Daryl and Michonne may have their share of fans, but The Walking Dead is Rick Grimes’ world. He’s the everyman, the fearless leader, the tragic hero, and the struggling widowed father and, most of all, the butt-kicking zombie slayer.
Rick Grimes, portrayed by Andrew Lincoln who won a Saturn Award for the role, was a small-town police officer before the “event” occurred. In the original comic, he was a Deputy Sheriff in Cynthiana, Kentucky, but since the television series is set in Georgia, his television version is a deputy for King County, Georgia. Cynthiana is real place, but King County was invented for the show.
Rick is the longest-living survivor in the comics, and still the worthy leader, as much as one can be, in the show. He has been through not only every imaginable situation with marauding walkers, he has faced all-too-human conflicts like betrayal from his best friend, fear of losing his children, the death of his wife, the inner struggle of what is still right and wrong, and more than a few bouts with, as Walking Dead ally Glen put it, “walking the streets of Crazy Town.” Yet Rick Grimes endures, and gets more complicated and awesome as the story unfolds.
This includes his coming to terms with the established law not being the case in the world anymore, and his initial look of the Western Sheriff Deputy has since been replaced with practical civilian attire.
When Rick shed himself of his uniform, he eventually bequeathed the hat to his son Carl, who now wears it as a sort of symbol of his “coming of age” in the post-apocalyptic world.
Where to Find It:
Finding the hat is one thing, but if you’re looking for good King County Sheriff’s adornments, there is one thing of utmost importance every hard-core collector and detail-oriented cosplayer need to know: it is illegal to impersonate a police officer (and for good reason, too). This is why, when people see police costumes in party and Halloween stores, they are usually over-the-top unbelievable. They are either too sexy, too stupid, or the badges are just not impressive.
Cosplayers should heed the law when getting dolled up. Those wanting to do a great Rick Grimes impersonation, however, shouldn’t dismay. According to Federal Law (and yes, there is one that has been in effect for 15 years), shipping, possession and use of police badges — even well-crafted replicas for fictional places, apparently — is a crime unless they are used for the following purposes ONLY: in a collection as a memento or decoration, for a dramatic presentation or recreation purpose (this includes cosplay at a convention).
One reason it is important to know this is because there is an authentic, beautifully done Walking Dead hat inspired by Rick…and later Carl’s…hat available for $325 from Baron Hats. This hat is so well-done, they won’t sell it with its badge to anyone with intention on using it for purposes other than listed above. It is, however, available without the badge for those who just love the hat.
If this is just too steep, a good-quality classic brown cowboy hat can be found on several western apparel sites like A.A. Callisters or Sheplers for $25 and up. Cheap costume hats can run from $5 to $20, depending on the size and quality of the product, a well as the dealer. Baseball hats with the King County Sheriff’s Department patch are also available.
There is a full officially-licensed Rick Grimes costume available. The good news is, there will be no fear of worrying about impersonating an actual officer of the law in this thing. The bad news, it’s not very attractive. This can be found on Spirit Halloween for $59.99, and it does come with a hat and badge.
A better way of getting a more authentic full costume is hitting the second hand stores for some brown slacks and a khaki shirt, then sewing on your own insignia. There is a nice set of Georgia Sheriff’s Department patches and a badge available on Amazon. Again, if this appears too authentic, please follow the law. These are not guidelines, they are laws. Costume and collector purposes only.
Think Geek has a glass-incased officially licensed badge replica made by Gentle Giant for $99.99, for collectors who just want it for display. It can be removed from the glass and also comes with a replica of Andrew Lincoln’s signature.
There are actually not many figures of Rick Grimes with his hat (there are actually more figures featuring Carl in it from both the comic and television worlds). There are plush and Funko Rick versions available, though, most of these can be found from Entertainment Earth.
There are always Rick-centric posters, t-shirt and more. The official AMC Walking Dead Shop has a Rick Bundle (shirt, mug and Funko figure) for $39.99.
For those who just want to bring Rick Grimes home, there is a great sans-hat figure available from Entertainment Earth for $32.99 that is just begging to be displayed. Those little 10-inch walkers will think twice before invading this home.
Remember, “The New World’s Gonna Need Rick Grimes.”
—Lisa Kay Tate, post originally ran May 20, 2015