Rick Grimes was a police officer in the small town of Cynthiana, Kentucky.
While on duty, Rick Grimes becomes involved in a shootout against an escaped convict. During the confrontation, Rick is badly wounded and falls into a coma. Months later, Rick Grimes will awaken in a hospital bed alone. Unaware that a zombie apocalypse had occurred during his period of unconsciousness, Rick leaves the hospital and wanders home. Rick then encounters Duane Jones who knocks him out. When he wakes up, Rick meets Duane’s father Morgan, who tells him what has occurred during his coma.
Rick then begins a search for his missing wife Lori and son Carl. He heads to Atlanta because he heard that was where people were taken to for protection during the zombie outbreak. However, unknown to Rick, his family has taken refuge in a remote camp outside of Atlanta with his best friend Shane Walsh. When Rick runs out of gas on his way to Atlanta, he finds a horse on a farm where the owners had committed suicide. Continuing on horseback, he encounters a large group of walkers. Fleeing the mob, Rick encounters Glenn, who helps him out and later reunites him with his wife and son.
Rick then becomes the leader of the Atlanta camp, and struggles as he leads the group. His morality is constantly tested against the living (who some have become ruthless unscrupulous individuals) while trying to protect his family.