24 Executive Producers Manny Coto and Evan Katz did an AMA (“ask me anything”) on Reddit and have answered dozens of fan questions. We’ve compiled all 68 question and answers below, categorized them, cleaned up the formatting and fixed some typos, so hopefully it should be a lot easier to read. The questions range from serious to very funny and many of them aren’t the type of questions that other publications ask. Definitely worth a read.
24: Live Another Day Related Questions
What drew the project to being London Based?
Manny Coto: At the end of season 8, Jack was a fugitive and seemed like a great idea to take him out of the country. We felt it was in-line with this season being a special “event series”
What was the biggest challenge in this new season of 24?
Evan Katz: Coming up with a threat we hadn’t done before.
Do you think that the 12 episode format was more difficult to work with, being that you had more time in previous seasons to work through a particular storyline?
Evan Katz: Not more difficult, maybe more exciting. It challenged us to cut out all the flab and make sure every episode was special.
What exactly happened in the 10 seconds while Heller is walking out to the field?
Manny Coto: This is what happened: Jack was notified by Chloe that she had broken into the video feed. Jack quickly convinced Heller that he didn’t need to die and he rushed him off as Chloe was cloning the footage.
How did Cheng know where Audrey was?
Manny Coto: Cheng has a network. He has planned this very well.
Why hasn’t Jack Bauer really tortured anyone this season? You guys seemed to have toned it down. He twisted Simone’s thumb in the hospital bed, but that only lasted 5 seconds and he then apologized for that. My family was really hoping Jack would torture Mark Boudreaux with a taser or lamp last night.
Evan Katz: We try very hard not to do things we’ve done before and Jack has had his fill of torture. We try to challenge ourselves to tell the story without it.
Jack has been much more lethal this season, the eclipse being having thrown the Al-Harazi’s out of the window. Is this a natural progression given his status as rogue operative or is it more following the “must make things crazier” formula?
Evan Katz: We think Jack’s behavior accurately reflects where he is in his life. His character is farther outside of society than he ever has been and seems to have little time for finesse or legalities.
What has been your favorite cliffhanger you’ve ended an episode on?
Evan Katz: Not sure if it qualifies as a cliffhanger, but we really liked the idea of killing Heller at the end of episode eight this season only to reveal he was alive in the next episode.
What was the wildest/craziest serious idea that was floated for this season that ended up not making it to the episodes?
Manny Coto: Actually all the wild, crazy ideas ended up in the season. We’re glad you loved the chase sequence, for us it’s the most amazing action sequences seen on television and it’s a testament to our amazing crew.
Do you imagine current pop-culture as existing in the show world? Or has the effect of a couple nuclear bombs detonating on American soil altered the world of “24″‘s pop-culture to the point that it has diverged from ours? For instance, would the show Game of Thrones exist in Jack Bauer’s universe?
Manny Coto: 24 definitely kind of exists in an alternate universe. We rarely use pop culture references, but we made the exception this year for Madonna because we love Belcheck.
Is Jack’s son a crewman on the USS Massachusetts?
Evan Katz: Jack doesn’t have a son unless you know something we don’t…
I think Jack didn’t yell “DAMN IT” enough this season. What’s your explanation for that?
Manny Coto: I would beg to differ. I think Jack yelled “Damn It” way too much. Do you have numbers? Can you prove this?
Does it bother you when your foley guys put clicks, rattling, and cocking sounds for firearms where they don’t belong?
Manny Coto: Yes. Drives me crazy.
Finale and Future of 24
What deceased 24 character was the hardest (personally) for you guys to kill off? Also, are there any characters in the 24 universe that you had planned to kill off, but decided to give a last second reprieve (or vice-versa)?
Evan Katz: We can’t answer that question until the finale airs on Monday.
How is the finale going to work with the real time aspect of the show? you haven’t skipped any hours along the way yet, and it seems like it will be a little strange to suddenly skip 12 hours in the next 42 minutes of television.
Manny Coto: All we can say is, “Give it a look.” We think it works pretty damn well.
How on earth are you wrapping this up in a single hour?
Manny Coto: Because we’re awesome.
Do you think Jack can ever have a reasonably happy ending?
Evan Katz: We don’t understand the word happy. > happy en
Can we hold out hope that Tony and/or Mandy may return to the show (or at least be mentioned)?
Evan Katz: We’ll go on record as saying hope is a good thing.
Is the description of the final episode of this season on IMDB accurate?
Evan Katz: It’s an accurate description of the finale and almost every other episode.
Is 24 going to continue next year? If so, will it be in this new format again?
Manny Coto: As of now, there are no plans to continue the show next year but we remain open to the possibility. We had a great time doing it this year and would love to take another crack at it.
After your big London adventure, if 24 was to return, where ideally would you like it to be set?
Manny Coto: Personally, I think 24 should return to Los Angeles for at least one more season.
Evan Katz: I would like it to be set in Italy because I’d like to live there for six months.
What was it like coming back to 24 after such a long lay off? Are you happy with the ratings?
Manny Coto: Since we feel that everyone on the plane, we’ll never be satisfied with the ratings.
Have you considered doing a 12 episode season, followed up by a 2 hour feature film to end the day?
Evan Katz: We are open to the idea. Let us know if you can get the financing.
Would you ever consider jumping ship in favor of the Netflix formula, should this whole network TV thing not pan out?
Evan Katz: We remain believers in network television, but the Netflix platform is exciting.
The Writing Process
If this was produced for HBO or Showtime, what would we see differently?
Evan Katz: It would be a challenge because we use the commercial breaks to the story’s advantage, frequently allowing characters to transit from one place to another. There might be more explicit violence and as much as we are personally in favor of nudity, the show has never really been a particularly sexual or erotic experience. It would be nice to be able to be more realistic with language. The way we look at it, every time Jack says “Damn It,” he’s actually saying something else.
Do you think of “political agendas” when writing? Or do you just aim for a good story with a lot of conflict?
Manny Coto: We always just aim for a good story which could come from the left or the right.
Could you please elaborate a bit on the writing method in 24? Are the processes like storylining and dialogue kept separate, or are there different people on charge of different shows but they do everything on it? Also, please tell us any other details of the processes or method that you can share. Thank you very much.
Manny Coto: Basically, all the writers sit in a room and figure out verbally what the episode is going to be about in a general concept kind of way. The next step is for all the writers to start figuring out the various scenes that will go in each act. When we’ve figured that out, we move to an outline which usually runs from five to eight pages and from there one of the writers takes the outline and produces a script. That’s when the fun starts. We proceed to take that script apart, re-think it, throw out most of it and start all over again.
How hard is it to keep all the facts straight so there are no errors from one episode to the next? Do you have a favorite error?
Evan Katz: All of our staff and crew keep track of continuity between episodes so we have many people to catch our mistakes. We don’t have a favorite error because we’ve never made one.
I’ve read that because of the network TV schedule, you guys have had to spend most of the seasons writing some of the last episodes even after the first ones air instead of being able to write everything before it is all shown. Is this style of writing kind of a nuisance or do you like it (ie you can change things based on audience reaction and it keeps you thinking quickly on your feet). And do you normally think of all the season’s general arcs before you start writing the season, or do some of the arcs get thought up after you’ve already written some episodes?
Evan Katz: We like writing the show in this way. In fact, most American network shows are written while the show is in production. We have a general idea of the story arcs and know the first few episodes when we start writing. But, we make the rest up as we go along.
If given the opportunity, would you make a series not based around Jack Bauer or even do one where you see the workings from the view of the antagonist instead of a protagonist like Jack Bauer?
Evan Katz: Each season usually features multiple points of view including that of the antagonist. Because of the real time format, we can’t ever limit the season to one character’s point of view – antagonist or otherwise.
Is there any reach of technology that you just throw your hands up and say “that’s too outlandish for even us to pretend THAT it exists”. What would something like that be? What would it take for you to go “Nah…” It seems like you guys just invent stuff up on the fly. Don’t get me wrong, I love it…
Evan Katz: We feel all the threats that we feature on the show are based on real technology and the real world.
Manny Coto: The idea of hacking drones is a very real fear in the defense department. It’s not made up.
Would Kiefer automatically veto Bauer revealed as the villain in a twist? what twists are off the table?
Manny Coto: I would say that twist pretty much qualifies as a twist that would be off the table.
How much do you enjoy driving us crazy with cliffhangers every week?
Manny Coto: Intensely. It’s one of the great aspects of the show.
Evan and Manny, how do you both feel about integrating your characters from 24 in a TV series crossover with Homeland?
Manny Coto: 24 and Homeland exist in two completely separate universes. They are two radically different shows. That said, Jack would have no patience for most of the characters in Homeland and they most likely will end up dead in short order.
Previous Seasons / Character Fates / Misc 24 Questions
Complete series Blu-ray release with exclusive extras for each season?? Possibly? Blooper reel?
Manny Coto: I personally would love to see a deluxe, beautiful Blu-Ray edition of the entire 24 series. It’s long overdue and it should be packaged in a large nerve gas canister.
There are so many unanswered questions. What happened to Martha Logan? Aaron Pierce? Allison Taylor? Tony?
Evan Katz: Martha Logan is alive and well. She’s being tended to by Aaron Pierce. Allison Taylor did some jail time and Tony Almeida is still in jail. There will be a DVD extra scene on the box set coming out soon that tells you more about Tony Almeida’s fate.
I have to ask about Aaron. The guy made it through 7 seasons being the only other character to be in them, and then he was dropped in season 8. Was it a scheduling conflict with the actor or could you not find a place for him? Also, did you try to get him in somehow for Day 9? I just hate seeing a streak like that broken.
Manny Coto: We love the character of Aaron Pierce and the actor who played him but it started to feel like he was the only secret service agent on the planet.
Evan Katz: It was discussed to bring him into Day 9 but we felt it was hard to get an additional american character believably based in London.
With so many conspiracy plots abandoned and left up in the air. Will we ever find out what happened with Wilson’s group?
Evan Katz: Who’s Wilson?
I am a new 24 fan because of this current season! I have heard that Jack does some pretty crazy things in the previous season and am interested in watching the older ones. What do you guys believe is the best old season of 24?
Manny Coto: I’m delighted you’ve found the show. Seasons 2 and 5 are the best seasons.
What choices, if any, have you made on the show that you regret looking back? Killing off a character, not killing off a character, including a storyline, etc.
Manny Coto: Season 6, Episodes 5-24. In all seriousness, there are great moments in season 6. Jack torturing his brother is one of the highlights of the series, but we do think that it went in a bit of the wrong direction. If we had to do things over, I think we would have changed course.
What is your favorite episode of the show?
Manny Coto: My favorite episode of the show would have to be Jack flying a nuclear bomb into the desert in Season 2.
Whose idea was it to bring Tony back as a bad guy in season 7?
Manny Coto: It was my idea to bring Tony back and in a moment of sheer desperation and that’s no joke.
Evan Katz: We talked about bringing Tony Almeida back. We love Carlos Bernard and felt his character deserves a third act.
What creative twist or plot line are you most proud of in the whole series (24 and 24LAD)?
Evan Katz: Season 5, President Logan turning out to be bad.
Who do you guys think was the most successful villain on the show?
Manny Coto: President Logan without a doubt.
Favorite character on the show?
Evan Katz: I think Charles Logan is my favorite character. But we don’t all want to be Charles Logan.
Manny Coto: For me, it’s Jack Bauer. We all want to be him secretly.
What ever happened to President Keeler?
Manny Coto: Personally, I think he’s no longer with us.
Nobody wants her [Kim] back, she is just trouble everywhere she goes.
Evan Katz: Little known fact, a Mountain Lion / Cougar in season 2 actually bit the actress on the hand.
Why did you kill Renee? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHYYYYYY!!!??
Manny Coto: BECAUSE, BECAUSE, BECAUSE, BECAUSEEEEEE!!!
I hope you both know that if Chloe dies, your entire world is going to come down. So, please, don’t kill her off?
Manny Coto: What do you mean about our entire world coming down? Should we be scared?
What does Kiefer Sutherland bring to the role of Jack Bauer that differentiates him from others who may have potentially played the role? Does Kiefer bring a lot of his own personality into the role of Jack?
Evan Katz: Kiefer is a very intense and intelligent man and a lot of that shows up in Jack Bauer.
I have watched from episode one, season one. I have noticed that Jack seems to be getting more brutal as the seasons go on. Is there a reason for the progression of violence?
Manny Coto: Jack as a character has been on a definite dark trajectory. The more he sacrifices for his country, the greater the toll on him and the greater his reaction to being challenged. Jack’s character in 24: Live Another Day is not the same man from Season 1 and that’s by design.
Does Jack have tone of voice between whispering and yelling?
Evan Katz: He has a third verbal strategy which is to repeat what he just said, but louder.
President Jack Bauer?
Manny Coto: He has my vote
I think it is really cool that 24 cast Mary Lynn Rajskub, a comedian in a dramatic role. What is it like working with her? Does she ever make you guys crack up on set?
Manny Coto: Like most comedians, Mary Lynn is just angry and unfunny in person.
Why does everyone says NUCULEAR?
Manny Coto: I don’t know, but it’s driving us crazy as well.
Could you make a 24 Short film that’s 24 Minutes long?
Manny Coto: The way commercials keep encroaching into our episodes, I’d say we’re getting pretty close.
Should I take the over or the under on 7.5 dammits in the finale?
Evan Katz: We’d like to know what half a dammit sounds like.
What’s your favourite Jack Bauer fact? And thanks for the show, here’s a few photographs of my car at the front and back.
Manny Coto: Jack Bauer has been to Mars, that’s why there’s no life on Mars. And your car is awesome.
Have you guys ever seen someone in line at the grocery store and feel the need to make them a star?
Evan Katz: No, and please don’t bother either of us at a grocery store.
Did you ever consider calling the new series, “24: Terror took a half day?”
Manny Coto: No. Never considered that, which is why we’re still getting paid.
Why does no one ever believe Jack?
Manny Coto: Because if they did the series would be called “1″
What’s the secret to stay awake for so long?
Manny Coto: When the camera’s not on you, you take cat naps and go to the bathroom.
At any point did you feel that Jack should be seen shooting and/or blowing up a thesaurus? It would be very symbolic of his (obvious) hatred of synonyms!
Evan Katz: We’re not aware, cognizant of, wise to, or familiar with Jack’s hatred of synonyms.
Have you guys seen the episode of South Park titled “The Snuke” where they spoofed 24? If so, did you enjoy it and was it flattering to have South Park do that?
Evan Katz: Yes, it was a great honor. We particularly liked that they set everything in battered old warehouses like the show.
How does Jack get around so fast in that LA traffic?!
Evan Katz: The same way he gets around in London traffic.
Why are the countdowns so LOUD?
Evan Katz: My mother watches the show and we make the countdowns loud to keep her awake.
Live Another Day seems to be a few episodes short of 24… What’s with that?
Manny Coto: If we find the missing episodes, we’ll send them to you.
I meant to ask…do you like guacamole?
Evan Katz: We can’t answer that question without giving away the end of the season.