The big premiere fans of FOX's 24 have been waiting for is only two days away, so I thought this would be a great time to recap the series as there is literally not enough time to watch all eight seasons. So sit back, grab a drink and learn what you need to know about 24!
Features Jack Bauer’s (Kiefer Sutherland) family- his wife Terri (Leslie Hope) and daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), both kidnapped by those hell bent on coering Jack to kill the first African-American Presidential Candidate, Senator David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert). With not only terrorists plotting against our government, as well as Jack, there are a couple of moles within that have successfully infiltrated CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit). As the plot unfolds we learn Jack had an affair with fellow CTU agent Nina Meyers (Sarah Clarke), and although they ended the tawdry tryst, Jack’s marriage is still on shaky ground. Not only is Jack having some major family drama, but so is our Presidential Candidate in the form of his own duplicitous wife who covered up the fact that their son killed the man that sexually assaulted their daughter- in cold blood! As the day comes to a close, after rescuing his wife and daughter, effectively outing the conspiracy against him, disarming and stopping the assassin, Nina kills Jack’s wife! The season ends as Jack completely falls apart, cradling his dead wife in his arms.
This season picks up a year after the first. Jack and his daughter Kim are estranged and she’s an au pair working for an abusive husband and his battered wife, caring for their daughter Megan Matheson (Skye McCole Bartusiak). She goes through her own ordeal to keep Megan safe. Meanwhile, our hero Jack, who has retreated into darkness after his wife’s death, is asked to return to CTU as the country is again in jeapardy, this time via a nuclear bomb!
The Warner family is introduced- Kate Warner’s (Sarah Wynter) sister Marie (Laura Harris) and her Arabic fiance Reza Naiyeer (Phillip Rys) are set to wed until CTU uncovers a possible connection between Reza and the terrorists threatening a nuclear attack. As the plot unfolds, we learn it appears Kate’s father Bob Warner (John Terry) worked for CIA years ago and someone at his company is funneling money to the terrorists. Though Reza is suspected, turns out it’s his own daughter Marie who’s involved!
There are two significant moments of season two- 1) After exposure to radiation, head of CTU George Mason (Xander Berkeley) sacrifices himself by crashing the plane carrying a nuclear bomb in the Mojave Desert; and 2) Terrorists bomb CTU in an effort to slow down their investigation. The season ends as a spectator shakes President Palmer’s hand and infects him with a biological weapon.
It’s been three years since we last saw Jack Bauer and, after going undercover to infiltrate the Mexican Cartel, he’s hooked on heroin. Not only does he have a pesky drug addiction but he’s been paired with a new partner Chase Edmunds (James Badge Dale), who unbeknownst to Jack, is seeing his daughter Kim now working for CTU. Our favorite sassy techie Chloe O’Brien (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is introduced, who from this moment on becomes Jack’s greatest ally.
Enter our villains the Salazar brothers. Hector Salazar (Kirk Acevedo) is threatening to release a deadly contagious virus unless Jack breaks his brother Ramone (Joaquim de Almeida) out of prison. Meanwhile, President Palmer is gearing up for re-election. After receiving an urgent call, he authorizes a prison riot so Jack can break Ramone out. He succeeds and after a crazy trip involving Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke), the Salazar’s are taken out. But it’s not over yet! Although Jack jumps through many hoops, thanks to Stephen Saunders (Paul Blackthorne) who is now in control of the biological weapon, the virus is released within a hotel that CTU immediately quarantines. However, it’s too late as one of the hotel guests slips throurgh the net. Ultimately Jack and Chase regain control of the vials.
The most significant moment is when Jack has to kill CTU head honcho Ryan Chappelle (Paul Schulze) upon Saunder’s demand. Though they attempt to avoid this, everything backfires and Jack is left with no other choice. It’s one of the most disturbing scenes of the entire series.
As this season begins the audience learns Jack is now working for Secretary of Defense James Heller (William DeVane) and is secretly romantically involved with his daughter Audrey (Kim Raver), who also working as his assistant. While on the way to the airport, Heller makes a pit stop to see his son who is an political activist; however, after a volatile confrontation he leaves in frustration. CTU learns of a collision between a truck filled with explosives and train, then quickly realizes it was a diversion- the real target is Heller! Although Jack attempts to warn Audrey of the danger, he’s too late and both the Senator and Audrey are captured! Jack eventually rescues them.
Meanwhile, husband and wife team Navi (Nestor Serrano) and Dina Araz (Shohreh Aghdashloo) are working with mastermind terrorist Habib Marwan (Arnold Vosloo). Dina is shocked to learn that her husband callously intends to kill their son Behrooz (Jonathan Ahdout) once his part in the plan is finished. Dina and Beruz manage to escape Navi and are finally brought into CTU where Dina makes a deal- let her son go and she’ll cooperate and lead Jack to Marwan. In the end she is killed by Marwan. Things get really scary when Marwan attempts to gain control of all the nuclear power plants, melt them down, and launch nuclear missiles! As the clock ticks down to the last second, Chloe and Edgar Stiles (Louis Lombardo) our genius techies are able to stop the meltdown!
There are three significant events of this season 1) A Chinese dignitary is killed during a covert mission to get a witness from the Chinese Consulate; 2) Shifty, devious and corrupt Vice President Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin) gains control of the Oval Office when Marwan’s minions shoot down Air Force One, effectively decapacitating President Palmer. Logan’s dasterdly traitorous deeds continue to Day Five. 3) The Chinese are demanding Jack be turned over to them to answer for the invasion of the Consulate. In an effort to save him, Tony Almeda (Carlos Bernard), Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth), Chloe O’Brien, and President Palmer “kill” Jack. Everyone including the Chinese believes he’s dead; however, the audience sees him walk away to exile.
This is by far my favorite season of the entire series! The season opens as a shot rings out and President Palmer is assassinated! Things go from bad to worse as Former CTU Agents Tony Almeda, Michelle Dessler, and our favorite techie Chloe O’Brien are also targeted. Why? Because they all helped Jack escape Chinese imprisonment by faking his death. Jack is forced to come out of exile to help his friends; however, initially he is the main suspect thought to have killed Palmer thanks to being framed!
As the season unfolds we learn President Logan is complacent, working with the terrorist group threatening to release nerve gas in an effort to thwart the US from signing a peace agreement with the Russians. Although Jack literally kidnaps the President and attempts to coerce a confession of his involvement in the assassination, as well as plot with the terrorists, he fails. Enter the emotionally unstable First Lady Martha Logan (Jean Smart)! Once she learns of her husband’s part in Palmer’s assassination all bets are off and in a final showdown between the the two, wearing a wire she gets Logan to admit it all! As the President is taken into custody by the Secret Service, the First Lady casts an evil grin and Logan realizes that she was the one to finally take him down!
The saddest moment of this season came when terrorists unleashed nerve gas into CTU and Chloe had to watch her fellow tech buddy Edgar die in front of her! In the final scene, Jack and Secretary of Defense Heller’s daughter Audrey are reunited; however, it’s short lived when the Chinese government kidnaps him! Last we see he’s being tortured on a ship back to China!
This season we are introduced to Jack’s immediate family- his father Phillip Bauer (James Cromwell) and brother Graem (Paul McCrane). After 18 months as a prisoner of the Chinese and being tortured, Jack is released via an agreement between the US and Chinese. The plan is to hand him over to terrorist Abu Fayed (Adoni Maropis), who has relentlessly been bombing various locations within the US. Surprisingly, Fayed succeeds in setting off a nuclear bomb which destroys Valencia, California.
All roads lead to his father’s company and Jack is forced to use unorthodox methods to interrogate his estranged brother. Realizing Jack is close to breaking Graem, Phillip kills his own son to ensure his secret doesn’t come out and blames the death on a heart-attack from the drugs given to him during the interrogation. Realizing Jack is about to out him, Phillip kidnaps his grandson Josh (Evan Ellingson) but ultimately gets away. Enter sleazy, duplicitous ex-President Logan, who reveals the Russian General is involved in the plot with terrorist Fayed. In the end, Jack kills Fayed before he is able to follow through with threats to detonate another nuclear bomb.
There are two significant events: 1) Jack ends up killing his friend and colleague Agent Curtis Manning (Roger Cross), who falls victim to post-traumatic-stress from his time as a US Green Beret; 2) The most heartbreaking moment is when Jack learns that his love Audrey Raines had gone to China searching for him but was captured and tortured herself! She has been brutally abused, with no memory of Jack. Secretary of Defense Heller refuses Jack any contact with his daughter as he dramatically takes her out of CTU Medical.
The seasons ends with Jack left in a tailspin, still reeling from having to kill his friend Curtis and finding Audrey in her condition, with no idea what the future holds for him.
24: Redemption (Television Movie):
Thanks to the writer’s strike, after a long break 24 returned with the television movie 24: Redemption. After wandering the world for months, Jack finally settles down in the fictional town of Sengala, Africa, with his good friend and former special forces colleague Carl Benton (Robert Carlyle). Just as Jack thinks he’s found a place to call home, the US government tracks him down requesting via subpoena that he appear before the Senate to answer questions about his actions while working at CTU. Benton has been rescuing war orphans, but now the rebel militia is rounding up all young boys to join their army so it’s up to Jack and Benton help the boys escape to the US Embassy. Unfortunately, Benton sacrifices himself to save the boys when he steps on a bomb and is killed. Jack succeeds in getting the boys to the US Embassy; however, is forced to agree to answer the subpoena and is arrested. This special edition serves as the springboard to season seven.
Season seven picks up about two months after 24: Redemption. Jack is sitting before the Senate who is hell bent on making him pay for all of his tactics used while at CTU. The hearing is interrupted when CTU Agent Renee Walker (Annie Wershing) demands Jack be released from the hearing due to a terrorist threat. He learns his best friend and former colleague Tony Almeda is now working with an extremist group who is attempting to infiltrate the American infrastructure, ie: power, water, and air control.
As the series unfolds, we learn that Tony is actually covertly working with their former CTU boss Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) and Chloe O’Brien to uncover a conspiracy within the American government. The conspirators are being controlled by Sengala dictator General Benjamin Juma (Tony Todd). Not only is the dictator running the show, but he is working with a private military company called Starkwood and created a bioweapon in the form of a strain called Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. The newly elected President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) tries to negotiate with the two terrorists, but is futile when Juma launches a full on attack at the White House! Although Jack and company finally stop Jumu and Starkwood, Jack is infected with the bioweapon! As he lays dying, his daughter Kim is able to offer possible life-saving stem cells.
In my view, the best episode of this season is during the heart-stopping White House siege where former head of CTU Bill Buchanan basically gives his life to save them and is killed. It was very unexpected and an emotionally charged moment for the entire series.
In the final season (or so we thought), the day begins as Jack makes plans to move to California with his daughter Kim, her husband and little girl. Of course, as in most cases, Jack never makes it to the airport! A former Confidential Informant suddenly shows up begging for Jack’s help. As the first episode unfolds, President Allison Taylor asks for Jack’s help in thwarting an assassination plot against Islamic Republic President Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor), who is at the UN to sign a peace treaty. Unfortunately, Jack fails and is unable to stop Hassan’s assassination but does foil another nuclear crisis. I
t is also learned that a Russian gang is selling the uranium weapons to those involved in the conspiracy plot. Jack and Agent Renee Walker go undercover to infiltrate the gang and though they succeed Walker, who is now romantically involved with Jack, is killed by a sniper hired by Russian foreign minister Mikhail Novakovich (Graham McTavish). It all culminates when the road leads to ex-President Charles Logan, who turns over evidence from a recorded conversation he had with Russian President Yuri Survarov (Nick Jameson) implicating his involvement in the entire conspiracy. Thanks to Jack, Chloe retrieves the recording from him but now Jack will now be hunted by both American and Russian agents to answer for his involvement in the days events. Knowing how much Jack has done for the country, President Taylor and Chloe allow him time to disappear.
In a final moment, Jack looks at the drone hovering above, says goodbye to Chloe and walks off into the sunset. I think that was the saddest moment for most fans, seeing a tearful Chloe watch Jack as she shut off the drone.
Now that you’re all caught up, get ready for another heart-stopping, blood-pumping, kick ass season of 24! Classic Jack is back, a little more hardened, with nothing to lose and unable to return to his own country. Look for a dynamic difference in the relationship between Jack and Chloe, who has always stuck by him. Both have gone through a lot since we last saw them. The show has come full circle and the premiere definitely reminded me why I fell in love with the show. I’m sure the premiere will leave fans screaming for more!
Don’t miss the premiere of 24: Live Another Day Monday, May 5 at 8:00 p.m. on FOX!