Same “Touch.” Different feel.
That’s what star Kiefer Sutherland (“24”) and executive producer Tim Kring (“Heroes”) are promising for the second season of the unconventional Fox drama after its 13-episode debut in 2012. The creative team admits to tinkering with their approach to the series as the second season commences, and talks frankly about shining a light on what worked the first time around, and factoring in new elements in an attempt to amp up the dramatic elements.
What are changes this year that you felt needed to happen for the show?
Kiefer Sutherland: I think one of the odd things for me, having come off of '24,' was that we did 13 episodes. Normally, we'd be just hitting our stride around episodes 11, 12 and 13. That's what it requires to tell the story. In very many ways the season’s like the second half of the first season to me, and this was where the story was going, but there is a dynamic shift. It went from a story of a father and son desperately trying to figure out a way to communicate with each other to a father who has almost been killed and has to protect his son from people who are willing to kill to get him.
Tim Kring: If you watched the season finale you saw that Martin Bohm, Kiefer's character, ended up having to take his kid and go out on the run with him. We introduced a kind of serialized engine to the show in the latter half of the season that really cranked up in the season finale. So that's the energy that we're going to take and run with in the second season.
You'd been on a successful show for such a long time and it'd been a while since you'd launched one. Did you have moments where you felt like this was a lot of work?
Sutherland: I'm sure there were moments where I thought that, but I also knew that it was going to be hard – and the irony is I think 'Touch' was probably more successful than '24' in its first season. It's very hard to get people to break up what their normal routine is and stop watching something else and watch what you're watching. It takes a lot of work. I remember it was a lot of work with '24,' and it was something that we actually never gave up on through all eight seasons. What's really nice is there was a specific group that I could tell were watching '24,' but the variety of people that are watching 'Touch,' just in ages – like elderly people didn't watch '24.' They were watching 'Touch.' Young people are watching 'Touch,' and people in between. The different responses have been exactly what we set out to try and do, and so I've been very, very happy about the thought of that.
What did you feel was working on the show so well that you didn't want to mess with?
Sutherland: I think for me personally it's the relationship between the father and the son. Every person that I run into, they like all kinds of aspects:They felt like they went on a vacation. They loved the kind of hopeful and positive nature of the show. But the one common denominator was that people really believed the relationship between this father and this son and that there was integrity and honesty in that relationship.
Kring: Yeah, that is the part that is sacrosanct, this ongoing journey that the father and son are on with one another. That stays very pure, then also there is that sense of interconnectivity that will again weave through the season, but because the stakes are higher, because the antagonists are more dangerous, because the jeopardy is heightened it's going to force us to take a different tact on the kinds of stories that we're going to tell.
Maria Bello is going to be joining the show?
Sutherland: Yeah, it's fantastic. It's phenomenal. And the dynamic of where the character is going, I think Tim referred to it once as a ‘lifeboat.’ If you can actually develop a relationship with someone who's actually in the same circumstance, who has the same kind of child that you do, all of a sudden your community becomes much smaller. So we'll be able to have conversations that will explain the struggle of this dynamic that were only being able to be told in kind of the narrative of the son in the beginning of every show.