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Season 3 audio commentary

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An audio commentary is a different audio track for an episode of 24 that features key cast or crew members to that episode talking about its production or their experiences on the set.

Seven audio commentaries were featured on the DVD release of Season 3. They were from "Day 3: 3:00pm-4:00pm," "Day 3: 5:00pm-6:00pm," "Day 3: 10:00pm-11:00pm," "Day 3: 1:00am-2:00am," "Day 3: 5:00am-6:00am," "Day 3: 10:00am-11:00am" and the deleted scenes.

Audio commentariesEdit

Episode Commentary by
"Day 3: 3:00pm-4:00pm" Howard Gordon, Kiefer Sutherland
Information gained:
  • During this part of the season, the audience isn't aware of Jack's real motives, something that the writers hadn't attempted before.
  • The scene of Jack nearly shooting up heroin was debated among the writers, some of whom wanted to place it later in the season. Kiefer comments that the Lady of Guadalupe tattoo on his arm is real, and he still has it.
  • Gordon comments that he is always happy to work in references to the history between the characters prior to the events being shown.
  • Although the premise of a deadly viral epidemic was an effective motivator for the plot, it was decided that it would be a mistake to realize the threat this early in the season, and it was better to string viewers along until the second act.
  • Gael being revealed as yet another mole was criticized by many viewers, making it all the more satisfying when he was revealed to be working with Jack and Tony.
  • The dynamics between the two Salazar brothers, Claudia, and Jack were something the writers enjoyed building up gradually and resolving when Jack eventually arrived in Mexico. Kiefer loved the Mexico sequence and working with the actors involved, saying that it felt so removed from CTU and felt like a different show in its own right. He says that one of the strengths of the show is developing villains for Jack to contend with over several episodes, such as Michael Massee's character in the first season.
  • Gordon compliments Riley Smith's performance as Kyle Singer. Kiefer comments that it's disconcerting to watch an actor young enough to be his son, and says that some of Sam Singer's dialogue sounds familiar to him. The family subplot was an attempt to recapture the family dynamics of Season 1.
  • The idea of the CTU sting operation between Jack and Tony was first conceived during the production of this episode.
  • The idea for Season 3 came about after Gordon read about the Tres Fronteros, a region in South America that was becoming a notorious hub of terrorism and the drug trade.
  • The editors on 24 have such an intuitive understanding of how the show works that Gordon almost never has to spend time in the editing room like on other shows.
  • Kiefer comments that the scene where Kyle fights with his parents is, on its own, just a depiction of two parents struggling with an unruly child, and one example of the kind of basic drama 24 excels at in addition to the action and espionage elements. The show works on so many levels, which Kiefer says is part of the reason it's attracted so many fans.
  • At the start of the season, the writers decided that Jack had given up hope of working at CTU and having a normal life at the same time, leading to the subplot of Kim and Chase's relationship. Both compliment James Badge Dale on his performance, and Gordon says that he has grown a lot since the start of the season. Kiefer says that Dale immediately adapted to the show's fast pace and demanding requirements, and feels that both of them improve each other's game.
  • Gordon admits that the writers struggled with David Palmer's story this season. The basic concept in the first part was to put him in a relationship with a woman who wasn't prepared for the political world. At the outset, it was not clear how long Anne's story would last, but after it ended in episode 8 the writers needed to come up with a new story for the remainder of the season.
  • One of the regrets of the second season was a lack of particularly complex antagonists, something that Gordon resolved to rectify with the formidable Ramon Salazar.
  • Gordon loves the shot of Luis Annicon looking up in disbelief just before dying, saying that there is an element of horror in spending years of one's life on a mission and missing one's family only for it to be in vain. While in England, Gordon watched Macbeth, something that reminded him that the show is, at heart, a tragedy.
  • The writers find it particularly powerful when the show throws everyday people like the Singers into the heightened world that Jack Bauer operates in.
  • Kiefer says that the HAZMAT suit is the worst costume he's worn throughout his career, especially since the scene was filmed in August in 90 degree weather. It's also a hard outfit to look heroic in. The series in general has been a great education in the value of conserving one's energy as an actor.
  • Kiefer is particularly proud of 24 for depicting an African-American President, and says that Dennis Haysbert is phenomenal in the role.
  • The revelation that Kyle's powder is fake is, to Kiefer, the real start of the season, as viewers now start to question who at CTU is telling the truth and who's making plans the audience isn't aware of.
  • The decontamination sequence was the hottest day of the shoot, and it felt like it was 140 degrees inside the HAZMAT suit. Kiefer's retching reaction is not faked.
  • Gordon laughs that Kiefer is so good at holding interest while spouting complex exposition. Kiefer says that, thanks to the real time nature of the series, he has trained himself to treat every scene as the most important of the episode.
  • At one point, the possibility of a 24-branded cell phone was discussed. Gordon jokes that it would be advertised as constantly having perfect reception and never running out of power.
  • A major goal of the third season's story was to force President Palmer into corners where he would be forced to compromise his moral authority. Gordon says that he missed Sherry during the first act of the season, and that it's important to be mindful of when characters should enter and when they should exit.
  • While acting in this episode, Kiefer did not yet know about Jack's secret objective, as the writers hadn't fully conceived of the twist in episode 7.
  • One thing the writers were set on was the idea of the major threat being a person rather than a bomb or other device. During the writing of the episode, it was still possible that Kyle actually was a viral outbreak waiting to happen.
  • Kiefer doesn't watch the series, believing that for his part it's better to simply do the work and move on to the next episode, rather than allowing his performance to be colored by watching his past work. In general he agrees with Orson Welles' quote "Films are never completed, they're abandoned," with regard to his acting roles.
  • Kiefer says that Mary Lynn Rajskub is fantastic, and her character is somewhat bewildering. Surnow had seen her in Punch Drunk Love and vouched for her to the writers, saying that she would be a great fit for the show.
  • For a long time, the writers fully intended to actually kill Tony Almeida, as they were at a loss what to do with his character. Instead, however, he enjoyed what Gordon calls the most miraculous gunshot recovery in history.
  • Gordon heard a rumor that somebody downloaded Jack's voice mail message and distributed it for download.
  • The crew was thrilled to film at the mall in Canoga Park because of the well-equipped food court.
  • Kiefer compliments Andrea Thompson as Nicole Duncan, having seen her act in NYPD Blue, a show that convinced Kiefer that television had great potential for drama.
  • Tony's shooting comes out of nowhere, an example of how 24 keeps viewers guessing. To simulate the bleeding from Tony's neck, Carlos Bernard had to hold a handkerchief soaked with fake blood and squeeze it as he turned over, all while keeping the cloth hidden from view.
  • Kiefer says that he is very glad Tony survived, because Bernard is a great actor and a good friend.
"Day 3: 5:00pm-6:00pm" Evan Katz, Riley Smith
Information gained:
  • This episode went through six or seven drafts. The centerpiece was the prison break and the Russian roulette scene, while the presidential debate runs throughout the episode.
  • Originally, the television at the prison was to be hit with an axe, but it was discovered that it's actually very hard to shatter a television tube.
  • The prison scenes were filmed at an abandoned women's prison, Sybil Brand, that was shut down due to its proximity to a "toxic waste dump" or something dangerous.
  • Jack was originally going to pull a fire hose from the wall, which the two guards would trip over before being subdued. It was changed to its final form to include the beat where Jack has to stop Salazar from beating the guard to death.
  • Jack and Chase have opposite objectives in this episode, neither of them able to know what the other knows. It was a good source of tension to have Chase, objectively doing the right thing, forced to go up against his partner.
  • Smith and Agnes Bruckner spent as long as six hours inside the containment chamber, where it got very hot. Katz says that the set piece results in scenes that feel like a two-person play. Smith says it was helpful to have no outside elements to deal with, making the dialogue very easy to deliver. Smith and Bruckner had previously worked together on a pilot that was both their first acting jobs, in which again they were playing boyfriend and girlfriend.
  • It was difficult to come up with a way for Kyle to kill himself in an isolated room; eventually the wires on the ceiling were used.
  • The writers are fascinated with modern surveillance techniques. In the world of the show, CTU has access to all the Caltrans traffic cameras across the L.A. area.
  • The scene between Kim and Michelle is a typical example of conveying exposition by having one character explain something to another, and by extension to the audience.
  • The scene where Jack and Ramon are overwhelmed was difficult, as they needed to have Jack overwhelmed but not have him suddenly seem incompetent.
  • Katz says that Lobo Sebastian, playing Peel, did a fantastic job. He also loves the moment where Jack and Chase briefly see one another before Jack is taken hostage.
  • The scene between Kim, Adam, and Michelle was written and filmed only after the episode came in under its usual running time. Generally, scenes that are written to fill the hour are effective, as they tend to involve character development among the regulars at CTU.
  • Filming Kyle's failed suicide was done using a harness, but the wires had to appear as if they were tight around his neck. Katz says that the final scene is painful to watch, and says they did a great job.
  • Claudia is set up as a Lady MacBeth type, causing friction between Hector and Ramon Salazar, but later episodes introduced a different dynamic.
  • Katz loves the monitor room at CTU, saying it reminds him of Twelve Monkeys.
  • The hostage scene was originally set in a cafeteria, but the laundry room, found during location scouting, had a great aesthetic and was decidedly a better set piece. The Russian roulette sequence was a determined effort to depict something more brutal and unpredictable than previous episodes.
  • Originally, the game of Russian roulette was to happen between Salazar and the prison guard, with Jack trying to intervene and save Salazar's life. However, the writers realized that the audience is really invested in Jack, so it made more sense to have him be forced to play as well.
  • Lobo Sebastian, normally a very sweet guy, instantly becomes "scary as hell" once the scene starts.
  • In the script, the writers toned down Jack's encouragement of the guard to go through with his turn. Buchanan actually shooting himself, so early in the sequence, was something that viewers weren't conditioned to expect.
  • Smith compliments the camera crew on 24, saying that he learned a great deal from them and they were the most competent he'd ever worked with.
  • The internal geography of CTU is intentionally somewhat muddled, as the writers often have need for characters to get from one area to another quickly.
  • Kim's gradual suspicion of Gael was rewritten to play out much more slowly.
  • Katz talks about Michelle Dessler now having to balance running CTU with worrying about Tony, saying that their relationship takes a difficult path this year. CTU being able to access the operating room feed makes them somewhat omniscient, but it was an effective way to show where Michelle's character was.
  • The tunnel behind the prison cells was discussed in the writers' room, and luckily enough, the shooting location actually had a tunnel like what they had imagined. It was used by the maintenance crew to change light bulbs in each cell.
  • Peel was originally supposed to disbelieve Jack's confession, but Katz realized that it didn't matter if he believed or not; he would still make Jack and Ramon kill themselves.
  • Fox had great concerns about the Russian roulette sequence, resulting in certain edits and a public service announcement by Kiefer Sutherland before the actor. Riley Smith says that the way the scene is written and filmed almost makes it possible to believe that Jack could die.
  • Jack is in a complicated position, as even if he does get rescued by Chase, he will still need to find a way to get away with Salazar.
  • The hole in the wall that gets blown away was a "plug" placed over an empty doorway in the prison location. The gunfight scene, though very complicated, was filmed fairly quickly, as the 24 crew had become very astute at sequences like this.
  • The presidential debate was originally going to have a larger part of the episode, but it was significantly trimmed down, with some of it getting pushed to the following hour.
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O'Brian is a remarkable character, as she allows the writers to believably do "quirky" scenes in 24, something that they hadn't previously conceived.
  • The idea of bringing up personal scandals in a debate would have been unthinkable twenty years ago, but unfortunately is now commonplace.
  • Katz likes the relationship between Wayne Palmer and Anne Packard, "the pragmatic and the romantic."
  • Jack's heroin addiction was a major plot line that the writers planned from the beginning of the season, as a new way of showing how far Jack would push himself in the name of his work.
  • Katz and Smith both laugh at Chloe's line to Kim, "It's really unfair that you made me do this."
  • The real time nature of the show means that sometimes characters learn something new one at a time, which results in the audience hearing the same information repeatedly. Katz feels that it forces the writers to innovate, and they get good mileage out of how each character takes the news.
  • Initially, Jack was to threaten to Chase that he would kill Salazar, which made no sense. Eventually they decided to have Jack appeal to Chase about how serious the threat was.
  • The assault on the industrial facility happens mostly off screen. Because Smith couldn't see what was going on while the gunfire went off, it was actually a scary moment.
  • The scene of Jack just barely missing the news that Kyle Singer has been found was a central idea when the writers first broke the episode, as it is excruciating to watch.
"Day 3: 10:00pm-11:00pm" Howard Gordon, Sarah Clarke
Information gained:
  • With this episode, Gordon really liked that the viewer was finally back on the same page as Jack Bauer, and also liked seeing Nina Myers reenter the story.
  • Clarke takes a second to remember what is happening at this point in the story. Gordon says that it was very liberating for the writers to finally have everyone know enough of the plot and not have to further the conspiracy of the first several episodes.
  • Joaquim de Almeida and Vincent Laresca had never met before working on 24 but soon became fast friends. Laresca, who in real life has no significant accent, made a point of not letting Almeida or any other members of the cast hear his real speaking voice until after he was killed off.
  • Clarke says that Kim Bauer working at CTU is an interesting concept. Gordon says that it was either that or bust, as they couldn't resort to any more cougars. The season being set three after the last one made it a little more plausible to have her knowledgeable enough to fill that role.
  • The writers discussed at length how to bring back Nina Myers, as they hadn't been satisfied with simply killing her off in season 2. Clarke thought it was a great opportunity to discover where Nina would be emotionally three years after being freed from prison. A big part of Clarke's performance was her belief that Nina had sincerely hoped to never see Jack or any other reminder of her previous life again. Coming in contact with CTU and potentially recapture makes her far more determined to complete the purchase of the virus.
  • Gordon says that Season 3 was great at deeply plumbing the depths of characters like Jack and Nina, to a degree they hadn't managed in past seasons. Gordon says that the past relationship between the two, though based on a lie, was something genuine for both of them, something that Clarke enjoyed playing.
  • Gordon points out that Michelle and Tony also had a tough time this year, then laughs that it's just a big soap opera. "Plus torture," says Clarke.
  • Clarke laughs and winces at the scene where Chase Edmunds is electrocuted. Gordon says that the scene is "vintage Joel."
  • Clarke recalls that she was once confused why we never see Palmer in the Oval Office, then remembered that he was actually in Los Angeles, and wondered where the President works in real life when not in Washington, D.C.
  • It took a long time to land on what Palmer's storyline would be in this season. The Alan Milliken plot was only conceived after Anne Packard's story arc ended.
  • Chloe's babysitter is played by Jaclyn Sara Silvers, granddaughter of entertainer Phil Silvers.
  • Gordon and Clarke both compliment Mary Lynn Rajskub. Clarke is surprised to hear that she is a stand-up comedian as well as an actress.
  • Gordon says that, after so many reversals and plot twists, it's important to not resort to them too often at the risk of becoming stale.
  • Joaquim de Almeida, who knows six languages, would sometimes start a line in the wrong language, but always brought a high level of intensity to the dialogue.
  • Despite Claudia's past moral compromises, she is still capable of doing the right thing, and someone whom the audience can root for. Gordon briefly reminds Clarke of the history between her and Jack.
  • Gordon likes Gina Torres' performance as Julia Milliken, and says her relationship with DB Woodside was well played. He can't remember where the restaurant scene was filmed.
  • Clarke scoffs that Wayne and Julia would meet so publicly, then laughs out loud when Gordon tells her not to ask questions like that. She says that, to be fair, it might be a hotel lobby or some other less exposed place.
  • Gordon says that he really appreciates when actors have problems with their character's actions, as it often leads to reconsidering the story and results in a better show.
  • Clarke and Gordon are both taken aback by Chase's gunshot wound, and Clarke compliments how visceral the scene is.
  • Clarke gasped upon reading in the script how Claudia is killed. Gordon is amazed to watch the shootout scene, saying that it measures up to any movie he's ever watched. Clarke suddenly realizes with a laugh that she doesn't appear in the episode until the very end.
  • Both compliment Paul Schulze for his work as Ryan Chappelle, particularly in this season. At the time, Clarke didn't know what happened to Chappelle later in the season, but had heard about something big.
  • Everyone was very concerned about the baby story line, but ultimately Gordon felt it pulled through on the strength of Mary Lynn Rajskub's performance.
  • Hair extensions were used to distinguish Nina's appearance from her previous look. Clarke made a point of putting her hair back in a ponytail during filming so that later scenes would have to match the same haircut.
  • Clarke's co-star Matt Bushell, playing Cale, was terrified of the bats inside the church set.
  • Clarke laughs about having to run and film the fight scene in high-heel boots.
  • Kiefer Sutherland came up with the idea of Nina using her briefcase to clock Jack in the face. After filming the scene several times, Clarke's arm was very sore.
  • Gordon says that it was a good decision to rejoin Chase after Oriol and Sergio find Claudia's body. It was in keeping with 24 usually following only one central character in a given storyline.
  • Part of the reason Nina doesn't immediately kill Jack is that she is very much on her own, and now believes that Jack's suffering may have gotten him to an emotional place similar to her own. Also, it is in her interest to take his temperature and find out what his intentions are.
  • The moment where Nina nearly shoots Jack, just a single line in the script, becomes a very nuanced sequence in the episode thanks to Clarke and Sutherland's performance.
  • The whole episode was building up to the scene where Nina kisses Jack. Clarke was originally concerned about the scene, and Gordon agreed that in earlier drafts they hadn't really earned the payoff at the end.
  • Clarke comments that there is a very similar dynamic unfolding between David and Sherry Palmer as between Nina and Jack. Gordon was very glad to have Sherry back on the show, as she is a lot of fun to write for.
  • The pauses in the last scene between Nina and Jack were extended in editing. The scene was filmed many different ways, including ones where Nina moves in quickly and others more slowly.
"Day 3: 1:00am-2:00am" Joel Surnow, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Information gained:
  • The mexico scenes were shot in Thousand Oaks, California, and then in the Santa Clarita valley. Some of the Mexico stuff was shot at a ranch that got burned down a couple of weeks later in the fires, and they were going to have to go back and use it but avoided having to.
"Day 3: 5:00am-6:00am" Robert Cochran, Reiko Aylesworth, Carlos Bernard
Information gained:
  • In the pilot episode of the show, the props department hid pictures of nude women in the Rolodex that Jack thumbs through. Kiefer Sutherland stopped the filming and told everyone that's not how things would work on 24, and the props people became embarrassed.
  • After filming a scene when Michelle Dessler looks at Gael's body, a crew member appeared wearing a chicken suit to console her.
"Day 3: 10:00am-11:00am" Carlos Bernard, James Badge Dale, Tim Iacofano
Information gained:
Deleted scenes Jon Cassar, Michael Loceff, Howard Gordon
Information gained:

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