Last spring, when ratings for
24 began to nose-dive along with President Bush's approval ratings, producers decided to address the backlash against their protagonist, whose tendency to torture terrorism suspects hit too close to home. "The fear and wish fulfillment the show represented after 9/11 ended up boomeranging against us," head writer Howard Gordon tells the
Wall Street Journal. "We were suddenly facing a blowback from current events."
Gordon says the original Season 7 "fix" would have found Jack building houses for orphans in Africa, doing "penance for things he's done in his life." This scenario also would have marked the first time 24 deviated from its real-time structure, since returning Jack to the U.S. would have demanded a transcontinental flight. Ultimately, Fox rejected the Africa concept, claiming it was too far afield from the show's identity.
Although producers ultimately settled on a different Season 7 storyline, it's still not clear if/when we'll be seeing those episodes, eight of which were produced before the WGA strike hit.
What do you think of the Africa/"redemption" storyline? Did Jack have much to atone for? - Mickey O'Connor