Though Kiefer Sutherland has spent more years of his career on the big screen than on television, he found his most iconic role on Fox's 24 as the take-no-bullshit Jack Bauer. Everyone and their mother wants him to show up on the upcoming spinoff 24: Legacy, but he'll next take on playing the POTUS for ABC's Designated Survivor. And it sounds like he might not have too much TV left in him after this one. Here's what he said.
Let's not forget that Kiefer Sutherland first tried to make the transition away from Jack Bauer with the two-season drama Touch (as well as the short-form The Confession). So while he might have been tired after being Jack Bauer for those first eight years, he was still interested in getting that TV job stability after 24 initially left Fox. And he then returned for the limited series 24: Die Another Day, so he was only playing Bauer for half the time. Seems like he might just be ready to leave the medium altogether if Designated Survivor doesn't work out.
That is, of course, also working with the assumption that Designated Survivor would somehow not work out. And there is every indication that audiences are going to eat this show up, confirming its place as one of Sutherland's great gifts. He stars as Tom Kirkman, who is suddenly promoted from his job as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development when a terrorist attack successfully kills everyone in Washington D.C. above his pay grade, and it's up to him to step into the role of President and lead a healing country.
And just as Jack Bauer was the man that CTU and the world needed to take down enemy threats, Tom Kirkman will give Kiefer Sutherland a different avenue to use in keeping the country safe. We likely won't see him doing the kinds of things Bauer was known for, at least not at the same rate, which will hopefully keep his spirits up should Designated Survival prove successful enough to earn multiple seasons.
Though there are similarities with the roles, Sutherland talked with TV Guide Magazine about getting behind a character that goes from low-level cog to Free World leader in an afternoon. (There's definitely no similarity between Designated Survivor and our current hunt for a new president.) And this role was apparently enough to draw him back to the medium for another go; not so much the case when it came to going back to the 24 universe, though that could still technically happen for him and others.
Do your duty as an American and as a TV fan by keeping Kiefer Sutherland on TV by watching Designated Survivor when it kicks off its first season on ABC on Wednesday, September 21, at 10:00 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is coming back later this year, check out our fall TV schedule.