Rick Grimes is Lori's husband and Carl's father. He used to be deputy for a small-town police department, and was put into a coma while working; he awoke to the zombie apocalypse. He is a natural leader, which is why he has so much tension with Shane, who was the leader of the survivors before Rick awakened. Rick has a good moral code, and believes no living being should be killed, even if they are infected.
Despite Shane's want to lead the group to a base 100 miles away for protection, Rick leads the group to the CDC in Atlanta because he feels that it would be safer. When arriving at the CDC, the group is welcomed by Dr. Edwin Jenner, the last man alive in that area. He tells them that the team has made no leads in finding a cure to the disease, and dies when the building self-destructs.