There have been rumors that eventually 24 will shift focus at some season to a different set of characters and a different location - somewhere outside of LA. I think last night we may have seen that transition begin. The characters Theo and Collete will be back as major characters at some point - mark my word. With all the deaths of major characters this year - now seems to be the time to make a drastic change. I don't think we'll lose Kiefer - I just think the focus will change a bit.
BTW - Curtis Watch extends for another episode. He must be feeling a bit like South Park's Kenny at this point.