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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 April 2008, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Donald Sutherland: Kiefer's jail time
Hollywood actor Donald Sutherland has told Newsbeat his son Kiefer Sutherland's recent stint in prison has made him more determined to make 24 the "best television series in the US".
Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland turned down 24 after being asked to play a bad dad

Donald, who is currently appearing in the Channel 4 lawyer drama Dirty Sexy Money, said Kiefer Sutherland had a tough time in prison but it helped him to focus on how to improve the explosive drama.

"Jail was tough for him. He had 48 days inside, 23 hours a day in solitary. It was very, very cold," he told Newsbeat.

"There were no windows. He had no community. I also made a deposit at the prison so he could call out. We were given 14 minutes for every call.

"When he would call, you weren't prepared and when I got to speak to him I didn't get to say everything I wanted to. I wrote to him every other day though.

"But now that he's out, he said that the next two seasons of 24 will be the best two years of television in the United States."

Previous offence

Kiefer Sutherland was arrested and found to be over the legal alcohol limit after leaving a party last year. He was still on probation for a previous offence and he served a 48-day sentence for drink driving.

Donald also revealed how he turned down the chance to appear on 24 as Jack Bauer's father.

"We had a long dinner and he asked me to play his dad in 24," he explained.

Jail was tough for Kiefer - he had 48 days inside, 23 hours a day in solitary, it was very, very cold
Donald Sutherland
"I said OK but on one condition, the relationship has to be the same sort of relationship Sean Connery had with Harrison Ford (in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).

"He said, 'I'll go back and see what the writers have in mind'. He came back and said, 'No dad, they want you to try and kill me'. I said, 'No way, that's not going to work'. So they hired James Cromwell instead."

The actor did say that he tried persuade the writers to bring him in during a later season though.

He added: "I said, 'Maybe you could have me at the very end, rescuing you from some place and I could look at you and you could look at me and I say 'He (Phillip Bauer) was your mother's husband but I'm your biological dad'. But I don't think they'll ever do that."

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