AMC's zombie drama The Walking Dead has returned to TV screens for its fifth season, and it was a return that drew record numbers of viewers for the series. After discovering that Terminus was not quite the sanctuary that had been promised at the end of season 4, Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors were left at the mercy of sadistic leader Gareth and forced to find a way out - or die.
The Walking Dead's high body count means that the show's cast often needs replenishing, and season 5 promises to introduce another character from Robert Kirkman's comic book series: Father Gabriel Stokes, who will be played by The Wire actor Seth Gilliam.
Deadline reports that the season 5 cast isn't quite done growing just yet, however, as American Horror Story actor Alexandra Breckenridge has been cast as "Samantha" (this may or may not be the character's real name). The character breakdown describes her as an "attractive, strong, smart, charming and articulate woman who also has a vulnerable side. She’s a mother with a bohemian spirit, and a talented artist." The latter talent may not prove too useful in the post-apocalypse, but perhaps she could turn sharpen her paintbrushes into zombie-killing weapons.
Breckenridge had a recurring role in the first season of American Horror Story as the younger version of Moira, housekeeper to the 'Murder House', in a role that she shared with Francis Conroy. She also had a guest role in True Blood as wiccan Katerina Pelham, and has voiced a number of different characters in Family Guy.
The Walking Dead has already introduced several characters who were not in the comic books, including Daryl, who is among the small collection of characters from season 1 who are still alive. The show has also deviated from the plot of the comic books frequently enough that even those who have been reading ahead can't be absolutely sure of which direction this season will take.
Thanks to scientist Eugene and his insistence that he holds the secret to ending the epidemic of the undead, it seems like the survivors could be making a push towards Washington D.C. this season. That's a very long walk, though, and there will no doubt be plenty of trouble along the way.
The Walking Dead continues next Sunday with ‘Strangers’ @9pm ET on AMC.