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. Although Lori later admits to the affair after learning she’s pregnant, Rick tells Shane he had already figured out the truth on his own.
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 accuses Rick of being unable to make the hard choices to keep people safe, and ultimately tries to murder him. Rick, however, is able to distract Shane long enough 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. He maintains there’s still a place where the group can fortify and build a new life, but invites anyone who wants to leave to do so. “If you’re staying,” he warns, “this isn’t a democracy any more.”
None of them realizes that the place they’re looking for looms in the distance: a prison.