Love or hate Shane Walsh for his actions early on the apocalypse, the character is responsible for playing key parts in the episodes which helped the AMC zombie show become the juggernaut it did. As it charges toward Season Nine, the strong foundation laid by the earliest conflict between Rick and Shane as they simultaneously tried to find their way through the apocalypse is responsible for its success.
The slides below contain some of Bernthal's best scenes on The Walking Dead as Shane Walsh.
Perhaps the moment when The Walking Dead first fully sank its teeth into audiences was in the Mid-Season Two finale. Shane's outburst on Hershel's farm, unleashing the walkers in the barn, was one of the most tense moments the show had to offer to that point.
The group was forced to accept the new world they were living in and it ultimately lead to one of the most shocking reveals in the show's history: Sophia stumbling out of the barn as a walker after having been missing for most of the season.
Of all the horrific deaths of The Walking Dead, Shane's was one of the most intimate and devastating.
Proving early on that no one is safe on the AMC zombie show, Rick and Shane's differences came to a boiling point when the latter lead his former police partner into the woods with the intention of murdering him.
From early on, it seemed as if Rick and Shane would lead The Walking Dead together, with differences often coming between them. On the heels of LOST, they could have been the equivalents of Jack Shephard and John Locke on TV's new biggest series. However, the apocalypse had other plans for Shane.
Though the series would ultimately lead to Rick killing Shane, the two characters were once so close they would have considered one another brothers.
A flashback scene revealed how much Shane cared for Rick and held out hope for his survival after his pre-apocalyptic gun shot wound. In the hospital, where Rick Grimes was laying unconsciously, Shane made every effort wake him up and rescue him from the impending threats of the apocalypse. He wasn't able to get him out, though, so he locked him in.
Ultimately, by blocking Rick's door as gunmen were on their way down the hallway to put down the potentially infected, Shane did save Rick's life.
When the apocalypse took over, Shane was the first to embrace a new persona and way of life, while characters like Dale tried to hang on to their morals.
In a scene between the two outside of Hershel's barn in Season Two, Shane showed his true colors in demanding Dale hand over the guns. At the time, both characters had divisive opinions from audiences, but the idea of either dying in the scene was enough to make those watching clench up.
With both characters having been thoroughly developed with their stances on morality at the forefront, the scene was well-executed on all fronts.
The first time Shane truly showed his true colors, however, was when he killed Otis in an effort to preserve his own life and get medical supplies back to Carl.
He would ultimately return to Hershel's farm with the supplies and a lie regarding Otis' fate but the sequences between Otis and Shane as they raided a camp outside of a school were prime Walking Dead. The threat of the walkers was terrifying and humans had not yet been indicated as horrific beings. Shane, however, became the first to show what the apocalypse can turn people into, as he left Otis behind as walker bait by shooting him.