Charles Irving Bartowski


Seasons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Portrayed by: Zachary Levi
Status: Active
Occupation: Owner Burbank Buy More and CEO of Carmichael Industries(Season 5)
CIA Special Agent (formerly),
Nerd Herd supervisor (formerly)
Aliases: Chuck (nickname),
Chuckles (Anna Wu, season 1)
The Intersect (code name, seasons 1-3),
Charles Carmichael (alter ego)
Jorge Carmichael (alias, season 2)
Mad Dog (Casey, season 2)
Schnook (Jack Burton, season 2)
Hans Lichtenstein (season 2)
Francois Espoir (alias,Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer)
The Lemon (Chuck Versus the Pink Slip)
Hector Calderon (alias,Chuck Versus the Pink Slip)
Charlie Charles (alias, Chuck Versus the Honeymooners)
Yuri Shevchenko (alias, Chuck Versus the Ring: Part 2
Piranha (hacker name, season 5)
Relatives: Sarah Walker (wife),
Stephen Bartowski (father, deceased),
Mary Bartowski (mother),
Eleanor Woodcomb (sister),
Devon Woodcomb (brother in law),
Clara Woodcomb (niece),
Jack Burton (father in law),
Emma (mother in law),
Molly (adoptive sister in law)
Relationships: Morgan Grimes (best friend)
John Casey (NSA handler)
Big Mike (Buy More boss)
Lester Patel (co-worker)
Jeffrey Barnes (co-worker)
Bryce Larkin (old friend, deceased)
Jill Roberts (ex-girlfriend)
Lou Palone (ex-girlfriend)
Hannah (ex-girlfriend)
Residence: Echo Park, Burbank, CA
Appearances: All
Our family is so full of secrets.

Charles "Chuck" Irving Bartowski is the protagonist of the television series, Chuck. He is portrayed by Zachary Levi.

Chuck is a twenty-something underachiever who lives in the Echo Park Section of Los Angeles, California and works at a dead end job at the Burbank Buy More, he is the supervisor of its Nerd Herd tech support division. On his birthday in 2007, an e-mail from an old friend changed his life.

Character History[edit | edit source]

Chuck and his sister Ellie are the children of Stephen and Mary Bartowski. Their father, a genius, seemed constantly preoccupied, their mother disappeared from their lives when Chuck was 9 and Ellie 12.

As a child

When Ellie was 17 and Chuck 14, their father fell out of their lives as well, and Ellie finished raising Chuck. As a result, the siblings developed a very close and loving relationship, learning to depend on one another since there was no one else. He won a scholarship to Stanford University, and had dreams of becoming 'Bill Gates with style.'

Chuck's life stalled after his college roommate, Bryce Larkin, planted test answers under Chuck's bed and then reported him to college officials. This led to Chuck's expulsion from Stanford University in 2003, where he was a scholarship student, only twelve credits shy of completing his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering[1]. Chuck cordially hated Bryce for his betrayal, which he could not understand. Compounding the betrayal, was the news that Chuck's college girlfriend, Jill Roberts began seeing Bryce as soon as Chuck left school. At the time of the Pilot, had not moved passed these twin disappointments. [2]

In truth, it was eventually revealed that Bryce orchestrated Chuck expulsion deliberately in order to deter the CIA from recruiting him, believing Chuck too good-hearted to become a field agent, and that the CIA would ruin him. He considered Chuck to be his only friend, and was trying to protect him from the life he had all ready chosen.

Bryce and Chuck at Stanford

Following his expulsion, Chuck moved in with his sister in Echo Park, and began working at Buy More[3]  Directionless and unmotivated, without even trying, he still managed to become the Nerd Herd supervisor and the person the entire staff looked to for leadership, a demonstration of his natural charisma and ability.

At the time of Chuck Versus the Intersect, his life revolves around work, his sister, Eleanor Faye 'Ellie' Bartowski, M.D., (Sarah Lancaster), Devon 'Captain Awesome' Woodcomb, M.D., (Ryan McPartlin), and Chuck's best friend since childhood, Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez). His parents are not in the picture. His mother was said to have left when Chuck was in the fifth grade, and his father was "never really around" even when he was there, but he also left home some eleven years prior to the series events, so Chuck and Ellie had to fend for themselves most of their lives[4][5] learning to rely on one another they became very close.

On his 26th birthday, in September 2007, Chuck opened an e-mail from Bryce Larkin that uploaded the full contents of a CIA/NSA supercomputer known as the Intersect into his brain. The Intersect served as a database for the combined collected intelligence of both agencies. The primary Intersect computer had then been destroyed by Larkin, making Chuck's brain the only depository of this top-secret information. The government learns that Chuck is the last person contacted by Larkin, so both the CIA and NSA, independent of one another, sent agents to find him.

The CIA dispatches Agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) to evaluate Bartowski and, if possible, retrieve the Intersect, while the NSA sends Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin). The two agents eventually cross paths, and Sarah fends off Casey, recognizing that Chuck is exactly who he appears to be, a nice guy caught up in events beyond his control. They discover that Chuck is a human Intersect, he sees a rapid-fire series of images - known throughout the series as "flashes" - of intelligence from the Intersect database whenever he subconsciously recognizes a bit of related information either audibly or visually. The two agencies conclude that Chuck is an intelligence asset and must be protected; they assign Sarah and Casey jointly to the task.[2]

Chuck was smitten with Sarah Walker from the first moment she walked in the Buy More. Before he knew who she was, they had a semi-successful first date, during which she told him she liked him, apparently a sincere sentiment, not just cover patter.

Sarah Walker[edit | edit source]

A main theme throughout the series are Chuck's romantic feelings for his CIA handler, Sarah Walker, who as her cover, poses as Chuck's girlfriend. This tended to confuse Chuck during the first two seasons, because he developed feelings for her almost immediately, and while hers for him grew slowly but noticeably during that time, she insisted that there was nothing between them, nor could there be, since it was unprofessional. During Season Three, Chuck and Sarah dispensed with pretense and entered into a genuine romantic relationship. In "Chuck Versus the Push Mix", Sarah accepted Chuck's proposal and the two became engaged. In the season four finale, "Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger", Chuck and Sarah married.

Chuck & Sarah

Chuck's romance of Sarah and her emerging feelings for him were a constant plot thread through out the first few seasons. She maintained that it would be unprofessional of her to actually engage in a real relationship with Chuck while she serves as his CIA handler. Sarah and Chuck, however, shared kisses under unusual circumstances in "Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami" and "Chuck Versus the First Date". In Chuck Versus the Tango, Ellie notices that Sarah seems to have real feelings for Chuck even though she might not realize it yet, and in "Chuck Versus the Sandworm" Carina noticed much the same thing. She propositioned Chuck and when he asked 'why him,' she told him she loves taking what Sarah wants. When Chuck retorted Sarah didn't want him, Carina replied, “Yeah, she probably doesn't know it yet herself, but I do!”

CIA seduction trainer Roan Montgomery (John Larroquette), quickly discerned that there was more than a professional interest between Chuck and Sarah. In "Chuck Versus the Truth" Sarah admitted that the only reason she had not compromised herself, and told Chuck there could be something between them, was because she had been trained to withstand pentathol. Complicating the developing relationship between Chuck and Sarah was Chuck's frenemy Bryce Larkin, who was previously partnered with Sarah and had a romantic relationship with her, which he wished to continue, as well as Lou Palone, a girl who catches Chuck's interest, the first 'civilian' to do so since Jill. During Bryce's return in "Chuck Versus the Nemesis", Sarah was clearly conflicted between Bryce and Chuck. In "Chuck Versus the Crown Vic" Chuck confronts Sarah about when she kissed him in "Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami"; “And what incident are you referring to Agent Walker, huh? Could it be the incident where you planted a kiss on me right before a bomb was supposed to go off ending our lives? That same kiss right before your boyfriend, Bryce, came back from the dead? That kiss?...Did you kiss me that night because you thought we were going to die, and mine were the most convenient lips around, or was it actually about me?"

When Bryce later reappears in "Chuck Versus the Break-Up", Sarah's feelings have clearly shifted, and she chooses Chuck's safety over mission objectives. When Bryce was later confronted by Devon, who correctly recognized that Sarah's feelings for Chuck were genuine, Bryce realizes that Sarah has chosen Chuck. At the end of the mission Bryce warns Chuck that her feelings nearly got her killed, and may interfere with her ability to function effectively; knowing Chuck would 'do the right thing.' Chuck then told Sarah that regardless of how they feel towards each other, they could never be together because of who they are, they are too different. His decision clearly broke both their hearts. Despite his declaration, however, Chuck and Sarah's feelings for each other remain. The conflict with Bryce was brought to a close in the season two finale when Sarah tells Bryce she won't be going with him on his next assignment.

Chuck Versus the First Date

After the events of "Chuck Versus the Fat Lady" and "Chuck Versus the Gravitron" Chuck is forced to deal with ex-girlfriend, Jill, and finally shuts the door on his past after finding Jill to have been more his fantasy than a reality, and “I realized that Jill, Stanford, and Bryce -- that's the story from my past.”  after which, he tells Sarah, “I'm glad I have you.” In "Chuck Versus the DeLorean" Chuck jealously follows Sarah to an off hours meeting and meets her father, Jack Burton, a unrepentant con man. Eventually, Jack deposits $10 million into Chuck's account for safe keeping because, as he told Sarah, “I read people, that's the only real talent I got. One thing I know, that kid would never betray you. I made a $10 million bet that he loved you.”

Sarah's feelings for Chuck and their ramifications are the focus of "Chuck Versus the Broken Heart", when Beckman decides Sarah and Chuck are too close, leading her to temporarily replace her with Agent Alexandra Forrest, while a 49B assessment is run. After the mission takes a turn for the worse, it becomes clear that the strong emotional bond between Chuck and Sarah is an asset rather than a liability, leading Beckman to reinstate Sarah.

At the end of "Chuck Versus the First Kill", Beckman orders Sarah to lure Chuck to Castle so he can be taken into custody. Faced with betraying him, Sarah instead warns Chuck of the plan, and says that they have to run. Chuck realizes what she has done, and points out she could go to prison for treason. In Chuck vs. the Colonel, Chuck and Sarah could not keep their feelings hidden any longer, and they had an intimate moment in a motel room. John Casey then arrived and interrupted before things had gone far.

During Training in Prague

During Season Three, Chuck and Sarah's relationship collapses. In "Chuck Versus the Pink Slip", it is revealed that six months prior, when Chuck uploaded Intersect 2.0 and was given spy training in Prague by General Beckman, Sarah worried that Chuck becoming a spy would change him, and offered to meet him at a Prague train station, from where they could run away together - taking new identities and leaving the spy life behind. Chuck initially accepted, and he turned up at the station, but finds that he cannot go with Sarah, citing this as his one chance to become a real spy, that he has an ability to help others that is unique. Sarah is deeply hurt and turns quite cold to Chuck.

In "Chuck Versus the Three Words", when Carina Miller, returns to enlist Team Bartowski on a mission, Chuck attempts on numerous occasions to talk to Sarah, but she is unwilling. Carina informs Chuck that Sarah is cold because she still loves him. When Chuck is later locked in a vault which is filling with gas and he believes he might die, he attempts to talk to Sarah through the vault door and explain why he did what he did, but Sarah doesn't hear him. Later, in Castle when Chuck is recovering from the gas, Sarah has a video conference with General Beckman, where she requests a transfer because of Chuck's feelings for her. Beckman refuses to transfer her, telling her to get on with her job. In the end, Carina supplies her with tape of Chuck's full explanation, “...look Sarah, I know you were probably very hurt...I get that, I'm sorry. You have to know you are everything I ever wanted. But how could I do that, how could I be with you knowing what I turned my back on? Knowing that what I have in my head can help a lot of people. And you're the one that taught me that being a spy is choosing something bigger it's about putting aside your own personal feelings for the greater good, and that's what I chose....” and she finally understands why he refused to run.[6]

The introduction of Daniel Shaw in "Chuck Versus Operation Awesome" and Chuck's meeting Hannah in his first solo mission on a flight to Paris in "Chuck Versus First Class" put up roadblocks to the repair and progress of their relationship. Chuck and Hannah begin seeing each other after she joins the Nerd Herd.[7] In "Chuck Versus the Fake Name", however, Chuck ends his relationship with Hannah when he realizes his feelings for Sarah are still very much present when Ellie points out to him that things are moving too fast with Hannah, and that “it feels dishonest because the truth is that you still have feelings for Sarah.” He also realizes he cannot keep Hannah safe or ever tell her the truth. It is painful for him, he did not want to hurt Hannah or have her believe him a liar, but he felt that a break was the only fair and safe option. Meanwhile, Sarah begins a tentative rebound relationship with AgentShaw. Chuck is wounded by this, feeling outclassed by Shaw, but tries to keep his feelings to himself, so that Sarah might be happy, even if it isn't with him, and attempts to convince himself that he and Sarah are over.


In "Chuck Versus the Beard", his emotions are in such a tangle, he can no longer even access the Intersect. When captured by Fulcrum agents, he confesses his double life to Morgan who wonders how Chuck can deal with having a fake relationship with a girl he clearly loves. Chuck finally admits, “I do love Sarah. I kept telling myself that I didn’t, that I wouldn’t, I couldn’t, but I do.... Morgan, you have no idea how badly I needed to get all this off my chest!”

In "Chuck Versus the American Hero", when Shaw found out that Sarah unknowingly killed his wife (Evelyn Shaw) during her Red Test, he led her to a warehouse, which he claims is the Ring headquarters. When they enter, Sarah believes it to be a trap, Shaw then reveals that she killed his wife and she, visibly upset, begs his forgiveness. Chuck, believing Shaw plans to kill Sarah, turns up with several dozen soldiers, air support, and a tank to rescue Sarah. In the aftermath, Chuck finally expressed the depth of his feelings to Sarah, “I'm just going to be blunt and honest; I love you. One more time because it feels really nice to say it; I love you. I feel like I've been bottling this up forever; I love you....I love you, Sarah Walker, I always have.”

In "Chuck Versus the Other Guy", Shaw took Sarah to Paris where he drugs her and attempts to kill her. Casey and Chuck arrive, and whilst Casey deals with the Ring director, Chuck shoots and was thought to have killed Shaw, in order to Sarah's life. When Sarah recovers, she realizes what Chuck has done for her, and he tells her, “I couldn't let him hurt you, Sarah. Trust me, I did what I had to do, but I'm still the same guy, I'm still Chuck.” Shortly thereafter, the pair finally consummated their relationship.

Chuck and Sarah decide that they want to be together, debating on whether or not to quit being spies and run off.

Chuck Versus the Honeymooners

In "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners" after a few days off the grid, they ultimately decide to stay on the job, and pursue their relationship, “Do you think if we went back, and we told Beckman the honest-to-God absolute truth, do you think we'd really have a shot at having it all?... Sarah Walker, do you agree to not quit the spy life and be with me?” Their co-workers, including General Beckman, approve their decision. Sarah then accepts Chuck's invitation to move in with him at the end of "Chuck Versus the Role Models".

In Season Four, their relationship progresses, with Sarah willingly helping Chuck in his covert search for his mother, Mary Bartowski, despite the risks. In "Chuck Versus the Suitcase" despite Sarah's slow acceptance of "planting roots", she admits to Chuck, "You're my home, Chuck, you always have been."

In "Chuck Versus the Coup d'Etat", Chuck questions Sarah on important 'couple' subjects with advice from a book Morgan recommended, 101 Questions Before 'I Do.' Their dynamic as a couple is further developed during the season, one of the aspects being their tendency to resolve their personal issues while in tense work situations, as shown in "Chuck Versus the Coup d'Etat", "Chuck Versus the Seduction Impossible", and "Chuck Versus the First Fight" when Chuck told Sarah “I don't need you to protect me, I need you to believe in me! I mean really believe in me, even when you think I'm wrong.”

In "Chuck Versus the Fear of Death" Chuck is kidnapped by an international criminal, and in "Chuck Versus Phase Three", a devastated Sarah realizes she had not told him how much she loves him. This is played out during Chuck's torture, when all of his dreams about Sarah revolve around how she would not love him without the Intersect. After rescuing him, Sarah tells him that she does want to marry him, even if he doesn't have the Intersect, that she is nothing without him. Morgan later explains to Chuck that his loss of the Intersect brought to light how much Sarah really loves him, she did anything and everything to rescue him, that he himself had pulled a man's tooth out of her arm.


In "Chuck Versus the Balcony" Chuck went to great lengths to find the perfect venue to propose to Sarah. Casey told him there was no such thing as a perfect spot, that all he needed was the girl. When at the end of "Chuck Versus the Push Mix" Chuck finally got the chance to ask her to marry him, it was in a hospital corridor as they awaited the birth of his niece.

In "Chuck Versus the Seduction Impossible", Chuck and Sarah have a disagreement when Sarah wants to elope, while Chuck wants to have a family wedding. Eventually, Sarah explains she wants to elope because she had no family or friends to fill her side of the church, but agrees to have the family wedding because she has since realized his family is now hers.

In Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger Chuck risked everything to save a poisoned Sarah, losing his position and the Intersect in the process, finally offering himself up to the woman who wanted him dead. His deep sincerity and veracity were successful, and he was able to return to Sarah in time to save her life. At the end of "Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger", Chuck and Sarah were married in an emotional ceremony where he told her, “How do I express the depth of my love for you? Or my dreams for our future? Or the fact that I will fight for you every day?....I'll just prove it to you every day for the rest of our lives. You can count on me.”

The Intersect[edit | edit source]

See main article: The Intersect

Flashes from the original Intersect,(top) FULCRUM Intersect (middle) and Intersect 2.0 (bottom)

Events in the series often revolve around intelligence Chuck "flashes" on which is how he accesses the Intersect. Initially, Chuck is in possession of the original version, then destroyed by Bryce inChuck Versus the Intersect. It is later upgraded in Chuck Versus the Breakup by Larkin. After Chuck passes Fulcrum's Intersect's test upload, he is forcibly uploaded with the Fulcrum Intersect in Chuck Versus the Suburbs. Afterward, flashes consisting of Fulcrum data are differentiated by a slight reddish tint. Stephen Bartowski manages to over-write the Intersect in Chuck Versus the Colonel. removing it from Chuck's brain. By the end of season two, however, Chuck chooses to upload Intersect 2.0 to keep it out of enemy hands.

In early episodes Chuck, Sarah, and Casey occasionally work with other federal agents, or agents of allied foreign governments. Casey and Sarah always identify Chuck as an "analyst", not trained for field operations; the Intersect information is so highly classified that even among federal employees, the knowledge that Chuck Bartowski is the Intersect is on a strictly need-to-know basis. The list of those who know and survive knowing, numbers less than a dozen people over five years.

When trying to determine if the Intersect information could be removed from Chuck's brain in Chuck Versus the Helicopter, they contact Dr. Jonas Zarnow, who had worked on the Intersect project, and set up an elaborate system that allows him to test Chuck's Intersect abilities without letting him learn Chuck's real identity or ever seeing his face; this proves a wise precaution since the doctor then faked his own death and then kidnapped Sarah Walker in an effort to force her to reveal the Intersect's identity. Chuck becomes painfully aware that possessing the Intersect not only puts him in great danger, but also threatens the safety of his family and friends.

During the first season, the CIA and NSA were working on replacing the destroyed intersect, at which point the government would no longer need him. Chuck believes that when that day comes, he and Sarah would be free to pursue a "real" relationship and he would have his life back again. Casey, however, was secretly ordered by Graham and Beckman to assassinate Chuck once Operation Bartowski was completed to keep him from falling into enemy hands.

When the new electronic intersect was minutes form activation in "Chuck Versus the First Date", Casey's orders reverted to the elimination of Chuck Bartowski. Although Casey appealed the mission, and noted Chuck's honorable service, his orders stood, and he reluctantly prepared to assassinate Chuck. He was visibly relieved when the orders were canceled at the last moment, following the destruction of the new Intersect computer.

As revealed in Chuck Versus the Suburbs, the NSA and CIA officially abandoned a new Intersect project. General Beckman made it clear to Chuck in Chuck vs. The Predator that she didn't want the Intersect removed from his brain, and that she expects him to train to become a spy. Chuck then opts to hide intelligence on the original design of the Intersect sent to him by Orion, the creator of the Intersect. He studies the designs, camouflaged by taping them inside a graphic novel. Orion also indicated that it might be possible that the Fulcrum Intersect could be used to remove the Intersect from Chuck's brain.

Chuck flashing

In Chuck vs. the Colonel, Chuck locates the base where Fulcrum hid the newly-developed Fulcrum Intersect Cube that was being programmed under duress by his father, Stephen Bartowski who is code named Orion. His father is able to remove the intersect from Chuck's brain using this Intersect Cube. Chuck, however, later uploads the Intersect 2.0 before destroying it in to keep it out of the hands of the Ring in Chuck vs. the Ring, this time uploading physical skills as well, such as advanced martial arts.

It is discovered in the Season Three finale, "Chuck Versus the Ring: Part 2", that Chuck had accidentally uploaded an earlier version of the Intersect being created by his father, during his childhood. In Chuck Versus the First Fight, Chuck's mother, Mary, uses a Intersect Suppression Device on Chuck to suppress the Intersect and stop it from functioning.

Chuck is subsequently kidnapped by a Belgian who wants the secrets in the Intersect. The suppression issue is resolved when Chuck activates his father's laptop, then in Ellie's care. This laptop resupplies the Intersect 2.0. After he regained the intersect in "Chuck Versus the Leftovers", he went rogue to save Sarah in Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger. CIA hit man, Clyde Decker, tried to thwart Chuck in every way, and had the Intersect forcibly suppressed in his efforts, telling Chuck he was fired. Chuck compiled all the dirt on Decker, Agent X and the whole cover up, and told Decker he would take him down if his friends or family were ever threatened again.

It is apparent that the first Intersect functions without conscious effort from the host, and will 'flash' multiple times succession regardless of the effect on Chuck, as demonstrated in Chuck Versus the First Date and Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover when he commented that “Man, I'm going to have a headache tomorrow,” after flashing over a dozen times in succession.

Chuck charted every piece of information he could find on the Intersect on the back of the Tron poster in his bedroom,[8] and throughout season 1 and 2 continued to express a desire to have the intel removed from his brain.[9] Using the data, Chuck built a bot to search the web for Orion, which he was seen using in the opening scenes of "Chuck Versus the Predator." He succeeds in doing what the CIA and NSA could not; he got the attention of Orion who recognizes Chuck as the Intersect and wants to meet him. Orion reveals it is possible to remove the Intersect from Chuck's brain, before he is apparently killed when he turned an MQ-1 Predator drone on the helicopter he is allegedly travelling in after he was captured by Fulcrum. It is later revealed in "Chuck vs. the Dream Job" that not only did Orion survive, but is actually Chuck's father, Stephen.

When Chuck chose to upload the Intersect 2.0 in "Chuck Versus the Ring" it was clear the mechanics had altered a great deal from the original Intersect. Only minutes were required for the upload as opposed to hours, and although Chuck was staggered and slightly disoriented after the upload, he was not rendered unconscious for hours afterward as had been the case after the upload in "Chuck Versus the Intersect".

Spy Life[edit | edit source]

Chuck adopted an alias, "Charles Carmichael," as his spy persona. He is endowed with all of the characteristics Chuck believes a super-spy should have, including a liking for martinis, which Chuck does not drink normally. “Let's just say Mr. Carmichael and I share a small kinship. When I first entered Stanford, it's kind of where I envisioned myself being by now.” Carmichael was the person Chuck saw himself as by this time in his life had he not been expelled from Stanford: a millionaire semi-retired software magnate.[10]

Ironically, his fantasy alias eventually gained real respect in the spy community: in "Chuck Versus the Predator", Fulcrum agent Vincent told Chuck he has heard of him and in Chuck Versus the First Date Mr. Colt tells Casey, “Your boss, Carmichael, he's good,” much to Casey's irritation, and in "Chuck Versus the Aisle of Terror" Mary said that “I may not know anything about you... but I know everything there is to know about Charles Carmichael.”

  • Carmichael could be a reference to the Secret British Agent Henry "Fakir" Carmichael from the Agatha Christie Novel "They Came To Baghdad." This reference makes more sense as Chuck's namesake was going up against a shadowy organization and was known for his ability to make friends and encourage them to protect him.

One of Chuck's false passports

His operational aliases, however, are numerous; various false passports and identity documents were shown to be stored in a shoe box under his bed, in "Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer."

While police and operational backup personnel have supported Casey and Sarah in various episodes, Chuck is revealed nin "Chuck Versus the Ex" to have gained the contact information required to summon such teams on his own initiative. It is further revealed that Chuck carries credentials which give him some degree of authority over local and federal law enforcement agencies. This is demonstrated when, upon arriving at an emergency situation where an assassin released a biological weapon on a scientific conference, Chuck promptly assumes command of the operation without dispute from the senior FBI agent on-site.

In "Chuck vs. the Ring" Ted Roark reveals that Fulcrum has specifically ordered that Chuck be killed regardless of whether they recover the Intersect. Chuck uploads the modified Intersect 2.0 after Bryce is killed, before destroying the computer system with the Intersect Overload Cartridge. When confronted by Ring agents intent on taking control of the system, he uses the knowledge received from the Intersect to disable them in hand-to-hand combat..

Chuck was fired by Beckman after failing his spy training in "Chuck Versus the Pink Slip", when his strong emotions tended to inhibit the Intersect. By the end of the episode, he again proves his value, and is reinstated. He is sent on his first solo mission by Agent Daniel Shaw in "Chuck Versus First Class". Throughout the third season, Chuck continues to train, and in "Chuck Versus the Tic Tac", Chuck completes his last tests, the Red Test but only with Casey's help, who realizes that Chuck would never be a killer. During "Chuck Versus the Final Exam" Chuck's final exam was the assassination of a traitorous agent, but he found he could not kill the man. Casey shot the mole instead, knowing that Chuck would not. When Chuck asked him why, he replied, “Because you weren't going to. You're not a killer, Chuck.” He is activated as a full-fledged spy by Beckman and ordered to report to Washington, D.C. for induction.

In "Chuck Versus the Beard" Chuck is forced to share his secret life with Morgan when the two were being threatened with torture by Ring operatives; "Morgan, the truth is I am a member of a joint NSA-CIA black ops team, that is stationed here in Burbank. I have a Level 6 clearance, and my code name is Charles Carmichael. I'm a spy, buddy...and, quite frankly, you deserve to know." Chuck was ultimately very grateful he was able to tell his friend all about it, and the emotional release helped repair his glitchy access to the Intersect.

Chuck discovers he learned Kung Fu from the Intersect

Chuck developed more and more as an agent as the show progressed. In "Chuck Versus the Push Mix", Chuck made a plan by himself for a rogue mission with Morgan to bring down arms dealing organization, Volkoff Industries. He does so by pretending to be Orion, hacking into the computers in the office of Alexei Volkoff, which scared Volkoff into leaving and staying mobile with the Hydra Network. Chuck successfully brought down Volkoff Industries by having Volkoff's voice to access the pass code to begin transferring the Hydra Network to Orion's computers, later to be sent to the CIA. He succeeds in weeks where the CIA failed in decades.

Family Life[edit | edit source]

“There's something you need to know about me.... There's nothing in my life that I care about more than my friends and my family.”

The most important person in Chuck's life prior to the events of the series is his sister, Ellie Bartowski. She remains very important throughout the series as are Sarah, Morgan and Devon. Chuck makes clear numerous times that friends and family will always trump all other consideration for him.

Chuck attempts to locate his father for Ellie's wedding but met with no success, as Stephen Bartowski (Scott Bakula) didn't want to be found.

Chuck and Stephen at Ellie's wedding

His search ends in "Chuck Versus the Broken Heart" when Sarah used her access to the CIA databases to run her own unauthorized search. She successfully located him in a trailer located 100 miles east of Barstow, CA and took Chuck to see him. In "Chuck Versus the Dream Job," Stephen eventually reveals to Chuck he is the long sought Orion and said he had allowed Sarah to find him. When Chuck went to work for Stephen's rival Ted Roark to help the CIA stop a major virus attack, it led to Stephen's capture by Roark.

When Stephen appears in Chuck Versus the Dream Job, no real information about his wife is given, except that she left home when Chuck was in the 5th grade. Chuck and Ellie celebrate "Mother's Day" in October each year to commemorate the day they learned to take care of each other.[11]

In "Chuck Versus the Ring: Part 2, Chuck quit the Buy More and promised Ellie he would leave the CIA once Shaw was beaten. In "Chuck Versus the Anniversary" Chuck is compelled to rejoin the Buy More/CIA, however, after Beckman takes over the site as a CIA cover and blocks Chuck from all other employment options. Chuck attempts to tell Ellie that he has rejoined the CIA and is searching for their mother, but she confides in him that she is pregnant, and he decides to wait to reveal his secret.

In Season Four, Chuck pursues his search for their mother, Mary Bartowski (Linda Hamilton). His father had supplied Chuck with enough intel to begin the search as of the Season Three finale. Stephen had spent his entire career searching for Mary, and bring down Volkoff Industries. Chuck finally meets his mother in "Chuck Versus the Aisle of Terror" and introduces Sarah to her, asking them not to kill each other. She later shot him to prevent Volkoff from moving against Agent 'Charles Carmichael' now thought to be dead. The fact her was her son had to remain secret. In "Chuck Versus the Push Mix", Chuck, Sarah, Morgan, and Mary manage to bring down Volkoff and his Hydra Network. They later arrive to Westside Medical just in time for Ellie to give birth to Clara Woodcomb. While waiting for his niece's arrival, Chuck proposed to Sarah in the hospital corridor, and she accepts.

Personality[edit | edit source]


Chuck is a highly intelligent, witty, honest, friendly, good-hearted, caring, generous, and personable young man. Because of the danger and secrecy of his secret life, Chuck struggles with maintaining his honesty and integrity, and has frequently been at odds with the deceptive side of his government work. Chuck typically plays the role of a peacemaker, and to some degree, a negotiator, preferring to find a peaceful resolution to conflicts as seen during the hostage situation in the Buy More in "Chuck Versus Santa Claus." He also has a deep sense of personal responsibility, leading him to facilitating the defection of a Chinese agent after mistakenly allowing her brother to be taken hostage.[11] Chuck believes deeply in doing the right thing, but objects to means that violate his ethics, especially when he has been asked or ordered to take advantage of his personal relationships.[12] Chuck always puts others before himself, and is very protective of the people he cares about.

Chuck is highly skilled with computers and can solve any puzzle, he was once known to the world of hackers as The Piranha.[3] It is strongly implied that he has genius-level intellect and has the ability to retain vast amounts of visual information. Chuck has shown the ability to mentally upload the Intersect and the Fulcrum program - which had killed or mentally damaged all previous subjects. He has excellent problem-solving skills, and has said that his plans never fail. Even without the Intersect information, Chuck is highly observant, and he has a great deal of familiarity with a wide variety of electronic devices, their capabilities and limitations due to work at the Buy More rather than the Intersect information, and demonstrated the ability to recognize advanced surveillance equipment while casing a mansion for a mission because they sold that model of surveillance camera at the Buy More.

Chuck has admitted to a low tolerance for pain in several episodes, and is afraid of needles, a fear of heights was mentioned in Chuck Versus the Gravitron, where he also admits to an “irrational fear of carnivals.” Although he tends to be visibly freaked out in situations involving guns and violence, he has a deep reserve of courage, and always summons the nerve to risk his own life during the course of a mission if he deems it necessary, especially if Sarah or Casey's lives are at risk.

Although he does not hold a management position at the Buy More, and has in fact refused one at least twice, both the sales associates and Nerd Herd staff look to him for guidance and leadership, and have on several occasions pointed him out as the guy in charge. Co-worker Anna Wu (Julia Ling) explained to a Emmett Milbarge that the store's chain of command is "There's Chuck, then there's the rest of us." Lester Patel (Vik Sahay) reports that when unsure in a situation, asks himself, "WWCD, what would Chuck do?" When asked "Who personifies the Buy More ideal? Who makes the trains run on time? Who provides your moral compass? Who holds the team together?" the staff unanimously answer "Chuck."[3] Even Big Mike holds Chuck in high regard, and frequently turned to Chuck when he has things that need to be done and done right, and would have preferred him as Assistant Manager over Harry Tang.[13] When his new lady friend reveals her son works at the Buy More, Big Mike could be heard to plead that it was Chuck.[14]

Chuck's friends and family are very important to him. He has disobeyed orders in order to protect Ellie,[15] Morgan, and Anna,[16] and his own problems were of secondary importance to finding the ring Devon intended to use to propose to Ellie when a Fulcrum agent stole it while recovering a listening device.[17]

Chuck and Ellie

At one point, Ellie, Chuck, Sarah, and Casey had all been exposed to a poison and they had recovered only enough antidote to save one individual, Chuck, without hesitation, stated that he would use it to save his sister's life, though that would mean he would die; Sarah and Casey refused to let him do this, because his death would mean the loss of the Intersect secrets, though Casey expressed admiration on a personal level for Chuck's willingness to sacrifice his own life to save Ellie's, so Chuck ran to Ellie and administered the antidote to her before they could stop him.

He is highly sensitive and caring, and has always tried to be close to Sarah when she needed emotional support.[18][19] Chuck has also attempted to help Casey reclaim the woman he once loved.[20] He has promised his sister that no matter what it takes, he would make sure their father was present at her wedding.[21] Although often a strength, Chuck's affable, trusting nature has also gotten him into trouble. He almost allowed Laszlo Mahnovski to escape custody,[13] and on numerous occasions has been tricked into helping an adversary. It nearly broke him to burn his asset in Chuck Versus the Nacho Sampler but in the end, he realized that Manoosh simply could not be trusted with his information, that not every one believed as he believed, and he sorrowfully sent Manoosh into protective custody, but hated doing so. Casey has taken advantage of Chuck's naiveté for his own purposes.[21]

Chuck frequently wears Chuck Taylor all-stars Converse shoes and enjoys an eclectic range of music including "indie rock" and blues. Music supervisor of Chuck, Alexandra Patsavas, describes Chuck as a guy who might like The Republic Tigers and The National (both bands have contributed music to the show), and the character has made references to liking both Arcade Fire "Chuck Versus the Sandworm" and Nina Simone "Chuck Versus the Zoom". Chuck tells Sarah that he thinks he found what will be her favorite song, Feeling Good by Nina Simone which he played for her in "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners".

Mixing whiskey and gaming

Chuck is a long time video gamer. He has been seen reading Nintendo Power, and PC Gamer, playing Missile Command, Gears of War, Halo 3, and Call of Duty 4. He has demonstrated several other 'nerd' interests throughout the course of the show, such as an interest in, and extensive familiarity with the plot, characters and details of comic books and graphic novels, genre movies, and other typical 'nerd' interests. In the episode "Chuck Versus the Sandworm," Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez) reveals that Chuck has a "wicked vinyl collection", part of which is seen in Chuck Versus the Alma Mater.

Evolution[edit | edit source]

Chuck continued to evolve over the course of the show. He was initially reluctant to participate in missions, but then began to look forward to them, and was eventually been disappointed when he was not included.[22] He has also grows noticeably in confidence and becomes increasingly more capable and self-sufficient. Although inexperienced, Chuck's natural intelligence and observational skills make him an effective agent.


Sarah frequently encourages him in this regard, and even Casey noticed Chuck's abilities[23][19] and in Chuck Versus the Other Guy told him, “Forget the intersect, forget about being a spy. Before all of that you were smart. You're gonna take this intel, you're gonna figure out where Sarah is,” and trusting him to do so. General Beckman was also impressed that Chuck succeeded where the CIA had consistently failed when he made contact with Orion, though she only admitted it to Sarah and Casey.

For most of the series Chuck was strongly pacifistic. He specifically told Sarah he dislikes guns[17] and shows a preference of avoiding or preventing conflict. Until the end of season two, Chuck displays little fighting ability, and was deeply disturbed by Sarah's execution of Fulcrum agent Mauser.[24]

During the events of "Chuck Versus the Suburbs" Fulcrum was attempting to launch their own version of the Intersect. The device was flawed, and until it was tested successfully on Chuck, either killed or inflicted lasting brain damage on the victims. After the team was captured while investigating the Intersect, Casey escaped Fulcrum custody to the system' control room while Sarah was being strapped into the device. Although fully aware of what would happen to the Fulcrum agents, Chuck signaled Casey to activate the Intersect. This incident was the first time that Chuck willingly took a course of action where he knew that someone was going to be hurt or killed as a result of his actions, and as in most such cases, it was done to protect Sarah or another loved one.

  • Josh Schwartz has stated that Chuck will continue to develop and gain confidence in his new role.[25] As seen in "Chuck Versus the First Kill," neither of Chuck's two "kills" were the result of direct action by Chuck. Chuck also deliberately ran down a crowd of Fulcrum operatives holding Sarah prisoner with a Dodge Challenger they were using to run from Casey in "Chuck Versus the Colonel".

Chuck finally handled a gun for the first time on a mission in "Chuck Versus the Lethal Weapon". Despite his aversion to firearms, established in this episode and earlier in Chuck Versus the Marlin, Chuck asked Sarah if he got to have a gun for their rescue of his father in "Chuck Versus the Colonel".

Chuck unplugged in "Chuck Versus the Anniversary"

Upon learning Beckman doesn't want the Intersect removed from him, Chuck used the resources of Castle, and the skills he learned, to defy the government. He hid information about the Fulcrum Intersect from his handlers in "Chuck Versus the Predator" and "Chuck Versus the Broken Heart", and used CIA body armor and tranquilizer guns for a rogue operation to gain access to the Fulcrum Intersect to remove the one in his head in "Chuck Versus the Dream Job". He even shot John Casey with a tranquilizer.

After uploading the modified Intersect 2.0, Chuck becomes an expert in hand-to-hand combat and knows Kung Fu much to the surprise of Sarah and Casey.[26] In season 5, Chuck without his intersect was still able to fight with Daniel Shaw on even footing, he also blocked attacks from Morgan equipped with the Intersect, demonstrating Chuck becomes a very good hand to hand fighter.

After the Intersect was suppressed in "Chuck Versus the First Fight", he continues to train, often with Morgan, and continues to grow as a spy, once it was made clear by Beckman the CIA had a use for an agent of his unique abilities, even without the Intersect.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Chuck is a tall, handsome man, with dark, curly hair, and hazel eyes. He once described himself as 'lanky of build.' At the start of season one, Chuck's hair is longer, rather unkempt, with sideburns – his sister actually tells him at one point that he needs a haircut because it's making “funny animal shapes.”

His hair changes throughout the next four seasons becoming gradually shorter and tidier in tandem with his finding a direction for his life, and his maturity as a spy, leaving his old life and frustrations behind; as he said in "Chuck Versus the Masquerade" "I never expected this to be my life, but here I am, and I'm happy."

Character Development[edit | edit source]

Zachary Levi was the first actor cast for the series, and was announced as starring in the title role on February 7, 2007. On January 16, 2009 it was announced that Scott Bakula would be appearing as Chuck and Ellie's father in a three-episode story arc along with Chevy Chase. Mr. Bartowski is identified as a software genius, with Chase's Ted Roark as his rival.[27]

SciFi Wire reported that English actor Jonathan Cake joined the cast for a three episode arc as MI-6 agent Cole Barker, described as a "James Bond" type agent. He and Chuck each will be actively trying to "Out Hero" each other. Chuck will also be involved in a mission to track down the creator of the Intersect, a man who may be able to help him find a way to remove the computer from his head and give him back his normal life.[28]

Previews for a future episode following the initial airing of "Chuck Versus the Lethal Weapon" show Chuck taking a much more active role, including donning body armor and confidently wielding two guns.

By the beginning of Season Three, two more characters discovered Chuck's secret life.[29] In "Chuck Versus the Colonel," Chuck reveals his work as a spy to Captain Awesome, but asks him to keep it secret. [30]

Interviews with Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz have likened Chuck's development in the first two seasons to an origin story, describing Chuck as Luke Skywalker and born into his role as opposed to Peter Parker who stumbled into it. Season two especially has focused on Chuck's evolution from a regular guy to show that he has the potential to be a true hero.[31]

Chuck loses the intersect again in Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger. Note: Zachary Levi suggested that the new skills Chuck learns from Intersect 2.0 will fade again after use.[32]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Chuck's original core Intersect ability is essentially a modernized version of the capacity attributed to Mycroft Holmes, who, according to his brother (Sherlock) in The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans, could best be described thus:- "He has the tidiest and most orderly brain, with the greatest capacity for storing facts, of any man living. The same great powers which I have turned to the detection of crime he has used for this particular business. The conclusions of every department are passed to him, and he is the central exchange, the clearing-house, which makes out the balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience.".
  • As a child, Chuck had two dogs named Peaches, a Cocker Spaniel who was hit by a car, and a Springer Spaniel whose names was technically Peaches II, as was pointed out by Morgan in Chuck Versus the Wookiee. Chuck had been told by Ellie that the original Peaches had run away.
  • Chuck has been shot three time in the course of the series, each time he was wearing a Kevlar vest, and twice the shooter knew that to be so. The third time, he intercepted a bullet meant for Sarah. All three shootings were at point blank range and left him in pain but alive.
  • Chuck has been wearing black and white Chuck Taylor Converse since he was a child.

Chuck Wiki has a gallery of images relating to:
Chuck Bartowski

References[edit | edit source]

  1. episode "Chuck Versus the Alma Mater
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Chuck vs. the Intersect"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Chuck vs. the Ex"
  4. "Chuck Versus the Best Friend"
  5. episode "Chuck Versus the Broken Heart
  6. "Chuck vs. the Three Words"
  7. "Chuck vs. First Class"
  8. Chuck's Chart
  9. "Chuck vs. the Lethal Weapon"
  10. "Chuck vs. the Tango"
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Chuck vs. the Sizzling Shrimp"
  12. "Chuck vs. the Imported Hard Salami"
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Chuck vs. the Sandworm"
  14. "Chuck vs. the Suburbs"
  15. "Chuck vs. the Truth"
  16. "Chuck vs. the Crown Vic"
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Chuck vs. the Marlin"
  18. "Chuck vs. the Cougars"
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Chuck vs. the Delorean"
  20. "Chuck vs. the Undercover Lover"
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Chuck Versus the Sensei"
  22. "Chuck vs. the Third Dimension"
  23. "Chuck vs. the First Date"
  24. "Chuck vs. Santa Claus"
  25. Development Update: February 8, 2009, IGN report on New York ComicCon Panel
  26. "Chuck vs. the Ring"
  27. Cast Update: January 16,
  28. Development Update: February 16, 2009, SciFi Wire
  29. Spoiler:
  30. Development Update, March 20, 2009: Sci-Fi Wire
  31. Interview: April 7, 2009: What's Alan Watching
  32. Interview: May 1, 2009: Entertainment Weekly

External Links[edit | edit source]

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