The most frequently seen character in "24" aside from its hero, CTU super-agent Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland), Tony was introduced in season one and continued through season five, suffering personal, physical and professional ups and downs, culminating in being left for dead after a rogue former CTU agent (Peter Weller) gave him what appears now to have been a non-fatal drug overdose.

"That's something, obviously, we're going to have to explain away," Gordon says. "Hopefully, in the spirit of creating a good show and creating an interesting season, people will allow the fun (of '24')."

Gordon also sees Tony's resilience as the key to his return.

"It really ranks among Tony's other resurrections," he says. "I mean, he was blown up in a blast and was supposed to die there. He was shot in the neck in the third episode of season three, shot in the aorta at point-blank range, and he was basically back at the controls eight hours later.

"So in the nine lives of Tony Almeida, this is just another chapter, hopefully the most interesting of them."

Without spilling the beans about the details, Gordon says, "It's not the what of it, but the how, that's interesting."

But, as for Tony's apparently deceased ex-wife, CTU operative Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth), Gordon says, "No, she's definitely six feet under. Believe me, I know. We thought about that, too. Then we thought that everybody's dead except for Jack, and he's seeing ghosts."

This season, the show moves beyond the Los Angeles-based CTU to Washington, D.C, where Bauer is facing trial for his extreme actions in the pursuit of justice.

Although the show's primary shooting location remains a former pencil factory in Chatsworth, Calif., Gordon says, "We're also going to go to D.C. and shoot there, somewhere around the mid-October area."

Asked if he plans to get the usual D.C. exteriors with the Capitol and the Washington Monument looming in the background, Gordon says, "No, I thought we'd shoot a Wal-Mart in Maryland. What do you think it's going to be?"

In his writing career, Gordon has worked on many shows, including "The X-Files" (during which he split with writing partner Alex Gansa, who has now joined the "24" team) and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Like those two shows, "24" has moved beyond being just a TV phenomenon into being a genuine cultural phenomenon, from inspiring college courses to having Jack Bauer's name invoked by pundits, politicians and presidential candidates.

"In many ways," Gordon says, "we never set out to do that. That said, we certainly enjoyed that access and that kind of influence, but it's something, in a way, that was thrust upon us. It's one, also, that bit us in the ass."

In particular, Gordon is referring to allegations that the show promotes torture (frequently used as a plot device) and/or a right-wing political philosophy.

"Anybody who's a reasonable person," Gordon says, "would really be insane to imagine that this show posits any sort of political point of view. It's utterly insane. You could draw equally from both sides of the aisle."

He continues, "We've always obfuscated the parties and, in fact, contradicted ourselves probably multiple times, willfully. This thing is more metaphor. It's not a documentary.

"It plays with a compressed version of reality, clearly, on so many fronts. Ultimately, its only agenda is to tell a good story."

But in February 2007, a New Yorker magazine profile of show co-creator (with Bob Cochran) Joel Surnow had him referring jokingly to himself as a "right-wing nut job" and talking about his conservative politics.

"When Joel came out," Gordon says, "and declared his politics, or allowed his politics to be declared, suddenly our show became this propaganda machine. And I do think it hurt us."

Asked if the reaction might have been different if the declared politics had leaned in the opposite direction, Gordon says, "Great question. I don't know the answer to that. I don't know. When, obviously, the clear irony is that there's Evan (executive producer Evan Katz) on the far left, and me somewhere in the middle, and Joel on the right.

"It's like a spectrum of views shared by the writers who work on the show. Didn't seem to help."

source: Zap 2 It, Resurrection and Politics on '24', by Kate O' Hare, 09/20/2007