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

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).

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”