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The Walking Dead Scene That Had A SWAT Team Called In

Even though "The Walking Dead" is about a world where humanity is on the brink of extinction due to a horrifying virus that turns people into zombies, it's many AMC viewers' preferred form of escapist fiction. There's something incredibly entertaining to them about watching survivors, good and evil alike, battle it out in a world overrun by flesh-eating walkers. Besides, the crew doesn't intentionally put the cast in any real danger, and all of the violence we see week after week is a result of prosthetics, fake blood, and a pinch of TV magic. 

At the same time, it's worth noting that unexpected occurrences aren't entirely avoidable on the set of a television program, and "The Walking Dead" isn't exempt from this. Arguably the most tragic instance of this came in 2017 when stunt performer John Bernecker fell from 21 feet in the air and suffered a fatal head injury due to improper placement of floor padding. A lengthy courtroom battle between AMC and Bernecker's parents ensued, resulting in an $8.6 million payout to the family (via Variety). 

Thankfully, something this horrific hasn't occurred during production on "TWD" before or since, but that's not to say it's the only scary unplanned behind-the-scenes moment in the show's history. Take, for instance, when a S.W.A.T. team appeared out of nowhere and swarmed the "Walking Dead" set.

Locals thought Merle Dixon was an actual sniper

The scene in question was a part of the second episode of "The Walking Dead," titled "Guts," where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) makes his way to the city of Atlanta, Georgia. There he runs into not only a bunch of walkers but a small band of survivors, including Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker): the loudmouthed, mean-spirited brother of fan-favorite Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). Trapped on a rooftop, Merle takes it upon himself to take out some of the surrounding zombies using a sniper rifle — an image that drove locals to call the cops under the belief they were in real danger.

"I was shooting zombies, you know, and I didn't really have any concern for that until I actually did the first shot, and I saw people jump and run. They had already dispatched the S.W.A.T. team. The officer said, 'Please stand down. We're shooting a movie,'" recalled Rooker in a "Walking Dead" behind-the-scenes reel (via The Things), making it sound as though they blew off the entire situation as nothing more than a funny misunderstanding. Luckily for him, those dispatched to check out the situation didn't take long to connect the dots and figure out the reality of the situation.

For good or ill, "The Walking Dead" sounds like quite an eventful TV series to work on.