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Kiefer Sutherland: Irony of 24 means I can’t swear but can kill people

Jack Bauer only started saying his catchphrase “Dammit” because he wasn’t allowed to use another expletive – but killing gets the green light

Published: Wednesday, 9th July 2014 at 11:09 am

Kiefer Sutherland’s 24 character Jack Bauer may be well-known for his “Dammit” catchphrase, but it was never intentional.


“There’s no other expletive you can use on network television. Really there isn’t a single other one,” Sutherland tells Jimmy Fallon on US chat show The Tonight Show.

“There were so many moments from the very first day we shot to know where, not only as a character, but myself as a person, needed something to get out of the scene and so that seemed to be the word.

“We really never meant it to catch on like it did.”

But catch on it did, with one eagle-eyed viewer counting up a grand total of 144 bursts of “Dammit” throughout the duration of the long-running show.

And the irony hasn’t passed Sutherland by.

“I think that number is half the number of people I killed on the show,” he jokes.

“You can’t swear, but kill as many people as you want.”


Sutherland’s return as Jack Bauer in 24: Live Another Day continues tonight at 9:00pm on Sky1


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