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Kiefer Sutherland: The End of 24 Was 'Like the Worst Breakup I Have Ever Had'

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Kiefer Sutherland‘s Jack Bauer saved the world in eight seasons of 24, the landmark Fox action-drama that defined the actor’s career. As much as the character was beloved by fans, the entire cast and crew are the ones who endeared themselves to Sutherland.

The veteran actor, star of ABC’s Designated Survivor, opened up about working on the series during The Jess Cagle Interview on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network. Though it was a trying experience – six-day work weeks, long production days, shooting for nine months out of the year – it fostered a familial camaraderie.

“I think we had 30-some-odd weddings, marriages. Some people both on the show or another. I think some 40-some-odd children were born,” he tells Cagle. “The get-togethers were amazing. We were known as the show that: if you invited us to the Emmys, or you invited us to the Golden Globes or the Screen Actors Guild awards, we were the last to leave.”

Watch full episodes of The Jess Cagle Interview now at People/Entertainment Weekly Network. It’s free! Available on connected and mobile devices or just download the PEN app on your iOS or Android. Watch now at People.com/PEN.

The one memory Sutherland, 49, distinctly recalls came at the very end of filming. A longtime handheld camera operator was picking up final coverage. When Sutherland extended his hand for a handshake, he tried to thank the cameraman, but was too emotional to eke words out.

“That’s the thing that I really remember was how much those people meant to me,” he adds. “And I probably didn’t let them know enough how much they did, but they did. It was the thing that I miss the most. We all spent eight years trying to finish this thing and we finally did. … I was lost for about a year. It was like the worst breakup I have ever had. It was very bizarre.”

Designated Survivor airs Wednesdays (10 p.m. ET) on ABC.