The sixth season of The Walking Dead, an American post-apocalyptic horror television series on AMC, premiered on October 11, 2015, and concluded on April 3, 2016, consisting of 16 episodes. Developed for television by Frank Darabont, the series is based on the eponymous series of comic books by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The executive producers are Kirkman, David Alpert, Scott M. Gimple, Greg Nicotero, Tom Luse, and Gale Anne Hurd, with Gimple as showrunner for the third consecutive season. The sixth season received positive reviews by critics. It was nominated for multiple awards and won three, including Best Horror Television Series, at the 42nd Saturn Awards.
This season adapts material from issues #78–100 of the comic book series and introduces notable comic characters, including Heath (Corey Hawkins), Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever), Dwight (Austin Amelio), Paul “Jesus” Rovia (Tom Payne), Gregory (Xander Berkeley) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Following Pete’s death, the season continues the story of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group of survivors, who must take a step back from the violence they’ve come to embrace, as multiple threats lead them to adopt a mindset of hardness.
The first half of the season focuses on the group, still having trouble assimilating in the Alexandria Safe-Zone, leading the community through a series of crises, including luring the threat of a massive herd of walkers away from a nearby quarry, an attack by dangerous scavengers known as the Wolves and the invasion of a gargantuan swarm of walkers inside Alexandria. The second half of the season focuses on the group’s discovery of a new survivor community—The Hilltop—who they make allies with and becoming adversaries of a vast organization of hostile survivors known as the Saviors.
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, the series’ protagonist, who struggles to balance his brutality and his humanity, and create a stable life for his two children.
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, the group’s primary hunter and a recruiter for Alexandria.
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee, Maggie’s courageous and supportive husband, and one of the original members of the group, known for his resourcefulness and strategic mind.
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Glenn’s strong-willed and determined wife, who is now the last surviving member of her family after the deaths of her father, Hershel, and sister, Beth.
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Rick’s teenage son, who struggles with growing up in a post-apocalyptic world.
Danai Gurira as Michonne, a fearless, katana-wielding warrior, who lost her family.
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, a former victim of domestic abuse, who, following her daughter’s death, becomes an empowered, ruthlessly pragmatic survivor.
Michael Cudlitz as Sgt. Abraham Ford, a former military sergeant and boyfriend of Rosita, who has some interest in Sasha.
Lennie James as Morgan Jones, the first survivor Rick encountered in season one, who has finally come to peace with the world around him.
Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams, a former firefighter, who suffered from PTSD after the loss of her brother, Tyreese, and boyfriend, Bob.
Josh McDermitt as Eugene Porter, a survivor rescued by Abraham and posed as a scientist, who could cure the walker virus.
Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa, a pragmatic optimist, who is protective of those around her and girlfriend of Abraham.
Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, a former ally of The Governor and the only surviving member of her family.
Seth Gilliam as Gabriel Stokes, a priest, who lived alone in his church at the beginning of the outbreak and now seeks to redeem himself for his actions in the previous season.
Alexandra Breckenridge as Jessie Anderson, an Alexandria resident, who spent years living with an abusive husband, Pete.
Ross Marquand as Aaron, an Alexandrian recruiter, who brought Rick’s group to Alexandria.
Austin Nichols as Spencer Monroe, Deanna’s only living son and a guard of Alexandria.
Tovah Feldshuh as Deanna Monroe, a former Congresswoman and the leader of Alexandria, who recently lost her husband and her son, and turns to Rick to help guide the community.
On October 7, 2014, AMC renewed The Walking Dead for a sixth season. Scott M. Gimple said that the sixth season would continue to remix material from the comic and explained that there would be a flashback backstory to some of the characters:
“There are other people that we’re going to see throughout the season from the comics, and I’m excited for people to see it, but I don’t want to tell them now. I think a few minor remixes, but some direct stuff from the comic as well, as far as these characters go.
I think there’s a really cool aspect to the first half of the season that serves almost as a prequel to some direct comic stuff in the second half of the season. I think there’s a way that Robert did some of the story that we’re reaching that had a real past to it, where people are referring to some things in the past in the comic. And we’re able to portray some of that backstory in some ways that you didn’t get to see in the comic.