Season 1 Poster
Sheriff's Deputy Rick Grimes is shot and wounded in an altercation with criminals. After slipping into a coma for an indeterminate amount of time, Rick awakens in an abandoned hospital to find a post-apocalyptic world overrun by infectious zombies, colloquially called "walkers". Rick discovers that his wife and son are missing and meets survivors Morgan Jones and his son Duane, who take him in and explain the situation to him. Rick leaves Morgan with a radio in order to keep him updated, as he heavily arms himself from the police station's armory and sets off on a perilous journey for Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC is rumored to have set up a quarantined safe-zone in the city and Rick believes his family may be there. However, he soon discovers that the city has been overrun with walkers and is no longer safe. After being rescued from a horde of walkers by Glenn Rhee, Rick meets part of Glenn's group, who had set themselves up in an Atlanta department store. Walkers attack however, forcing them to escape while reluctantly leaving behind Merle Dixon, handcuffed on the roof by Rick due to his unstable and violent behavior.
A few miles outside the city, in a camp with the rest of the survivors from Glenn's group, Rick's wife Lori and son Carl have been hiding with Shane Walsh, Rick's former police partner and best friend, who is now her lover after they presumed Rick to be dead. After escaping Atlanta and being reunited with Lori and Carl, Rick assumes a command position with Shane and must take responsibility not only for his wife and son but for the survival of the group as well. Part of the group led by Rick goes back into Atlanta to reclaim a weapons bag and to rescue Merle but find that he has escaped somewhere by sawing off his hand. On their return however, they find that their camp had been nearly overrun by walkers and Amy, Andrea's sister, is killed. In hopes of finding answers and medical treatment for Jim, an injured member who sustained a walker's bite, the group plans to return to Atlanta and seek aid from the CDC. After one family sets off alone to find their relatives, and Jim requests to be left on a road after beginning to succumb to the infection, the group continues towards the CDC.
In the CDC, all but one staff member, Dr. Edwin Jenner, have either fled or committed suicide. Dr. Jenner explains his research on the zombie apocalypse and that it has not yielded a cure. He explains that the French may have found a cure, as they were the only nation whose scientists stayed in their labs. Lack of fuel for the emergency generators soon initiates the building's safety protocols, which will trigger decontamination: an explosion designed to destroy the facility and prevent the escape of deadly diseases. Without hope for a cure and the future, Jenner elects to stay and die. Although they are nearly trapped in the building, Carol reveals a grenade she took from Rick's clothing, and the group is able to use it to blow out a window. Before the group leaves the building, Dr. Jenner whispers something into Rick's ear, while Andrea and Jacqui decide to stay with Jenner as they have also lost hope. Dale refuses to leave Andrea behind and elects to stay as well, so Andrea reverses her decision only to save Dale. She and Dale escape just before Jenner and Jacqui are killed by the building's self-destruction, as the survivors look on from outside.