The last time viewers saw turncoat-agent Tony Almeida on “24,” he was facing serious jail time for treason.
His reasons for siding with terrorists against the U.S. may have been understandable — to save his kidnapped wife — but fans of the Fox suspense show ended the season with the reasonable assurance that Tony was gone.
Turns out now that he’s not forgotten. Tony Almeida’s coming back this season.
The word several months ago was that many of the program’s most pivotal characters would not be returning for the new season, which debuts January 3.
“I was always told there were going to be changes, but that I was always going to be coming back,” actor Carlos Bernard told The Post, as he prepares to start production on the fourth season of “24” next week. “We had discussions about how the Almeida character was going to be brought back. I wanted to do another season, if the character was put in a new place.”
Prison was the most likely place — given his double dealing.
But this week Bernard is more focused on the story yet to be mined from Almeida’s past.
“It’s not so much about what you didn’t find out about the character, it’s more about the possibilities with the character,” he said.
Bernard’s mum on the fate of Almeida’s wife, Michelle (Reiko Aylesworth), or even what episode he makes his entrance, saying that kind of advance information migth spoil things for viewers.
“My first impression from the script was ‘I love it,’ ” Bernard said. “You can see change in the character over the third and fourth season, which is always fun to play. You have to fill in the holes of what happened. The way they introduced the character was very cool, in a way I didn’t necessarily expect.”
The show’s producers, aware of the huge popularity some of the show’s characters had with viewers, do want to bring those actors back in some capacity for the new season, said Fox spokesperson Chris Alexander, who was quick to add that the program, eager to not repeat itself with key characters whose story lines had run their course, didn’t “want to be handcuffed to use the same group of actors.”
The show had added some celebs, firing some sparks of their own to the cast, including Oscar-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, “Third Watch” Kim Raver as Kiefer Sutherland’s love interest, and veteran actor William Devane as secretary of defense.