|The Walking Dead character|
Tyreese, as depicted in the comic book series. Art by Charlie Adlard.
|First appearance||Issue #7 (comics)
"Made to Suffer" (TV series)
|Last appearance||Issue #46 (Alive) (comics)
Issue #49 (Undead) (comics)
Issue #72 (Flashback) (comics)
Issue #75 (Bonus Ending) (comics)
|Created by||Robert Kirkman
|Portrayed by||Chad Coleman|
|Family||Daughter: Julie (comic series)
Sister: Sasha (TV series)
|Significant other(s)||Carol Peletier (comics)
Karen (TV series)
The direction of the character is contrasted between the two mediums. In the comic book series, Tyreese is one of the earliest characters to appear in the series, being first introduced after the death of Shane Walsh. Tyreese is shown to be a devoted father to his daughter Julie and an able-bodied fighter, while often conflicting with fellow group leader, Rick Grimes. His caring and compassionate side is also dominant in his personality, being a role model to Carl Grimes as well as taking on a secondary leadership role to the group of survivors. Despite this, he is shown to suffer from emotional fragility, especially after his daughter's death.
In the television series, he is not introduced until the third season and instead of a daughter he has a younger sister, Sasha. In part of the fourth season he acts as the primary caretaker of Rick and Lori Grimes's daughter, Judith. Tyreese is forced to face many difficult decisions and obstacles in the television series, such as the mysterious death of his girlfriend Karen and the deaths of Lizzie Samuels and her sister, Mika, whom he had protected after the downfall of the Prison. Because of this, Tyreese is displayed as emotionally and psychologically damaged, being unable to kill another human being, despite the severity of the case.
Despite the character's change of trajectory, Tyreese is a capable and strong survivor in both mediums, with his favored weapon being a hammer as opposed to firearms. His conflict with Rick Grimes is depicted in both mediums. In the comic book series, he leaves a significant mark on the group of survivors after his death, especially Michonne. In the television series, he is one of the last survivors of the newcomers to enter the Prison and one of the last people who lived in Woodbury who is still alive.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2014)|
Tyreese was a central figure within the survivor group. Shortly after his introduction, it was clear his traits and skills were on par with Rick. He was a physically strong, able-bodied man, able to hold his own against any zombie threats that the group encountered. His strength with his hammer and his stamina was recognized, and Rick often specifically requested his assistance in clearing out the undead. He was also a friendly, approachable man, genuinely caring about the well-being of the entire group, and he actively volunteered to help and defend them. He was shown as a stern but loving father, caring deeply for Julie's safety and wary of Chris's irresponsibility.
Although his weaknesses weren't as exposed as other characters, they were highlighted. While travelling on the road, he was revealed as a terrible shot with any firearm, which Andrea often mocked him for. He focused instead on being primarily a melee fighter. He also had trouble controlling his emotions, such as when he killed Chris, after he killed the undead Julie, despite Chris's actions clearly saving Tyreese's life. Another instance was when Rick later confronted him about Carol and he engaged in a bloody brawl with the former. He showed the most emotional vulnerability when tempted with the sexual advances of Michonne; this resulted in the first major conflict against Rick that affected the entire survivor group and their opinions.
His tragic death clearly had a significant impact on the survivors; not just emotionally, but practically. As Tyreese often took the initiative as a secondary leader and was one of the more physically strong defenders, the remaining members of the group who survived the attack of The Governor had more difficulty adapting to the dangers and obstacles when back on the road. It was only with the introduction of Abraham Ford that someone filled the power void Tyreese's death created.
His role as a strong defender of the group and generally righteous man has had an lasting impression. Glenn is seen much later in the Alexandria Safe-Zone re-telling the story of Tyreese's miraculous survival in The Prison gym to the community locals, and admiration and respect is evident in his reminiscing.
Much later after the destruction of the prison, Michonne sadly refers back to Tyreese when confiding in Rick about her loneliness, signifying he had more a lasting emotional impact upon the detached Michonne than she had previously led her fellow survivors to believe.
Tyrese's stance on humanity is: one should live life to the fullest and appreciate all they have. Ever since losing his ex-girlfriend in high school to suicide, he has remained disgusted at the concept of suicide and looks down upon those who commit it.
In the comics, Tyreese is described as having failed his brief stint in the NFL as a linebacker. Throughout the following years he went through a variety of unsatisfying jobs, such as being a bouncer and (up until the outbreak) a car salesman. He was a divorcé with a teenage daughter named Julie, over whom he had always remained fiercely protective. His relationship with Julie, however, was often strained because of the tension between him and Julie's boyfriend Chris.
In the television series, Tyreese is revealed to have been from Jacksonville, Florida. He lived close to his sister, Sasha and had a neighbour named Jerry. As the outbreak began, he and his younger sister Sasha stayed in a bunker in their neighbor Jerry's backyard for about 7 months until they ran out of supplies. After that, they met up with Allen, Donna and Ben and joined a larger group, which had about 25 survivors at one point. The camp was eventually overrun, and many were killed. For about 6 weeks they wandered until they arrived at the prison. During this time Tyreese saves Donna and she becomes somewhat smitten with him.
Comic book series
Tyreese, Julie, and Chris meet up with Rick's group on the highway as winter begins to approach. He quickly becomes an essential asset to the group, providing them with muscle, as well as leadership qualities, which earned Rick's trust in him.[volume & issue needed] Within a matter of days, he and Carol engaged in a subtle romantic relationship, with him often acting as her emotional and physical protector.[volume & issue needed] He continually struggled putting up with Julie and Chris's sexual antics, and failed with his attempt to establish ground rules for the two of them.[volume & issue needed] Shortly following their arrival at Wiltshire Estates, his relationship with Carol escalated and resulted in the two of them having sex.[volume & issue needed]
After fleeing Wiltshire and settling into an abandoned prison, Tyreese had the misfortune of discovering Chris and Julie's failed suicide pact, with Julie having been shot dead and Chris still alive.[volume & issue needed] In a fit of hysterics, Tyreese strangled the boy to death and mutilated his corpse.[volume & issue needed] Surprisingly, he got over what had transpired rather quickly, much to Rick's confusion and concern.[volume & issue needed] The two continued to have a strong relationship, with Tyreese often giving Rick guidance and assisting him with various physical things.[volume & issue needed]
Upon the arrival of Michonne, Tyreese found himself seduced by her in the gym, and initially attempted to keep it hidden from Carol, unbeknownst to the fact that Carol had witnessed the event happen first-hand.[volume & issue needed] After a few woeful attempts to compete with Michonne, Carol ended their relationship and forced him to move to another cell block, where he continued to see Michonne, albeit in vain because of his regret over losing Carol.[volume & issue needed] Carol ultimately attempted to commit suicide by slashing her wrists, which soon after led to a violent altercation between him and Rick. This event marked the point where their close friendship was severed.[volume & issue needed]
When the rest of the group decided Rick was unfit to lead following the fight, Tyreese was later was made part of the decision committee, along with Hershel and Dale.[volume & issue needed] His relationship with Rick continued to be strained; however, the two still managed to cooperate and work with each other at various times.[volume & issue needed] Within the time Rick was gone from the prison with Glenn and Michonne, Tyreese and Carl developed a close bond, with Carl looking at Tyreese almost as a surrogate father.[volume & issue needed] In return, Tyreese was extremely protective over him, often reassuring Carl when he doubted Rick's leadership.[volume & issue needed]
As the group prepared for war against Woodbury, Tyreese led a handful of people to a nearby National Guard station where Woodbury retrieved many of its supplies.[volume & issue needed] They were nearly ambushed by The Governor's men.[volume & issue needed]
Tyreese was devastated upon witnessing Carol kill herself in front of the group; however, his grief quickly turned to anger and pity because of how he saw suicide as a pathetic act.[volume & issue needed] Nevertheless, her death drove him deeper into the arms of Michonne.[volume & issue needed] During the attack on the prison, he and Michonne attempted guerilla warfare, only to be ambushed in their attempt and Tyreese captured and taken as a hostage.[volume & issue needed] The Governor planned to use him as leverage so as to gain access into the prison, however when this fails, Tyreese is slowly and brutally decapitated in front of the group. In the aftermath of the assault, Michonne kills his re-animated head.[volume & issue needed]
His role as a strong defender of the group and generally righteous man had an lasting impression on the survivors of the assault.[volume & issue needed] Michonne sadly refers back to Tyreese when confiding in Rick about her loneliness, signifying he had more a lasting emotional impact upon the detached Michonne than she had previously led her fellow survivors to believe.[volume & issue needed] Glenn recalled the story of his miraculous survival in the prison gym to several Alexandria citizens at the group's welcome party.[volume & issue needed]
Tyreese is introduced as being from Jacksonville, Florida, along with his sister Sasha (who is exclusive to the show). He and Sasha hid in a neighbor's underground bunker as the outbreak occurred, and then for a few months after that. Upon leaving the bunker and heading out on their own, they came across another group of survivors. Their camp was eventually overrun and the group gradually became smaller until it narrowed down to him, Sasha, and a family of three (Allen, Donna, and their teenage son Ben) surviving out in the woods.
In the episode "Made to Suffer", Tyreese and his group discover the prison and proceed to sneak in, through the exposed back side of one of the buildings. They are no sooner locked in a cell block by Carl, while Rick and others are away at Woodbury. Donna, having been bit in the woods, succumbs to her infection and dies, and Tyreese takes it upon himself to prevent reanimation by destroying her skull with his hammer. In the episode "The Suicide King", while in the process of burying Donna outside, Allen proposes ambushing the group and taking over, however Tyreese refutes the idea, acknowledging that despite the circumstances, they're 'good' people. Once Rick arrives back, his mental instability forces Tyreese and his group to clear out.
They stay nearby the prison in the woods and are eventually discovered in the episode "I Ain't a Judas", by Andrea and Milton, the latter of whom takes them to Woodbury. The Governor welcomes them with open arms, once they agree to provide a layout of the prison. In the episode "Prey", they are shown to have settled into the town, all four of them taking on active roles within the community. Tyreese and Sasha serve as the community's primary wall-guards. While they are on watch, Andrea reveals to them that the Governor has done terrible things and is planning worse, before she escapes over the wall. Tyreese is later taken to the Biter Pits to help collect captive walkers, and gets into a fight with Allen. He later asks the Governor why he keeps the walkers, but the Governor assures him that they are used only as a scare tactic.
In the episode "Welcome to the Tombs", Allen is recruited as part of The Governor's army for the war against Rick's group. The Governor attempts to recruit Tyreese and Sasha as well, however they want no involvement in the bloodshed and opt to stay behind with the women and children while the rest of the able-bodied go off to fight. Allen, as well as most other Woodbury citizens who went off to fight, are gunned down by The Governor after their raid fails. The lone survivor of the massacre, Karen, guides Rick's group to Woodbury, where Tyreese is keeping watch. He lets them all in, guides them to a room where they find Andrea bitten, and stands vigil outside the door while Andrea shoots herself. Awakened to The Governor's maliciousness and concerned for everyone's well-being, he and Rick agree on moving everyone to the prison.
In the season premiere "30 Days Without an Accident", Tyreese is shown to have adapted to life in the prison and begins a romantic relationship with Karen. He goes with others on a supply run that turns deadly for a young man named Zach; upon returning to the prison he spends the night with Karen. In the episode "Infected", a mysterious deadly illness spreads through the prison. When he learns that Karen is sick, she and another survivor named David are quarantined by the prison's council. While going to visit her, he finds the she and David have been murdered and burnt. In the episode "Isolation", when Rick and Daryl attempt to calm him, he attacks them out of anger asking them to find who killed Karen. He finds out his sister Sasha is also sick and goes with Daryl, Michonne and Bob to find medicine. In the episode "Indifference, they get the supplies and return to the prison to treat the surviving patients. In the mid-season finale "Too Far Gone", Tyrese discovers a dissected rabbit in the tombs and tells Rick and Daryl he thinks it was the same person who killed Karen, but when they try to tell Tyreese who really killed Karen, they are interrupted as The Governor attacks the prison. Tyreese takes part in the fight with The Governor's group and he is cornered by two of the Governor's soldiers, but both are killed by Lizzie and Mika. The children then run towards the prison, with Tyreese following them, telling them to go the other way.
In the episode "Inmates", following the attack on the prison, Tyreese is split into a group with Lizzie, Mika and Judith where they are soon joined by Carol, who doesn't mention anything about her exile from the group by Rick. They follow a set of train tracks where they discover a sign indicating that a place called Terminus promises sanctuary and community. In the episode "The Grove", the group takes a break from following the train tracks to Terminus, and find a house in the middle of a pecan grove. Carol and Tyreese later return from a hunting trip to find that Lizzie had killed Mika and was about to kill Judith, thinking that everyone would understand that Mika was just a changed person after reanimating as a walker. Viewing Lizzie as too dangerous to be around other people, Carol and Tyreese discuss Lizzie's fate, and Carol is forced to shoot Lizzie in the head. Afterward, Tyreese learns that Carol was responsible for killing both Karen and David. She slides a gun across the table, telling Tyreese to do what he has to do. Tyreese refuses to kill her, saying that he forgives her, but he can't forget what she's done because it has now become a part of who she is. Tyreese, Judith and Carol leave the pecan grove and resume following the train tracks.
In the season premiere "No Sanctuary", Tyreese and Carol continue along the tracks to Terminus with Judith though Tyreese is still in shock because of Lizzie's actions. They are forced to avoid an entire herd headed for Terminus, and after avoiding it they overhear Martin, a Terminus resident, talking on a radio about "bleeding out" Carl and Michonne. Tyreese holds Martin hostage while Carol heads to Terminus to rescue their friends, destroying Terminus in the process. In a moment's distraction Martin grabbed Judith trying to escape and Tyreese severely beat him. Tyreese was later reunited with Sasha and the others as they made their way away from Terminus. He also tells Carol that he killed Martin. In the episode "Strangers", the group continues to travel away from Terminus and Tyreese tells Carol he doesn't want the others to find out about Lizzie and Mika, wanting to forget it, as the group later takes shelter in Father Gabriel's church. In the episode "Four Walls and a Roof", as the group looks for the vanished Daryl and Carol, Bob reappears in front of the church with his leg cut off and eaten by Gareth and the other survivors from Terminus. Bob was also bitten by a walker, so Tyreese tries to encourage Sasha to stay with him until the end. She instead joins Rick in chasing after Gareth and Tyreese stays behind with Bob, Carl, Rosita, Gabriel and Judith. However Gareth, with a still-alive Martin and the rest of his group, instead storm the church itself but Rick's group reappears and Tyreese watches, disturbed, as Rick, Sasha, Michonne and Abraham massacre Gareth, Martin and the rest of their group. After Bob dies Tyreese stabs his head to prevent reanimation and buries Gareth, Martin and the rest.
In the episode "Crossed", the group learns from Daryl and Noah that Beth is alive and forcibly held in a hospital, led by Officer Dawn Lerner, in Atlanta as is Carol now. Tyreese goes with Rick, Daryl, Sasha and Noah to retrieve Beth and Carol. When Rick makes a plan to kill most of the police, Tyreese instead suggests capturing two of Dawn's subordinates and trading them for Beth and Carl. They capture Officers Bob Lamson, Lacuri and Shepherd, while Tyreese also tries to help Sasha who is still distraught over Bob Stookey's death. In the mid-season finale "Coda", Tyreese is present at the exchange when Rick trades Shepherd and Lacari for Beth and Carol. Dawn demands Noah which results in Beth accidentally being killed by Dawn, which in turn provokes Daryl to shoot Dawn. The church group then steps outside with Beth's lifeless body as Abraham's group arrives in time to see the horror also.
Casting and reception
Tyreese, a fan favorite in the comics, was adapted to appear in the third season of the TV series when it returned from its midseason break. Chad Coleman was seen in Senoia on set by fans and supposedly autographed photos with his character's name. On November 20, 2012, his role as Tyreese was officially confirmed. Coleman described the character - "With Tyreese, I really feel the sky's the limit", and that he is "a bona fide leader that can probably find his footing in any situation". Zack Handlen, writing for The A.V. Club, noted that his introduction in the episode "Made to Suffer" happened to occur in the same episode that Oscar - another African-American character - was fatally shot; Forbes magazine's Erik Kain also noted that he was worried for Tyreese because it seemed to him like "black guys in The Walking Dead do not have an easy time staying alive".
Eric Goldman at IGN enjoyed the return of Tyreese in the episode "I Ain't a Judas". Zack Handlen felt that it was hard to blame Tyreese and his group for declaring their allegiance to the Governor over Rick, who seemed insane.
Eric Goldman enjoyed the fact that Tyreese was fleshed out more in the episode "Prey". Zack Handlen felt that most of the storyline for Tyreese in this episode was "on the clunky side, forcing conflicts that will most likely pay off down the line with rough, ugly timing". He felt that it made sense for Tyreese and Sasha to start questioning the Governor's motivations because "they're still good people at heart, far more in tune with what Rick and his group are aiming for than the Governor's burgeoning fascism", but felt that the conflict between Tyreese and Allen made less sense because Allen was mostly unfamiliar as yet.
An interview with Dallas Roberts (Milton) revealed that in the original, unaired ending of the third season finale, "Welcome to the Tombs", only Tyreese and one other character were to have found Andrea.
- Kirkman, Robert (w), Adlard, Charlie (p), Adlard, Charlie, Cliff Rathburn (gray tones) (i), Moore, Tony (cover) (col), Kirkman, Robert (let). "Miles Behind Us" The Walking Dead v2, 7:  (April 2004), 1071 N. Batavia St., Suite A, Orange, CA 92867: Image Comics
- Kirkman, Robert (w), Adlard, Charlie (p), Adlard, Charlie (inker, cover), Cliff Rathburn (gray tones, cover colors, back cover) (i), Wooton, Rus (let). "The Calm Before" The Walking Dead v7, 42:  (September 2007), 1942 University Avenue, Suite 305, Berkeley, CA 94704: Image Comics
- Kirkman, Robert (w), Adlard, Charlie (p), Adlard, Charlie (inker, cover), Cliff Rathburn (gray tones, cover colors) (i), Wooton, Rus (let). "Made To Suffer" The Walking Dead v8, 48:  (April 2, 2008), 1942 University Avenue, Suite 305, Berkeley, CA 94704: Image Comics
- "Walking Tall". Style Weekly. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- Goldberg, Lesley (November 20, 2012). "'Walking Dead': 'Wire' Alum to Play Fan Favorite Tyreese". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Jon Lachonis The Walking Dead Spoilers - Who Returns, and Who Arrives TVOvermind (November 19, 2012)
- The Walking Dead Casts Wire Alum as Spoiler! TV Line (November 20, 2012)
- "Q&A - Chad L. Coleman (Tyreese)". blogs.amctv.com. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- Handlen, Zack (December 2, 2012). "'Made to Suffer'". The A.V. Club. Onion Inc. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- Kain, Erik (December 3, 2012). "'The Walking Dead' Midseason Finale Review: Made To Suffer". Forbes. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
- Goldman, Eric (February 24, 2013). "The Walking Dead: "I Ain't a Judas" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
- Handlen, Zack (February 24, 2013). "I Ain't A Judas". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
- Goldman, Eric (March 17, 2013). "The Walking Dead: "Prey" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
- Handlen, Zack (March 17, 2013). "Prey". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
- Dalton Ross (April 1, 2013). "'Walking Dead': Dallas Roberts talks about Milton's big moment and the original scenes with Andrea we DIDN'T see". Entertainment Weekly.