Characters

Daryl DixonPlayed by Norman Reedus

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Rick meets Daryl Dixon, a tracker and adept survivalist, after abandoning his brother Merle Dixon in Atlanta.

Daryl insists on going back for his brother, but they fail to find him. Without Merle's bullying presence, Daryl is able to step out of his big brother's shadow and develop relationships with the other survivors — particularly Carol, with whom he becomes close after fervently searching for her missing daughter, Sophia.

Over time, Daryl proves himself a worthy ally to Rick — especially while Rick grieves over Lori, who dies in childbirth. Daryl quickly grows attached to the baby, leading a mission to find formula and even bestowing upon her the nickname "Lil' Asskicker."

Daryl learns that his brother Merle is still alive and living in Woodbury. He tries to find Merle but is captured by the Governor, who accuses both Dixon brothers of treason and sentences them to fight to the death. Rick and Maggie mount a rescue, but refuse to allow Merle at the prison. Daryl leaves with Merle.

The brothers soon find themselves at odds, and Daryl declares he's going back to the prison "where I belong." Merle reluctantly joins him, accepting Rick's ultimatum that "If he causes a problem, it's on you." When Merle kidnaps Michonne, Daryl insists on going after him alone so that Rick can stay and protect the others from the Governor. "You're family too," Daryl tells Rick before leaving.

When Daryl catches up with his brother, Merle is a walker. Daryl breaks down in tears and stabs him in the head.

As peace thrives at the prison, Daryl is instrumental in rescuing and welcoming newcomers. He also frequently spearheads supply runs. When the prison is hit with a deadly virus, Daryl is part of the group that retrieves medicine from a veterinary college.

After the Governor lays waste to the prison, Daryl flees with Beth and protects her as they navigate the walker-infested terrain. Over time, his initial disdain for Beth's naiveté is replaced with deeper feelings for her and a belief in the basic goodness of people.

In the midst of a walker attack, Beth is kidnapped in a mysterious car with a white cross painted on its rear windshield. Daryl chases the car but loses track of it, eventually collapsing, exhausted, by the side of the road. There, he encounters a gang of men led by a man named Joe. After traveling with the gang, Daryl starts to adopt their self-serving ways.

Daryl's allegiance with Joe ends when Joe's gang happens upon Rick, Carl and Michonne one night and tries to rape and murder them. Daryl helps Rick slaughter Joe's gang. Afterwards, he tries to explain to Rick why he was with Joe, but Rick stops him. "It's not on you," Rick says. "You being back with us, here, now? That's everything. You're my brother."