It’s no secret that Rick is in a no good very bad place on The Walking Dead. But Andrew Lincoln, the British actor who plays the sexy sheriff with a perma-5 o’clock shadow, believes his character still has a ways to go before hitting bottom.

Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with Andrew at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ “An Evening With The Walking Dead” on February 5, and he addressed grief-stricken Rick’s descent into madness a dark trip that could open up room for a new prison group leader.

[Rick]'s been in a very dark place for quite some time,” Andrew said. “I think that what I love about the show, one of the strengths of the show, is that the group dynamic keeps reinventing itself. [...] So him being out of the equation and not being the leader, I think you will see other characters come to the fore, and find out more about them and who they are as leaders as well.”

When asked if Rick will ever snap out of this crazy phase, Andrew quipped, “Well, I hope so. Otherwise I may not be here next year.”

Um, please let that be a joke.

Ultimately, Andrew believes Rick isn’t finished coming to terms with his wife Lori’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) death. “[H]e still hasn't processed a lot of this stuff, and I think that you never [come back fully] from something as painful as that,” Andrew explained. “I think people are irrevocably changed by these kind of terrifying and haunting events.”

The Governor is in a very similar predicament, having just lost his zombified daughter. “I think that [Rick and the Governor] are mirroring one another,” said Andrew. “I think what the writers did with the Governor is very good that you kind of see the evolution of this man. You don't meet this uber-villain straight away. You kind of find out the damage and the pain behind that.”

The Walking Dead returns with Season 3, Episode 9, “The Suicide King” this Sunday, February 10 at 9/8c on AMC.