's group are marauders. During the final assault on the prison, Tyreese is executed in front of the groupyreese is executed in an act to force the group out of the prison, and both sides suffer significant losses. Lori and Judith are murdered as they try to escape.
Carl is enraged by Rick, claiming him responsible for their losses. Rick also begins hallucinating his wife. The survivors of the prison assault - Rick, Michonne and Carl - return to Hershel's farm where they reunite with the remainder of the prison group who left before the assault. They meet a new group of survivors who are on a mission to Washington, D.C., which consist of Abraham Ford (the leader), Eugene Porter (a man who claims to have knowledge on the cure, requesting to go to D.C.) and Rosita Espinosa (Abraham's girlfriend).
On the journey to D.C., the group face many threats. As Rick and Abraham take the interstate to Rick's hometown, they are confronted by a group of marauders who hold them at gunpoint, as one tries to sexually assault Carl. Rick, overcome with rage, bites bites one of the bandits' jugular vein, which distracts the other bandits. Abraham shoots the bandit holding him at gunpoint at comforts Carl as Rick proceeds to stab the remaining bandit to death. Rick later reunites with Morgan in his hometown, who has lost his sanity after his son's death. Rick, Abraham, Carl and Morgan encounter a large horde who follow them back to the survivors' camp. Later, after suffering several losses, the group confront a cannibalistic group of hunters, and slaughter them after they eat one of their own.
On the way to the capital, they find out that their mission is bogus as Eugene Porter has been lying to them about the cure. They decide to still push on to D.C. because of their close proximity, and they find out that the capital is as infested just as the other major cities. However despite these set backs, they are recruited by Aaron to stay in a secluded and secure township on the outskirts of Washington, called the Alexandria Safe-Zone. Each person tries to find a semblance of real life, but Rick doesn't trust the leader of the town, former U.S. Congressman Douglas Monroe.
Rick soon becomes the Constable of the Safe Zone, attempting to keep the peace in the town, but is eventually forced to kill Peter Anderson, a man who was abusing his wife and child and soon murdered Regina Monroe, Douglas' wife. Rick having been through so much since the prison, slowly starts resuming more leadership-like roles until finally Rick assumes leadership of the Alexandria Safe-Zone, after Douglas soon finds himself losing his grip on life, and his leadership position exacerbating as a result of this. The town becomes endangered after a scavenging group's attack attracts a nearby horde of zombies that quickly breach the town's defensive walls. Morgan and Rick's new girlfriend, Jessie, are two of several casualties in the distress of the situation. As the survivors fight for their lives, several people are killed and Rick's son is grievously wounded by a gunshot to the head. Using the combined strength of all of those remaining in the community, the survivors fend off the horde and Rick tends to Carl, whose condition is very dire. Following the attack, however, Rick concludes that the undead can be beaten if the survivors put their differences aside and work together. Rick mentions that this is the first time in a very long time that he has hope for the future.
Rick's mindset on survival changes and he gradually develops an optimistic outlook on the community and its true potential. Carl wakes up from his coma. Later, Carl wakes up, initially with minor amnesia. Rick worries that the son he knew is gone, as he shows no grief over Lori's loss. A small insurrection is later formed, but the situation is defused without bloodshed and Rick forgives the transgressors. Rick and Andrea continue to bond and become very close concerning Carl in his coma. Andrea develops feelings for Rick, who resists out of fear of what might happen to him in the event of her death. Paul Monroe, an ambassador from a community of two-hundred survivors called the Hilltop Colony, visits Alexandria to start a trading network with Rick's community. After some mistrust, Rick agrees to go to the Hilltop Colony and starts the trading network. At the Hilltop, Paul Monroe admits that the Hilltop Colony have enemies, and explain of the infamous Negan, who some speculate may not even be a person. The group learn of the Saviours, the Hilltop's rivalling community, who frequently terrorize them and threaten to damage their community if they are not brought half of their supplies. Rick agrees to defuse their conflict and plans to rebuild civilization. Rick's group are ambushed by a group of the Saviors after they leave the Hilltop Colony. Rick's group retaliates, killing them. He sends the lone survivor back to Negan with a warning to stop terrorizing the residents of Hilltop. Rick and Andrea return to the Safe Zone to discover Abraham has been murdered and Eugene is being held hostage. Residents of the Safe Zone discover the Saviours are outside of the walls, as they quickly respond by killing them. Rick and several others including Glenn and Maggie decide to go back to the Hilltop Colony where Glenn and Maggie plan to live. However, Negan makes his appearance to the survivors surrounded by his men, taunting the survivors before brutally beating Glenn to death. Rick and the others watch on in horror and Maggie and Sophia later leaves Rick to go to the Hilltop. Now realizing the full scale of Negan's army, Rick intentionally gives in, allowing Negan to take all of Alexandria's supplies.
Rick remains at conflict with Negan and the Saviours. Carl reveals to his father that the Saviours live in a factory. Paul Monroe tells Rick that they should see Ezekiel, the leader of the Kingdom. Ezekiel, residing in a high school, greets Paul Monroe and welcomes Rick to his community. He agrees to work with Rick, and explains that he has another visitor, Dwight, a Saviour secretly working against Negan. Rick, initially angry with Dwight's appearance, eventually forms an alliance with him, but remains wary of whether to trust Dwight or not.
During the war, the Alexandria Safe Zone, the Kingdom and the Sanctuary suffer many losses. Rick rescues Andrea and Carl when the Alexandria Safe Zone is bombed by the Saviours. Maggie, now the de facto leader of the Hilltop Colony, relocates the residents to the Hilltop, where all three communities unite. Negan arrives at the Hilltop Colony as the Saviours break down the front gates and swarm the community. Rick orders the survivors to open fire, destroying the truck that smashed through, killing several Saviors in the process. During the firefight, Rick takes Nicholas and Aaron to box in the attackers. While they take cover, Rick unknowingly leaves himself vulnerable from behind. Negan, who separates from the other Saviors with Dwight, finds Rick at a close distance and demands that Dwight shoot him with his infected crossbow. Dwight shows some hesitation, but is ultimately forced to shoot Rick. An arrow pierces Rick's side, taking him down, but Dwight's loyalties are revealed to be on Rick's side as he has not succumbed to the infection. He confronts Negan, showing his perspective, and Negan finally understands Rick's view of rebuilding society. In response, Rick slashes Negan's throat before Negan breaks his leg. Negan passes out, before he is saved by a doctor. Rick chooses to imprison Negan, believing the regrowth of civilization is a greater pain than death for him. Dwight takes over as leader of the Saviours, supporting Rick and the war is won.
Two years later, Rick and the others have rebuilt Alexandria into a thriving sanctuary. He welcomes newcomers, Magna and her group who are initially wary of the safe haven, but eventually come to understand the running of the community. Carl convinces his father to let him relocate to the Hilltop Colony to become a blacksmith apprentice, which Rick agrees on. Rick reunites with Maggie Greene and her adoptive daughter, Sophia as he brings Carl to the Hilltop. Rick leaves Carl under Maggie's care.
Rick and Shane are described to be best friends since high school, and were employed as deputy sheriffs in King County, Georgia. In the series premiere "Days Gone Bye", Rick was shot and wounded during a gun battle with a band of escaped convicts, and left in a coma when the outbreak began. After awakening alone in the hospital, he is mistaken for a walker and hit over the head with a shovel by Duane Jones. Duane's father Morgan takes Rick in and explains the virus to him. He sets off in search for his wife, Lori, and young son, Carl, and along the way discovers what has happened to the world. While searching in Atlanta, he is attacked by a horde of walkers and hides in a tank. In the episode "Guts", a young man named Glenn rescues him from the tank and leads him to a group of survivors scavenging for supplies in a building. During an altercation, Rick subdues group member Merle and chains him to a pipe on top of the building. The building is attacked by walkers, and the group flees the city, leaving Merle behind. In the episode "Tell It to the Frogs", the survivors lead Rick to their campsite where Lori and Carl are, as well as Shane. Rick is happily reunited with his family. However, Daryl demands that they return to the city to find his brother Merle, which Rick agrees to do as well as recover a bag of guns he dropped. They find that Merle had cut off his own hand to escape. In the episode "Vatos", they search for Merle, who is nowhere to be seen, and get into an altercation with another survivor group over the bag of guns. They return to the campsite just in time to save the remaining survivors as a group of walkers overruns the camp. In the episode "Wildfire", the campsite has proven to be insecure as the attack led to a large death toll. Rick's leadership and influence within the group has grown and overpowers the authority Shane once had. Rick struggles with this responsibility however, attempting to weigh being fair and doing what he believes to be right, no matter what the rules of society were like in the past. He also finds himself conflicted with Shane over the various decisions to be made. The group ultimately decides to move beyond the campsite, and move to the CDC in hope of finding a cure. In the season finale "TS-19" the group is hoping for a new home, but unfortunately finds no answers at the organization. The last remaining employee at the CDC reveals that the building will soon self-destruct, and whispers a secret in Rick's ear before the group escapes the doomed facility.
In the second season premiere "What Lies Ahead", after escaping the CDC, Rick Grimes, now the established leader of his group, plans to move away from Atlanta. On their journey away, the group become trapped on the highway with a horde of walkers. His call for everyone to hide under cars ultimately proves costly as it results in Carol's daughter Sophia being chased into the woods by zombies. He attempts to rescue her, but loses her shortly after instructing her to hide leaving her alone to fight off her pursuers. Throughout the girl's absence, he questions his faith in God, and if the survivors can ever truly be safe. While splitting up during the search, Carl is accidentally shot. In the episode "Bloodletting", the shooter, Otis, leads Rick and Shane to a nearby isolated farm where they are spotted by Maggie, to be operated on by Hershel, farm owner and veterinarian, works to save Carl's life by using a transfusion of Rick's blood. In the episode "Save the Last One", Hershel tells Rick and Lori that Carl will need surgery to survive but lacks the needed supplies. In the episode "Cherokee Rose", Carl pulls through after Shane retrieves supplies, which overjoys Rick. Hershel tells Rick that the group will have to leave once Carl recovers, but Rick asks him to reconsider. In the episode "Chupacabra", as their stay on the farm elongates, Rick gives up his sheriff attire and settles into more casual clothing, as he participates in search missions for Sophia. He also continues to reason with Hershel over staying at the farm. In the episode "Secrets", Lori tells Rick that she is pregnant and reveals to Rick that she and Shane had been together after she believed he died. In the mid-season finale "Pretty Much Dead Already", the group discovers that Herhsel's barn is full of walkers that he believed were still alive and just sick. When Shane finally breaks the barn open, the group shoots the walkers as they file out one by one, but find themselves unable to act when the last walker to come out is revealed to be Sophia; Rick solemnly shoots Sophia in the head to end her undead existence.
In the mid-season premiere "Nebraska", the group remains devastated over Sophia's loss. After Beth, Hershel's youngest daughter, collapses, the group discover that Hershel is missing. Rick and Glenn go to retrieve him from the bar in order to help Beth. While Rick and Glenn are retrieving Hershel from a bar in town, they encounter two armed men who ask leading questions about Rick and his group. When Rick declines to answer, one of the men tries to shoot Rick. Rick shoots and kills them both. In the episode "Triggerfinger", other members of the group attack Rick and the others in the bar, and ultimately flee. They leave the injured young man Randall behind, but Rick and his group save Randall's life and take him prisoner. In the episode "18 Miles Out", Rick and Shane try to leave Randall 18 miles away from the farm, but the two nearly kill each other in a brutal fight. They flee from a walker horde and they wind up taking him back to the farm. In the episode "Judge, Jury, Executioner", Rick decides that he must execute Randall to preserve the group's safety, but Dale protests. Rick and Lori take notice to Carl's increasing emotional hardness, and his relationship with Shane heads down a dark path, reaching a boiling point when they are in conflict over the fate of Randall. Rick attempts to shoot Randall, but finds that he is not able to bring himself to do it, courtesy of his son who wanted to watch the execution. Dale is mortally wounded that night when a walker attacks him. In the episode "Better Angels", Shane prepares to kill Rick hours after Dale's death by killing Randall and leading Rick out into the woods during their "search" for him. Rick is able to talk him down; however, at the last second, he kills Shane with a single knife stab to the heart. He is distraught over Shane's death and witnesses his zombified friend get shot in the head and finally finished off by Carl. In the season finale "Beside the Dying Fire", the shot draws the attention of a nearby walker horde, which overruns the farm. The group is forced to flee the farm, losing a few more members in the process, and meet up with each other again on the road. Rick still shows great pain at the thought of losing Shane, but views his actions as justified, believing Shane was a genuine threat to the group. As the events begin to unravel to the other survivors, Rick confesses a long held secret he kept hidden from the group: that they are all infected (as discovered by Dr. Edwin Jenner of the CDC). Lori initially tries to console him, but then turns her back on him when she learns the horrifying truth of Shane's death. Confronting a group suspicious of his image and his leadership, Rick adopts a dark and tyrannical personality change, bluntly admitting that he killed Shane for good measure and later daring any would-be traitors to abandon the safety of the group.
Rick has adapted a more ruthless style of leadership following the death of Shane. Rick and Lori's relationship has since has deteriorated. In the season premiere "Seed", after 8 months on the road, Rick and Daryl find an over-run prison facility. The group take the courtyard and later the inner prison, making it a safe haven. Hershel, however, is bitten in the process, which results in Rick amputating his leg. In the episode "Sick", Lori manages to save Hershel's life. A group of hostile prisoners appear to the group, who have survived ten months into the outbreak inside the cafeteria. They orchestrate a plan to kill Rick, but Rick immediately kills or leaves them for dead. Later, Lori tries to strike up an intimate conversation with Rick, but he coldly rejects her. In the episode "Killer Within", one prisoner left for dead manages to survive and retaliate, jeopardizing the group's safety by unleashing walkers into the prison, resulting in some of the survivors' deaths, one of which includes Rick's wife, Lori, who goes into labour, who sacrifices herself to save her daughter's life via emergency c-section. In the episode "Say the Word", devastated by the death of his wife, Rick goes berserk and re-enters the prison, killing multiple walkers with only an axe and reaching the boiler room where Lori died. He finds she has been eaten by a nearby walker. Rick then answers a mysterious phone calls from a nearby phone. In the episode "Hounded", Rick then begins answering a series of successive phone calls, only to receive one last call from Lori, which makes him realize he is hallucinating. After being non-responsive, Rick returns to the prison grounds and reconnects with his son and newborn daughter. At the prison gates, he suddenly encounters a wounded, mysterious woman. In the episode "When the Dead Come Knocking", after rescuing the woman named Michonne, he discovers from her that Glenn and Maggie are being are being held at a town called Woodbury, run by The Governor. Before he leaves, he discovers that Carol, who was assumed dead, is still alive and the group happily reunite before sharing a moment of pain over Lori's loss. He shares a moment with his son, who decides to call the newborn girl "Judith". In the mid-season finale "Made to Suffer", Rick travels to Woodbury and rescues Glenn and Maggie from the torture room with the others, but Daryl is ultimately captured.
In the mid-season premiere "The Suicide King", Rick successfully orchestrates a rescue operation to save the Dixon brothers: Merle (who was The Governor's henchman until his betrayal) and Daryl. Merle's presence forms tension among Glenn and Michonne (whom Merle was ordered to torture and kill), thus causing him to leave the group with his brother. As Rick returns to the prison, Hershel, realizing reinforcements could help them with the threat of The Governor, tries to convince Rick to take in Tyreese and Sasha's group. Rick almost concedes before he envisions Lori again, at which point he proceeds to have a mental breakdown, scaring the group away. In the episode "Home", Michonne and Hershel find out about Rick's hallucinations as Rick gradually loses stability in his leadership. Later, the Governor then attacks the prison, killing Axel and setting off dozens of walkers inside. Rick is saved by both Daryl and Merle, who have returned. In the episode "I Ain't a Judas", recovering from the assault, Carl suggests that Rick should step down as leader. Meanwhile, separated group member and Woodbury citizen, Andrea, tries to negotiate a truce between the two groups at the prison. Rick reveals the Governor's actions to her before sending her off, failing to meet an agreement. Andrea then realizes their losses are the reasons for Rick's hostility. In the episode "Clear", Rick decides to take Carl and Michonne on a run to King County for weapons and ammunition in preparation for the impending battle. They meet Morgan Jones (the man Rick encountered in the pilot), who has lost his sanity after the death of his son, Duane, killed by his reanimated mother after Morgan failed to put her down. Rick fails to convince Morgan to join the group, but he does salvage a bag of weapons. He tells Rick there is little hope that he can keep Carl safe and no hope for their survival. On their journey home, Carl tells Rick that he likes Michonne, much to Rick's surprise. Michonne then confides in Rick, telling him that she can relate to him as she used to talk to her dead boyfriend after the outbreak began, revealing she knows he has been seeing things. In the episode "Arrow on the Doorpost", Rick and The Governor try to negotiate through Andrea's advice of a peaceful resolution, but they fail to make a deal. He claims the group will prevent future losses if they only hand over Michonne. In the episode "This Sorrowful Life", Rick is unable to turn over Michonne with Merle, so Merle decides to go, but changes his mind to kill The Governor, which leads to his death at the hands of the Governor himself. In the season finale "Welcome to the Tombs", Rick, Daryl and Michonne go out to confront The Governor after he massacres his own troops and fails to take the prison. They discover a bitten Andrea in The Governor's torture chamber after unsuccessfully trying to unite both sides. Rick reaffirms her as a group member, as she uses his revolver to commit suicide, further pushing Rick to bring the rest of the citizens of Woodbury to the prison. Rick confiscates Carl's pistol after he kills a boy from Woodbury, believed to be a threat. Rick then stops seeing visions of Lori, realizing his ruthlessness and cold demeanour were the reason for her appearances.
Rick has relinquished leadership of the now large group (around 40 survivors), and lives a quieter, peaceful lifestyle. Having gotten over Lori's loss, he takes up farming with Hershel and spends more time with Carl and Judith. In the season premiere "30 Days Without an Accident", 6–7 months have passed since the group last saw the Governor. Rick continues to confide in Hershel, his now moral adviser, who reassures him that he has came back from his instabilities. In the episode "Infected", after living in normalcy for so long, Rick is forced to deal with walkers that have invaded Cell Block D. Rick, Daryl, Hershel, former army medic Bob Stookey, and Dr. Caleb Subramanian, examine the body of survivor Patrick, who they believe started a sickness. Hershel's daughter, Maggie, later alerts them of further problems with the fences caving in, due to the large number of walkers, which Rick and Daryl later resolve by using piglets to drive them away. Rick then gives Carl his gun back. In the episode "Isolation", Rick, Tyreese, Carol and Daryl examine the bodies of Tyreese's girlfriend and survivor, David, who were killed who were killed and set on fire to prevent the sickness from spreading. Tyreese turns violent and attacks Rick, and Rick responds by brutally beating Tyreese's face, injuring his hand in the process. Rick begins investigating their deaths and suspects Carol. He asks her if she killed Karen and David, to which she replies that she did. In the episode "Indifference", Rick goes on a run with Carol to search for food and medicine. He realizes that Carol is not showing remorse for killing two of the infected, believing she could put an end to the sickness. Rick ultimately banishes Carol from the group, giving her supplies and a car to fend for herself. In the episode "Internment", Rick returns to the prison, enlisting Carl to help him with the fences which break as walkers come through. The two work together and dispatch them before they can get into the prison grounds. Afterwards, Daryl and Michonne's group return to the prison with the supplies needed to help the sick. In the mid-season finale "Too Far Gone", Daryl is indignant about the banishment of Carol. Before he and Rick can tell Tyreese, the Governor appears with a large militia and a tank, planning on taking over the prison. The Governor, holding Hershel and Michonne hostage, calls Rick a liar on his idea to live together peacefully, as he decapitates Hershel. A gunfight breaks out immediately, and Rick is morbidly wounded. The militia drives the tank through the fences and into the prison as Rick confronts the Governor and fights him. However, due to his multiple injuries, the Governor gains the upper hand. Just before Rick can be strangled, Michonne appears and stabs the Governor through the chest with her katana. Rick goes to the prison courtyard and is reunited with Carl, and together they find Judith's empty and bloody baby carrier. They both begin to weep, assuming she is dead, and quickly leave the prison together during the gunfire.
In the mid-season premiere "After", after the prison attack, Rick and Carl hole up in a house in a neighborhood that they found. Carl blames an unconscious Rick for The Governor's attack and for their losses as Rick backed away to a quieter lifestyle. He goes on to claim he can survive without Rick. As Rick rises from the couch they used to block the door from walkers, Carl (believing he has turned) points Rick's own revolver at him and cries, admitting he needs his father. Rick and Carl later talk near the couch the next day and a knock is heard at the door. It is revealed to be Michonne and Rick laughs, saying it's for Carl. In the episode "Claimed", while Carl and Michonne are on a supply run, Rick lies in bed upstairs and hears a scavenger group enter the house. Startled, he hides under the bed and watches one member choke another member into unconsciousness after fighting over who gets to use the bed. Rick slowly sneaks into the bathroom and encounters another member who he strangles to death. After leaping from the roof, Rick sees Carl and Michonne return from their supply run and signals them to leave the area, as conflict erupts among the bandits. They witness a sign, directing towards the train tracks ahead for a sanctuary called "Terminus". In the episode "Us", Rick, Carl and Michonne continue to share a close bond on the tracks to Terminus. In the season finale "A", the trio struggles to find food and shelter. The group of bandits they had avoided previously return with Daryl, who they have been travelling with. They make known their intent to kill Rick for strangling their friend, before they can assault Michonne and Carl. As Michonne is held hostage, one member attempts to sexually assault Carl, and start to beat Daryl for trying to intervene and sacrifice himself. Rick fights off Joe and kills him by gruesomely biting his neck, as well as saving Carl from his attacker by stabbing him repeatedly in front of Carl. The group then make their way to Terminus and are met by the inhabitants after sneaking in. Not long after, a conflict ensues after the survivors notice that the inhabitants are wearing gear and articles of clothing that belonged to Glenn, Maggie, and other survivors they knew. The citizens of Terminus trap the group in a boxcar, where they find their friends and new allies. Rick tells the others that the people at Terminus are "screwing with the wrong people."
In the season premiere "No Sanctuary", after being trapped by the people of Terminus, Rick and the others create makeshift weapons to fight off their captors. However, the captors throw in a stun grenade in the train car and take Rick, Daryl, Bob and Glenn out to the slaughterhouse, revealing that Terminus is inhabited by cannibals. Lined up bending over a pig trough where several survivors are slaughtered, the leader of Terminus, Gareth (Andrew J. West) tells Rick and Bob that they were given a choice to join or feed them. Suddenly, an explosion is let off that destroys the compound, infests it with walkers and allows the group to escape. Rick murders the butchers at the slaughterhouse and many other cannibals before escaping with the group. They later discover the explosion and walker infestation was caused by Carol Peletier who witnessed them being taken into the slaughterhouse. Rick hugs her graciously. Carol surprises Rick and the others once again by revealing she is with Judith, his daughter, who is still alive. Rick, Carl and Judith reunite as a family. In the episode "Strangers", travelling with the reunited group, they meet a strange survivor named Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam), a priest who takes them to his church for shelter. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) holds a toast for their proposed journey to Washington, D.C. where a cure is believed to be. Rick agrees to the trip, but remains suspicious of Gabriel, knowing he is hiding something. In the episode "Four Walls and a Roof", Rick follows Sasha outside to search for Bob later in the night, who has gone missing. With the disappearances of Daryl, Carol and Bob, Rick and Sasha finally confront Gabriel on his secret, which he reveals is his cowardice to leaving his congregation outside while he stayed inside the church alone locked away. Gareth and the Terminus survivors bring Bob back, missing a leg. Bob reveals he was bitten and also reveals Gareth and the Terminus survivors captured him, cut off his leg, and ate it in front of him. Rick and the others go out to confront Gareth and the others. As Gareth arrives in the church with his group, Rick's group comes behind and traps them inside, before brutally executing them. Bob thanks Rick for taking him into the prison and giving him a home before he dies. Rick and the others wait for Carol and Daryl to return. In the episode "Crossed", Daryl returns with Noah (Tyler James Williams), revealing that Beth, Maggie's missing sister, is being forced to stay at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta under the service of Lt. Dawn Lerner (Christine Woods) and her police officers. Rick orchestrates a plan to kill them, which Tyreese rejects, proposing a less violent resolution. The group go with Tyreese's plan, as they take three officers has hostages in exchange for Beth and Carol. One, Sergeant Bob Lamson (Maximiliano Hernández) however, double-crosses them by attacking Sasha and escapes. In the mid-season finale "Coda", Rick hunts Lamson down, runs him over, and kills him with his revolver. Rick meets with members of Dawn's police force and arranges the exchange. As the exchange ensues, Dawn demands Noah back before they can leave. Rick refuses but Beth, infuriated by Dawn's cycle of abuse, unsuccessfully tries to kill her, to which Dawn reflexes and accidentally kills Beth. Rick and the others watch in horror as Daryl kills Dawn in retaliation. A stand-off is defused by Officer Shepherd (Teri Wyble), one of the exchanged captives, who claims Dawn was the problem all along. The group leave the hospital devastated by the loss of Beth.
Rick Grimes is portrayed by Andrew Lincoln, who was cast as part of the series in April 2010. Prior to attaining the role, Lincoln had no prior knowledge of the comic book series. "I didn't even get a script the first time —I got sides, because it was so top-secret," he stated. "I was really intrigued and put myself on tape. They got back very quickly from Hollywood and gave me the script." Lincoln approached a bookstore (Mega City Comics) in the London Borough of Camden, where the owner introduced him to the comics. "That's when I went to a comic-book store in Camden, and said 'Have you heard of this comic book?'. The owner showed me this shrine they had to the comic, and said 'This is our most popular and successful comic, and in my opinion, one of the greatest graphic novels of the last ten years'. That's when I got into it."
In preparation for the role, Lincoln sought inspiration from the American drama series Breaking Bad, as well as western film High Noon (1952). Since he felt that The Walking Dead emulated western cinematic works, Lincoln found High Noon to be very useful in projecting a country-like character for Rick Grimes. The performance of Gary Cooper and the moral structure of his character was also cited as an influence; "He's a divided man, between his responsibilities and his marriage. He's not like the Clint Eastwood figure, the loner. It's more complicated than that. He's got a softer heart, so that was definitely an inspiration for me as well." Lincoln avouched that it was difficult to perfect a southern American accent. "I worked really hard on the accent," he stated. "I suppose if you're asked by one of the great channels in America to lead their show, you want to start off getting that right. I worked hard on not just the accent, but also on being American and getting into the feel of that." He traveled to Atlanta three weeks before production of the first season began, and worked with a dialect coach while there. Although weapon training was required, Lincoln had previous experience with weaponry training in the British sextuple-part television series Strike Back (2010).
Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd initially didn't expect Lincoln to portray Grimes. Upon hearing the announcement, Writer Robert Kirkman felt that Lincoln was an "amazing find" and added that he accurately embodied the characteristics of Rick Grimes. "Writing Rick Grimes month after month in the comic series, I had no idea he was an actual living, breathing human being, and yet, here he is. I couldn't be more thrilled with how this show is coming together." Although he was initially shocked upon hearing of the concept of The Walking Dead, Lincoln thought that the script for "Days Gone Bye" was well-written. He stated: "I read it and thought it was well written, and I put myself on tape just for one scene. I didn't know who was involved at this point." The following day, Lincoln's agent called him about the development of the pilot, to which Lincoln called it "kind of like a dream list".
Rick Grimes has been described as a man that emphasizes moral standards. Lincoln summated: "His intentions are good, though his decisions may be bad many times. He's complicated and flawed, which I find fascinating because it makes him human. He sort of erodes over time because of the world he lives in, and there's nothing more satisfying than playing a character that changes irrevocably, so I embrace all of that." Lincoln added that Grimes was a somewhat inflexible leader, which he opined could potentially put Grimes' group in danger. Despite these assertions, he affirmed that the complexities have molded him into a decisive and peculiar character. "I also think Rick's inflexibility is both a part of his character and a reaction to what's happening around him. This situation [...] has brought qualities out in people that are both good and horrible. And certainly, as I was playing him, I felt Rick [consistently] needed to have a mission, otherwise he was just stagnating. You see this in several characters. They have to keep moving. Without a horizon, they flounder. And it was a big call for Rick to go to the CDC [...] in the fifth episode, but he was looking long-term. I find that admirable, because he's looking to the future for his family, for a cure, and for sanctity."
In both mediums, Grimes adopts a more dark and assertive nature as the story progresses. In the comic, he is faced with dealing against a murderous sociopath that claims the life of two group members, as well as an attempted suicide indirectly provoked by his close and trusted friend. Perhaps the most significant moment, he is eventually put under physical and mental torture by The Governor as a result of vulnerability and mistaken trust, ultimately causing the death of many within the group, including his wife and newborn child. The first hand witnessing of the savageness around him leads him to gradually adapt a more primal mindset, becoming less affected by violence and death (at times brutally murdering/mutilating people). Similarly, his perspective becomes increasingly deluded, as his decreased trust in people and decreased tolerance level leads him to take no issue in risking the life of an innocent. This is specifically shown as Rick struggles when eventually being given the chance to return to normalcy. He is however shown to be very protective of those who have suffered alongside him and most protective of his son, Carl, which leads to him being caring and considerate to them one moment and cold and detached the next.
In the second season of The Walking Dead progresses. Kirkman discerned that the second season revolved around Grimes' ability to emerge as a credible leader, proving to the group that he can adequately protect everyone in the group. He continued: "This is one more thing emerging where you see that this is a guy who can gun down people when they're a threat and can definitely handle himself when it comes to zombies but also cares about people. He's going to retain some of that humanity, and that's very important for these characters. It makes Rick stand head and shoulders above other people, like Shane, in this world." The gradual change is largely attributed to the death of Sophia Peletier, whom he shot after she had turned into a walker in "Pretty Much Dead Already." These characteristics become more prominent in "Nebraska", and again in "18 Miles Out". Robert Kirkman felt that "Nebraska" demonstrated that Rick Grimes was not delirious, as Shane accused him of being.
The end of this episode proves to Rick that that's not the case. This entire season has been leading up to the moment where he shot those two men. Shane has been beating it into his head that he isn't fit for this world and needs to be a harder man and be able to make the hard decisions. Over the last two episodes, we've seen Rick be the one that has to step up and shoot Sophia when no one else can. We've seen him in the blink of an eye take out two guys who are a clear threat to him and everyone else that's with him. This is really the beginning of Rick emerging as a clear leader and answering that thing that Shane's been saying all this time.
Lincoln's portrayal of Rick Grimes has been generally well received by television commentators and audiences. "IGN's Eric Goldman stated that Lincoln fit into character very well; "For much of the pilot, he's on his own and exudes a lot of believable, shocked emotion, as Rick tries to process what he is seeing." Although he cited that his accent was "dodgy" in the pilot installment, Leonard Pierce of The A.V. Club observed that Lincoln became more relaxed as the series progressed. "His body language and expression here is totally different now than when we saw him before. He's a fast learner."
As the second season commenced, critics became keen to the character development of Grimes in several episodes, particularly in "Nebraska". Reviewing the episode, Los Angeles Times ' Gina McIntyre felt that Rick emulated Justified character Raylan Givens, while Zach Handlen of The A.V. Club observed that Rick was morphing into "something of a badass". Handlen added that it marked a turning point for Grimes, which established his position "as a guy who can do what needs to be done." Scott Meslow of The Atlantic commented that "there's the surprisingly swift, violent dénouement, when Rick guns down Dave and Tony before they can do the same to him. It's a necessary action, given the circumstances, but it also rings in an honest-to-god character change for our hero, who, having dispatched zombie Sophia, seems to have developed a new recognition of the ruthlessness and self-centeredness it may take to survive in this new world order."
The growing tensions between Rick Grimes and Shane Walsh have been well received by television critics. In a review for "Bloodletting", Joe Oesterle of Mania.com commended the performances of Lincoln and Bernthal. Oesterle wrote, "Andrew Lincoln and Jon Bernthal [...] gave a fine bit of acting, and I found it interesting how the character Rick started looking and walking a little bit zombish after giving blood. The scenes between the two men were moving, and if you listened close you could decipher the main differences between these two cowboy cops. Rick is bound and determined to get back to his wife and let her know their son is in mortal danger, without ever doubting his own ability to successfully complete the mission, while Shane on the other hand is not quite as automatically selfless and heroic."
Several critics lauded Grimes' interactions with Walsh in "18 Miles Out". Writing for CNN, Henry Hanks said that "Rick made it clear to Shane that he had to respect his rules from now on." Alex Crumb of The Faster Times evaluated their physical confrontation as "wholly satisfying", while Entertainment Weekly writer Darren Franich appreciated the fight scene involving Grimes and Walsh; "The Shane/Rick fight was great, a brilliantly extended scuffle that started out with an air of boys-will-be-boys pettiness but quickly escalated into something genuinely homicidal." Berriman of SFX summated: "It's shocking when Shane hurls a wrench at Rick’s head, but even more shocking that Rick is prepared to cut and run and leave him for dead. Rick’s change of heart when he looks down at the two dead walkers on the floor and is reminded of the friendship between himself and his former partner is a beautifully played moment, which speaks volumes without a single line of dialogue being uttered. The fact that, come the end, he's willing to trust Shane again after all that has gone on between them is genuinely touching."
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a small-town sheriff's deputy
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