Kiefer Sutherland looks ahead to 'Day 8' of 24

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Howard Gordon, executive producer of Fox's 24, revealed to SCI FI Wire the unsurprising news that Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) will in fact survive his current apparently fatal illness—the result of exposure to a toxic biological agent—to fight another "day."

"Jack Bauer is alive," Gordon said with a laugh in an interview at a party in Los Angeles on Tuesday to celebrate the upcoming two-hour seventh-season finale, which kicks off Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT. (Possible spoilers ahead!)

But Jack's convalescence will take time—around 12 to 18 months, Gordon revealed—before the adventures of season eight commence, this time over the course of one day in New York.

"Time in the world of 24 is not precise," Gordon said, adding: "Don't do the math."

Sutherland's recent run-in with the law—the 42-year-old actor was charged with misdemeanor assault in New York last Thursday after allegedly getting physical with designer Jack McCollough at a party—doesn't seem to be holding up shooting, Gordon said. Asked whether the show will return in January 2010 as scheduled, he replied: "Yes. We're back on schedule, and we're starting two weeks from today."

For his part, Sutherland described the eighth "day" as real-world-based. "The setup for season eight is the most realistic political thing that I think we've ever done since we started the show," he said. "We've had some seriously questionable circumstances in our show, and they've been a lot of fun to play, but I think the setup for season eight, in certain aspects, is something I actually hope will happen. And I think a lot of people will feel that way. So the threat becomes almost deeper on that level, too. So I'm very excited about the potential of where that can go."

Season seven will be released on DVD and, for the first time, on Blu-ray next Tuesday. The set will include all sorts of extras, including commentaries and deleted scenes, but there won't be any outtakes. Producers are saving those for the final season.

"I think our show requires the audience to suspend their disbelief enough that seeing the outtakes and making fun of the show ... would be really detrimental," Sutherland explains. "But there's some really funny s--t."

Gordon revealed his favorite for us. "There's a particularly good one where Kiefer does a whole scene, serious as can be, with a stuffed raccoon on his head," he said. Sutherland said they've been saving the outtakes for seven years and promised that they would "put a reel together" for the season-eight DVD/Blu-ray release.