|The Walking Dead character|
Rick Grimes, as portrayed by Andrew Lincoln in the television series (left) and in the comic book series (right).
"Issue #1" (October 8, 2003)
"Days Gone Bye"
(1.01) (October 31, 2010)
|Created by||Robert Kirkman
|Portrayed by||Andrew Lincoln (Television)|
|Voiced by||Phil LaMarr (Motion Comic)|
Leader of the Alexandria Safe Zone
Cynthiana Sheriff's Deputy
King County Sheriff Deputy
Jeffrey Grimes (brother)
|Significant other(s)||Jessie Anderson
Richard "Rick" Grimes is a fictional character and the protagonist in the comic book series The Walking Dead and in the television series of the same name, portrayed by Andrew Lincoln. Created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore, the character made his debut in The Walking Dead #1 in 2003. Rick Grimes is a small town sheriff's deputy who shares a son, Carl Grimes, with wife Lori Grimes. He awakens from a coma to find the world overrun with zombies, and a fight for survival ensues.
In the comic book series, Rick remains the longest-living survivor, followed closely behind by his son, Andrea (a friend and lover), the orphan Sophia, and Sophia's adoptive mother, Maggie Greene. In both media, Rick awakens from a coma into the apocalypse and searches for Lori and Carl and finds them in the Atlanta camp with his best friend, Shane, and becomes the group's leader. Although Rick quickly adapts to the notion of killing walkers, he retains his morality, which puts him at odds with Shane, whose own morality has diminished. Rick's morality is constantly tested to protect his family and friends. Over time, he becomes colder and more brutal, which puts him at odds with other survivors who adopt the same mindset. As Rick desires to retain his son's innocence, his brutality is further tested by his own group when encountering non-group members who the group believe should join them. Rick manages to regain his morality when staying at communities, and is able to be a father once more, but antagonists seeking to exploit his group force him to remain hardened.
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 several awards, winning a Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television in 2015.
- 1 Appearances
- 1.1 Comic book series
- 1.2 Television series
- 2 Development
- 3 Reception
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Comic book series
Early storylines (2004–05)
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 Duane Jones mistakes Rick for a zombie and hits him over the head with a shovel, 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.
Prison arc (2005–08)
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 with 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 group as an act of force to lure 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 one of the bandits' jugular vein, which distracts the other bandits. Abraham shoots the bandit holding him at gunpoint and 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 meet a preacher named Gabriel Stokes and confront a cannibalistic group of hunters, and slaughter them after they eat Dale. Dale passes away after thanking Rick for everything he has done to protect the group and giving him a chance to live longer with Andrea, Ben and Billy.
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, during an assassination attempt on Rick's life. 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. Later, Carl wakes up from his coma, 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. However, Rick resists out of fear of what might happen to him in the event of her death.
Networking communities (2011–12)
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 Saviors, 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 Saviors 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.
War against Negan (2012–14)
Rick remains at conflict with Negan and the Saviors. Carl reveals to his father that the Saviors 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 Savior 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 that watching the regrowth of civilization from behind a cell is a better punishment than killing him. Dwight takes over as leader of the Saviors, supporting Rick and the war is won.
Post-war/ time skip (2014–ongoing)
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. Unaware that his son has joined Alpha and the Whisperers, a tribe of thousands who disguise themselves as zombies, Rick reunites with Michonne as a ship arrives revealing her presence. He is concerned of her behaviour, telling her to sort out her issues and move on after the loss of her daughters. Later, as Michonne and Rick go to Alexandria to attend a fair that has been planned months in advance, they discover Carl is missing and decide to go after him, along with Andrea. Alpha, however, confronts them, and points a gun at Rick's head as she marches him up to an unknown building where he sees thousands of Whisperers. Michonne's sword is also smeared with blood. Alpha decides to leave her daughter, Lydia who has feelings for Carl with Rick, believing her to be a weakness. She criticizes Rick's leadership and trying to re-establish society as it had been, before telling him she has marked a border. As Rick reaches the border, he is horrified to find many civilians from each of the four communities decapitated, including Ezekiel and the pregnant Rosita. Michonne begins to cry as Andrea solemnly asks him what they do next. Rick decides to tell the communities, who take it terribly. He is attacked by two of the citizens. One man made it out alive, the other did not. He starts training the people of the joined communities to fight against walkers as well as the whisperers.
Rick and Shane (Jon Bernthal) are described as being best friends since high school and were employed as deputy sheriffs in King County, Georgia. While Shane was a ladies man during high school, Rick's love life was far less active until he met Lori and eventually married her; together they had a son, Carl. However, when Carl was 12, Rick and Lori's marriage began to sour and Lori was even questioning Rick as to whether or not he loved her anymore, in front of Carl. Rick became disturbed that Lori could be that cruel in the presence of their child.
In the series premiere, "Days Gone Bye", before the outbreak, Rick is shot and wounded during a gun battle with a band of escaped convicts, and left in a coma for months while the zombie apocalypse began. After awakening alone in the hospital, he walks through a local neighborhood but is mistaken for a walker and hit over the head with a shovel by a child, Duane Jones (Adrian Kali Turner). Duane's father Morgan (Lennie James) takes Rick in and explains the sickness to him. Rick sets off in search of his wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), and young son, Carl (Chandler Riggs), and along the way discovers what has happened to the world. While searching in downtown Atlanta, he is attacked by a horde of walkers and hides inside a tank. In the episode "Guts", a young man named Glenn (Steven Yeun) rescues him from the tank and leads him to a group of survivors scavenging for supplies in a building. The building is attacked by walkers and the group flees the city, forced to leave subdued and chained group member, Merle (Michael Rooker) behind. In the episode "Tell It to the Frogs", the survivors lead Rick to their campsite where he happily reunites with Lori and Carl, as well as Shane. However, Daryl (Norman Reedus) demands that they return to the city to find his brother Merle as well as retrieve a bag of guns. However, they discover Merle cut off his hand to escape. In the episode "Vatos", they return to the campsite just in time to save the remaining survivors as a group of walkers overrun the camp. In the episode "Wildfire", after many losses, the group leaves the insecure campsite and venture to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the 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 CDC. The last remaining employee there, a medical doctor and researcher named Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich), reveals that the building will soon self-destruct, and whispers something in Rick's ear before the group escapes the doomed facility.
In the second season premiere, "What Lies Ahead", Carl is accidentally shot during the group's search for Sophia (Madison Lintz), Carol's (Melissa McBride) daughter, who was chased away by walkers during the group's escape from Atlanta. In the episode "Bloodletting", the shooter, Otis, takes them to an isolated farm occupied by Hershel (Scott Wilson), a veterinarian who works to save Carl's life by using a transfusion of Rick's blood. Carl recovers with Shane's help in the episode "Cherokee Rose". In the episode "Secrets", Lori tells Rick that she is pregnant and reveals 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 Hershel has kept walkers in the barn, including his family, believing that he can save them. Despite Rick's refusal, Shane opens the barn and kills the walkers inside, until one is revealed to be Sophia. Left with no other choice, Rick shoots Sophia dead. In the mid-season premiere, "Nebraska", Rick is forced to kill two men in a bar to protect the group, but takes one of their group members, Randall (Michael Zegen), as a prisoner in the episode "Triggerfinger". In the episode "Better Angels", Rick decides to keep the prisoner alive. Shane ultimately kills Randall, and then tries to kill Rick, who stabs him in the heart in self-defense. Shane comes back to life as a walker, but Carl kills him. In the season finale, "Beside the Dying Fire", a walker horde who overrun the farm. Rick reveals to the escaped group that Jenner had told him that the entire group is infected. He tells Lori he killed Shane to protect himself as well as the group, but she recoils from him, horrified. Rick then coldly dares any would-be traitors to abandon the safety of the group.
In the season premiere, "Seed", eight months have passed and Rick and Lori's relationship has deteriorated. The group finds an overrun prison facility and come into conflict with a group of prisoners who try to assassinate Rick but one eventually unleashes walkers into the prison, causing the death of Rick's wife, Lori who gives birth via emergency c-section and sends Rick into a downward spiral. As a result, he begins hallucinating, answering a series of successive phone calls and seeing her in the prison courtyard. He comes into conflict with The Governor (David Morrissey), the leader of a small town called Woodbury after Michonne (Danai Gurira), a mysterious katana-wielding survivor arrives at the prison to reveal Glenn and Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) have been kidnapped (in order to gain information on the location of the prison, a more secure environment than Woodbury). Rick follows Michonne while somewhat distrustful of her in the episode "Made to Suffer" and retrieves the couple by killing several soldiers and consequently causing a firefight in the streets. However, The Governor performs an assault on the prison in the episode "Home" in retaliation. As a result, Andrea (Laurie Holden), a Woodbury citizen and separated member of Rick's group, unsuccessfully tries to negotiate terms of peace with the two conflicting sides in the episodes "I Ain't a Judas" and "Arrow on the Doorpost". In the episode "Clear", Rick and Michonne form a stronger bond on a journey to retrieve guns after the assault, where they meet the mentally unbalanced Morgan who has lost his son. Michonne reveals she had been hallucinating and speaking to her dead boyfriend as well, and Carl admits he is fond of her. This leads Rick into refusing to give Michonne over to The Governor in the episode "This Sorrowful Life", bringing Merle, The Governor's former ally to do so but he ultimately sacrifices himself. In the season finale, "Welcome to the Tombs", Rick, Daryl and Michonne go out to confront The Governor after he fails to take the prison and massacres his own troops. 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 embrace his humanity and bring the rest of the citizens of Woodbury (which include Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and his sister, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) whom Rick had turned away after a mental breakdown) 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.
In the season premiere, "30 Days Without an Accident", having relinquished leadership, Rick tries to live a quieter, peaceful lifestyle, taking up farming with Hershel. However, it is disrupted with the threat of an illness breaking out. In the episode "Isolation", two infected inmates are revealed to have been mercifully killed by Carol to avoid other people from getting infected, which leads Rick to exile Carol in the following episode "Indifference", believing she isn't remorseful for her actions. In the episode "Internment", he resolves problems with zombies carving through the fences as the illness dies out with Hershel's medical assistance. In the mid-season finale, "Too Far Gone", The Governor returns with a militia to take over the prison and decapitates his hostage, Hershel, calling Rick a liar for proposing they can live together in the community. A tank is driven through the fences, destroying Rick's home and causing a battle between the two sides. The Governor tries to strangle a morbidly wounded Rick to death but Michonne stabs him through the chest. Rick escapes with Carl, believing Judith to be dead. In the episode, "After", Carl blames his unconscious father for their losses but admits he is wrong after a perilous supply run. After reuniting with Michonne, the episode "Claimed" shows Rick escaping from a dangerous group called the Claimers, before travelling towards Terminus, a supposed sanctuary. In the season finale, "A", Rick re-encounters the Claimers, who try to assassinate him, as well as sexually assault Michonne and Carl, but Rick, livid at Dan (Keith Brooks) trying to molest Carl, bites the leader Joe (Jeff Kober) in the neck as Michonne and the reunited Daryl (who had joined the Claimers) kill the others, with Rick stabbing Dan at the conclusion. The four head to Terminus, but become suspicious as they discover the inhabitants wearing the clothes belonging to the survivors they knew. The citizens of Terminus trap the group in a boxcar, where they find their friends Glenn, Maggie, Sasha and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.) and new allies Tara (Alanna Masterson), whom Rick recognizes from the prison invasion, Sergeant Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), and Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos).
In the season premiere, "No Sanctuary", Rick's group escapes Terminus as an explosion set off by Carol destroys the compound and infests it with walkers. He reunites with his daughter, Judith and graciously thanks Carol, who resettles into the group. In the episode "Strangers", the group meets Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam) who brings them to his church to stay before going to Washington, DC in hopes of a cure. In the episode "Four Walls and a Roof", Gareth and five other Terminus survivors hunt down the group, capture a bitten Bob, eat his leg and leave him as bait, before the group lure them into the church to be trapped and slaughtered. In the episode "Crossed", a rescue mission in Atlanta for Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) ensues as Daryl informs the others of her whereabouts at Grady Memorial Hospital with escapee, Noah (Tyler James Williams). A rather peaceful resolution is ultimately decided with a hostage exchange, as the group captures several police officers for the exchange. In the mid-season finale, "Coda", leading officer Dawn Lerner (Christine Woods) demands Noah back as her ward after Beth's departure, fuelling Beth to try to kill her but she is reflexively shot in the head. Dawn is immediately killed by Daryl and a stand-off is defused by Officer Shepherd. In the mid-season premiere, "What Happened and What's Going On", Rick's group travels to Virginia where Noah's community is and eventually strive for Washington despite the cure being outed as false, in hopes of finding a safe haven, but suffer one more loss with Tyreese. In the episode "The Distance", the mournful group is encountered by a stranger named Aaron (Ross Marquand), claiming to be a recruiter for a community named Alexandria. While distrustful, they follow him as well as his boyfriend, Eric and discover he is telling the truth. In the episode "Remember", Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh), a former congressperson from Ohio and leader of Alexandria interviews the group and assigns Rick as a constable in the community along with Michonne. In the episode "Spend", while Rick remains wary of her, he settles in and befriends Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) but learns of her husband's physically abusive actions. In the episode "Try", Rick has a confrontation with Pete, forcing Michonne to knock him unconscious. In the season finale, "Conquer", Deanna holds a meeting to potentially exile Rick, but Rick proves he is trying to ensure the community's protection from the living and the dead, before Jessie's husband, Pete, shows up and tries to assassinate Rick with Michonne's katana, killing Deanna's husband in the process. With Deanna's word, Rick shoots Pete in public as Morgan Jones arrives at the scene.
In the season premiere, "First Time Again", while getting reacquainted with Morgan, Rick discovers a quarry filled with hundreds of walkers held in by a barricade that is about to fail. He takes de facto command of Alexandria with Deanna's approval and recruits the native Alexandrians to help lure the herd away, in order for them to grow into strong survivors. The plan goes awry at several points and Rick returns to Alexandria pursued by half of the herd in "Now". Deanna realizes she is no longer fit to lead the community and officially makes him leader of Alexandria. In the mid-season finale, "Start to Finish", the herd breaches Alexandria's walls and Rick takes shelter with Carl, Michonne, Gabriel, Deanna, Jessie, and her sons Ron and Sam in Jessie's house. Deanna is revealed to have bitten and asks Rick to look out for the native Alexandrians as he does his own pre-Alexandria group before she dies. Rick prepares ponchos covered in walker innards for the group to sneak through the herd to safety, but Sam suffers a mental breakdown in the mid-season premiere "No Way Out". Sam is killed, followed by his mother, and Ron shoots Carl in the eye before being killed by Michonne. While Dr. Denise Cloyd treats Carl, Rick battles the herd in a rage, and is soon joined by nearly all of Alexandria, and they are able to defeat the herd. Rick tells a comatose Carl that he now has hope for the future again and plans to rebuild the town. Two months later, in "The Next World", Rick and Daryl meet Paul "Jesus" Rovia on a supply run, and after taking him back to Alexandria, begins a relationship with Michonne. In "Knots Untie", Jesus takes Rick to the Hilltop Colony, and when he learns they live in fear of Negan and his Saviors, offers to assassinate him in exchange for a trade of supplies. After a successful raid on the Saviors in "Not Tomorrow Yet", Rick believes the threat of the Saviors to have been vanquished, only to be proven wrong when Denise is killed in "Twice as Far". Rick makes preparations for an attack from the Saviors in "East", but in the season finale "Last Day on Earth" when Maggie has complications in her pregnancy, leads a team to seek Dr. Carson's aid at Hilltop. The group is herded into a trap by the Saviors, and Rick is helpless and frightened as he realizes the true threat poised by Negan as one of his group is brutally killed.
Rick Grimes is portrayed by Andrew Lincoln, who was cast as part of the television adaptation 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 six-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 Rick 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 media, Rick 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 him to become crippled and 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. Later in the series, after his wife's death and his son suffering from amnesia after being shot, his long friend Andrea helps him see a brighter future for the community they reside in called Alexandria and Rick begins to embrace his leadership position, as well as start a relationship with her. He then begins a trading network with other communities, which is threatened by the tyrannical Negan who is eventually subdued and imprisoned. He continues to grow and expand his community, and create safety perimeters around Washington, DC to travel to other communities.
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.
After the death of his wife in the television series, Rick faces a downward spiral to the point of relinquishing his leadership position in the prison community by the end of the third season. At the beginning of the fourth season, Lincoln described Rick as a man "repressing his brutality for the sake of his son". However, at the end of the fourth season after losing the prison and suffering more losses, he described Rick as "a man accepting brutality for the sake of his son", following closely to the comic in which he bites the throat of a marauder who threatens to assassinate him and assault his son. He further assessed that "Rick is a man who has made peace with the brutality within him that's inherent in him along with the moral sense that is just as valid a part of him. Rick is psychologically the strongest he's ever been. Because he's realized that the only way to stay alive -- to keep his son alive in this new world -- is by actively embracing all sides of his personality including darkness, fury and rage."
In the fifth season, Lincoln asserted that "Rick is [...] at the most complete place he’s been ever since the apocalypse started. He’s a man who doesn’t doubt himself anymore, and he’s accepted his brutality as much as his humanity. So I think he’s in an incredibly powerful and dangerous place." He also described him as being a leader once again, who is much more uncompromising as he "[drags] a lot of [the group] into a place that is darker, more brutal." Entertainment Weekly assessed that "This is the Rick viewers most assuredly need after watching him mope around on-and-off for two seasons after having very bad thing in the world happen to him. And it’s the Rick that the rest of the survivors need as well if they are going to continue to keep on keeping on."
Rick Grimes was named the 26th Top Comic Book Hero by IGN, and Lincoln's portrayal of Rick Grimes has been generally well received by television commentators and audiences. He was nominated for a Saturn Award in the category for Best Actor in Television. 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."
By the start of season three, Rick's character arc developed him into a more world-weary, cynical, ruthless, and hardened person. Erik Kain of Forbes said that Rick started out as "the voice of reason, a calm presence, and an earnest leader" in the first two seasons, but had developed into an "anti-hero" by season three. Tom Ward of Esquire noted that Rick was almost a completely different man by the end of the fifth season: "He may resemble the clean-cut law enforcer from the first season, but inside, 'stuff' and 'things' have changed the man with the highest zombie kill count in history...Has Rick become the show's villain? After Rick and his group slaughtered the members of Terminus, Andrew Lincoln voiced that "[i]n Seasons 1, 2, and 3, and half of 4, Rick was a man either restraining or denying a brutal part of his personality, in order that his children grow up and, hopefully, have a father that was morally sound. A father who could give a good value system to his children. The difference in [Season five] is that there is no safe haven."
Awards and nominations
- "Rick Grimes". AMCtv.com. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
A small-town sheriff's deputy
- "The Walking Dead Cast: Rick Grimes". AMCtv.com. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Ryan McKee. "Top 10: Everyman Heroes - No.9 Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead". Askmen.com. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Scott Tipton (2010-11-10). "TALKING ABOUT WALKING". Retrieved 24 October 2012.
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- The Walking Dead #82 (March 2011)
- The Walking Dead #83 (March 2011)
- The Walking Dead #84 (April 2011)
- The Walking Dead #87 (July 2011)
- The Walking Dead #88 (August 2011)
- The Walking Dead #89 (October 2011)
- The Walking Dead #90 (October 2011)
- The Walking Dead #91 (November 2011)
- The Walking Dead #91 (November 2011)
- The Walking Dead #92 (December 2011)
- The Walking Dead #93 (January 2012)
- The Walking Dead #96 (April 2012)
- The Walking Dead #97 (April 2012)
- The Walking Dead #98 (May 2012)
- The Walking Dead #99 (June 2012)
- The Walking Dead #100 (July 2012)
- The Walking Dead #101 (August 2012)
- The Walking Dead #102 (September 2012)
- The Walking Dead #103 (October 2012)
- The Walking Dead #108 (March 2013)
- The Walking Dead #116 (November 2013)
- The Walking Dead #120 (January 2014)
- The Walking Dead #121 (February 2014)
- The Walking Dead #123 (March 2014)
- The Walking Dead #124 (March 2014)
- The Walking Dead #125 (April 2014)
- The Walking Dead #126 (April 2014)
- The Walking Dead #127 (May 2014)
- The Walking Dead #128 (June 2014)
- The Walking Dead #132 (October 2014)
- The Walking Dead #139 (March 2015)
- The Walking Dead #143 (June 2015)
- The Walking Dead #144 (July 2015)
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