TV Article

A Day's Work

Catch up with the characters in season 3 of ''24,'' TV's most suspenseful show; producer Howard Gordon hints at what we can expect

Kiefer Sutherland | SUTHERLAND
Image credit: Kiefer Sutherland: Lorenzo Agius
SUTHERLAND

Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland)

HIS JOB Director of Field Operations, CTU (Counter-Terrorism Unit)

HIS LONG DAY To paraphrase a running gag from ''Airplane!,'' it looks like Jack Bauer picked the wrong day to give up heroin. Bauer, who almost quit the spy biz after losing his wife in season 1 (not to mention nearly losing his daughter Kim to kidnappers and a wild cougar), has rededicated himself to his work. But a between-seasons undercover mission to bust drug lord Ramon Salazar left him needing heroin the way his show's producers need cliffhangers.

''This was a way to underscore the irreconcilable challenge of having a personal life and doing the kind of work that he does,'' says ''24'' exec producer Howard Gordon. So Jack will be sweaty and ill-tempered as he attempts to simultaneously go cold turkey and stop Salazar's brother from infecting Los Angeles with a killer virus. ''Jack begins this year with a hard-bitten and hard-boiled sense of duty and purpose,'' Gordon says. ''He's had to kill part of himself.''

Following his split with girlfriend Kate Warner, Jack won't have a new sweetheart to improve his mood. ''We'll discover that he had a lover during his undercover operation, which helped make his civilian relationship with Kate impossible,'' reveals Gordon. We won't see a flashback, though; that's a no-no when your show runs in real time.

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