Fox is continuing to hand-pick a bevy of talented thesps to topline its 24: Legacy pilot, with word that Dexter alum Jimmy Smits, an Emmy winner, will take on a key role in the series.
The network’s ballsy attempt to carry on the 24 brand without Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer, Legacy will focus on new characters and tell a new story involving the CTU. Corey Hawkins, riding a wave of acclaim after his breakout turn in Straight Outta Compton, is already set for the lead role, with Homeland actress Miranda Otto taking another key part.
The series focuses on military hero Eric Carter (Hawkins), who returns to the U.S. but finds that his past in the armed forces comes back to haunt him. Hoping to save his life and prevent a massive terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Carter turns to the CTU – and its whip-smart former head, Rebecca Ingram (Otto) – for help.
Smits will play John Donovan, Ingram’s husband as well as an ambitious U.S. senator. That’s far from specific, but such a part would seem to fit snugly within Smits’ expansive wheelhouse.
24 veterans Manny Coto and Evan Kat are scripting the pilot, which Stephen Hopkins will helm as he did the original’s premiere. Teddy Sears and Anna Diop co-star.
This isn’t Smits’ only TV gig at the moment – he’s currently filming a major role in Netflix’s The Get Down, a Shawn Ryan-created, Baz Luhrmann-directed musical drama set in the late-’70s Bronx. With the pilot still to be shot and shown to Fox execs before 24: Legacy receives a series order, though, it’s likely Smits will be able to balance both.
The bigger question here remains, will 24 fans take a spinoff that sidelines Jack Bauer? It’s not like 24: Live Another Day sent the character off in a particularly satisfying or final way, and it’s been stated that he’s unlikely to show up in Legacy, so the new series is in the unenviable position of needing to function within a character-based universe without more than nominal access to its characters.
Given how Fox was raked over the coals for its miserable X-Files reboot, it may tread more carefully here – but then again, the ratings for that reboot, and the prospect of similar ones for a 24 riff, could be enough to make execs throw caution to the wind. It wouldn’t be the first time Fox had committed to a spinoff without checking in on whether there was any good reason to make it – right, The Finder?