Kiefer Sutherland and Kim Raver, <EM>24</EM> Kiefer Sutherland and Kim Raver, 24

On the occasion of 24 treating fans to a double episode tonight (starting at 8 pm/ET), TV Guide spoke with some "well-informed" people to find out everything you need to know about the Fox thriller... and a few things you don’t.

Fans loved the budding romance last season between Aaron Pierce and First Lady Martha Logan. Will they finally hook up?
"That relationship does have legs, yes,” promises executive producer Jon Cassar. “I don't want to spoil how, but you will see some romance between them this season.”

Speaking of romance, will Audrey go back to Jack?
The answer is yes, but the question is when. Says Cassar, “Audrey is the true love of Jack's life and something isn't right until that relationship is figured out. She'll be back, but not for a long while.”

Are there plans to bring back other characters?
Cassar keeps a log of all the former characters who could return, including Day 1's political schemer Carl Webb (played by Zach Grenier) and CTU sniper Teddy Hanlin (Kirk Baltz); Day 2's arms dealer Alexander Trepkos (Eugene Robert Glazer) and presidential counselor Lynne Kresge (Michelle Forbes); and Day 4's terrorist offspring Behrooz Araz (Jonathan Ahdout). But none of them is currently slated to return.

Without revealing any names, how many cast members start this season but don't make it to the end?
“I know of three for sure,” Cassar says. “The plan isn't to bump off charac­ters like we did last season. But we still kill people off.”

Because 24's "day" unfolds over 24 episodes, the charac­ters must wear the same out­fit all season. Don't the clothes stink after months of production?
Please. This is Hol­lywood. Major characters have several backup outfits. There are three duplicates of Bill Buchanan's Hugo Boss suit, and Jack has about 12 replacements for each cos­tume item. Even so, as Kiefer Sutherland says, "You do have to be careful about pick­ing the right clothes at the start of the season. You want to be comfortable and warm enough in the first hour so that if you're crawling down a riverbed in Hour 18, you won't be cold and miserable.”

Does the medal hanging from the chain around Jack's neck in the final scene of Day 5 have significance to Jack's journey on the show, or is it personal to Kiefer?
Although Sutherland insists “it's very personal to me” and claims “it just popped up,” writer Manny Coto de­bunks the wardrobe-malfunc­tion theory. “There is some significance, and we will eventually reveal what it is,” he says. As with everything else on a show this meticulous, Cassar adds, “It wasn't thrown out there for nothing.”

What's the status of the 24 feature film?
“We dream about doing it, but I can’t see it hap­pening at the moment,” says Cassar, who explains that the series' schedule doesn't leave much time to make a movie. But never say never. “It would be cool to bring bigger re­sources and more focused attention to the action in a way that only movies can,” Sutherland says. “We'd be free to introduce — and kill, of course — new characters and have some latitude with language and content.”

Could a real person endure what Jack has survived?
“I guess it depends how far apart the days happened,” Sutherland says. “Six days in a row of no sleep and nuclear threats and bad guys would kill anybody. What I think would really happen, though, is that people might listen to Jack more than they do on the show. He’s the one guy who keeps sav­ing every freakin' day. Why don’t you just listen to him and give him what he wants?”

Why don't we ever see people eating on 24?
Simply put, it's too boring. “Last season, one character at CTU had a glass of water, but we edited it out,” Cassar says. “Yes, eating is part of reality, but it's mundane and takes away from the sense of suspense. These people don't have time for anything as ordinary as eating.”

How will it end for Jack?
The writers frequently joke about ways to wrap up the series, but Sutherland sees two probable scenarios. One is training someone else. “I can see Jack running a program to initiate another agent or agents so that he can pass the baton and become less of the focus,” he says. “But this being television, the other option is for him to save the day, walk back to his car, turn it over and boom! Goodbye, Jack, and you never saw it coming.” But who knows? “There's a reason I act and they write, and with all the certainty of the universe, I guarantee you that neither of those scenarios come to pass.”

For a quiz on all things Jack and Co. and a Q&A with Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe), check out the special 24 mini-magazine inside the Feb. 12 issue of TV Guide.

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