|The Walking Dead character|
Rick Grimes, as depicted in the comic book series.
Art by Tony Moore.
|First appearance||Issue #1 (comics)
"Days Gone Bye" (television)
|Created by||Robert Kirkman
|Portrayed by||Andrew Lincoln|
|Occupation||Cynthiana Sheriff's Deputy (comics)
King County Sheriff's Deputy (TV series)
|Significant other(s)||Wife: Lori Grimes
Lovers: Jessie Anderson (comics) Andrea
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 as of October 2013, 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 sheriff's deputy 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 commited suicide. Rick throws up outside and searches their barn where he finds a horse and his signature weapon, the hatchet. 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. Carl is later shot in the back by a man named Otis, who escorts Rick and another survivor, Tyreese, 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. Several weeks after their arrival, Rick, Glenn, and Michonne search for a nearby crashed helicopter, which leads them into the town of Woodbury, Georgia. Rick's right hand is ultimately severed by the town's ruthless leader, The Governor. An army from Woodbury later attacks the prison and kills a large swath of the group, including Lori and her newborn daughter, Judith.
After the prison is made insecure by the attack, Rick and the remaining survivors meet back up at Hershel's farm, where they come upon a new survivors who lead them to Washington, D.C.. On the way to the capital, they find out that the man leading them, claiming to be in contact with government scientists, has been lying to them; they also find that the capital is as infested as the other major cities. However, they are eventually recruited 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. He becomes the Constable, attempting to keep the peace in the town, but is eventually forced to kill a man who was abusing his wife and child.
Rick assumes leadership of the Alexandria Safe-Zone after Monroe grows reclusive over the death of his wife. The town is soon in danger, as a skirmish with a group of bandits attracts a nearby horde of zombies that quickly breach the town’s defensive walls. 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.
Carl survives, initially with minor amnesia. Rick feels that the son he had is all but gone when he tells him about the death of his mother, who he doesn't seem to grieve over. A small insurrection is formed, but the situation is defused without bloodshed and Rick forgives the transgressors. Andrea develops feelings for Rick, who resists out of fear of what might happen to him in the event of her death. Later, Jesus, an ambassador from a community of two-hundred survivors called Hilltop Colony, visits Alexandria to start a trading network with Rick's group. After some mistrust, Rick decides to work with Hilltop Colony. He agrees to help rid them of another community, the Saviors, who terrorize them daily for their supplies. Rick and his group later kill some Saviors, and some Alexandria inhabitants migrate to the Hilltop. In an ambush by the Saviors, Glenn is killed by the group's leader, Negan. He vows to avenge Glenn's death.
Rick and Shane are described to be best friends since high school, and were employed as deputy sheriffs in King County, Georgia. 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 zombie and hit over the head with a shovel by Duane Jones. Duane's father Morgan takes Rick in and explains the zombie apocalypse 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. Eventually, he meets up with a group of survivors who lead them to their campsite where Lori and Carl are, as well as Shane. They stay at the campsite for a few days, and within that time Rick's leadership grows and overpowers the authority Shane once had. He 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 butting heads frequently with Shane over the various decisions to be made. The group ultimately decides to move beyond the campsite once it proves to be insecure and leads to a large death toll, and move to the CDC in hope of finding a cure. The group unfortunately finds no answers at the organization, although the last remaining employee whispers a secret in Rick's ear.
In Season 2, after moving beyond the CDC following its destruction, Rick and company are trapped on the highway with a horde of walkers. His call for everyone to hide under the abandoned 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 and the shooter leads them to a nearby isolated farm. Rick is distraught over his son. He fights with the notion of whether humans are better off not living in the world. Carl miraculously pulls through after Shane retrieves supplies, which overjoys Rick. Still however, his perspective of his surroundings continues to alter, to the point where he gives up his sheriff attire and settles into more casual clothing, thus representing a significant transformation in his character. He frequently participates in search missions for Sophia, refusing to believe she is probably dead. He also attempts to reason with Hershel over letting the group stay with his family at the farm. His character becomes more nuanced after he is confronted with Sophia's death and reanimation, which reminds him of the hopeless and blunt reality of the world they're living in. While retrieving Hershel from a bar in town, he encounters 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. He and Lori take notice to Carl's increasing emotional hardness, and his relationship with Shane heads down a dark path, reaching boiling point when they're in conflict over the fate of a teenage outsider. It results in the two nearly killing each other. To preserve the group's safety, he attempts to shoot Randall, but finds that he is not able to bring himself to do it.
Shane prepares to kill Rick hours after Dale's death by killing Randall and during the search leading him out into the woods. Rick is able to talk him down, however at the last second he kills Shane with a single knife stab to the heart. He's distraught over Shane's death and witnesses his zombified friend get shot in the head and finally finished off by Carl. Following the events, 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 to 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.
In Season 3, following on nearly 8 months later, Rick is shown to have adapted a more ruthless style following the death of Shane. Throughout the winter, the group have been going around in a circle. Whilst Rick and Daryl go hunting, they find an over-run prison facility. The group then take the prison's courtyard, and rest for the night. The next day, Rick, Daryl, Maggie, Glenn and T-Dog take the inner prison, and clear out some of the prison, making it a near safe heaven. They later go deeper into the prison, and get chased by walkers. Glenn and Maggie are separated, and whilst trying to find them, Hershel is bitten on the leg. After taking him to the seemingly abandoned cafeteria, Rick amputates his leg with his hatchet. Afterwards, a group of human prisoners appear from behind the shutters. The prisoners are hostile at first to the group, and Lori suggests to Rick that she would fully understand and support him if he decided to kill them. Only two of the initial five prisoners supposedly survive during the clearance of a separate cell block for them and Rick seems glad to be rid of them. However, one other prisoner managed to escape walkers and jeopardised the safety of Rick's group by opening one of the gates to the main area of the group, which results in the death of T-Dog, and Lori's going into premature labour. Lori does not survive a C-section to save the baby, with Carl being the only available and willing person to prevent her reanimation. Devastated by the death of his wife, Rick goes berserk and reenters the prison, killing multiple walkers with only an axe and reaching the boiler room where Lori died. He discovers that she has been completely eaten by a nearby walker, which he kills and then begins to try and "dig" his wife's remains out of the creature. Rick then answers a series of successive phone calls from a nearby phone, each call leading him to believe that there are other survivors. He is shocked when they address him by his name, only to receive one final call from Lori, which helps him realize he is hallucinating and needs to snap back to reality.
Rick returns to the prison grounds, reconnecting with his son and the others. It is here when he sees Michonne walking towards the prison with baby formula. After a brief rescue of an exhausted Michonne, he learns from her that Glenn and Maggie are being held at Woodbury. He gathers Daryl, Oscar and Michonne and leads a party to rescue Glenn and Maggie. Right before he leaves, he shares a moment with Carl, and together, father and son name the newborn baby "Judith," after Carl's third grade teacher. Rick travels to Woodbury with the group, in hopes of reuniting with Glenn and Maggie. Rick and the group attack Woodbury, rescuing Maggie and Glenn, however Oscar dies during their escape and Daryl is captured. Upon realizing that Daryl was absent, Rick immediately orchestrates a rescue operation, intercepting both Merle and Daryl, who were being forced to fight to the death by the Governor at the request of the citizens of Woodbury. Merle's presence among the group forms tension, especially among Glenn and Michonne, whom Merle had been ordered to kill. As tempers start to flare, Rick strikes Merle from behind and he, Glenn, Maggie, and Daryl discuss the idea of bringing Merle back to the prison. The group eventually votes to abandon Merle, save for Daryl who refuses to leave his brother behind again. Rick and the group return to the prison a man short, as the threat of the Governor's impending retaliation looms large. Hershel, realizing reinforcements could help the group gain the upperhand, tries to convince Rick to take in Tyrese's group. However, just as it appears that Rick will concede, he begins to be haunted by the image of Lori, at which point he proceeds to have a mental breakdown. Tyrese's group flees the prison as Rick's sanity is called into question. His hallucinations of Lori continue and he begins to chase around the image of Lori both inside and beyond the prison's fences. Hershel, in an effort to restore some sort of stability in Rick's leadership, confronts Rick where he admits to seeing both Lori and Shane despite the fact that he knows they're both dead. Following the conversation between Rick and Hershel, the Governor attacks the prison, killing Axel and setting off dozens of walkers inside the prison in the process. Rick himself is pinned down by three walkers before being saved by both Daryl and Merle. Rick stares through the fence with the understanding that there's no turning back. Both groups are now at War. Following the Governor's attack on the prison, Carl suggests that Rick rest for a while and that Daryl and Hershel assume leadership of the group. Later Andrea, hoping to negotiate a truce between the two groups, visits the prison where she is met with a hostile response, especially from Rick. Rick asks Andrea to help the group sneak into Woodbury so they can kill the Governor themselves, which she refuses to do in part to the large number of innocents.
After learning of both Lori's and Shane's deaths, Andrea begins to understand why Rick is only a shadow of the noble, trusting leader he was in the past. Rick supplies Andrea with a car and a weapon on her way back to Woodbury, telling her to be careful. He decides to take both Carl and Michonne on a run for weapons and ammunition in preparation for the impending battle. They travel to Rick's old station where they find the armory to be completely removed of all weapons except a single bullet. Rick suggests they check local bars and restaurants as he signed off warrants for the weapons which belonged to the owners of those establishments. The group happens upon a strip of street rigged with booby traps where they are held at gunpoint by an armored gunman on a roof. Rick warns Carl to run back to the car as he opens fire, however Carl remains and shoots the gunman saving his father's life. The gunman is revealed to be Morgan, the man who saved Rick's life in the pilot episode, who has clearly lost sight of who he was following the death of his son Duane. Morgan is holed up in a booby trapped apartment with most of the station's remaining weapons and then some. Instead of raiding Morgan's apartment and leaving as Michonne suggested, Rick, feeling he owes Morgan a debt decides to stay until he regains consciousness. After attempting to kill Rick, Morgan snaps back into reality asking why Rick never kept his promise to communicate via the radio he had given him. Morgan tells Rick that he failed to kill his reanimated wife and that it was she who was responsible for Duane's death. He tells Rick there is little hope that he can keep Carl safe. Morgan's current state serves as a mirror to Rick and he realizes he will end up just like Morgan if he doesn't snap back into reality and overcome his own demons. Rick fails to convince Morgan to join the group, however he does salvage a bag of weapons instead. On their way back to the prison, Carl tells Rick that he likes Michonne, much to Ricks surprise. Michonne then confides in Rick, telling him that she knows he sees things and that she can relate to him as she used to talk to her dead boyfriend after the outbreak began.
Through the advice of Andrea, Rick attempts to negotiate with The Governor to prevent future violence. He proposes that the prison and Woodbury divide up their territory, which The Governor quickly rejects. The Governor tells Rick that he can prevent future deaths by turning over Michonne, who killed his walker daughter, Penny. When Rick returns to the prison, he tells the group that war is upon them. He secretly informs Hershel of The Governor's offer and asks him if he made the right decision.
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.
Television commentators were impressed with Lincoln's portrayal as Rick Grimes, particularly in the pilot episode "Days Gone By"IGN's Eric Goldman professed 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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