'24' exclusive: The real story behind last night's killer episode!

24Image Credit: Kelsey McNeal/FoxSpoiler alert: If you have yet to watch last night’s 24, stop reading now. Everyone else, onward and downward!

Last night, yet another of Jack’s love interests bit the dust, this time his female counterpart, Renee. And while the outta-nowhere tragedy will no doubt spin our hero off into another vengeance-seeking spiral, I’ve got questions. Lots of questions. Like, was the decision to whack her made before or after the show’s recent cancellation? How did her portrayer, Annie Wersching, take the news? And most importantly, why was she killed?! Exec producer Howard Gordon phoned me to answer all of the above, and he tackled another burning mystery as well: Who determines how many minutes it takes for Jack to make love to a woman?

When did you make the decision to kill her off?
At the very beginning of the season. I even told Annie and Kiefer [Sutherland] that that’s where the story was going.

What was their initial reaction when you told them?
They both got it because it was a pretty simple story, one true to form for the show. We really were looking for an emotional anchor for Jack, and it was brought up very early in conversations about where Renee was, what she was up to, and how they would reconnect. But the idea that Jack again has this chance at happiness at the beginning and somehow this person — who he’s influenced in the last year — chooses to make this decision that has had terrible consequences for her and Jack and for which Jack feels responsible was really the hook to me about why Jack is really sticking around this year… We knew Jack and Renee would get a chance to reconnect, but there’s always been the moment of breathless real-time sex that we’ve looked for during the last nine years and it was something Kiefer and I talked about. And it felt like when else can they possibly do it than at the end of this story? And as you’ll see, the ramifications of [her death] are obviously what the rest of the season is all about.

Was there some doubt or internal debate about whether this was the right decision?
Yes. We always have some doubt when we do certain things. We had a couple of thoughts and concerns, but the way the story fell it had to happen… My wife was literally in tears watching it. And when I can make my wife cry [watching 24], I know I made the right decision.

Where does Renee rank among the loves of Jack’s life?
GORDON: No one ever understood Jack more deeply than Renee, [so] she may have been his greatest love. Jack was always segregating — even with Audrey Raines, who he loved but who represented another world. A world that he had chosen to join and hang up his gun. So when that story started it was a very conscious choice on Jack’s part: I fell in love with this woman; I’m going to put on my suit and hang up my six-shooter. With Renee, she knew the worst part of Jack going in. Jack was the guy being brought up in front of this House Sub-committee and was a monster as far as she was concerned. He had done terrible things that were against the law that she could never imagine endorsing herself, but, of course, she finds herself in a similar position by the end of the season. Part of it, too, is that [Jack] has never had a romance that was in real-time. We saw every moment that Jack and Renee were ever together. So in that sense, it was the most 24-specific romance ever.

I thought it was interesting that you cut away from Jack and Renee for two whole acts after they started making love. Did a lot of thought go into how long it takes Jack Bauer to make love to a woman?
GORDON: Oh absolutely. And, by the way, Jack and Renee were not by any means done. I think this was probably closer to Round 1. I mean, he was just getting a glass of water. So yes, we were very sensitive about it because it’s a very sensitive thing. We really wanted to do it as tastefully and virile-y as possible for a man like Jack Bauer.

I can only imagine how that conversation went.
[Laughs] Trust me, it was a funny and a fun and a real conversation.

Was Kiefer involved in that discussion?
Yes, he was.

How does Jack bounce back from this?
He doesn’t. This is a game-changer for him. It’s like all deaths. He’s lost something he can’t get back. He has a way he wants it addressed, and if he doesn’t get satisfaction and justice, you know, he’s gotta find another way. But it really does set things in motion that are pretty profound for the character and it’s a place I don’t think he’s ever gone before. It’s as dark and complex and as combustible as any place Jack’s ever been.

Switching gears, your last day of production was last Friday. How’d it go?
It was an incredibly emotional day. I’m just so incredibly proud to be a part of it… This has been an incredibly strong season. I can [only] judge it in terms of what my own opinion is of the show and what I hear about it anecdotally from the people who are friends and family, but I feel very proud of this year. Kiefer is very proud of this year. People are happy to be ending with such creative vigor.

TV scoop is best served instantaneously, so follow me on Twitter at @ewausiellofiles


Comments (273 total) Add your comment
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  • fty

    I thought this was a really crappy turn in the story and it made me angry. It was unnecessary. Renee was a great character, they should have let her live. Just another in a season of stupid decisions that let led to the death of this show. And you know what? After 9 years of loyal viewing, good riddance. They have really screwed this series up.

    • Jane

      I kinda had problems with the fact that Renee would want to have sex a few hours after being raped. I’m just sayin’…

      • t3hdow

        I realized that too sometime after the episode ended. Then again, given Renee’s emotionally distressed state at the time, it may have been easy to separate both moments.

      • harry

        Ok, Ray william Johnson.

      • LOL

        Republican men hate women. Of course the male viewers won’t miss her. This show is wet dream for a Bush voter.

      • Zoi

        I don’t think it was unrealistic for her to want sex, even after the rape. People who’ve been through a frightening ordeal naturally gravitate to sexual intimacy – they call it ‘terror sex’. Plus after having given herself to Vlad the Impaler (Impaled?), what better thing to take that nasty taste out of her mouth than Jack? :D

      • bananny

        that was my first thought, guess you have to be a woman to understand!

      • brendacarolina

        i agree with you,its weird,its very unreal even for a show like 24.

      • Tony

        Just keep saying… it’s only a TV show… it’s only a TV show. Besides, you don’t know what specific acts Jack and Renee did.

    • thin

      Yep. Full-on stupid crap. If they hadn’t done it as such a cliché with the “hey, we’re going to be really happy” moments just to set up having it get taken away, I would have been a lot less annoyed.

      • jake

        The executive producer should be taken out and shot.

      • James


    • Ashley

      They had to kill Renee. They needed to make room for a new leading lady in the movie!!!!

      • chris

        IF they find another leading lady, I’ll find some other movie [to watch].

      • Bob

        At first I was mad they killed her off but I think they did it because of the movie..if Jack was truly done then I think she might have lived and he would find happiness but there is still more to Jacks story.

    • Kermit

      I agree. This show is built around lazy writing. Kill love interest, rinse, wash, repeat. Glad the show is dead and I’d NEVER pay to see any movie that these writers would be behind.

      • Billiam

        Unless I am forgetting something, this is only the second time in 8 seasons they have done this. Although what happened to Audrey was fairly analogous to killing her off.

    • Vicky

      My husband and I have been very loyal viewers of 24, even our 13 year old, who never watches TV, has gotten hooked this last season. I can’t remember the last time I cried watching television. I am so disappointed in your choice to kill poor, wonderful Jack’s soul mate. I feel angry about it, so much so that I have come up with my own ending to ease my sadness. It goes something like – they fake Renee’s death to catch the killer, Chloe decides to keep Jack in the dark. Of course you won’t change your mind, but this ending is unacceptable in my mind. Thanks for the good television time. As usual, the good shows always end too soon.

    • william sanders

      Killing Renee was the worst possible foible EVER for this show and its character .CMON Jack gave his life over and over for this country and he finaaly found a great love interest and the director has to go CHEESY revenge motif AND screw Jack at the same time . Why the hell not let the poor guy go off in the sunset with the girl for once for Gods sake ? They could STILL have shot her and left her life in the balance while Jack got revenge but in the end he could have had somthing . it sends a terrible message that doing the right thing your whole life is worthles and still gets you screwed . Why not just let jack get killed in the end now, who cares ? For me it ruined all the years of the show , felt sick all day over it ,. Your wife cried because it was awful you moron.

  • Jason

    Horrible idea to kill her off. I won’t be watching the rest of the season.

    • Ian

      No one cares

      • Rich

        I’m a (straight) male and I thought it was a bad idea.

      • Amber

        I had no problems with it, Renee annoyed me.

    • filmboymichael

      ….yes you will….who are you kidding….

      • Ian

        Notice every person who says it was a TERRIBLEEEE DECISIONNNNN is female on this message board. If you want romance, watch a poorly acted soap; there’s thousands of them on day time tv. This is 24.

      • Shileeta Buffet

        No, Rich made it very clear that he is both male and straight (not sure why)

      • michael

        Eff off Ian. Really. We’ve had 8.5 years to grow fond of jack b. Some of us were hoping for a happy(ish) ending for Jack after all that he’s been through. And, even if EVERY person who thought it was a “terrible decision” to kill her off was female, the only thing that that says is you are a cold-hearted schmuck. Again, eff off.

    • Alan

      Ian, I’m a guy and I think it was a terrible decision. I mean, how much more can Jack take? In the real world if someone had lost and suffered as much as him, they would have topped themselves long ago. They’ve just made him out to be this punching bag of loss and grief. Enough is enough already.

      • t3hdow

        I agree. As much as I don’t like how formulaic dramas disregard every worst case scenario imaginable, with 24, now it has become the opposite. Jack’s been through extreme hell, which includes losing a spouse and longtime girlfriend already, so with Renee, you think Jack would finally find relief. Nope. Kick the dog while he’s desperately clinging onto any hook of sanity left. Now, Jack’s tragic life has gone from miserable but reasonable (given the setting and circumstances) to unnecessarily cruel.

      • gordon

        “Kick the dog while he’s desperately clinging onto any hook of sanity left.”

        Isn’t that what drama’s about, especially on this show? It seems like almost every season has been about pushing Jack to the edge in one way or another and seeing how his character reacts. On the one hand, that makes this development somewhat repetitive and predictable, but on the other, as Howard Gordon points out, this is an even deeper loss than most Jack has suffered. Wouldn’t a happy ending have rung a bit false? They could have just sent Jack and Renee on the run from the bad guys for the next 6 episodes, but isn’t this more intense and exciting? It seems like the appropriate way for the series to go out is to push Jack even further emotionally than they have before and see what happens. The show has always been about sacrifice and loss, hasn’t it?

    • Billiam

      You don’t want to see Jack avenge her death? It will be Jack on a mission for the rest of the season, and I am looking forward to that, even though this might be the saddest I’ve ever been about a death on 24 (although there have been alot of sad deaths, most notably Teri and Edgar).

  • Hope

    I like that idea the Renee, not Audrey, sorry audrey fans. Is Jack’s true love that she’s walked a mile in his shoes gone through almost as much as he has and understands him like no other women before her. *sigh*I ‘ll miss her. :(

    • Divagurl

      Knowing this just makes Renee’s death all the more infuriating. We’ve seen Jack driven to revenge over and over again. Do we REALLY need to see again? I don’t. Watching two broken people find comfort, love, and strength to move forward togther would have been more emotionally satisfying. Damn you 24.

      • James

        @Divagurl. Ditto. Really depressed after last night’s ep.

    • Hope

      I understand what you’re saying, but what’s done is done, and though we can dream, she’s not coming back. We only have a few more episodes to go by till the end. So I’ll keep watching. Besides, Jack’s been through so much hell already, it’ll be nice to see him turn the tables you can only beat a dog so many times before he turns on you. And it’s seems like the badass JB hasn’t made to much of an appearance. What happened to Renee is gonna drive him over the edge. I always did love JB as a loose cannon more fun that way.

    • Sylvia

      Audrey is Jack’s true love; Renée was just a one-off.

  • arp

    I agree with Jason. With so many deaths on 24 its not surprising anymore, just lazy. Terrible idea.

    • jenn

      Totally stupid idea. Overdone and not surprising.

  • Allie

    what’s teven?

    • Goober

      Your IQ.

  • Darrien

    Jack can’t have anything, this was the strongest episode of 24 this season in my opinion.

    • tvfan

      I agree, I thought this is how is has to be. Besides, it would never have worked. She was almost what he needed, but she was not really strong enough.

      • Minnie

        Thought it was a great episode. Sorry Renee had to go but this is 24, hello, and a lotta people bite the dust. [What’s happened to Tony?] Will the Russians sign the Peace Treaty? I don’t trust President Logan. YUK. Love that Chloe’s now head of CTU. Cool. Jack’s gonna find Renee’s killer, that’s for sure. Staying tuned. Love 24.

  • dlauthor

    I’m OK with Renee cashing in her chips — she was pretty much a tragic character all season.

    On the other hand, if Chloe somehow gets whacked before the end of the season, the producers are going to have to deal with thousands and thousands of fans making the same faces Kiefer was making at 8:59 last night.

    • Ian

      Chloe is getting whacked this season.

      • yay!

        i wish chloe had been whacked 5 seasons ago. she’s terribly annoying and poorly acted.

      • TMB

        Five years ago I would’ve agreed with yay! about getting rid of Chloe. But since she had that incident outside of CTU headquarters with the gun (don’t remember the season) Chloe’s character has gone from an annoying nerd to an unintentionally hilarious and vital part of the CTU crew.

      • James

        @TMB, it was season 4, and season 5 Chloe really reached a new level that made her completely awesome.

    • Kevin

      “I’m OK with Renee cashing in her chips — she was pretty much a tragic character all season.
      On the other hand, if Chloe somehow gets whacked before the end of the season, the producers are going to have to deal with thousands and thousands of fans making the same faces Kiefer was making at 8:59 last night.”

      Not at all. While I also think killing Rene was a bad decision, the reason I won’t be watching the rest of the series is that Chloe is running CTU.

  • David

    Great article, great show. Has to be the best “drama” on tv. I cannot believe people watch mindless crap like DWTS versus watching this quality show… a shame. Rest in Peace Jack!! You the man!!!

    • michael

      Watching DWTS doesn’t require thinking or any human human emotion whatsoever. People like that. Just ask anyone who watches CBS.

  • DMS

    Oh please to compare loves to Audrey is a joke. He knew Renee 2 days. She was unbalanced and just slept with Vlad. I’m so glad she’s gone. There was zero chemistry with them.

    • thin

      They had fantastic chemistry last season, and for my money, she was a large part of what made last season so good. Her character this season has been a lot less interesting, and the show itself has been weaker all around.

    • dgh

      Yet she was the love of Jacks life not Audrey!!!!

    • RLH

      lol Audrey is a joke

    • Billiam

      24 isn’t the best at writing romance. But I liked Renee’s character so much, and wanted Jack to be happy so badly, that I was willing to forgive the laziness on part of the writers to actually develop them as a couple.

      • Hope

        they do a far better job of it the Heroes which is a sinking ship and I’m glad to have jumped it while I still could.

  • Patricia

    The producers went too far with the heartless way Renee was killed. I will not be watching the rest of the season and glad to be done with it this year. They simply went TOO FAR.

    • Jesus Christ

      Get the sand out of your vagina.


      • Patricia

        No need to refute your statement. Your vocabulary speaks for itself.

    • dgh

      I sit back and read some these comments and wonder what show people claim to have watched for the past 9 seasons. This is 24 where deaths are the norm and fairy tale endings don’t happen.

      • MC

        EXACTLY! This is 24 people, hello! The show in which Jack’s wife got offed in THE VERY FIRST SEASON. The show in which he couldn’t even form a relationship with Kate Warner in Season 2, the show in which is love got offed in Mexico in Season 3, where his next love (Audrey) was kidnapped and tortured just to get to him. If you really expected Jack to get a romantic happy ending, I have some serious doubts about your sanity. Jack is a tragic character and I like the way they’ve taken this story. Yes, I didn’t want to see Renee die because I thought she was a great character and was the perfect counter-balance to Jack. But again, this is 24, no one ever gets a happy ending, not even Tony and Michelle.

      • MC

        ^^ “…the show in which HIS love got offed…”

      • James

        “This is 24 where deaths are the norm and fairy tale endings don’t happen.”


        I have watched every season of 24. A bad ending for Jack’s personal life is lazy and predictable, yet still effin’ tragic. Last night’s ep was like a drunk abusive spouse. Hurt, but keeps coming back (until the divorce in 6 weeks).

      • Hope

        @dgh QFT (stands for quote for truth) WORD!!!

  • chattypatra

    You know, this has been a great season, but I don’t agree that Renee had to die. There is no balance in Jack’s life. Who can live like that? Couldn’t they have let him have some happiness in the end? What a letdown!

  • dan

    I am still shocked and bummed by last nights episode….Every other season of 24 has been about payback or revenge of some sort…The show throves on jacks tormented life but I thought this was a great opportunity to provide some alleveation of the past years for both fans and his character…It was a little predictable and disappointing that they are making the last 6 episodes about revenge once more..especially since we know theres a movie coming out where hell do it all over again…

    • Divagurl

      Exactly. We all know this is the formula for 24 and for Jack’s character. That’s why so many of us were hoping for something a little more original and against the norm this last season. It would have a more risky move to let Renee live and to see Jack and Renee find out what happens next as far as anay relationship goes than to rehash old plotlines. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Sadly the writers lack the ability to be more creative and I guess that’s partly why viewership was down.

  • Katie

    I agree that this was a lazy move by the writers. Renee was a strong character and I was kind of hoping they’d do something different for a change. I’m really disappointed.

  • Layz

    i couldn’t believe she died! i mean its the last season, can’t they just leave jack happy for once! but yaa i get why they did it, kind of makes sense considering theres still 7 episodes to go.. n i cried like a baby all through the end of this episode! it was beyond AMAZING!! i will truly miss this show! :'(

  • Amy

    I’m absolutely gutted. I think it was a stupid, stupid, stupid decision to kill her off. Fack you, 24.

    • Abd

      I’m with Amy!!! This sucks!!!

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