Having kicked off as an all-out zombie drama, where survival was key at all costs and the most enjoyable scenes featured at least a mauling or two, if not the death of a main character, The Walking Dead has evolved into a fully fledged character drama over three seasons.

Rick GrimesWhat should I do to them? Grimes thinks, and probably should say

And ahead of season four, which premieres this Sunday (Oct13) on AMC, the character responsible for the biggest arc – a certain Rick Grimes – is set to herd his sheep through a maze of greedy, barbaric humans and non-sentient zombies looking for their next meal of human flesh.

He’s the leader, the sheriff, that’s a consistent theme throughout the show, but the reasons for his burden are transient. Keeping his son and his wife alive were the key reasons to keep the fight going, but since Lori passed and Carl matured, not to mention the birth of his daughter, his priorities have changed.

The Walking Dead Season Four

''The thing that always fascinates me about human beings is that we are here for such a short time, and we go through such trauma in our lives, but we recover. The capacity to heal is enormous, to deal with trauma, grief, death, birth, new life,'' he says. (Sunday Morning Herald)

You can read our preview of The Walking Dead Season Four here

''Don't get me wrong I love putting cowboy boots on and pretending to be a cowboy for my day job, but the things that I really love are the touching human moments where somebody says something unexpectedly that helps you through the day. That's what happens in life.”

Andrew LincolnDavid Morrissey
Rick Grimes and Phillip Blake will reignite their rivalry in season four

Now, Rick has a wider purpose to consider. His ‘family’ has swelled since the mass exodus from Woodbury. He has new lambs to look out for, and then there’s the matter of a certain personal vendetta to see through. The Governor is still at large, and it’s difficult to see how issues of pride and safety won’t lead to these two major character locking horns once again.

Andrew Lincoln

''Rick was driven initially by family, that's how he survived. He found his family, and then he built another family around his family. And then he lost his wife. But he has a new nuclear family. In a way it's like The Magnificent Seven. These people don't belong together but when they form a group, you go yeah, come on, you can do it,” added Lincoln.

With the Walking Dead returning this Sunday, TV fans will have another show to sink their teeth into – appropriate metaphor, don’t you think? – now that Breaking Bad has wrapped up after five seasons. The Walking Dead is likely to go five, too, but we’d be happy if it hit six like AMC’s other flagship drama, Mad Men. Maybe even seven?

The Walking DeadAndrew Lincoln is back this Sunday