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I'm just gonna ask you a question, Grimes, and look in your eyes. Why are you here? Do you wanna kill? Or do you wanna die?
―Beale to Rick Grimes.[src]

Johnathan Beale is an antagonist and a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live. He was the leading officer of the Civic Republic Military and the commander of the Frontliners until his death. He served as the primary antagonist of Season 1.


Beale is an incredibly powerful figure in the Civic Republic of Philadelphia. As the major general of the CRM, Beale holds a lot of authority. He is a ruthless leader who has caused the deaths of over 100,000 people by ordering their communities to be wiped out. From what little is heard from him while radioing Jadis, Beale seems to be a very stern and strict ruler. However, he seems to genuinely care about his people, as shown when he holds a funeral for a fallen Donald Okafor.

According to his son Mason, Beale is all about the military and would not react well to learning that his son is more interested in science than military service. Mason also has a hard time believing that his father would be involved in genocide and human experimentation despite the evidence presented to him, suggesting that Beale is a stern but good father and one who seeks to keep his son out of the dirtier aspects of the CRM, at least for the time being.

Despite being distrustful of people who are classified as "A's", Beale's high regard for Okafor causes him to give Rick Grimes and Pearl Thorne a chance, even after Okafor is no longer around to protect them both. Beale notes that he was once similarly distrustful of Okafor and gives Rick a copy of the same book that he had given to Okafor when the other man had to earn Beale's trust. Jadis later tells Rick that Beale had come to see that Rick saw the bigger picture of things and had grown to trust Rick enough to let him in on all of the CRM's secrets before Michonne interrupted Rick's return to base.

Beale was a staunch pragmatist, as he revealed that he had previously left his home of Pittsburgh to fall to the dead so that his forces could win their war. The Echelon Briefing also showed this as he revealed that the CRM was going to be declaring martial law and subverting power for themselves at the expense of Portland and any other communities. His trust in Rick was also shown to have increased since Rick had come back when he could have disappeared, and he even offered his sympathy for the ruthless choices that Rick had been forced to make as well as the losses that he had suffered. In Rick, Beale saw someone who could potentially be his own successor down the line rather than just another soldier following orders and he even offered Rick protection for his loved ones from the destruction that would be coming at the CRM's hands. However, Rick was unable to support Beale and his genocidal and insane plans to ensure the survival of the Civic Republic at the cost of the rest of humanity, something that Beale realized far too late. Although Thorne ultimately acknowledged that Okafor was right about the CRM needing to change and Beale's plans needing to be stopped, she stated that they could only hope that Beale was wrong in the end about the potential extinction of humanity that he insisted was coming.


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania[]

Johnathan Beale was born in the late 1940s to early 1950s and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He left home at 15 after his abusive, alcoholic father broke his jaw. Beale joined a Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, where he found family in the people who worked there.


Inspired by the veterans at the VFW, Beale joined the U.S. Military and served two terms in Vietnam.

Columbus, Georgia[]

After returning from the Vietnam War, Beale was then sent to training at Fort Benning in Georgia before eventually making his way back to Pennsylvania.


For an unknown period of time before the outbreak, he was the Adjutant General of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Shortly before the outbreak, he had a son named Mason.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[]

During the start of the Trials, Beale and the Pennsylvania National Guard defended Pittsburgh and Philadelphia from destruction by the U.S. Military in Operation Cobalt, sparking the Second Civil War. Unable to fight in two theaters at once, Beale made the strategic decision to abandon withdraw his force from Pittsburgh back to Philadelphia, leaving the federal forces to be overwhelmed by a massive herd. With the help of defecting U.S. Air Force Major Donald Okafor, they managed to save Philadelphia from both the undead and the federal forces. During the Battle of Fittler Square, Beale's life was saved by an antique sword that he found that had belonged to General Hugh Mercer during the American Revolution.

Subsequently, Philadelphia became the Civic Republic of Philadelphia while the Pennsylvania National Guard became the Civic Republic Military. Beale became the major general of the Civic Republic Military and the commander of a special operations force known as the Frontliners.

World Beyond[]

Season 2[]

"Death and the Dead"

Although muffled, Beale can be heard while Jadis is speaking to him. Jadis thanks him for the additional troops to secure the research facility, but warning Beale that they need to move up the timeline of the attack on Portland as nothing can be allowed to prevent that. While getting the scientists back are a priority, their operation has been compromised as the Bennetts know about Portland and have told the others. Jadis promises that she has every intention of bringing to justice the sympathizer that has been giving the Bennetts information and she will make sure that the scientists are retrieved, and their research resumed. Although Jadis wishes that she was brought in sooner to prevent this, she will fix it. In response to Beale's answer, Jadis thanks him for placing his trust in her and promises to not let him down.

The Ones Who Live[]

Season 1[]


Rick jogs through the compound with a number of other soldiers, passing Okafor and several Frontliners who are covered in blood. Out of breath, Rick stops to sit on the bench to look at the Civic Republic and he is joined by Major General Beale. Beale comments that there is life surrounded by death all in one view, something that Rick agrees with. Beale tells Rick that another thing that they have over Portland and Omaha in the Alliance of Three is that, unlike the other two cities, the Civic Republic is fairly well hidden without much effort. Rick recalls seeing how the U.S. Military had napalmed Atlanta and Beale calls them monsters worse than the walkers. Beale explains that the CRM - as the Pennsylvania National Guard at the time - was able to stop the military from bombing Philadelphia, the city that would eventually become the Civic Republic through sacrifice, luck, calm and Okafor. Beale reveals to the surprised Rick that Okafor had been a part of the U.S. Air Force, and he was supposed to bomb the city, but Okafor instead bombed 4,000 Marines staging at Lincoln Financial Field and he switched sides. Rick states that he did too in a way and Beale states that Rick and Thorne wouldn't have been let into consignment let alone the CRM, but Okafor made a compelling argument. Beale decides to ask Rick a question, although Beale doesn't expect him to answer and nor does Rick have to: is Okafor up to anything that he should know about. Rick lies that Okafor is not, pleasing Beale with his answer. Beale asks how Rick survived and he simply responds that it was through sacrifice. As Rick tried to escape four times, Beale wonders why he's here, if Rick wants to kill, to die, or if all of this is just another attempt to escape. Rick tells Beale to look in his eyes and tell Rick what he thinks. After a moment, Beale decides to just sit and share the view with Rick for awhile.


Major General Beale leads a funeral for Okafor and amongst the attendees are Rick, Jadis and Thorne. Beale commemorates Okafor's sacrifice to protect the people of Philadelphia during Operation Cobalt and the fact that Okafor had shown them that their enemies could be their salvation if they look at them differently. Drawing a sword, Beale notes that some of the gathering knows what it means to him and explains that the sword, among other military antiques was being evacuated - or possibly stolen - from the Museum of the American Revolution before the truck was caught in some of the U.S. Air Force's bombings. Beale found the sword at the Battle of Fitler Square and it saved his life, having originally belonged to Revolutionary War General Hugh Mercer. Mercer had different lives, fighting on different sides during different wars, ultimately landing on the right side in the fight against the British, a fight that he died in. Beale believes that you can draw a straight line between Mercer's sacrifice and Okafor's sacrifice, looking directly at Rick as he says this.

After the funeral, Beale approaches Rick and Thorne, telling them that they had both meant a lot to Okafor who saw a lot of potential in them. While Beale had warned Okafor that they weren't going to be worth the trouble, Okafor had made it a mission to prove the general wrong and Beale's perspective is still changing. Beale keeps thinking of "pharmakon", an ancient Greek word meaning both poison and the cure. Beale thinks of it whenever Rick's name comes up because Beale isn't sure about him. Beale gives Rick a copy of Martial Arts: The Book of Family Traditions by Yagyu Munenori, a book that Beale had given to Okafor too when the general wasn't sure about Okafor either. However, Beale points out that with Okafor, the sky was the limit. Beale departs with Thorne in order to speak with her privately.

That night, Thorne arrives at Rick's apartment with the news that Beale promoted her to Command Sergeant Major and made Thorne a part of the Frontliners. Beale also gave Thorne the Echelon Briefing, revealing all of the CRM's secrets to her. Thorne is going to need Rick to take over logistics at Cascadia Forward Operating Base as the CRM are accelerating the schedule and there's a lot that needs to be done before the CRM's top commanders arrive for the opening summit. According to Beale, every CRM commander is going to be there, every senior officer, decision maker and the entire Frontliner force. Beale also asked Thorne about Michonne, meaning that with more than 17,000 people in the CRM, Michonne is on Beale's radar, and she reflects on Thorne now. Rick reminds Thorne that she had told the CRM that it was for Okafor, which she confirms, but Thorne did it for Rick too. "It's happening. I'm moving up, and I can't have her pull me down. I just need you to know that," warns Thorne. Rick promises to make sure that Michonne won't, and Thorne thanks him for listening and for a drink. The two exchange a salute and before she leaves, a haunted looking Thorne tells Rick that "you didn't hear what I heard. You didn't see what I saw. You will."

After the fight with the herd at the Cascade Base, Thorne informs Rick that Beale wants to give him the Echelon Briefing and he's moving up. However, Michonne's daring mid-air escape with Rick prevents him from returning to base to meet with Beale.

"The Last Time"

Thorne leads Rick into the woods to a section of the perimeter fence where Beale is personally dispatching a small herd gathering on the other side with a Kill Stick. Thorne tells Rick that Beale wants to talk to him, and this is it. Beale tells Rick that he never had to do the consignees job of clearing walkers for citizenship as Beale never really became a citizen of the Civic Republic. "The end of the world and the beginning of the world. And we're the dead ones, Rick. We're kinda like them. But they only kill for food or out of compulsion". Rick acknowledges that Beale's right and Beale tells Rick that the CRM's scientists haven't figured out the Wildfire Virus yet and maybe they never will. But humanity - the other kind of dead ones - has weapons and "the sword that kills is the sword that gives life". And that's us. We're the sword". Beale has his aides and lieutenants leave him in solitude the day before an operation as he doesn't like distractions. Beale alone decided the path ahead and he alone wants to feel the weight of it. Beale never interrupts that time, but Rick's here after everything and he's humbled by that so Beale will share some time with Rick and maybe even ask Rick to carry some of that weight.

In his office, Beale orders Rick to put his gun and prosthetic hand with its blade on the table in front of Beale and away from himself. After Rick disarms himself, Beale instructs Rick to reflect on all of the lives that he's lived before and after the world ended, everything that he did before this moment, "because, after this next moment, everything will change". Beale asks Rick what the worst thing he did to make sure someone else survived was. Rick flashes back on killing Shane, Tomas, the Terminus butchers, and tearing out Joe's jugular with his teeth. Rick admits that it was him killing someone with his teeth like the dead does. Beale is sorry that Rick had to do that, but Rick isn't. Preparing some tea, Beale acknowledges that Rick has made some extraordinary choices and while Beale has given the Echelon Briefing 2,533 times, just himself and the elite soldier in question, the soldier in question has never been someone like Rick Grimes. "This is the first. It's the start of what's next. And that couldn't be more appropriate for today. A day completely about... tomorrow". Beale lays his sword on the table next to Rick's weapons, joining Rick in disarming himself for the briefing.

Laying a Frontliner uniform on the desk and pouring them both some tea, Beale explains to Rick that he grew up in Pittsburgh, leaving home at 15 and landing a job as a barback at a VFW hall after his alcoholic father broke his jaw. The men and women at the VFW became Beale's real parents, the people who formed him. As a result, Beale signed up to fight when he was 18, went to Vietnam twice, but there was a whole journey beyond that, including Fort Benning, and officer training. Eventually, Beale's journey led him back to Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania National Guard and through its command. Beale went away, he had to, and while he could've let the world take him away, Beale came back, just like Rick.

Beale recalls Rick telling him that he saw what the U.S. Military did at the beginning and Rick confirms it, having seen that the federal forces had bombed the cities which Okafor had said the federal forces called "clearing disease vectors". Beale reveals that he made the decision to have the National Guard take on the federal forces, "Second Civil War fought on good Pennsylvania ground". The National Guard fought the U.S. Military on two fronts, Pittsburg and Philadelphia, but they were losing as the National Guard couldn't sustain two fronts. In Pittsburg, the National Guard had an opportunity of terrain, tactics and a massive incoming herd that the federal forces were unaware of, so Beale evacuated their forces under the cover of night and let the dead overwhelm the enemy troops as well as the entire city. Beale saved Philadelphia by sacrificing Pittsburg, letting his enemies, his friends and his home fall. While it's not tearing into someone with your teeth, Beale asks Rick for acknowledgment that it's not nothing which he acknowledges. "My dad taught me, for better or worse... sometimes things have to burn to bring things back". Beale acknowledges that it was that, repeating once again his belief that the sword that kills is the sword that gives life. Beale killed his past and a whole city so that another city could live. Beale reveals the first secret that he's shared with every Frontliner that he's briefed: the most likely outcome after all of the fighting, killing, plans and sacrifices is that humanity loses. The most likely outcome is that everyone is going to die.

Beale shows Rick aerial photographs of massive herds, revealing that the CRM has discovered million-strong herds out there. The CRM's modeling shows that living people now only have 14 or so years left on the planet, but it could be quicker. "And it isn't just the delts. It's starvation -- the tenuous balance between population and yield. Disease, with a billion petri dishes out there stumbling and cooking in the sun, waiting to transmit God knows what to us while it transforms into God knows what. And in the end, the most likely outcome is that this rock will be cluttered with corpses to eventually rot into food for the trees. And it all becomes a strange temporary museum to an even stranger species that conquered it and marked it for a blink of its existence. This is why we do what we do". Rick asks what they do, and Beale tells him that the CRM is trying to beat the odds.

Beale tells Rick that the CRM destroys communities for resources, strategic superiority, and to ensure the city's secrecy and security above all else. Rick remembers seeing a CRM helicopter flying away from the Heaps and watching armed helicopters flying away from the Civic Republic Military Base, finally understanding what he was seeing.

Beale tells Rick that the CRM has spies in selected communities throughout the continent and the world to monitor them, potentially sabotage them and influence their politics and approaches. Up until recently, the CRM supplied test subjects for scientific research in CRM run labs. "Omaha didn't just die. We destroyed it, along with its Campus Colony. And in 18 hours, we will take our final action to leave us as the supreme force on this continent, maybe the world. We will destroy Portland".

Beale continues that in response to the loss of Portland, the Civic Republic's last Alliance partner - which will be reported as another tragic, mysterious, shocking incident - the CRM will declare martial law on the city, doing away with the Council as the stakes are too high for freedom. "With the city under CRM control and our Alliance partners dead, we will march across this country and further eliminate any growing competition. We will take their resources and ensure supremacy. And maybe... maybe we get to survive". Horrified by Beale's genocidal and despotic plans, Rick silently draws a hidden knife to kill him with.

Rick's radio experiences several bursts of static from Michonne signaling him. Rick turns down the volume and brushes it off as it being Thorne who had gone through this and thought that it would be good to talk it out.

Beale tells Rick that after everything, from all of his escape attempts to this moment right here and now, Beale thinks that the next leader of the CRM in the next decade could be Rick himself. Rick remembers being recaptured by a CRM helicopter on Rat Island during his third escape attempt, trying to escape while fighting burning delts, running through the base and standing in formation with other CRM soldiers. Beale notes that after trying to get away so many times, after so many years, Rick found himself dead to the CRM and finally free to escape and go wherever it was he wanted to go, but he came back instead. Rick has become a powerful story, a powerful symbol, and one the CRM may need to tell to win the hearts of the people who will see some of their freedoms delayed yet again.

Both Beale and Okafor sacrificed, and Beale would expect the same for Rick, but Rick already has sacrificed. Beale holds up Rick's prosthetic hand in demonstration of the sacrifices that Rick has already made and asks who the person closest to Rick who died in all of this is. Rick reveals that it's his son, the person who Rick saved by tearing a man's throat out. Remembering standing near Carl's grave with Michonne, Rick admits that he couldn't save his son in the end. Beale offers Rick the chance to never have to suffer that kind of loss again, to keep everyone that he was running to safe by bringing them to the Civic Republic. Family, friends, a loved one, Beale doesn't care. They will be spared from the CRM's march whenever the CRM would've found them. Beale is willing to take that chance on Rick and Rick adjusts his grip on his knife as he considers Beale's words.

"Portland will die, and this force will take over the Civic Republic. We will begin our march on the countryside. The Next World will begin, and through that, somehow, some way, we will survive. We will burn things to bring things back. The sword that kills is the sword that brings life". Beale declares. Pushing his sword in front of Rick, Beale instructs him to swear on the sword. Rick remembers Beale asking him a question while looking into his eyes and Okafor, with his last words, instructing Rick to "swear on the sword. Don't let it take". In flashbacks, Rick kills Dave, chops off Hershel's foot in order to save him from a walker bite, Michonne cuts up walkers with her sword and holds the Governor at sword-point and Rick slashes Negan's throat at the end of the Savior war. Michonne stabs the Governor from behind, saving Rick's life, Rick kills Ethan, and Rick and Michonne fight various walkers.

Filled with new determination, Rick looks at Beale who realizes what's about to happen and grabs Rick's gun, but Rick throws his knife into Beale's shoulder and jumps over the desk at the insane Major General, tackling him to the ground. Rick puts his prosthetic hand back on and uses it to block a blow from Beale's sword as Beale demands to know why he came back when Rick was dead and gone to the CRM. Rick could've saved whoever he wanted to and then saved the world. Rick states that the world isn't going to end, but Beale insists that it is, he's just trying to make sure that humanity doesn't. The two men exchange blows with Rick finally disarming Beale, grabbing the sword and attempting to kill the man with it, stabbing Beale through the palm as he blocks the blow. "I never lost my son. I lost myself. He brought me back. My wife brought me back. We're the sword that kills. We're the sword that gives life. One life. One unstoppable life. We're not dead. You are", Rick declares. Rick drives the sword into Beale's heart, killing him, and tosses the sword away. Overwhelmed by everything that's just happened and what he had learned, Rick takes a seat and contacts Thorne over the radio, telling her that he got the briefing, and they'll talk later. Rick claims that Beale went to the woods to be on his own before the all-hands and refuses Thorne's offer to meet up now, claiming that Beale had already given him something to do. Rick notices a large supply case out in the hallway and gets an idea.

Dressed in the Frontliner uniform that Beale had for him, Rick rushes through the hallways with the case and boards the elevator, selecting the 6th floor. A Frontliner joins a nervous Rick, choosing the same floor. As the elevator makes its ascent, Rick notices blood seeping onto the floor from the case. The elevator reaches its destination, but the Frontliner notices the pool of blood as he begins to disembark. Rick quickly attacks the man and they brutally fight in the hallway as the elevator departs again with Rick desperately trying to reach the call button. Finally, Rick gets the upper hand and repeatedly punches the Frontliner in the face with his metal hand, shattering the man's mask and beating him to death. The elevator returns, but the occupant proves to be Michonne who tells Rick that they can't go home yet. Having gotten the Echelon Briefing and seen the Frontliner briefing respectively, Rick and Michonne both know that the CRM are about to launch another genocide. Michonne warns Rick that there's an entire tent of bombs outside, the CRM are going to evacuate the kids and then kill a whole city of people. With the CRM about to enact their plan and no time to warn anyone, Rick and Michonne are the only ones who can stop them. "We have to stop them, because we can stop them", Michonne concludes and Rick agrees that they can still go home, but the CRM must be stopped first. As Rick joins her on the elevator, Michonne asks her husband what's in the case Rick brought with him.

In the woods, Thorne sees that Beale isn't near the perimeter fence as Rick had claimed and wonders what Rick's up to.

In Beale's office, Michonne threads wire through the grenades in the supply case that she took, crafting a makeshift bomb. An impressed Rick asks how she came up with this and Michonne reveals that she took some inspiration from Nat. Packing up, Rick reveals that Beale had told him that Rick could lead the CRM one day, causing Michonne to laugh, guessing that Rick was right after all: he could do this all by himself. Rick suggests that they could just go, but Michonne tells her husband that this is what they have to do, asking what sort of world they're making for their children if they walk away from something like this. Emotional, Rick tells Michonne that he's mad at the time that he's missed, at not seeing their kids growing up, and Rick thinks about that time, and he just wants to go back. The couple kisses and reassures each other that they are back, and this is the shit they do.

On the tarmac outside, the entire Frontliner corps sits waiting before a stage for the CRM Force Command to brief them on their mission.

Rick and Michonne enter a large tent behind the gathering Frontliners where numerous canisters of Chlorine Gas are being stored and begin unloading their makeshift bomb. As the briefing commences, Rick and Michonne wire grenades connected to each other to the cannisters lining both sides of the tent. Once they're finished, Rick promises his wife that this is the last time that they'll be apart and while Michonne knows that she should be scared, she's not because of Rick. Rick gives Beale's sword to Michonne, and they open the large supply crate where Rick and Michonne have hidden the zombified Beale and the Frontliner that Rick had killed.

Rick and Michonne each attach the end of the wire from one of the rows of the grenades to one of the walkers. Cutting the two free of their bonds, Rick and Michonne start Beale and the Frontliner following them in opposite directions, turning the two walkers into makeshift fuses for their bomb. Outside, Rick and Michonne make a run for it through the shipping containers behind the tents, but Thorne stops them at gunpoint. Aware that Rick had lied to her, Thorne demands answers. Shooting at their feet, Thorne forces the two to remove their helmets and bag and orders them to turn around, go back inside and undo whatever they did and when she finds Beale they're going to regret this.

Holding hands, Rick and Michonne head back to the tent while Thorne somewhat frantically assures herself that they're going to fix this. "It never died. It won't stop. It can't stop", Michonne declares. The two walkers reach the ends of the tent and the ends of the wire that they're attached to. Taking advantage of Thorne's shock at seeing a zombified Beale, Rick and Michonne dash to the side as the pins are pulled on all of the grenades attached to the chlorine gas cannisters. Michonne has Rick pull a CRM flag down over them and cuts open a water tank, spilling water over the couple as an additional form of protection from the deadly gas that's about to be released. The grenades detonate, creating a massive explosion and shockwave that consumes Major General Beale, the CRM Force Command and all of the Frontliners as well as releasing all of the deadly chlorine gas, killing the entire gathering of more than 2,000 people.

A Civic Republic newscaster reports on the wide-ranging ramifications of Operation N1W and Rick and Michonne's exposure of the CRM's atrocities. With the demise of the entire Frontliner force and CRM Force Command, including Major General Johnathan Beale, and the shocking revelations regarding all of their operations and activities, the Civic Republic Council voted unanimously for emergency oversight over the remaining forces of the CRM. The CRM's command hierarchies and layers of operational secrecy indicates that infantry units didn't participate in the atrocities perpetrated by the highest levels of the CRM, providing hope for immediate reform of the organization. In another stunning vote by the CRC overturning CRM guidance, free movement has been established for the Civic Republic. Citizens are now allowed to leave at will and the city will welcome new citizens as they arrive. With oversight of the military in the CRC's hands, the CRM's priority has shifted beyond the Civic Republic's defense to engaging with, assisting and even airlifting any survivors or communities that they may encounter.


Killed By

After getting the Echelon Briefing, Rick attacks and overpowers Beale and stabs Beale in the heart with his own sword.

After Beale reanimates, Rick and Michonne attach him to a row of grenades, turning Beale into a makeshift fuse. When the grenades detonate in a massive explosion, Beale is incinerated by it.

Killed Victims[]

This list shows the victims Beale has killed:





Episodes 1 2 3 4 5 6
Season 1
Appears Voice is heard
👁 Appears with no lines Appears in a flashback
Appears as a walker 🖼 Appears in a photograph/video
Appears as a corpse Appears in a hallucination/dream

Episodes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Season 1
Season 2
Appears Voice is heard
👁 Appears with no lines Appears in a flashback
Appears as a walker 🖼 Appears in a photograph/video
Appears as a corpse Appears in a hallucination/dream


  • Beale possesses the third largest kill count out of any character on World Beyond and the entire Walking Dead franchise, with a total of at least 107,074 (indirect) victims.
  • Beale is mentioned several times throughout World Beyond which confirms that he's behind both the CRM's genocides and, together with Elizabeth Kublek, behind the experimentation on survivors designated as "A's".
  • It's possible that Beale wasn't the only person who was authorized to make an echelon briefing given that there are at least 3,000 known Frontliners; however he only gave the briefing 2,534 times.