Carlos Bernard On Tony Almeida's Epic Return To 24: Legacy [Exclusive]

by Charlie Ridgely

24: Legacy has been an exciting event for fans of the original 24 series, as the new show has captured much of the same magic over its first six episodes. The show follows the same "real-time" format, and has been as action-packed as ever.

Things continue to get interesting for the new series, as this Monday's episode will see one of the biggest characters in 24 history return. Tony Almeida - played by Carol Bernard - is heading back to CTU for another run with the good guys.

The character played both sides of the fence during his run on 24, so no one ever knows what kind of excitement he's going to bring. What is certain however, is that Almeida will change the game going forward.

Ahead of the new episode, Bernard spent some time talking with us about his anticipated return.

[CB] What was that process like, finding out you would be returning for the new series?

Carlos: You know I'm good friends with the writers, I still run into Manny Coto, who is one of the head writers, all the time and you know we'll get together and smoke a cigar and hang out. This all started sort of a couple years ago when we shot the DVD, a DVD extra for "Live Another Day", there's that DVD extra about Tony in solitary confinement and breaking, starting the process of breaking out of prison and that was all sort of a setup to using the character again in the next iteration of "24", whatever that was going to be.

I think there was different ideas that it might be another series with Kiefer [Sutherland], it might be a spinoff, they weren't sure. Then it turned into a spinoff and then I got, then Manny pitched me the idea of the idea for the show, which I thought was awesome, and the premise. Then the idea of how he'd bring the character back and so it was sort of evolving over the last year and a half or so really. It was just a matter of fitting in the scheduling and fitting in how the character fits in the story and when it comes into the story and all that. Yeah, the details sort of played out over time.

tony almeida 24
(Photo: FOX)

What's been the biggest difference for you, going from the original 24 series, to filming Legacy?

You know I guess it probably has a lot more to do with where I'm at, you know? In my career. I mean you know the original "24" was obviously a big break for me and then Kiefer and I sort of, you know we hit it off pretty early on. I learned a lot from him and I think we, we just had a great sort of relationship where it was a great sort of give and take. Now with Corey [Hawkins] it's, well Corey's on the earlier side of his career. I had a great time working with him. I think he's a really good actor, and is super enthusiastic and really wants to make it the best he can. I guess it's kind of like maybe feel like a big brother type of thing, you know? To him. We just got along really well, had a great time working together. I would say that you know, there was an aspect sometimes of him sort of picking my brain about how it was the first series.

How just sort of, just to sort of get ideas I think, you know? Pick my brain about what went on then and how it worked and you know how, one of the things about the first series and it's kind of continued because it's out of the same writers, most of the same writers, is it was a huge collaboration between writers and actors. We used to pitch ideas to each other sitting around, and there's a cigar room on set, and just sit around and pitch ideas to each other. Sit around, and so there was a real sort of collaborative process. That kind of, for me, kind of continued here on this show and I think that Corey sort of fell into that as well. It was really, you know where he was really sort of giving his ideas to the, letting his ideas be known to the writers and producers and stuff. Between the two of us too, you know?

There's no one complaining about this, but why Tony? Why is Tony Almeida the story that was most important to include in this new series?

Yeah man, that's a good question. I think the writer's a big fan of the character and they felt like they wanted to, they felt like there was still more to his story.

I wanted the character to have a shot at redemption, a shot at redeeming himself, you know? At completing the story arc that to me was sort of cut off and suspended in prison. You know what I mean? I feel like full circle to it. Then also I think you know he's a character that is, especially once he's broken out of prison, he's not bound by any rules or regulations. He's kind of a loner on his own, he's a hired gun, or a gun for hire, and doesn't have to abide by any rules or regulations. In that sense I think that the character is really useful in this world, you know?

So, who wins in a fight? Jack Bauer, or Eric Carter?

Well because you know, I mean if you really want to get technical about it, I mean Eric Carter's a trained Navy SEAL you know? Special forces. With Jack Bauer, if you're saying, where Jack Bauer sort of to me is by win by any means possible, right? Maybe he's not as great a trained fighter, but he's a scrapper, right?

Be sure to tune into FOX Monday, March 13 at 8pm ET to see Tony Almeida return for 24: Legacy. Check out our full review of the series here.

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