LOS ANGELES – After four years off the airwaves, Fox’s “24” returns with a shortened run and the Bond-inspired title “Live Another Day.” Set across the pond in London, we follow Jack Bauer – now a fugitive – in his nail-biting attempts to avert global disaster from within the U.S. government.
There are drones, anti-surveillance groups, and plenty of distrust.
“The show was really current, and not because it came out around 9/11, but every season was current with politics that was happening around us at the time, or things that were going to happen in the very near future,” star Kiefer Sutherland told FOX411.
After debuting just two months after the September 11, 2001 attacks, much of the show’s appeal came through its “real time” narration method and striking ability to mirror the threats of the real world – terrorism, war in the Middle East, torture, weapons of mass destruction and corporate corruption. The gruff and tough Jack Bauer offered some sense of security in an otherwise instable world.
“Nothing is black and white, nothing is clear cut and Jack Bauer is that kind of character where he might save the President but he lost his wife, so there is inherent suffering that this character experiences on a heightened level,” Sutherland said. “But I think that on some level, everyone feels (that suffering) everyday so there is a huge relatability factor.”
But returning to Bauer wasn’t without its challenges – and the pressure is on to make this season as good as the previous.
“For me it was physical, literally getting your endurance back. Every time you see him running two blocks down that way, I do it 16 times from this angle to that angle and you can be doing that all day,” Sutherland said. “I’m (also) cautiously optimistic, scared to death, and nervous. All of those things. We had such a beautiful run for eight years, we had an audience who stuck with us through thick and thin, they were loyal and smart and they really supported us.”
And in the four years since “24” went dark, it seems relations between Bauer and his most trusted colleague Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) has too been dimmed by distrust. With her Goth-like getup and new gig in London working for a free-information hacker group reminiscent of WikiLeaks, along with an Edward Snowden-like beau by her side, O’Brian has officially gone rogue.
“My character is nuts. She’s anti-government, personally raw and messed up down the tubes. Now working outside the government, and is broken,” Rajskub explained. “I’m buried, leaking information about the U.S. government doing very coy-like things. I used to be all about doing the right thing and in episode two Jack and I come face-to-face and we do not see eye-to-eye, and have words… and yeah, it is going to be exciting.”
“24: Live Under Day” debuts on FOX on Monday, May 5 with a two-hour special 8-10PM ET/PT.
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Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay