Howard Gordon joined joined fellow showrunners Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead), Veena Sud (The Killing), Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy), and Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire) for The Hollywood Reporter’s Emmys roundtable, where they were asked about killing off characters. Here’s what Howard had to say:
Homeland‘s still new enough where we actually have a pretty low bodycount. But 24 is littered, there’s a graveyard of dozens of characters. I was talked out of a couple of deaths believe it or not. By the actors!
But more often than not, it was taking them out on the walk. And honestly, sometimes it would take [actors] by surprise. I guess what’s always stunning to me is that actors don’t always know when — some actually have a great sense that their story is coming to an end (or have been told), and others are totally not [aware].
I didn’t save characters lives because they’ve necessarily been convincing. They came and actually pitched, “Why don’t I kill him?”. It was actually a better idea!