Since it’s debut back on Halloween 2010, the crew behind the scenes of The Walking Dead has built a well-earned reputation of being fearless in terms of killing off characters. From minor recurring characters to beloved members of the main cast, one thing AMC’s hit show has proved is that no one is safe.
With the characters constantly faced with the reality of their own mortality, it comes as no surprise that fans of the show have met a ton of great characters along the way. There’s been so much turnover in fact, that the show’s “Main Cast” has rotated over 30 characters in and out over the course of six years. Given the fact that the walkers aren’t even the deadliest characters on the show, the fact that these characters have survived is a miracle.
In the event of a zombie apocalypse, you’ll definitely want to track down these resilient survivors and stick to them like glue. These are the 21 Characters Who’ve Appeared In The Most Episodes of The Walking Dead.
21. Aaron (14 Episodes)
Aaron first popped up on our TV screens towards the last half of the fifth season as a recruiter for Alexandria. While most of the citizens of Alexandria haven’t ventured out past the city walls, this machete-wielding survivor proves to be more than capable of taking care of himself and is tasked with bringing people into the community.
While Aaron’s place as one of the longest-lasting Alexandria survivors is important, he is most prominent for being one of The Walking Dead’s first openly gay characters. Aaron eventually forms a strong bond with Daryl with the pair becoming good friends along the way. Aaron’s kind nature even appears to have rubbed off on Daryl, for better or worse.
Throughout the show’s sixth season, Aaron becomes more integrated into the group, choosing to accompany them in their mission to bring a Maggie to the Hilltop. Unfortunately for Aaron, this decision gave him a front row seat to Negan’s little home run derby.
20. Morgan Jones (18 Episodes)
Morgan Jones holds a unique place in the world of The Walking Dead as he’s someone that fans were introduced to in the pilot, before disappearing until the show’s third season. Over the course of the show’s run, Morgan appeared sporadically, with each of his appearances showing audiences a different side of the character. Still, with everything that Morgan has been through, he’s managed to become one of the most capable members of our beloved group.
When Morgan reappeared in the show’s fifth season, he again looked like a changed man. Once a psychotic, broken person, Morgan was now calm and peaceful, and surprisingly efficient with a bo staff. New combat skills aside, what makes Morgan truly unique amongst the rest of the survivors on the show is his outlook on life.
When Morgan regroups with Rick in Alexandria, we discover that he is now filled with a renewed sense of hope, believing all life to be sacred. With such a unique perspective on the zombie apocalypse, Morgan has risen as a fan favorite and a character that we look forward to seeing more of this season.
19. T. Dog (20 Episodes)
Tough, strong, and a heroic right up until the end, T. Dog was one of the original members of the Atlanta group that Rick met up with in the first season. While he was originally slated to get killed off a few episodes in, the character proved too popular and frankly, too cool to say goodbye to.
T. Dog was one of the group’s most capable fighters right up until the show’s third season. While trying to escape the prison from invading walkers, T. Dog gets bit. Determined for his death to stand for something, he charged ahead, tackling a small group of walkers allowing Carol to escape, a sacrifice she still feels to this day.
While we’ve had a lot of characters come and go, we haven’t seen anyone quite like T. Dog. He may have only been planned for a few episodes, but he went on to have one of the most memorable runs on the show thus far.
18. Father Gabriel Stokes (20 Episodes)
Following the group’s escape from the cannibalistic Gareth and his group at Terminus, Rick and company find refuge in an near-abandoned church. Its lone inhabitant is its priest, Father Gabriel. When the group first stumbles upon Gabriel, he appears cowardly and inept at surviving in the new world that they now live in. Despite his peaceful exterior, Rick immediately realizes that all isn’t as it seems to be with the good preacher.
As time goes on, the group soon discovers that Father Gabriel does indeed have a dark secret that he’s been hiding. During the dawn of the outbreak, this man of the cloth locked himself inside his church, as survivors begged and pleaded for him to let them inside. Instead of opening the doors to God’s house, he sat there in fear for his own well-being, listening to them beg for their lives.
After finding refuge in Alexandria, Gabriel tries to have Rick and the group exiled, claiming they are dangerous and not to be trusted. It wasn’t until he finally kills a walker on his own that Gabriel finally realizes what the world has become.
17. Tyreese Williams (22 Episodes)
This former NFL linebacker turned zombie apocalypse survivor was a fan favorite of the during his run on The Walking Dead. One of the most physically imposing members of the group, Tyreese proved to be a gentle, good-hearted man, albeit with notoriously atrocious aim with a gun. Still, the fact that Tyreese refrained from the use of firearms on the show only means fans got to see him take out walkers with the use of his trusty hammer.
All hammer whacking aside, Tyreese brought much more than some added muscle to Rick and the gang. His compassion and kind heart was best on display when he took over as baby Judith’s primary caretaker, protecting her after the group became separated. Moreover, Tyreese ended up with Carol of all people, the woman who had killed his girlfriend Karen. His immediate forgiveness of Carol truly shows off what kind of man Tyreese truly was.
16. Tara Chambler (28 Episodes)
Tara was first seen during The Governor’s raid of the prison that ended in widespread bloodshed and death, most notably Hershel’s. Tara first met The Governor when he stumbled into her family’s apartment in search of refuge. Not knowing who he was or what he had done, the Chambler family lets him in. After seeing what The Governor was truly capable of, however, she joined up with Abraham and eventually Rick and the rest of the group as well.
While she was present at the Governor’s assault of the prison, she very clearly regrets her decision to go along with him. Tara initially forms a strong bond with Glenn, helping him regroup with Maggie and his friends.
During her time on the show, Tara has proven herself to be more than capable of taking care of herself and those whom she holds dear, including women like Alisha and Denise. Tara is the first member of the main cast to be openly gay. The Walking Dead has always done a great job of filling out its roster with a diverse cast of characters and Tara’s addition was a welcomed one by critics and fans alike.
15. Dr. Eugene Porter (28 Episodes)
When Eugene first appears on The Walking Dead alongside Abraham and Rosita, he immediately becomes a symbol of hope for everyone on the show. While clearly intelligent, Eugene is also one of the biggest cowards on the show. Still, the rest of the characters on the show as well as the audience continuously give Eugene a pass because he claims to know the cure for the outbreak. The key word, there, is claims.
In the fifth episode of the show’s fifth season, Eugene drops a bomb on Abraham, the group, and millions of fans watching at home when he finally reveals that he does not have a cure for the zombie virus. On a show full of down moments, Eugene’s revelation was one that really let the air out of everyone’s sails.
While initially the show’s biggest coward, letting multiple people die under false pretenses for the sake of saving him, he progressed and grew significantly over the course of season six. This growth was best exemplified when he selflessly volunteered to act as a decoy for the group, attempting to lure the Saviors away from his friends at the risk of his own life.
14. Sgt. Abraham Ford (28 Episodes)
Abraham Ford was amazing. Known for his ridiculous sayings, outlandish personality, and an amazing mustache, Abraham felt as close to a real life comic book character as this comic book show has ever seen.
Strong, brash, and a bit on the reckless side, Sgt. Abraham Ford was a determined individual who meets up with Rick and the group while on the way to Washington D.C. He explains to rick that Eugene is a scientist who knows the cure to saving the world and that all he has to do is get him to Washington. This goal becomes a powerful motivator for Abraham, driving his every action right up until the point that Eugene reveals the truth.
After discovering that Eugene had lied about having the cure, Abraham searches for purpose, eventually finding it in the group of people that had become his family. Unfortunately for Abraham, this kind of realization and peace of mind usually comes with consequences on a show like The Walking Dead and he was revealed to be the much anticipated victim at the wrong end of Lucille.
13. Lori Grimes (29 Episodes)
Lori was Rick’s wife and one of the original members of the Atlanta group from the show’s first season. Strong and caring, Lori’s unrelenting love for her family is never more clear than in her death, insisting on saving her baby even when faced with the certainty of her own demise. With all the good that Lori did, however, she wasn’t without her faults.
Once the world turns into a zombie wasteland, Lori made it her goal to do everything in her power to protect her son. During the course of her survival Lori strikes up a sexual relationship with Shane, her husband’s best friend. When she realizes that her husband is actually alive, she immediately regrets her actions with Shane, a burden that she carries until her death at the end of the third season.
Lori was hardly perfect, but she is one of the few main characters to have appeared on the show that has never killed a living human. Her death also represents a turning point for Rick, forcing him to drastically change his perspective on what is best for the survival of the group.
12. Andrea Harrison (31 Episodes)
Andrea Harrison was one of the original members of Rick’s group, first seen in the show’s second episode. Andrea’s evolution over the course of the first three seasons was a great one to watch as she moved gracefully from inept survivor barely managing to get by to a strong, powerful woman who was exceptionally proficient with firearms.
The first big moment for Andrea came when her sister, Amy, was bitten by a walker. Distraught over the idea of losing her sister, Andrea waits for Amy to turn before putting her down in a moment that was somehow merciful, beautiful, and depressing all at the same time.
During her tenure on the Greene Family Farm, Andrea begins spending more time with Shane, learning more about firearms and how to fight for her survival. After getting separated from the rest of the group, she eventually meets up with Michonne and finds her way to Woodbury, where she would meet her untimely end.
11. Rosita Espinosa (31 Episodes)
Rosita Espinosa burst onto The Walking Dead alongside Abraham and Eugene and immediately asserts herself as a ferocious survivor who is more than capable of dealing with any threat that comes her way.
Since her introduction, Rosita has remained one of the most capable combatants in the group, man or woman. On top of being extremely proficient with numerous weapons, Rosita is fairly soft-spoken and appears to be one of the most level-headed and clear thinking members of the group. When she is introduced on the show, she is in a relationship with Abraham, whom she also learned many of her survival skills from. Although Rosita normally remains serious and is rarely shown relaxing or taking a break, she clearly demonstrates a fondness for the rest of the people in her group, particularly Abraham and Eugene.
While she and Abraham broke up a few episodes before his death, his untimely end deeply affected Rosita. Only time will tell where Rosita goes from here, but wherever she goes, people better think twice before crossing her.
10. Hershel Greene (32 Episodes)
Hershel is the patriarch of the Greene family and one of the most loved characters The Walking Dead has ever seen. Strong and determined, Hershel was loving and eternally protective of his daughters, Maggie and Beth, willing to do absolutely anything to ensure their safety.
Audiences first met Hershel after he saves Carl who has just been accidentally shot by Otis. Over time, the elderly farmer becomes something of a father figure to many members of the group, particularly Glenn, who seeks out Hershel’s approval over his growing relationship with Maggie.
After Dale’s death towards the end of season two, Hershel becomes the group’s mentor, guiding them with his wisdom and compassionate outlook on life. His ability to speak logically and defuse situations with words made Hershel a unique character in a show full of people who lived life by more of a “shoot first” philosophy. To top things off, Hershel’s status as a father figure of sorts made his decapitation at the hands of The Governor all that much more devastating.
9. Beth Greene (37 Episodes)
Beth was the younger of the Greene sisters, first appearing in the second season alongside the rest of her family. Sweet and kind-natured, Beth always appeared to be one of the show’s most caring characters. Her evolution over the course of the show’s fifth season was an intriguing and eventually heartbreaking one to watch.
Beth’s role in the group is initially as a beacon of hope and optimism, tending to look towards the positive side of their situation. Her optimistic views on life gradually degrade as the series moves forward, especially after the incident at Woodbury. After this, Beth is noticeably different; cold and detached from from the rest of the group. She does eventually form a strong bond with Daryl after the fall of the prison, with the two growing extremely close.
Her eventual capture by the survivors at the Hospital becomes one of the driving forces for the group in the show’s fifth season. Her death mirrors that of her father’s and is a breaking point for the rest of the survivors, specifically Daryl and Maggie.
8. Sasha Williams (37 Episodes)
Sasha and her brother Tyreese first stumble onto Rick and the group in the middle of third season. Sasha tends to be somewhat of a realist on the show, choosing to look at any situation in the most sensible way possible.
Actress Sonequa Martin-Green actually originally auditioned for the role of Michonne and although she did not get the part, her audition was so captivating that the producers created an original role just for her. It’s hard to imagine anyone but Danai Gurira playing Michonne, but we’re all glad to have been given the opportunity to get to know Sasha.
Sasha is introduced as part of a small group of survivors led by her brother as they first meet up with Rick at the prison. While she and her brother were initially thrown out, they eventually band together after the fall of the prison. While she cares deeply for her friends, Sasha appears to be a bit of a natural loner. Tragically, Sasha does have a tendency of entering into romantic relationships with characters that are doomed to die.
7. Michonne (52 Episodes)
A fan favorite from the comic book and the show, Michonne is definitely someone you don’t want to cross. Armed with her ever-present katana, this post-apocalyptic samurai is a dangerous woman with a big heart.
As far as iconic first images go, Michonne’s television debut wearing a hooded cloak and holding a katana whilst pulling a pair of dismembered zombies on chains has to go down as one of the best. When she is initially introduced, Michonne is a mysterious character who appears to be distrusting of almost everyone. While skeptical of her at first, Rick decides to allow her to join the group based on Andrea’s belief in her. Eventually, Michonne grows to be a core member of the group and one of the people that Rick trusts most.
Strong, fearless, and unrelenting are all words that would accurately describe Michonne, but could never fully encapsulate what the character truly means to the show. Her journey from warrior woman to romantic lead has been handled extremely well on the show, simultaneously allowing the character to remain strong and loving at the same time.
6. Maggie Greene (60 Episodes)
Maggie is the eldest daughter and longest surviving member of the Greene family that first appeared in The Walking Dead during the show’s sophomore season. During the course of the show’s run, Maggie has become one of the show’s most popular characters and alongside her on-screen husband, one of its romantic leads.
Intelligent and courageous, Maggie is easily one of the most loveable characters in the entire show. The loss of her family members at various points throughout the show take a huge toll on her, but she always manages to push through it, due in large part to her husband, Glenn Rhee.
The romance between Maggie and Glenn (also known as “Gleggie” to fans who say such things) has been one of the central, continuous storylines of the show. No matter what kind of crazy mess these two found themselves in, they always found each other, until the start of season seven that is.
5. Glenn Rhee (66 Episodes)
Glenn Rhee has been the heart and soul of The Walking Dead since the very beginning. From the moment Rick and the audience heard that voice over the radio in the show’s pilot episode, Glenn has been the heart and soul of the group.
Glenn is a fan favorite and an ever-present character in any type of Walking Dead media be it the comic books, video games, or television series. He acts as a bit of a moral compass for Rick and the group, constantly reminding Rick that they need to be better than the people that oppose them. In fact, Glenn went through most of the series only killing walkers and avoided killing a living person.
In a lot of ways, Glenn is a miraculously lucky survivor who is constantly faced with astonishingly unlucky situations. His relationship and eventual marriage to Maggie stands out as one of the show’s few joyous occasions and his eventual death has cast a numbing feeling among nearly every fan of the show.
4. Carol Peletier (62 Episodes)
Carol’s growth over the course of the show’s run has been one of the most drastic changes in the entire series. In the show’s first season, Carol is timid and defenseless, often succumbing to the wishes of her abusive husband, Ed. After her fair share of life-changing moments, Carol became a truly dangerous woman whom Rick personally described as a “force of nature.”
After the loss of her husband and especially her daughter, Carol made a decision to learn to better defend herself. She becomes proficient with firearms and begins to start making tough decisions that she deems is in the best interest of the greater good. These decisions include killing off Karen in order to prevent the spread of the unknown prison illness as well as killing Lizzie when it becomes clear she has lost the ability to differentiate between good and evil.
3. Carl Grimes (65 Episodes)
Carl Grimes is a polarizing character on The Walking Dead, some people love Carl and others sign multiple online petitions to try and get the character killed off. Regardless of how you feel about Carl, there’s no denying that he’s been a consistent part of the show since its inception.
Carl’s journey through the world of The Walking Dead provides audiences with a look at what growing up and learning to live in that world would be like. When we first meet Carl, he seems like your typical 12 year old boy getting through life in an apocalypse. He’s a little scared, a little confused, and gets forced into growing up way faster than any kid should.
Being surrounded by death and violence has caused Carl to become somewhat jaded to the horrors that this new world brings. At this point it looks like Carl is here for the long haul and fans should get used to seeing Carl grow up with his dad in this zombie-ridden world.
2. Daryl Dixon (67 Episodes)
“If Daryl dies, we riot” has become a battle cry for the supporters of this Norman Reedus character who didn’t even appear in the comic books. To say Daryl Dixon is one of the show’s most popular characters would be one of the biggest understatements of the century. His survival skills, no-nonsense attitude, and awesome crossbow have turned Daryl into a true breakout character.
Daryl starts off as a loner who’s a bit rough around the edges when he initially shows up in the show’s third episode. It becomes clear rather quickly, however, that there’s more heart and light within Daryl than there was with his older brother Merle. Along the course of the series, Daryl begins to trust his peers and even goes to great lengths to protect them.
Even with his tough guy exterior, Daryl is also one of the show’s most emotional characters, usually reacting based on instinct in a more animalistic manner. While this aspect of his character is one of the reasons fans love him, it also proved to be a costly one in the season premiere of the seventh season.
1. Rick Grimes (74 Episodes)
Rick Grimes is the backbone of The Walking Dead and for most of the show, it’s through his eyes that we experience the post-apocalypse. Rick’s character development throughout the show has been a roller coaster of emotions. Moving from calm and collected to emotionally broken and back and forth again, Rick Grimes is by far one of the most fully-realized characters on television.
While Rick starts as a man just trying to get through this disaster with his family, forces around him cause him to become a dark and complex character. It’s a true testament to the writing staff and actor, Andrew Lincoln that through all of Rick’s changes and actions, he still remains a character that fans can get behind.
A natural leader, Rick is extremely protective over the people he cares about and will stop at no end to ensure their safety. While he’s far from perfect, Rick represents everything that The Walking Dead is and can be moving forward.