|This article is about the TV Series character. You may be looking for his Social Game or Survival Instinct counterparts.|
|Age||Late 40's to mid 50's|
|Merle Dixon Gallery|
Michael Rooker Gallery
Merle Dixon is a survivor first encountered in "Guts", the second episode of The Walking Dead. He is one of the members of the original Atlanta band, along with his younger brother, Daryl. The Dixon brothers are unique to the show in that they do not exist within the continuity of the Comic Series.
Appearance and Personality
Merle is a tall Caucasian male with a rugged build. He has short grey hair and commonly is seen with light facial hair.
An unruly and quick-tempered Southern redneck, Merle is extremely ill-tempered, racist, violent, volatile, and quick to express his beliefs. Much like his younger brother, Merle is an expert tracker and hunter. He is deadly with firearms, and in the third season, his hand-blade attachment proves to be one of his deadliest weapons. He is an experienced bruiser, showcased in the first season when he dominated T-Dog in a fist-fight, and at the same time was able to fend off Rick, Morales, and Glenn simultaneously. He also shows his fighting abilities when he took down Caesar in the brutal battle-royal event in Woodbury, and was able to fend off Michonne's sword attacks with his hand-blade. Merle was The Governor's right-hand man, all the while striving to find his brother and take vengeance on Rick, who left him for dead on the roof. Merle has since been branded as a traitor and a terrorist by The Governor, and is now an enemy of Woodbury.
Merle and Daryl lived somewhere in the mountains of North Georgia with their neglectful parents; their father being an alcoholic and their mother being both that and a chain-smoker. When they were both little, they lost their mother to a house fire that had been caused by her cigarette while she was asleep. Because of the lack of love and guidance he was given, Merle chose to act out against society, which led him to frequently be incarcerated in juvenile institutions. He raised Daryl to share the same beliefs and also become tough in the cruel adult world that both of them faced. Despite talking proudly about taking care of Daryl, Merle, like their father, was often absent from Daryl's life and didn't give him the emotional support that a big brother should.
In his adult years, Merle was briefly enrolled in the military, as shown by his physical strength and skill with firearms. He once punched a non-commissioned officer (Sergeant), which got him dishonorably discharged. He was then sent to prison for sixteen months and most likely court-martialed.
When the department store is besieged by walkers, Dixon fires his rifle at several of them. T-Dog demands that he stops firing as it will draw more walkers. After Merle insults him by calling him a "nigger," T-Dog throws a punch which Merle parries with the rifle and the two begin to brawl. Though Rick, Morales and Glenn attempt to intervene, Merle single-handedly knocks them down and viciously beats T-Dog, establishing his dominance by spitting on the man. After declaring himself leader, he is blind-sided by Rick, who punches him out and handcuffs him to a pipe before Dixon can cause further harm. Rick then confiscates Merle's cocaine and tosses it off the side of the building, infuriating him. He is then put under the watch of T-Dog while the other survivors attempt to find a way out of the city. When the survivors do find a way out, T-Dog attempts to save Dixon but accidentally drops the handcuff keys into a vent, forcing him to abandon Dixon on the rooftop, as he flees after locking the rooftop door shut with chains. He is left behind as the survivors escape Atlanta.
Left alone, he begins the stages of accepting his fate (praying, bargaining, etc.), until he begins to fight again, this time with the pipe he is cuffed to. As he hallucinates (whether due to his known drug habits or heat stroke, or a combination) that zombies have invaded the building and are reaching the chained door to the rooftop, Merle struggles harder until he notices the spilled tools that the others had left behind. He uses his belt to attempt reaching a hacksaw and succeeds in cutting off his hand to escape. This is the last time Merle is seen in Season 1.
Rick, Glenn, Daryl, and T-Dog follow a trail of blood, and discover that Merle used the hacksaw to sever off his hand, and then proceeded to cauterize it with a Bunsen burner. He then killed two walkers with a wrench before leaving the building. Daryl takes Merle's severed hand with them, and later uses it to scare Miguel into revealing the location of the Vatos hideout. It is unknown if he takes the hand back to camp with him. It is believed that Merle stole the van Rick, Glenn, T-Dog, and Daryl used to return to Atlanta, and fled the city in it, although the fact he never returned to camp suggests otherwise.
Merle's whereabouts are completely unknown throughout Season 2. Almost no one in the group is concerned about where he is, if he is alive or dead, or even finding him, aside from Daryl.
Merle reappears in an injured Daryl's dream, in which he taunts Daryl for giving up, telling him to be tougher. He also tells Daryl to stand up to Rick, even suggesting that Daryl shoot him, and mentioning that Rick handcuffed him and left him to die on the roof of the department store. As a result of this vision, Daryl is able to pull himself up from the gorge he'd fallen into. Daryl also promises Merle in the hallucination that someday he will find him.
Andrea and Michonne see a helicopter crashing into a forest nearby. The pair decide to investigate it, but are forced to hide as a group of strangers in vehicles start to arrive. As the pair observe the group of strangers, Merle catches them off-guard. Michonne was aware of his presence but was too late to act, as Merle already had them at gunpoint. He recognizes Andrea when she turns around, then quickly dispatches a walker that had sneaked up on him with a knife. It is revealed that Merle's severed arm is covered by a self-made metal covering, with a bayonet attached to it.
As night falls, Andrea finds herself tied up and able to see through the blindfold on her head. She finds herself in the backseat of a moving vehicle, seeing Merle right next to her. Merle motions her to keep quiet. Eventually, Andrea wakes up feeling much better, after being treated by a doctor. Merle then enters, and starts a more proper conversation with her, one they haven't had since the last time they saw each other. He tells her that before being found by The Governor, he was bleeding out and starving to death, and was hoping to commit suicide so that he could "take a nice, long nap" and wait for his brother on the other side. He still remembers what Rick did him, and still despises him for it. Andrea catches him up, telling him that Daryl has earned his place in the group, and that they've lost many people along the way, including Amy. In a rare show of compassion, Merle expresses his condolence for Amy's death.
The Governor enters the room, after whispering something to Merle. He then takes the pair out to show them Woodbury. Merle demonstrates his role by climbing a fortified barricade and taking a rifle. He shows that he can still shoot a machine gun despite losing his hand, taking out three walkers in three shots.
The next day, Merle is found in a makeshift lab, working with Milton Mamet, a researcher. As The Governor enters, the two are caught having a disagreement about something; The Governor stops them, comparing their small outburst to a school fight. When The Governor asks about Andrea, Merle reveals that he used to be part of her group in Atlanta. The Governor tells him to interrogate her more, and dismisses him. Meanwhile, while Milton is showing his latest findings, he insists to The Governor that Merle isn't the right man for the job, and that it should be him.
Later on in the day, The Governor is seen driving to a national guard outpost that was revealed by Lieutenant Welles, the only survivor from the helicopter crash. He pretends to be innocent by proposing for them to move to his settlement, then quickly pulls a gun out and shoots Corporal Brad, the first man that approached him. This was a signal for Merle and the rest to open fire at them, quickly dispatching all of the soldiers as they were caught off-guard. After successfully killing all of them, Merle and the rest take their equipment, and return to Woodbury.
After receiving a map by Andrea to show Merle where the Greene Family Farm was, Merle decided to make an effort to go and find Daryl and his location, but after asking Andrea if he was still alive, Andrea didn't know and mentioned that the attack on Hershel's farm was eight months ago.
He then decided to converse about himself and Andrea on why they didn't hook up as a couple, but after having the discussion, Merle then goes to talk to the The Governor and tells him that he has made up his mind to go search for his brother in which The Governor rejects his request and tells him that he is needed in Woodbury. The Governor then tells Merle that if he got more solid evidence of Daryl's whereabouts, then The Governor would go and find Daryl along with Merle.
Merle is one of many participating in a day of celebration put on by The Governor. He appears with The Governor and Milton as they retrieve more drinks from The Governor's apartment. Although Milton suggests that they postpone the night's party, Merle rejects the offer. The Governor agrees with Merle.
Next, Merle goes to a sandy back-lot hidden behind The Governor's apartment, holding a bucket of bloody meat. His intention was to feed captive Walkers kept in a cage. However, he discovers Michonne has let the Walkers out and killed them with her sword.
Merle escorts her back to The Governor, giving her sword back to him, and leaves. After Michonne storms out, Merle asks The Governor what happened. He says that Michonne has quite a personality, but she is no problem.
Later, Merle drives out to the wind generator located outside Woodbury with Milton and a few others. Discovering they have caught two Walkers in a netted trap, Merle kills one Walker while Milton holds her down. He wrestles the other Walker down and begins pulling out its teeth.
During the afternoon, Merle stops Andrea and Michonne from leaving through the gate. He informs them that they will need an escort. When he whispers to the guard, and Andrea tries to interject, he orders her to back up. Michonne decides to leave alone, and they let her go.
That night, Merle is seen as one of two brawlers participating in a twisted wrestling match, surrounded by chained Walkers. All of Woodbury cheers him on as he beats up his opponent, Caesar Martinez. What the people don't know is that none of the zombies in the arena have teeth.
Merle goes off hunting for the escaped Michonne with three other Woodbury men. He locates her and begins to taunt her in order to receive a reaction. Afterwards, Michonne kills two of his subordinates. Merle chases her down and shoots her in the thigh before losing her trail. Merle regroups with his other companion, Gargulio, who he mocks because of his name. He rushes to leave, for the bullets will attract walkers. Michonne attempts to attack Merle again, but all three become disoriented in the fight. Walkers arrive, causing Merle to ignore Michonne for a moment. A walker attacks him, but forces it back. Gargulio stabs it in the head, saving Merle, as Michonne escapes amongst the commotion. Merle kills the last walker before complimenting Gargulio for "rising up to the occasion". Merle assesses that Michonne is as good as dead and plans to lie to The Governor about the events that had taken place, but Gargulio objects. Gargulio refuses to lie to The Governor, so Merle shoots him in the head while he is distracted by a bird call.
Some time after, Merle follows Michonne into the "Red-Zone" where he confronts Glenn and Maggie on a food and supply run. Michonne watches from behind a car as Merle questions Glenn about Daryl. When Glenn refuses to take Merle along, because of his knife prosthetic, Merle shoots at them and holds Maggie hostage. Michonne begins to intervene, but stops when Merle orders Glenn to drive them to Woodbury.
Later on, Merle interrupts The Governor and Andrea as they are having sex. The Governor walks out to talk to Merle, who reveals to him that he's captured Glenn and his "pretty little girlfriend". They decide not to reveal this to Andrea, and Merle leaves, stating that he's going to find out where they were holed up.
Merle brutally interrogates Glenn to find out the location of the camp where the Atlanta survivors are held up. Despite the brutality, Glenn still does not reveal anything. Merle eventually becomes frustrated and leaves a walker in the room with Glenn, hoping that it would kill him. However, he ends up killing the walker in a matter of minutes with a piece of the broken chair he was duct-taped to. Eventually, Merle, Caesar, and Philip learn the location of the prison from Maggie after Philip threatens to shoot Glenn. At the end of the episode, The Governor questions where his loyalty lies, and Merle assures him that his loyalty is no longer to the Atlanta group or his brother, but to Woodbury and The Governor.
Merle converses with Philip, who is interested in ambushing the prison and enlisting Daryl as an, "inside man". Merle requests that nothing happen to Daryl, and Philip complies, ordering Merle to take Glenn and Maggie to the "screamer pits". Merle and Warren are ambushed by Glenn and Maggie, and Warren is killed when Maggie stabs him in the throat. Merle is held at gunpoint by Maggie, but is stopped when Martinez arrives. Glenn and Maggie are restrained, but Merle and the group are ambushed by Rick's group, and they successfully rescue Glenn and Maggie. Merle participates in the shootout between the Woodbury soldiers and visits Philip at the doctor after he is stabbed in the eye by Michonne. The Woodbury citizens are all called into the walker pit, where Merle is accused of betraying them all. Merle is shocked when the Woodbury soldiers bring in Daryl, who was captured during the shootout. Philip asks the residents what should be done with the terrorists. The Dixon brothers are finally reunited after nearly a year apart as the crowd cheers for their deaths.
In the arena, Phillip orders Merle and Daryl to fight to the death, with the winner walking away free. Merle says that he will do whatever he can to prove his loyalty to Woodbury before punching and kicking Daryl. On the ground, Merle orders Daryl to follow his lead, proving he has no intentions on killing him. During the attack on Woodbury by Rick's group, Merle knocks down Shupert and escapes with Rick and Maggie. Glenn and Michonne are not happy to see Merle and attempt to attack him. Merle begins to insult the group, but is knocked out by Rick. Daryl later departs with Merle, refusing to leave his brother behind again.
Merle will appear in this episode.
This list shows the victims Merle has killed:
- Tim (Before Reanimation)
- Five U.S Military soldiers
- Numerous counts of zombies and unnamed people.
- "You're a joke is what you are. Playin' errand boy to a bunch of pansy-asses, niggers, and democrats."
- —Merle to Daryl during Daryl's hallucination.[src]
Daryl was raised by his brother to share his beliefs. Merle was Daryl's biggest influence growing up, and was also apparently the only member of their family that paid any attention to him growing up. When the apocalypse broke out, Merle and Daryl worked together and easily survived. When Daryl found out in "Tell It to the Frogs", that Merle had been left for dead by the group, he became furious. After discovering Merle had escaped Daryl had no doubts his brother was still alive. Daryl was the only person during Season 2 who was interested in looking for his brother, and even had an hallucination about Merle in "Chupacabra". In the hallucination, however, Daryl expressed his own dislike of his brother and how Merle was never really there for him and how he lived in Merle's shadow. Although it did seem to be implied that the image of his brother tormenting him was the only thing to help him survive in such a broken down state, possibly a testament to tough love that Merle gave him, and his understanding of this is why he still cares for his brother.
In Season 3, after being captured, Daryl finally reunites with his brother for the first time since the Atlanta camp. When faced with leaving his Merle behind at the end of "The Suicide King", Daryl chooses to go with his brother out on their own instead of returning to the prison without him. This shows that despite his participation in the harsh treatment of Michonne, Glenn and Maggie in Woodbury, Daryl's bond with his brother is still very strong.
Merle and The Governor seem to be close allies. Merle is Philip's right hand man, and Merle accompanies Philip when they go out to gain supplies. Merle seems to be in The Governor's inner circle, along with Milton Mamet. Although Merle is Philip's right hand man, some tension can be seen between the two. This can be seen in the episode, "Killer Within", when Philip denies Merle permission to look for his brother unless he gets more solid evidence. It is also worth noting that Merle seems to fear Philip to some degree. In "Hounded", Merle decides to lie to him about Michonne's fate, rather than have Philip think of him as a failure. The Governor also keeps Merle under control through intimidation, as seen in "Walk With Me", where he tells Merle that he hasn't changed at all and reminds him how grateful he should be to the Governor. Merle is betrayed by The Governor in "Made to Suffer", as he blames him for allowing the Prison group into Woodbury, effectively ending their positive relationship. The true reason behind this is that Merle lied to him about killing Michonne, which cost him his eye and the life of his zombified daughter.
After his escape from Woodbury, Merle later admits that the Governor is a 'smooth talker.' Whether this is due to the Governor betraying him or not remains unknown.
- "Now, how's about a big hug for your old pal Merle, huh?"
- —Merle to Andrea, seeing her for the first time since Atlanta.[src]
Merle and Andrea's relationship was, in the beginning, poor. In Atlanta, he beat T-Dog and made racist comments towards Morales. He also declared himself in charge, which angered Andrea and the rest of the group. In "Walk With Me", after bringing Andrea and Michonne to Woodbury, he discovers the Atlanta group members' deaths from Andrea, being sympathetic about Amy and asking about Daryl. In "Killer Within", Merle is given information on the farm from Andrea so he can look for Daryl and asks why they never, "hooked up". Andrea answers that he called her a "whore" and a "rug-muncher". Merle smiles, saying that he has a way with words, and the conversation ends with the two appearing to have buried the hatchet. In a promo for "The Suicide King", Andrea stands up for Daryl, calling him a friend, yet doesn't stand up for Merle despite their recent friendship.
Amy and Merle were never shown together onscreen, but when Andrea was reunited with Merle in the Season 3 episode, "Walk With Me", after telling him that Amy was dead (among others from the group), Merle apologizes for her loss, saying that, "she was a good kid". Whether or not this meant that the two interacted, Merle was most likely being sympathetic.
- " Why don't you knock that crap off? You're giving me a headache, boy. "
- —Merle to T-Dog over speaking into the radio.[src]
T-Dog and Merle had a poor relationship from the beginning due to Merle's racism: calling T-Dog a "nigger" and beating him. It worsened when T-Dog refused to release him and accidentally dropped the keys to Merle's cuffs down a drain, forcing Merle to amputate his own hand. When Merle learns of T-Dog's death, he comments, "Well, I hope he went slow."
- "Yeah, Rick. He's that prick that cuffed me to the rooftop."
- —Merle recounting to Andrea Rick's involvement in his amputation.[src]
Rick handcuffed Merle to the roof, causing him to be abandoned and forcing him to amputate his own hand in order to escape. As revealed in, "Walk with Me", Merle expresses to Andrea that he has not forgotten Rick's involvement in his amputation, and severely despises him. Merle is no doubt seeking vengeance on Rick, and wants him dead. Then after Rick saved him and Daryl, Merle still harbored a grudge against Rick, leading the latter to pistol-whip him unconscious after continually taunting him and being told to shut up.
- "You're a pretty big snack for this fella, but you know what they say....he's just gonna be hungry again in an hour."
- —Merle before setting a walker on Glenn.[src]
Not much is known of Glenn and Merle's relationship, but Glenn may have found Merle untrustworthy due to him often abusing the Atlanta Group. In Season 3, Merle captured Glenn and Maggie and took them to Woodbury, where he interrogated Glenn on where the remaining Atlanta Survivors were located, including Rick. Merle attacked and beat Glenn continuously and even went as far as bringing in a walker to attempt to persuade Glenn to talk. Glenn and Maggie gave up the location of the prison but then shortly afterward, Rick, Michonne, Oscar, and Daryl breached Woodbury's walls, rescuing Glenn and Maggie.
Merle and Milton often disagreed on certain topics from time to time, including on how Merle was unable to work with Milton on researching the walkers. Merle did complement him on his duct tape armor, leaving Milton satisfied. Milton often questioned Merle's actions on how to handle certain situations, but Milton was able to work with Merle despite their differences before The Governor betrayed Merle after Rick and his group attacked Woodbury.
Shane and Merle were never seen together, but Shane did not like Merle much. He even went as far as to attempt and convince Rick not to go back for Merle and the Bag of Guns after Merle was handcuffed and abandoned in Atlanta. In Season 2, when Shane had a talk with Lori about Rick's abilities of being a leader, one of Rick's characteristics that was mentioned was when how he went back for Merle on a, "suicide mission to save a drug dealer."
Morales and Merle didn't seem to get along very well. Merle was shooting walkers on a roof in Atlanta, which Morales and the Atlanta group didn't agree with due to the fact that he was wasting bullets and attracting more walkers in the process. Merle then called Morales a, "taco vendor", claiming Morales to have been on his case all day. This lead to Merle attacking Morales, T-Dog, and Rick, announcing his leadership of the group. Before anything else could happen, Rick attacked Merle with a rifle and handcuffed him to a pipe. Morales and the rest of the group abandoned Merle, even after T-Dog lost the keys to Merle's cuffs. Morales pressed to Rick to not feel remorseful about Merle being abandoned, as no one would be angered of his loss at the Atlanta camp, other than Merle's own brother, Daryl.
Merle and The Governor trained Gargulio as part of Woodbury's army. Due to Merle's inaccurate pronunciation of Gargulio's name, Merle just called him, "Neil". While hunting down Michonne after she departed Woodbury, Gargulio was starting to get nervous about the mission, but Merle told him to snap out of it. When Michonne came out of the blue and killed Tim and Crowley, Merle and Neil were chasing down Michonne before walkers showed up and attacked Merle and Neil, allowing Michonne to escape. Neil saved Merle's life by killing one of the walkers that was fighting Merle. Afterwards, Merle wanted to go back to Woodbury because he assumed that Michonne was surely dead. Neil, however, wanted to chase down Michonne because he thought they were close to killing her and still believed that they would have a chance of killing her. Merle had another idea, wanting to lie to The Governor about Michonne, but Neil still wanted to go on and track Michonne down. Merle then killed Gargulio shortly after the argument.
- "Whats the deal Michonne, you gonna leap out of the woods one against four, all of us armed to the teeth...and you with just your pig-sticker, no no no, Michonne."
- —Merle to Michonne.[src]
The two first meet when he caught her and Andrea looking over the helicopter crash site. Initially showing a racist attitude toward African-Americans, Merle does not insult her, showing his change as a person after The Governor saves him. After she leaves Woodbury, Merle is instructed to take a group to hunt her down and kill her. He is unable to accomplish his task and lies to The Governor by saying she is dead.
Michonne's view of The Governor contrasts Merle's view of him. She believes him to be dangerous while he says he's a good man, though this view ultimately changes following the Governor accusing Merle of betrayal.
- Merle is one of many new characters introduced in the TV Series that does not appear in the Comic Series.
- Daryl's motorcycle was previously owned by Merle.
- Before the apocalypse, Merle was most likely a drug dealer.
- While filming on the roof in Atlanta, it caused some trouble. In the scene where Merle is shooting a sniper rifle from the roof, citizens of Atlanta didn't know they were filming a TV show and thought there was a sniper on the roof, so a Swat Team was called to the roof where the filming was going on, and when they arrived to the rooftop, the producers and directors informed them that they were filming a TV show.
- Merle is one of the many amputees in The Walking Dead. For other victims, see Amputated Victims.
- Merle managed to cut off his own hand with a hack saw.
- Merle has a number of ethnic slurs that he uses against people of different minorities to show his racism.
- Merle has a tendency to call others with the names he makes up himself:
- Daryl Dixon (Little Baby Brother, Darlina)
- Andrea (Blondie, Sugar Tits, Rug-Muncher, Whore)
- Morales (Taco Vendor)
- T-Dog (Nigger, Spear-Chucker, Mr. Yo)
- Caesar Martinez (Brownie)
- Gargulio (Neil)
- Though this is due to him not being able to pronounce Garguilo's name.
- Michonne (Mute)
- Milton Mamet (Miltie)
- Maggie Greene (Bo-Peep)
- Rick Grimes (The Sheriff, Officer Friendly)
- Merle has a tendency to call others with the names he makes up himself:
- According to his brother, he got the Clap on occasion and had to take serious antibiotics and drugs.
- In Daryl's hallucination, Merle had both of his hands.
- It is likely that Merle belonged to some white supremacist organization. This speculation is due to the fact that his motorcycle bears SS (Schutzstaffel) insignia, or it is possible that he is a Neo-Nazi.
- Merle is featured in the new Walking Dead video game currently under development by Terminal Reality.
- Michael Rooker lost 28 pounds in order to prepare for Merle's return in Season 3.
- In the TV series, Merle is the first character to have a substitute appendage on an amputated limb (Dale has a peg leg in the Comic Series to replace his amputated leg).
- In "Walk With Me", Merle reveals to Andrea that he believes in an afterlife.
- In "Hounded", Merle chooses not to reveal to The Governor that Michonne has survived, due to the fear of his wrath. This is similar to how Dwight decides not to tell Negan about Paul Monroe's escape, for the same reason. 
- "Made to Suffer" is the first episode where Merle and Daryl are physically seen together.
- The Governor betrayed Merle due to his loyalties being questionable and Merle failing to fulfill his mission to kill Michonne (and subsequently lying about Michonne being dead), resulting in Penny's death and The Governor losing his right eye.