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Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer

Sunday, October 27, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

In late July, Dennis Haysbert hadn't begun working on the second season of "24," but he showed up on set for a scene he wasn't in, reading lines off-camera in a phone call conversation with Kiefer Sutherland, the sole actor in the shot.

"It's just a courtesy we give to each other," Haysbert said. "We're all pretty happy to come in for a couple of hours, have our phone conversations and go."

When the season begins, Haysbert's Sen. David Palmer will have been elected president. Better yet, he's shed some dead weight: his harping and scheming wife, Sherry (Penny Johnson Jerald).

"I can say, emphatically, no, she's not my wife anymore," he said, smiling. "After what I said and what she did [last season], would she be yours?"

Haysbert said he was frustrated by the treatment his character received from Sherry.

"I went to the producers and said, 'Guys, I'm going to play this up, but you've got to promise me I get to do something. You guys have to give me my balls back somewhere because I'm sucking up a lot of stuff. I don't know how much more I can take.' "

Not that the scenes where he gave Sherry her comeuppance were easy, either. "Penny's one of my best friends. After a couple of those scenes, we'd hug each other because it was so hard. It was fun to play but also very hurtful."

Sunday, October 27, 2002

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