Last week on Fox's 24 (Mondays at 9 pm/ET), CTU staffer Nadia Yassir was identified as a mole feeding info to this season's baddies, prompting Ricky Schroder's Mike Doyle to give her a helluva scare in the interrogation room. But is Nadia really a turncoat? Or is she the victim of a masterful, 24-style setup? TVGuide.com debriefed Marisol Nichols on her character's unfortunate pickle.
TVGuide.com: First off, talk CTU to me....
Marisol Nichols: "I need you to upload the link to the variable... thing and decode it to my computer."
TVGuide.com: "The variable thing"?
Nichols: How about, "Upload the video image to my feed and decrypt it using an H5 QS"?
TVGuide.com: Wow. You and Mary Lynn [Rajskub] could charge $2.99 a minute for that stuff.
Nichols: [Laughs] You ever see that Crank Yankers where that guy calls up and actually gets off on computer jargon? It's hysterical. He calls, like, Microsoft repair and gets aroused by the woman talking about megabytes.
TVGuide.com: Here's a burning question: Is Nadia's white blouse the same one my wife owns? Is it Theory, the missus asks?
Nichols: No, no.... The suit is Theory, but the wraparound blouse is not. Close!
TVGuide.com: Being a newbie to the show, I have to ask: How are you liking your daylong — meaning months- and months-long — wardrobe?
Nichols: Well... I will never wear a blue suit and a white top, like, ever again as long as I live. The buttoned-up thing all the way to the neck? If I come back next year, a sweater, or a pullover....
TVGuide.com: The Ricker wasn't too rough on you in the interrogation scenes, was he?
Nichols: No, he was actually too gentle. I kept telling him, "Rick, you have to touch my neck," because the camera's right there and it's going to know if you're faking it. I was like, "Come on, I trust you! I know you're not going to hurt me."
TVGuide.com: "Leave some bruises on my neck! Make the people at my local Starbucks worry about me."
Nichols: Yeah! [Laughs] But Rick is not like that, so I had to coax him into grabbing my neck.
TVGuide.com: You know that if they ever have Mike Doyle tooling around CTU on a giant train, I'm going to have to declare that 24 has jumped the shark.
Nichols: [Laughs] Or if Alfonso Ribeiro shows up and does the little dance? How hilarious is that?!
TVGuide.com: I've been telling anyone who will listen that perhaps they will groom Mike Doyle to take the baton from Jack if Kiefer gets tired of this thing.
Nichols: Ooh, that's interesting. I don't know if they think that far ahead, to be totally honest, but you know how Roger Cross [Curtis Manning] was sort of Kiefer's wingman? I'm wondering if that's what Rick's role is. Because you never know, they could kill Kiefer. Even Kiefer's like, "They could kill me."
TVGuide.com: Tell me how the whole 24 gig came to you.
Nichols: I had finished [ABC's] In Justice and a couple of weeks later I got another audition for 24 — it was about the fourth time I had auditioned for them over the years. I had never been hired, so I was like, "I don't know why they keep calling me, because I don't think they like me."
TVGuide.com: Do you know any of the other roles that you went after?
Nichols: One of them I think was a role [Season 2 CTU staffer Carrie Turner] that a girl named Lourdes [Benedicto, The Nine] ending up doing, it was a smaller role. So literally I left the [new] audition thinking, "They hate me," and I ended up getting the role. "Never mind, I don't know anything!"
TVGuide.com: Were you a fan of the series going in?
Nichols: Yeah, but not as familiar as I am now. I had a drama the last two years in a row, which doesn't give you a lot of time to watch [TV].
TVGuide.com: But still, you had to be stoked to go work at CTU!
Nichols: Oh, it's huge. I knew all about 24 from the first season, and when I got the role they gave me the fifth season on VHS, so I could catch up.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of sexy little CTU, do you think the real-life subterranean White House bunker is that stylized and set-designed? Is our taxpayer money going to seldom-seen doors with etched glass?
Nichols: [Laughs] I have no idea. Maybe they just made it up and thought it should match CTU as far as [state-of-the-art design]? I wonder.
TVGuide.com: Turning to the story line at hand, being the new person at CTU, I see we've got to put you through the ringer of is-she-a-mole-or-isn't-she suspicion....
Nichols: Do you know how many text messages I got after [last] Monday's episode? Oh, my god. Either, "You're a traitor!" or "I hate Rick!"
TVGuide.com: I figure Nadia is either very, very good at lying, or she's totally being set up by somebody.
Nichols: Oh, thank you!
TVGuide.com: "She says in a noncommittal manner."
Nichols: Exactly. I wouldn't want to give it away because I like where it goes, I like what they do.
TVGuide.com: Just how soon do we find out if Nadia is in fact eeeeevil or not?
Nichols: You'll find out this Monday some of that. But this is 24, and they do go in loops and throw you in different directions. What I'm saying is you will learn something on Monday, but....
TVGuide.com: You mentioned In Justice earlier. I was thinking that if Nadia gets wrongfully imprisoned for treason, your character from that other show could come save her bacon.
TVGuide.com: You think the Friday-night time slot was In Justice's biggest liability? It was a decent little show, and made you feel good at the end of most episodes....
Nichols: It did. I loved the concept of the show, but I wish it had taken more chances. Get off a rapist, a guy who's been in prison for 35 years and never did it. I loved that idea of, "Look, not everyone has gotten a fair trial, maybe evidence was planted.... " We could have gone down even darker alleys to really show what you could have shown with that. There was an episode with a retarded guy that went to places that normal TV doesn't go, and we ended up killing the guy, and I thought that was brilliant because that is what happens. Then again, Friday night? Blechh. That is the death slot. May I never be in that again.
TVGuide.com: You played Audrey in Vegas Vacation, the one Vacation movie I haven't seen?
Nichols: Yes, I did. [Laughs] It's on TV constantly, I'm sure you won't miss it.
TVGuide.com: I loved how the kids kept getting recast without any regard for continuity of age, size, appearance.
Nichols: Audrey went from the younger sister to the older sister.... It was pretty funny. That was the first movie I had ever done, ever. I grew up with the Vacation movies so I was like, "You want 'em for what?! No way!" Randy Quaid taught me to play craps, which was a blast, Chevy Chase played pool with me a couple of times, I became an expert blackjack player.... It was a pretty wild three months in Vegas and a good kind of "de-virgining" into the movie industry.
TVGuide.com: You're in Delta Farce, and I've had some people in my news blog asking about that summer release. What's the bullet on that?
Nichols: It stars Larry the Cable Guy, who is absolutely hysterical and the No. 1 comedian in America with the biggest following. When my agent told me the premise, I laughed my ass off. It's about three volunteer guardsmen who get sent away to fight the war in Iraq, and on the way to Iraq they get dropped in Mexico by accident. But they think they're in Iraq and they're there to liberate the village. Being the only female under the age of 50 in the village, I am Larry the Cable Guy's love interest. [In Mexican accent] He saves the village from our bad guys! I had a thick Mexican accent the whole time. It's funny as hell. The goofiest thing I have done, ever.
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