Deanna Monroe is a fictional character from AMC's television series, The Walking Dead, and is portrayed by Tovah Feldshuh. The character is an adaptation and gender-swap of Douglas Monroe from the comic book series, on which the show is based. Deanna was bitten by a walker after falling into sharp gear and reanimated as a walker; she was later found by her son, Spencer, and Michonne and was put down.
OverviewThe character, a former congressperson from Ohio, acts as the leader of the Alexandria Safe-Zone located in Washington, DC. and assigns its inhabitants job roles based on their characteristics and backgrounds.
Feldshuh explained that her portrayal of Deanna was inspired by Hillary Clinton. She said: "I based her on Hillary Clinton. She's somebody I've admired and somebody incredibly qualified to lead the nation. She's been in service to the United States for a good deal of her life. I studied her as my immediate prototype. I looked at other wonderful congresswomen, and tried to think what I could bring to it: Where did the character connect with my character as a human being? Because there was no time. Don't forget, this wasn't my audition. It's not like subliminally I had prepared." On her auditioning process, she described it as "extremely tense" but also "wonderful". She considered Alexandria an "incredible naivete" citing that nothing has happened to the community since the outbreak. On bringing Rick Grimes and the survivors into the community, she said: "Deanna is clearly looking to connect with street smarts, brawn, muscle, but not hooliganism. She has to make sure these people are rational." She further commented that Deanna is a culturist who "needs brawn he needs her cultural brain."
Feldshuh explained Deanna and the community saying: "Alexandria is named after the greatest city with the greatest library in the world—it was the first great library in Alexander’s empire. And Deanna is a woman of the book. She’s a woman of high intellect and a woman who is highly cultured. She’s a woman who knows how to get a grandma to babysit little children in her 30-member society. But as a great leader, she knows they need new blood. They need new blood to procreate. They need new genetic pools to get some strong blood in there. And she’s desperate for brawn, for warriors that they can trust."
Character biographyBefore the outbreak Deanna was an Ohio congresswoman. She has a husband named Reg who is a professor of architecture, and they have two sons named Aiden and Spencer. When the outbreak occurred, Deanna and her family were returning to Ohio when the military re-directed them back shortly to a safe-zone community before the military itself was overrun. However, Reg used the supplies from a shopping mall still under construction to build a large set of walls around the safe-zone, but it was at the cost of 14 people's lives. Deanna was established as the community's leader, though she herself had very minimal experience in the outside world. Her inexperience is exactly why Deanna believed they needed to recruit people who had experienced the harshness of the outside world in order to help them better prepare for it. However, Deanna exiled three people from the community who "didn't work out" which left a heavy burden on her conscience. Aaron, one the Alexandria's recruiters, later reveals one of these men to be named Davidson.
Season 5In the episode "Remember", Deanna is introduced as the leader of Alexandria who interviews every member of Rick Grimes's group to get to know them and to help her find roles for them to contribute to the community. She takes a particular liking to Rick and correctly guesses that he was in a position of authority before the outbreak, a sheriff. But she also learns that he killed so many people that doesn't even remember how many, people who used any brutal methods to survive which resulted in the deaths of other members of his group. However, Deanna believes Rick and his crew are the very people they need to defend the community and confesses to Rick about exiling three people who couldn't adapt and Rick becomes more trusting of her. She also interviews Daryl Dixon who paces with his crossbow and a dead possum and refuses to sit down which leaves Deanna puzzled. When she interviews Carol Peletier, Carol lies about her past, implying that she has few survival skills, and Deanna gives her the job of elderly assistance. During her interview, Michonne expresses her desire and gratitude to have found the community, something she has wanted for a long time. Deanna also interviews Glenn Rhee who admits they were almost outside too long and need this to work, and Deanna assigns him to runs with Aiden. She also interviews Rick's son Carl, with baby sister Judith, who confesses that he killed his mother to stop her turning but remarks that she would be happy they found this place. Deanna gives two houses to Rick's group to divide among themselves. Deanna later checks up on the group who have all decided to stay in the one house, which she understands as simple precautions and expresses amazement to how close, despite their differences, they have become. Deanna states that guns aren't allowed within the community only when they're outside, but does allow them to keep their blade weapons. Later she arrives to see Glenn and Aiden come to blows over the nature of a run gone wrong, which results in them, Daryl and Nicholas getting into a heated fight. She then addresses the community, instructing them to accept Rick and his group, and then separately thanks Glenn for knocking some sense into Aiden. She offers Rick and Michonne the positions of town constables which they accept.
In the episode "Forget", Rick speaks to Deanna about defending the walls with patrols and arming a few selected people to take watch, which Deanna deems unnecessary. When asked about the shifts people take in the clock tower, Deanna replies with the revelation that the town has no official lookout-- which both surprises and angers Rick. Sasha vehemently volunteers to be the first lookout on the tower and asks to have as many shifts as possible. Deanna notices this and refuses to let Sasha have a job like this so early. Deanna tells them that she will host a party for all residents for Alexandria to celebrate the induction of Rick's group into their community, and tells Rick that she will authorize the use of a lookout in the tower if his group attends. He accepts, and Deanna leaves to make preparations for their party. She is later seen introducing her husband, Reg Monroe, to Rick and Michonne. Being the leader of the community, much of her time is monopolized by requests from residents, and she is therefore unable to not socialize with Rick and his group. The following day, Deanna personally oversees the departure of Sasha for a quick walk. Sasha tells Deanna that the lifestyle of Alexandria is not real, but Deanna proudly dismisses Sasha's perspective, calling it "bullshit" before handing her a box of ammo, officially assigning her to her new job as the sharpshooter on the clock tower. In the episode "Spend", Deanna and Reg see their son Aiden off as he and a small group go on a run. Later Tobin comes to the house to make her elect Abraham Ford as head of the construction crew. After he has gone, she is concerned about electing another of Rick's people into a position of power but Maggie Greene, who is her assistant now, reassures her it will be okay. Father Gabriel Stokes then comes to the house to warn her that Rick's group are bad people.
In the episode "Try", Deanna, Reg, and Spencer are mourning the loss of Aiden. They play one of Aiden's mix tapes in remembrance of him. Carol leaves the family a casserole, but Deanna does not take it and only burns the note that was included. Rick goes over to her where she is standing by her son's grave and tells her that he is sorry for her loss. He brings up that Jessie is being domestically abused by her husband Pete. Deanna reveals that she knew about this and "hoped that it would get better". Rick wants to know why nothing has been done to stop Pete. Deanna informs him that this is because Pete is a doctor, and therefore valuable, and she doesn't see a solution to the situation. Rick says that he will take care of the problem himself by killing him. Deanna strictly forbids him from ever doing anything such as killing another person. Rick tells her that Pete could end up killing Jessie, but Deanna tells him that if this were to happen, she would exile him, not execute him. Later, she is called over after Pete and Rick brutally fight. She tries to break up the situation until Rick points a gun at her and the other safe-zone residents. She stands listening to Rick's speech until Michonne knocks him out.
In the season finale "Conquer", Deanna first appears in the episode when she is talking with Maggie about what happened between Rick and Pete. She later says that a meeting will be held in the community that evening. Maggie tries to convince her that Rick did not mean any harm by what he did, but Deanna just tells Maggie that everything will be settled in the meeting later that night. At the meeting, Deanna notices that Rick is not present. Deanna reveals what Gabriel told her about Rick's group. Deanna and the others then are shocked when Rick arrives at the meeting and throws a dead walker in front of them and tells Deanna that walkers got in because the gate was left open. Spencer notes that he asked Gabriel to secure the gate, and Deanna sends Spencer off to find Gabriel as Rick addresses the crowd telling them that the living and the dead will never stop trying to take what they have, and they will always need to be ready for it. Pete then appears with Michonne's katana intending to kill Rick. Reg tries to calm Pete down, only for Pete to slash him across the throat and Deanna becomes hysterical, holding Reg. Enraged, she says "Rick? Do it". Rick, without hesitating, then shoots Pete in the head.
Season 6In the season premiere, Deanna remained for several minutes lying on the pool of blood in which her husband had died and when she had the opportunity, she stressed in a somber way to Father Gabriel about his error regarding Rick's group. She agreed with Rick not to bury Pete inside Alexandria and gave the order to take him away, as a result of which they were able to discover a quarry full of walkers in the vicinity of the community. During the village meeting to decide what to do with the horde, Deanna remained alienated from the discussion and when it was finally her time to give an opinion, she supported Rick's proposal without hesitation and gave the order for others to do the same "First Time Again". While Rick and the others carried out the plan to ward off the walkers, Deanna stayed in Alexandria in the company of Maggie, who encouraged her to overcome her depression and return to be the leader the Alexandrines needed, envisioning a promising future for such a community as Reg had wanted. Deanna was inspired by Maggie's words for a few moments, but when the town was suddenly attacked by the Wolves, she again felt hopeless. Instead of helping to defend her home, Deanna chose to remain hidden because she considered that it would only be a burden due to her inability to fight, and once the contest ended she observed with sadness the terrible losses they had suffered. Maggie, however, continued to support her and advised her to be strong for those who had managed to stand and still had her "JSS". Unfortunately, the attack of The Wolves ended up attracting a large part of the horde of walkers to the surroundings of the community exposing the lives of all in danger. Affected Deanna ignored the situation and walked away when the alexandrinos demanded a solution. Proud of how her son reassured a crowd that tried to steal the pantries, the woman discovered that it was all a deception of Spencer and scolded him for his intolerance. Provoking the boy, he blamed her for the deaths of Reg and Aiden, and how she had given the false hopes of security to the community. Being taken by surprise by a walker - being one of the wolves that was killed in the previous attack - the woman released her anger against the creature until it was topped by Rick. Despite being pessimistic, Deanna revealed to the officer his desire to live and that Alexandria continued standing, clarifying that he was no longer able to lead by formally giving the officer command of the community "Now". Excited to be useful again in the community, Deanna kept busy drawing the plans for the expansion of Alexandria and proudly introduced them to Rick himself. When Spencer was saved from certain death at the hands of the walkers, the woman showed her gratitude to Tara and the officer, and was unsatisfied because of his action when he revealed having rescued him because it was his son "Heads Up". In the final mid-season, when the horde of walkers entered Alexandria, Deanna tried to convince Rick to get safe and in the attempt was attacked by a walker. Fortunately the officer intervention ended up helping and everyone got safe by locking themselves inside Jessie's house. Seriously injured, the woman was treated by Michonne, who discovered that she had been bitten by one of the walkers. In her last moments Deanna gave hope to Michonne about the future of Alexandria and made Rick promise to take care of her son. After being abandoned, the woman rejected the idea of committing suicide and faced the horde of hikers who entered the property. Surrounded by the undeads, Deanna gave a last scream of agony before being brutally devoured by the walkers. "Start to Finish."
Eventually Deanna was revived as a walker and remained wandering for several weeks around Alexandria, being sought by Spencer who wanted to end it once and for all. After being found by Carl and Enid, the boy set out to guide the child to his son through the forest. Being taken by Michonne, the zombified woman was stabbed in the head by Spencer and buried under a tree marked with a "D". "The Next World."
CastingFeldshuh explained: "They got in touch with me and I did go in and read in a scene, but it was for the head of intelligence from an entirely different script. The script was so camouflaged I had no idea. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the part I was then given. But the scene they gave me was fantastic and it must have had the traits they were looking for in the character they then offered me, which was Deanna Monroe.
Tovah Feldshuh was promoted to series regular in the sixth season.
ReceptionZack Handlen praised the character saying: "I was surprised at how much I liked Deanna. She just seems so reasonable! Also, she’s a former congressperson who is so good at reading people that, if she hadn’t won re-election, she was going to be a poker player. That’s a fun backstory."
Noel Murray of Rolling Stone ranked Deanna Monroe 23rd in a list of 30 best Walking Dead characters, saying, "Trusting Rick led to a breach in the ASZ's walls, and then her own untimely end – which, on the plus side, meant she didn't live to see the disruptive threat of the Saviors. Before she was eaten, the congresswoman passed her values on to Maggie, inspiring her to become a leader."