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Who is Ahmed Amar?

We give you the background on this ”24” character

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Kal Penn

FIRST APPEARANCE Episode 1, season 6

WHAT’S HIS STORY? Born and raised in California, this Muslim American has never had any trouble fitting in with his neighbors. But when his father is taken away by the FBI and accused of wrongdoing after the day’s terrorist attacks, an angry man from his peaceful hood comes after him, desperately looking for a vague kind of revenge for America. ”I’m the only one left at home,” says Penn. ”The bully comes over and says, ‘This is ridiculous, [you] people need to leave!”’

WHAT THE PRODUCERS SAY Ahmed’s story line is meant to explore the reactionary chaos that pops up in the wake of an attack. ”He’s very sympathetic, a guy caught in the crossfire,” says Gordon. ”We explore how something like this would play out in neighborhoods. He has Anglo neighbors across the street who take him in à Anne Frank.”

ADVICE FROM ANOTHER CLUELESS ACTOR Will Penn’s sympathetic character be revealed as a bad guy? Will he end up getting 24‘s signature torture treatment? Or heck, will he eventually enter a torrid, under-the-computer-terminal love affair with Chloe? The 29-year-old actor (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) claims to have no idea, and is fine with the fact that he doesn’t know anything about his character’s future until he’s handed the next script. ”I talked to my buddy Daniel Dae Kim, who’s on Lost,” says Penn. ”He said, ‘Man, after the first half of the first season, we just stopped asking those questions, because you’ll drive yourself crazy.’ So after shooting the first two episodes of 24, I decided, Work in the moment, and when the season’s over, you can look back and ask those sorts of questions. Because otherwise I’ll drive myself crazy.”