Annie Wersching, Actor
With her debut in Season 7 of 24, Renee Walker emerged as the show’s last good heroine – an FBI agent straight-laced and out to do the right thing. After spending a harrowing day alongside Jack Bauer, though, Renee quickly turned to the dark side, and emerged in Season 8 a broken person with a big chip on her shoulder.
No sooner had the writers paired her with Jack then they killed her off. The actress behind Renee, Annie Wersching, sat down with us Thursday to speak out after her demise.
TheTwoCents: Let’s backtrack for a bit. In Season 7, you had fabulous chemistry with Larry Moss (Jeffrey Nordling) and it was intimated you two had a past, but the show never made that clear. Did you ever figure it out or make up what it might have been?
Annie Wersching: There was sort of always this lingering question as to what exactly was Renee and Larry’s history. They never addressed it specifically in the show, but for us, Jeffrey and I kind of decided that maybe they had kind of dated for a second and then realized that no, we have to be professional, but he was still sort of always pining for her and longing for her. It was more a lingering history that they wanted you to sort of sense between those two.
TTC: Renee had probably the most radical change from her straight-woman role in Season 7 to the loose cannon in Season 8. Can you talk about the differences and challenges in that transformation?
AW: The by-the-book Renee, that was in the very beginning, so sort of finding her was an interesting challenge. Figuring out that first little relationship between Jack and Renee when they first met was a challenge. That was what was so great about this character – through just two seasons, not even a full two seasons, I got to play so many different sides of her. Last year was challenging in that I was in every episode, and there was such a great arc that was written for the whole season so I really wanted to give it little nuances and make the arc interesting. This season I got to do more intense things when I was on, but it was more little bursts. I wouldn’t be around for a couple of episodes, and then I’d be there in a really intense way for four or five episodes. They were both so challenging and so wonderful.
TTC: Glenn Morshower (Aaron Pierce) has said that when he discovered the writers were going to kill him off, he made an emotional appeal to [showrunner] Howard Gordon and his fate ended up being spared. Did you ever think about asking the writers to reconsider Renee’s demise?
AW: Obviously, I had immensely, huge, strong feelings. Carlos Bernard also did that once, so there’s sort of a little theme going of people fighting for their lives to Howard Gordon. Because they came to me at the very beginning of the season, and at the top of the season they don’t usually know all that much of what they want to do. The one big thing they knew they wanted to do was to bring her back damaged, to have Jack have to sort of save her in more ways than one and have them finally get together and then have her be taken away from him, which leads to his path for the end of the series. I knew that that was pretty set in stone, a big thing that they wanted to do overall for the season. I didn’t beg too much. Obviously, they knew that I was very sad about it and upset, but those are the moments that make 24 so great.
TTC: Were you satisfied with her death, the way it was handled?
AW: I kind of wish that the Jack/Renee love story would have maybe had its own episode to resonate and then maybe she got shot because that was a pretty huge deal. There’s a little part of me that was like bummed that those both happened in the same episode because that’s really kind of getting overshadowed by the fact that she died. That was a huge moment for the show, the first time that Jack’s ever done that. It’s interesting, too, that she went out that way as opposed to maybe in the line of field, in a heroic way saving the day, so I think it’s interesting that they switched it up a little bit as opposed to what you may have thought would have happened to her.
TTC: And then you got the by-now obligatory silent clock. What was that like for you? That’s sort of a big thing in 24 canon.
AW: It was a great honor, obviously. Besides Jack, she was actually the only one to ever get two silent clocks, because there was a silent clock, with a little bit of breathing for Renee after she was buried alive in Episode 5 of Season 7, and I didn’t even think about that, but fans have been sending me things saying “did you know you’re the only one besides Jack to ever get two silent clocks?” I guess Jack got a silent clock in redemption at the end of another season. A complete honor, because I’m a fan of the show and I know the significance of the silent clock.
Don’t forget to tune in to 24 tonight on Fox!
Brittany Frederick – Staff Writer