24: Legacy Costar Dan Bucatinsky on Being Part of the Reboot of the Iconic Action Series

Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Although FOX’s 24: Legacy is described as an “evolution” of the popular action drama, viewers may not notice too much difference aside from cosmetics. And after all, why tinker with success? In terms of style, right off the bat the show displays the look and action of vintage 24, complete with a ticking clock and multiple boxes of real-time onscreen action.

The biggest change, of course, is the new cast. No longer is Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer the focus of the series (though Sutherland remains as an executive producer). Headlining Legacy is Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton) as Sgt. Eric Carter, who is six months removed from a stint in Yemen in which he and his elite squad killed a terrorist leader. The terrorist’s followers have now declared a fatwa on Carter and his team, and are also in pursuit of an item one of Carter’s men stole unbeknownst to the other team members.

Along with Hawkins, Legacy stars Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings films) as Rebecca Ingram, the former head of CTU who is compelled back into action when Carter needs her help; Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue, Rogue One) as Ingram’s husband, Sen. John Donovan; Teddy Sears (Masters of Sex) as Keith Mullins, the new CTU director; and Dan Bucatinsky (Marry Me, The Comeback) as Andy Shalowitz, a CTU analyst.

“I was a fan of the original 24,” Bucatinsky says. “I was unaware that they were going to do a reboot, or even do a new cast version of 24, so when I heard about it, I got very excited just because I remember when I saw the first 24, how much I admired and loved watching a show that seemed to reinvent the genre the way this did.

“I know that my role on the show was to be at CTU, and I had been a huge fan of Chloe, of Mary Lynn Rajskub, and I knew that that was going to sort of the landscape of my character’s work. I knew that, just from reading the pilot, I got the sense that I was less likely to be running in the street with a gun, as much as I would love to run in the street with a gun. I have to say, it was very exciting to be part of something that has such a great pedigree, and a show that I had been such a fan of, and also a show where anything can happen.”

Bucatinsky says the plan for this 12-episode season is to go hour-by-hour for a certain amount of time and then, near the end of the season, to possibly feature some jumps in time to accommodate telling the story of a 24-hour day in 12 hours.

The original 24, which debuted shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, has been described by some as a product of its time, the dawn of the so-called “War on Terror.” Bucatinsky says modern world events make the time right for the 24 clock to start again.

“Listen, the truth is, audiences love to be entertained, and they love to be entertained by things that either take them into a world that is completely unlike their world, or they like to be entertained and tantalized — and even excited or terrified — by things that are very close to the world we live in,” he says. “This falls into the latter category. Everything that happens on the show is certainly heightened, but it’s [also] certainly possible. It’s not probable, but it’s certainly possible. I think that’s kind of tantalizing. … I also think that this is a show that, while it’s depicting kind of terrifying possibilities, it’s also depicting a kind of heroism that we don’t actually get to see dramatized very often, and heroism that exists in all the characters.”

24: Legacy kicks off with a two-night premiere Feb. 5 (after the Super Bowl) and Feb. 6 at 8pm ET/PT. It will air Mondays after the special premiere.