John Casey

JohnCaseyS5.png
Casey as he appears in Season Five

Seasons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Portrayed by: Adam Baldwin
Status: Alive
Occupation: NSA Agent (seasons 1-4),
U.S. Major (seasons 1-2),
U.S. Colonel (seasons 2-4),
Liaison with CIA (seasons 1-4) and NCS (season 4),
Carmichael Industries operative (season 5),
Buy More Greenshirt (cover, seasons 1-4)
Aliases: Alex Coburn (birth name),
David Coleman (alias, season 2),
Angel de la Muerte (season 3),
Angel de la Vida (seasons 3-4),
Sugar Bear (Ilsa, season 1),
Jon-Jon (Chuck, season 4),
Case Logic (Morgan, season 4),
Johnny-boy (season 2),
Johnny (Carina, seasons 1-4),
Rambo (Langston Graham, season 1)
Relatives: Alex McHugh (daughter)
Relationships: Gertrude Verbanski (girlfriend, season 5),
Kathleen McHugh (ex-fiancé),
Ilsa Trinchina (ex-girlfriend)
Residence: Echo Park, Burbank, CA
Appearances: All


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It made a nasty scar right over one of my favorite scars.
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John Casey (birth name Alexander 'Alex' Coburn) is a main character on NBC television series Chuck on. A former Marine, NSA agent Casey had a reputation for ruthless efficiency and an unforgiving nature.

At the beginning of the series, John Casey is partnered with CIA agent Sarah Walker to protect asset Chuck Bartowski when the latter accidentally downloads the Intersect, creating Team Bartowski.

He is portrayed by Adam Baldwin

Alex Coburn[edit | edit source]

Casey is a mystery man, a covert operative from early in his career, it is revealed in the course of the series that John Casey is not his real name. In "Chuck Versus the Tic Tac" it was revealed that Casey served in the Marine Corps under his given name, Alex Coburn, and had a fiancée, Kathleen McHugh.

Young Coburn seen in "Chuck Versus the Tic Tac"

While serving as a lieutenant in a Marine amphibious force in Honduras in January 1989, Alex Coburn was reviewed regarding his application to special forces training while in Honduras. The application was rejected, but he was then approached by Colonel James Keller who offers him an NSA black ops team, which Coburn accepts. Keller allows Coburn to make a final phone call to his Kathleen McHugh. She was about to tell him that she was pregnant when Keller abruptly ends the call. Alex Coburn is then officially "killed" in action in Honduras and becomes John Casey. He left the Marine Corps to become an agent in January 1989, he was 23 years old when he started training with his mentor, Ty Bennett.

In Chuck Versus the Fake Name it is revealed that Casey is a superlative sniper, and it is confirmed two episodes later that he began his career as a Marine sniper.

Covert Ops[edit | edit source]

In Chuck Versus the Angel de la Muerte he mentions having lived inside the walls of Premiere Goya's palace in an attempt to kill him in the 1980s, and further admitted pride in the number of Goya's men he killed fighting against the Communist revolution in Costa Gravas.

Casey was eventually accepted to the tutelage of sensei, Ty Bennett, under whom he trained. Bennett attempted to force Casey to find a "calm center," and mocked him when he could not. It was Chuck who realized Casey had no calm center, and it was that revelation that allowed him to eventually defeat Bennett.

John-Casey3.jpg

Since then, Casey had survived torture by Ba'ath separatists and spent two years undercover in Afghanistan. He also attended Agent Roan Montgomery's course on Infiltration and Inducement of Enemy Personnel (Seduction School) and failed it twice. Between 1993 and 2000 Casey was the tactician in a special forces unit that included Packard, a special weapons expert, T.I. a hand-to-hand combat expert, and Mackintosh, an electronics expert. In 1999, the team traveled to the Zargos Mountains of Iran to destroy a vault full of gold used to fund terrorists. Packard, T.I., and Mackintosh decided that the gold should be their retirement account, but Casey managed to incapacitate them. He sealed the vault so that it could only be opened with his hand print identification. He then dragged the team to safety and had them prosecuted by court martial.

While stationed undercover in Chechnya, he became involved with an apparent Associated Press photographer, Ilsa Trinchina, who was presumed killed in a bomb blast near their hotel where, and the incident left a deep wound. It was later revealed that Ilsa was a French spy who had faked her own death. Ilsa reappeared in Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover as the supposed fiancée of a Russian crime boss. Casey had a final tryst with Ilsa after capturing the Russian before she departed for good.

Team Bartowski[edit | edit source]

Casey was on hand when Bryce Larkin stole the Intersect, and he participated in the pursuit to apprehend him. He shot Bryce during his escape attempt, but not before Larkin was able to successfully send the contents of the Intersect file to an old college friend, Chuck Bartowski.[1]

Casey is then dispatched with a team to clean up the operation. He was to find the Intersect data and capture Chuck to determine what Chuck knew and who he worked for. CIA agent, Sarah Walker, simultaneously attempted to recover the Intersect, and in their independent missions, Casey and Walker ended up in a standoff for control of Chuck. After Sarah proved Chuck was not a threat, and both agents discovered that he contained the Intersect secrets in his brain, Casey was assigned to protect him. As part of his cover Casey is given a job at the Buy More where Chuck is a computer repair specialist, supervisor of the Nerd Herd. Casey, however, works as a "Green Shirt" in sales, despite poor customer service skills, Casey is nonetheless an effective, if aggressive, salesman, and he is ruthless in dealing with shoplifters. audio and visual surveillance devices. His preferred listening device is the EM-50. When Chuck discovers the bugs and confronts his handler, Casey shows little reaction, it's just the job.

Casey's cover

In the transition from Season 2 to Season 3, Casey quits his job at the Buy More at the same time as Chuck, to be re-hired along with Chuck and Morgan less than a year later when it once again becomes a useful cover. When Morgan needs help to put down an employee revolt led by Lester, a visibly entusiastic Casey remarks, "Insurgents? I hate insurgents!" Promoted by Morgan to "Lieutenant Assistant Manager;" Casey ultimately brainwashes Lester into compliance, and for his success Morgan rewards him with a raise.

When Chuck flashes on a list of Russian mobsters staying in Los Angeles, and one of the names, Ilsa Trinchina, points directly to "Sugar Bear," a name Chuck realizes was her pet name for Casey. Sarah then reveals to Chuck that Trinchina was supposedly killed by a bomb in Chechnya. Later, Chuck and Casey learn that Ilsa is a French spy and had faked her death in the blast. [2]Chuck convinces Casey to fight for her, and although they rekindle their relationship, Casey and Ilsa ultimately part ways.

In Chuck Versus the Sensei Ty Bennett, it was discovered, had turned rogue and is building a criminal empire with former students, inviting Casey to join him. General Beckman orders Casey to stand down from the mission, bluntly telling him that he was never told Bennett had gone rogue because they knew he would go after him. After being confined to Castle, Casey takes advantage of Chuck's compassion to facilitate his escape, then goes after Bennett himself. Casey fights Bennett, who taunts him over his lack of focus and calm. Chuck, realizing that Casey's anger is his strength, tricks Casey into instead channeling his anger to defeat Bennett. [3] For this, Casey shows a rare moment of sincere gratitude to Chuck.

Unknown to Sarah and Chuck, who believed that Chuck would be allowed to return to his civilian life once the Intersect mission was complete, Casey was under orders to execute Chuck to prevent the data he had from falling into the wrong hands, once Chuck's Intersect became redundant. After recovering the Cipher, a key component of the rebuilt Intersect, the command to terminate Chuck is given. Casey attempts to appeal the decision, but Beckman and Graham believe there is no other choice; Graham specifically asks Casey if he could remove the Intersect from Chuck's head or guarantee that Chuck would not be kidnapped and tortured, and Casey admits he could not. He was within seconds of carrying out the order when the Trojan Horse Cipher destroyed the new Intersect, and killed Graham. This event spares Casey from executing a distasteful order, since Chuck still is the only copy of the Intersect, and must survive.

In Chuck Versus the Tic Tac Casey is coerced by his former commander, Col. Keller, now a Ring agent, to steal a combat-performance-enhancing drug. Keller threatens to have Casey's ex fiancée, Kathleen McHugh, killed unless he cooperates. Despite General Beckman's orders to stand down, and facing charges of treason, Casey does everything he can to save Kathleen, eventually getting help from Chuck and Sarah; "it's Casey." In the end, he kills Keller, Kathleen is saved by Chuck, and instead of going to prison for treason, Beckman gives Casey a "second second chance," dismissing him from the NSA, but allowing him re-enter civilian life without his pension.

Casey's irritation

Casey finds adjusting to life as a civilian difficult, and nearly is sued for assault by Jeff and Lester. Big Mike successfully mediates the situation in an effort to "smooth" Casey's jagged edges. During this time, he is surprised to learn Chuck has been called in for his "final exam," as a spy, which includes a “red test,” meaning Chuck is expected to assassinate a target. Knowing Chuck, he follows him to the rendezvous, and when Chuck finds himself unable to pull the trigger, Casey eliminates the target. Casey subsequently warns him not to reveal what happened, as Casey had technically committed an unsanctioned murder. In Chuck Versus the American Hero, however, Casey admits to Sarah that it was he, not Chuck, who killed Chuck's target during his “red test.”

Casey is reinstated by General Beckman following the events of Chuck Versus the Other Guy when he apprehended the Director of the Ring while Chuck rescues Sarah by shooting the rogue agent, Daniel Shaw. Recognizing the part he played in the operation, Casey also vouches for Morgan with Beckman and arranges for him to be appointed to Team Bartowski.

When Chuck and Sarah go AWOL in Chuck Versus the Honeymooners after the events in Paris, Beckman orders Casey to track the two with Morgan's assistance. Although initially reluctant to accept Morgan's help, he is eventually forced to acknowledge that Morgan was more useful than he first anticipated. After tracking down his missing partners, in a significant character turning point, Casey decides to let the two run away together and leave the spy life. The mission nearly ends disastrously when the Interpol agents sent to acquire their prisoner are revealed, by Morgan, to be members of a terrorist group. Casey and Morgan are rescued by Chuck and Sarah. During debrief, Casey vouches for Morgan extolling his role in locating Chuck and Sarah and his decisive actions in securing the prisoners.

Casey wells up

At more than four years, Team Bartowski is the longest assignment Casey has ever had, and he managed to put down roots. Consequently, he initially refuses an offer to leave the NSA to command a CIA / NCS team because he does not wish to leave Burbank. Director Jane Bentley, said he wouldn't have to. And he spends several episodes working with new Intersect agents.

He and his team go rogue in Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger when they take action to save Sarah's life. Though they were successful, they were no longer affiliated with the CIA or NSA afterward. With Sarah recovered, he served as a groomsman at her wedding to Chuck, where he was seen to get misty. He and Morgan were then hired by Chuck and Sarah for their new private spy operation, Carmichael Industries.

Personality[edit | edit source]

He is gruff, straightforward, cynical, and hard-edged, and tends to keep everyone at an emotional distance. He is often sarcastic and ironic, and rarely shows signs of caring for anything other than his job and country, and takes a dark delight in playing on the insecurities and romantic awkwardness of his teammates. He is often impatient and often refers to first Chuck and then Morgan as “moron” or “numb nuts.”

John Casey was described by Sarah in "Chuck Versus the Intersect" as a "burnout," although the exact meaning of this was never explained.[1] Chuck describes him as having an "angry center," as opposed to the sought after "calm center".[3] When trying to unwind at the end of a hard day he listens to Neil Diamond. He rarely shows signs of caring for anything other than his job and country, and perhaps his bonsai tree.

Casey's relationship with Chuck is complicated. He has expressed respect for Chuck's integrity, intellect, and inventiveness. He showed particular respect for Chuck's courage in deciding to use the only dose of an antidote in their possession to save his sister's life, even though he had been poisoned, too, and would die without it.[4][5][3] As the series progresses, he comes to respect Chuck more, despite being annoyed by him, calling him "the second best spy I've ever worked with" in "Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger" He showed genuine pride in Chuck in Chuck Versus the Subway when Chuck discovers and infiltrates Shaw's Ring base, clearing his, Sarah's, and Casey's names and exposing Shaw as a Ring Operative and enemy Intersect, instead of directly attempting to rescue Sarah and Casey, visibly causing Shaw distress. Both Sarah and Casey smile at Shaw's frustration and Casey admits to Sarah that "Bartowski's a spy."

Parting of the ways

At the end of series, in Chuck Versus the Goodbye, Casey shows the depth of his friendship and respect for Chuck, when he hugs Chuck goodbye, something that would have been unthinkable in season one, although almost from the beginning, he admitted that he thought Chuck was a good person and he respected that "Chuck Versus the Truth". By series end, he realizes that he's changed, saying "I got soft, I made friends here," and telling Sarah "I guess Bartowski's made us both a little soft." At the same time, he is pleased to have softened enough to have a relationship with his daughter.


Weapons[edit | edit source]

He can turn almost anything into a weapon, including a bed frame or radiator, as well as household appliances, such as a microwave.[6] Casey carries a custom SIG Sauer P229 equipped with Crimson Trace laser grips and mounts for a suppressor throughout the series.

Rank[edit | edit source]

In 1989, when he became John Casey, he was a Lieutenant. By 1999, as shown in "Chuck Versus the Couch Lock", he had been promoted to Captain. A Major, Casey was promoted again in "Chuck Versus the Colonel". Throughout the episode, he is referred to as "Colonel Casey". Although normal rank progression from Major is to Lt. Colonel, the episode never establishes whether he was promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel or a full bird Colonel. Both ranks are frequently addressed as "Colonel" in usage. However, in "Chuck Versus the Couch Lock" the uniform he wears has the rank of a full Colonel. It's the highest rank a field officer can achieve.

Development[edit | edit source]

That Adam Baldwin was cast in the role of John Casey, was announced on February 8, 2007.[7] Schwartz had Baldwin in mind for the role almost from the beginning of the casting process.

Schwartz indicated in interviews that "Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover" established a lot of what made Casey Casey. He received further development in "Chuck Versus the Sensei," when it is revealed that his former mentor had turned rogue. Much of Casey's personality and background is revealed through small details that surface in multiple episodes.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • He was a choirboy and has perfect pitch.[8] Casey has flown the B-2 Spirit bomber [9], and expressed a clear interest in American military aviation technology,[5]
  • One of Casey's favorite movies is allegedly Steel Magnolias.[10]
  • He frequently responds to situations with monosyllabic grunts, which Chuck can recognize and has even numbered,[11]
  • Casey appears to be a good salesman while at Buy More. During Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp while there was a sales contest at Buy More, it is seen that Casey was 2nd in sales at the store, second only to Harry Tang.
  • His two prized possessions are his 1985 Crown Vic and his Bonsai tree, though he deliberately damaged the tree in a fit of rage when he learned his former mentor had turned rogue.[3] Casey is also fond of quiche, a dish which he takes very seriously.[9]
  • In Episode 2 of Season 3, he states that he is a Marine before an assassin.[12] In "Chuck Versus the Fake Name" Casey showed his remarkable sniper skills by shooting an assassin from over half a mile away, a shot that was earlier said that only five people in the world could have made.
  • According to an otherwise unmarked business card he gives Chuck in "Chuck Versus the Ring," Casey's private phone number is 323-555-0173. ("323" is actually a major west/central Los Angeles area code, but "555" of course is the fictional phone number prefix reserved for fictional uses, films and television—but nowhere else.) Casey's apartment number/street address at the complex he shares with Chuck and family is 1836 Franklin Street,Echo Park.
  • According to his ID card, Casey's NSA ID number is 5498-5684.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

John Casey has blue eyes and brown hair. Chuck has described Casey's jaw as being "sculpted by Michelangelo himself." Casey is well built and tall, standing at six foot and four inches, one of the few people bigger than Chuck.

Last Seen[edit | edit source]

At the end of the series, Casey leaves Burbank to meet Gertrude Verbansky in Dresden.

Casey: Spies don't put down roots, it's a rule.
Chuck: Psshh, rule. It's not a rule, it's a notion or a suggestion or guideline.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Chuck vs. the Intersect"
  2. "Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Chuck Versus the Sensei"
  4. "Chuck Versus the Truth"
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Chuck Versus the Cougars"
  6. "Chuck Versus the Tango"
  7. Casting Update: February 8, 2007, TV Squad
  8. "Chuck Versus the Fat Lady"
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Chuck Versus the Helicopter"
  10. Employee Profiles: John Casey at insidebuymore.com
  11. "Chuck Versus the Crown Vic"
  12. Spy Dossiers, nbc.com/chuck


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