The Ones Who Live - What has Rick Grimes been up to for the past seven years?

The Walking Dead hero Rick Grimes departed the main series during season 9, leaving a huge gap in his story.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: AMC /
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Walking Dead actor Andrew Lincoln has portrayed Rick Grimes since the pilot episode of The Walking Dead in 2010. He served as the main leader of a group of survivors during an undead apocalypse. In season 9, he made a sacrifice that was thought to have ended his life. Unknown to his wife, family, and friends, he survived. Rick has returned in The Ones Who Live spinoff; where has he been all this time?

This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live season 1, episode 1, "Years."

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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: AMC /

The long-running question within the fandom has been, "Where is Rick?" The first episode of The Ones Who Live filled in the blanks of Rick's story from when he was taken away by a CRM helicopter until now.

Viewers received a glimpse of where Rick has been in the coda scene aired at the end of The Walking Dead series finale, "Rest in Peace." He was wearing the telltale coat and kill stick of the CRM culling facility workers. This made it clear that it has been in the custody of the CRM for all of these years.

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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 - Photo Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC /

The Ones Who Live reveals that Rick has tried numerous times to escape, only to be recaptured and put back to work defending the hidden city of the Civic Republic. The first episode shows two unsuccessful attempts, one resulting in Rick cutting off his hand, à la comic book story. For those unaware, Rick's hand is cut off early in the comic story by the Governor.

The Civic Republic is located within the city of Philadelphia and is kept hidden from outsiders, and due to this secrecy, no one is permitted to leave. The residents,
after they spent six years working outside the city, are kept safe due to the efforts of the CRM and have access to all the advanced resources the CR provides. But Rick has a family that he desperately desires to return to.

Lt. Col. Donald Okafor (Craig Tate) was aware of Rick's leadership abilities and wanted he and his co-worker Pearl Thorne (Lesley-Ann Brandt) to join the CRM believing they could make postive changes. By the end of the episode viewers saw that Rick finally gave in to the CRM and did their bidding as he tried to forget this past life.

In the finale scene, Rick's past met him face to face in the form of Michonne who was about end his life until he removed his mask.

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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: AMC /

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live airs new episodes weekly on Sunday on AMC and AMC+, with the finale airing on March 31.

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