No other show revolves so completely around a single character as 24 does with Jack Bauer. With a constantly revolving cast of supporting characters to fill, the producers throw their net far and wide to get an intriguing variety of actors. All branches of show business have been represented: movies (Dennis Hopper, Jon Voight); television (Rick Schroder, Zeljko Ivanek); stage (Cherry Jones, Jayne Atkinson). We’ve seen cult favorites (Michelle Forbes, Callum Keith Rennie), soap opera crossovers (Reiko Aylesworth, Rena Sofer), before-they-were-bigs (Leighton Meester, Daniel Dae Kim) and foreign favorites (Rade Serbedzija, Jurgen Prochnow). Here in no particular order are five guest stars I’ve found especially memorable for either good or bad reasons:
1. Peter Weller as Christopher Henderson in Day Five. His RoboCop is an iconic character in film, but his acting resume is long and varied. As Jack’s CTU mentor who ended up on the opposite side, Henderson was Bauer’s toughest opponent, and Weller brought his steely-eyed cool burn to the role.
2. Jean Smart as Martha Logan in Days Five and Six. Previously I had known her only as a comedic actress, and while I enjoyed her work, 24 was light-years away from those other shows. She quickly demonstrated the depth of her abilities by bringing nuance and shading to a role that could have become one-note.
3. Bob Gunton as Ethan Kanin in Days Six through Eight. This was genius casting. Gunton was well-known to everyone as uber-evil Warden Norton from TNT staple The Shawshank Redemption. Although he was a member of 2-1/2 administrations (if you count Noah Daniels) and has so far proven to be one of the good guys, there’s always that nagging is-he-or-isn’t-he doubt.
4. C. Thomas Howell as Barry Landes in Day Five. He was one of my two big Brat Pack crushes from my younger days (for inquiring minds, Andrew McCarthy was the other). When I heard he would be guest-starring on 24 my heart beat just a little bit faster. But my excitement faded quickly when he suddenly showed up on the arm of Kim Bauer and disappeared just as quickly.
5. David Anders as Josef Bazhaev in Day Eight. Anders was so much fun to watch as Sark, Sydney Bristow’s nemesis on Alias. I was expecting more of the same, but sadly Josef turned out to be a bit of a wimp who was killed off as soon as he developed a bit of a spine.
With such a vast canvas to work with, it’s inevitable that some casting choices are not going to pan out. To 24’s credit they’ve managed to get it right far more often than not.
-Beth Kostecki, BuddyTV Fan Columnist
(Image courtesy of Fox)