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Mary Elizabeth Bartowski

Chuck linda hamilton3
Mary as she appeared in Season Four

Seasons: Season 4, Season 5
Portrayed by: Linda Hamilton
Status: Alive
Occupation: Former CIA Agent
Aliases: Frost (codename),
Mama B (by Morgan)
Relatives: Chuck Bartowski (son)
Ellie Woodcomb (daughter)
Devon Woodcomb (son in law)
Sarah Bartowski (daughter in law)
Clara Woodcomb (grand daughter)
Jesse Gunter (father)
Mary Gunter (mother)
Relationships: Stephen Bartowski (husband, deceased)
Residence: Unknown
Appearances: List of appearances
Chuck, you and your sister are, and always have been, my only concern.

Mary Elizabeth Bartowski, née Gunter, is the widow of Stephen Bartowski, and the mother of Chuck and Ellie Bartowski.

She was a CIA agent assigned to Project Isis which saw her go deep undercover in Volkoff Industries. She left her family, telling her son she would be gone only a few days. She would leave while Chuck was in the fifth grade and he did not see her again for more than 19 years. She is portrayed by actress Linda Hamilton.

Back Story[]

In the first two seasons of Chuck, Mary was entirely unseen, referred to only occasionally as having left Ellie and Chuck. At one point, Chuck tells Sarah that the day their mother left home is the day he and Ellie learned to look after each other, a date they commemorate as "Mother's Day."


Ellie's mom photo

Chuck would later give Sarah a charm bracelet that had belonged to Mary, as a Christmas gift.. Stephen had previously given the bracelet to Mary when she was pregnant with Ellie. Sarah was hesitant to accept it, thinking of it being something Chuck should give to a "real girlfriend."

It is revealed in Chuck Versus the Ring: Part 2, that Mary left her family to go undercover in the Volkoff organization when Chuck was about 10 years old. For a long time, Chuck blamed himself for her leaving, "Do you remember when I broke Mom's necklace, and she left a couple days later, and I thought, that's why she disappeared, that it was my fault." The ever protective Ellie responded, "I hated her for leaving, for making you feel that way." It was in this episode Mary first appeared on-screen.

After Stephen's death, Chuck receives a video message from him that explains he was working against an unidentified threat in which Mary was somehow involved. Chuck is directed to go to his childhood home, where he finds his father's secret base, and discovers a file box labeled Mary Elizabeth Bartowski: Missing. In another location, a woman is working at a desk when she receives a phone call, informing her that "they" are going to have to move her immediately. It is revealed that the woman is wearing the other half of Mary's broken jewelry.


In Chuck Versus the Anniversary, it is revealed that Mary used to read Chuck a bedtime story called The Frost Queen, which became the basis of Mary's code name: Frost.

Although the circumstances were not then clear, it was implied that Mary never actually left her family, but instead had been captured, at some point during her foray into Volkoff Industries. The only documentation Sarah found regarding Mary was heavily redacted save for the word "captured."


More information about Mary is revealed by Heather Chandler in Chuck Versus the Cubic Z, where she tells Chuck that she met Frost during a Volkoff operation called Beacon, "Frost was always around Volkoff.... I couldn't get the full gist of their relationship, but she was there. Maybe she had to be."

In Chuck Versus the Couch Lock, Chuck, though still working on the assumption his mother is a prisoner, discovers unsettling information, Mackintosh informs him that Frost is not a Volkoff prisoner, she is his boss. Frost is Volkoff's right hand, often sent in to make any problems "disappear". At episode's end, Chuck tells Sarah he will stop looking for Mary, "I thought she was a prisoner who needed to be saved... and then I come to find out she's just one of the bad guys. In order to find the one person who left me, I've endangered the lives of everyone who would never leave me." Moments after this decision is made, Mary contacts Chuck via his cell phone

Mary finally appears in Chuck Versus the Aisle of Terror, after making arrangements to meet Chuck at the end of the previous episode. Taking Sarah as backup, Chuck makes the meet, and following a tense confrontation with Sarah, "Mom, this is my girlfriend, Sarah. Sarah, this is my mom, Mary. I don't know how to say this exactly, but please don't kill each other," Mary claims to be operating "deep cover" for a CIA project code named "Isis". Mary then offers the CIA Dr. Stanley Wheelwright and a nightmare-inducing toxin he is producing for Volkoff, as it is too dangerous to be allowed into circulation.

After a clear implication she is aware of the Intersect, she tells Chuck, "I may not know anything about you... but I know everything there is to know about Charles Carmichael." She then shows up at the meet between Chuck and Wheelwright, then after covertly ascertaining Chuck is wearing a vest, shoots him, eliminating Agent Carmichael who had caught Volkoff's attention. As Mary later explains: "Chuck, when I left you and Ellie, I was embedded into a secret operation called Project Isis. My mission was to destroy the Volkoff organization from within. But I got in way too deep, and I was forced to close the door on my old life. But then you came looking for me, and that set off the alarm bells... Volkoff was tapped into the security footage at the café. So, he thinks that Charles Carmichael is dead, and that means you and Ellie are safe."

She ultimately aids the team in capturing Wheelwright, but Mary's true allegiance remains in question. Casey finally recovers a copy of the Project Isis file and informs Sarah, "Everything about Bartowski's mother's life is a fake. Project Isis? It ended 20 years ago when Frost went rogue." The arrange to apprehend her just as she is going into a meeting with Chuck and Ellie without Chuck's involvement or prior knowledge. Sarah tells him she is protecting his blind spot.

The ambiguity of Mary's position persists into Chuck Versus the First Fight, Mary convinces Chuck to seek out a man she names as her MI6 handler, Gregory Tuttle, who can provide intelligence clearing her name. Later when she finds out Chuck has been captured by Volkoff's agents during an attempt to meet with Tuttle, she agrees to help Sarah and Casey locate him after a deal brokered by Morgan which allows her to meet with Ellie. During the meeting, she provides carefully worded hints to aid Ellie in locating a possible hidden message Stephen had left for her in the event of his death.

After Chuck, Sarah and Tuttle recover the MI6 data to prove her allegiance, she accompanies Chuck and Sarah back to their old home and Stephen's hidden base, where she apparently betrays them once again, when Sarah and Chuck find out that the MI6 data unit they recovered was empty. Mary uses a device on Chuck that suppresses his access to the Intersect, allowing them to be captured. Tuttle, reveals himself to be the notorious Volkoff and he sets the charges that will destroy Stephen's base and a lifetimes worth of intelligence. Mary surreptitiously slips Sarah a razor, and whispers "protect him" in her ear.


Mary's relationship with Alexei Volkoff (Timothy Dalton) was strictly professional on her end. Volkoff, however, was in love with her in a romantic, hands off kind of way. Mary never felt the same way, and eventually, she tells Volkoff that "The truth is, my husband, alive or dead, will always be ten times the man you are."

Alexei marysphone

Volkoff's contacts image seen on Mary's phone

In Chuck Versus the Leftovers, Mary is seen in Volkoff's headquarters in Moscow, Russia. She is briefed by Volkoff on an assignment to assassinate Charles Carmichael, who he was surprised to discover was still alive. Volkoff is unaware of his true identity.

In Burbank, Mary kills the three assassins dispatched by Volkoff to kill Chuck. She is brought to Castle for interrogation as Volkoff immediately discovers that three of his men are dead and Mary is missing. Volkoff himself assaults the Buy More with his operatives, and threatens to destroy Castle, killing every CIA and NSA agent within if they do not give her back to him. After Chuck and Sarah escort her up to the store, Chuck is taken down by Volkoff who is about to kill him when Mary tells him to spare Chuck as he is her son.

Volkoff later forces Chuck to accept an invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner with Ellie, and Devon so he can prove to Mary he could connect with her children. Mary sits quietly as Volkoff engages in Charades and conversation. Chuck arranges for Devon to hit initiate the Panic Button calling for backup, and then get Ellie out of harm's way, citing a fictional hospital emergency call. Volkoff realizes what they had done, and Sarah pulls a gun, only to be surrounded by Volkoff's men. Mary then holds Volkoff at gunpoint, "This is exactly why I didn't tell you about my family. You don't know how to love someone; you only know how to control them. But you should know that I could never love a man who would do anything to hurt my son. So, drop it. Alexei, you know that I am loyal to you. But I will not return with you, until you promise me that my family and their friends will remain safe. And if they don't, I will end you." Volkoff leaves Burbank and has all of his operatives leave Burbank, with no one being harmed.

The Hydra Network[]

Main article: Hydra Network

Mary's original assignment twenty years ago, was to bring down Volkoff Industries and locate and retrieve the Hydra Network. It is a network that allows Volkoff to manipulate and monitor all of his operatives. Mary has been aware of Volkoff monitoring his operatives, as she had shot Chuck during the events of Chuck Versus the Aisle of Terror.

In Chuck Versus the Gobbler, Sarah follows in Mary's footsteps and joins Volkoff Industries after staging a supposed act of treason in order to support her cover plan to run away with Chuck. Mary has Volkoff send Sarah to break out his once-trusted bodyguard, Yuri Gobrienko, now in prison, as he is linked to the Hydra. After rescuing him, they discovered that the Hydra was a device, in the form an artificial eye implanted in Yuri.

The two later join Volkoff on The Contessa, a ship that houses the Hydra database. There they meet Chuck and Morgan and attempt to infiltrate the database. After being caught by Volkoff, he takes Mary prisoner as the others escape, but still treats her with his brand of affection, killing one of his own men who dared strike her. However, she was unaware Chuck had tampered with Volkoff's system, implanting messages that were supposedly from Stephen to her, playing on Volkoff's jealousy. Chuck's final Orion note asked Mary to come to Stephen's cabin at Twin Pines. Once there, Chuck keeps Volkoff talking long enough to piece together the voice code needed to breach Hydra. The Hydra network is later completely uploaded to Orion's computers at the cabin.



Chuck's Wedding

After successfully bringing down Volkoff Industries and the Hydra network, the Bartowski family with Morgan and Sarah, rush back to Burbank, in time for Ellie to give birth to Mary's granddaughter, Clara Woodcomb.

While there, the doctor asks for only one relative to come in; the family all agree that Mary should be in the room with her, which is a particular joy to Ellie, as she has throughout her pregnancy commented on how much she misses her mom at this time above all.

She attends Chuck's wedding to Sarah in Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger.

She also tries her hand at being a full time grandmother before Ellie says it's all right for her do what she needs to do.

The Orion Computer[]

Mary has concerns with Ellie's use of the Orion laptop. By the time Mary finds out about the laptop, Ellie has already discovered that the project was called the Intersect. Mary takes swift action - when the Woodcombs go out for dinner, she removes all the "dangerous" files.

Mary is then instructed by General Beckman to put the files back and allow Ellie to continue with the Intersect project. Mary tells Chuck it is time for him to reveal to Ellie his role in the CIA, and the fact that he is the Intersect.


  • The necklace is a metaphor for Stephen and Mary. The necklace has a boy and girl holding hands on it, which represents Stephen and Mary Bartowski. Not long after Chuck broke the girl half of that necklace, his Mary left, with that half being a part of her bracelet, while the boy half of the necklace remained with his dad.
  • Her full name was only revealed in the Season Three finale, when Chuck is led to her file by his father in a video message sent after Stephen's death.
  • Her weapon of choice is a 9mm Berreta 90two with a 15 round double stack magazine.