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Smart, friendly, and charming with a puckish sense of humor. He can be a thief, but he'll only steal half of what you have, and only if he knows it won't cause any permanent damage. He’s generally a benevolent guy — pretty much making friends with everyone he meets.
Nothing is known about Paul's life prior to the outbreak, other than he received the nickname "Jesus" due to his resemblance of the religious figure Jesus Christ. It is possible that he trained in a form, or multiple forms of martial arts as proven by his skill in hand-to-hand combat. He also appeared to have learnt the art of pickpocketing and escapology (as demonstrated by him being able to easily break free of his knot restrains twice).
At some point after the outbreak, Paul journeyed to a safe zone named the Hilltop Colony upon where he settled into and thus became effectively integrated with the fellow residents of the community. Paul quickly befriended the community leader Gregory and the two developed a working partnership and thus he proved to become an invaluable member of the farming community.
Benefitting from his abilities and experience, Paul was appointed as the community's recruiter where he was assigned to scavenge for supplies as well as to locate other communities and settlements to trade with in order to establish a network to help contribute towards the Hilltop Colony in order to help maintain and prosper throughout the apocalypse.
Paul was present at the time of the arrival of a notorious group named "The Saviors" who operated on behalf of a man named Negan. During a meeting conducted by Gregory alongside a dispatched squadron, The Saviors demanded half of the Hilltop Colony's supplies in exchange for leaving the farming community unscathed. Though initially reluctant to agree, they eventually complied after witnessing the public execution of Rory, a 16-year-old resident of the community.
Following this event, the Hilltop Colony entered into a period of dread and subjugation and thus were forced to comply under Negan's corrupt rule, as a result of their limited resources and manpower they were unable to rebel against their save oppressors. Throughout the following months, Paul alongside the other residents begrudgingly worked to gather supplies in their desperate struggle in order to compensate with Negan's demands.
Jesus is first seen running into Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon where he is held at gunpoint by the pair. He tells them that he was being chased by walkers and they are following him closely. After a brief and tense introduction, gunshots can be heard, prompting Rick and Daryl to investigate. However, upon finding out that that it was just firecrackers, they soon realized it was a ruse that allowed Jesus to steal Rick's keys and make off with the truck of supplies.
After a long run, Rick and Daryl are able to track him down, bind him, and win back the food truck. As they approach a small farm, they realize that Jesus is on top of the truck. When Rick slams the brake pedal, he falls onto the front of the truck. He then tries to escape as Daryl chases after him, Rick killing the nearby walkers. As Jesus and Daryl scuffle inside the truck, a walker emerges behind Daryl. He tells Daryl to duck, which he does, and shoots the walker, saving him. As they continue to fight for the food truck, Jesus accidentally releases the emergency brake and the vehicle rolls into a nearby pond and sinks. As the truck is falling into the pond, the door hits Jesus and knocks him out cold. Daryl suggests that they leave him behind. But Rick points out that Jesus saved Daryl and he begrudgingly agrees.
Later on, he is sitting in the back, tied up as Daryl guards him and Rick drives them back to Alexandria.
They carry him to the infirmary and let Denise check him out. He is later brought to the townhouse basement where Rick and Daryl leave water and a note next to his unconscious body. When Rick and Michonne are lying naked in their bed, Jesus walks into the room and tells Rick to wake up. As Rick and Michonne leap up and grab their weapons, Jesus says, "We should talk."
In Rick's house, Jesus waits for Michonne and Rick to get dressed. Rick's son Carl discovers Jesus and points a gun at his head as the others arrive. Michonne and Rick emerge from the bedroom and assures everyone that Jesus just wants to talk.
Jesus tells Rick's group that he's part of a community that raises livestock and crops, and his job is to search for other settlements with whom to open trade. He offers to take them to his community, the Hilltop, to prove he is telling the truth. Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Glenn Rhee, Maggie Greene, and Abraham Ford board the community's RV with Jesus.
Rick slows the motor home as they approach an overturned car. Jesus recognizes it as belonging to the Hilltop and desperately begins searching the wreckage for his people. The group finds four of Jesus' people, one of whom is injured. Freddie, one of the newcomers, tells Jesus that he saw a vision of his dead wife when he thought he was going to die. The motor home gets stuck in mud, forcing the group to disembark. Jesus points ahead to a massive wall. "That's the Hilltop," he says.
Jesus leads the group to the main gate, where spear-wielding guards order Rick's group to disarm. Jesus tells Rick they can keep their guns and confides that his community ran out of ammo months ago. The gates open, revealing a large manor house and a farming community inside. Jesus explains that the house was once a living history museum. Jesus takes the group inside, where they meet Gregory, the community's leader. Gregory orders Rick's group to clean up before meeting with him. Jesus assures Rick and Daryl that he can convince Gregory to make a fair trade. They hear a commotion outside. "They're back," a resident tells Gregory.
When Ethan comes back from a mission to Negan, Ethan stabs Gregory in the gut and Rick kills him. Jesus calms astonished residents by pointing out that Ethan initiated the bloodshed. In the library, Jesus explains that Negan is the head of a group called the Saviors, who agreed not to attack the Hilltop in exchange for half of their supplies. Rick's group offers to rescue Craig and wipe out the Saviors in exchange for food, medicine and supplies. Jesus agrees to take the offer to Gregory. Later, Jesus reports that Gregory wants to discuss the offer with Maggie.
Jesus is first seen in the church in Alexandria as Rick tries to convince the Alexandrians that they need to fight against the Saviors.
On the road, Jesus and Andy are trying to decide which of three decapitated walker heads that they have collected, as part of their plan to fool the Saviors, looks most like Gregory. Jesus picks a head but remarks that Gregory's nose is slightly different. Rick grabs the head and pummels the nose as Jesus and Andy watch in shock, figuring Andy can tell the Saviors that he broke Gregory's nose in a struggle. Andy remarks to Rick that "the Saviors, they're scary, but those pricks got nothing on you."
Later, Jesus, Gabriel Stokes, Tara Chambler, Andy, and Craig wait outside in a car. Jesus listens as Tara confesses to Gabriel that she told her girlfriend Denise Cloyd that she loved her, but only did so to hide her misgivings about their mission to kill the Saviors. Jesus asks Tara if she does love Denise, to which Tara says she does. "So you know what you're fighting for," Jesus says.
When the alarm inside the Saviors base is activated, Tara says that they need to get back to the Hilltop so that the deal is still on. Jesus declines and sends Andy and Craig back to the Hilltop alone, staying behind to help the others. Once inside, he shoots a weakened Savior, saving Glenn and Heath. “So this is the next world,” Jesus comments.
Jesus approaches to Maggie and Sasha to where Glenn and Abraham are buried and places flowers on the graves. Gregory arrives and demands to know why Maggie’s people didn’t wipe out all The Saviors, and whether they know about his deal with Rick. He tells Maggie and Sasha to burn Glenn and Abraham’s bodies and orders them to leave The Hilltop by morning. Gregory tells Jesus that if they leave, he has plausible deniability, and The Saviors won’t think they colluded to take down their outpost.
Sasha makes her bed in Jesus’s trailer, where she and Maggie are staying the night. She asks Jesus to change Gregory’s mind and offers to earn Maggie’s keep by scavenging for The Hilltop. Jesus gives her Abraham’s brake light necklace. Maggie asks Jesus why Hilltop residents burn their dead -- “What do you have to remember them by?” Jesus simply says, “Us.” The Saviors secretly leads walkers flooding in through the front gate, drawn by the music, Jesus helps Sasha and Maggie kill walkers. When they arrive, Gregory tells Jesus to hide Maggie and Sasha in the foyer closet, however Jesus secretly hides them in his closet.
He releases Maggie and Sasha from Gregory’s bedroom closet. Gregory yells at Jesus for hiding them there instead of the foyer closet. Jesus stands up to Gregory and forces him to let Maggie and Sasha stay. Jesus threatens to reveal Gregory’s deal with Alexandria, stripping him of his plausible deniability. Suddenly, Maggie punches Gregory in the face, reaches into his pocket and takes Glenn’s watch, which Gregory stole from the grave.
Jesus tells Maggie and Sasha that initially, he couldn’t imagine anyone but Gregory running The Hilltop. “I can now,” he says cryptically. Maggie leaves. Sasha asks Jesus to find out where Negan lives, but to keep it a secret from Maggie. Jesus agrees to follow the truck that’s heading back to The Saviors’ compound.
The Saviors leave The Hilltop. Jesus sneaks into the truck that’s bound for their compound. He hears a voice say, “Hey,” and looks towards the back of the truck to see Carl peeking out from behind some boxes.
Jesus and Carl emerge from their hiding spots in the back of the cargo truck. Jesus pours syrup on the ground behind the truck, leaving a trail. He proposes they jump out of the moving truck and follow on foot. Carl is hesitant and asks Jesus to show him how it’s done. Jesus leaps out; he sees Carl waving goodbye, from the truck, and realizes he’s been played. Negan and Carl prepare to leave in the cargo truck. On their way out, Jesus is shown hiding on top of the truck and stays behind at the compound.
It is revealed that Jesus is the one who gave Daryl the letter and keys to help him escape. Jesus finds Daryl in the midst of bashing in Fat Joey’s head. Daryl grabs Joey’s gun (Rick’s Colt Python) and hops on a motorcycle. Daryl and Jesus leave the compound. Rick, Michonne, Carl, Rosita and Tara enter the Hilltop and reunite with Maggie, Sasha and Enid. Daryl and Jesus come out to greet them. Daryl gives Rick the gun he retrieved from Fat Joey. Together, they stride towards the mansion.
This list shows the victims Paul has killed:
- "No, not this guy."
- —Rick about bringing Paul back with them to Alexandria.[src]
The next day, Jesus escapes and tells Rick that "they need to talk". Jesus informs Rick and the group about the Hilltop, another community. Rick trusts him and he and some of the group go to the Hilltop with Jesus.
Rick shows great trust in Jesus, even though it is shown that Rick is nearly always distrustful of people after encountering hostiles such as the Governor and the Terminants. Rick and Jesus have a stable relationship.
- "So long, ya prick!"
- —Daryl to Paul after leaving him on the side of the road.[src]
It can be assumed Jesus and Daryl have a stable relationship, since Jesus has helped the group, and vice versa.
In "Hearts Still Beating", Jesus rescues Daryl from the Saviors but is horrified to watch him beat in Fat Joey's head.
- "Gregory's not exactly good at confrontation, he's not the leader I would have chosen but he helped make this place what it is ... and the people like him."
- —Paul describing Gregory.[src]
While not much has been shown of Gregory and Jesus' relationship, it can be assumed Jesus has concerns regarding what direction Gregory is taking the Hilltop community.
Jesus and Negan have not shared any on screen time yet, however it is clear that Jesus dislikes Negan because of the actions of him and his men. He was also willing to kill his men in order for him to stop demanding supplies and possibly killing more people from Hilltop, albeit secretly to avoid Hilltop getting the blame.
Jesus, along with Andy, were determined to save Craig from the Saviors. Jesus is relieved when they rescue him.
- "So, you know what you're fighting for."
- —Jesus to Tara about Denise[src]
Jesus shows to trust Sasha and values her pressence at Hilltop, along with Maggie. He even shows sympathy for her after her boyfriend, Abraham Ford, was killed by Negan. The two are seen working together to take out a group of walkers that were lured into Hilltop by the Saviors lead by Simon. Later on, Jesus is sent by Sasha to sneak into a Savior truck and find out where their main base is.
Jesus shows to care for Maggie very much. At first, Maggie did not trust Jesus, but after seeing the Hilltop and him not pulling anything against her people, she begins to trust him. When Gregory requests to speak to Maggie, Jesus apologizes to her about Gregory's behavior and warns her of how much of a prick Gregory is. After Maggie's husband, Glenn Rhee, was killed by Negan, Jesus shows sympathy and does what he can for her. When Saviors let walkers into Hilltop, Jesus is sent down to help Sasha by order of Maggie, though he likely would've helped out Sasha without Maggie's order. Later on, Jesus notices how much Maggie has been helping out Hilltop and thinks to himself how she could replace Gregory as leader.
At first, Jesus was not trusted by Carl, with him rasing a gun on Jesus. However, Carl started to trust him. When Jesus snuck into a Savior truck that was going to the Sanctuary, he noticed Carl in the truck and gave him a smile. When they were getting close to the Sanctuary, Jesus believed they should jump out, with him doing so, while Carl stayed behind to personally kill Negan.
- The casting call for this character was Jason.
- Unlike his comic book counterpart, Paul does not possess the surname "Monroe"
- Despite the last name change, Tom Payne said he considers Monroe to be Jesus' last name, and he understands fans being upset about the last name change.
- Paul prefers the nickname, "Jesus", as his friends at the Hilltop Colony call him that. This is due to his uncanny resemblance of Jesus Christ not only in appearance, but in behavior.
- Tom Payne on Jesus possibly being gay on the show: "What I find interesting from the comics is that it's not a big deal. He just is who he is. And I enjoy the fact that in the show, they want to do right by the characters. So, um... you'll find out! What I will say is that the showrunners and everyone who works at the show respect the vision of the characters. We haven't gotten to that aspect of the character, but I think everyone will be happy."
- In the original script of "The Next World", Jesus drops down into a horse stance, but the writers decided that they shouldn't give up that he's a super capable fighter. They instead worked on evasion techniques.