Cheryl Ladd: Chuck's Mother of a Twist Will Wow Fans – Plus, Her Take on TV's Grounded Angels

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NBC’s Chuck (Fridays, 8/7c) marked the midway point of its farewell season by dropping a “baby” bombshell relating to Sarah’s past. The action picks up this week with Sarah, dreading whatever it is that Shaw set in motion, high-tailing it to Hungary to confront her original CIA handler (played by White Collar‘s Tim DeKay), whom she fears is out to harm, among others, her mother Emma (Charlie’s Angels‘ Cheryl Ladd).

Chuck First Look Video: What Is Sarah’s Big Secret?

Securing intel on Emma “was always a big piece of the puzzle for me that I wanted to close,” Yvonne Strahovski said during TVLine’s visit to the Chuck set. “We knew about Sarah’s dad (played by Gary Cole), but I wanted to know, and I’m sure everybody else wanted to know, what happened with her mom.”

In fact, to date all we really know about Emma is that she walked out on the family when Sarah was a young child. And if there has been any contact in the years since, it hasn’t been much. “They have not spent time together,” Cheryl Ladd confirms for TVLine, “so who they are with each other is fragile.”

As for how the “baby” mentioned by Shaw figures into Sarah reconnecting with her mother, Ladd will only say that it’s “surprising” and that the storyline that follows serves up “a touching, fascinating twist,” told partly in flashback.

“I can’t tell you too much about the episode,” Ladd apologizes, “but it’s very interesting for Sarah…. Chuck fans are going to be really pleased they went on this journey. They’re going to be wowed.”

Chuck Boss Teases Sarah’s ‘Epic, Jaw-Dropping’ Backstory: ‘It’ll Be Your Favorite Episode Ever’

Strahovski echoes “Mom’s” sentiment, saying that the backstory they came up with for Sarah and Emma is “beautiful. It’s a good story.”

Reflecting on her five-year Chuck mission, Strahovski says, “I’m really happy with the journey that Sarah Walker has had, from the emotionally stunted spy who didn’t know how to express herself to somebody who was more emotional and could express that, and then getting into more of the comedy stuff on the show, as she fell into a normal relationship — or as normal as you can get with somebody when you’re a spy. It’s been a really nice evolution.”

Chuck Matriarch Linda Hamilton to Return for Series Finale

Speaking of evolutions: While speaking with Ladd, we sought out her opinion on ABC’s recent reboot of Charlie’s Angels, an elite club to which she belonged in the late 1970s (famously replacing Farrah Fawcett-Majors). Having seen several episodes of the new incarnation before its cancellation, Ladd says that what it was most missing was heart.

Recalling her own run as an Angel, “You felt like all of us were just crazy about each other, that we would die for each other, that we had a real friendship with each other and cared about each other,” she says. Plus, Ladd notes, whereas Kris, Sabrina, Kelly et all were former policewomen, the new sexy sleuths were “bad girls” trying to turn a new leaf.

“I get that it had to be a fresh version, but it was just so different,” Ladd states. “It was not enough heart and too many explosions.”

Comments (44)

  • I can’t wait for tonight’s episode! Not going to lie, I’m nervous about the whole ‘baby’ storyline, but I’ve trusted the writers of this show so far, and I’m not going to stop now!

    Comment by Hann – December 30, 2011 04:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Even more excited for tonight’s episode!

    Comment by Jayne – December 30, 2011 05:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • All I’m saying is if Emma doesn’t call her Sam(Samantha?) without a reasonable explanation, I’m throwing down a Shenanigans card.

    Comment by Carmichael – December 30, 2011 05:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Why would she call her Sam? That’s her middle name. We still don’t know what her real first name is, and maybe tonight is the night we finally find out what her birth name was.

      Comment by ... – December 30, 2011 08:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Sam is her first name, Lisa is her middle name.

        Comment by srb – December 30, 2011 08:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The one major weakness of the show runners and writing staff is continuity. Sarah’s real name and being called that by her mother is just potential one example.

      The whole Intersect was a major inconsistency to the series. At first it seemed Chuck was special, allowing him to download the super computer, then it seemed everyone could (e.g. the drive in movie theatre scene).

      Why didn’t Shaw have problems with the Intersect in his head? He didn’t have a watch that Chuck’s dad made for him?

      Comment by DN – December 30, 2011 09:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I thought about the Shaw having problems issue as well. The only thing I can think of is that Chuck has had the intersect for 4 seasons now. It wasn’t until later on that Chuck started having the problems. Maybe Shaw just had not had it long enough. I mean it’s only been 2 seasons since he got it. That’s the only resonable explanaition I can come up with.

        Comment by Dave – December 30, 2011 10:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Maybe Shaw is Chuck brand smart,or the side effects haven’t hit him yet.

        Comment by shaun – December 30, 2011 09:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You said it Carmichael! They still need to explain why Chuck doesn’t know her real name yet and you’d think being married she’d trust him with that one now!

      Comment by Evan – December 30, 2011 10:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Still hoping for a Matt Bomer appearance. Flashback you say… :)

    Comment by Lisa – December 30, 2011 05:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I keep thinking the same thing! You can’t have an episode with Tim Dekay and not hope for the possibility of Matt Bomer showing up or at least being mentioned. As soon as it was announced DeKay was showing up I kept thinking “maybe” but this baby thing has me thinking he HAS to show his beautiful face. Can’t wait till tonight!

      Comment by bluebonnetbelle – December 30, 2011 07:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Shame that this has been the best episodes of “Chuck” in a couple of years- the show seems to have found it’s footing, only to be sh*t-canned in January.


    Still- can’t wait for tonight! Who’da thought we’d get NEW episodes of “Chuck” (or ANY show, for that matter) during the Christmas season, when there’s mostly crap on?
    Go CHUCK!

    Comment by Venkman – December 30, 2011 06:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sarah Walker, i LOVE you!

    Comment by care – December 30, 2011 06:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m VERY excited about tonight’s ep that involves a Sarah backstory. I got a question, if the writers, producers, and cast want to continue the show, why couldn’t NBC give/bring it to the USA Network? NBC owns the Network.

    Comment by Mack – December 30, 2011 06:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Isn’t the finale of Chuck going to be feburary 3rd?

    Comment by Ali – December 30, 2011 07:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think the last couple of episodes will air on january 27th. A sad day for television and millions of fans…

    Comment by claire – December 30, 2011 07:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m starting to think maybe Sarah’s sibling who died/killed during its infancy? Maybe Shaw’s men did it or something. That means Sarah would have a sibling!

    Comment by emlee – December 30, 2011 08:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Maybe Sarah’s mom is a really good person. She wasn’t around much when Sarah was younger because she didn’t like what Sarah and her dad were doing to people. One of the theories of who babies is is that Sarah killed her parents, and if that’s true, then her mom could’ve taken the baby because she wanted to help. Sarah doesn’t want to be around her mom because she knows she killed someone, and things would be awkward between them.

    Comment by Lindsay – December 30, 2011 10:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cheryl Ladd the best thing to happen on Chuck in a long time.

    Comment by jake – December 30, 2011 10:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Missing the last two episodes for assorted reasons, I have a hard time getting excited about this episode because there is no way of ‘catching up’….even on NBC. I don’t understand this strategy at all other than it’s a last ditch effort to squeeze as much money as they can from Chuck fans when they are forced to get the DVD to see the whole series. :P

    Comment by Tusk – December 30, 2011 12:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 4 more hours. As a gigantic Sarah Walker fan, I can’t wait for this. Just icing on the cake that Cheryl Ladd will play her mom. Plus, Tim DeKay!
    Also agree with her opinion with the new and failed Charlie’s Angels. As much as I loved the gals separately (but perhaps that’s just me missing Minka Kelly aka Lyla Garrity), I didn’t care for them much as a team. Not enough heart, indeed.

    Comment by Aiden – December 30, 2011 01:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • By the way, Mr. Matt Webb Mitovich, I am lovin’ the CHUCK coverage. Your “Chuck versus the Santa Suit” 7 reasons to watch article got me so pumped for that ep and it didn’t disappoint. Now I’m amped even more with this preview for the next epic episode. This site is making season 5 more exciting for me.

    Comment by Aiden – December 30, 2011 01:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thanks Matt on your conversation with Cheryl Ladd and you’re right on how she wasn’t disappointed about the recent reboot of Charlie’s Angels which is already been canceled. What happens in TV news, always happens and life does go on.

    Comment by kevin – December 30, 2011 03:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i agree with what Cheryl said about the Charlie Angels reboot. it did not have heart like the original series did.Perfect casting choice for Sarah’s mom

    Comment by Taryn – December 30, 2011 06:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Just finished … Ms Ladd looked SO young!

    Comment by Scott – December 30, 2011 06:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This episode did not disappoint. I never thought it would be as the previews wanted us to believe, but I was definitely wowed anyway. I think it’s one of the best episodes of the show, and I cried a few times watching it. (Partly because I’m so upset that this great show is ending in a few weeks.)

    Comment by Lindsey – December 30, 2011 07:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Really good episode tonight. Cheryl Ladd and Tim Dekay were cast perfectly and it what great seeing more of Sarah’s backstory.

    Comment by marianne – December 30, 2011 07:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well it didnt air here in Seattle….at 8pm the local news ran some “special investigation” piece. Wow worse timing ever…the best episode of chuck so far? A huge cliffhanger teaser at the end of last weeks episode…and i gotta wait at least a few days until its on Hulu or WTF channel 5.

    Comment by M3rc Nate – December 30, 2011 09:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • if it helps it is on tomorrow at 3pm on NBC in Seattle

      Comment by CMAC – December 30, 2011 11:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • M3rc, I do hate being the bearer of bad news, but WB will not allow it to air on-line, nor OnDemad, anymore. I’ve wanted to rewatch last weekks badly. Try to catch the 3 o’clock showing CMAC pointed. out

      Comment by Scott – December 31, 2011 05:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • “bearer” Note to self —- no posting befor you eat!

        Comment by Scott – December 31, 2011 06:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thats true:(

    Comment by Simi – December 30, 2011 10:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thanks! One thing that had me confused was I had checked my tivo schedule few days ago and saw chuck on it. I read your reply, checked the tivo and its set to record tomorrow (sat) at noon (HD channel). Very happy.
    However in searching for places to watch online, was very disapointed to see chuck isn’t on hulu or Was going to have to torrent it if I wanted to see it in the next 8+ months…sad state of tv industry considering where technology is. Id be fine watching it commercials and all, identical to how it aired on tv if they offered it, but they are stuck in 1998.

    Comment by M3rc Nate – December 31, 2011 03:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • A quote from Alan Sepinwell at hitfix(dot)com, “Various people have asked me this season why NBC hasn’t put this season on Hulu, iTunes, On Demand, etc. In this case, those decisions fall not to the network, but the studio, and Warner Bros. has historically taken a much harder line on alternate distribution rights than the other studios. “Big Bang Theory” wasn’t available online for a long time, and there have been other periods in the past where you couldn’t get “Chuck” on iTunes. It’s unfortunate, and shuts out anyone who isn’t watching TV on Friday night and doesn’t have a DVR, but that’s where we stand as of now, it seems.”

      Comment by Scott – December 31, 2011 05:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My favorite things about books and television are when details wrap full circle. Last week brought a lot together. This week went naturally all the way back to the beginning. I’ve been watching season 1 all day, and its awesome to see Jeff and Lester in the pre-reallycrazydays when they were just a selfish team. But I liked how last week they came together and became part of the solution.

    Last night blew my mind simply because you saw the change/growth in all the characters without it being cheesy and weird. It didn’t happen fast. there were gradual changes in the characters over each season, and that makes this final season even more strong. Loved it. I really loved the episode. And Sarah’s mom? The answer fit.

    Comment by Jayne – December 31, 2011 09:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I forgot about Sarah’s real name, and that huge gaping plot hole was not only not resolved, but glossed over. For a generally smart show, that was horribly sloppy. Or does anyone have a better explanation?
    And Nate, CMAC, Scott (“bearer” was correct; “weekks” is not), and anyone else, please refer to my fellow Canadian’s post above.

    Comment by Lou – December 31, 2011 10:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I thought it ws “barer”. Thanks for the correction. As to “weekks”, That was just a typo I didn’t catch on re-read. Multiple disablities make those fequent. ☺

      Comment by Scott – January 1, 2012 08:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I saw it a few minutes ago (the post). Let me see if I can find the page….maybe that’s why TVline took it down?
    OK, try googling “free tv online”. Surely they will allow that much?

    Comment by Lou – December 31, 2011 10:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well i loved the episode. I do feel it had whats been missing for a long time, and thats perfect parts cute & sweet without being cheesy or weird. Technically when Sarah’s mom called her sarah, it would make sense to call her that (to the 5 y/o in Sarahs apartment), but i agree i couldnt stand that at their wedding and what chuck calls her is Sarah. Id never call my wife her fake name.
    But i also understand this show is a sweet cute show, which means lots of people watch it that dont follow it all as closely as us, they would not remember all her names and real name and wonder why chuck was calling her a diff name than Sarah. So i kinda get it.

    As for the WB thing, well i hope who ever is in charge of that decision, the president of the company or something, isnt there for much longer and a realist and go with the future guy/girl takes over. Internet is here, put your shows on it or prepare for TV to continue to drop.

    Comment by M3rc Nate – December 31, 2011 01:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Another memorable episode, but they all have been! We will miss CHUCK tremendously……

    Comment by Susan – December 31, 2011 02:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wonder if the last 5 eps that’s left (I think) we’ll get a Matt Bomer cameno?

    Comment by Mack – January 1, 2012 07:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
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    Comment by Daniel – December 12, 2012 09:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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