The series stars Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, a police officer who gets shot in the line of duty and awakens from a coma to find the world dominated by the literal walking dead (Walkers). He sets out to find his family and encounters some other survivors along the way. The title of the series refers to the survivors, and not the actual zombies, though it could equally be taken to mean both the survivors and the zombies.
In September 2013, a companion series was announced by AMC. Dave Erickson, writer and producer of AMC's Low Winter Sun, is confirmed to be the showrunner. In March 2014, Robert Kirkman has noted that the new series is not technically a spin-off, because none of the characters from the TV Series will be involved. Kirkman also said that the new series will be unrelated to the comics, different characters, different location. (The location has been revealed as Los Angeles, California.)
Many networks were approached by producers Gale Anne Hurd, Frank Darabont, and Robert Kirkman, among them well-known ones like NBC and HBO, though all of them refused to accept the show due its extremely violent and gory story. Some even going as far as proposing a "story without zombies".
Eventually, AMC took the show. In March 2010, it was announced that it ordered 6 episodes to be filmed. The filming began on the fifteenth of May, 2010. The episodes debuted on AMC on October 31, 2010.
Executive Producer Frank Darabont said that the TV Series was not intended to be a miniseries. AMC ordered 13 episodes for the second season. The second season debuted on October 16, 2011 at 9 p.m. with a 90 minute premiere episode "What Lies Ahead".
Frank Darabont was released from being the showrunner and replaced by Glen Mazzara (writer of the episode "Wildfire" in the first season). Darabont's departure has been surrounded in controversy, with magazine articles claiming that it was due to either a strained relationship with AMC, his failure to conform to the schedule of a TV series, or most likely due to the show's budget reduction despite commercial success.
Glen Mazzara, the showrunner for Season 2 and Season 3, was replaced by executive producer Scott Gimple. Mazzara had cited creative differences with the drama and departed the series in late December 2012 after season 3 had wrapped production. Gimple took over as showrunner for Season 4.
In response to a question:
"says that the show will be deliberately pushed into a storyline that is nothing like the comics. Can you confirm or deny this?"
Kirkman - "BIG denial. We will never completely abandon the comic as source material on the TV show. There's already another 4 seasons of material at least, in the comics always doing new material."
Rick is the husband of Lori Grimes and the father of Carl Grimes. An honest, kind and lawful man, Rick worked in King County, Georgia as a sheriff's deputy who after awaking from a coma finds the world ravaged by an undead apocalypse. He becomes the leader of a group of survivors from Atlanta, Georgia. Rick became more ruthless after being forced to kill his best friend, Shane, but also became mentally unstable after the death of Lori. Rick's main goal is to protect both his real family as well as his group and will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. After entering the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Rick is reintroduced to his role in the police force, when he is given the role of a constable. He takes over leadership of the community after Deanna Monroe's death and later forms a relationship with fellow survivor Michonne.
Carl is the son of Rick and Lori. He fled with Lori and Shane after the apocalypse, thinking his father was dead. Once naive and childish, he began to mature after losing members of his group, including his mother. As the apocalypse goes on, he slowly becomes colder and scolds those he thinks are not living in the real world. After entering the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Carl worries that the refuge will make them weak. He develops a friendship with Enid. During the walker invasion in Alexandria, he is accidentally shot by Ron Anderson and loses his right eye as a result. This does not seem to affect Carl, showing how strong he has become.
Daryl is the younger brother of Merle and is the camp's expert hunter and tracker, his signature weapon being a crossbow. Daryl is a violent and short-tempered man at first, but he soon forms a close bond with fellow survivor Carol Peletier and slowly becomes Rick's most trusted right-hand man and an important asset to the group. After the prison is destroyed, he forms a brief bond with Beth Greene until she is abducted. He later finds her at Grady Memorial Hospital and is devastated when she is killed by Dawn Lerner during the exchange, going so far as to shoot Dawn dead. After the group joins Alexandria he is given the role of a new recruiter alongside Aaron.
Carol was a wife and mother before and during the apocalypse. Her abusive husband, Ed, was killed by walkers during an attack on the original Atlanta camp. Her daughter Sophia goes missing after being chased from the highway by walkers and is later found as a walker in Hershel Greene’s barn, leaving Carol devastated. As time passes, she becomes much stronger and more proficient with weapons, and forms a close bond with Daryl. She saves the group from being slaughtered at Terminus. She becomes cold in her killing, however after meeting Morgan the effects of all the people she has killed begin to weigh on her, causing her to flee from Alexandria. She is found and saved by Morgan before being killed by a Savior named Roman.
Maggie is the daughter of Hershel Greene and older half-sister of Beth. Maggie is strong, caring and brave and a main asset to the group. She stayed at a farmhouse with her family and neighbors when the survivors encountered them in Season 2. She forms a relationship with Glenn over the course of his stay on the farm and eventually marries him at the prison. Maggie is the last remaining member of the Greene family after Hershel and Beth’s deaths. At Alexandria, she takes on the role as Deanna’s assistant. She is later revealed to be pregnant. After witnessing Glenn’s brutal death at the hands of Negan, Maggie is left devastated.
Michonne saved Andrea from walkers in "Beside the Dying Fire". She wields a katana and is stealthy, quiet but smart. Before finding Andrea, she survived on her own. Their friendship is tested when they join Woodbury and Michonne instantly dislikes the Governor but Andrea disagrees. Michonne leaves Woodbury on her own and finds the prison, and despite initially not trusting her, Rick allows her into the group. After Andrea’s death, she forms a close bond with the group, particularly Rick and Carl. She continues to hunt for the Governor, and when he attacks the prison and almost kills Rick, Michonne saves him by stabbing him through the chest. At Alexandria, she is given the role of a constable alongside Rick and often acts as his voice of reason. She later forms a relationship with him.
Morgan is the first survivor Rick encounters along with his son Duane. He informs Rick of the new world, and when the two later depart so Rick can find his family, he gives Morgan a walkie-talkie to stay in touch if he decides to leave King County. When Rick returns to his hometown on a weapons run, he finds a now deranged, psychotic Morgan. He reveals to Rick his son was killed by his walker wife and he is now on a mission to clear both walkers and humans. In Season 5, Morgan is revealed to be looking for Rick and reunites with him after Pete’s execution. He now believes that all life is precious and refuses to kill people. This causes him to clash with Carol over their differing philosophies. However, Morgan is forced to kill when Carol’s life is threatened.
Rosita is a survivor first encountered after the prison attack and a member of Abraham's group along with Eugene. She is a strong, independent woman with many different skills learned from people she has met during the apocalypse. She is devoted to getting Eugene to Washington DC, in order to save the world and stop the virus. She is upset and disappointed when she discovers that he was lying all along about knowing the cure. She often has to intervene when Abraham becomes violent. She takes on the role of a medical assistant at Alexandria. She is upset when Abraham ends his relationship with her, yet continues to look out for him. She is devastated when Abraham is killed by Negan.
Eugene is a survivor first encountered after the prison attack and a member of Abraham's group, along with Rosita. He is a smart man, but relies on Abraham and Rosita to protect him as he cannot fight. He claims to be a scientist and knows what caused the outbreak and needs to get to Washington. He is later revealed to be lying and is not a scientist nor does he know what caused the outbreak. This causes friction in his friendship with Abraham, but the two later become friends again. As time goes on he becomes more capable of looking out for himself, even going so far as to tell Abraham he does not need him anymore. However, he is shown to be devastated when he is killed by Negan.
Tara is a member of Chambler's family, consisting of her sister Lilly, niece Meghan and father David. They take in the Governor and after their father’s death, they later join Martinez's group, which the Governor eventually takes over and he convinces the group to attack the prison. Tara is reluctant, and after witnessing Hershel’s death at his hands, she refuses to fight. She is later found by Glenn and the two escape the prison together where they encounter Abraham’s group and eventually reunite with the others at Terminus. At Alexandria, Tara forms a relationship with Denise.
Negan is the leader of the Saviors. He is a violent, sadistic yet charismatic man who believes in following the rules and punishing those who don’t. This is seen when he brutally beats Abraham and Glenn to death with his baseball bat, Lucille, as punishment for Rick and his group wiping out one of his outposts. He goes on to demand that Rick and the people of Alexandria work for him, and although they oblige at first, Rick decides to fight back along with help from the other communities.
In his first meeting with Rick's group he wants to revenge them for The Savior's causeless deaths. He has brutally beated Abraham and Glenn to death.
Sasha is the sister of Tyreese and a former member of his group. She is a strong woman and is extremely accurate with a rifle, easily becoming the best shot in the group. After the deaths of her boyfriend Bob and later her brother, Sasha becomes unstable and erratic, going so far as to hunt down walkers. She starts to regain her sanity, and eventually develops a relationship with fellow survivor Abraham. She is devastated when he is brutally beaten to death by Negan and seeks to avenge Abraham's death by killing him. Sasha is captured by the Saviors and commits suicide by taking a pill given to her by Eugene.
Glenn is a pizza delivery boy who knows every shortcut in Atlanta. He saved Rick when he was trapped inside a tank surrounded by walkers, and brought Rick back to the Atlanta camp, where he is reunited with his wife and son. He is frequently used as a supply runner due to his ability to get the job done quick. He develops a relationship with Maggie Greene, eventually going on to marry her. He continues his role as a supply runner when the group arrive at Alexandria. Maggie is later revealed to be pregnant. Glenn is brutally beaten to death by Negan, leaving Maggie devastated.
Abraham is a survivor first encountered after the prison attack and the leader of his own group, along with Rosita Espinosa and Eugene Porter. His post-apocalyptic life is devoted to getting Eugene to Washington DC, in order to save the world and stop the virus. Abraham has good leadership skills, but is often demanding when using them. After he discovers that Eugene was lying about the cure, he has a breakdown. He eventually recovers from this and joins the construction team at Alexandria, eventually becoming the leader. He later forms a relationship with Sasha after leaving Rosita. He is brutally beaten to death by Negan using his baseball bat, Lucille.
Tyreese is a survivor encountered at the prison and the older brother of Sasha. He is naturally a calm person and voice of reason. At the prison, he formed a relationship with Karen, until she was murdered by an unknown person. After this point, Tyreese becomes aggressive and partially violent. Tyreese saves Judith during the prison attack, later reuniting with Carol and discovering she was the one who killed Karen. He chooses to forgive Carol. He is bitten twice at Shirewilt Estates and despite the groups best efforts to save him, he dies.
Beth is a shy, soft-spoken teenage girl and is Hershel's youngest daughter, Maggie's younger half-sister, and was dating a boy named Jimmy. After attempting suicide, she has come to accept the world in a more tragic view than the rest of her family. Beth becomes both emotionally and physically stronger, and she forms a bond with Daryl Dixon when they escape the prison together. She is later abducted and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where she forms a close bond with Noah, but clashes with Dawn Lerner. As a final act of defiance against Dawn, Beth stabs her with a pair of scissors and is accidentally shot in the head by Dawn.
Philip is the antagonist leading Woodbury. He had a wife and a daughter named Penny, who he kept tied up when she became a walker, thinking that somehow she would remember him. He is cunning, manipulating and full of hatred. He becomes obsessed with taking out Rick’s group so he can take the prison for himself. His death comes during his final attack on the prison, when he is stabbed in the chest by Michonne and left to die before being shot in the head by Lilly.
Hershel is the recovering alcoholic father of Maggie and Beth. He owns a farm house that the survivors encounter in Season 2. Once against killing the walkers, Hershel has since become one of Rick's most devoted followers after seeing the truth in humanity amongst the apocalypse. Even after having his leg amputated because of a walker bite, he does not give up hope and is always there to lend his strength whenever the group needs his guidance. He tragically died at the hands of The Governor, being executed in front of his daughters by getting his head chopped off with Michonne's katana.
Andrea was an attorney who was on a road trip with her sister Amy when the apocalypse occurred. A strong, independent woman, she became the most prominent dead-eye shooter next to Shane within the group. Separated from the others when walkers attacked the farm, she is rescued by Michonne. The two part ways after discovering Woodbury, where Andrea begins a relationship with the town’s leader, the Governor. She eventually sees the Governor for who he really is and tries to escape, but is captured by him. The Governor stabs Milton and leaves him to die so that when he turns, he will kill Andrea. She is bitten before she can escape and shoots herself in the head with Michonne by her side.
Merle is Daryl’s older racist brother, who Rick handcuffed to the roof of a department store and was forced to cut his own hand off to escape. He was rescued by the Governor and became one of his most trusted right-hand men and lived in Woodbury. He began living at the prison with Rick's group after escaping Woodbury together with Daryl. After living in the prison, he began to have a change of heart and sacrificed himself for the prison group by attacking the Governor. He is shot in the chest and later found by a devastated Daryl as a walker, who puts his brother down.
Lori was the wife of Rick and mother of Carl. Headstrong, caring and brave but at times, indecisive. Believing Rick to be dead, she followed Shane to Atlanta and formed a relationship with him, but immediately ended this after discovering Rick was alive. Shane continued to harbor feelings for Lori, causing friction between him and Rick. She becomes distant from her husband when she learns he killed Shane. Rick and Lori are becoming close again until the prison is attacked by walkers. Lori goes into labor and realizes either she or her baby will die, so she forces Maggie to cut her open and save her daughter. She dies during the procedure and is shot in the head by Carl to prevent her from reanimating.
Shane was Rick's partner in the King County Sheriff's Department and best friend since high school. When Rick got shot and fell into a coma, Shane brought him to the hospital and barricaded Rick's room to keep him safe when the apocalypse broke out. He leads Rick’s wife and son to Atlanta, and soon falls in love with Lori. When Rick finds his family, Shane is upset that his relationship with Lori is over. He becomes cold, eventually trying to kill his best friend. He is stabbed in the chest by Rick and reanimates into a walker almost immediately before being shot by Carl.
Dale is a retired salesman and the owner of the RV around which the survivors had formed a community. He rescued Andrea and Amy when the outbreak first started. He often acts as the groups moral compass and always encourages them to do the right thing, and is upset when he believes they are losing their humanity. He is attacked by a walker and has his stomach ripped open before being shot in the head by Daryl to put him out of his misery.
This is a list of the supporting cast in The Walking Dead, in order of living status.
Olivia is a resident of the Alexandria Safe-Zone. She is in charge of the pantry and the armory. Olivia also cures meats in her basement. She is briefly taught by Carol Peletier how to use a gun during the Wolves attack, but is very afraid of killing. In season 7, Olivia briefly becomes of interest of Negan. In the mid-season finale, Olivia is shot in the face by Arat, a Savior, after Negan orders her to kill someone.
Spencer is a resident of the Alexandria Safe-Zone. He is also Deanna and Reg's eldest son as well as Aiden's older brother. Before Rick's group arrived, he had duties as a look-out in the watchtower. After Spencer's family slowly die off, he begins to link his relative's deaths with the arrival of Rick and builds a growing hatred for him. In season 7, after the Safe-Zone is under the rule of Negan, he also blames Rick for this. Eventually, Spencer decides to revolt against Rick, trying to convince Negan to kill Rick and put him in charge of the Safe-Zone. Negan, seeing Spencer as weak, disembowels Spencer in front of the townspeople and is later put down by Rick after turning.
Dr. Denise Cloyd is a resident of the Alexandria Safe-Zone. She takes over as the town's doctor after Pete Anderson's death. She is also a psychiatrist. She is not convinced of her own capabilities and is encouraged by Tara, who she later forms a relationship with. Determined to prove herself, she convinces Daryl and Rosita to join her on a run for medicine. While on the run, she is shot through the eye with an arrow by Dwight, who later reveals he was really aiming for Daryl.
Jessie is the abused wife of Pete and the mother to Ron and Sam. She is a resident of the Alexandria Safe-Zone. As a result of the abuse, she is weak and doesn't know how to fight. She has a kind personality and wants to protect her children at all costs. Jessie gets stronger after Rick kills Pete; she ends up killing a member of the Wolves to protect her and her family. Jessie and Rick slowly start a relationship after Pete's death.
Sam is the son of Jessie and Pete Anderson and also the younger brother of Ron. He is a resident of the Alexandria Safe-Zone. He gains a friendship with Carol Peletier after telling her of the abuse his mother suffers from his farther. He becomes very distressed after The Wolves attack Alexandria, not leaving the upper floor of his house.
Deanna is the former leader of the Alexandria Safe-Zone before Rick Grimes took over. She is the wife to Reg Monroe and the mother to Spencer and Aiden. Deanna believes that the community should be about transparency. She gained trust in Rick after he follows her order when she was the leader. When Alexandria is swarmed with walkers, Deanna is bitten after saving Rick. She later faces the walkers and lets them devour her.
Reg is the husband of the former leader of the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Deanna Monroe and the farther to Spencer and Aiden. Reg build the walls surrounding Alexandria and is an expert of architecture. He is accidentally killed by Pete Anderson.
Dawn Lerner is the leader of Grady Memorial Hospital. She is first encountered by Beth Greene, when she was taken there. At first, Dawn is shown to be a dominant, power-ridden, aggressive person who doesn't take kindly to newcomers at the hospital. After showing hatred to Beth, they both become friendly, which opens up her soft side. Dawn is killed by Daryl Dixon when she accidentally shoots Beth in the head after being stabbed by her. She is also shot in the head.
Jim was an Atlanta survivor. Jim was bitten or scratched during an attack, but not killed, the day before the group went to the CDC. On the way to the CDC, he was in pain and afraid he was going to turn, Jim requested to be left by the road, under a tree to die.
Milton is a scientist living in Woodbury, Georgia. He is a confidant of The Governor. Stabbed by the Governor, left to turn in order to kill Andrea. Walker Milton killed by Andrea after she was bitten.
Betsy is a resident of the Alexandria Safe-Zone. She is the wife of David. Betsy commits suicide after learning the death of her husband and is put down by Jessie Anderson in front of the Alexandrians.
Nicholas is a resident of the Alexandria Safe-Zone. He went on supply runs with Aiden Monroe and eventually got four people killed. He develops an enemy-like relationship with Glenn Rhee and later tries to kill him. Nicholas improves his skill when he helps remove the walksers from the quarry, but dies on his return to Alexandria when he commits suicide after being surrounded by
Pete is the abusive husband of Jessie and the father to Ron and Sam. He becomes enemies with Rick Grimes after he learns of Jessie's abuse which leads to them fighting. Pete later tries to kill Rick, where he accidentally murders Reg Monroe. Deanna tells Rick to kill Pete after her initial mourning of Reg; Rick shoots Pete in the head in front of Jessie and the Alexandrians.
Andrew was a prisoner discovered by Rick's group. His act of vengeance caused the deaths of T-Dog and Lori. Was killed by Oscar (head shot) during a confrontation with Rick in the prison generator room.
The Hermit lived in the woods between the prison and Woodbury before he was discovered by Rick's group. He was unaware of the apocalypse. Killed by Michonne and fed to the walkers in grant the group's escape.
The show currently scores 85 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 25 reviews, indicating Universal acclaim. In a cover article Entertainment Weekly called The Walking Dead "The Best New Show on TV". Nancy deWolf Smith from The Wall Street Journal said that the "pilot episode [is] so good that it has hooked even a zombie hater like me." She said that what made the show so good was that it feels real and looks cinematic. Heather Havrilesky of Salon.com included the show on their list of 9 new TV shows to not miss, giving it a grade of "A", with the author saying "A film-quality drama series about zombies? Somebody pinch me!"
Based on 24 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the first season of The Walking Dead received an average 96% overall "Certified Fresh" approval rating; the website's consensus states, "Blood-spattered, emotionally resonant, and white-knuckle intense, The Walking Dead puts an intelligent spin on the overcrowded zombie sub genre".
Based on 21 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the second season of The Walking Dead received an average 90% overall "Certified Fresh" approval rating; the website's consensus states, "The second season of The Walking Dead fleshes out the characters while maintaining the grueling tension and gore that made the show a hit."
Based on 28 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the third season of The Walking Dead received an average 96% overall "Certified Fresh" approval rating; the website's consensus states, "The palpable terror and visceral thrills continue in the third season of The Walking Dead, along with a deeper sense of the people who inhabit its apocalyptic landscape."
The pilot received 5.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched premiere episode of any AMC television series.
The season 2 premiere and encore received a total of 11 million viewers, the rest of the season continues to break records around the world.
The season 3 premiere garnered a record-breaking 10.9 million viewers, and together with its encore, the premiere was watched by 15.2 million viewers, making this the most-watched episode of The Walking Dead, to date.
The season 4 premiere garnered cable record-breaking numbers, averaging 16.11 million U.S. viewers. This beats out the season three finale, "Welcome to the Tombs," which was viewed by 12.42 million, for the most viewed episode of The Walking Dead.
Ernest R. Dickerson, Greg Nicotero, Guy Ferland, Bill Gierhart, Michelle MacLaren, David Boyd, Tricia Brock, Seth Mannino, Lesli Linka Glatter, Jeremy Podeswa, Stefan Schwartz, Michael Uppendahl, Jeffrey F. January, Julius Ramsay, Michael E. Satrazemis