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Kiefer Sutherland talks Jack Bauer's deathbed and what's next on '24'

May 13, 2009 | 12:59 pm

Kiefer To spoil anything about Monday’s two-hour “24” finale is to be a bad fan.

But rest assured it’s good. Very good. Without giving anything away: Ethan and Olivia face off, Tony pulls another fast one, Kim gets back into action, and Jack, well, he’s got a few moves left before his ticker peters out.

Oh, yes, tears will be shed.

But in spite of Jack’s dire condition, details about next season – Day 8 – have already begun to emerge. When production resumes in two weeks, Cherry Jones will be back as President Allison Taylor, as will Annie Wersching as Renee, whose past will play a part in next year’s crisis. (Look for Renee to come down on a specific side of the torture debate in the finale’s last hour.) Elisha Cuthbert revealed she'd be reprising her role as Kim.

CTU also will be up and running, with Chloe on board, under the aegis of a new leader – R.I.P. Bill -- named Brian Hastings, who is being described as “an MBA type with razor sharp intellect.” Anil Kapoor (“Slumdog Millionaire”) will play a Middle Eastern leader on a peacemaking mission in the U.S.

It’d be difficult to top Jack’s hyper-personal storyline this season, but at a Tuesday screening of the finale at a packed Wadsworth Theater attended by the cast and executive producer Howard Gordon, Kiefer Sutherland promised that next year could possibly be the show’s most grounded yet.

“One of the things that we can talk about in Season 8 is that set-up is probably the most realistic political thing I think we’ve done since the start of the show. We’ve had some seriously questionable circumstances,” he said with a laugh. “And they’ve been a lot of fun to play, but I think the new set-up, in certain aspects, is something I actually hope happens.

“I think a lot of people will feel that way. Very excited about where that could potentially go.”

Jack’s been pretty battered this season, emotionally a wreck after being held accountable for his use of torture as a method of coercion and poisoned by a biochemical weapon of mass destruction. How much could he have left in the tank?

No one’s saying. But Sutherland said having to play a dying Jack for almost half the season was part relief, part challenge.

“For the first time in the history of my experience with ’24,’ I knew where I was going,” he said. (The crowd howled.) “It was kind of reassuring.”

But seriously. “Howard and I talked about what a great opportunity [Jack’s illness] would be. He’d have the come-to-Jesus moment when he’d actually have to confront himself for what he’s done…There are certain things he could absolutely justify and there are things he could not.

“For me, it was the most dramatic [place] we’d ever been able to take the character, and it was not plot driven,” Sutherland said. “It’s one of the things I love about the ending for this season. It’s really about these characters taking a serious look at themselves.”

-- Denise Martin

Photo credit: Associated Press

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