Tzi Ma and Mary Lynn Rajskub in London
Tzi Ma and Mary Lynn Rajskub in London

Tzi Ma returns as Cheng Zhi in 24: Live Another Day

A fan snapped this picture of actor Tzi Ma with Mary Lynn Rajskub at The Bedford Comedy Club in Balham on June 10th. Mary Lynn was doing standup and her fellow 24 cast members (including Tate Donovan and Gbenga Akinnagbe) came out to support her. But wait a second, why was Tzi Ma there?

Tzi Ma and Mary Lynn Rajskub in London
Tzi Ma and Mary Lynn Rajskub in London, via @herbsk007

24 fans might remember Tzi Ma as the villainous Cheng Zhi in the fourth, fifth, and sixth season of the show (as well as the 24 Season 6 Prequel). Cheng was last seen in the sixth season finale telling Bill Buchanan “My people will not abandon me like you abandoned Jack Bauer” after being taken into custody.

In the first episode of 24: Live Another Day it was stated that Kate Morgan’s husband Adam sold secrets to the Chinese government. We recently found out that it was actually Steve Navarro and Adrian Cross responsible for selling the secrets, with Navarro framing Adam Morgan for the deed. In the seventh episode of Live Another Day, Cross told Navarro that he was simply a middle man. Could they be working for Cheng?

Cheng returning could be what made Kim Raver “gasp out loud” when she read the script for the eleventh episode. In the sixth season we learned that Audrey was held captive and tortured in China for over a year – the season ended with her in a catatonic state and it took years of psychiatric care for Audrey to recover.

Of course Tzi Ma appearing at Mary Lynn’s standup event could simply be a coincidence – we have no evidence of him being on set just yet. But when you think about it, a Cheng return makes perfect sense with the current storyline. It would tie together all of the plots and make things personal for most of the lead characters.

Source herbsk007 on Twitter


Comments Closed
I wonder if the us traded him back in a prisoner swap, otherwise Cheng should be in prison forever, of course, the writers are acting like Suvarov having Omar Hassan killed never happened.

Since Daniels was the president when Cheng was taken into custody, I’m sure he was let go, like, fifteen minutes later…

Worst president ever.

The only time I liked Daniels was in Redemption. All of a sudden, he was a ton of fun. If he had been a snarky drunk all along, I think he would have been my favorite 24 President :)

Heller, Audrey, and now (possibly) Cheng Zhi… say what you will but ‘Live Another Day’ is shaping up to be the season that Season 6 should have been!

June 12, 2014 at 3:52 am
I really hope that Tzi Ma does reprise his role as Cheng Zhi in the final two episodes of “24: Live Another Day”. Cheng Zhi was such an amazing and convincing villain and it makes perfect sense to bring back that character later this season due to this season’s storyline about secrets being sold to the Chinese. I really hope that Adrian Cross and Steve Navarro are both working for Cheng Zhi. I also truly hope that the characters Kim Bauer and Tony Almeida return later this season too.

chinese might kidnap audrey again that now jack surfaced and asked prisoner swap with chang for audrey. how jack rescue her while at the same time killing chang may be the final ending. ?? this season already resemble alot to season 6 so yeah

I wanted it to be was Tony :(

June 12, 2014 at 7:21 am
I knew it, I knew it. I hate to say this but on this site I speculated way before 24LAD premiered the we had not seen the last of Cheng.

Kiki Vanderway
June 12, 2014 at 8:41 am
Wouldn’t it be awesome if they just flew him over to pose for a Twitter pic to screw with us?

*laughs* If that’s what they’re doing, then let this be the only time in my life I hope for no pictures of Carlos Bernard.

Damn, the photo showed up on my timeline this morning! Would have been a great surprise!

Also, it looks like they’re filming exterior shots in London today, making Jack’s return to US soil less likely:

Thanks for posting!
When I first saw that picture, I was thinking that could actually pose for a LA scene, especially with the sunshine and all. Only one problem, If they did the 11 hour airplane back to LA time jump, it would still be night/dark when they arrived there.
However, If Jack and or someone else did flew back to LA, it would make perfect sense if we saw parallel daylight scenes from UK with some of the remaining cast. We still have the CIA, the PM, maybe even the president back on UK soil.

Yeah they could definitely have some daylight scenes in London and night scenes in LA, if they are doing it. I really hope Jack gets back to the US in those final scenes. Would they be able to assemble a crew to film scenes in the US though? Or would the scenes all have to be faked with a green screen in London?

It shouldn’t be any problem to assemble a filmcrew in US. They would have known this for months. And the crew they use in UK are mostly a UK crew anyway, meaning they only need to fly over the actor(s) some PA’s and Jon Cassar, (and use one of the other directors for the UK set) and they would be ready to film within a day.

By the way, that picture actually looks a plane or drone crash. The debris area seems to be rather long and narrow, with a pile at the end.

Yeah, it does look like it could be a crash site. Good observation! If they did/do go back to film in the US, they’ll probably have to keep it under lock and key. I really hope we do get some footage filmed in the US. Fingers crossed.

Fans: bring back Tony! Bring back Tony! Bring back Tony! X1000000

24: here, have Cheng instead yer cunts!


If Cheng is returning, I can’t believe they wouldn’t keep his return under lock and key. Wouldn’t MLR have to get permission before retweeting the photo of him?

Cheng could be a surprise they don’t care as much about which is a good thing for people waiting for surprises with bigger impact. Cheng’s kind of an obvious character to return with the Chinese and Audrey in the plot. On Day 4, we knew Mike Novick was back two weeks ahead of time because Fox put Jude Ciccolella’s name in the guest cast list of the press release and that was way more of an out-of-left-field shock than Cheng.

Again Audrey will not be who you think she would be. She is one of the core character lust like chole or Jack. cant wait to see your face with full of frustration kicking the floor in anger after the finale. you know why ? coz i am 100% it’s not the case. dont ask how . :-)

Dude, I won’t care if I’m right or wrong about Audrey. You’re the one all freaked out about it. I’d recommend finding a new way to take out your pent-up aggression. I hear pottery is really relaxing. Maybe some yoga?

And you might notice that in the post above here I just said that Audrey and the Chinese are both in the story right now. I said nothing about her maybe working for them. It’s kind of an undeniable fact that we have Audrey in the story and the Chinese in the story, no matter what the end results are. Go find a paper bag to breathe into.

**Admin edit: comment removed as personal attacks are not allowed here. Everyone should take a few seconds to re-read the comment policy (link is just above the comment form). Thanks!

If this is true, it kind of makes me think your theory about Audrey could be right. That said, I really really hope not. And there are a thousand other possibilities that don’t involve Audrey being a mole for the Chinese. But I suppose it is possible that Cheng did something to brainwash or control her when she was in his custody. It just seems implausible because it has been so long and she was catatonic for so long after China.

Kiki Vanderway
June 12, 2014 at 10:11 pm
The timeline though gets way too strung out. We had Cheng in custody end of day 6 and Audrey is catatonic or drugged out and not responsive.

Heller wouldn’t even let Jack near her let alone Cheng. Who was in prison and whom Heller would have wanted to rip to shreds…. so how could Audrey’s utility as a sleeper agent be sustained over such a long time when her main handler was in prison even if she was functional? Assuming she has been a real sleeper and gets activated now seven years after the fact….

She is in a bad way at least two or three years after the return to tte US and she is somewhat functional by day 8 or else she wouldn’t have told Jack she should have defended him more when she heard what happened because defending him to anyone only makes sense within the first few months of his fleeing the country after that no one is paying attention.

Is Mark then an agent of the Chinese — arguably the one with enough access to her within a time period that makes sense in terms of re-enforcing her “loyalty” to the Chinese but then we have to buy the fact that the Chinese have two agents so highly placed — makes Heller seem more out of it than his actions and diagnosis suggest

— I m having a hard time buying it

Kiki~~ Even though your reasons for why it’s kind of a wack idea are my same doubts as well, some devil’s advocate:

-We have no idea what happened to Cheng Zhi after he was seen under arrest on Day 6. The fact that he could be coming back now would mean that he probably wasn’t in prison. He may well have been right when he told Bill that his people wouldn’t abandon him the way the U.S. abandoned Jack. (Pretty sure it was Bill, Day 6 is not one I’ve rewatched past Graem’s death maybe, uh, ever. Heh.)

-Audrey could have been activated a lot sooner than seven years after Day 6. It’s been about two years since Heller won the Presidential election and if he was Taylor’s VP on Day 8 as could possibly have been the case, he’s been the President for four and a half years.

-Evil psychiatrists exist on 24. Martha Logan’s disturbing doctor comes to mind. I doubt it was directly Cheng influencing her recovery, if this is even what happened to her in the first place. He’d be maintaining from a distance. It’d be kind of like Marie and Syed Ali. Marie managed a whole other life while funneling money from her father’s company to Second Wave and was honored when Ali trusted her to perform a critical task for the group. These? Are the same people who brainwashed her when she ran away for a month after her mother died and she saw her Middle Eastern friend raped by American soldiers. She came back, Bob Warner was just so happy to have her back that he didn’t question anything, and when she met a new guy (who worked for her dad) and seemed so *normal*, the more time passed, the more no one thought to wonder what happened during the time she was away. Meanwhile, Marie was getting ready to marry Reza and setting it up so that when CTU got involved, it was either Reza or Bob who looked guilty. But to look at her until you knew this? Marie was a spoiled ex-sorority Barbie bridezilla who blamed any conflict on everyone else around her. The point is, Marie lived for years doing comparatively small things for Second Wave (moving money, arranging meetings) through Warner International before she was called upon to help detonate a nuke. Audrey has even more power and influence. She’d be kind of the most perfect spy ever, if you were the Chinese– high-ranking, personal connections to the other high-ranking players so that there’s really nothing that doesn’t pass her by, and with an image of the perfect heroine– the well-spoken, well-educated, lady-like First Lady.

-re: assuming she would have defended Jack if she were functional on Day 8… are you sure she would? She hears her ex-lover has snapped and killed foreign diplomats and her dad is now back in politics. That’s a pretty big choice to make, even if she isn’t a spy. And if she is a spy? She definitely wouldn’t defend Jack. Not just because it wouldn’t be politically a smart idea but because it would blow her cover. If she’s manipulating Mark, she’d need him to believe in Big Bad Psychopath and Traitor Jack Bauer, or else she can’t try to convince him she’s moved on from Jack. If she were to defend Jack, it would raise red flags– just the way it is today.

-I don’t think Mark is an agent for the Chinese. Again, could be totally wrong here on any or all of this but Mark strikes me as pretty much who he seems to be. Doesn’t mean Mark hasn’t done some shady stuff today but he’s done it to try to protect his family. I don’t see him as having any motivation for helping the very country who did this to his wife. It also doesn’t work with his reaction to Heller wanting to talk to Parliament. If Mark was a Chinese agent, he would have tried to make it so that Heller did do the speech, so they’d have a better chance of losing the base. Mark argues vehemently against Heller doing it.

Brainwashing is one of those plots, I think, that no matter how it’s done, always sounds totally insane when you’re discussing it. I kind of winced when first purposing it but I’m talking the interesting, Sgt. Brody kind of brainwashed, not like hypnotist-like handlers saying a codeword and temporarily turning Audrey into a killing machine. More of a shift of her political beliefs after everything she has experienced, aided by a plot of pharmaceuticals at one point early on. The fact that it’s been such a long time makes it even worse because she could have done an awful lot of damage over that time since she’s gotten better, if this is the case.

For what it’s worth, I think this is something they actually wanted to explore with Jack on Day 6. They basically had to create Phillip Bauer’s involvement with the Chinese to come up with a plausible reason for why the Chinese bothered keeping Jack alive for twenty months. At some point, they would have had to break him or realize that he was never going to talk, so it’s understandable why all the other characters are wary of him when he returns after so long. It’s like, okay, why did they bother keeping you alive? The writers came up with the BXJ family drama to explain why no one put a bullet in Jack’s head after a month of him not talking. There’s not really a reason for Audrey, sadly, other than to think that they might have turned her.

Like you say, though, there are a lot of other options. Regardless of anything to do with Audrey, the Chinese are mixed up in this and to make it Cheng who is the face of that plot would just be fun and make for good drama with his history with Jack and Audrey.

i think jack is the real mole who is working for Mr Chang. i think he surfaced after longtime to gain trust of Mr heller and CIA by using drone attack as a drum card. actually it’s jack who is behind the drone attack as well. maha al harazi is working for him. he used this as a reason to gain access to white house. so he can work for CIA again and gain access to the Prison where chang being held. and then help his leader mr Chang’s escape. in the end of day he will kidnap audrey and take her to china and put her in prison and torcher her by him self. so she can go back to her coma again.

Mary, the ’24’ writers didn’t create Philip Bauer or BXJ Technologies to justify why the Chinese didn’t kill Jack during his ‘stay’ with them over 20 months, they didn’t have the broad strokes of the season planned in advance, so Bauer Sr’s involvement with the Chinese wasn’t plotted out until very late in the game when the writers suddenly discovered the suitcase nuke storyline petered out and they still had six episodes left to fill, that’s when the microchip storyline was plotted and not any sooner… writer David Fury even commented at the time (and in the aftermath of the backlash against that troubled season) that the season arc was poorly plotted and planned, and that they ran out of road with regards the Abu Fayed storyline and had to race to think of a whole new plotline to finish the season.

I would give Season 6 another whirl if I were you, yes it has serious problems, but they are in the overall plotting (the whole Bauer family melodrama is what derailed that season, and HoGo has stated as much) not the production values, which are second to none. The first eight episodes are gangbusters good, as is the frankly awesome later episode where Jack finally tracks Fayed back to his lair and ends his reign of terror as only Jack can, plus the final episode is seriously good with a brilliant oil rig sequence and the SINGLE BEST ending of any ’24’ season to date… the entire final episode has a hauntingly emotional resonance to it that sticks with you afterwards.

Just my own two cents for what it’s worth…

Gerry Mander– I don’t know how much they did or didn’t have planned ahead of time but I’m saying that after the fact, they had to come up with a reason why Jack was in China for that long and combining it with BXJ was probably as good as any. It’s even possible they wanted to do a plot where something like this had happened to Jack and then decided that wouldn’t work or they couldn’t make it happen. I can’t remember where now but I thought I remembered reading that they wanted to do something about Jack maybe having been compromised but then something happened– which might have been why (or part of why) Day 6 starts to flail around a bit.

I have the feeling they might have known where they wanted to go if Jack went darker in the later seasons but they probably had a lot of resistance at the time to doing that from Fox. They then had to kind of feel around for something of a plot because they had to fill seasons but couldn’t push Jack in too different of a direction. If you notice, a lot of Day 6 came around again on Day 8. Suddenly, Logan (who had been put on hold with that stab wound out of nowhere on Day 6) comes back and there’s a peace treaty, a President who falls from grace because of him… this could easily have been Wayne Palmer’s plot on Day 6 but it doesn’t work unless it happens at the same time as Jack goes over the edge. Somewhere on Day 6, what starts out epically winds up with seventeen hundred hours illustrating all the ways they could give an actor like Powers Boothe absolutely nothing to do in Daniels while half the episodes focused on his aide. It was a lot of driving in circles, as if they kept staving off plots for stuff you started to see towards the end. Tony almost came back on Day 6, Cheng Zhi gets spared death so that Jack can get some revenge as part of the final chapters of his character, Audrey gets left in a coma with the writers saying for years afterwards that they left her out there so they could bring back her and her defense contractor husband… well, here’s Audrey and her husband on Day 9, along with a darker Jack, Cheng Zhi, the Russians in the mix, a high probability of Tony, etc..

I think the first four episodes of Day 6 are some of my favorite of the series ever. I absolutely loved the Jack & Logan at the Russian embassy arc and Graem and the Assad story. When it was airing, I was liking it more than I think a lot of people probably. (I don’t want to generalize but it seems to be the most hated season from what I’ve read.) I’ll probably get around to rewatching it at some point but despite having some of my favorite characters in the series, it wound up feeling like a lot of waiting around for nothing to happen for most of it.

Dammit (Chloe), I plum forgot about Logan and the Russian consulate episode, that was just plain awesome too… the whole Logan-Martha episode was priceless, them two have dynamite chemistry!

Can’t believe I forgot that, muchos gracias for that…

When the ’24’ writers started work on Season 6, they initially had the idea of Jack being a broken and altogether darker person, much closer to Tony in Season 7, and with Jack being the hunted rather than the hunter (Kiefer even alluded to this in an interview with The Guardian newspaper in the summer of 2006), but after having written a couple of scripts with this development, it was clear that it wasn’t working, it wasn’t convincing having Jack undergo a dark turn without proper motivation, so they had to re-write the scripts at quite a late stage, which is why production on Season 6 finally commenced a month later than usual (late August as opposed to the usual late July start).

One of the problems with Season 6 was not only were they writing the season on the fly as it went along, they were also working at the same time on the movie script, they really should have kept their full and undivided attention on that season instead of faffing around on side projects, but that’s just my opinion…

Gerry Mander~~ Thank you! That’s exactly the article that I was trying to remember.

Season 6 is like a mass of wonderful ingredients.

Vanilla ice cream

and also

Fried Chicken
and Steak

All mixed together into one disgusting paste to make a final product which is quite revolting.

The production values of 6 though are quite incredible I concur.

This is the best analogy ever. :)

I think the worst problem with it is that stuff that wasn’t the most interesting of plots went on for way too long and stuff that was gripping disappeared in the blink of an eye.

That said, it’s also one of the darkly funniest seasons. Vampire!Jack, Morris and Chloe’s every interaction, Milo Grew Up To Be A Douche plot, everything that ever came out of Graem’s mouth, a nuclear bomb goes off so Aaron Pierce goes to the farmer’s market to get Martha some fresh kiwi… My personal favorite is the appearance of the guy who runs the convenience store behind CTU: LA who doesn’t bat an eyelash at a bloody Morris needing booze. This should have been 24’s spinoff right here– “Open 24 Hours”, the story of the guy who sees it all.

Kiki Vanderway
June 13, 2014 at 3:18 pm
Yes. it was a cold mess and a hot mess!

I LOVE this rumor. Cheng is one of only two (2) major antagonists to have survived the series, the other being Mandy. I’ve been dying to have been back because he was such a strong, awesome villain.

Please be true.

June 12, 2014 at 11:19 am
Actually, there are others, such as Fake Martin Belkin (he was never heard of again after he almost killed Palmer in Day 1) and Alan Wilson (who Renee tortured but survived). Sergei Bazhaev is also alive, but probably sharing a cell with Tony & Marie Warner (who didn’t appear in the 24 Game on PlayStation 2).

I think he might have meant multi-season antagonists. Your mention of Fake Martin Belkin reminds me that I always wanted him to come back but then remembered that he probably has and we never knew it. *giggles*

I’m talking major antagonists.

New West Virginian
June 13, 2014 at 12:58 am
Yuri Suvarov, Tony Almeida (these two became antagonists in later seasons), Mandy, Alan Wilson are all still alive. We don’t know that Mitch Anderson or Behrooz Araz lived or died. And yes Marie Warner is also still alive.

Alexander Trepkos, one of the conspirators in Season 2, was also left alive and might have even gotten away.

You can argue that Yuri Suvarov was an antagonist all along. Helping Jack and Logan on Day 6 actually benefits Suvarov and his overall end game so it’s entirely possible that Logan’s pal was really a skeezebucket from the start. Behrooz wasn’t really an antagonist. He did more to stop the day than most of the CTU agents.

Take this with a huge grain of salt, since it’s the IMDB, but they are listing the finale as 10:00PM to 11:00PM. I think it’s more likely going to be 10:00AM to 11:00AM, or 10:00PM to 11:00AM with a time jump during the episode:

If they give us essentially 12 hours of story with no real time jump, I feel like we should get a Day 10 that begins the next day. :)

Well they seem to be filming some exterior daylight scenes today, so I think we will b seeing at least part of the finale taking place in the 10:00AM-11:00AM hour.

I loved the character during his brief stints in seasons 4 and 5. I thought his arc in Season 6 was extremely cartoonish, but I’d still be excited to see him reprise his role considering the history he has with both Jack and Audrey. Should be interesting!

Thought they’re going to bring back Tony Almeida but why Cheng? Wonder if he’s out for revenge against Jack. They should’ve killed him off in the Season Six finale.

If Cheng is coming back, what about Papa Bauer. He had plenty of time to get on the boat and make it to the sub in Season 6 before the missles hit.

If I remember right, the actor was less-than-impressed with his stint on 24. I doubt he’d agree to return.

I doubt anyone would WANT him to return. Besides, if you look at Jack’s on-screen dossier in episode 1, Phil Bauer is listed as deceased.

Could I have Graem(e?) back instead?

Kya Garwood confirmed that Yvonne wrapped today:

So sad more cast wrapped today. @Y_Strahovski @24LAD it’s been a great pleasure working with you. See you at the wrap

Kiki Vanderway
June 12, 2014 at 8:47 pm
Twitter has been rather silent of late from most cast and crew. Wonder whether they filmed alternate endings or not or how tight a lid they can keep on it. I guess Kate makes it through the day. The fact that Ross McCall had Celtic jerseys made for Kim Raver, Bill Devane, Tate Donovan recently and thus they were still in the UK maybe indicates they also make it to the end as well…..

They certainly have been pretty quiet during the past couple weeks. Hopefully we’ll get to see some behind the scenes photos from the finale after it airs.

June 12, 2014 at 5:45 pm
Reading recent quotes of Sutherland say he may be getting too old for the pace of more shows seems shot sighted for the character. Jack doesn’t always need to be in a chase and jumping away from bombs. Bauer can be as psychologically intimidating as he is physical. There are many characters to carry strong action and plots for future episodes especially if the producers want to transition the show for a long term run. The show 24 not Jack Bauer. I would rather have balance of Sutherland playing Jack with other characters than not have the show or Jack at all! I just hope Fox makes a smart offer for renewal producers and Sutherland can’t refuse!

Called it since they first mentioned the chinese

Same here. I knew they brought Audrey back for a reason and when they kept mentioning the Chinese I figured it was related. Not sure how, but now I am thinking that the fact that Mark’s explanation of how he “brought her back” didn’t add up is more than just the producers doing a rush job of explaining the back story.

Don’t forget that China released Jack in exchange for something we don’t know. China coming back to get Jack would be pointless and probably violate some laws. The whole point of the last eps of S6 was to prevent China from gaining Russian defense codes. This may come back into play since Russian is a story arc in this season.


The mastermind of LADs events is: Jack Bauer.

Think about it, Jack probably worked in the shadows to setup the days events to get all his old enemies together in one place. He was behind Adam’s framing and the selling of classified shit to the Chinese to bring Cheng out into the open.

No other explanation would be acceptable. If Cheng JUST HAPPENS to be involved by sheer coincidence… *sigh* then the writers have truly learned nothing from Day 6.

I don’t think Jack set up Adam but I definitely, definitely think he has something up his sleeve here. There are way too many plot points that seem convenient as all hell if Jack doesn’t have a personal end game.

Well I just tweeted this herbsk007 person and they replied “We checked [about tweeting the photo] first…told it was okay”

Kiki Vanderway
June 13, 2014 at 6:17 pm
Well…told by who?

All I know is we will find out whether 24 will be renewed for season 10 possibly by the summer press tour next month or if not sometime by May 2015. Fox has said if another event series came along, it would air in 18-24 months after season 9 ended which would mean January-July 2016! A decision would have to be made before May 2015 so writers have a lot of time to craft the season.


I’ll be extremely disappointed if he’s back and we don’t hear him say consul at least half a dozen times. #24DrinkingGame

Haha yes he did say that a lot. I just really hope that Mike Novick is president, and Aaron Pierce as his advisor. It makes a lot of sense since we will have to see the American implications of Heller’s probable death and Heller himself mentioned the vice president. It would also be so fun to see them again and to have Jack reunite with them, even if it is over the phone.

I am a bit annoyed about the lack of explanation regarding the outcome of President Taylor’s resignation and President Suvarov’s legal status. Hopefully this will be revealed by the end of the season, since they are apparently going for closure.