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Walking Dead Wiki
Walking Dead Wiki

"Old Acquaintances" is the first episode of the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead: Dead City. It is the first episode of the series overall. It premiered on June 18, 2023, the same night as "All I See Is Red", the mid-season finale of the eighth season of Fear the Walking Dead. It was written by Eli Jorné and directed by Loren Yaconelli.[1]


Maggie finds Negan, and they travel to Manhattan; a marshal named Armstrong follows Negan; we meet a quiet young girl named Ginny.


Maggie Rhee observes Manhattan through a large monocular, seeing that the buildings have been partially reclaimed by nature and are ruined in places. On the streets is a massive herd of walkers, the sight of which causes Maggie to stop and check a map of Lower Manhattan which has a large dot in one particular spot. Hearing a small herd coming, Maggie quickly hides, but she is surprised by a walker that comes up from behind her. However, Maggie manages to overpower the walker and bash its head in with her monocular, continuing on in a rage even after the walker is dead, utterly destroying the walker's head. Splattered with walker blood, Maggie lets out a scream before catching her breath.

Maggie drives to the Easy Stay Motor Inn and drinks at the bar before rejecting another round, stating that she's not in the best headspace. Maggie claims to have a cabin about an hour away and that she came home from a scavenging run to find it overrun by walkers. The bartender tells Maggie that she's in the right place as they have a guy here who clears out walkers and they can maybe loan him out. Maggie becomes interested and asks if the guy is any good and the bartender confirms that the man is the best that he's ever seen at it. Maggie asks for more information about if the man lives at the motel, but Jones at the other end of the bar interrupts the conversation to tell the bartender that their generator needs to be refilled.

At Maggie's request, the bartender directs her to the bathroom, but she immediately drops her act as soon as Maggie is out of sight. Passing the bathroom, Maggie checks out the motel rooms and she finds one with a shower running in it. Checking out the room, Maggie finds an adult's clothes, kid's toys, a bracelet and a knife. Taking the knife, Maggie goes to confront the shower's occupant, but she is grabbed by two men and dragged away.

In the bar, Maggie is thrown onto a table and restrained, and Jones reveals that she had suspected that Maggie was up to something. Jones guesses that Maggie was sent by "Vasquez from down the road" to snoop and prepares to cut her nose off so that Maggie won't snoop around anymore. Deploying a blade from her boot, Maggie stabs the bar owner in the back, causing her to accidentally stab herself in the hand. Maggie quickly subdues the three before Negan enters the bar, drawn by the commotion. Seeing Maggie, Negan flees, aided by a silent young girl named Ginny who was sitting at the bar who trips Maggie before running after Negan.

Grabbing her hat off of the bar, Maggie runs outside and tries to leave in her truck, but she is attacked by a man who tries to stop her. Kicking the man away, Maggie escapes, but she accidentally drops her book of maps on the ground in the process. Maggie quickly catches up to Negan and Ginny, cutting them off and quickly overpowering Negan. Holding a knife to Negan's throat, Maggie quips "sorry, I thought you were quicker on your feet" while Negan sarcastically comments that it's good to see Maggie too.

Negan examines a Wanted poster of himself from New Babylon with amusement and he decides to keep it as Maggie silently tosses him a medical bag. Negan calls Ginny over to help treat his leg wound and Maggie asks where Annie and his kid are. Lowering his head for a moment, Negan dodges the question by introducing Ginny to Maggie, calling himself and Maggie old acquaintances. Negan guesses that Maggie is either here not to kill him or she has gotten seriously rusty. "A few weeks back I got raided. Outnumbered, overpowered, stole all our grain. Said they'd be back in a month for more. Then a month after that... took a hostage as collateral." Negan realizes that the attackers took Maggie's son Hershel and she adds that she tracked them all of the way up the Hudson River, but by then they'd already made it all of the way across to Manhattan. Praising Ginny's job on patching up his leg, Negan sends her away to check on their belongings.

Negan asks how he figures into all of this, and Maggie tells him that the man who's got Hershel is called the Croat, but Negan just shrugs in response. "Bullshit. You know him. When he scaled our walls, had us surrounded in the dark, right before he took my son. Do you know what he did?" Maggie imitates the whistle that the Saviors used to use to frighten their victims, getting recognition out of Negan. "That rings a bell, doesn't it? It did for me. It was the last thing I heard before I met you." Negan realizes that Maggie is thinking that since he knew the Croat back when Negan led the Saviors, Negan might have some special insight into the Croat's modus operandi or sweet talk him into giving Hershel back. "Let's just say there were a lot of psychos in my crew back then, but he always stood out as being an exceptionally insane son of a bitch," warns Negan. Negan tries to tell Maggie that the odds aren't good for Hershel if the Croat really does have him, but she doesn't want to hear it.

Negan asks why he should help her, and Maggie tells Negan that he owes her, and that Negan is the last person that she wanted to ask for help, but Negan doesn't seem to have too many options himself. Maggie points out that, if she found Negan at the motel, then the marshals will too and he appears to have exhausted every shithole as a hiding spot. Negan asks about the Hilltop and if Maggie still has a good setup with kids and a school and Maggie promises to put up Ginny if Negan helps her, but they'll have to see how things play out in Negan's case which he accepts is fair enough.

Maggie drives along a road with Negan and Ginny in the bed of her truck while Negan covers Ginny up with his jacket, causing Maggie to shut the cab window. Maggie stops at a sign for New Babylon which advertises it as the capital city of the New Babylon Federation and takes a left. Across the road, two people have been hung with one of them having reanimated as a walker.

Having stopped, Maggie fires a Flare Gun into the air and Negan points out that this isn't the way to the Hilltop. Maggie reveals that while the Hilltop has the same setup and the same people, they had to relocate the Hilltop after Negan helped to burn it down. Maggie watches as Negan and Ginny eat. Once the girl is asleep, Negan explains that he was on the run and doing a stint of a farm about a year ago when Negan first met Ginny. When the marshals came looking for him, Ginny asked to go with him. According to the people on the farm, Ginny was living with her dad who took off one night and didn't come back. Ginny went looking for her father and found him as a walker, having been brutally murdered by other survivors. The trauma of finding her father like that had caused Ginny to become mute. Their discussion is interrupted by the arrival of one of Nina to take Ginny to the Hilltop.

At night, Perlie Armstrong and two other marshals arrive at the bar and Perlie has Jano check the rooms and shows the patrons Negan's Wanted poster, asking if they've seen him. Perlie reveals that they are hunting for Negan because he murdered a magistrate in cold blood along with four other people which means that Negan will be executed for his crimes under New Babylon law. "For what this man has done, he'll be dangled upside down and sawed in half lengthwise from the groin to the head, very, very slowly. This is a man who has built up an empire like a greedy king. Story goes he once lined up a group of unarmed folks, and he bashed in a man's head with a baseball bat in front of the man's pregnant wife." Perlie states that tranquillitas ordinis - tranquility, justice, order and the law - is what keeps their federation of states at peace, and he presses Jones again if she has seen Negan.

When Jones again lies that she hasn't seen Negan, Perlie drags her outside, stating that liquor, drugs, gambling and whoredom are illegal under New Babylon law and together, amount to a public execution. Perlie shoves Jones up against a fence that has a herd on the other side, and she finally admits that Negan worked at the motel killing walkers before a woman took him. However, she doesn't know who the woman was or where she took Negan and one of the other patrons describes Maggie's vehicle as a blue truck that was parked out front. Although pleased that she finally told him the truth, Perlie lists another part of the law about aiding and abetting a fugitive and shoves Jones through the fence into the herd which devours her, horrifying Jano.

Sitting in the truck bed, Negan promises Ginny that he will come back for her soon. Maggie warns Negan that it's getting late, and he shares an emotional goodbye hug with Ginny before she leaves with Nina. Negan asks Maggie for reassurances that she has good people that will take care of Ginny, but she just gestures him to get in the back of the truck again unless Negan wants to get caught by the law.

Back at the bar, Jano realizes that the person who took Negan is most likely "the same woman that's been looking for him and leaving all those broken bones behind." Perlie reassures Jano that he didn't want to do what he did to Jones, but it had to be done although Jano doesn't look so sure about that. Perlie finds Maggie's map book fallen on the ground with a page torn out of it and he determines from the index that the missing page is a map of Manhattan.

Maggie has a nightmare where she relives Negan's brutal murder of Glenn with Lucille which is intercut with images of Hershel screaming for Maggie. Maggie snaps awake and she finds Negan is also awake in the backseat. Negan recalls how, when he was a kid, his father went on a business trip or something to New York City and he brought Negan back a little souvenir of the Statue of Liberty. Negan remembers thinking that he couldn't understand how something so small could also be so giant. Negan's father promised to take him to see the real thing and he made a whole plan to do it, "and then, as generally was the case with my dad, something came up, I guess. Anyway, I still haven't seen Lady Liberty in the flesh."

Negan asks how this operation is supposed to play out apart from how Negan is supposed to charm the Croat into giving Hershel back to Maggie, and she admits that she has a plan which Negan recognizes she isn't going to tell him and plans to keep Negan on a need-to-know basis. Negan knows that Maggie doesn't trust him, and he doesn't blame her as Negan wouldn't trust himself in her shoes. Negan has already gotten what he wanted with Ginny being safe and comfortable at the Hilltop. Negan suggests that he could kill Maggie right now, but Maggie tells him that he could try, and she'd have to kill him first then. However, Negan tells Maggie that there's a big difference because she needs him to get her son back, but she feels that it probably cuts both ways and that the marshals would have something to say about that. Looking at the bracelet that Maggie had found earlier in his motel room, Negan claims that what he did wasn't like what the marshals say, and Negan believes that he's already paid for his crimes.

From across the river, Negan observes the large plume of smoke from a fire in Manhattan, and Maggie explains that she camped out for three days watching the city and she saw the smoke show up like that every morning at the same time and then again at night. Negan realizes that Maggie thinks that it's a cooking fire for breakfast and dinner, but he suggests that "sometimes a building on fire is just a building on fire." Before they can leave on a nearby boat, Maggie and Negan hear a vehicle pulling up.

Inside the marshals' vehicle, Perlie uses Maggie's map book to search the shoreline for possible locations where she and Negan might cross into Manhattan. Jano asks what the deal with Manhattan is and why it's so special and Perlie explains that "Manhattan was one of the epicenters. Military destroyed all of the bridges and tunnels hoping to contain it. Hoping to contain... them. Once home to a million and a half people. Now..." Perlie sends Gritz and Jano to do a sweep, looking sadly at an envelope with a return address for Joel Armstrong in Manhattan. As Jano takes a piss, he's captured by Maggie and she and Negan use Jano as a human shield against Perlie as they take off in the boat. The two marshals quickly begin untying a boat of their own from the roof of their car.

On the boat, Maggie orders Jano to empty his pockets and turn over his gun, but Jano doesn't have one as marshals aren't given guns until they've been in the service for three months. Jano shows Maggie a bottle of pills for his sick grandmother, admitting that they're not related, but she had looked after the young man when he was little and Jano is all that she has left. However, Negan stops the boat and prepares to throw Jano overboard, telling him that it's a short swim back to shore and he's not coming with them. Maggie protests, but Negan states that Jano is a junior marshal and that every second he stays, Jano is a threat and a liability, but Maggie suggests that he could be insurance too, "either way, it doesn't matter what you think."

Negan points out that Maggie has been sticking it to him in every way that she can since they hooked up again. Negan gets that Hershel being kidnapped has her spinning out, and stirring up emotions, memories and a lot of other stuff, and the vengeful thoughts that Negan had thought Maggie put to bed she has clearly woken up. What Negan doesn't get is that, after all of these years, Maggie still thinks that he's the bad guy, "I'm not. No one is. Or maybe everyone is. But you know what, Maggie, maybe everyone is. Ask yourself one question: how many husbands and fathers have you killed?" An emotional Maggie tells Negan that something like what he did to Glenn can never be put to bed. Relenting, Negan releases Jano and Maggie drives the boat through the walker-infested river towards Manhattan which the fog parts to finally reveal to them. "Fuck me," mutters Negan, looking at the city.

At the dock, Jano notices that the only thing that's around is a few dead bodies and he wonders where all of the walkers are while Negan looks at a destroyed bridge in the distance. Maggie prepares a flare gun in case they get separated and Negan asks her to look after Ginny for him once this is all over which Maggie agrees to since Negan isn't going back to her. The three head into the city streets which are empty aside from some human remains and abandoned vehicles and Jano tries to run, but he is roughly stopped by Negan. Maggie threatens that if Jano tries that again, he's going to wish that Negan had thrown him off of the boat.

As the three head towards the fire, walkers suddenly start falling from the sky, shattering on impact with the vehicles below. Taking cover in a doorway, Negan is annoyed that walkers are falling from the sky now and Maggie guesses that the walkers must've heard them, before being interrupted by a noise. Walkers appear on the other side of the doorway that they're hiding in and start breaking the glass. Maggie, Negan and Jano run for some scaffolding across the street with Negan picking Jano up after he falls. Dodging the literal rain of walkers, they make it under the scaffolding, observed by Esther from a nearby rooftop, and they take shelter until the walkers stop falling. Leaving, Negan tells Jano to get his shit together.

Continuing through the city, they pass a sign reading "DAWN. LINCOLN CENTER. COME KILL WITH US" and Negan stops Maggie from walking into a trap. The three eventually reach a blockade and see a vehicle driving by playing loud music and leading a massive herd of walkers. Maggie, Negan and Jano take cover behind some trash as part of the herd starts heading towards them, but cockroaches from the trash start crawling all over them. Their attempts to dislodge the cockroaches causes a garbage bag to fall, revealing that the cockroaches are coming from a walker corpse on the other side. Deciding not to stay, the three come out of hiding as someone starts shooting the walkers approaching them from behind, causing them to dive for cover. Recognizing the shooters as Perlie and Gritz, Jano calls out to them, but Negan pulls him back to the ground. Spotting a door nearby, Negan leads his companions into Big J Cleaners.

Inside, Maggie, Negan and Jano split up to look for another way out. Perlie and Gritz enter, and they barricade the doors against the walkers. Perlie leaves Gritz behind to guard the doors, instructing him to not let anyone out. Maggie, Negan and Jano hide while Perlie searches for them. Calling out to Maggie while Negan restrains Jano from revealing their position, Perlie identifies himself as a New Babylon marshal, revealing some personal details about himself so as to give Maggie a sense about what kind of a person he is and that he is not her enemy. Perlie describes New Babylon, calling it a capital city that is more of a small town with three-lined streets and families looking out for each other. Perlie has a wife and three daughters who mean everything to him. Perlie recognizes that, while he doesn't know why Maggie is with Negan or has taken Jano hostage, she has her reasons, possibly even good ones. Perlie sincerely offers to hear Maggie out if she reveals herself, but he warns her that he'll be a little less open to hearing her out if Perlie gets to her first and he will get to her.

Unnoticed by Negan and Jano, a walker comes up behind them. Perlie finds a walker covered in a plastic bag and he puts it down with the bayonet on his rifle. As Negan walks away, a distracted Jano is attacked by the walker who has a rat living inside of it's mouth. Negan puts down the walker and saves Jano, but Perlie accidentally shoots Jano after he stands up, killing him and shocking Perlie. Maggie and Negan run while Perlie is distracted and the herd breaks through the doors and devours Gritz. Negan breaks through the door to the back room and takes care of a walker on the other side while Perlie lines up a shot on him. Maggie sneaks up behind the marshal and they struggle over the gun, but Perlie overpowers Maggie who finally reveals that she needs Negan's help to save her son. Although he hesitates for a moment, Perlie refuses to relent, pushing down on her throat with his gun, but Maggie smacks him in the face with her chain and finally overpowers Perlie and knocks him unconscious with the butt of his own gun. Maggie nearly beats the marshal to death with his rifle, but she hesitates and then changes her mind after seeing Negan, perhaps remembering that he insinuated she was a "bad guy" for killing "husbands and fathers" which Perlie is. Tossing the rifle aside, Maggie escapes with Negan into a backroom, where Maggie and Negan encounter Esther who blows out Negan's match.

Tied to a chair, Hershel is visited by the Croat who compliments the boy on acting tough like his mother and maybe his father. The Croat questions if Hershel ever met the man who killed his father, telling the boy that Glenn's killer Negan had lived among Maggie's people for years. The Croat asks what Hershel knows about Negan, but Hershel defiantly tells his captor that "you can sit there in the dark trying to freak me out, but I'm not saying shit," amusing the Croat. Going through some nearby drawers, the Croat tells Hershel that he was fascinated by Manhattan as a boy, especially how there was so many people on such a tiny island, noting that ironically the city is much more alive in death than it ever was before the outbreak "because the struggle galvanizes you. Shows you the strength you had inside you all along. You know, I think you're gonna like it here." The Croat menacingly rest a blade on Hershel's leg, apparently about to torture him, before being interrupted by one of his men with the news that someone has gotten away.

On the roof, a shirtless man covered in slashes and other signs of torture desperately looks for an escape route. Telling the man that there's nowhere to go, the Croat asks the man for what he wants to know about his people. The man tries to escape across a zipline to another building, but the Croat cuts the zipline, sending the man falling to his death. The Croat sadistically makes a joke about the man's 20 story fall being a new record, then plainly states "what a pity."

Other Cast[]





  • First appearance (in Dead City continuity) of Maggie Rhee.
  • First appearance (in Dead City continuity) of Negan Smith.
  • First appearance (in Dead City continuity) of Hershel Rhee.
  • First appearance (in Dead City continuity) of Glenn Rhee. (Flashback)
  • First appearance (in Dead City continuity) of Rosita Espinosa. (Flashback)
  • First appearance (in Dead City continuity) of Daryl Dixon. (Flashback)
  • First appearance (in Dead City continuity) of Michonne Grimes. (Flashback)
  • First appearance (in Dead City continuity) of Rick Grimes. (Flashback)
  • First appearance of Ginny.
  • First appearance of Perlie Armstrong.
  • First appearance of Nina.
  • First appearance of Esther.
  • First appearance of the Croat.
  • First appearance of Manhattan, New York.
  • Only appearance of Jones.
  • Only appearance of Gritz. (Alive)
  • Only appearance of Jano.
  • The title of the episode, "Old Acquaintances", refers to Maggie and Negan meeting again years after they last saw each other in "Rest in Peace". It's what Negan identifies himself and Maggie as to Ginny.
  • This episode was made available for streaming to subscribers of AMC Premiere on June 15, 2023.
  • This is the first time a new episode of The Walking Dead: Dead City and Fear the Walking Dead aired the same night.
    • The mid-season finale of Season 8 of Fear the Walking Dead is played directly after this episode.
  • This episode takes place five to six years after the events of "Rest in Peace", meaning that it is currently the eighteenth or nineteenth year of the apocalypse.[2]
    • This makes it the farthest point in the TV Universe timeline to be showcased on-screen so far.
  • Negan's full Wanted poster reads: "WANTED. IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THIS MAN NOTIFY ANY OFFICE OF THE NEW BABYLON MARSHALS. DO NOT APPROACH UNLESS ARMED. Antisocial and prone to extreme violence. With above-average intelligence and charisma. Do not trust him. He is lawless and would take any action to evade justice. He is of tall stature and may be clean shaven, though he may be disguising himself among the citizens of the New Babylon Federation. His current whereabouts are unknown."[3]
  • The storefront that Maggie, Negan, and Jano hid under to avoid falling walkers was "Delmonico's".

Episode Highlights[]