'24' exclusive: The real story behind last night's shocking death!

24-katee-sackoffImage Credit: Kelsey McNeal/FoxSPOILER ALERT: If you have yet to watch last night’s 24, stop reading now. I repeat, if you have yet to watch last night’s 24, stop reading now. For the last time, if you have yet to watch last night’s 24, stop reading now. Everyone else, onward and downward…

24 fans who were counting the minutes until Katee Sackhoff’s CTU analyst/mole, Dana Walsh, was wiped off the face of the earth can start celebrating: The double-crossing evildoer found herself on the wrong end of Jack Bauer’s pistol in last night’s pulse-pounding episode. Her death brings to end one of the show’s most ridiculed story arcs since Kim Bauer’s took a detour to cougar town in season 2. But what did Sackhoff think of the tall tale and the backlash it triggered? In the following exclusive interview, the Battlestar Galactica superstar tackles that question and about 10 others with such hilarious candor that she practically redeemed the whole damn storyline!

Dana just got killed. Reaction?
KATEE SACKHOFF:
That’s so sad. Poor Dana.

Do you genuinely feel sympathy for her?
SACKHOFF:
None whatsoever. [Laughs]. She doesn’t have one redeeming quality. I tried desperately to give her a redeeming quality. I really tried. The only thing I could come up with was that she didn’t crack when she was tortured.

What was it like playing someone like that?
SACKHOFF:
It was weird. I kind of figured if I couldn’t give her a redeeming quality, I was just going to be the most ridiculously unsympathetic villain ever. I was going to try and make everyone hate her. That was my goal, and I think I succeeded.

Were you looking to play a one-note baddie when you signed on?
SACKHOFF:
[Before 24] I always had to give tons of thought to my characters. They had so many layers and they were exhausting to play. By the time [Battlestar] was over I was so tired. I was like, “Can I please play a character that’s just cut and dry?” [Laughs] With Dana, I just kind of went to work and played what was on the page. It was a much easier process.

The Dana plot was not well-received. Were you aware that it wasn’t going over well?
SACKHOFF:
I didn’t realize that. [Pause] I don’t care. I played a character [Starbuck] who was hated from the very beginning just because she was a woman, so I learned a long time ago not to read [the feedback]. It’s counterproductive to doing your job… I respect the fans and I respect their opinions but it’s sad that they’re not happy when it’s the last season.

Was there anything Dana did that made you go, “WTF?”?
SACKHOFF:
I think when I had a gun and [onscreen hubby] Freddie [Prinze Jr.] shot it for me. I was like, “Wow, I’m completely playing a new character here.” For the first five or six episodes I was like, “Guys, you’ve got to give me a gun. I don’t do the whole stand here and look pretty thing very well.” And then they finally give me a gun and the man standing next to me shot it for me.

Did you object?
SACKHOFF:
Of course I did. But then I was told I was a Russian spy and I was like, “Okay, I get it.”

I thought you were going to say hiding Bill Prady’s dead body in the wall at CTU was the craziest thing Dana did.
SACKHOFF:
[Mock contempt] Where else was she going to put it?! Was she going to drag it down the hallway? She had to figure out something really quick, and the grate in the wall seemed like a perfect place. The only thing we were joking about was can you imagine when they start turning the heat on in the winter? Six months later everyone’s like, “What is that smell?!” And they’re like, “Damn that Dana!” [Laughs]

How was the whole 24 experience?
SACKHOFF:
It was fantastic. Because of the way they shoot 24 you feel like you’re never there. I kind of felt like I could go hang out at Coffee Bean with all the unemployed actors. Every time I’d get a paycheck I was like, “Oh, that’s right. I have a job!” It was pretty easy compared to what I was used to. I’ve been so spoiled. I moved to L.A. when I was 17 and I constantly worked on television, so I’ve always been able to have, in a sense, a normal job where you go to work every day. And after Battlestar ended and [my NBC] pilot [Lost & Found] wasn’t picked up I got completely disillusioned by the business. I had never done a pilot that hadn’t been picked up, so I was like, “What?!” So I wanted to go back to something that felt safe and exciting and well-received, and 24 was a perfect fit. It’s what I needed to get my footing and go tackle another pilot season.

Why did you have so much time off? It’s not like Dana disappeared for long stretches. Did you shoot all your scenes in one day?
SACKHOFF:
Yeah, that’s what they do. And it’s not just one episode, it’s two episodes. I would shoot all my stuff for episodes 5 and 6, which would normally take 18 days, in one day. So I’d have off for three weeks. I think I had the whole month of November off.

Was that frustrating at all? Because it’s not like you can go off and commit to another gig.
SACKHOFF:
It was frustrating. I felt unemployed. I had all my chores done by 9 a.m. and I’m like, “What do I do now?” I’d call up my ex-boyfriend at work and go, “It’s 9 a.m. and I’m done. Is it too early to start drinking at noon?”

For more from Sackhoff, including scoop on one of Dana’s most buzzed about quirks, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly (on sale Thursday). In other news, my May Sweeps Scorecard has been updated!

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  • Johnification

    Whatever my opinion of Dana herself, I was jaw-drop shocked that Jack pulled the trigger (even though my gut felt it coming). She was right; he’s crossed a new line, and he’s going to a bad bad place he’s never been before. Nice work, 24.

    • John

      Yes, I absolutely agree. I’ve stuck by one cardinal rule the past few episodes, “Jack Bauer, is always right,” a rule that Allison Taylor and Chloe have forgotten. Yet, here, we have a clear exception. Jack shouldn’t have killed her, he gave her his word (though that was before she betrayed him, again.)

      • MartinSA

        you say that but forget that Jack had that lesson in unrespected mercy already–NINA MEYERS.

      • DUSTIN

        I’m amazed that people are making this big of a deal about him killing her. Henderson killed/was involved in killing Michelle, sorta Tony, BIG FAT EDGAR, and half of CTU, he killed Henderson, who was unarmed and willing to give himself up. 24 HAS RAN OUT OF IDEAS, WHICH IS WHY ITS BEING CANCELLED. It’s a fun show, but how can you be shocked by anything anymore. MY GOD

      • Shawn

        John are you kidding me. Jack killed his own brother with a plastic bag and went after his dad as the mastermind for killing David Palmer and trying to kill Chloe, Tony and Michelle to draw Jack out of hiding. I think that was season 5, right? I could be combining 2 different seasons but Jack did kill his lil’ bro.

      • C

        Shawn, a correction: Jack didn’t kill Graem with a plastic bag, his father shot him full of that torture medication after Jack interrogated him.

      • Emgee

        Are you forgetting Henderson. It was basically the same way he killed Henderson.

      • KingLion

        Jack offered his word to her when they were in the car and she flat turned down that offer. So don’t say that he went back on his word. She spit in his face time after and when she betrayed him the last time — there was nothing more for him to do except kill her.

      • David B

        My gut reaction was negative when he shot her, but then I realized that, as he was standing there, the wheels were turning in his head. There are so many reasons why it could have been a major MISTAKE to not shoot her given the circumstances he was in. With her still floating around, all sorts of things could happen, all of them bad.

      • thin

        Yeah, KingLion is right. He didn’t go back on his word, because she didn’t make the deal. And even if she had accepted it, knocking out Cole and making a run for it before giving Jack the evidence would have broken it.

    • James

      Jack was right in killing her. He had enough of her BS, and as far as he knew she just killed Cole.

      • Zeddicus zu’l zorander

        “The Dana plot was not well-received. Were you aware that it wasn’t going over well?
        SACKHOFF: I didn’t realize that. [Pause] I don’t care.”

        Translation – It’s a paycheck and possibly the opportunity to get more exposure.

      • Ajay C.

        I think we all had enough of her B.S….

        good riddance

      • Kat

        Agree James. Dana nearly destroyed Manhattan, hello, ‘member that? She was a traitor to her country, etc. She hadda go. I don’t think Jack crossed a line. I think President Taylor (the sublime Cherry Jone) has LOST HER MIND. What is her problem?? She’s lying and covering-up the Russian’s betrayal. Jack IS always right. And Logan, that sleaze. I hope he gets his comeuppance. Jack Bauer rules! LOVE 24. Can’t wait for the movie.

    • nathan

      Is Jack killing Dana any worse than when he shot an unarmed Drazen in S1 or the way he killed Nina in S3. Neither were not by the book kills. Jack’s done a lot of morally gray things, killing Dana isn’t the most shocking of them. Dana was clearly shown as a very bad person shooting at people on the street as she made her get away. Jack was right to shot her, letting her go would have been a mistake. IMO, killing the private security guards guarding Dana was a much worse offense.

      • DUSTIN

        Some other “controversal” deaths amongst the 252 kills Jack has had over the years include Paul Raynes(not directly but still) and Christopher Henderson(Basically doing the same thing he did to Dana). MORE IMPORTANTLY, HE HAS KILLED 252 PEOPLE IN 8 DAYS. NOT ALL OF THEM WERE NEEDED.

      • Joel

        Chappelle was the worst one of all time. To kill and innocent man at the request of terrorist is waaaaaay worse than killing an evil woman that has just killed how many ever people and betrayed her country.

      • donkottz

        He had to blaze Chapelle it was there was no choice in the matter.

      • t3hdow

        Exactly. Chappelle’s death was worse, but given how CTU was backed into a corner, Jack was more justified to executing him. CTU witnessed what Saunders (the terrorist big bad of season 3) did to the plaza with his virus, so they knew he wasn’t bluffing. Just like Hassan this season, if it wasn’t for Chappelle’s death, tens of thousands would’ve died.

      • RememberMe

        Curtis was Jack’s worst shoot. He didn’t have to kill him.

      • untapttalent

        i think the only difference for me between the nina kill and the dana kill, and there isn’t much. is that when he killed nina it looked like a spur of the moment decision brought on by sheer anger and hatred for her. when he killed dana and he said, “nothing,” there was an uncertainty and a pain in his face like he knew he shouldn’t but felt he had to. i thought it was much more captivating and a great peace of acting on his part. well done, 24, is right.

      • untapttalent

        i do, however, think we’ll see some differences in the final episode because i think Dana was right. i think he want to get all the names of the people involved and execute them one by one, and that’s something we have not seen, so in that sense he is going to a much darker place than we’ve seen him before, and i love it.

    • sam

      I was shocked that Jack pulled the trigger, but I feel like these past few episodes have really gone against character — Choloe has always trusted jack and would never trap him for his own good and Jack has always trusted chloe — he all of a sudden knew that it was a trap — after years of them being their only ally they turn on one another????? President Taylor– after being the model of doing things by the book — even putting her own daughter in jail which she could easily have covered up — now will cover up info for a peace agreement????? I was not bothered by the dana story in fact, I really like Katie after seeing her on 24.

      • Lyn

        I’m not sure what his other options were. He has no help now from CTU, no handcuffs on him, no partner at hand, no waiting vehicle, certainly no ability to drag her all around NYC with him. You wouldn’t want him to just let her go, would you?

    • untapttalent

      that was a good interview. i’m actually one of the minority who didn’t mind the Dana storyline. i quickly got over the fact that she went from a weak individual who couldn’t get rid of an ex boyfriend to major baddie in a matter of moments, because it kind of does make sense when she’s trying to keep her cover, so it didn’t bother me, plus having her there led to one of the best episodes ever in last night.

    • Stringfellow

      I tend to disagree about the line being crossed. Jack has done it multiple times before when it was necessary. He shot a man and cut off his head in season 2. Then, he FINALLY took out Dana Myers after all her manipulating during the 1st 3 seasons. Jack has always been and will always be the man.

    • Mike

      He didn’t kill her. Jack short her in the shoulder and you can’t even see the second shot. Plus if he did kill her it was for everyone else’s safety, making it right (in Jacks mind). After she betrayed him the deal was broken anyway.

  • Ethan

    I really hated Dana’s story for the first half of the season. The writing was just so ridiculous, and all I could think was how stupid she was… but once she was revealed to be a spy everything changed, and I thought she was one of the best things about the season. Loveee evil, badass women, and Katee Sackhoff delivered. Her death and shootout with Jack were awesome.

    • DW

      My thoughts exactly. Evil Dana was a lot of fun to watch, and it was nice to have a badass female villain on the show again!

      • nathan

        Translation- Dana’s plot in the first half wasn’t working so the writers turned her into another Nina Myers. The 24 writers have clearly run out of original ideas.

      • Butterbuns

        Dana was sharp, resilient and cunning. Her escapes in last night’s episode caught me by surprise. I thought, “darn, Jack Bauer met his match.” They would have made a great team – both undestructible – except they were on opposite sides.

  • Robert

    I was a bit surprised he pulled the trigger the way he did, but not that he killed her. And, the writers continue to add to their streak of lazy writing and inability to develop a single interesting character outside of Jack/Chloe.

    And while it wasn’t intended to be funny, it was hilarious tonight when Cole (FPJ) tried to stand up to Jack after he threatened to shoot Dana the first time. He’s a horrific actor.

  • Ashley

    She’s funny and all but she didn’t redeem sh*t. It was still a horrible, horrible storyline and I’m glad that chick fi.nal.ly died.

    Now I just hope that idiot President bites it too. I mean, really. Could she be an denser?

    • Ashley

      *any denser, is what I meant.

    • t3hdow

      I agree that Dana’s storyline was nothing more than mind-numbingly derivative, but at least she went out on a fascinating note.

    • John

      I sense impeachment in idiot president’s future, or at the least, a resignation.

    • mkat

      Thank you Ashley!! I can’t stand this president! I don’t get why people are all over her, saying she’s great. She’s useless.
      And good riddance to Dana. Horrible character played by a bad actress.

      • Cindy

        Couldn’t agree more Mkat … dislike her even more after reading this article … she didn’t embrace the show’s history at all, not to mention all the fans of Jack Bauer and CTU!

      • Cindy

        Of course, I meant the Dana character. Still like the president (Cherry Jones) but they are writing her into a corner. But her scenes with Logan are great!

  • Jena

    Thanks for this interview.

  • Jeff

    I wouldn’t have a problem with the Dana being a Russian spy plot if the first few hours of the season hadn’t been spent with the stupid ex-boyfriend convict plot in which her behavior and actions completely contradicted that of a spy.

    • RememberMe

      They’re smuggling a nuclear weapon into New York and their mole in CTU leaves to take care of her ex-boyfriend? I think someone in the Russian mob could’ve handled that. Isn’t it important that your CTU mole be in CTU that day?

  • caroline

    Nothing that happened in the last half of this season can make up for the mind numbing stupidity of Dana Walsh’s character the first half of the season. I started DVRing 24 just to fast-forward thru the Dana Walsh nonsense.

    This season of 24 felt so disjointed, like they were making it up as they went along. Dana Walsh goes from some idiot who can’t handle her redneck ex-con boyfriend to killing the parole agent and stuffing him in the wall.

    Now to have Jack go and kill Dana… big deal. It’s like they’re trying to re-create the drama when Jack killed Nina. Only the magic’s gone. At least I’m no longer sad about no Season 9 of 24.

    • carol ann

      Very disjointed season. I am not sad either it’s not coming back.

  • Baby Jane

    24 fails at good female characters. The only females that I ever found interesting were Chloe and Audrey, and even Audrey was a bit boring.

    • J.J.

      Somewhere Sherri Palmer & Renee Walker are rolling in their graves.

      • sam

        Sherri palmer was THE BEST FEMALE VILLIAN ON ANY SHOW.

      • J.J.

        How could I have forgotten Nina Myers. She was outstanding and in my opinion even better than Sherri Palmer. Bad job by me.

      • Baby Jane

        I honestly don’t even remember Sherri or Renee (I haven’t watched the show for the last three years… oops) but I agree that Nina was quite good. However her twist wasn’t given enough time to be properly developed.

      • J.J.

        How do you not remember Sherri Palmer? She was David Palmer’s wife and was a major character in the first three seasons of the show.

        And I disagree that Nina’s twist wasn’t properly developed. The whole point of a twist is that it comes out of nowhere and hits you fast, which it did, and it worked really well. If it took multiple episodes to develop the shock and pay off wouldn’t have been so great. Nina’s twist storyline overlapped into the next two seasons and the writers probably could have done even more with her character if they didn’t decide to end her run.

      • Shawn

        Thank you, JJ. I always tell people Sherri (Penny Johnson-Jerald)Palmer was the best female villian on any show I’ve seen. Sherri Palmer was cunning, smart, resourceful, sly, crazy, and did I say smart. Some of the best acting on TV.

      • Shawn

        my fault. Thx Sam!

    • Lyn

      Gosh, Audrey was insufferable, IMHO. I adored Shoreh Agdashloo in her role as the strong, complex Muslim mother.

      • Woot

        YES! Shoreh Agdashloo was amazing in the 4th season. Such a complex character

      • Shawn

        Yes, she was amazing. Am I the only one who got annoyed the way she whined her son’s name. What was it again, Behrooz?

      • fireflystare221

        You are not alone. It drove me crazy. Behru? Berhuz? Whatever it was it was annoying.

    • RememberMe

      Loved Logan’s wife too in their season. They ruined it the next season when they tried to bring them back though

  • AntonioSaucedo

    I actually enjoyed Dana, but the best thing about her is the way she died. Shocking!

  • 365-24-7

    I wonder when Jack decided to kill Dana. Was he really going to let her go when he told her that earlier? Did he change his mind after he thought she may have killed Cole? Did he decide someone or everyone involved had to pay when Renee died?

  • blake

    I love how she says the only reason people didnt like her character was because she was a woman. Thats not it at all, look at Chloe, shes a woman and is one of the most loved characters on the show right behind Jack and President Palmer. Dont kid yourself Katee, the reason no one liked your character is because YOU did an awful job and played an annoying traitor who everyone was rooting for to get killed. I’ve never liked a character or a storyline less in the entire run of 24, and that includes the cougar/Kim story in season 2. I hope I never see a movie or tv show with this girl in it again, she ruined this season of 24 for me

    • sfsd

      I think she was just joking.

    • zzzz

      Dude, chill out will ya.

    • 3432

      What about video games? She voices one of the marines in Halo 3. :P

    • Ummmm….

      Ummmm… Blake, you might want to reread the article. She’s talking about how people initially hated her when she played Starbuck on BSG.

    • jbj

      I think she’s refering to her character Starbuck, who was originally a male character in the Battlestar Galactica series.

    • Livy

      She was completely refering to BSG. Sackhoff is a good actor. She did the best that she could with Dana.

    • b

      Dude, she was talking about Starbuck.

      She said straight out that she was trying to make Dana as unlikeable as possible, and she did a hell of a job of it. That’s GOOD acting. And the one redeemable quality being that she didn’t crack under torture? Spot on – I actually liked Dana in those scenes, she was a total badass.

      She didn’t write the character, she just played her as written and did her job excellently.

    • anne

      when did she say they didnt like her because she was a woman??? She never said that. She said “I Don’t care”

    • Nicole

      She was referring to Battlestar Galactica, where people literally DID hate her for being a woman. Starbuck was modeled on a male character from the original series.

  • Lucy

    I loved getting a kick out of Katee Sackhoff going insane! The only thing to really complain about was the whole first part of her being blackmailed simply being answered briefly in this episode and why she does what she does to get to that point.

    I think what frustrated fans was the motive and answer was contained in this episode and not spread out throughout the season.

  • Freddie

    Her death was many things, “shocking” was not one of them.

    • Ajay C.

      @ Freddie

      I agree w/ you 100%, her death was not shocking at all. Ausiello revealed last week that there would be two more deaths on 24 before the big series finale; one would be shocking, and the other, emotionally shocking. Assuming that Dana’s death was one of them, you’ve managed to once again mislead us Ausiello.

      • Ashley

        Agreed 100% I would’ve been shocked if he hadn’t shot her traitorous @ss.

    • Lyn

      Totally agree — though I was a little shocked (?) that Katee was able to muster some OK acting at the end of her run!

  • sdsdf

    Jack shot Peter Wellers(Robocop)character in cold blood a few seasons ago on a submarine while docked. After he gets what he needs Jack takes out the trash. This wasn’t that shocking, definately not new. Does any one remember that episode?

  • BJohnson

    Like someone said earlier, I know Jack shot her cause she couldn’t trust her. He didn’t know if Cole was alive, she shot innocent bypassers, Jack only shot the cop in the foot so he could pursue Dana, Dana was shooting people on the street hoping to slow him down. He was relentless. If she had showed some redeeming quality, he wouldn’t have killed her but she was dead weight once that evidence came out and he knew after the bank incident that all she had always been planning was her escape. I jumped up and danced a jig when Jack shot her. President Taylor had NO clue what she unleashed when she told Jack to stand down. I can’t wait until the widow finds out she knew who killed her husband. Someone help me..does Jack know that President Taylor is listening to former President Logan?

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