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24: Jack Bauer ends Season 9 in masterful fashion

Kiefer Sutherland's modern cowboy Jack Bauer took hold of London.
Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Fans around the world cheered when they learned that '24' would be seen on their television screens again. Kiefer Sutherland's modern cowboy 'Jack Bauer' was going to 'Live Another Day', as the subtitle of the ninth season shouted. Now, with only one episode of this Fox show remaining, everyone is wondering if Day 10 could follow?

Terrific villains have always made this specific small-screen flick highly compelling. 2014's story arc, which initially focused upon 'Margot Al-Harazi' (Michelle Fairley), was outstanding. The inclusion of hijacked drones was a sharp way to weave topical concepts into the current script. Earlier hours of Day 9 also allowed 'Chloe O'Brian' (Mary Lynn Rajskub) to discover that 'Adrian Cross' (Michael Wincott) wasn't a total bad guy after all and enabled her to find a way back to the light.

Pulling emotional chords, by having Kim Raver ('Audrey Raines') and William Devane ('President Heller') reprise their skillfully written roles, allowed 'Jack's' vulnerable side to be seen anew. That personal element rounded Sutherland's character from Day 1 and helped elevate that actor from a strong on-screen hero into an indelible star.

Benjamin Bratt ('Steve Navarro') hid his inner mole until just the right moment of reveal. Of course, justice was masterfully delivered a short time later via 'Jack's' inspired set-up, which cleverly allowed the charismatic 'Kate Morgan' (Yvonne Strahovski) to find some sense of closure.

Meanwhile, 'Mark Boudreau' (Tate Donovan) was forced to take responsibility for his treasonous actions. He actually displayed a strong spine during his forced infiltration of 'Anatol Stolnavich's' (Stanley Townsend) compound. Despite 'Boudreau's' actions, that connection refused to reveal needed information before his Russian expiration date.

Viewers were recently surprised to learn that 'Cheng Zhi' (Tzi Ma) was behind the evil all along. That falsely-presumed dead man delivered on his intent to pit China against the United States in a potentially world-altering game of battleship. With missiles already fired, there's no telling how episode 12 might close.

The following plot-pointed questions are also hanging off London's cliff: Who's inside the flag-draped coffin that was teased last week? Can 'Jack' prove that 'Cheng's' revenge game is real? Will 'Audrey' and 'Jack' reunite by the time Day 9 ends if all major plot points have somehow been resolved?

Surely fans of '24' and of this genre in general hope to see the series extend, even in just event form. TV ratings have held their own to-date and the unique relevance of this series is still smartly in order.

The latest view of 'Jack's' world offered another glimpse of imposed justice on an ever-unbalanced world. And, that's a key reason why this production was, is and will forever be a masterpiece of the small screen.