We Preview the New Season of 24 with Mary Lynn Rajskub


Although its only been eight months since Jack Bauer’s last really bad day, a lot has changed. There’s a new setting (CTU goes underground in New York), new cast mates (Freddie Prinze Jr, Katee Sackhoff, Chris Diamantopoulos and Anil Kapoor to name a few) and of course a new threat (Something to do with a peace conference, terrorists, moles, you know, the usual!)

That said, as the saying goes, the more things change the more they stay the same. And while Jack Bauer busies himself with saving our butts, fans will be able to count on one familiar face returning to CTU. Turns out, Mary Lynn Rajskub’s Chloe O’Brian is going through a crisis of her very own. An economic one. No seriously. In what is one of 24’s most surprisingly plot twists to date, it’s a lack of funds that brings O’Brian back into the CTU fold. And here to talk about her return, what it’s like to work with a whole new slew of agents, and the finer points of picking a wardrobe that one will be stuck with all year, is the actress herself, who was kind enough to take some time in between takes on the new and improved set of CTU to offer up some intel on the new season.

The TV Addict: Tell us everything you can tell us about this season.  
Mary Lynn Rajskub: Well, um… This season there’s a terrorist threat and there’s this peace conference happening that’s disrupted. You’re like, “I didn’t really want to hear about the plot of the show.”

It’s always a challenge interviewing a cast member on 24, because there’s so little you’re really allowed to spill.
I know. And… CTU’s on a spaceship this year. Not really, but it is underground. It’s under Roosevelt Island. My desk is down there. We’re paperless.  

What do you think of the computer screens being underneath the glass desks? 
This was my design and I hope you like it as much as I do. It’s so you can’t get to it. Because I often want to smash my computer, but this way there’s an extra barrier between being able to smash it.  

How much thought goes into your wardrobe at the start of the season, knowing that odds are fairly good you’ll be wearing the exact same thing for the next nine to ten months of shooting? 
Every year, I’m like, “Can I please wear a bikini and get muscles sculpted?” And they say no, it would be distracting. Every year I go, “Can I please get long braid hair extensions as Chloe? Can I please wear a long robe like Maude?” “No!” Every year, “No.” 

Can you talk about some of the new actors this season? 
We got a great new…! What kind of a line is that? [with a country twang] “Guys, we ain’t had a crew like this since… I can’t remember when!” Katee Sackhoff, Mykelti Williamson, Freddie Prinze Jr…. How cool is that? I was pretty nervous when I first saw Katee. I said, “Ah, there’s Starbuck!” And then I forgot, and now she’s Dana Walsh to me. And Mykelti as my boss, Mr. Hastings, had quite the few clashes already. It’s just been really, really fun.  

You’ve been here the second longest of anyone in the cast.  
That’s true!  

What’s it like when new blood comes in? Do you have a hazing ritual? Are you nice to everyone? 
Mary Lynn Rajskub: You know, it’s just, honestly, those first couple of days where I’m nervous and they’re nervous and then we’re all in it together after that.  

Chloe’s had some antagonism with a lot of her coworkers, but obviously as time went on she came to bond with Jack and with Bill. Is this a whole new group for her to clash with, as the season begins?  
Yes. I would say there is more clashing than getting around, especially at the beginning – especially since my character has been away being a mom for a couple of years and so I come back and everything has changed and Katee’s character tries to be really nice and gives me a pat like, “Don’t worry, you’ll catch up!” And I just want to kill her. And then Mykelti does not take into account the ideas that I have about some stuff that is going on, and I’m always kind of annoyed with him… as he is with me.  

Do you have a nice new headset this year? 
[Sighs] I got a little ear thing, yes, but it always falls off.  

It seems like Chloe’s the type, after all of these days, wouldn’t she get used to, “Oh, here we go again”? 
I thought you were going to say, “It seems like she would just have a computer implanted in her so that she never had to use a headset.” It would be, like, under her skin or something. Um… What do you mean?! What are you trying to do? Break the fourth wall? Like I’m gonna stop and look at the camera and be like, “Not this again!” 

It seems like she would sort of toughen up to it… I’m totally botching this. But is there any sense that she’s… 
Well, I think that she has. I think that if you go back and watch some of the earlier episodes, they wrote it very much like I was quoting rules and like, “You’ve got to do this and this!”, and I was lashing out at people. Now I still lash out at people, but I have more of a confidence about, “No, listen to me about this,” and I have a stronger bond with Jack. But it’s still upsetting, the stuff that’s happening. I don’t think you ever get used to that. So you know, we’re always playing with that. All this extreme stuff happening, but yet it’s still part of our everyday jobs. I’m not breaking down into tears every two minutes. But also, Chloe’s a mom, so that puts another interesting reason in there to question and to feel differently about what’s going on.  

How old is her baby now? 
We can’t remember. But Prescott, I do remember his name is Prescott. No, we filmed him! He looked older now. He’s like four. We filmed him last year, remember? In the bed? I was like, “Bye, Mommy might die now!” He was like three. He’s like three or four… Oh god. I feel a little sick. I’m suddenly like, “Is my son five on the show?” They grow up so fast. He’s not one of the primary storylines! The love of a mother is the same, no matter the age of a child!  

Are you used to the techno-babble at this point or do you still stumble when they have you say some extremely complicated thing? 
It’s weird, because there’s a certain rhythm that you get into. Like if I do have guest spots and other jobs and they say, “Here’s your second outfit,” I’ll be like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I wear the same outfit.” I’m totally used to that. There is a rhythm, but at the same time I never get used to saying that stuff, because you can’t really attach it to anything logical, especially when you’re as dumb as I am about computer stuff. I can’t even stand updating my facebook. I just play with Play Doh at home. Finger-paint.  

Given your background and your comedy talent, is it funny to you that you are on this show that is very stoic and serious and action oriented?  
Yeah. This has been my life now. It’s kind of funny to look back, now that this is the norm for me. But looking back before the show, I never went on dramatic auditions. It was all comedy. In fact, a FOX executive – she no longer works here – but kind of gave me a backhanded compliment, because they would see me for all the rounds of comedy pilots and all the guest starring comedy things. She goes, “We didn’t know you could do drama!” I really thought I would get fired those first few episodes. Not that the approach is any different for me, but I think that the perception in the business… I was just used to going out on comedy. That’s where I went, you know? 

What do you think it is about the character that struck a chord with the audience and the producers? She’s survived massive death around her, on a show that’s not known to keep characters for too long.  
Well, number one, I think it was Joel Surnow, for bringing me in and trusting to create this character for me and with me and that I did get passed that four to six episode hump, where I was just doing weird things and people were just like, “She’s weird and annoying.” And then it was the writers writing me being loyal to Jack that I think sort of gave it that extra depth to the character. “Oh, that’s interesting!” Because she’s not just an annoying, bitchy, weird genius, but now we have more stake in here, because she’s helping our hero. And then that got really interesting for me too. And people would say to me that they know somebody like this character, that they work with.

You can catch a brand new episode of 24 starting at 8PM tonight on FOX (GlobalTV in Canada)

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  • BJ

    Great interview! I like the how the questions you ask aren’t boring and typical.

  • Jason

    I always enjoy hearing from cast & crew, particularly our beloved Chloe/Mary Lynn! Interesting to read her thoughts on the current season as well as her character’s development throughout the series.

  • Jean

    I like her character even though I didn’t in the first few seasons. In the beginning I found her character weird and almost thought she was the enemy. However, I like her character now because her loyalty to Jack is blinding. A wonderful actress. I hope she goes far.

  • Leary

    I hope she doesn’t die here and have a happy ending,

    I know this will be the last 24, but please atleast an hour of happy faced Jack Bauer with his grand daughter playing stuff toys and watching cartoons will be a great season finisher… for the last 7 season… he has been in deep Sh*t so please at least for this season… give him a break…

  • Tom Dick

    Chole is the best thing to happen to 24. Love you Chole

  • Luanne Schroeder

    Chloe is always one of my favorites! I get such a kick out of her in the midst of all that chaos, her crankiness is the BEST. And of course her loyalty to Jack, and his to her! A co-worker & co-24-lover named her cats Jack & Chloe. Jack is a brat, Chloe is a sweetie. Go figure!

  • Patricia

    Chloe was on the Bonnie Hunt show today…she is awesome. So tickled to see her back this season. Would not be 24 without her.

  • Jeff

    I always look forward to the next show, its like a drug, need more. Chloe and Jack are the best. She is amazing and love watching the show. It would be a heart breaker if she left. It just wouldnt be 24 without her! Iv actually purchased the whole season DVD’s and watched all of them in a row till that season was done…….. Keep up the good work, yes let Jack get some time with his daughter on the show.

  • netster007x

    Its kind of weird watching this awesome show seeing nearly every character vanish after season 5. I’m glad Chloe’s around because she’s always been my favorite character aside from Jack, and looking great on TV doesn’t hurt either.

  • kamaneva

    just love urs character..please don’t died in this season ok..

  • Always great to hear from the cast of 24; my favorite show that keeps me on the edge of my seat. And everybody loves Chloe, you gotta love Chloe, please don’t die or leave the show.

  • Maka

    Chloe, I just love your character! You’re perfect! I was always sure you were the one we could see playing in all seasons! My Compliments!

  • Jim

    Who thinks this is the last season?

  • Its gonna be the last if the writters don’t get their MOJO back. Get back to the basics, STOP terrorist, yea throw in some interesting side stories, that are realistic, but get the original writters back!
    You can do it Chloe!

  • jazzmanjoe

    Just love Chloe,happy to see your return to the show.All the best of luck as you continue with a fine career……Hope Jack will do better with his personal trials and tribulations.i hope the show will be made into a movie.

  • jazzmanjoe

    Here’s hoping the show will continue beyond this year.I have changed my schedule so I seldom miss an installment….Chloe your return to the show is timely.I hope you and Jack can find a way to add some romance before the season ends…………..All the best to the writer’s of one of the finest tv shows this season