The Governor is the charismatic leader of Woodbury, a seemingly utopian community that's barricaded behind walls. He protects the citizens of Woodbury from walkers and provides them with shelter, food, clothing and perhaps most importantly, a semblance of what it was like to live in the world before the dead began walking. However, Woodbury's peaceful facade belies the authoritarian, often brutal methods employed by the Governor behind the scenes.
The Governor takes in Andrea and Michonne after Merle discovers them at a helicopter crash site in the forest. He quickly woos Andrea to his side and they become lovers. But his charms fail to work on Michonne, and he sends Merle to kill her when she leaves Woodbury.
Unbeknownst to most Woodbury residents, the Governor's ally, Milton, oversees a research lab to test whether walkers retain any trace of the humans they once were. The research is motivated by the Governor's undead daughter Penny, who he keeps locked in a secret chamber in his apartment, in hopes that she can be cured someday.
As time goes on, the Governor grows increasingly unhinged and consumed with bloodlust. At Andrea's insistence, he meets with Rick under the pretense of forging a truce. Instead, he threatens to obliterate the prison unless Rick hands over Michonne. He gives Rick two days to decide, although he secretly plans to kill Rick's group either way.
The Governor leads his army in an attack against the prison, but Rick's group manages to drive them away. On the retreat back to Woodbury, the Governor flies into a rage, screaming at his soldiers for their cowardice and eventually slaughtering them all.
Having lost his army, the Governor drives off with Martinez and Shumpert — his only remaining acolytes. They eventually abandon him, so he returns to Woodbury, burns it to the ground, and then wanders alone for months.
Using the name Brian, the Governor eventually befriends a family — sisters Lilly and Tara; their father David; and Lilly's daughter, Meghan, whom the Governor bonds with, in part, due to her resemblance to Penny.
When David dies from lung cancer, the Governor swiftly bludgeons him before he can reanimate, terrifying Meghan. The Governor decides to leave, but Lilly insists he take them along. They quickly begin a romantic relationship on the road.
The Governor eventually runs into Martinez, who allows the Governor and Lilly's family to join his new camp. Desperate to keep Meghan safe, the Governor secretly kills Martinez and takes over the camp, insisting they need a stronger leader. He fortifies the camp but realizes they ultimately need a more secure location.
While the Governor is scouting the prison, he stumbles upon Hershel and Michonne in the forest. He kidnaps them and convinces the people in Martinez' camp to attack. His plan to trade Hershel and Michonne for the prison goes awry and the Governor beheads Hershel, sparking an all-out battle. In the midst of the fight, Lilly walks up to the Governor carrying Meghan's corpse — she was bitten by a walker at their camp. The Governor shoots Meghan in the head and orders his army to "Kill them all."
In a rage, the Governor attacks Rick in the prison yard. The two pummel each other and the Governor is about to choke Rick to death when Michonne suddenly plunges her sword through his chest. The Governor is bleeding to death in the yard when Lilly approaches, gun drawn. She aims at the Governor's head and fires.
David Morrissey is a versatile actor, having performed in an eclectic range of productions for film, television and stage.
Born in Liverpool, Morrissey left to study in London at RADA. Most recently, Morissey finished filming the new BBC program The 7.39. Prior, Morrissey starred opposite Mark Strong and Andrea Riseborough in Eran Creev's Welcome to the Punch, and in Rupert Goold's Richard II and in Dominic Savage's improvised drama True Love for the BBC.
Morrissey has appeared in some of the most critically acclaimed television dramas, such as Our Mutual Friend; Clocking Off; Holding On, which earned him a prestigious RTS nomination; the six-part BBC political drama State of Play, a role for which he received a BAFTA nomination; and one of Channel 4's most controversial dramas, The Deal, directed by Stephen Frears, for which Morrissey won an RTS Award. In 2006, audiences saw Morrissey in Viva Blackpool on BBC One. Morrissey received the Best Television Actor Award at the Arena Awards, and the series received a Golden Globe Award nomination. Recent television credits include Red Riding, The Field of Blood and South Riding, as well as Thorne: Sleepyhead and Thorne: Scaredycat — two films based on the hugely popular Mark Billingham's crime novels for Sky1 — in which he played the lead role and also served as an executive producer.
His stage work has included a number of productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National, and he has worked with highly regarded stage directors, including Adrian Noble, Deborah Warner and Declan Donnellan. Most recently, he performed in Neil LaBute's In a Dark Dark House at the Almeida Theatre.
In film Morrissey has acted in Hilary and Jackie; Some Voices; Born Romantic; Captain Corelli's Mandolin; Miramax's Derailed; Stephen Woolley's Stoned; The Reaping, opposite Hilary Swank; The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep; The Other Boleyn Girl; Neil Marshall's Centurion; Sam Taylor-Johnson's Nowhere Boy and Earthbound.
In addition to his acting career, Morrissey founded his own production company, Tubedale Films, which co-produced Patrice Leconte's film L'Homme du Train, starring Johnny Hallyday and Jean Rochefort. David Morrissey also directed the short TV project Sweet Revenge, the two-part BBC drama Passer By and the feature film Don't Worry About Me.