24 Producer Howard Gordon Talks About the Final Days of 24 in Conference Call Interview

On May 7, Howard Gordon – executive producer and show runner of Fox’s 24 – sat in on a conference call to discuss the two hour series finale airing Monday, May 24th.

Right off the bat, Gordon was asked about the shocking death of Renee Walker – was it planned for the beginning or was there another option that they had been pondering? Despite a lot of things being improvised, Gordon explained, this was actually planned from the beginning of the season. The plan was to take Jack somewhere he’s never been before, and Renee’s death was what set that in motion.

The next question asked if the news of the show’s cancelation came early enough for certain adjustments to be made. Gordon answers that the only thing that really changed was the context, that we would be saying good bye to these characters at the conclusion of the 24 hours, but that they told the story they intended to tell no matter what.

In response to the next caller, Gordon says that they tried to give Jack a happy ending but that it didn’t really work. He says that the show is a tragedy, and to give Jack a happy ending didn’t feel authentic. The next question asked about the highly criticized Dana Walsh character, and her sub-plot, and if Gordon had anything to say in defense of it.

Gordon responds that he encourages everyone to wait to see how the story ends before commenting on it, and that episode 20 in particular answered a lot of questions about Dana’s character. In that episode, we learn she really did care about Cole and that she got into all of this in order to get herself out of the situation as a whole. But, he admits that it was a crazy story, although he thinks the actress did a beautiful job and that he’s very happy with the way it resolved.

Another caller asks about the speculation that the show might find a home on another network. Gordon answers that it was something he didn’t want to do. They entertained the notion, but it just felt like they were telling their final season. The next person asks about the status of the much talked about 24 movie. The first draft has been written, and they’re working on a second one. However, Fox hasn’t looked at it yet so there is no “official” status. Everything is speculative at this point.

Also on the topic of the movie, another caller asks if it’s going to be a continuation of the series, or if people who never watched the show will be able to get a sense of what’s going on. Gordon believes that they must honor the series while also potentially bringing in a new group of people who didn’t watch the show. The next caller asks about abandoning the 24-hours aspect of the series. While the movie will obviously not be “real time,” was there ever a consideration to do away with that in the series as well? Gordon believes that Jack Bauer the character is developed and strong enough to carry the story without the real time aspect that defined the series.

Another caller asks if Gordon is happy that the revolutionary concept – the real time story telling – is likely to be the legacy of the show, or if he wishes the series was ultimately remembered for something else? Gordon agrees that the innovative concept will likely be one of the most important legacies, but thinks that the show has also had an interesting dance with the culture and with society and with the world after 9/11.

Gordon fields another question about whether there was a debate over having President Taylor take advice from Charles Logan over her trusted advisor Ethan Kanin. Gordon confesses that it was a long and nerve-wracking discussion, but agreed that her desire to see this crown jewel of her administration through was so profound that it threw her off her moral compass. He also says that the story gets monotonous if she’s always making the right decisions. Which, to this point, she has. In response to another question, Goron discusses Chloe’s growth from a CTU analysts to a woman, wife, mother, and now boss. And how this has impacted her current struggle with Jack.

The final question asks if the Smithsonian has asked for any props from the show yet. Gordon tells a story about one of the props he’s received. Gordon then thanks everybody for their tremendous support and for keeping them honest with their criticisms.

The two hour series finale of 24 is Monday, May 24th on Fox.

Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, 24, Heroes, and Smallville. Be sure to visit his blog at [a case of the blog] and follow him on Twitter.