In the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, a small group of survivors travel across the country in search of a new home away from the hordes. Rick Grimes, who was a police officer in the old world, leads the group. As their situation grows more and more grim, the group's desperation to survive pushes them to do almost anything to stay alive.
Rick Grimes and Shane Walsh were childhood friends, with Rick being the more subdued individual. He had few girlfriends during his years of high school, in contrast to Shane who was always the center of attraction to girls. He and Shane both went to college together for police administration and became sheriff deputies at the King County Sheriff's Department. He and Lori met at a young age and after dating for a short amount of time, married and had a son named Carl. They lived as a family in a typical suburban neighborhood.
As their son grew older, his and Lori's marriage became increasingly strained. He constantly distanced himself from her, hesitating to open up and absorbing himself in his work.
As he mentioned in, "Better Angel", as he teaches his son a life lesson about life and death. Before his father's death, his father used to talk to him profoundly about things. Something that he tries to do with his own son, though gives it up after the apocalypse.
Rick is typically calm, smart, a good friend and father, but will often stubbornly cling to his personal strong moral code, which has resulted in numerous bad calls and extra stress within the group. Rick's greatest fault, perhaps, is his uncanny ability to place responsibility on himself and set for himself goals that are impossible to reach. This has, on various occasions, put Rick at ends with both Lori and Shane, and often weighs heavily on his mind. Despite his faults, his combat skill and general care for all members of the group have led him to be looked up to, and allowed him to take the leadership role within the group.
He is shown to be incredibly protective of his group and their well-being, having engaged numerous threats, even other living people to keep them safe. His moral compass is challenged in many ways and he, in an attempt to prevent more death and loss, begins to shut everybody else out. Despite this, Rick was able to use his leadership skills and combat abilities to keep the group alive for many months following the destruction of the farm, and lead the group in taking the prison; using seemingly desperate survival tactics they had come to learn on the road all winter.
After the death of Lori, Rick becomes very emotionally unstable, and it is not until just before the group learns of the Woodbury threat that Rick comes back to his senses, although evidently Rick has become a ruthless, uncompromising leader of survivors, contrasting his high moral code and values in the previous seasons. Following Andrea's death, Rick seems to have regained much of his old self. During the time-skip, Rick relinquished his leadership position in order to focus more on raising Carl. As the fourth season went on, Rick's leadership starts becoming a request from many of the other group members, most notably Daryl. After The Governor attacks the prison, Rick becomes distraught and remorseful of the loss of the prison and the, what he believes to be, death of Judith. He becomes more protective of Carl and gets into a few arguments with him. After Rick meets up with Michonne, he loosens his grip on Carl a bit and allows himself some time to rest, albeit only temporarily.
As he, Carl and Michonne evacuate the house and come across a poster pointing to Terminus, he decides to take the chance and see the apparent sanctuary. Rick has a realization of who he is, as he is found by the Claimers, who had caused him to get out of the house. He ultimately comes to terms with brutality, which he thinks he has put away for good, when he ends up biting out Joe's jugular and stabs Dan to death. After that night, he explains how he knows of his two different personality traits and how he has settled his mind knowing that by turning to brutality, he has kept his son safe and he has kept his relationships with his friends alive and well.
After arriving at Terminus, Rick has accepted his leadership position to which the group respect him for this, he holds no conflict within his mind anymore and does not doubt his decisions; and from his teachings by Hershel whom he came to view as a mentor (as well a father figure towards him), Rick now understands that he can still retain his humanity by protecting his friends and has personally stated that he views his group as (his family). His darker side is shown through his brutality and does not hesitate to kill someone whom he views as a threat, relying on his former Police skills and survival tactics, Rick has become a battle-hardened survivor whom will protect his family without question.
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