Former Battlestar Galactica star Katee Sackhoff will play a CTU analyst and the love interest of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s new CTU agent in the upcoming eighth (and possibly final) season of Fox's 24, and executive producer Brannon Braga says she brings a lot of her Starbuck credibility to the role.
"Credibility is a very, very good word to use," Braga (FlashForward) said in an exclusive interview at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Pasadena, Calif., last week.
Braga added: "Obviously, we're all fans of Katee from Battlestar, and we were looking for this role of Dana Walsh—that's the character's name—a character who is really smart and part of a new CTU that is what we're calling CTU 2.0. It's the next generation of CTU. And we wanted to find someone who just had an inherent strength and intelligence, but was also very beautiful. That's a very hard role to cast, and Katee fit the bill. It's that Jeri Ryan type of actress, you know?" Braga added, referring to his former Star Trek: Voyager star. "They're hard to find. I mean, no insult to the talent pool out there, but they're not easy to find."
For her part, Sackhoff said that she'll be playing "the head programmer at CTU." Will she butt heads with Mary Lynn Rajskub's irascible Chloe? "Of course," Sackhoff said. "Of course. That's part of the fun, yeah."
The new season, which kicks off at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Jan. 19, 2010, moves the action to New York, Braga said. "CTU has been reconstituted and is in the form of CTU New York," he said. "And it involves the U.N. And a very, very important peace process that is being threatened. ... Jack Bauer [Kiefer Sutherland] will get involved. ... There's some familiar faces coming back, but there are some new faces in the form of Katee Sackhoff and Freddie Prinze Jr. and Anil Kapoor [Slumdog Millionaire], and it's a very cool season. But there are some big surprises as well that I think I'd be fired if I gave away."
For Sackhoff, shooting 24 was eerily reminiscent of her time on Battlestar. "It's a little weird," she said. "Because Brad Turner directed one of the episodes of Battlestar Galactica, ... and he was [one of] the first directors that I had for 24. So I literally, like, came in, and it was a seamless transition. ... [Former Battlestar co-star] Callum Keith Rennie was there, and I was there, and Brad was there, and it was like, 'Wow, this is great!'"
In addition to Sackhoff and Prinze, the eighth season will introduce new cast members Mykelti Williamson, John Boyd, Jennifer Westfeldt and Chris Diamantopoulos.
Here's the official description of the season:
Season Eight will unfold in New York City amidst the shadows of the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations. In this new day, CTU has been upgraded and is run by MBA-schooled and razor-sharp head honcho BRIAN HASTINGS (Williamson, "Forrest Gump"). COLE ORTIZ (Prinze Jr.), an ex-Marine who wants to follow in JACK BAUER's (Sutherland) footsteps, runs the division's Field Operations. Expert data analyst DANA WALSH (Sackhoff, "Battlestar Galactica") collaborates with systems analyst ARLO GLASS (Boyd, "The Notorious Bettie Page") inside CTU. ROB WEISS (Diamantopoulos, "The Starter Wife") serves as PRESIDENT ALLISON TAYLOR's (Cherry Jones) new chief of staff, and MEREDITH REED (Westfeldt, "Grey's Anatomy") is an ambitious journalist with ties to the unfolding situation.
The show returns in January with a two-night, four-hour premiere.