“I remember I was on about page 35, and I went, ‘Shit. I’m in real trouble here,’ ” says the actor who had no interest in returning to TV. “I had to reread it to make sure that all of the emotional components that I was reacting to so strongly were actually integral to me. By the end, I realized that if they would have me, this was something I wanted to do.”
As the father of an autistic son, played by David Mazouz, some of Sutherland’s most compelling work comes from not being able to physically interact with his son, as exemplified by an early scene where Martin reaches out to stroke his son’s hair, but suddenly pulls his hand away.
“That’s actually a moment that Kiefer came up with on the set,” says creator Tim Kring. “Imagine the inability to have physical contact with your own son. He wears that pain in every fiber of his physicality.”
For Sutherland, expressing emotions so openly is a welcome change from the last eight years, and he sees the similarities of characters with his previous show, “24.”
“There is a weight on them where they will never completely win. And that is something that, for whatever reason, I’m drawn to as an actor.”