Paul Gadd does know Jack — as in Bauer — and "24”
Oklahoma native Paul Gadd produced all eight seasons of the hit show "24"
and now reflects on the show as it comes to a close
For eight seasons, agent Jack Bauer has been saving the United States — one hour at a time — on the popular TV show "24.” What you may not know is that Oklahoma native and television producer Paul Gadd has had Jack's back since the show's pilot in 2001.
Last week, "24” aired its last new episode (though we'll likely see it in reruns and syndication), and Gadd was busy packing up boxes and memories. He called from a post-production facility in Los Angeles, where he was wrapping things up and reflecting on the show.
"I gotta find myself another job,” he said the day of the show's series finale. He didn't sound too worried. After all, Gadd, who worked on the show's pilot and all eight seasons, also worked on the CBS dramedy "Northern Exposure,” as well as several pilots and series that didn't get picked up. He's no newbie.
"I guess I have to update my IMDB page,” he said, referring the Internet Movie Database, a website that records all things related to movies and television.
In Gadd's post-production world, he and his team helped make "24” the show as we know it. If you've ever heard the fast-paced music and the gunshots from Bauer's weapon, or if you watched as the simultaneous scenes separated into graphic boxes onscreen, you saw Gadd's work.
"Post-production is everything after they have filmed the show on set,” Gadd said, taking the listener into his high-tech world. "There are a lot of details that people don't know about — all the sound work, music, special effects. We even color time the show.”
Gadd explained that some scenes are shot in more than one day, so they "color time” the sky, for example, to make it look like the same shot.
Gadd said "24” was a dream job because the show was all about post-production.
"It's the style of the show, even more so than other shows. For example, we shot the show in Los Angeles and made it seem like New York. Certainly the music ... everyone calls that a character in and of itself. In a show that runs 43 minutes, we have 41 minutes of music.”
"I didn't necessarily know post-production would be in my future, but I knew I wanted to produce and end up out here (in Los Angeles).”
He worked on "Northern Exposure” but then got the opportunity to work on "24” in 2001.
"I did the pilot on the show. I've been around longer than most. I guess that's because I managed not make anyone mad,” he said, laughing. Gadd started out as associate producer, but in Season 2, he was promoted to co-producer. He ended the show as producer.
Gadd's OU background prepared him for the work, but he got his first start a lot younger than that. Gadd is the son of Lola Hall, an Oklahoma broadcast journalist, and Carl Gadd, whose career included television producing, public relations and advertising. He also did TV voiceover work.
"My dad, who also was a TV producer, gave me a few opportunities to produce when he had a PR firm. At an early age, I got to peek behind the curtain a bit.”
Did he ever think about a role in front of the camera? "Oh no, I left that to my mother,” Gadd said.
The series finale aired last week, and ... SPOILER ALERT ... Bauer killed most of the bad guys, and even persuaded the good guy (the president) to reveal her wrongdoings. Bauer escaped the authorities and planned on leaving the country. The last scene was a close-up of Bauer's face looking into the sky (and at the viewing audience), captured by a satellite camera.
Gadd said he was satisfied with the results. "It seems to be getting a pretty good response all around. I was happy as well. We just tried to sew up the end of this season and not the end of the series. To try and do more would have seemed forced, and in effect (would have) diluted the ending.”
Since he was there for the very beginning, which is his favorite "24” episode?
"I don't have a favorite episode as much as favorite moments, of which there are many. If I had to pick an episode, it would be the pilot because it was the beginning. It was groundbreaking television,” he said.
What about favorite character?
"George Mason has to be one of my favorite characters,” Gadd said about the district director of the show's counter-terrorism unit called CTU in seasons 1 and 2.
"Xander Berkley, who played the role, brought a sarcastic sense of humor to the role, which I really appreciated because "24” is not a very funny show, and I loved the humor he was able to interject. He also brought great drama. In one of my favorite scenes, he tells Jack how much he has to live for and sacrifices himself so Jack can get back to his family.”
With Jack Bauer off running from the law, Gadd finally gets to take some time off.
"First things first, it's Hawaii. Take a little break. Then you know, start sniffing around for another job.” Could it be on a "24” movie? Gadd confirmed there's a movie being written but said he doesn't know much more than that.
"I think we'll all see Jack again.”