Supporting players get to shine

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PASADENA, Calif. -- Each season "24" deploys a small army of supporting characters whose stories sometimes grab more viewer interest than the Jack Bauer plot (especially if they involve Chloe). That was certainly the case last season with the slimy president (Gregory Itzin) and daffy first lady (Jean Smart).

Kelsey McNeal/FOX
Jayne Atkinson as Karen Hayes in "24."
Click photo for larger image.

Although this season has been a disappointment to some fans and critics -- perhaps necessitating last week's reboot that wrapped up the terrorism story to send Jack on a quest to save his lady love, Audrey (Kim Raver) -- these supporting players made an impression nonetheless.

Abu Fayed (Adoni Maropis): He was this season's big bad before his death last week, the leader of a terrorist group that set off suitcase nukes on American soil. But in reality, the actor behind the terrorist is from Burgettstown. And Maropis is not Middle Eastern; he's Greek.

"I'm a full-blooded Cretan," he said in January, "from the isle of Crete, where my mother was born."

But he keeps getting offers to play Middle Easterners.

"Let's face it, most things going on involve Middle Eastern people, not Greeks," he said in January, a few days before going on auditions to play Middle Easterners, including one role as Saddam Hussein's brother.

His turn on "24" was actually his second time filming for the show.

"I worked with them two years ago, and they cut my scene [as the father of two brothers]," Maropis said. "It was the best thing that happened so they could bring me back."

Wayne Palmer (D.B. Woodside): "24" has a tendency to gloss over some key details, notably, how did Wayne Palmer become president?

"In our heads, he was RFK," said executive producer Evan Katz. "Logan obviously was going to have to resign in a cloud of suspicion, and with Palmer's martyred brother, we believed Wayne Palmer would have been elected."

Woodside said Palmer 2.0 is more combative than his revered older brother.

"David was better suited for the office in a traditional sense, whereas Wayne is extremely scrappy," Woodside said at a Fox party in January. "I don't think he has the temperament for the job, but the thing he does have that a lot of people underestimate is that he's one of the smartest guys in Washington."

Karen Hayes (Jayne Atkinson): Viewers first met Hayes last season, and now she's married to CTU chief Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) while working as national security adviser to President Palmer.

"I think she seems to err on the side of caution," Atkinson said of Hayes, "especially when it comes to civil liberties and profiling a certain population. She will do what needs to be done, but she's learned from history."

Milo Pressman (Eric Balfour): What happened to Milo after season one? Balfour disappeared from the cast only to return this year.

"What we've said is that Milo was officially hired by the end of season one and went to division and trained as a full CTU agent," Balfour explained. Viewers have already learned Milo had a posting at CTU Denver, where he butted heads with Mike Doyle (Rick Schroder).

"He's more mature," Balfour said of the more seasoned Milo. "In the first season he was more arrogant and much more a reluctant hero."


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