May 27, 2017

24 Season Finale scoop: Executive producer on Jack Bauer’s final hours

Warning: Mild spoilers follow

HollywoodNews.com: When 24 started, skeptics guessed that nobody would watch 24 real time hours of any story. Eight years later, we’re all sad that it’s ending. The last hour of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland)’s suspenseful life airs May 24, and it’s probably not going to end well for him. The show’s executive producer, Howard Gordon, discuss the finale in a conference call with the media.

“This show’s a tragedy so to give Jack a happy ending didn’t feel authentic,” Gordon said. “We gave him a happy beginning and gave him something to care about with Annie Wersching and his own family. Of course circumstances and the story demanded a very complex confrontation. Going towards the end, what we can expect, the things that are aligning [are] Chloe Vs. Jack Vs. President Taylor. We’re taking these characters to places we’ve never seen before. We knew it constituted a risk, a challenge to right and a challenge to play, but it was one we felt worth taking and it pays off in the end. In the spirit of taking the place where it hasn’t been before, we’ve done this thing. It’s not playing it safe but it’s emotionally climactic and we’re pretty excited by it.”

Chloe was always Jack’s biggest ally in CTU, bailing him out of technological jams with her trusty headset. Now she’s in charge of CTU when Jack’s gone rogue. President Taylor was one of the more supportive administrators to Jack’s unique methods. Now she’s in a shady deal with evil former president Charles Logan. The murder of Renee Walker (Wersching) was the last straw for Jack. There’s no going back to cooperating with the authorities.

“The good part about Jack’s character, and I really believe what’s been a good part of the show, is we never press reset,” Gordon said. “Jack is a character and you feel the accumulated scars of his experience and his actions, for eight years.”

Meanwhile, Taylor made a pretty bad decision accepting Logan’s advice. He blackmailed the Russians to stay in Taylor’s peace treaty. “It was a profound and nerve wracking and long and lengthy conversation we had, but it’s one that we knew we needed to get there. There were a couple of things that really just pushed us over the edge here. The real time thing didn’t help any, but the fact of the matter is President Taylor lost her family. This is really the crown jewel of her administration and frankly her own legacy. That desire was so profound we believed it could distort her vision, her otherwise really clear, straight vision and throw her off this moral compass. Charles Logan seems like a great devil on her shoulder, a great Iago.”

Taylor may get her treaty, but her peace comes at a price. “The opportunity to have those actors influence over each other and again, the end really will help answer this question better, but we all were aware of it. Cherry [Jones] was anxious playing it. By allowing that complexity, frankly otherwise it gets monotonous. If she makes all the right choices, which until this moment she has, it’s a momentary backslide and you see how that one moment, one lie begets another until like Lady Macbeth she finds herself too far gone and too steeped in blood to really go back again. That ensnaring, that increase of mistakes we see happening and she gets caught in her own web. Again, its resolution I think is pretty exciting and that’s what we’re working towards.”

Even though the hour by hour series ends this year, there are still plans for a 24 movie. “The current status of the movie is that Billy Ray has written a draft which Kiefer has read and is working. We’re all working together on the second draft. Now it’s not been shared with Fox or anything so there’s no official status right now. It’s very much a work in progress. Honestly, the movie division is on the other side of the lot. I don’t know, I can’t measure their intentions or their timing and certainly can’t measure their reaction to the script because they haven’t read it yet. I think our preference would be to do it sooner than later and get Jack back in front of people within a year or two. That would just be me speaking.”

Looking back over the nine years of 24 (eight seasons with a hiatus during the writer’s strike), Gordon still feels like he’s going out on top. His favorite moments from the show all happened within the last year.

“The moment I’m most proud of is frankly our very last one which you haven’t seen yet. You’ll see it and when you see it I think we’ve found, it’s obsessed me, what’s the last image, what’s the last second on a real time show I think maybe has a little bit more weight than any other moment of any other season finale. For me, that was something I’m very happened with.”

Even before that, season eight has been a doozy. “I think one of my most exciting moments was when Renee took of the thumb. The way she played it was a beautiful performance, was not in the script the way she sexualized the character. I loved Hassan’s death. That was really moving, surprising and sad. Those are my two favorite moments prior to the last one.”

24 airs Mondays on Fox.

About Fred Topel

Fred Topel has been an entertainment journalist in Los Angeles since 1999, for websites like Daily Radar, About.com, Crave Online and Sci Fi Wire. Follow his celebrity encounters on Twitter @FredTopel.

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