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24-HOUR BAD GIRL

Portland's Katee Sackhoff finds herself in Fox TV hit's cigar club galaxy
by: COURTESY OF Brian Bowen Smith, Oregon native Katee Sackhoff, the bad girl of Hollywood television, says that deceiving fans and family has become a pastime, especially maintaining the secrecy behind episodes of “Battlestar Galactica” and “24.”

Katee Sackhoff is making a name for herself in Hollywood as a bad girl. She recently took on the role of Dana Walsh, a federal Counterterrorism Unit agent turned Russian assassination plot mole in the eighth and final season of Fox's hit series '24.'

However, the former Portland resident and Sunset High School graduate's run on the TV series came to an abrupt end just as '24' is grinding to an end. In the May 3 episode, Sackhoff's character reaches the same fate as so many terrorists on the show when former CTU agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) blasted her at pointblank range from his semiautomatic handgun.

Oh, well. That's show biz.

Sackhoff, born in St. Helens, made the most of her appearance on the show. She also starred for four years on the Syfy Channel's 'Battlestar Galactica' as the reluctant hero 'Starbuck.'

'24' concludes Monday, May 24. The Tribune caught up with Sackhoff, who's 30 and lives in Los Angeles, to discuss '24' and other topics:

Tribune: So your character on '24,' Dana Walsh, did some pretty bad things. Should the people reading this article trust anything you say?

Sackhoff: I've gotten very good at lying. With the whole 'Battlestar Galactica' and '24' secrecy thing (about plots), deceiving fans and family has become a pastime.

Tribune: Your character on 'Battlestar Galactica' was the hero.What's the difference between playing the hero and the villain?

Sackhoff: Starbuck was a reluctant hero. She didn't quite feel comfortable in it.It's different than playing someone who is truly evil. (Dana) in '24,' she just doesn't have any redeeming qualities.Other than that she's very good at being bad.You just approach it differently.

Tribune: On '24' you've been waterboarded and Kiefer Sutherland's character, Jack Bauer, has pinned you to the wall by the throat, punched you and slammed your head into a table during interrogation.What were those scenes like to shoot?

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Courtesy of Brian Bowen Smith/FOX • Sackhoff (second from left) recently took on the role of Dana Walsh, a federal Counterterrorism Unit agent turned Russian assassination plot mole, in the eighth and final season of Fox's hit series '24.'

Sackhoff: They're really hard. You inevitably end up with lots of bruises and possibly some pulled muscles and a little bit of whiplash. As much as you're faking it, you're definitely still getting beaten up. Kiefer gives 110 percent all the time.If he ever hurt me, it's an accident.Kiefer is very good at pulling punches and making things look real. I can tell you that waterboarding works.There were a couple of times when I sucked in some water and I was absolutely terrified thinking I was going to drown.Regardless of what you feel about torture and waterboarding, it works.

Tribune: Were you a fan of '24' even while you were shooting 'Battlestar Galactica'?

Sackhoff: I loved '24.' I'm a huge fan of '24.'And I love Kiefer.I've loved watching Kiefer since, dare I say, a little kid.He's going to be mad at me for aging him.To be the villain on the last season of '24,' it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Tribune: Even though Cole Ortiz, played by Freddy Prinze Jr., was your fiancé on the show, you never got to kiss him.Disappointed?

Sackhoff: Of course I was disappointed!I had a crush on Freddy when I was 13, 14 years old.But I also wanted to be his wife.So I'm kind of torn.(His wife) Sarah Michelle Gellar is absolutely (expletive) amazing.So I wanted to kiss him, but I was scared of her.It's a weird thing knowing someone can kick your butt.

Tribune: How relevant still are the themes of fighting terrorism in '24'? Especially given that there was just an attempted terrorist attack at Times Square when '24' takes place in New York City this year?

Sackhoff: Sadly, there will always be people in the world that want to do bad things.Or believe that what they're doing is justified.It's a sad reality in today's world. I was in New York during 9/11.And it was the first time in my life that I truly felt terrified and unsafe and scared.

Tribune: What was it like for you to grow up in Portland?

Sackhoff: Fantastic. I love Portland.It's amazing.My only complaint is that it rains too much.It was a fantastic place to grow up.I love it.It's still one of my favorite places ever. I'm not a big fan of the rain so I try to avoid it at all costs.If I do go to Portland, I try to go in the summer.Because the summers are the most beautiful summers ever.

Tribune: You overcame thyroid cancer.What was that time in your life like?

Sackhoff: Anytime anyone says you have cancer it is absolutely terrifying.You start questioning every single thing you've done and wondering what you could have done differently.I have a constant reminder that I had it because I have to take medication twice every single day.It was never life threatening, which kind of makes the emotional experience no less. But the justification of how you feel is never validated.People assume that you're OK because your cancer was never life threatening.So they just assume you should get over it.And it's hard.That's hard.

Tribune: Starbuck was a cigar smoker on 'Battlestar.'Did you get into the famous '24' cigar club?

Sackhoff: Please! I'm like a full-time member.The fastest way to be a character on a show and not die is to bring the guys cigars and liquor.It's like a boys club up there. The fastest way to stick around is to bring them boy stuff.I went into this cigar store in Los Angeles and said 'I need to impress my bosses and make them want to not fire me.' And I bought them a box a cigars.

Tribune: What is the most important thing you want readers to know about you?

Sackhoff: It would probably have nothing to do with me as an actress.It's what I do for a job.It's not who I am.It's just what I do.I truly wish that for every actor people would realize that we're just people.I feel so bad for the people who get stalked by the paparazzi.It makes me not want to have children for fear that I'd have to raise them in our society.If there's one thing I want people to know about me it's that I'm trying to figure it out myself just like they're trying to figure themselves out.I'm just trying to wake up tomorrow.