Did 24 make up this season as it went along? Yes.
Did Jack Bauer cross a line he'd never crossed before? Yes.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, producer Howard Gordon gets credit for his candid answers, admitting that he had "no idea" the Russians were behind Hassan's murder until the last minute.
Below, he looks behind (to the series finale) and also looks ahead to the inevitable 24 movie...
On President Taylor's dark side: My initial impulse, and our initial impulse, was that there was no more story to tell... we needed [Taylor] mostly to tee-up Omar Hassan, and help ennoble him as a character. So the idea was always to have her at the edges of the stage, teeing up this character, and as it turned out, she became a profound player in the drama. It’s not just the death of Renee so much as it is the deprivation of justice that gets Jack to this place. I think it’s really important to look at those two as being a flip side to the same coin.
On all the season eight killings: That’s not what we set out to do but there was a kind of a go-for-broke aspect to this year, so we felt freer to do some extreme behavior, some extreme things. I really hope that we never merged into the place where it was gratuitous, or sensational, or hysterical. I felt like the deaths that occurred were ones that were justified by the story.
On the Pavel torture scene: That was a combination of a conversation with Kiefer and a way to dramatize that Jack had actually stepped over the line, and had gone to a red zone. We knew it was going to be a risk. Kiefer really went for it. It was a grotesque ballet that he wound up dancing.
On Jack falling for Renee: The human connections that Jack has really makes the seasons stronger. What he wants, and who he wants it with, is really important. In the end, her involvement in what was happening, and her redemption to herself in what was happening, became the very center and the reason why Jack goes back to pick up the gun again.
On Jack going off the rails: That was very much designed from the beginning. How it would end, however, was something that was really unknown. I saw a little bit further ahead than I generally do, and we wanted to knit Jack and Renee together, only to take them apart, and for that to have a really profound effect on Jack. That’s about as far as we knew in the broad strokes.
On the 24 movie: I’ll be a producer on it. There is a draft that is in. No one is in a position right now to know when or what the movie will be, exactly. Now that the TV show is over, the movie will be it’s own thing.