Riley is an antagonist and a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's Fear The Walking Dead. He is a high-ranking member of a doomsday cult, serving as Teddy's right-hand man and the cult's second-in-command. He served as the secondary antagonist for the second half of Season 6.
Nothing is known about Riley's life prior to or as the outbreak began, other than he was a weapons officer serving onboard the USS Pennsylvania. As seen by photographs in his bunk aboard the submarine, he was in a relationship with a young woman. At some point in his career, he helped to stop an attempted nuclear attack of some kind.
Under unknown circumstances, the USS Pennsylvania was beached on the coast of Galveston at some point after the start of the outbreak. Riley and Walter survived the event and were able to escape the sub with their lives. Riley would later join the Doomsday Cult out of despair after losing his loved ones.
Riley is seen working in a subterranean settlement called the Holding. A worker tells him that she's trying to see the walker the way Teddy sees it. Riley assures her she will eventually succeed. Riley and a crew of workers wait for new arrivals that a patrol saved above ground. The elevator doors open: It's Al, Alicia, Luciana, and Wes. Riley welcomes them to the Holding. Al quietly confirms with Wes that this is the place they were looking for. "The End is the Beginning," reads a message spray-painted on the wall.
Riley interrogates Alicia's group and records their conversations for his leader, Teddy. Alicia demands her weapon. Riley explains that no outsiders are allowed to carry weapons inside. Alicia tells Riley that her group had been scavenging when his patrol found them. Wes tells Riley that his group comes from a place that they plan never to return to. Alicia's group tries to question Riley about his community.
Riley takes Alicia's group on a tour of the Holding and explains that all living creatures eventually decompose into the earth. He reveals that his group is planning to close its doors forever, so that no one will need to go above ground again. Riley deflects questions from Alicia's group. He tells Alicia he has one question for her: "Can you see?" Riley takes Alicia to the walker in ivy and asks what she sees. Alicia says she sees a walker that needs to be killed. Riley says that Teddy will be able to guess what's troubling her.
Riley takes each member of Alicia's group to the displayed walker and asks what they see. Luciana says that Riley's question feels like a trick. Riley says that his group likes skeptics. Al asks Riley if everyone in the Holding must answer his question. Wes tells Riley he just sees a walker, then asks who painted the murals on the wall. He mentions that he used to be a painter, like his brother. Riley questions everyone about their siblings. Wes asks Riley why he's interested in his family. Riley says Teddy believes survival depends on family. Alicia tells Riley that her mother gave her life so that her group could live. Riley points out that her death was their beginning.
Alicia's group convenes and decides they must win over Teddy's trust. Riley announces that Teddy has returned to the Holding. Everyone gathers at the elevator. The doors open. A group steps out but Teddy is not among them. Wes recognizes one of the men as Derek, his brother. Derek joins them at the table but is urgently called away by Riley. Alicia's group escapes in the elevator with Derek. Alicia suspects that Derek is hiding something and refuses to take him back to their community. Riley captures Alicia's group as they exit the elevator.
Riley brings Alicia's group to an embalming room and threatens to kill and embalm them. He offers to spare their lives if they reveal Morgan's whereabouts. Wes realizes Derek betrayed them. Derek gets Riley's permission to try and show Wes the truth. After confronting Derek about his near-death experience in Tank Town, Wes fights his brother, resulting in Derek's death and Wes holds Riley at gunpoint. His group escapes into a room filled with embalmed walkers suspended from the ceiling. Alicia kills the walker and slashes its throat to release embalming fluid. She orders her group to flee then lights the embalming fluid with a match, setting the room and the rest of the Holding on fire.
Riley and his associate corner Alicia in the partially burned-out embalming room as charred bodies of Riley's other associates lay nearby. Alicia kills the associate with an embalming tool. Teddy joins them and tells Alicia that he wants to save her, even though she destroyed everything they've been working towards. Alicia says she doesn't need saving. Teddy reaches out his hand and explains that he's been looking for someone like her for a long time.
In Grace's dream, Riley and his gang show up outside and shoot at the building. Riley calls out for Morgan and says that Morgan has something they want. Morgan removes the headphones from Grace's head. Riley's gang finds Grace and Athena on the road. Riley tells Grace that she has something they want. He gets out a knife. Grace slashes him in the throat, killing him.
In reality, Riley's gang arrives at the barn. Riley demands the key that Morgan is wearing around his neck. He says the key will change everything and that he will leave Morgan alone once he has the key. Grace and Athena fight Riley's gang. Morgan kills Riley's gang until only Riley is left. He stabs Riley in the shoulder. Riley flees. Riley grabs Athena and slams her against a wall. He grabs the key from her neck.
In Grace's dream, Morgan stabs Riley and helps Grace up. Riley crashes a truck through the barn wall and holds them at gunpoint. He demands the key. Grace urges Morgan to hand over the key and says that the future lies in Athena, not the key. Morgan hands the key over and Riley takes his leave.
Riley enters the room and asks Alicia if she's ready to accept Teddy's word. She doesn't answer. Riley leaves and locks the door. Teddy's message plays repeatedly on the P.A., declaring that humans must break the pattern or they are doomed to repeat it. Riley and Teddy enter Alicia's room. Teddy tells Alicia they are leaving soon for their new home. He seeks Alicia's dedication to his cause. Riley aims his gun at Alicia and says she will never see the truth. Teddy declares that Alicia is coming with them. People found on the cult's scouting runs, including Dakota, are transported to the school as the cult prepares to leave.
Teddy informs Riley that he's tending to a personal matter and that if he doesn't rejoin the group by tomorrow, Riley knows what to do. He gives Riley the key that they obtained from Morgan. Later, Riley, Mike and a number of other cultists arrive in response to Teddy's earlier radio call for help. Alicia passes along a warning about the cult's plans to Strand before Riley takes the radio. Pleased with Alicia's actions and with Dakota sure that Strand will simply run away rather than pass on the warning, Teddy is convinced that Alicia is in fact the person he has been looking for and takes her with him.
The cult drives to the Franklin Hotel where the government had built a doomsday bunker in the 1950s which was forgotten about until Riley discovered it in an article talking about the resort's bankruptcy. Riley reveals that the bunker is much better than the Holding ever was. Riley confirms that everyone is inside and Teddy leaves Dakota behind with Mike while he leads Alicia inside.
Riley is first seen powering up the submarine from the control room alongside Teddy and Dakota. When questioned on his knowledge of the sub, Riley reveals that he once worked as a weapons officer on it. Later on, as Morgan and Strand near the entrance to the room, Riley and Teddy prepare the missiles for launch, both equipped with one of the two keys. As Morgan and Strand breach the room, Riley and Teddy successfully launch one of the missiles, equipped with several warheads, though are unable to shoot the rest. Riley is held at gunpoint by Strand, while Morgan demands that Teddy stops the missiles. Riley says to Morgan, "I told you it was inevitable!" as the missile exits the sub. Defeated, Morgan allows Riley and Teddy to leave.
Rollie arrives at the Texas Naval Base with Wes and a captive and beaten up Riley. Rollie reveals that Riley is willing to lead them to the bunker where Alicia is and where they can all ride it out. Charlie is surprised that Riley would tell them where to find the bunker, but Rollie states that "it's surprising what you can get a true believer to spill when you get them away from their leader." Daniel Salazar is dubious about trusting Riley, instead suggesting that they go to the coordinates that an unknown voice on the radio had given him to a safe location. With Daniel being unsure of having actually heard the voice, the group decides to let Riley lead them to the bunker instead.
On the road, a suspicious Daniel questions why Riley would tell them about the bunker now instead of remaining silent and dying for his cause. Damage from Rollie hitting a walker brings the SWAT van to a stop and Daniel continues his interrogation of Riley as Sarah works to repair the breaks and the others protect her from a herd. Daniel continues to press Riley for answers and he claims that he just wants to see Daniel's face when it all turns to ash. "I know you doubt us. You think we're -- we're all insane. But it's just the beginning. The phoenix will rise, and quicker than you think." Having had enough, Daniel leaves Charlie to watch Riley as he heads outside. When Rollie also mentions the phoenix moments later, Daniel realizes that Rollie is a cult spy and executes him on the spot. Riley attempts to attack Daniel and grab the gun, but Charlie shoots Riley through the back, mortally wounding him. Riley confirms that Daniel was right, explaining that Rollie had lost his faith following the events at the dam with Daniel causing everyone to turn on each other. As the missile separates in the atmosphere, Riley reveals that they were only leading the group to a place where they would have a prime view of the end. Now knowing the truth, the group decides to trust Daniel's coordinates instead and sets off.
The coordinates lead to a desolate stretch of road with no signs of anything helpful in any direction. Laughing, a near death Riley taunts the group that he'd told them that there was no escaping the coming destruction. Enraged, Daniel yanks Riley out of the SWAT van, but Wes stops him and checks Riley's pulse and discovers that Riley has succumbed to his wound and died. As a CRM helicopter arrives to rescue them, Wes spray paints the message "This Isn't The End" on the roadway, writing the word "End" on Riley's back.
As the helicopter takes off, Riley reanimates and wanders towards a nearby nuclear explosion.
- Killed By
- Charlie (Alive)
As Riley attempts to charge Daniel Salazar and take his gun, Charlie shoots him through the back to save Daniel, mortally wounding Riley. He later succumbs to his wound and is left to reanimate.
This list shows the victims Riley has killed:
- Randall Perez (Caused or Direct, Alive)
- Sullivan Daniels (Caused or Direct, Alive)
- Michael Jenkins (Caused, Alive)
- Mary Anne (Caused, Alive)
- Johnson (Zombified, Alongside Teddy, Dakota, and Cultist)
- Dakota (Caused)
- Acolyte (Caused)
- Possibly many enemy combatants (Pre-Apocalypse)
- 13 unnamed funeral home survivors (Caused or Direct, Alive)
- 15 unnamed office workers (Caused, Alive)
- At least 30 unnamed Tank Town workers (Caused, Alive)
- 1 unnamed CRM soldier (Caused or Direct, Alive)
- Many unnamed captives (Caused or Direct, Alive)
- Numerous counts of zombies and unnamed people (Caused and/or Direct)
|✔||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|
- In "In Dreams", Riley has two non-canon deaths, killed in Grace's dream state while alive by Grace and then zombified by Morgan.
- His zombified appearance marks the second time across the entire The Walking Dead franchise to feature talking zombies, albeit in a dream state.
- Riley is the first living character that Charlie has killed since Nicholas Clark.
- Riley is the only member of the Doomsday Cult to have an undead status.
|Language||Dubber||Other Characters Voiced|
|Czech||Petr Burian||Pete Dolgen|
Eugene Porter (10B-Present)
|Spanish (Latin America)||José Gilberto Vilchis||N/A|
|Spanish (Spain)||Marc Zanni||N/A|