Kiefer Sutherland, the man behind 24’s infamous Jack Bauer, was released from Glendale City Jail Monday morning right after midnight. Sutherland was serving a 48-day sentence for his September 2007 arrest for drunk driving and violating probation as this was Sutherland’s second drunk driving offense (his first coming in 2004).
After pleading no contest to the charges back in October, Sutherland had struck a deal that would allow him to serve his sentence without interrupting the production of 24, for which he also serves as executive producer.
He was to serve 18 days during the show’s winter hiatus, and then return to serve his last 30 days after 24’s seventh season wrapped. When it became clear that the Writers Guild of America strike would indefinitely postpone the show’s production, Sutherland volunteered to serve all 48 days consecutively. He turned himself in on December 6, 2007.
According to Glendale Police Officer John Balian, Sutherland spent the majority of his days on laundry duty and was a model prisoner during his stay. Regarding Sutherland’s demeanor, Balian said, “He never gave us any problems, never complained about anything.”
In addition to his jail time, Sutherland will remain on probation for the next five years. He must also attend six months of weekly therapy sessions and complete an 18-month alcohol education program.
While no one convicted of driving under the influence should be lauded for his conduct, Sutherland’s behavior regarding this issue has been rather inspiring. Finally, a celebrity who screws up and realizes he needs to take responsibility for his actions before impressionable fans (or his own children) become swayed by his reckless decisions.
There’s hope for Hollywood yet.