Team Bartowski | Buy More | The CIA and Other Spies | FULCRUM | The Ring | Volkoff Industries | Everyone Else
The Ring - a powerful multi-national criminal and terrorist organization hell-bent on something or other. They are led by the Ring elders. Their motives are unknown, but they have been sticking their hands in many different cookie jars - from creating their own Intersect, to the assassination of global leaders. To some extent, FULCRUM is seen to be reporting directly to them through a liaison, Vincent Smith.
They were captured at the end of Season 3 by Team Bartowski.
- Big Bad: For a good chunk of the show, they have been more or less the main bad guys.
- Elaborate Underground Base: They seem to have several of these.
- Evil Old Folks: After The Reveal, most of them have been shown to be nothing but a bunch of helpless old farts.
- Manipulative Bastards: Whether it's people or information, their forte is manipulation.
- Nebulous Evil Organisation: Even after their capture, we still don't know what their goals were.
- They Who Must Not Be Seen: A good deal of their screen time includes their faces being completely shadowed out.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Their go-to method when someone becomes useless or too useful.
Portrayed by Mark Sheppard
The Director is the direct head of The Ring - of seemingly equal authority as The Elders, he is the driving force of many, if not all of their operations. He has somehow obtained surveillance footage of Sarah's red test, and was directly responsible for Shaw's FaceHeel Turn.
He was soon captured by the then civilian Casey, who traded him to earn back his rank, a new Crown Victoria, and making Morgan an official spy of Team Bartowski.
- Affably Evil & Faux Affably Evil: It's hard to tell given that he's played by Mark Sheppard.
- Big Bad: Of the first half of Season 3. He's the leader of the Ring, and the one responsible for Daniel Shaw's Start of Darkness.
- Manipulative Bastard: Turns Shaw evil by revealing that Sarah killed his wife.
- No Name Given: He is only ever referred to as The Director.
- Schmuck Bait: Easily pulls one on Chuck and Sarah.
Portrayed by Brandon Routh
A special agent who worked for the CIA, Shaw specialized in Ring intelligence and was sent in as the supervisor of Operation Bartowski to make progress against The Ring. During his stay there, he developed a romance with Sarah, but it was ultimately short-lived after it was revealed that she killed his wife on the CIA's orders. What followed suit was a prompt FaceHeel Turn with a subtle form of a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
He makes a return during the fifth season, and reveals himself to be the Big Bad once again, having blackmailed Decker and Cunnings to be his mooks. His plan was to use the Omen virus to pilfer then destroy every government database in the world, and use the information to update his own Intersect and become America's single most valuable asset. He was however Out-Gambitted by Chuck, and later knocked out by Ellie.
- The Ace: One of the reasons why he's something of a Replacement Flat Character for Bryce at the beginning - he's pretty much ace at just about everything. Or it seems this way. Like Chuck, he's also shown to be more pacifistic and eccentric than Bryce.
- Adorkable: While he tries to hide it under a sheet of stoicism and professionalism, he's socially awkward like Chuck. His attempts to hit on Sarah range from hopeless to annoying. He loses all his dorky, endearing traits following his Sanity Slippage.
- Anti-Hero: Starts off this way.
- Anti-Villain: Type II, mid-way through.
- Arch-Enemy: To Chuck. They both come from a similar background, both have a profound dislike of guns, both have feelings for Sarah, and both end up with an Intersect. Following Shaw's defection, he kills Stephen and attempts to kill Sarah several times as well. He also has one of his mooks manipulate Ellie into making it easier for him to break up their team and take over the CIA.
- Also showcased in that Shaw is the only character in the whole series that Chuck willfully shot to kill.
- And, he's also the show's most recurring villain, playing the part of Big Bad in the third season as well as the fifth and final.
- Despite all the similarities between him and Chuck, there is one key difference between them - that Shaw has lost his wife who was the love of his life. In other words, Shaw is essentially a character study to what Chuck himself might become were he to lose Sarah.
- Back from the Dead: Double Subversion. Morgan lampshades his Never Found the Body death, and then Chuck and Sarah learn that the Ring was after his will-thing so they assume he is dead.
- Big Bad: Shares this spot with the Ring Elders in Season 3. And splits Big Bad duties for the first half of the final season, with Quinn taking over the last couple of episodes.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He is first introduced as a silent figure whom Beckman talks to as he walks away, and appears as a CIA agent targeted by the Ring not long after.
- Crusading Widower: Shaw loved his wife, Evelyn, very much and when he learns that Sarah was the one that killed her he devotes himself entirely to avenging her memory.
- Deliberate Injury Gambit: Shaw pulls off a rare non-fighting example in "Chuck Verses the Subway". Chuck notices he has an Intersect and tries to prove this in front of the CIA by throwing a knife at him to prove the Super Reflexes that the Intersect gives him. Shaw manages to turn this around by letting himself be impaled by the knife and uses this incident to prove that Chuck is insane.
- The Determinator: Not only does he survive a double-tap to the chest and falling into a river, but he also brushes off a rocket explosion with little more than a mild KO.
- Dragon-in-Chief: As of "Chuck Versus the Living Dead", he has an Intersect.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In "Chuck Versus the Other Guy", Shaw drugs Sarah so she won't feel any pain when he drowns her. He also spares Chuck's life because he played no part in Evelyn's death and reveals he has kept Chuck's identity as the Intersect secret from his Ring handlers.
- Averted when he returns in "Chuck Versus the Subway", where all pretence of having standards disappear.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
- Having seen Chuck in action several times, and having had access to his psychological profile, Shaw is convinced that Chuck will never use lethal force for any reason — not even to protect someone he loves. When Shaw attempts to kill Sarah, he learns the hard way that Chuck's willing to make an exception just for him. What makes this conclusion particularly bizarre is that this is after Chuck has seemingly passed his Red Test.
- Despite the fact that Shaw knows that both Devon and Morgan are in on Chuck's double life, and that they're very close, Shaw never seems to take either of them into account while planning his master stroke against Chuck, Sarah, Casey and Beckman. Shaw gloats prematurely, and the B squad of Team Bartowski launches a rescue effort that takes him entirely by surprise.
- Evil Counterpart: To Chuck, as of "Chuck Versus the Living Dead". Their personalities and backgrounds are extremely similar. Shaw is an example of what would happen to Chuck if he were to lose Sarah, didn't have loyal friends like Casey and Morgan, and allowed his emotions to twist him.
- FaceHeel Turn: After learning that Sarah's red test was to kill his wife.
- Gambit Roulette: Most of his plans; see Omniscient Morality License below.
- Guile Hero: Before his FaceHeel Turn, he too was known for plans Crazy Enough to Work.
- Leitmotif: Kettering, by The Antlers - fitting song given his status as the show's Tragic Villain.
- Heartbroken Badass: He never got over the murder of his wife.
- Hidden Depths: He's apparently a spectacular cook. He managed to salvage Chuck's infamous chicken-pepperoni into something edible and in record time. Sarah is later seen buying him a Crockpot as a present.
- Love Makes You Evil: He loved his wife. When he finds out that his current lover Sarah was the one who killed her, he snaps.
- Made of Iron: Shaw consistently survives things that would kill anyone else.
- In "Chuck Versus the Other Guy", Shaw is shot several times in the chest and falls off a bridge into a river.
- In "Chuck Versus the Ring: Part 2", a missile explosion that hits the van directly in front of him tosses him through the air and he gets up with only minor injuries. Later, he gets smacked across the back of the head by Sarah with a metal beam which only knocks him out.
- The Man Behind the Man: In season five, it's revealed that he was the one giving orders to Clyde Decker in another attempt at taking over the CIA.
- Manipulative Bastard: He was always a little bit of this, but his post-FaceHeel Turn cranks it way up, willing to use even Ellie to hurt Chuck.
- Omniscient Database: Has (had) access to the Ring Intersect.
- Omniscient Morality License: His plans tend to rely on an obscene amount of luck, and generally put Chuck in far more danger than someone with his lack of training is accustomed to.
- Rival Turned Evil: A variant on the theme. While they were a little too friendly to be really rivals, they were still competing for one woman's love and turned into each other's worst enemies.
- Sanity Slippage: Upon finding out that his current lover killed his wife, he snapped, and could only cope with it through revenge and one power grab after another.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: He genuinely sees potential in Chuck as a spy but his training is quite unorthodox and he usually throws Chuck into the path of something lethal, expecting him to prove himself if he wants to survive.
- In "Chuck Versus Operation Awesome", he holds Casey and Sarah at gunpoint to prevent them from assisting Chuck because he wants Chuck to get out of the situation by himself.
- In "Chuck Versus First Class", he tricks Chuck into going on a mid-air mission on a plane specifically because there would be no way for Casey or Sarah to reach him if things go wrong. Although, it later transpires that he had a plan if things went wrong.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Largely averted, although he did come in very conveniently after Bryce's death. While Word of God has it that the character was only created after Matt Bomer became unavailable, Shaw's relationships with the other characters is vastly different. And whilst their personalities are similar, both being a Romantic False Lead for Sarah who are aloof spies with hidden Adorkable qualities, the progression of their narratives diverge heavily since Shaw undergoes a FaceHeel Turn whilst Bryce made a Heroic Sacrifice because of his Undying Loyalty.
- Tragic Villain: The show's ideal example. He was an excellent agent and an overall good man. But, like Chuck, he was far too emotional when doing his job. It's also evidently clear that he loved his late wife as deeply as Chuck loves Sarah. Unlike Chuck, however, Shaw let his emotions, and his inability to cope with the past, control and ultimate destroy him. By season 5, he crossed the line with his Sanity Slippage.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Discrediting the Intersect project was his first step in taking over the CIA and destroying it from the inside.
Portrayed by Scott Holroyd
Justin was a CIA agent and security coordinator for Doctors Without Borders, who truly worked for The Ring. He poisoned Awesome, and got close to Ellie to manipulate her into giving away her father's location.
In the end, he was captured whilst escorting the Elders to safety.
- Affably Evil: Presents himself as a kind person when he's anything but.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Pretends to be Ellie's friend and confidant, when it truth he used her to lure Chuck into a trap and Stephen out of hiding.
- The Dragon: To Shaw.
- Jerkass: Once the veil is removed, he's revealed to be every bit the dick as expected.
- Manipulative Bastard: Efficiently manipulates Ellie's love for her father and paranoia of Casey to hurt Chuck.
- Villain with Good Publicity: A respected CIA officer on the surface, he's a imbedded Ring agent.
Portrayed by Steve Austin
A Ring operative who was transporting a lock-box key on a flight to Paris. He is an expert at close-range combat, and a master swordsman.
He was knocked out a total of three times by Chuck during the flight, and was apprehended in Paris. He returns in "Chuck Versus the Cubic Z", now allied with Alexei Volkoff.
- The Ace: Is said to be the greatest swordsman in the world. And true enough, Chuck (with the Intersect) could only beat him by burying him in falling luggage. ...Twice.
- Affably Evil: When not on the job, he's actually a generally nice guy, "saving" Chuck from from an annoying woman by giving him the seat next to his, and offering to fix his pen. That said...he really likes his job.
- "Awesome McCool" Name To Run Away From Really Fast: When a giant guy named "Hugo Panzer" walks in, you'd damn better run away...
- Badass Normal: Hugo is one of the few, if not the only guy to soundly beat Chuck (Whilst uploaded with the Intersect 2.0) in a fair one-on-one match.
- Bald of Evil: He's bald and he's quite evil.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Implied to be a master of hand-to-hand combat. He's in truth a master swordsman, but still good enough in CQC to best Chuck.
- The Big Guy: He's played by Stone Cold Steve Austin. Out of all The Ring operatives that Team Bartowski encounter, Hugo is by far the most physically imposing.
- Butt-Monkey: He's knocked out a total of three times during his flight: First time, he's tranq'd by Chuck. Second time he's knocked out by falling luggage. Third time he's... knocked out by more falling luggage.
- Giant Mook: He's huge, with maybe only Leader and Yuri the Gobbler being bigger. No wonder Hannah thinks he's a wrestler.
- MookFace Turn: Following The Ring's destruction, he was more than happy to ally himself with Alexei Volkoff.
- Say My Name"CAAAARMICHAAAEEEL!!!"
- Wrestler in All of Us: Subverted. Introduced as an expert in "close quarters combat", it turns out he's actually an expert with a sword. That said, Hannah guesses that he's a professional wrestler when boarding the plane.