Relationship Deep Dive: Team Bartowski

Chuck starring Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Sarah Lancaster, Adam Baldwin, Joshua Gomez, Ryan McPartlin, as Team Bartowski
Source: NBC

Type: Platonic
Show: NBC’s Chuck
Featured Characters: Sarah Walker, Chuck Bartowski, Ellie Bartowski, Devon Woodcomb, Morgan Grimes, and John Casey

I would happily join Team Bartowski if I could. Seriously why don’t I have the opportunity to be a spy? Why did no one recruit me back when I was working at Barnes and Noble? That’s somewhat similar to the Buy More, right!? The point is, Chuck Bartowski is a lucky man. Sarah Walker, John Casey, and Chuck may have started out as the sole members of Team Bartowski, but when Morgan finally joined in along with Devon and Ellie, everything was magic. 

Chuck became the utmost perfect show. (Okay sort of, it was always close to perfect.) We are who we are because of those who love us, and Team Bartowski needed one another without ever truly realizing it, but most importantly, they’ve effortlessly had a remarkable impact on one another.

Team Bartowski and The Reluctant Start

Chuck, Sarah, and Casey are the team to be on. And with General Beckman guiding them? Superb—absolutely superb. As all best teams however, they didn’t start off liking each other. But as time went on and as missions grew darker, their friendship grew deeper. What started out as undercover dating turned into one of the greatest romances to ever grace our TV screens. What started out as complete animosity between two agents turned into a profound friendship. And what started out as simply an assignment blossomed into a fantastic friendship ending in tremendous growth.

(Chuck and Sarah’s romance is deserving of its own article. So we’ll hold that off until a beautiful rainy day.)

But that said, one of the best things about Team Bartowski was the impact Casey and Chuck ended up having on one another. Operation Bartowski started out as a temporary assignment that was to end with death, but as Casey got to know his teammates a little more, his mission, similar to Sarah’s got tougher. And when the kill order was officially called off, we were able to see that the men had actually grown pretty fond of one another because as all great friendships, they began looking out for the other’s well being more than their own.

Casey’s relationship with Chuck made Chuck much stronger as an agent, while essentially making Casey a little bit softer. When you get to know someone as honest and kind as Chuck Bartowski, you’re bound to grow a bit more sensitive (not too much, but the right amount). Additionally, I knew the moment we saw  tension between Sarah and Casey that they’d later end up forming one of the strongest friendships on the series.

Casey and Sarah had never taken the time to get to know one another, and once they did, they were able to find a friend they never knew they needed. At the end of the day, the two of them knew exactly what the other could have used, and they’d never hesitate to give advice where it was needed. And as much as it broke my heart, I always appreciated Casey visiting Sarah post memory loss to hand her the videos and remind her of the fact that though they both disliked one another due to their reputations, they actually became good friends who appreciated each other’s skills as agents and hearts as people.

Chuck and Morgan: The Dynamic Duo

However, our story begins before Team Bartowski was even a thing because Chuck’s best friend was on his team way before he was a spy. Morgan Grimes and Chuck Bartowski have always, and will always be inseparable. Much like Han Solo and Chewbacca, only death could do them part. (I’m sorry, I really am. And frankly, I’m still in denial, too.)

While Morgan may have been questionable in the past (especially when it came down to his ridiculous but understandable crush on Ellie), his loyalty to Chuck was never doubted. Whatever it came down to, Morgan would have Chuck’s back to the very end, and in the same way, Chuck would have Morgan’s. The two have always been cautious with each other showcasing that their love for one another would always be unwavering. They’d always have someone looking out for them.

At the end of the day, no one would ever understand them better. As much as Sarah adored Chuck, she could never understand the profound value of Star Wars. And we all need that one friend who’ll understand all of our quirks perfectly. When things got more complicated and they faced more danger, Morgan and Chuck never gave up on each other. They were always there to bring each other back home, to encourage one another before a mission, or to remind them that love can never be given up on.

Only someone like Morgan would suggest one magical kiss, believing fervently with everything in him that a love like Chuck and Sarah’s never ends. The two were continuously around to remind each other to reach their highest potential, believing with everything in them that they’re capable of only greatness. And if that isn’t best friend goals, I don’t know what is.

Casey the Future Father-in-Law

But Morgan’s relationship with Chuck isn’t the only solid one he’s established—he and Casey have come an incredibly long way, too. And while Casey may grunt his way through everything, at the end of the day, he’s known with full conviction that no one could be trusted more than Morgan.

As much as he may never want to admit, he’s also perfect for his daughter. That’s perhaps why Team Bartowski is so phenomenal—the deep level of trust they’ve established with one another is groundbreaking. No matter how crazy they drove each other, there’s no other group they’d rather spend their time with. Casey may not have been enthusiastic about his adoration for the team, but there’s absolutely nothing he wouldn’t do for them. Also, despite how much Ellie disliked him for all lies she heard about him, it never stopped him from being there for the Bartowski family and at the end of the day, if it came down to it in later seasons, Ellie would be there for him, too. (P.S. one of my favorite moments was Casey lecturing Devon about toughening up when the baby was born. John Casey doesn’t open up and the fact that he chose to share his regrets with Devon in order to help him was admirable.) Thus proving that there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each other.

Ellie and Sarah: The Found Family

There’s a lot to love about Team Bartowski and one the reasons is undoubtedly the gorgeous relationship between Ellie and Sarah. I’ve always loved the warmth Ellie accepted Sarah with from the very first episode, and as time passed, their love for one another only grew.

Sarah’s choice to have Ellie stand as her maid of honor was perfect. As someone who doesn’t have family and best friends due to the life she’s led in the past, getting to know Ellie has brought Sarah the most comfort. And because Ellie has always made it clear that she adores Sarah as a sister, it wouldn’t have felt right if the honor went to someone else.

The two have always created a safe space that if any of them ever needed to vent, they could effortlessly turn to each other. If any of them ever needed someone to confide in or simply to have girl time with, the other would be there in a heartbeat. The only flaw within Chuck was the fact that there weren’t too many female characters, but because Sarah and Ellie’s bond was so strong, it made up for it.

Chuck is a show I will never get tired of watching. Whether it’s the ridiculous scenes at the Buy More (which I used to dislike at first; crazy, I know), the insane missions, or the holiday dinners, I’m always mesmerized by the amount of love between those who are a part of Team Bartowski.

The Bartowski home was a home to all—fresh cooked meals and a couch to crash on if need be. Chuck is a show about a nerd named Chuck Bartowski, but its heart is within this team and the people who’ve come together to protect one another through everything. It doesn’t matter where life leads them because the bonds they’ve created have improved their lives for the better.

Because of the friendships and romantic relationships that have been fortified within Team Bartowski, they are their best selves. Chuck may have been presented as a comedy, but the amount of heart within this show captivated me in ways nothing ever has. The best moments have always been the quiet ones—the exhibition of growth that’s revealed just how profoundly our closest friends and families can impact us. And there was not a single episode where Team Bartowski didn’t shine as a remarkable group—you knew no one would ever be left behind. You knew they weren’t just a team but a family.

Chuck, Sarah, Morgan, Ellie, Devon and Casey would always be a family.

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