Wow. I never saw this coming. Chad Lowe showed up on "24" last night and is expected to appear in at least six episodes this season. Who's next, Rick Schroeder? This is getting out of hand. For six years, "24" has prided itself on its use of unfamiliar actors because it helps in the "suspension of disbelief" (and anyone who has seen the show knows I use this phrase lightly). The producers turned down Jennifer Aniston and Ben Stiller because they were "too recognizable" and I think it was a good call. I'm having trouble with even the most vaguely-recognizable faces this season. I can't stop seeing them as their former characters.
Milo (CTU agent): Formerly Gabe Dimas, toe lothario on "Six Feet Under" who earned Claire the nickname "foot slut" after she sucked his toes.
Graham Bauer (Jack’s brother): The cranky hospital administrator from ER.
Sandra Palmer (President's sister): Rod Tidwell's wife in Jerry Maguire.
Random FBI agent: The creepy "Michael Bolton look-alike" that Matt Damon outwits at the Bow & Arrow Pub in Good Will Hunting.
And now there's Chad. In my TV mind, he will always be Jesse from "Life Goes On" or more recently Hillary Swank's weepy ex-husband. He's not quite believable as a sleazy, two-faced assistant to the uber-paranoid Tom Lennox. Tom Lennox also poses a problem as he is played by Peter MacNichol, formerly known as John "The Biscuit" Cage on Ally McBeal. Every time I see him on screen, I half-expect him to bust into that goofy Barry White dance I’ll give them a chance as manipulative office parasites, however. They are usually the nerdy and socially stunted coworkers who don’t have lives outside the office anyway (i.e., Dwight from the Office). Perhaps they will pull it off.
One of the tenets of "24" is its portrayal of the absurdity and pettiness of office politics. Some scenes are a testament to the dysfunction of governmental agencies, where personal ambition is more important than working toward a common goal -- even when that common goal is saving the country from imminent destruction via suitcase nukes. Last night's episode was WAY heavy on the bickering and politics. Then, when we finally (finally!) get back to Jack's scene where he is about to be executed by thugs, Jack's father intervenes and saves his life. Lo and behold Jack's dad is James Cromwell, a.k.a George Sibley, Ruths’ schizophrenic husband from Six Feet Under. Make it stop!