Played by: Jon Bernthal
Seasons: 1 – 2
With the least amount of screen time on this list, Shane is still the most memorable character in The Walking Dead. Played by one of the most intense actors of the decade, Bernthal electrifies each episode with force and fury. Even his passion for Lori, although quashed upon Rick’s return, bursts with vigor.
Rick and Shane were partners at the Sheriff’s department, however Shane was more prone to resort to intimidation in order to achieve results. When Ed hits his wife Carol, Shane unleashes a wrath on Ed ensuring he would never lay a finger on anyone ever again. Partially a consequence of his ferocious behavior, Shane epitomized apocalyptic survival. This is evident when he and Otis were on a mission to acquire medical supplies for Carl… Shane twisted his ankle and the dead were closing in, so he shoots Otis in order to escape.
Back at the farm, despite Hershel not knowing about the details of Otis’ death, Shane butts heads with Hershel’s beliefs. Shane despises that Hershel keeps the dead in a barn on the property because he still sees them as people. In year two’s mid-season finale, Shane finally snaps and opens the barn door, making it open season on Hershel’s dead family, friends, and acquaintances. When Carol’s lost daughter, that the group has been searching for all season, resurfaces as a walker from the barn, Shane is stunned, and Rick is forced to put her down. It is the most chill-inducing scene in the series’ 9 seasons.
Shane’s ideologies were consistently at odds with his childhood friend Rick. “18 Miles Out” brings a fascinating dilemma to the forefront – should outsiders be killed or set loose? It doesn’t help that Rick knows about Lori and Otis, and the two alphas fight over a prisoner’s life. The conflict between partners comes to an explosive ending in the season 2 finale when one of the two are destined to be killed by the other. Rick stabbing Shane is the culmination of the most dynamic relationship on The Walking Dead.
Who is your favorite character on The Walking Dead? Are you looking forward to the AMC show’s final season? Let us know in the comments below!