Merle Dixon is Daryl Dixon's older brother. He harbors resentment towards Rick's group after Rick chained him to a rooftop in Atlanta and left him for dead. Merle escaped certain death by sawing off his own hand, and was taken under the wing of a strong figure: the Governor. Merle thrives at Woodbury, where his combative nature has helped him ascend the ranks to become the Governor's second in command. But when Merle runs into Andrea and learns that Daryl is still alive, his loyalties are tested. He continues to perform the Governor's dirty deeds, but when the Governor sets his sights on the prison group, Merle shows concern for the safety of his brother — causing the Governor to question Merle's loyalties. The Governor eventually captures Daryl during a violent raid Rick staged to rescue Glenn and Maggie. After the fighting dies down, the Governor parades Daryl and Merle in front of the Woodbury residents, calling Merle a traitor and demanding the brothers fight to the death. Rick and the rescue team save Merle and Daryl in the nick of time, but they refuse to let Merle join them at the prison. Daryl sides with his brother and the two strike off into the wilderness together. Before long, however, Daryl grows tired of Merle's bad attitude and heads back to the prison. Merle reluctantly follows. At the prison, Merle keeps his distance from everyone. When he learns of the Governor's offer to spare Rick's group in exchange for Michonne, he takes the initiative and kidnaps her. En route to the Governor, Michonne points out that the Governor has mistreated Merle and that Merle has more of a conscience than he lets on. Merle lets Michonne go, but continues on his own mission: He lures a herd of walkers to the Governor's hideout and fires upon the Governor's men. The Governor finds him and shoots him in the chest. Later, Daryl tracks tracks Merle to the hideout and finds his brother reanimated as a walker. Sobbing, Daryl stabs Merle in the head.
Michael Rooker is known for his long list of diverse and distinguished credits, such as James Gunn’s Slither, Oliver Stone's JFK, Renny Harlin's Cliffhanger, Anjelica Huston's Bastard Out of Carolina and Tony Scott's Days of Thunder; only a few of the many respected projects of which Rooker has been a part. Rooker received high praise for his striking performance in the critically acclaimed Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Born in Jasper, AL, Rooker moved with his family to Chicago in the mid-1960s. He earned his B.F.A. from the Goodman School of Drama at De Paul University in Chicago. After graduating in 1982, he quickly began to make a name for himself in the Chicago theatrical community. More recently, Rooker directed the stage play Down and Out at Theatre 68 in Hollywood. He can also be seen in the films Jumper, Bolden!, Louis, Cell 213, Hypothermia and James Gunn’s Super. He directed the feature film Pennhurst, which is currently in post-production. Rooker also voiced a character in the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.