In his former life, Tyreese was an NFL player. He played one season for the Atlanta Falcons and then for another team before he left the game. He became a bouncer and then did some odd jobs before settling on being a car salesman. He had a daughter named Julie.
Tyreese was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard.
Tyreese begins as a worried father who has the will to do whatever it takes to protect his family. He is content letting Rick lead. Due to perceived weaknesses in Rick, Tyreese begins to assert his own form of leadership within the group.
Major Story Arcs
Tyreese, Julie, and her boyfriend Chris get stuck in the family home when zombies start cropping up. Tyreese makes a run with the two out to a corner store. The old man that runs the place abducts Julie and forces her into a back room. Tyreese finds the man before he can do anything to Julie and beats him until he dies. They sit tight for a while and do pretty good surviving until the winter hits. With no way to get warm, they strike out to find better accommodations. In such, they find Rick and his group just fresh out of their Atlanta camp.
Tyreese becomes a welcome addition to the group, as he helps kill zombies, collect food, and clear cars from the RV’s path. He and Carol soon start making eyes at each other. The group soon finds the Wiltshire Estates, a gated community that looks like it could be home. Tyreese helps Rick and Dale clear out a house and the group bunks together for the night. Tyreese has no issue claiming to be Carol’s roommate. In the night, Tyreese “accidentally” scoots near Carol and puts his arm around her. (She doesn’t mind a bit.)
The next day, the group splits up to search out new homes for each family. Too late do they realize that the gated community is overrun with zombies. As the group flees, Tyreese has to go back to the house and find Chris and Julie. He finds them “messing around” and orders them to get their clothes back on so they can escape out the window. The group leaves the community to find another home.
While Tyreese, Rick, and Carl are out scavenging Carl gets shot on accident. Tyreese runs back to the group to tell them how to get to a farm where the shooter lives, as that is where Carl has been taken. The group is allowed to stay on Hershel's farm while Carl recuperates and Tyreese uses the time to get closer to Carol. He also catches Chris and Julie getting frisky again. He gives a fatherly warning about the dangers of getting pregnant in the world they live in. When the group gets kicked off the farm, Tyreese goes with Rick and resumes helping the group scavenge for food.
Tyreese quickly becomes Rick's right hand man once the group discovers a prison. He, Rick, and Andrea take on the task of clearing out the prison yard. Once it's safe, Rick and Tyreese scope out the prison interior. They kill a few zombies before finding four inmates locked in the cafeteria. The group is uneasy about sharing quarters with convicts, but Tyreese okays the notion and Rick's decision stands.
One night, Chris and Julie finally have their chance to have sex. They then proceed with their plan to kill each other so they can be together forever. The group is awakened by a gun shot and Rick and Tyreese run to find out the source. Tyreese finds his daughter dead and holds her until she reanimates. Tyreese is sure that he can get her to recognize him. He tries talking to zombie Julie but is cut short when Chris shoot Julie, again. Tyreese chokes Chris to death and orders Rick out. When Chris reanimates, Tyreese tortures zombie Chris throughout the night as a sort of revenge. He then burns both bodies before everyone wakes up to keep them from knowing how things really happened.
A short time later, Tyreese helps Andrea and Glenn clear out the prison's gym. He runs into a swarm of zombies like a man possessed. The others can't see him and fear that he is eaten and abandon him. He's found a day or two later sitting in a heap of zombies, acting almost as if nothing had happened. He resumes life as normal, including his relationship with Carol.
You Kill, You Die
Tragedy strikes the prison in which one of the inmates beheads two of Hershel's daughters and attempts to do the same to Andrea. Tyreese counsels with Rick about the penalty and notes the ambiguity to the phrase "you kill, you die." It's adopted and comes into scrutiny when Tyreese witnesses Rick kill one of the inmates during a failed coup. Tyreese believes in Rick's decision but the two struggle with the mantle of being leaders in a world in which rules are not as absolute.
A short time later, Tyreese accompanies the other men as they go to clear out another portion of the prison. The men decide to split up to cover more ground after finding a library. Tyreese and Dale team up and eventually find a generator. They soon hear shrieks and run to rejoin the others to find that Allen has been bit. Tyreese helps to carry the man out and tries to talk Rick out of cutting off Allen's leg. Rick doesn't listen and Tyreese is visibly opposed.
Michonne vs. Carol
A new arrival during the coup makes things interesting for Tyreese. The new girl Michonne is a fit woman who knows football. She even recognizes him from an old Atlanta Falcons roster. Tyreese takes an immediate interest. It seems she does, too. After the incident with Alan, Michonne enters the gym where Tyreese is taking some shots with a basketball. He tries to talk to her about his reservations about the leadership direction Rick is taking but she merely offers to service him right then and there. Carol watches as the two get it on.
Carol tries half-heartedly to make things work between she and Tyreese but he is eventually asked to move out of her cell. He finds an empty cell and starts getting set up for a life of bachelorhood. Michonne appears and starts kissing him. Rick then shows up to tell Tyreese that Carol has slit her wrists and becomes enraged to see Tyreese so engrossed with Michonne. Tyreese takes offense at the accusation that Carol's condition is his fault and the two men start to slug it out. Tyreese gets the upperhand by tossing Rick from the second floor to the main level. Rick soon passes out and the group convenes to appoint a new leadership system. Tyreese is made leader, along with Rick, Dale, and Hershel, as a commune. Carol survives and Tyreese end up with a strained relationship.
Rick Leaves Again
Tyreese takes care of zombies at the prison gates while Rick and Glenn go to syphon gas for the recently discovered generator. Rick returns and tells Tyreese about a helicopter that went down that he and Glenn are going to check out. Michonne joins them. Tyreese stays up overnight to watch for their return. He grows tired after a day or so and puts on a prison riot suit and a motorcycle to go looking for the group. He finds their car stuck in some mud and then follows their tracks to the downed helicopter. He loses any trail and begins to return to the prison but wrecks his bike trying to dodge a zombie. He sprints back to the prison and gets picked up by Dale in the RV. They can't get the gates closed, however, and Tyreese helps to get most everyone back in the prison before the grounds get overrun with zombies.
Rick does eventually return and Tyreese and the group uses this as motivation to clear out the prison again. Tyreese and Rick are still at odds, but Tyreese doesn't allow anyone to speak ill of Rick. Tyreese and Michonne become more of a couple.
Rick's absence was due to being detained by a man called the Governor in a town called Woodbury. In preparation for an attack from Woodbury, Tyreese accompanies a few from the group to a National Guard station to stock up on weapons and supplies. After acquiring sufficient weapons and vehicles, Tyreese has the group torch the place by blowing up the gas reserves.
On their way back to the prison the group stops by a Wal-Mart and are confronted by some Woodbury troops investigating the National Guard fire. Michonne and Andrea dispatch the goons and Tyreese gets everyone loaded back up and headed to the prison. Upon arriving, they find Dale crawling on the ground after being bitten by a zombie. Tyreese helps carry Dale to the infirmary (where Rick's wife has just given birth to a baby girl) and Rick once again attempts to stop the zombie infection by chopping off Dale's leg. This time, however, a doctor is present and is able to care for the wound.
Prepping for War
Since meeting the group, Tyreese has been unsuccessful learning to shoot a gun accurately. Andrea, the resident sharpshooter, tries to give him special training and the two become good friends. She and Tyreese devise a plan to help Dale by making a wooden leg. They have to sneak around a lot to do it and, despite Dale's fears, Tyreese and Andrea continue to be only friends.
As the prison is fortified for the impending assault from Woodbury, a zombie is brought in for study. Carol uses this as an opportunity to commit suicide by having the zombie biter her. Carol dies in Tyreese's arms and is put down by Andrea when she turns.
When the Governor finally assaults the prison, Tyreese and the others are outside. The bullets mostly hit the zombies surrounding the prison fences and the group is pinned to the ground. The attack is broken up by Andrea's sharpshooting and Tyreese soon finds Rick has been shot. Irate, Tyreese and Michonne don riot gear and pursues the Woodbury army into the woods. They find an outpost and attack with vigor, killing many men before reinforcements arrive. Michonne loses a sword and escapes but Tyreese is captured.
Tyreese is beaten by the Governor's men and then hauled in a truck bed to the prison. The Governor tries to use Tyreese as a bargaining chip: Everyone accompanies him to Woodbury or Tyreese dies. Nobody moves in the prison and watches in hopes that the Governor is bluffing. The Governor pulls out Michonne's sword and takes a few hacks at Tyreese's neck, finally cutting off his head. Tyreese is left at the prison while the Governor returns to his camp in shock that the prison group didn't save their friend. His body is left for the zombies as the Governor assaults the prison once again.
The Walking Dead
Tyreese makes his television debut in the season three episode "Made to Suffer", played by actor Chad Coleman. This incarnation of Tyreese appears far later than the comic book's, arriving at the prison with his own group of survivors, rather than coming across Rick and his group while traveling. He has his signature hammer.