Howard Gordon interview on Dana Walsh’s death

Showrunner Howard Gordon was interviewed on Dana Walsh’s death, her character, and what this means for Jack for the remaining episodes. There’s some interesting info in here on how they decided to make her a mole. Jack didn’t have to kill Dana. Why did he?
Howard Gordon:
That’s exactly the point. In this episode, everybody is taken to a place that they’ve never been. We struggled with writing it; the actors struggled with acting it. It goes to the core of what Jack is experiencing right now: He’s the judge and jury and executioner. He’s taking what he perceives to be justice in his own hands. Dana has culpability in what’s happened on this day. It defines the level of darkness he’s descended to. Why would you say this episode is important?
To me, this is the episode where Jack’s trajectory really gets defined and comes into focus, what we’re going to see for the balance of the season. This is a very crystallizing moment. When Jack kills Dana unarmed, that’s the first execution in his train of justice — or vengeance, depending on how you look at it. Do you think Dana’s death carries any sort of redemption for the character?
Whatever redemption there is for the character is in that very sad moment where you realize that she actually did love Cole. For the first time, the onion is peeled down to the nub and you see her vulnerable for the first moment. It’s pathetic because she’s obviously a sociopath, but she meant to reverse the position she put herself in. You’ve had to do your share of defending Dana to the fans.
She became an early target for certain people. People love to hate her, and they didn’t quite know why. Very early on, this story became this crazy improvisation. We always knew she was someone with a past; we didn’t quite know how deep that past went. [Executive producer Alex Gansa] had an idea: What if she’s a mole? Because that never happens on 24!
That’s one of the hazards of the show. We were all so scared to say it. We don’t even allow ourselves to use some of the more obvious tools in the arsenal, but once Alex said it, it clarified the character for us. So we were able to back-trace it so she’d have a double-secret identity. It all came to the fore in Monday’s episode. You realize that this woman fell in love with Cole. That was real. She tried to get herself out of the situation she got herself in. It really explains the improbable nature of how a juvenile delinquent from Rock Springs was able to manufacture an identity and insert herself into this top-secret organization. As improbable as it is, in true 24 fashion, it made its own kind of crazy sense. Do you think the fans were too hard on her?
I think the fans were a little too hard on her. We all have Starbuck [Sackhoff’s character on Battlestar Galactica] in our mind. She’s played these strong roles, and here she was playing this demure, almost prim, goody-goody analyst in direct counterpoint to Chloe. There was something that was too good to be true about her. We had this hidden card that nobody knew we were playing. People were judging her prematurely. What about the parole officer stuck in the wall? Is he just going to rot there?
We made various attempts to reintegrate the fact that there’s the body in the wall, but we justified it by saying the body wouldn’t start to smell for another couple of hours. Right around, say, hour 25.

So is this Jack’s lowest point? Or does it get worse?
Jack is as about as emotionally damaged as he’s been now. He’s descending right now. The finale is a complex ending. It’s not as tragic as it could have been. It’s not entirely unhappy. But he doesn’t walk off into the sunset.



Comments Closed
Looks like Jack has not only been THROUGH hell but is DESCENDING ever deeper into it. JB was always a loose cannon but never this crazy before. Some serious stuff is going to go down before this out and you can quote me on it.

Fans didn’t like Dana from the get-go because she was a brand new character whom we didn’t have any time to emotionally connect to/identify with before they immediately handed her a cliche side story. Of course no one cared about it; we didn’t have time to get acquainted with the character yet, and it resulted in frustration among the fans because it was a good amount of screen time wasted on a character we barely knew.

I wish they would quit making excuses for Dana and drop the condescending attitude toward the fans. It was BAD WRITING, plain and simple. One cannot be on the one hand a helpless victim and on the other a stone cold killer/international super-spy within the span of a few hours.

I really like your blog, so I was really disappointed to find out that huge spoiler in the title of your post. I was browsing my google reader, and I suddenly found out that Dana Walsh died, you ruined the whole ending for me.

You should know by now that not everybody watches the episode the same date that’s broadcast in the states, some of us in another countries have to watch it some time later, or maybe I just TiVo’d it… the thing is, you should be more careful in the title, say something like “Howard Gordon talks about Dana Walsh”, and that’s it.

I know that the blog name is “24 spoilers”, but that was really not necessary.

I loved Dana from the beginning and more and more as the day unfolded. She is a big part of why Day 8 is phenomenal.

People are just whiners and have no sense of what makes a story or character great. They just whine about something when they get the first inkling that its acceptable.