Bye Bye Bauer: 24 ends on May 24

You can tell Jack Bauer is Canadian, eh? Who else would “take off” on a May 24 weekend.
Kiefer Sutherland’s deadly alter ego shoots his way into history tonight as 24 airs its two hour season finale (8 p.m., Fox and Global). Bauer may go down as the most ruthless good guy in TV history. The website 24wiki kept a running tally of Bauer’s on-screen kills and after eight seasons, going into Monday night’s finale, it stands at 266 victims. “Unwanted and inintentional kills are included for the sake of completeness” it says at the site. Tidy.
All together, 13,626 people were killed over the eight seasons of 24, including around 250 in that opening episode airplane explosion–a scene that aired less than two months after the real terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Bauer was a hot topic up north at the cottage this weekend, with Jimmy from Exeter, Ont., still loyal to Bauer and Co. He was heading back tonight to see the finale on the new plasma screen. Bauer gutting that Russian dude and yanking that microchip out of his entrails was still earning a tip of the cap from the boys up around the fishing islands.
The consensus, however, was Jack’s exploits were getting a little ridiculous and that ending the series now was a good call. A movie script has been completed and there’s no reason not to expect Bauer to make a Bond- or Bourne-style feature film impact.
The cast and crew celebrated the end of 24 at a series finale wrap party April 30 at Boulevard 3 in Los Angeles. Fox photographer Frank Micelotta was there and snapped these shots of Sutherland with the Canadian actress who played his doomed wife Teri (Leslie Hope) and the late great president Palmer (Dennis Haysbert). That first season shocker of an ending made 24 a must see show. Wacky Day One villainess Penny Johnson Jerald also made the scene along with Carlos Bernard (right). One great story about how tight the cast and crew all were on this series is this one: Bernard had just bought a house when he got his script that he was being killed off on 24. When the producers learned of his predicament, they kept his character alive another four or five episodes (and even brought him back to life a year or so later) so he could get a few extra payments together on the house.
A big reason so many Canadians were cast in 24 over the years is Jon Cassar (left at the finale bash with Kim Raver), the Ottawa-raised executive producer who also directed more episodes of 24 than anyone else. Cassar worked on 24 co-creator Joel Surnow’s previous series, La Femme Nikita. That action hour was shot mainly in Mississuaga, Ont. If you check it out on IMDb, you’ll see that many of the actors who worked Nikita found their way onto the 24 set. One who didn’t was Nikita herself Peta Wilson–no accident according to those in the know, who wrote the blue-eyed blond off as a Class A nutjob. Two Canadians who worked the series recently became husband and wife. Carlo Rota (Chloe’s ex-Morris O’Brian) had a nice long run (by 24 standards), sneaking into Day 5, sticking all of Day 6 and even getting in on Day 7. Rota’s new bride, former Border guard Nazneen Contractor (above with Anil Kapoor and Necar Zadegan), worked 21 of this season’s 24 episodes as the daughter of a Kapoor’s Middle Eastern leader. I recently spoke with Rota and Contractor about their 24 duty and wrote about it for an article on Sunday’s Toronto Star:

The couple note that 24 is a series much respected in the TV industry. A gig on that show is a ticket onto other Hollywood lots.
Rota does believe, however, that it was time to call it quits. “It will end in a good place,” he says. He credits Canadian-trained director/executive producer Jon Cassar — who he worked with in Canada with 24 co-creator Joel Surnow on La Femme Nikita — with running a tight ship and keeping the door to Canadian talent open. This past season, Canadian director/producer Brad Turner filled a similar role. “To create that show and to keep it going for eight seasons took a tremendous amount of effort,” says Rota. “I think it’s time to move on to features.”
Contractor agrees and credits Sutherland, also an executive producer, for setting the quality tone. “He really takes the reins on the set,” she says. “He wants to have fun but he’s also ridiculously charming and really concerned about our well being. I had a torture scene and he came up to me later to tell me how great it was. I was so spoiled and very happy to be there.”

Read the full Star story here.
As for Sutherland, TV critics will always have his back. Not because Fox kept sending us swag like the final FedEx goodie, a commmorative piece of CTU (mine looks like a floor tile; at least it wasn’t part of that Russian guy’s spleen). No, classy Sutherland earned our respect simply for showing up every press tour for all eight seasons to show the love. May he walk forever with a Canadian cigarette tucked behind each ear.

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