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Biothreat: Beyond the Series

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A virus that affects the brain, as seen in Biothreat: Beyond the Series

Biothreat: Beyond the Series is a special feature found on the Season Three DVD.


The feature begins with a title card reading; The following documentary contains graphic images that may not be suitable for children... or squeamish adults.

Michael Loceff talks about the problems with writing about a biothreat hazard on 24, whilst images of Stan Blackwell preparing the fire for the opening shot by the NHS is shown. Anne Cofell, a 24 researcher, explains the problems with finding a virus with a 90% kill rate. She says that in the end they gave up and invented their own. Joel Surnow explains what they were looking for with the virus. Cofell says that it was difficult to find a virologist, but they eventually found Dr. Gabor Racz who studied effects of viruses on nature. His research with mice as test subjects is shown. Cofell explains the difficulty of her job; calling places such as the CIA or FBI and asking to talk about a virus that could wipe out thousands of people. Dr. Mitch Cohen of the Center for Disease Control explains about some viruses that are similar to the one on the show, and Cofell says that he was key in helping 24 to understand the response that occurred to the outbreak of the virus. Dr. Laurie Mascola talks about the reality of someone creating a virus in their own back yard. Dr. Racz talks about how difficult it would be in reality to use a virus as a weapon of mass destruction.


Anne Cofell talks about her experiences with Dr. Racz

Cofell explains that when she first got into contact with Dr. Racz he said that no virus presented a quickly as it needed to on the show, and so he suggested that they weaponized the virus; have it engineered to kill more rapidly. Dr. Racz is shown testing a racoon's brain for infective diseases. Surnow says that research comes after story ideas, which can be worrying when they find out there is research for some shocking ideas. Jim Lapidus, the costume designer, explains about he designer the HAZMAT suit. Surnow talks about the reality between the dramatic elements of the show. The real virologists talk about how fast things work on 24, and how they wish it was as easy to identify a virus in the time it is done on the show.

Conversation moves to the topic of the cyanide capsules that were offered to people at the Chandler Plaza Hotel. They explain that in reality it is a very painful way to die, and would not be used under any circumstances like those presented on the show. Cofell explains that in the end they settled with a "suicide drug", rather than naming anything to save the research elements. Dr. Mascola explains that the people would not be kept in the hotel in reality if such a situation arose. Cofell explains that it was easier and cheaper to stay in the hotel than removing people from the hotel, which Surnow backs up.

Dr. Racz explains that viruses can be used for good, which is something that should be focused on.

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