Daryl Dixon, the younger brother of Merle Dixon, is one of the Atlanta camp survivors. He is a tough country boy able to live off the land and could properly survive alone, yet he stays with the group. He is short-fused and capable of sudden violence, but often level-headed and more rational than others in the group. He is an expert hunter and displays deadly accuracy with his crossbow, against both game animals and walkers. Although far from politically correct, it is clear Daryl is not as racist as Merle. While comments Daryl has made may have been insensitive, none have been blatantly racist. Putting himself in danger to save T-Dog from a walker showed that he and Merle may not be as much alike as some people think.
Daryl is very much a bad ass character that seems to have a “live and let live” attitude about most people. He was, however, the one member of the group that never gave up hope of finding Sophia and made it his mission to be the one to do so. His search for the little girl resulted in being severely injured in the woods and confronting Merle in the form of a hallucination while fighting to survive.
Daryl came into his own within the group, partly due to his willingness to help Rick with “the heavy lifting” required for the groups’ survival. This included interrogating the group’s prisoner, Randall, and shooting Dale as he lay dying from a walker attack. His newfound attachment to the others was shown when he told Dale “Sorry, brother” as he put the older man out of his misery. As Rick’s relationship with Shane deteriorated, ending ultimately in Shane’s death, Daryl slipped into the role of Rick’s right hand man.
Daryl Dixon is played by American actor Norman Reedus, best known for his popular roles as Murphy McManus in the cult classic The Boondock Saints film series, Gossip, and Blade II, as well as minor parts in mainstream films such as American Gangster, 8MM, and The Conspirator. He has also appeared in a long list of independent films such as Dark Harbor, Floating, Beat, Six Ways to Sunday, Tough Luck, and Red Canyon. He has been featured as a guest star on numerous television shows including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Charmed, Hawaii Five-O, and the Showtime anthology Masters of Horror.
- Reedus is also known as an artist, sculptor, photographer, and writer/director. He runs the production company Big Bald Head.
- He has also been featured prominently by the fashion house Prada in many of their print advertisements.
- Reedus’s tattoo over his left breast reads “Norman” and is a tribute to his deceased father, also named Norman.
- Severely injured in a February 2005 car wreck in Berlin, Reedus’s left eye socket was reconstructed out of titanium.
- He has one child, a son, Mingus Lucien, whose mother is supermodel Helena Christensen.
- Reedus describes Daryl as a guy who “needs a hug” but who would probably stab anyone that tried.
- The character of Daryl does not appear in The Walking Dead graphic novels (yet); in interviews creator Robert Kirkman has said he is considering Daryl as an addition.
- The motorcycle that Daryl rides is a chopped Triumph Bonneville motorcycle, which belonged to the now missing Merle.
- The Cherokee rose, the legend about which Daryl told Carol, is the Georgia State flower; its official botanical name is Rosa laevigata.
- The term “redneck” was first used not in the American South, but in Scotland during the 1700s. The term referred to members of a group called the National Covenant; many fled Scotland for Ireland in protest over the British edict that the Church of England be made the state church of Scotland as well as England. They often wore red pieces of cloth around their necks to signify their political dissent. How the term came to be used in America is in dispute. Some say it refers to the Scottish Covenanters, who left Scotland for the American South in great numbers, and later their descendants. Other legends say it was first adopted by West Virginia coal miners in the 1930s that were pressuring mine owners to allow for unionization of the mines and wore red bandanas around their necks as a sign of solidarity. They became known as “rednecks” by the general public and were considered to be the good guys in this dispute. Yet another explanation claims the term was first used in the late 1800s and referred to sharecroppers and farm hands that worked the fields and often became sunburned, thus giving them red necks.