Rick GrimesPlayed by Andrew Lincoln
Rick Grimes is a small-town sheriff's deputy who is wounded in the line of duty and wakes to a zombie apocalypse.
An everyman, Rick struggles to cling to his moral code in the face of increasingly dire circumstances. "We don't kill the living," he tells Daryl at one point, only to retract that philosophy later on when "the living tried to kill us."
As the group's de facto leader, Rick is charged with keeping everyone safe as well as finding them a secure home. When his son Carl is shot by a man living in a secluded farmhouse, Rick thinks he's found just that. But the farm eventually proves vulnerable and falls to a massive herd of walkers, once again exiling Rick and the other survivors to the road.
While Rick was in a coma, his best friend and partner Shane began an affair with his wife, Lori. In addition to the affair (and the unknown paternity of Lori's baby), Rick and Shane's relationship is further fractured by Shane's constant questioning of Rick's leadership. Shane ultimately tries to murder Rick, who manages to plunge a knife into his friend's heart. "Damn you for making me do this," Rick sobs as Shane bleeds to death.
But Shane is not alone in questioning Rick. When Rick reveals that he’d been keeping a secret from the group — namely, that everyone is infected and will become a walker when they die — they challenge his honor and implore him to be more pro-active in looking after their safety.
"I didn't ask for this," Rick counters, inviting anyone who wants to leave to do so. "If you're staying," he warns, "this isn't a democracy any more."
When the group discovers an abandoned prison, Rick leads the effort to clear the prison yard and cell block of walkers so they can make it their new home. He throws himself into the task and refuses to engage Lori's attempts to discuss their rocky relationship.
When Lori dies during childbirth, Rick becomes grief-stricken and begins to hallucinate Lori in her wedding gown. As his mental state deteriorates, the pressures of being a leader begin to wear him down just as a new threat emerges: The Governor, leader of a town called Woodbury, has kidnapped Glenn and Maggie.
Rick leads a team into Woodbury to rescue them, and in the process kills several of the Governor's men. In retaliation, the Governor attacks the prison.
Afterwards, Rick meets with the Governor to discuss a truce but instead receives an ultimatum: Hand over Michonne — who had killed the Governor's walker daughter — or be destroyed. Rick struggles with the decision, but ultimately refuses to comply. "I couldn't sacrifice one of us for the greater good because we are the greater good," he tells the group.
Rick and the others fortify the prison in advance of the Governor's second attack and manage to drive his army away. Afterwards, Rick takes in the surviving Woodbury residents. "They're gonna join us," he tells Carl. He looks up to the catwalk for his hallucination of Lori, but she's nowhere to be seen.