James Cromwell played Jack Bauer’s father on the sixth season of 24. Always outspoken politically, Cromwell makes no bones about his feelings for his experience on the show. While promoting the film The Artist, in which he plays an old time Hollywood chauffeur, Cromwell slammed the show.
“It was very disappointing,” Cromwell said. “I think the show was irresponsible in its presentation of torture. So much so that the Commandant of West Point came to the set to ask the producers to change their attitude towards torture because his graduates, which were going as 1st Lieutenants to Afghanistan and Iraq, were using Jack Bauer’s techniques to get information out of suspects, sticking knives in their thighs and turning it.”
We’ve heard the 24 producers’ defense of their outrageous plot devices before, but it has a different context in front of a West Point Commandant. “He asked them to change it and they said, ‘Listen, if you have a problem with American foreign policy, talk to the president. We’re just making television.’ I thought that was highly irresponsible. I just thought it had gotten out of hand. There was another way to do it. They could’ve changed it and would have been a very, very important thing but their politics, they have no politics. If you don’t have any politics when you’re dealing with something like that, then you wind up with a white paper that was presented to the President of the United States by John Yoo as a justification for the war in Iraq mentioned Jack Bauer. You think wow, that’s really incredible.”
By the way, did we already know that the military personally visited the set of 24? This seems like new information to me and Cromwell spoke to the Commandant himself. “He was there, a two star general Commandant. I wanted to talk to him because I didn’t know what he was doing there.