Jack Bauer’s personal life is as complicated as his professional life.
After thwarting plans for detonating suitcase nukes in Monday’s episode, 24‘s action hero was hit with a staggering good news/bad news scenario: His true love, Audrey Raines (Kim Raver), is not dead, as he had been told, but is being held by his Chinese nemeses.
Raver, back after playing Audrey during 24‘s past two seasons, will describe her character’s situation only in general terms: “Audrey comes back not herself at all. She’s definitely not in a good place.”
Audrey’s return is significant for both character and plot, executive producer Evan Katz says. He says Raver and Kiefer Sutherland, who plays Jack, have a chemistry that makes the relationship seem real.
Audrey’s presence “provides the emotional component. In Jack’s mind, this is a true love, something that was ripped from his grasp at the end of last year and apparently permanently ripped from his grasp earlier this year,” he says.
As for plot, the perils of Audrey allow 24 to make one of its signature midseason story shifts. Soon, viewers will learn where Audrey has been and why the Chinese are telling Jack that she is alive.
“We stuck with the suitcase nukes a relatively long time for us. It did feel like time” to change course, Katz says. “Audrey’s entry … takes the story in a radical direction.”
Raver is happy to reprise Audrey, whose happily-ever-after dreams evaporated last season when Jack was kidnapped by Chinese agents after his invasion of their consulate.
Returning to the 24 set “is sort of like going back home. There’s just this great crew, with Kiefer leading the group,” she says.
She was especially happy with Audrey’s second year. The character became a stronger person after a first season, in which she was kidnapped, saw her estranged husband tortured — by Jack — then die. “I just felt like I couldn’t have her cry another season,” Raver says. “The second season was much more interesting for me. Jack and Audrey were much more of a team.”
Raver left after last season for a central role on ABC’s The Nine, a grim drama centering on the lives of bank robbery hostages. Despite rave reviews, the series was pulled after dismal ratings.
Audrey’s return is easier for Raver to take because the actress finally is getting a break from dangerous roles, with parts in the film comedy Night at the Museum and NBC pilot Lipstick Jungle, a drama that has its lighter moments. “When I was shooting 24 and The Nine simultaneously, I called my agent and said, ‘If I don’t do comedy soon … I have to get some laughs.’ “