Exclusive Interview: Kiefer Sutherland Talks 24 Season 7

kiefer sutherland
The TV Addict with Kiefer Sutherland at the
24 Season Premiere Party, January 2008

If there is one thing that this TV Addict took away following two days holed up with a bunch of rowdy radio shock jocks is that DJ’s love to talk. Thus, you can imagine my surprise when an eery quiet enveloped Hollywood’s Hotel Palamor at the end of the second day of FOX’s January Press Junket. Turns out, Kiefer Sutherland was in the house. And if six seasons of the hit FOX show 24 taught this TV Addict anything, it’s that when Jack Bauer talks, you best be listening. Or risk ending up like this guy.

So listen I did. As Kiefer Sutherland was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to reveal what went wrong with season six, why the new season of 24 is the best one yet and when fans can expect to see Jack Bauer’s adventure continue on the big screen.

So it’s been like what, five years since you’ve been on the air?
Kiefer Sutherland: It feels like it, it really does [TV Addict Note: At this point, Kiefer laughs. Which was quite a sight to see considering that I’m fairly confident that Jack Bauer has barely cracked a smile over the course of 24’s six seasons!] Believe me, it’s been a really disappointing time for us. Our fans have been so unbelievably loyal to us. But unfortunately there were a series of events that conspired to keep us off the air. And since it is really important to run all 24 hours continuously the decision was made to hold us off for another year so that we could premiere in January.

Did all the extra time you were afforded help or hurt the show?
We tried to take advantage of all the extra time we had this season and I do believe that now that we’ve done all 24 episodes, they’re finished and I’ve seen them I can confidently say that we’ve made the best season we’ve ever made. I hope people come back to watch it though. To say that we’re not nervous a little would be bullsh*t. Beacuse we are.

So why exactly is this the best season?
When they wrote the first season they only wrote the first thirteen episodes. I didn’t think anyone thought it would get picked up [laughs]. The last eleven episodes were kind of an afterthought. And what we’ve realized is that one conflict can’t sustain the entire day. So generally, if you take a look at the structure of the show, you’ll watch whatever that first conflict is get dealt with by episode 12. And between episode 12 to 15 there is this weird morphing into what becomes another conflict. We’ve always had that problem. Which kind of became glaringly clear in last season (season 6). So with the extra time we had as a result of the Writer’s Strike, we took a three week break and finally had the time to confront the issue because we weren’t forced to get the show on the air in two weeks.

How is Jack different this year?
If you take a look at the very beginning of season one, there is this guy with an almost blind ideology towards his country and for what he’s doing. Flash forward to season seven and you’ve got this very disenfranchised guy who is being made a scapegoat and dragged in front of the Senate where he’s forced to defend himself in a very kind of defiant way. But when he’s in private there is a huge inner conflict where he acknowledges that there is a problem with the things he’s done. And that’s what is wonderful about this character, he’s constantly growing. It might not be huge dramatic changes where he has a perm, different clothes, or a different accent like you do from film to film. But there are sixteen to twenty small changes. He is broken down, more defeated, he feels more guilty or less guilty. All of these things kind of inform the character for this year. And I think this year, more than any, because he is not in charge, he’s really trying to find himself, find out for himself in the middle of these circumstances, what he actually believes in because on so many of the issues, he’s torn.

Will Jack Bauer finally get some much needed lovin’?
I can’t even begin to explain the unbelievable difficulty of writing in real time. I mean wouldn’t it be great if Jack Bauer could have a romantic aspect of the show. But you show me a romance that can develop in twenty-four hours under these kind of circumstances. So if we did that people would go, “That’s wrong!”. There are so many things we can’t do in the show by virtue of its time format.

When are we going to see Jack Bauer on the big screen?
We have every intention of making it, but again, because of the complexity of writing the series, and the fact that we [the creative team] want to do it together, we all agreed very early on that we’d focus on doing the series and when the series was done we would then tackle the idea of a movie. To ask the writers in essence to write twelve films a year and then go and write something even more fantastic for this two-hour feature was just unfair and cruel.

Don’t miss the two-hour season premiere of 24 on FOX this Sunday January 11th at 8PM (GlobalTV in Canada)

For all the latest TV news and reviews

  • I’m really looking forward to this season of 24, even though I was disappointed by the last season. And I don’t know if it’s just me, but if Jack Bauer says this is the best season ever, I’m inclined to believe him.

  • bws

    From the little I’ve read of this season, it does sound like it will be a very good time. They always promised they would “shake up” the redundant CTU of LA against the world’s terrorists theme and I think they will this go around.

  • I was so happy to read what Kiefer said about what was wrong with Season 6. I have said that same thing over and over again. It drop after episode 12-13 was really obvious last season and the series took a black eye for it. The fact that writers had time to really plan out all 24 episodes and the entire story should make for a tight, cohesive entertaining ride.

    I can’t wait!

  • TVFan

    I love Bauer so much I’d provide him with alibi anytime he needs it. So trusting him that season 7 is the best one yet doesn’t seem like much of a stretch.

  • SimplyKimberly

    I am thrilled to finally see 24 return to the air. It was tough to hold out that long between seasons, but it was the right call because the momentum of the show demands airing the episodes week after week.

    I know Day 6 had tons of problems. It wasn’t my favorite one. But 24 has consisently from the start kept me on the edge of my seat the most and has remained my favorite show on television (even BSG falls short).

    Jack Bauer is an icon. He is the go to guy that we wish we had protecting us. Yet he has to struggle with what he must do to ensure the safety of others. It has broken him and I am interested to see how that is going to change him and how he deals with situations going forward.

    Great interview!

    Finally, a reason to turn my television on again! I feel like the 2008/2009 season is only about to begin.

  • Sean

    I am a huge fan of 24 and i can’t understand why so many people dislike day six. i enjoyed all 24 episodes, it was suspence and the shocking episode between the hours of 9.00am – 10.00am where jack shot curtis and a bomb went of.

    I have seen loads of trailers for day 7 and this looks like a brilliant seasons with lots of suspence and plus a character comes back from the dead.

    I can’t wait for day 7 to air on january 12th 2009 on sky1 HD

  • Mahefa

    I am among the fans that feel very sceptical about the return of Tony, even though I love his character. My expectations as to how the writers have explained his resurrection are very, very high !
    This said, I can’t wait for Day 7 !

  • lukidge

    Season 7 will be really good purely because they mapped the whole thing out before hand. Though its been a long wait i think it has benefitted the show. It went down hill because they were struggling to come up with new ideas so fast before the season aired but they had no problem this time. All 24 eps are filmed before we’ve even seen the first one! Now thats what we need. It also means they can start work on a fantastic season 8 before we’ve even seen s7. This is what 24 needed. A break so as they could get a story as great as seasons 1 and 2.
    I cant wait!

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  • Upeople_suck

    I’ve been a huge fan since season 1. Season 6 was good, the inner conflict of Bauer was shown. Dealing with a corrupt brother, a very corrupt and evil father. Jack will do what ever it takes to extract information out of someone. He tortured his girlfriends brother, his girlfriend, his own brother. Jack shot and killed Curtis (HELLO). That is the dedication of a man that believes in his task at hand and that what he is doing is righteous. Horatio or Grissom would never be able to go that far, and that is why I’m a 24 fan. I love how jack handles business as usual.

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  • Nesta

    I love 24 and i cant wait for this great season7…Jack we love your show

  • I love everything about the movie and i cant wait to watch the 7th season.please let Ghanaians know when we can grab our copy and hey what was with Kim in the 5th season?she should’nt have hurt Jack that way.I admire you, Jack.hp to be your friend.

  • Rafa

    Kiefer Sutherland deserves more attention. That’s why I was so happy to learn that there will be a new biography about him this January. It’s called “Kiefer Sutherland: Living Dangerously.” I’m very excited about it.

  • Cam

    Kiefer rocks!!! “Living Dangerously” will be an awesome biography. You can learn more about it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMWC8FQpdiM



  • Anonymous

    Kids, the TV series named “24” was a PARODY SERIES of spy dramas.

    It was a LAUGHABLY STUPID mockery of all the spy genre nonsense that has flooded the entertainment markets for decades.

    It’s like you kids never figured out that the “KNIGHT RIDER” TV series with the talking car was a nighttime KIDS SHOW.