The cast for Season 8 - John Boyd, Katee Sackhoff, Mykelti Williamson, Mary Lynn Pyskub, Freddie Prinze Jr Annie Wersching, Kiefer Sutherland, Anil Kapoor, Cherry Jones and Chirs Diamantopoulos © Fox

One of the most innovative and acclaimed dramas on television, 24, returns for an eighth season – and one more horrendously intense day for Jack Bauer, aka Kiefer Sutherland.

Set in New York City, Day Eight unfolds amidst the shadow of the United Nations. Jack is unwillingly drawn back into action after learning of a plot to assassinate determined Middle Eastern peace-keeping leader Omar Hassan (Anil Kappor) as he negotiates international security with President Taylor (Cherry Jones). Kiefer Sutherland spoke about the upcoming season yesterday at the Television Critics Association.

We are dealing with a time right now where terrorism is a real threat. Does that make it trickier or easier to do this series?

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) © Fox

When we started shooting 24, it was about five months before the terrible events of 9/11. So our objective is to create this unbelievably fast-paced dramatic circumstance that takes place in the 24-hour period.

The fact that it actually aligned with things that were happening in the news and made it relevant was really something that caught us completely off-guard.

I think one of the things that an audience has been able to relate to is there is some resolution.

I think we live in a world with regard to terrorism that is a constant fear, and we very often feel very helpless about it.

Whereas Jack Bauer in the context of this show, and the other characters in the context of this show, actually are doing something, and somehow the audience becomes a part of that.

I think in many ways that alleviated a lot of stress that people were feeling on a day-to-day basis.

Do you expect or want 24 to continue past this season?

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and Cole Ortiz (Freddie Prinze) © Fox

We’ve always approached each season, just the task of doing it, as so great that literally from the very first season on, we’ve completed that season, and it was really Fox’s decision to pick us up.

There’s never been one specific season that the next season was guaranteed or ensured. This has been one of the greatest gifts of my life, the ability to do 24. So for me, yeah. It’s something that is absolutely open.

I’ve always said that as long as people wanted us to make it, and people were really interested in watching it, I would be interested.

There are a lot of components involved. The task of writing it is far greater than the task of acting in it.

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Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.