His wife is dead, but will agent Jack Bauer actually get some new lovin' next season? And if so, when will he find the time?

The answers are maybe...and who the heck knows. But we do know that actress Sarah Wynter has joined the cast of Fox's real-time thriller 24 for its second season. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Wynter has signed on to play the female lead, a rich young woman who gets caught up in a terrorist plot.

Producers also are reportedly eyeing her as a potential love interest for Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland.

Wynter's already well-versed in the world of action-thrillers: She previously appeared opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in his 2000 flick The 6th Day and starred in the 2000 TNT thriller Race Against Time, costarring Eric Roberts and Cary Elwes. Her film credits also include last year's romantic biopic Bride of the Wind and 2000's Lost Souls with Winona Ryder.

24's first season wrapped in May, with Bauer saving presidential candidate David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) from an assassination attempt only to have his wife (played by Leslie Hope) killed by his ex-lover, turncoat agent Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke).

For now, producers are doing their best to keep the plot of season two under wraps. E! Online TV columnist Wanda, however, reports that one storyline making the rounds would have Jack Bauer racing to uncover a terrorist plot involving a nuclear bomb (or "dirty bomb") planted in Los Angeles. But the idea could hit a little too close to home for viewers.

Aside from Sutherland, original cast members Haysbert (likely to become President Palmer) and Elisha Cuthbert (Bauer's daughter, Kim) are among those slated to return for season two. At least we think they are.

Meanwhile, it seems the only person who is talking is deceased. Sutherland's "dead" on-screen wife, Hope, recently voiced skepticism about the show's second season, telling Britain's Guardian that Fox higher-ups wanted more "beautiful women in their 20s" on the show.

"Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and it all comes back to one man. The business is all about money," she said. "When they put out a casting call for a bunch of beautiful women in their 20s, you have to ask yourself why."

Hope also voiced dismay over the departure of 24's director and coexecutive producer, Stephen Hopkins, who's been cited as one of the main creative forces behind the first season. (For the record, reps at 20th Century Fox Television say Hopkins was asked to direct some of the early episodes for next season, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from doing so. No word on what role, if any, he will play in the series next season.)

"The tone might shift into a new area," Hope continued. "For the sake of the show, I'd be concerned about that."

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