24

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His name is Jack Bauer, he's a federal agent. A federal agent!

"Right now, terrorists are plotting to assassinate a presidential candidate. My wife and daughter have been targeted. And people I work with may be involved in both. I'm federal agent Jack Bauer -- and today is the longest day of my life."

The following takes place between 2001 and 2014.

Spoilers ahoy! Read at your own risk. You Have Been Warned.

Hit US TV Series starring Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, agent for a fictional US government agency, during eight very bad days. Each season of the series takes place in Real Time over the course of a 24-hour period (each episode is one hour out of that day), during which Jack is called into service to stop a terrorist threat.

The first season revolved around an assassination plot on presidential candidate David Palmer. Jack's wife and daughter are kidnapped to make him assassinate Palmer on the terrorists' behalf; the only link the two of them have was a covert wetworks operation in Sarajevo, which turns out to be the motivation for the day's plots.

Each season since then has revolved around a large-scale terrorist threat to a major US city, usually backed up by a Crazy Prepared Big Bad, a well-thought-out Evil Plan, and, sometimes, a Diabolical Mastermind. So far, the threats have been nuclear bombs, a bio-weapon, a nerve agent and more nuclear bombs, with some presidential assassinations along the way. All in a day's work, eh?

24 can be seen as a throwback to earlier works: a Dirty Harry for the War on Terror, or even a Republic Serial for the 21st century.

The Hollywood Writers' Strike of 2007/8 kept the series off the air during 2008, with the exception of a two-hour Made for TV Movie, Redemption, which aired in November 2008 and acted as a Prequel for the seventh season. The seventh season was a Retool which moved the action to the East Coast and generally improved on the fairly mediocre Season 6. Season 8 premiered on 17 January 2010 and moved the action again, this time to New York. The eighth season was the final season, and the show finished its run on 24 May 2010. The Movie, hinted at as early as Season 5, was scheduled to begin shooting in Spring 2012 but has been put on hold by Twentieth Century Fox due to budgetary issues. But as of May 2014: Jack is Back! The new series will be called 24: Live Another Day consisting of 12 episodes. The series was followed by a Spin-Off, 24 Legacy, which premiered in 2017

24 is also jokingly referred to as "the Jack Bauer Torture Hour", or "the Jack Bauer Power Hour". Try to guess why.


24 is the Trope Namer for:

"You probably don't think that I can force this towel down your throat. But trust me, I can. All the way. Except I'd hold onto this one little bit at the end. When your stomach starts to digest it, I pull it out. Taking your stomach lining with it. For most people it would take about a week to die. It's very painful."


Tropes used in 24 include:
  • Aborted Arc: There were several, but see the Headscratchers page for them.
  • Abusive Parents: Behrooz's mother, not so much. His father on the other hand...
    • Lampshaded by Rick in Season 1.
    • Played horrifyingly straight by Gary Matheson in Season 2.
  • Action Girl and borderline Dark Action Girl: Renee Walker.
    • Kim Bauer in Season 7.
  • African Terrorists: Season 7.
  • Air Vent Passageway: Impossible to be a secret/federal agent and not use this at least once.
  • All There in the Manual: FOX's 24 website, everything you need to know.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Happens to CTU repeatedly, almost to Once a Season levels.
  • Almost-Dead Guy
  • Always Save the Girl: Played out by a variety of characters, both good and bad. Most notably, Dubaku doing this in Season 7 adds a lot of depth to the character: she doesn't know he's a terrorist and isn't a loose end; he wants her to leave with him because, evidently, he genuinely loves her.
    • Subverted with the Day 1 finale.
      • Subverted again in Season 8. Poor Renee...
    • Deconstructed in Day 3 with the kidnapping of Tony Almeida's wife. His decision to throw pretty much everything out the window in order to save Michelle is 100% emotionally understandable... but it's also morally indefensible, and when the season ends he's facing treason charges and prison time.
  • And Starring: Cherry Jones gets it in Season 8.
    • Carlos Bernard gets it in Season 7.
  • And the Adventure Continues...: Season 3 ending.
  • Anti-Hero: Jack Bauer is Type IV, occasionally climbing up to Type III.
    • Tony attempts to be this in Season 7. YMMV as to whether he succeeded.
    • Renee Walker in Season 8 goes Anti-Hero (despite having been an Ideal Hero in the previous season) with a side of Ax Crazy. She cut a dude's thumb off!
  • Anyone Can Die: The series kills off cast members regularly; by Season 7, Jack Bauer, Kim Bauer, Tony Almeida and Aaron Pierce are the only Season 1 characters still alive.
    • And some just get written off without any explanation of where they've gone off to: Adam Kaufman (who went on to eat brains on Heroes), Nadia Yassir, Wayne Palmer and his sister Sandra, etc. Makes it hard to do a Character Sheet for this show.
    • Jack died, twice (and lived to tell the tale).
  • Attempted Rape: One of the goons tries to rape Kim in Season 1, but Teri instead offers herself. She then takes the opportunity to steal his cell phone and call for help.
    • Leoben Conoy Vladimir Laitanan tried to rape Renee in the past (it's strongly implied that he did rape her, and that it was covered up), and manages to blackmail her into sex during a second undercover mission, but when he actually tries to rape her in Season 8, she responds by stabbing him in the eye 15 times.
  • Author Appeal: Creator Joel Surnow is a major contributor to conservative causes and political candidates, and the show definitely represents a conservative, ends-justify-the-means worldview. Having said that, it depicts liberals, from President David Palmer (the only character explicitly identified as a Democrat) to Senator Blaine Mayer, as reasonable and sympathetic characters who (usually) don't stray into Strawman Political or Author Tract territory.
    • Oil barons are trying to orchestrate a war in the Middle East in Season 2. Now I can't put my finger on it, but regardless of your views you might see a resemblance to Iraq here...
    • Season 5 could basically be named "Jack Bauer vs. Richard Nixon".
    • The political spectrum on the show isn't really that conservative, especially recently. It shows Islamic characters as very sympathetic at times, often showing them going to lengths to kill the terrorist bastards. Plus, Berman and Braga work on this show, and they're VERY liberal.
    • The tactics are conservative leaning (Jack's Ends Justifies the Means attitude) while the plots tend to be straight out of left-wing conspiracy theories.
    • Also the other creator, Robert Cochran, is a registered Democrat.
    • What's more, Keifer Sutherland (who's also an executive producer) is the grandson of Tommy Douglas, former head of Canada's New Democratic Party and the man who crafted Canada's single-payer Universal Healthcare system, and is an NDP advocate within Canada.
    • Also, the number of former Star Trek (particularly Enterprise) actors who appeared on the show dramatically increased since Brannon Braga and Manny Coto joined on as executive producers. Peter Weller in particular has appeared in three Coto-produced shows (Odyssey 5, Enterprise, and now 24).
    • There are some conservatives who consider the character of Jack Bauer to be a farce, rather than a tribute. He's precisely what they don't want to be perceived as.
    • Yet in Season 4, torture was depicted as an effective way to demonstrate a suspect's culpability or innocence. And the way they handled the issue of Heller's son being gay.
    • There's also the issue of how the show deals with women and sex in general. Women who are physically capable tend to be evil, the only bisexual character on the show is an evil woman, "good" women generally end up killed off to provide motivation for male characters' revenge and sex is a precursor to death. Of course there are exceptions, and all of the above may well be unintentional, but the implications are still somewhat unsettling.
      • You seem to be forgetting the bisexual women kills a bisexual man (her partner in crime) in order to escape capture in Day 4. he gets down and dirty with her as well as Secretary of Defense's gay son.
    • More benignly (except maybe to some sports fans), Tony Almeida is frequently seen drinking out of a Chicago Cubs mug because the actor, Carlos Bernard, is a huge fan of the team.
  • An Axe to Grind: Season 8 Premiere: Jack Bauer + 2 Mooks + Fire Axe = 2 dead Mooks.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Tony, in Season 7.
    • Jack himself is nearly tortured to death during Day 2. His heart actually stops and he's declared dead at the end of an episode. There is also the matter of him faking his death in Day 4 and return in Day 5.
    • Both Big Bads from Season 1 and 3 are supposed to be dead, killed in the same operation before the Day 1, the first one was a target, the second one was one of Jack's men. Surprise!
  • Badass: Jack Bauer, in spades. From Day 8, Episode 9:

CTU SECURITY Mook: * pulls gun on Bauer*
JACK: "You'd better put that down, son, or you're gonna get hurt."
CTU SECURITY MOOK: * lets him go*

    • He's a Badass Grandpa as of Season 7.
    • While the show has a number of badasses, Tony Almeida might be the only character able to equal Jack.
    • Renee Walker just entered the badass realm after chopping someones thumb off.
    • Not as BAD as the previous three, but Bill Buchanan on Day 7, and Hamri Al-Assad on Day 6.
    • Chase Edmunds in Season Three.
    • What about Secretary of Defense James Heller? For a 70 year old man, he measures up to a few badasses on the show, Jack himself included.
    • Curtis Manning.
  • Badass Bookworm: Just because someone is a computer technician, doesn't mean they can't do awesome things with an assault rifle. Chloe rocks.
  • Badass Bystander: The 2 Arab brothers who run a gun store in Day 4.
  • Bad Cop, Incompetent Cop: CTU, and to a lesser extent most American government agencies (not to mention the government itself), is woefully bad at its job, despite its rep as a premier counter-terrorist unit. Its agents and support staff are frequently either blackmailed, let personal issues get in the way of handling a major crisis, or turn out to be The Mole (sometimes there are several operating at once- other times innocent people are easily framed, even tortured for "confessions"); Jack himself has fallen victim to the first two failings several times. It has also been attacked on multiple occasions, including by biological and chemical weapons they were supposed to be hunting down. But its worst record is the numerous terrorist attacks that happen on its watch, and especially the fact that they often find out only hours before they are scheduled to take place. Several are successful, including a couple of small-scale nuclear attacks, nerve gas attacks, biological terrorism, and numerous high-level assassinations. The rest are thwarted only at the last minute, and often with lots of casualties. Its a miracle that there is a state left to defend.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Played perfectly straight on Day 8. Samir Mehran had two primary goals: assassinate President Omar Hassan, and prevent the IRK/U.S. treaty from being signed. Not only does Mehran kill Hassan himself (in a rather brutal fashion), but the president of the United States doesn't go through with signing the treaty after she realizes the conspiracy behind it. Even though Mehran was killed and will never live to see what will happen in his home country, chances are, the terrorists back home will treat him as a martyr and praise Mehran as though he were a hero.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Wayne Palmer; also his brother David, aside from not being bald.
  • Bald of Evil: At least one just about every season.
  • Bar Brawl: How Abu Fayed was captured, of all things.
  • Battle Discretion Shot
  • Beard of Sorrow: At the beginning of Season 2.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Stephen Saunders' backstory after he was caught and presumed dead in Operation Nightfall.
  • Bench Breaker: In Season Eight, Jack escapes by smashing his chair and attacking his captor.
    • There was also the Season 3 occurrence while he was being held by Nina Myers.
  • Benevolent Boss: Although the show seems to specialize in Bad Bosses, there are some pretty good ones, notably President David Palmer. President Taylor seems to be headed this way as well. Bill Buchanan, although relatively mid-level on the political food chain, qualifies. Despite conflicting loyalties, when the push comes to shove, Karen Hayes also becomes this.
  • Berserk Button: Jack Bauer has a few:
    • Don't Touch Renee Walker. Unfortunately for him, Pavel pushed this button in Season 8. By killing Renee.
    • Keep any negative opinions of Kim Bauer out of your head -- let alone any plans to harm her -- otherwise Unpleasant Things will happen.
    • Actually, you're better off just not killing anyone Jack Bauer likes. It will not end well for you.
  • Best Served Cold: After a season and a half, covering around four years, Jack finally exacts revenge on Nina Myers for killing his wife at the end of Day 1.
    • Jack also finds Renee's killer around the end of Day 8... and interrogates him in one of the most disturbing and detailed torture sequences seen outside of film.
    • Subverted with Tony finally meeting Alan Wilson face to face, as Jack and Renee disable him before he gets the chance. Of course, had he not been on a motive rant for several minutes, this wouldn't have happened.
    • Played Straight with Jack killing Christopher Henderson at the end of Season 5.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Used by several terrorists, sometimes to avoid being taken alive for information gathering.
  • Big Applesauce: Season 8.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jack and various members of CTU get these moments quite often.
    • Renee Walker saves Jack and Cole with only a handful of bullets and five seconds in Season 8 after the two spent more than half of the episode shooting at terrorists pinning them down.
    • Similar scenario occurs when President Hassan caps a mook in Jack and Renee's blind spot. Also, depending on your view of the entire hostage scenario, turning himself in and getting executed rather than be indirectly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans seems like a BDM, too.
  • Big No: Usually by Jack, but his best examples would be in the Season 4 finale after Habib Marwan killed himself and in Season 7 after Blaine Mayer was murdered. His Big No actually echoed.
  • Bittersweet Ending / Downer Ending: Many of them. Do not watch this show if you're depressed, seriously.
  • Blessed with Suck: Jack, in a way.
  • The Blofeld Ploy: Numerous times.
  • Blown Across the Room: Jack in Day 8 after failing to stop a suicide bomber from exploding, after shoving him into a half-open oxygen chamber. Most of the blast is absorbed by the thick metallic door, but the door still throws him across the room.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Aaron Pierce & Martha Logan in Season 5 (they are involved by 6) and Tarin and Kayla in Season 8. Bodyguard Betrayal.
  • Book Ends Season 4 begins and ends on the train tracks.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Seven seasons, seven days, only one bathroom break [in Season Four] so far. Don't know if that refers to a main character.
  • Break the Cutie: Renee Walker's inevitable descent from Lawful Good to Chaotic Good, until it's alluded to in the Season Seven finale that she has ended up just as maverick as Jack. Made especially evident when she tells Chloe to "do what she has to do", a phrase that was previously attributed only to Jack.
  • Broken Aesop: In Season 8, the two military officers conspire against President Taylor to turn the IRK President over to the terrorists to get the terrorists to not detonate the nuke in New York City. They succeed, and, although they kill president Hassan, the terrorists DO disarm the nuke (which CTU would NOT have found and stopped in time otherwise). Taylor angrily denounces the pair of conspirators and has them arrested. So we get TWO broken aesops: 1. It is wrong to try to save the lives of tens of thousands, even if CTU is incompetent because disobeying the president is far worse. 2. If you give terrorists what they want, they will comply with you and not cause further trouble.
    • Fridge Brilliance, actually, if you remember that it is the Russians who are behind the IRK terrorists. If the nukes go off and America finds out Russian involvement, then Russia will be in big trouble. The most likely theory is that Russians only want Hassan dead, not nuke NYC.
  • Broken Bird: Renee in Season 8, and Audrey in Season 6.
    • Kim in between Season's 4 and 5. When Jack was "dead".
  • Bulungi: Sangala, in Redemption.
  • Cain and Abel: Jack and Graem, Omar and Farhad.
    • And let's not forget Ramon and Hector Salazar from Season 3, although that was more of a case of "evil and eviler."
    • And in some way Jack and Tony themselves.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': In Season 1, Kim and her friend sneak out after curfew to meet some boys... and as a consequence are kidnapped, beaten, possibly raped, and in Kim's friend's case run over by a car and then murdered by the man who killed her father after she snuck out, and then impersonated him so he could track her down.
  • Cartwright Curse: Jack has Teri in Day 1 and Renee in Day 8.
    • Don't forget Claudia Hernandez in Day 3 and depending on how you see it Audrey Raines in Day 6. Kate Warner and Diane Huxley were smart enough to get the hell out of dodge, though.
    • Also, Michelle Dessler in Day 5... sorry Tony.
  • Cassandra Truth: The extent to which Jack's bosses cooperate with him is inversely proportional to the extent to which Jack knows, and can stop, the bad guys' plans.
    • In fact, the chance that any given character will be told some variant of "Don't bother me, I'm busy!" is directly proportional to the probability that they know or are paying attention to something important. See the particularly egregious case of Carrie in Season 3. CTU is for the most part a whole organization of Obstructive Bureaucrats.
  • Catch Phrase: Oh boy, let's begin...
    • "My name is Jack Bauer, I'm a Federal Agent."
      • "I'm a federal agent! A FEDERAL AGENT!" (Or, in the case of Renee Walker, after Jack hasn't been a federal agent for a while, "My passenger is a federal agent! She's a FEDERAL AGENT!")
    • "Dammit!"
    • "We're running out of time!"/"There's no time!"
    • "Sonofabitch!"
    • "I'm sorry but you're going to have to trust me!"
    • "Do it, DO IT NOW!"
    • "Right now you don't have a choice."
    • "Alright?"
    • "Where's the X?" or "Tell me where the X is!"
    • "Who are you working for?!"
    • "What are you talking about?"
    • "How did this happen?" President Taylor's dialogue consists of pretty much nothing -but- this line for the first half of Season 8.
    • "Right now he/she/it is our only lead."
    • Jack wants you to "PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD AND INTERLOCK YOUR FINGERS!"
    • "I give you my word."
    • Jack likes to say things in his normal voice, THEN SAY IT AGAIN IN A LOUDER VOICE! ("Was Air Force One just hit? WAS AIR FORCE ONE JUST HIT!!!")
    • Sherry Palmer: "Let me help you." This is nearly always an Oh Crap moment, at least for the audience.
    • "We're in the middle of an international crisis!"
    • "Chloe, I need you to do something for me."
    • Tony's particular inflection of the word "Yeah."
    • "Move!"
    • "Copy that."
    • "Set up a perimeter."
  • Character Development: The show almost goes out of its way to do this to everyone it can get its hands on, with the end result that all characters, be they Mauve Shirt Salaryman or Big Bad, have sympathetic moments.
  • Chase Scene
  • The Chessmaster: Many, but particularly personified by Alan Wilson in Season 7. He is essentially the man behind every single event in Seasons 5 and 7, meaning that he was behind David Palmer's assassination, the entirety of Charles Logan's scandalous presidency [including the Sentox nerve gas conspiracy], and the assassination of Tony's wife Michelle and their unborn son. It's amazing how he ended up lasting a full TWO seasons unscathed until the finale of Season 7. Truly, he's the Biggest of all the Bads in the series thus far.
    • And exposition concerning Renee's return in Day 8 implies that he got away with absolutely everything while she got scolded by the powers that be for torturing him.
      • The Chessmaster? More like Informed Ability, as we only learn of his past actions from Tony. What we actually see of Wilson is an Unwitting Pawn and Butt Monkey who carries Idiot Ball. He got betrayed by Hodges before the season even began(and had little to do with most of the events on Day 7 as they were part of Hodges plan), and simply gave in to Tony's plans due to Cara's pleading, even when their plan was going increasingly downhill. Which eventually lead to him being held at gunpoint by Tony, who reveals his true motives which, if Wilson really did kill Michelle, Wilson should have known already since Tony himself was also a target in the same murder attempt, and thus should have never let Tony in his organization at all(Tony didn't even use an alias). He gets saved at the last minute, but gets tortured by Renee so badly he almost died. As far as him being a Karma Houdini, they never said anything like that, and since the series is almost over and he hasn't returned, it's likely he did go to prison for his actions but Renee got punished regardless.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Redemption included some children being trained to kill by the followers of an African general.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: God DAMN you, Tony!
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Whether he's shot, stabbed, declared dead, in a depression, recovering from two years in Chinese captivity or just plain getting jerked around by his boss, Jack cannot stop trying to save people.
  • Clear My Name: Jack has to do this at least once a season.
  • Cliff Hanger: Just about the end of every episode, and the end of Seasons 2 and 5.
  • Coitus Ensues: Jack and Renee after the events of Day 8, 7-8am. Which explains why we don't see them for half an hour.
    • Hmm, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Jack does send Renee back to his apartment after her debrief and before his field assignment with clear romantic feelings between the two. It's kind of obvious he's going to defuse her nuke using the preferred Jack Bauer method and tool set.
    • Hilariously towards the end of Season 5, in an attempt to delay President Logan, the First Lady seduces him. One episode ends with them undressing... and the next (following the Previouslies) starts with them getting dressed again, about two minutes later. Truly he is the most powerful man in the world!
  • Cold War: Russian terrorists with old Soviet nukes are almost as common as Islamic ones. Occasionally they either team up or try to screw each other out of said nukes.
  • Contamination Situation: The second half of Season Seven.
  • Convenient Terminal Illness: Mason is dying of radiation poisoning and convinces Jack to let him fly a nuke on a suicide course into the desert.
  • Cool Old Guy: Bill Buchanan.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Seasons 2, 4, 5, and Redemption. Season 7 takes this to its logical extreme.
  • Cowboy Cop: Jack Bauer makes Dirty Harry look tame. And he's not even the only one.
  • Crapsack World
  • Crazy Prepared: Jack, as well as whichever Big Bad he's facing at the time.
  • Da Chief: Usually the head of CTU, or the Regional Director. Sometimes, in a severe crisis, the President of the United States takes on this role.
    • To the point where, when watching Day 1 again, the US President seems strangely absent.
  • Dangerous Workplace: CTU has suffered nerve gas attacks, bombings, and a takeover by the Chinese mafia.
    • In particular, becoming head or acting head of CTU is up there with Star Trek Red Shirt as one of the most doomed occupations in the universe.
  • Dark Action Girl: Mandy, and Nina in Seasons 2 and 3.
  • Dashed Plotline: Not with episodes (since each episode picks up exactly where the last left off), but with seasons, which are separated by several year intervals.
  • Dead Guy, Junior: Kim and her husband's daughter is named Teri.
  • Deadly Nosebleed: A symptom of the cordilla virus.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Chloe, in spades. Jack, Nina, and Tony sometimes get in on the action too.
  • Death by Cameo: Averted by Connor Trineer's one episode appearance in Season 7 as a security guard.
    • Lampshaded by Tony in the very same episode.
  • Death by Materialism: There are dozens of greedy little bastards who are only in it for the money, and they are more than likely expendable. For instance, Michael Amador in Season 3, who went behind the Big Bad's back so he could score himself 240 million dollars. Later in the season, after escaping CTU custody, he meets one of the antagonist's associates so he can get more money and passports to leave the country. When he opens the briefcase, he realizes it's full of C-4. Cue Oh Crap face.
  • Death by Sex: Renee Walker.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Marcus Alvers identifies the Big Bad in Season 3 after he realizes he's showing symptoms of the Cordilla virus.
    • Victor Aruz in Season 8. He waits until he's seconds away from death before revealing that the hitter has an accomplice in Omar's administration.
  • Death Is Not Permanent: If your name is Tony Almeida.
  • Death Seeker: The last minutes of episode 8x04 and the teasers for 8x05 show us Renee is going way that way.
    • Not to mention, as of the final episodes of Season 8... Jack Bauer.
  • Decapitation Presentation: "I'm gonna need a hacksaw."
  • Decoy Leader
  • Depraved Bisexual: Mandy.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Renee's death for Jack. All that's left for him is a massive Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: By the end of the series, the only women Jack has had a strong, personal relationship with who aren't dead are Kate Warner and Audrey Raines. He ends up dumping the first woman, and says a painful goodbye to the second one to keep her safe.
    • Chloe O'Brian and Diane Huxley would also count, albeit neither of them were his girlfriend. Jack is forced to leave them too.
  • Die Hard on an X: Whenever any location is taken over by terrorists which is frequently (for that matter, 24 itself could probably be described as "Die Hard on a clock").
  • Dies Wide Open: Bill Buchanan.
  • Dirty Coward: Charles Logan. Luckily, he's self-aware enough to step aside.
  • Disc One Final Boss: The first main bad guy of the season is almost never the mastermind.
  • Disposable Women: The sole reason for Renee Walker's death was to push Jack back into the fray under the pretext of revenge.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Jack Bauer—Renee Walker. It's what makes them such an appealing couple.
  • Downer Ending: Pretty much every single main character from all 8 seasons of the show gets one in some form or another. Some characters like David Palmer or Renee Walker wind up getting killed, others will have to deal with some sort of great loss, especially that of a loved one, such as Erin Driscoll whose daughter committed suicide or Sandra Palmer who's likely going to have one big case of survivor's guilt considering both her brothers are now dead, and then there's the ones who are now trapped in some situation where their respective lives have now been completely ruined such as Tony Almeida and even Jack himself. It's essentially impossible for any main cast member to exit this show happy.
  • The Dragon: Every season has one, but played to perfection with season five's Christopher Henderson.
  • Dressing as the Enemy:
    • Usually when the bad guy imitates an FBI/CTU agent. Foiled in Season 7 when Jack uncovers an assassin dressed as FBI by noticing his incorrect shoes.
    • In most cases, just as an FBI/CTU agent is alerted that there's an impostor, said impostor miraculously appears out of nowhere and shoots him (Seasons 4 and 7).
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Jack had spent less than 40 hours in Renee's company and decided to throw away his life and all his moral standards to go after the people responsible for her death. Justified in that Jack has lost so many people he cared about over the years and his reaction to Renee's death probably had little to do with Renee herself and more to do with simply being the straw that broke the camel's back.
    • So a year and a half is not long enough? Especially by 24 standards. You know, the show where people come into contact 3 times total in a 10 year period. Yet act like they're best friends forever. Not including all the time he TRIED to contact her, we don't really know exactly contact they had immediately following Season 7.
      • One thing to keep in mind about the complexity of their relationship. Of all the women Jack had known in his life, she is the ONLY one who accepted him for what he was and could relate to him. Not even Audrey or Terry could say those things. And there's the fact that she's just as crazy as he is.
  • Elaborate Underground Base:
    • The Drazens' Lair (Season 1).
    • The top secret detention facility (also in Season 1).
    • Also, Dubaku's base in Season 7 would totally fall under this trope (complete with its dark green lighting and computer screens everywhere), only its not underground.
  • EMP: Used by terrorists against CTU New York in Day 8 when they take in an escaped captive.
    • Done earlier in Season 4 when a private defense company detonate some EMP to destroy evidence that they (unknowingly) were helping the Big Bad.
  • Empty Quiver: The plots of every even-numbered season (2, 4, 6 and 8) involve Islamic extremists getting a hold of nuclear weapons.
  • Enemy Mine: In Season Two, Jack had to work alongside the woman who killed his wife. He also works with Christopher Henderson towards the end of Season 5.
    • And let's not forget Charles Logan, whose actions led to the murders of David Palmer and Michelle Dessler, Jack having to fake his death and give up everyone he cares about and of course the 20 months he spent being tortured by the Chinese.
  • Enigmatic Minion
  • Episode on a Plane: In Season 5, when he had to find the guy who had the recording implicating Logan.
  • Everybody Owns a Ford: Ford is a major sponsor of the show, and savvy viewers quickly figured out that only the heroes drive them. This spoiled a major plot twist in Season 2, when the vaguely mysterious Muslim who drove a Ford Thunderbird was innocent, while his blonde, all-American, import-driving wife turned out to be a traitor.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: In the final season in the 1-2 P.M. episode, Pillar hears this from a wounded Russian bodyguard who answers a manipulative Russian diplomat's cell phone right after Jack slaughtered the entire detail.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: In a first season episode, Teri and Kim escape from the terrorists by car and then Teri parks it at the edge of a cliff. She gets out, with Kim still in it (Kim's fine, but Teri doesn't know that, leading to her amnesia, discussed elsewhere here). It, of course, is destroyed in a fiery explosion.
  • Everyone Is Related: A large majority of the characters in Season 6 are all Bauers, or spouses/offspring of such
  • Evil Brit: Stephen Saunders and his organization Season 3.
  • Evil Counterpart: Stephen Saunders in Season 3 and Christopher Henderson in Season 5.
  • Evil Plan / Batman Gambit: Every single Dragon and Big Bad has at least one - and some seasons feature multiple Bads.
    • The end of Season Seven reveals that the entire season was nothing but Tony's attempt to get close to Alan Wilson to kill him in revenge for killing his wife and son.
    • The events of Day 3 are largely set in motion by Jack, Tony and Gael Ortega.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: One season takes place in twenty-four hours.
  • Face Heel Turn Tony.
    • Dana Walsh is pulling one.
    • So is President Taylor.
  • Fake Defector: Gael in Season 3, Tom Lennox in Season 6, Jack on numerous occasions, Tony in Season 7.
  • Fake Kill Scare: Used by Jack Bauer when he pretends to kill the son of Syed Ali, a terrorist he is interrogating.
  • Faking the Dead: Jack in the end of Season 4.
  • Fallen Hero: Numerous examples. Ira Gaines' backstory revealed him as having been a Navy SEAL before he became a ruthless mercenary. Stephen Saunders was a member of Jack's Special Forces team that was assigned to take out Victor Drazen, and Christopher Henderson was Jack's mentor.
    • Tony is the series embodiment of this trope.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Pissing off Jack Bauer. Alternatively, Audrey Raines after her visit to China.
    • To go more in-depth, she gets captured by the Chinese Big Bad/Man Behind The Man, and is the bargaining chip for the circuit board. Unfortunately, before the deal is made, she is tortured and overdosed with near-fatal amounts of liquid copper, which not only traumatizes her but leaves her in a half-paralyzed, Heroic BSOD'd state, and proving that the Big Bad is Dangerously Genre Savvy. By the end of the season she's recovering at home and Jack Bauer promises her father to step away so he can no longer be a danger to her, with the silent clock running at the end of the episode to honor his sacrifice.
      • Jack also counts here since the Chinese got him first he he had to go through twenty months of torture like Audrey did before he was released. And he never said anything while he was there, so he was useless to the Chinese.
      • As of the end of the series, Charles Logan after a botched suicide attempt that leaves him with severe brain damage, code-speak for becoming a vegetable for the rest of his life.
  • Find the Cure: Season 3 dealt with a virus.
  • Flak Jacket
  • Foe Yay: Jack and Nina.
  • Foiler Footage: There were two alternate endings of the first season filmed: one with Teri escaping torment, and one with a Really Dead Montage.
  • Follow the Leader: Ubisoft's Splinter Cell series predates Twenty Four by several years. However, there was a period where the series stalled after the release of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, and there were a lot of false starts and schedule difficulties getting the next game released. When it finally did come out as Splinter Cell: Conviction, series main character Sam Fisher had been retooled to make him more like Jack Bauer, with a more aggressive and uncompromising personality, interactive interrogation scenes, and more emphasis on gunfighting over its previous focus of pure stealth. Whether this makes the Splinter Cell series better or worse is a matter of no small debate.
  • Foregone Conclusion: From the moment Jack was infected by the Prion variant in Season 7 - a bioweapon so deadly that there was no 100% certifiable cure - it was obvious he'd survive somehow, given at least that he'd already signed on for Seasons 7 and 8 back in 2007. The fact that Elisha Cuthbert's return that season was mentioned by the producers also drove the point home.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Repeatedly and consistently averted. Major characters who die are repeatedly mentioned after their deaths, and many get Manly Tears, Heroic BSODs, and a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Friendly Target: Kim's friend, Janet York.
  • Gambit Pileup: So...who actually ordered Palmer's assassination?
  • Gambit Roulette: for the above reason.
    • Jesus Christ, Marwan.
  • Genre Deconstruction: You think James Bond had to deal with so much crap? A standard hero will defend us no matter how hard the bad guys make it. Jack will defend us no matter how hard we make it.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: CTU has needed the cooperation of the U.S. Secret Service, and the Russians, among others.
  • Gorn: In Season Eight, Jack disembowels and kills Pavel trying to get a sim card, as well as revenge against Pavel for killing Renee.
    • Followed by how Jack killed Mikhail Novakovich by stabbing him with a fireplace poker and all of his guards in the next episode. It all happened off camera but the blood was EVERYWHERE.
    • Just Season 8? We all remember Jack beheading someone in Season 2, right?
      • No, we don't, since it happened off-screen.
      • Season 2 as a whole was really damn violent. The water torture scene that opens up the first episode was sickening, but that was nothing compared to when Big Bad Sayed Ali killed a non-CTU federal agent who helped Kate Warner find out if Reza's a terrorist or not. A. MOOK. USED. A. BUZZSAW. ON. THE. AGENT'S. BACK. Ugh. The viewers who complained about the torture during Season 6 must not have been watching 24 that year.
        • Speaking of power tools, how about Abu Fayed using a drill on Morris in Season 6? Also from Season 6 was the especially gut-wrenching scene where Asad sticks a knife into a man's kneecap.
    • In Season 3, Chase's hand being chopped off to get rid of the virus attached to his wrist. The pain was so intense, Chase passed out after he lost his limb. The fact that this event was foreshadowed to horrifying effect made the act even more agonizing to watch.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Played straight during the early seasons of the show (as stated above in Seasons 2 and 3). From Season 6 up, this trope was averted a couple times, and people being shot in the head (or in David Emerson's case, the neck) was shown on screen. When Season 8 came around... yeah.
  • Happily Married: Brutally subverted by Jack and Teri, in particular the latter's death, as well as Tony and Michelle's reconciliation after Season 4 that comes to a swift end during the start of Day 5. No President's marriage survived the show either; David and Sherri Palmer divorced in between the first two seasons and neither made it through the series alive and Henry and Allison Taylor also divorced following the events of Day 7.
    • On the other hand, Bill Buchanan and Karen Hayes seem to be Happily Married, even when they're having to work at cross purposes.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Replaces the ticking clock in the Season Two finale.
  • Deadly Change-of-Heart: Josef Bazhaev. Granted, his father had to convince him that he would be pardoned for his crimes, but still. Not even twenty seconds after he agrees to help the good guys, he gets shot.
    • Later in that very same episode, Farhad Hassan grows a conscience (sort of) and agrees to help CTU. And then he's shot in the back in the next episode.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Tony Almeida in Season 7. Before the season, the Internet was ablaze about his upcoming Face Heel Turn...which didn't even last for the entire two-night, four-hour season premiere event, as he turned out to be a Reverse Mole. No, wait, now he's actually a villain again. Hold on, now he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to gain the trust of the villains' boss so he can finally get close enough to kill the guy for revenge for killing his then-pregnant wife. Except the FBI needs that man alive, and on top of that he was willing to turn Jack into a living bomb in order to kill the guy, so he's still the enemy. Ah, screw it.
    • Also, Charles Logan throughout his existence on the show. In Season 4, he's a cowardly, incompetent President who allows Walt Cummings to put a hit on Bauer. While he maintains his weakness, he shows more compassion and trust in Bauer in the first half of Season 5... until he's revealed as the Big Bad of the season. He makes yet another turn in Season 6 when he selflessly helps Bauer find Grendenko and helps diffuse an international incident with the Russians before he's stabbed by his ex-wife. When he returns in Season 8, he's made yet another turn when he returns to being a full-blown villain again and drags President Taylor down with him.
      • Charles Logan is most likely a case of Evil All Along, as he was probably linked to Season 4's events since it led to him becoming President, and he was most likely only pretending to be The Atoner in Season Six in order to get a pardon, despite him claiming otherwise.
  • Heel Face Turn: Mike Novick becomes a much nicer character after the BS he pulls in Season 2 - by Season 5, he's one of the best and most likeable characters on the show.
    • Allison Taylor, sort of. After Jumping Off the Slippery Slope by making a deal with Charles Logan to save the peace agreement without knowing all the variables, she digs herself deeper and deeper into a hole trying to cover it up, culminating in her basically threatening to blow Kamistan to hell with the entire might of the United States Military if Dalia Hassan does not sign the deal. And then, when she's a signature away from becoming a truly unredeemable character, she backs out and begins the process of making amends.
    • The Araz family, with the exception of Navi. It doesn't end well for Dina. Behrooz was seen alive in two deleted scenes, but since those scenes weren't actually part of Season 4, we can assume he didn't last long either.
  • He Knows Too Much: at least once a season, most notoriously in Season 1 (with the agent responsible to "unlink" Bauer and Palmer's pasts), Walt Cummings in Season 5 and President Taylor's son in the backstory of Season 7.
    • David Palmer discovering Charle's Logan's involvement in selling nerve gas to terrorists is what lead to his assassination.
  • Heroic BSOD: Jack, mostly: after being told Kim is dead in Season 1, and the Manly Tears at the end of Season 3.
    • Michelle has one when she thinks Tony has been killed at the end of Season 4.
    • Jack has a 'major one when he was forced to kill Curtis in Season 6.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mason in Season Two, Chappelle in Season Three, Lynn in Season Five, Carl Benton in Redemption, Bill in Season Seven, Omar Hassan in Season Eight, and Jack in at least Seasons Two and Six (but he survived).
    • Although Mason had less than 24 hours to live anyway and Lynn also would have died regardless. Lynn's also would have been more heroic if it wasn't his fault the attack happened in the first place.
    • Teri makes one in Season 1, when she offers herself to Eli to save Kim from being raped.
    • This happens unintentionally to Marika Donoso in Season 7, where she blinds The Dragon's driver, thus causing the vehicle they're in to crash. Ironically, she is the only one who dies; the bad guys live through it. But only for a short period of time.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Jack. Subverted in the Day 8 finale, but that might have had something to do with a bullet wound to the chest.
  • Hero of Another Story: Tony Almeida, Curtis "Black Bauer" Manning, Mike Doyle, Renee Walker, (currently) Cole Ortiz, and more. Usually they'll be the actual head of CTU Field Ops while Jack is on the run or being brought in for one last world-saving mission.
    • In Season 8, we're introduced to James Ricker, one of Jack's old partners.
      • Or the sudden involvement of the FBI as the main heroes trying to stop terrorists attacks instead of the usual CTU. Justified in the fact that CTU had been disbanded.
  • Hidden Depths
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Charles Logan pulls this in Season 8, when he blackmails the Russians into going along with his cover-up conspiracy, which involves them signing the very treaty they were trying to get out of.
  • Hollywood California: The show's setting - nine out of ten major terrorist threats happen here. Finally relocated in Season 7.
  • Hollywood Healing: In various seasons, Jack has been shot, stabbed, tasered, gassed, suffered broken ribs, had a heart attack, and been rendered clinically dead twice, and typically requires little more than half an hour of recovery time before he's shooting terrorists again.
    • Oh, and now he's been infected by a bioweapon based on Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a condition for which there is no cure. But this was deflated quickly by 1) information in Episode 16 that a family member's stem cells might provide a cure; 2) information from the producers that Elisha Cuthbert would return in Episode 17. You do the math.
      • Well, considering the fact that Kiefer Sutherland has been trying to convince the writers to kill off Jack for a number of seasons now, just to show that Anyone Can Die, I'm going to say that he actually does die. But not before doing something else really Badass.
        • And now Season 8's cast is confirmed... and Jack is still alive in it.
    • As of Season 8, Jack's recovery time for a stab to the torso has gone down to about 10 minutes.
      • I wouldn't exactly call Jack bleeding, being in visible pain and leaving a large, very alarming blood stain on a wall at the end of Episode 22 a recovery.
        • That's because you're thinking of the one in 8.22. I'm thinking of the one in 8.07 (Curiously, they went to the same location).
      • But just a few roughly done stitches will instantly undo all damage. But to top off this trope, being shot point-blank in the chest only takes a single hour of paramedic treatment.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Milo, Morris and others.
  • Honor Before Reason: President Omar Hassan of Season 8, pretty explicitly.
  • Hope Spot: Season 7: Jack forges an alliance with his own nemesis, Sen. Mayer, with the two men coming to an understanding and agreeing to try playing by each others' rules. ...Just before Mayer is killed for being in the way. Day 8 has Jack and Renee having sex for nearly forty minutes and enjoying themselves after a rough night... shortly before a sniper kills Jack's new squeeze.
    • The very first scenes of the first episode of Day 8, with Jack enjoying family life with his granddaughter, are just heartbreaking to watch again once you know how that season - and the entire series - ends.
  • Hot-Blooded: Jack Bauer is A FEDERAL AGENT! Who wants EVERYTHING DONE NOW! Because he's RUNNING OUT OF TIME!
    • Plus, he HASN'T PEED ALL DAY!
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Word-for-word from Jack's mouth several times, which is part of the reason some people view him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist Anti-Hero or Heroic Sociopath. He gets away with it due to: being right most of the time; being the Chaotic Good Only Sane Man (as opposed to the Manipulative Bastard badguys and Lawful Stupid goodguys); being fully aware that all this Dirty Business makes him a bad person; and copious infusions of Rule of Cool / Mundane Made Awesome.
    • The presidents (Palmer and Taylor especially) are portrayed as fighting constantly to not take the easy way out; to them, the ends do not justify the means (the ones who do think that way are inevitably portrayed as villainous). Confusingly, we're meant to perceive them as being just as heroic as Jack is, despite making the opposite decision he usually does.
      • Taylor changes her mind after a chat with Charles Logan.
      • In a lesser extent, David Palmer also applies. In Season Three, he hired Sherry Palmer to take care of Alan Milliken when he threatened to pull financial support for David's re-election, because [brother] Wayne Palmer slept with Milliken's wife, Julia. Granted, he probably didn't expect Sherry to basically kill him by not giving him his medication, but after what she did to David in the first two seasons, what exactly did he expect? More importantly, during Season Four, he signed off on the undercover operation to capture a Chinese consulate, which ended with another Chinese representative killed by friendly fire. Although Palmer and Jack knew the risks of the operation, they went through it anyway to save LA from Marwan. Palmer's statement to Charles Logan when he panicked over the idea? "Sometimes, we got to get our hands dirty to do what needs to be done."
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episodes are marked as a time-period of 1 hour (e.g. 1:00am-2:00am or 4:00pm-5:00pm).
  • I Have Your Wife: Seasons One, Three, Four, Six, and Seven. Don't get married in this show.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Jack at the beginning of Season Five.
    • Day 8 as well. Jack is finally retired.....it won't last......
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The ratio of bullets fired at Jack Bauer to bullets that actually hit Jack Bauer is... not high.
  • Important Haircut
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: YMMV, but the most recent episode's treatment of Dana Walsh seems to be moving in this direction. She seems to act in a slightly more likable manner when Jack confronts her with news of Renee's death (saying that it shouldn't have happened and that she's sorry), acting like a damsel in distress when the private interrogation group comes to pick her up and seeming quite pathetic begging Chloe to save her, and her torture to reveal the evidence of the Russian's involvement in the events of the day is clearly played to show the terrible depths the president has sunk to in order to get the peace treaty. Yet...with the way she played everyone, the smug snake way she carried herself immediately after being caught, and everything else, part of me hopes she breaks and is offed before Jack can save her.
    • And now she is. By Jack Bauer himself.
  • Infant Immortality: Subverted by Amy Martin in Season 5, when Christopher Henderson makes an unexpected visit. Granted, what happens next is not actually shown, but considering that Henderson's just spent the last 40 minutes tracking her and her mom down, and is shooting EMTs just for being in the way...
  • Informed Ability: Ronnie Lobell is introduced as the new Director of Field Operations in Season 4, a position normally held by badasses such as Jack Bauer and Curtis Manning (and in supplemental Prequel material, Christopher Henderson). He dies after just two episodes.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Benton in Redemption.
  • It Gets Easier: Characters opposed to torture early in the season, tend to be more willing to do so later in the season. Subverted with Renee, she becomes more willing to torture as the series progresses, but hates herself even more for doing it. Done with Kim Bauer when it comes to killing. She is very opposed to shooting Gary Matheson, who's been trying to kill her for awhile, the first time; but shoots him second time with a lot more ease. She still breaks down afterward though. In Season 3 however, she does not appear to be bothered by it at all.
  • It Got Worse: Happens during each season and many single episodes until the end of the day. And even then, after Big Bad is finally dead, expect a Bittersweet Ending.
  • It's Personal: In Redemption, Jack killed Ike Dubaku's brother, who was torturing him, so Ike followed him into jungles, where Benton tried to kill him. However Ike's brother was never mentioned again in Season 7.
  • Ivy League for Everyone
  • I Was Never Here: Sherry Palmer says this to Julia Milliken.
  • Jerkass: Chappelle up until his death, same for Lynn.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mason.
  • Jittercam
  • Joker Jury: In Season 4 the Secretary of Defense is put on trial by terrorists.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Averted mostly. While CTU has butted heads with other agencies, usually the severe nature of a terrorist threat causes folks to put aside their differences.
    • One exception of course is the friction between CTU and FBI in Season 7. CTU doesn't actually exist anymore, but friction arises when the FBI is unhappily required to reactivate old CTU servers.
  • Just in Time: Frequently subverted, although played straight on those rare occasions. Whenever Jack Bauer calls for backup, chances are, he'll kill a majority (or all) of the Mooks before they arrive.
  • Karma Houdini: Mandy. Justified by the fact that the government needed her to stop Marwan and had to let her go.
    • David Palmer's actions in Season 3 led to the deaths of 4 people and all he did to atone was to withdraw from the election.
    • Suvarov is going down as one of these unless The Movie changes it. At most he'd receive a slap on the wrist just as Logan did.
    • Logan only got a slap on the wrist because his role in Season 5's events was hidden from the public, with them thinking he was impeached for something fare less severe. Since Taylor was going to expose the entire conspiracy to the world (which is why Logan had a Villainous Breakdown and tried to commit suicide), unless Russia was willing to go to war over the issue, it's likely Suvarov got a far more severe punishment, if nothing more than to prevent a possible war.
  • Kick the Dog: In Season 8, Sergei Bazhaev shoots and kills his own son, who is suffering from radiation poisoning, so that his other son Josef will stop trying to treat him, despite the latter having already learned how to do so from a doctor, because of his paranoia that doing so will expose them.
    • Ummmm, how about Jack killing a guy in CTU and chopping off his head? It's not like the guy was involved in the plot at all. He was a drug dealer or pedophile or something and Jack needed the guy's head in order to infiltrate a drug lord's inner circle. So that's what Jack did, and I don't think he ever faced any consequences.
      • It was to infiltrate a terrorist cell, which automatically makes it If You're So Evil Eat This Kitten, and he was hardly a kitten. And considering that he was charged with eight counts of kidnapping a minor, two counts of child pornography, and first degree murder, it would be at most Kick the Son of a Bitch.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Subverted in case of Renee Walker. She stopped talking not because she was dead, but because was wounded to death.
    • Played straight with the interrogator of Dana Walsh. "You won't take the shot because ... " <headshot>.
  • Killed Off for Real: All the time.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade
  • Kill Him Already: Marwan, oh lord Marwan in Season Four.
  • Kneecapping: In one episode, Jack Bauer shoots a terrorist in the kneecap to get him to talk.
    • In another season, he shoots the Dragon's wife in the kneecap to get him to talk.
      • Actually,

Jack: "I shot her above the kneecap, she can still walk! You make me shoot her again, she'll be in a wheelchair the rest of her life!"

The only thing he likes more than 13-year-old-girls is money

.
  • Long Bus Trip: Kate Warner, Chase Edmunds, Tom Lennox, Nadia, Driscoll... You know what its almost easier to list characters that didn't just up and leave without warning to never return...
  • Love Dodecahedron: Dana Walsh, who is engaged to Cole Ortiz, and being sniffed after by Arlo Glass, and being harassed by Kevin Wade, a figure from her life who sure acts like they were lovers at one point.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Tony Almeida's turn as a Double Agent is a Batman Gambit to gain the trust of the villain so that he can kill the bastard to get revenge for the death of his wife and unborn son.
  • MacGuffin: The "football" in Season Four, the incriminating recordings in Seasons 2 and 5.
    • The CIP device in Season 7.
  • Magical Database: CTU's new and improved for Season 8, which takes Chloe some effort to catch up with. At one point, based on a query for the name of a suspect and where in the UN building may she be, the system shows simultaneous scans for all the building resulting in an instantaneous match.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: China between Season 4 and 6.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Used throughout the series, but taken to the extreme in Season 5 where The President of the United States turns out to be the mastermind behind the terrorist plot.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Ditto.
    • During Season Three, both Nina Myers and Sherry proved to be the two biggest manipulative bitches in the series. Sherry had her key part to play in Alan's death, and Nina even managed to manipulate her interrogator.
    • Charles Logan in Season 8 full stop. How else to describe someone who can convince the President to stand down Jack Bauer without even lying?
  • Meaningful Name: Spenser Wolff from Season 5 who was a wolf in sheep's clothing.
  • Meta Twist: At the end of Season One, Nina is revealed to be the mole, and Jack's wife is killed. At the end of Season Two, President David Palmer has possibly just been assassinated. When the Season Three finale came along, everyone was expecting something big. What happens in the final moments? Jack breaks down crying. ...woah.
    • The last clock of the series.
    • Kim's arc. It looks like she's about to get kidnapped (again) by a crazy mountain man. Instead, he felt guilty about taking advantage of her and lets her go.
    • The final minute to one episode in Day 3 and again in Day 5. Normally, viewers are treated to one last meaningful scene (often involving some sort of a twist) taking place between the episode's Plot Status Split Screen and the ticking clock at the end of the episode. Then suddenly, out of abso-freaking-lutely nowhere and almost at the end of Day 3, Split Screen ==> End of episode. It works too, and the second instance is even more jarring.
  • Mexican Standoff: The end of one episode of Season 7 sees the FBI aiming guns at an army of private mercenaries.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Averted. In Season 6, a suitcase nuke detonates killing over 12,000 people, and it's horrifying, despite occurring immediately after the death of Curtis Manning. It's regularly referenced for the rest of the season, and the number of casualties keeps increasing.
  • Mnogo Nukes: The suitcase nukes of Season 6.
  • The Mole: At least three per season. The number of people in the US government, and especially CTU, who are actually working for terrorists/foreign powers is appalling.
    • In Season 7, the FBI is found to be riddled with them.
    • Back in full force in Season 8 though. Earlier on, Jack Bauer and the rest of the cast confront and arrest conspirators because they disobeyed presidential orders, even though they had a very good reason to do so, this is portrayed as a heinous crime that Jack frowns upon. Of course, when he does the same damn thing a few episodes later, it's completely heroically justified because ... well ... He's the main character.
  • Morality Chain: Renee's death seems to have been one morality chain too far for Jack.
  • The Mountains Of Iowa: In Season 4, a nuke is hidden in them.
  • The Movie: Put on hold because the TV series kept happening. Was announced to go into production in early 2012, but then was delayed due to concerns about script and budget. Little is known about it, other than that the real-time format will not be used, with the movie instead depicting the events of a full day in an approximately two hour period. Additionally, it may be the first in a planned trilogy.
  • Murder.Com
  • Myth Arc: 1-3, 4-6, and Redemption til the end each make a loosely connected story through the seasons.
  • Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy: A biiiigggggggg one.
  • Necessarily Evil: Sherry Palmer proved herself to be incredibly ruthless and cunning in the first three seasons, but she justifies her actions because she knows worse things could happen.
  • New Old Flame
  • New York City: The setting for Day 8.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nice job disobeying orders and following Jack to Mexico so you can break the tracking device in his watch, Chase.
    • Nice job bringing in Charles Logan to advise Pres. Taylor on getting Russia to sign the peace treaty, Sec. Kanin.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted; one of the minor villains in the first season has a female lover, and has a male lover in the fourth. Unusual for both the few bisexuals on television and anyone on this show, she ends up getting away in the first and second seasons, and not only being taken alive in the fourth, but being granted immunity.
  • Nobody Poops: Despite all this taking place in real time, nobody but nobody ever goes to the bathroom. Though this may be because they don't seem to ever eat. Word of God says they once thought about coming back from a commercial break with Jack exiting a restroom, but they scrapped the idea on the theory that it would be unintentionally comical given they show's history of not showing such things.
    • They did show Chloe entering the bathroom in CTU - but only to do some surreptious hacking away from her boss (Chapelle). When confronted about what she was doing in there, she hilariously says she'd send him a memo.
  • No Party Given: David Palmer is explicitly identified as a Democrat in the first season. No other politicians are given explicit party identification, but these can be easily deduced from the known fact of Palmer's affiliation. The presidential administrations tend to include more prominent examples of hawkish Democrats and dovish Republicans than one would expect in Real Life.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Vladimir Bierko, who's played by Julian Sands does not sound Russian at all. Maybe because the actor's British?
    • Jack tries to pose as Alexis Drazen in Season 1. He fails when the guy he's talking to notices his accent changed.
  • Not My Driver: Jack pulls this on Ted Cofell.
  • Not My Lucky Day: Jack Bauer never has a good day on this show.
    • Inverted on Day 6. An Arabic civilian is denied access on a bus because the driver thought he was a terrorist (since the country had been bombed repeatedly by Muslim terrorists). About a minute later, a suicide bomber blows up the very same bus the civilian did not get on.
  • Not Named in Opening Credits: Dennis Hopper in Season One, Sarah Clarke in Season Two and Three - any time they want a surprise appearance, really.
  • Not So Different: Graem to Jack, "We're the same!"
    • Jack is kind of a magnet for these given his tendency to break the rules. Season 7 has two, first an organization that hires disaffected soldiers as mercs, then Hodges, who tries to say that both he and Jack are being punished by the government for serving their country.
  • Not So Harmless: See President Evil below.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Charles Logan. He plays at President Buffoon in order to maintain his President Evil cover.
  • Offing the Offspring
  • Oh Crap: "THAT'S JACK BAUER!!"
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Seen orchestrating the events of Season Five, and then again with a different council orchestrating the events of Season Seven.
  • Opening Narration: Season One began with Jack narrating the premise and ending with him saying "Today is the longest day of my life."
    • Turned out, not necessarily.
      • Still, Season 1 'is' the only season that runs midnight to midnight, every other season technically takes place over two days.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: David Palmer was the first black President on a major TV program. Some political commentators claimed after the 2008 election that Palmer's strong character (as written by Republicans, no less!) made a certain man from Hawaii more acceptable and resulted in his election. Similarly, President Allison Taylor, portrayed by Cherry Jones, is the first female President of the United States.
    • So does this mean Palin in 2012 then?
  • Papa Wolf: Do NOT mess with Jack Bauer's daughter.
    • Tony Almeida, too. His recent turn to the dark side is really just a plan to get back at the bastard who killed his wife, who was pregnant with what would've been his first son at the time.
  • Peace Through Superior Firepower
  • Percussive Maintenance: Name-checked in 8x01.
  • Pet the Dog: Strangely enough, Sergei Bazhaev gets one after his Kick the Dog moment; after shooting his younger son, who was dying of radiation poisoning, Sergei calls in a priests and asks him to perform quick funeral rites and then have him buried "out back" instead of at a cemetery. When the priest protests, saying it's "not right", Sergei remains adamant on the point, and says, "You just make it right. Say all the prayers. Where I end up, I don't care. But this boy is with the angels."
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: Jack, in spades. Note how we have two hours left, and only now Jack is beginning to succumb to his injuries.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Milo (Season One), Edgar, Chloe.
  • Police Brutality: Jack ends up in the receiving end when mistaken for a Cop Killer.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Charles Logan scolded both Christopher Henderson for killing David Palmer and later Suvarov for killing Renee Walker since both these actions led to Jack Bauer thwarting Logan's plans.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the Day 4 prequel, after Erin Driscoll has just fired Jack Bauer.

Erin: I've made several calls, I can help you get a position.
Jack: I can find my own fucking job, Erin, thank you.

  • President Evil: Here's a hint, it's not David Palmer.
    • Charles Logan does this in Day 5 and seemingly does a Heel Face Turn in Day 6. However once Day 8 rolls around it becomes obvious that it was a ploy to get his pardon as he is back to his old tricks.
    • Allison Taylor started to go down this route in Day 8 before she had her What Have I Done moment near the end and resigns. Of course Logan had a hand in this.
    • Russian President Yuri Suvarov is revealed to be behind the murders of President Hassan and Renee Walker. This may lead to debate on if he was actually involved in the events of Day 5 and 6 as well since those seasons had Russian terrorists. It should also come as no surprise that the man is also a good friend of Logan.
      • They weren't Russians; they were Russian separatists. And their entire plan was to assassinate him, and when that failed terrorize the United States into letting them assassinate him. So its rather unlikely he was behind them, given that this would mean he was masterminding his own murder.
  • "Previously On..."
  • Product Placement: What phone Jack uses, what car he drives, even the laptop he has is usually determined by whoever paid the most money that season.
  • Psychotic Smirk
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Are there any victories on this show that don't have some element of this? But special mention should go to Day 3, because it's the plan set in motion by Jack, Tony and Agent Gael Ortega that exacts a terrible price from each of them before they accomplish what they set out to do. It's kind of the point of the series, if you think about it.
    • Season One: The most famous example, which defined Jack Bauer and the series from that point on. Jack saved President Palmer and rescued his daughter from Victor Drezen and his henchmen, but at the cost of his wife.
    • Season Two: An aversion on Jack's part, since he was able to reconcile with his daughter by the season's end. Though this trope applies to George Mason, Kate Warner, and David Palmer. Their combined help prevented the nuke attack, but Mason eventually succumbed to exposure from radiation poisoning he received in hour 3 (but at least he redeemed himself by flying the nuke away from L.A.), Kate Warner found out her sister Marie killed her fiance and collaborated with the terrorists, and Palmer nearly died by a nerve agent, courtesy of Mandy.
    • Season Three: As stated above, Jack, Gael, and Tony Almeida all worked together in an undercover mission with the Salazars to prevent the Cordilla virus from being released to the general population. The gambit doesn't entirely work, since the virus struck an L.A. plaza, and killed Gael in the process. Tony committed treason to save his wife Michelle from Saunders. Saunders was eventually captured, but Tony faces a possible 20-year sentence for collaborating with him. As for Jack...despite the mission ultimately succeeding, he was brought to tears for everything he did that day, which included being responsible for the deaths of some prison guards during the jail breakout, Claudia's death, and most shockingly, submitting to Saunders's demands and shooting his boss in the head to buy CTU time to apprehend Saunders.
    • Season Four: Jack prevented Marwan's plans from coming to fruition, but in the process, he captured a Chinese consulate in a sting operation to get information to stop Marwan. This wound up killing one Chinese representative in friendly fire, Jack let Audrey's ex-husband Paul die on an operating table to save the aforementioned consulate, who also got wounded from friendly fire, and the resulting operation forced Jack to fake his death and flee the country. The worst part is that this could have been prevented if Charles Logan let Jack go through with the original, though illegal, operation to capture Marwan the first time. All the more ironic, considering what happened next season.
    • Season Five: Congratulations Jack! You saved L.A. from another nerve gas attack and exposed President Logan as the traitorous bastard he really is! Too bad your daughter hates you again, David Palmer, Michelle Dessler and Tony Almeida are all dead, your old mentor tried to kill you, and the Chinese captured you as payback for your Season Four misdeeds. Even for Jack, this was fucked up.
    • Season Six: Jack stopped both Fayed's plans and the Chinese's plans, but his brother and father both died, trying to kill him, and despite getting Audrey back, she became catatonic from getting tortured by the Chinese. The fact that Audrey's father, Secretary Heller, gave Jack a "The Reason You Suck" Speech when Audrey lost her mind didn't help at all. No wonder Jack was pissed at him by day's end.
    • 24: Redemption: Jack was able to save a group of high risk children from Songalian terrorists (read: Africans) but his old army buddy Carl Benton sacrificed himself and Jack ended up having to be brought to trial for his actions throughout the series.
    • Season Seven: This applies more to Tony than Jack when it comes to stopping the terrorists. Tony at least managed to get Alan Wilson to appear, but his plan to kill Alan Wilson failed. This wouldn't be so bad if Tony didn't betray the FBI in the process by killing the D.C.'s FBI department's boss, set up an explosive death trap for an entire S.W.A.T. team, and try to kill both Alan Wilson AND Jack by strapping a bomb to Jack's body. Moral Event Horizon to the extreme, and it would've been all for nothing, had the FBI not apprehended Alan Wilson. Jack, on the other hand, fared much better. Despite getting infected by a nerve agent that put him into a coma and nearly killed him, Jack reconciled with his daughter, and was more or less able to move past his many sins, thanks to an Islamic mosque leader. If it wasn't for season eight, Jack would've been completely at peace for what he's done.
    • Season Eight: The grand daddy of Jack Bauer Pyrrhic Victories. Jack loses Renee to a Russian sniper, he crossed many moral and personal boundaries to prove President Taylor's covering up the Russian involvement of Omar Hassan's death, and because of that, he can't contact Kim or his granddaughter again because he's on the run from both Russia AND the United States. Furthermore, the peace treaty never got signed, and even if it did, the signing would've caused never ending animosity between the United States and Kamistan (24's Pakistan Expy). No matter what Jack did, this ensured the terrorists' victory. Along with that, Suvarov got away with everything he did, despite his followers winding up dead. It's almost a misnomer to call this a victory.
    • Live Another Day: Jack was able to stop both Margot Al-Harazi and nemesis Cheng Zhi, with the former, stoping her drone attacks on by throwing her out the window and the latter, preventing him from starting a war between the U.S. and China. However in the process, his former love Audrey is killed, her father President Heller's memories fade away as he mourns his daugther's death, and Jack surrenders himself to Russian agents in exchange for Chloe's freedom.
  • Qurac: The Islamic Republic of Kamistan in Day 8. Previous Middle Eastern terrorists simply didn't have their country of origin revealed.
  • Rabid Cop: Jack Bauer, although he is - all together now - "A FEDERAL AGENT!".
  • Random Events Plot: Season 4. Oh, dear God, Season 4. Try to keep up: The terrorists derail a train to steal a briefcase, then abduct the Secretary of Defense and plan to execute him live on the internet, but it's really a Trojan Horse to get viral programming code to spread across the web and use the mysterious briefcase to override every nuclear power plant in the US and cause them to melt down. Once that's averted, it's revealed the defense contractor that built the Override may be complicit in the day's events and hire mercenaries to kill Jack Bauer, who's investigating them. So far, fairly coherent. Then things go awry. The defense contractor subplot is dropped as quickly as it's introduced in favor of a series of increasingly ludicrous and convoluted terror attacks. It turns out the nuclear power plant meltdowns were just to keep Air Force 1 in the air so a mercenary can steal a jet fighter and shoot it down. Not content with murdering the leader of the free world, that turns out to be a play for recovering the nuclear football from the crash site, which terrorist leader Habib Marwan then uses to locate a nuclear warhead in transit in the mountains of Iowa, which he then installs in a missile assembled in someone's garage, and then uses to try and nuke Los Angeles. Which would have happened anyway if he'd succeeded in melting down every nuclear power plant. And all the while, Marwan evades capture from CTU no less than four times. And this plot isn't even the focus! Mostly it's happening in the background while CTU bickers like children and are preoccupied with out-of-nowhere subplots like the legal crisis over mercenary Joe Prado, the sudden return of recurring baddie Mandy, or Jack Bauer's raid on the Chinese Consulate. Whew. Are you exhausted yet?
  • Rats in a Box: In Season 2, CTU agents put Bob Warner and Reza Nayieer in a room together in order to determine who transferred the funds to Abu Fayed. Reza cracks and offers to show the CTU agents how the funds were transferred, but they find out that Reza's fiancee Marie -- the last person CTU or the audience would suspect -- transferred the funds, and she kills Reza and the agents investigating the funds.
  • Real Time: "The following takes place between 3AM and 4AM."
    • The first few episodes of Season 1 and the first episode of Season 2 outright state that "events occur in Real Time."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: David Palmer, Wayne Palmer, George Mason (eventually), Bill Buchanan, Karen Hayes, Allison Taylor, Omar Hassan, and Brian Hastings... after a few verbal bitch-slaps from Chloe. Larry was well on his way to this when he was killed, and even early on was somewhat more sympathetic than many CTU/FBI Directors of past seasons.
    • Strangely enough, many of the terrorist masterminds in the show are also this. Instead of executing their subordinates at the first sign of protesting against their actions, most terrorist leaders stop to think things through when their subordinates remind them of the bigger picture. Abu Fayed decides not to hunt down Jack Bauer in revenge for killing his brother when his subordinate reminds him that they have plans beyond just a single man, and Samir Mehran doesn't try to boost his ego when his subordinate informs them that Omar Hassan isn't going to break under torture to deliver a falsified confession as they wanted, and simply decides to execute him. Ivan Erwick does come close to killing one of his subordinates for speaking out, but he did have a very good point.
  • Redemption Equals Death: There are some terrorists who are convinced that what they're doing (or did) was wrong and try to help Jack or CTU to make up for it (or do it to get immunity). It usually doesn't end well, especially with Dina Araz.
    • Along with terrorists are the Jerkasses who manage to make up for their actions, the most heroic of cases being Ryan Chappelle.
  • Red Herring Twist: Teri Bauer's season one amnesia, Palmer's attempted assassination in season two.
  • Red Shirt: As stated on the page for this trope, "Any CTU field agent who isn't Jack Bauer or the season's Colonel Makepeace is a red shirt."
    • The security guards literally wear red shirts.
    • Civilians who are forced either by the villains or Jack Bauer to cooperate with them are EXTREMELY likely not to live for long. If either of those gives anyone their word, that person's dead.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Where to begin?
    • Traffic? What's traffic?
    • A good chunk of the tension in the show comes from the threat of the US to retaliate against real or suspected enemy countries with invasion or even nuclear weapons; on at least one occasion this was the plan of the Big Bads who were framing said countries for a nuclear attack. These threats are always portrayed as occurring within a matter of hours, rather than the sensible and Real Life approach where such decisions would take days at least- Afghanistan after 9/11 took months- and the evidence would be heavily scrutinized, but that would put a damper on things.
    • Bauer (and a few other characters) can take all sorts of torture and abuse one hour and be feelin' fine for the rest of the day. Partially averted in Day 2, the first time he was tortured, where shortly afterwards Jack suffered a heart attack.
      • Season One counts too, as Jack was pretty exhausted throughout the entire day. At one point, when guarding a woman he took hostage, he nearly fell asleep, because he hadn't rested for over 24 hours. As for season two, the heart attacks lasted longer than that. Jack almost drove his SUV into a ditch hours after Jack got tortured, because he underestimated how injured he was. By the end of both days, Jack was almost completely worn out.
  • Refusal of the Call: Jack in Seasons Two and Eight.
  • Retired Badass: Jack tells someone in the Day 8 trailer that he's now retired. Of course this being 24 you just know he's going to have to get involved one way or another.
  • Retool: Season 7 - CTU has been dismantled after a government probe into torture committed by Jack and others, the main action takes place on the East Coast, and Tony Almeida is now the Big Bad (for the first few episodes at least . . . and then again sort of later).
    • Supposedly they tried this with Season 4 too, by dismissing every character from the show except three (Jack, Chloe and the new president). However, it didn't work, especially since a large majority of the popular characters came back as guest stars.
    • Seems like they'd be shut down for only having precisely one consistently competent person in the whole place.
  • Rock Bottom
  • Rule of Three: The series' first three seasons were set up as a loosely connected acts with a Myth Arc (mostly around the character of Nina and her relation to Jack). Seasons 4 through 6 also have a myth arc of powerful men pulling strings inside the US Government (some of which return in seven) and Jack's conflicts with the Chinese Government. Redemption, 7, and 8 deal with the Presidency of Allison Taylor. Three myth arcs of three. Each Season also has 3 acts, which change according to who the villains are, what their plan is, and what CTU's investigation is.
  • Running Time in the Title
  • Russian Rampage Of Revenge: The Drazens, against Jack in Season 1, because he killed their family. And then Jack, against them, after being lied to about how they killed his family (guess who wins).
    • Tony's whole motivation in Season 7.
    • Jack's back at it again in Day 8 after Renee's death.
  • Russians With Rusting Rockets: In Season 5, the terrorists try to launch non-nuclear missiles from a Russian submarine.
  • Save the Villain: Played with in several seasons, but almost never done straight.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: In Season 8, a young CTU agent named Owen runs out into a middle of a firefight to rescue a wounded CTU agent. As he dragged the man back to safety, both of them are shot. Fatally. Which sucks, because Owen wouldn't have sacrificed himself if the other agent wasn't stupid. However, Jack lies to Owen and says he saved him, so at least he died believing he performed a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Sequel Hook: Tony's still aliiiive!...
  • Serial Escalation: A staple of 24 storytelling.
  • Series Fauxnale: Day 4.
  • Seventh-Episode Twist
    • Season 2: Kim finds the dead body of Carla in the trunk of her car.
    • Season 3: The events of the first 7 hours is part of an elaborate sting operation.
    • Season 4: Tony Almeida returns.
    • Season 6: Philip Bauer is involved in the terrorist plot.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Some storylines end in a very depressing note. Of particular interest are: saving Teri Bauer in Day 1 and Kim Bauer surviving instead made the situation worse for some fans; saving Ryan Chappelle in Day 3; and saving President Omar Hassan in Day 8.
    • And in Day 8, literally one hour AFTER what was mentioned in the spoiler above, Renee gets killed by a sniper bullet, after screwing Jack Bauer.
  • Shout-Out: As mentioned before, we've got Star Trek alumni on the production staff now. In Season 7, two suggestions to replace departing members of Taylor's administration were Rick Berman and Bob Justman, who were also longtime Trek staff.
    • In an episode of Season 1, Milo gives his computer password as "foothill94022", a reference to a community college where Michael Loceff, the episode's writer, teaches online classes.
    • Season 8 has an assassin named Davros. Of course, he's not nearly as effective as his namesake- but then, he fucked with Jack Bauer.
    • Jack breaking out a pair of pliers and a blowtorch to use on Pavel seemed to be a reference to Pulp Fiction.
    • In a reverse shout-out, the Department of Homeland Security launched a surveillance technology development program aimed at protecting airliners from terrorist missiles. It's called "Project CHLOE", because the then-Director of DHS is a fan of 24.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Jack, to Renee.
  • Significant Monogram: Do Jack Bauer's initials remind you of anybody?
  • Silent Credits: The famous beeping clock at the end of an episode (and twice before an Act Break) is silenced for scenes of emotional impact where the clock would ruin it, and ambient noise plays instead (for example, for Ryan Chappelle's death, a train in the background). Only one instance (Edgar's death) has had the credits completely silent. May also be the Trope Codifier.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Averted with Renee and Jack. After she slaps him twice, she breaks down crying in his arms. Word of God is that originally they were going to kiss, but it never came out right; and was ultimately dismissed as being too cliche.
  • Smug Snake: Many, many villains on this show, but Nina Myers is one of the best. Her actions after her reveal up until her final episode make her a great enemy of CTU. All the more satisfying when Jack wipes that smug look off her face.
  • Soft Glass: Averted and played straight throughout the series. In Season 1, Jack picks up a blunt object off the ground in order to break a van's window and strikes it. It isn't until the third strike that the window breaks. Yet in Season 7, Jack manages to jump through the glass frame of a door and receive only a small gash on his hand.
  • Something They Would Never Say: Seasons One and Five.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Possibly the most gratuitous use of the trope in a live-action drama this side of Buffy, with repeated use of The Man Behind the Man and climbing up the Sliding Scale of Villain Threat combining to make for more urgent threats with every passing season.
  • Split Screen
  • Spoiler Opening: Usually averted when a former cast member is going to make a surprise return, but the Season Five opener had Carlos Bernard (Tony Almeida) returning to the main cast and Reiko Aylesworth (Michelle Dessler) still listed as a guest star. Seeing as how at the end of Season Four, Tony and Michelle had left CTU to settle down and start a family, seeing only one of them returning to main cast is a big hint that Michelle doesn't survive the episode. The irony is that Carlos Bernard only appears in six of the 24 episodes in the season and is only awake in four of them (at one point, Jack is falsely told that Tony has woken up, leading to an appearance, and then he appears as a corpse in the episode immediately after he dies), so the return to the main cast is actually rather unwarranted.
  • Stairs Are Faster: Jack Bauer proves this trope when he outruns Coffel's elevator, beating him to his limo.
  • Stealth Pun: In euchre, the trump jack (considered the highest trump) and the jack of the same color (considered the second highest trump) are called bowers.
  • Story Arc: Each season is essentially one complex story, generally split into two parts.
  • Stranger Behind the Mask: Starting around Season Five, 24 set up a huge conspiracy with who was behind the events that carried over for that day, and partly leaked over to Season Six as well. Come the second half (and especially the last third) of Season Seven, the conspiracy is played out once again, and assumed to be reaching its endgame, come the Season Seven finale. Finally, the viewers watch rogue agent Tony Almeida get to The Man Behind the Man, and made some rather nasty decisions to reach him. So when we see the guy, it's... Alan Wilson, someone the viewers never spotted at any point or have any connection to, whatsoever. What made this twist even more jarring is that during this very season, the writers introduced Jonas Hodges, a much more engaging and charismatic villain who could've been a worthy choice to be the conspiracy leader. But instead, we have this.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: Renee Walker was sniped in Jack's apartment minutes after having sex with the guy.
    • Michelle Dessler for Tony.
      • I'm not sure this last one works. While Season 7, Tony does use Michelle's death as motive for going off the rails, that's two seasons after she's killed and therefore her death was not written in simply to propel Tony down the path of revenge. In fact, in Season 5 (after her actual death) Tony story-arc isn't very long and he stops short of revenge. Rather than being "fridged", I see Michelle's death is a further parallel between Jack's life and Tony's (both having a pregnant wife murdered).
  • Stupid Boss: Often with shades of Obstructive Bureaucrat or the Tyrant Takes the Helm. The tradition of a new boss coming in started in Season 1. Hell, it happened twice there! And pretty much all of them have fit this mold, with the sole exception of Bill Buchanan.
    • Mason and Chappelle have have gotten wise to it too; it's just that, most of the time, such characters end up making a Heroic Sacrifice. Redemption Equals Death?
      • Same goes for Senator Blaine Mayer, who, after seeming like he's about to change from Bauer's greatest political enemy to his most powerful ally, gets killed by an assassin seconds later.
      • And Larry Moss from Season Seven, who got killed off just as he was starting to get the hang of working with Jack.
      • Don't forget Lynn McGill, who seemed to have his turnaround extremely quickly (when he recognized Jack's outdated duress code), only for his pride to get nearly half of CTU killed. And he, too, had a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Taking You with Me: Most suicide terrorists suffer from this.
    • Subverted hard many times though, especially in Season 5 with Anton Beresch's men; the only casualties are the terrorists themselves. Also see Land Mine Goes Click.
    • Unfortunately, this was subverted again because one of the Mooks survived the mine explosion and later wound up becoming The Dragon during Season 7.
  • Talking Heads
  • Team Dad: Bill Buchanan.
  • Techno Babble
  • Tempting Fate: "You won't take the shot, it's too risky!"
    • "I didn't think the president had the balls to go through with the agreement."
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: Done at a nation-wide scale during Season 7 to aprehend all the members of Juma's conspiracy, who had infiltrated pretty much every level of government administration and the Congress.
  • That's an Order: Jack to NYPD Sergeant Amis in Season 8. Amis didn't listen and got killed along with his team.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Jack kills Drazen by shooting him TWELVE TIMES!
    • Renee stabbing Vladimir Laitanan fifteen times also qualifies.
    • Jack stabbing Mikhail Novakovich with a fireplace poker after already shooting him in the head. Along with how he disemboweled Pavel Tokarev in the previous episode.
  • They Do: Tony and Michelle, Jack and Renee.
  • Time Bomb: Constant.
    • In the second season, it was determined that a suspect was lying because she claimed that she saw one of these with a big visible timer in a truck in the city, and a real bomb of that particular size would never look like that. The real bomb turns out to be very close by.
  • Time for Plan B
  • Time Skip: The conceit of each season of the series representing one full 24-hour day would necessitate a Time Skip of about a year each time. It's actually quite a bit more, with Season 1 covering David Palmer's election as president and 24: Redemption, the made-for-TV movie preceding Season 7, taking place on inauguration day when Allison Taylor takes office...twelve years later. A timeline of the presidency can be found here; a full timeline can be found here.
  • Too Dumb to Live: So, so, so many secondary characters. Most of them last about two or three episodes before effectively committing suicide by stupidity.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Quite a few people.
    • Almost any time Jack teams up with a random mook or civilian, that person will instantly jump up several levels in badass, as if it's caused by sheer physical proximity. For example, on Day 4, attorney Paul Raines and two teenage store clerks, under Jack's command, manage to hold off an elite, well-trained and far better armed commando unit.
    • Henry Taylor single-handedly not only found out his son truly didn't kill himself, but who his murderer was. Even after he was poisoned with a drug that paralyzed him from the neck down, he managed to fight off the toxin and strangle his son's killer to death with his bare hands.
  • Torture Always Works: Trope exemplar.
    • Finally subverted in Season 8, where Jack spends the entire final act of the episode torturing an agent, only to realize that the agent Took A Third Option which will require a different response.
    • Even more notable is how the torture here is far more brutal than usual, even by Jack's standards, and yet the guy doesn't break.
    • The actual aversion is when Jack is tortured for years by the Chinese without giving them anything for their trouble.
    • It did get subverted as far back as Day 4, however - two innocent people (Agent Sarah Gavin and Heller's son) were tortured needlessly because they were either wrongly accused or truly had no idea what was going on. In both cases, actual physical evidence ended up saving the day.
    • Ditto for Audrey Raines in Day 5, only there wasn't any physical evidence this time.
  • Torture First, Ask Questions Later: Jack's interrogation technique sometimes doesn't actually allow for the victim to answer.
  • Torture Technician
  • Tragic Hero: Loads, man.
  • Treasure Chest Cavity: A computer chip surgically hidden.
  • Tuckerization: The creators of the show held an eBay auction for fans who wanted their name in the show. The winner's name was given to Lou Diamond Phillips' prison-warden character. Who, of course, was killed. Bet the fan loved seeing that.
  • Twenty-Fifth Amendment: Seasons Two, Four, and Six.
  • Twenty-Four Minutes into the Future: Goes a long way in explaining the almost magical efficacy and efficiency of the technology used on the series.
    • Though the show's production team have never given out an official timeline (in an attempt to maintain a consistent "present-day" sense with each season), it's commonly-accepted Fanon that the entire series spans from 2004 to 2019. Given that the series ran from 2001 to 2010, this trope actually does apply.
  • Twist Ending: Five of the eight seasons.
  • Unstoppable Rage:
    • Jack goes on one at the end of Season One when Nina lies to him about Kim dying.
    • And again in Season 8 after Renee's death, resulting in him taking on Implacable Man status.
  • Unwanted Harem: Dana Walsh, in a gender-flip of the trope: not only a fiance, but an ex-boyfriend bugging her and a coworker sniffing around her heels (of course, she is Starbuck, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised).
  • Vapor Wear: Kim, but also Nina in a sexy back scene in Season 2.
  • Villainous Breakdown
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Day 8. Logan and Suvarov.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Various analysts, most notably Chloe O'Brian, at CTU providing Jack with information while on a mission.
  • Vorpal Pillow: John Quinn uses this on an elderly hospital patient to create a diversion .
  • Walking the Earth: What Jack does at the end of Season 4, and again at the end of Season 6 - which actually closes with a bit of the piano theme from The Incredible Hulk.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The true reason for the events of Days 2, 5, and 6.
  • Weapons Understudies: The Russian sub is played by an American one.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist
    • The season 7 finale reveals Tony to be one.
    • Renee's thumb-chopping in Season 8 shows her to have become this. Even Jack is shocked.
    • President Taylor has become this, as her absolute determination to get the peace deal realized makes her cover up evidence of the Russians' role behind the day's events, and authorizing torture on Dana Walsh, even though she could simply write an immunity deal for her.
    • Aaaaaaaand it now comes full circle to Jack Bauer in Season 8. He spent the final quarter of the season on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, resulting in the near assassination of Russian President Suvarov. Fortunately, he came to his senses at Chloe's pleading, before instigating World War Three.
  • Western Terrorists: Stephen Saunders' organization appears to consist mostly of British people. At least, its leadership does.
  • Wham! Episode: Scattered across the series, but Season 5 undoubtedly has the highest concentration of them.
    • It's pretty safe to assume at this point in time - nearly 14 years in-show - that Jack hasn't recovered from the Day 1 finale.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Happened quite often, as characters would be introduced in semi-important roles only to vanish without explanation. After Season 4, this was often referred to as being "Behroozed".
    • The 24 writers made a bad habit of this since season four. Behrooz's disappearance started the trend, but no example was as egregious as the President of the United States in Season 4 after Air Force One got shot down in the middle of the season. His status was left up in the air, but since Charles Logan replaced him in Season 5, he's either dead or incapacitated. Frustratingly enough, this happened again with Season 6's POTUS Wayne Palmer after he unsafely gets pulled out of a coma, only to collapse hours later, and get replaced by VP Daniels. After Season 6's brief subplot with the Logan clan, both Charles and Martha Logan's statuses were left in the air. Logan nearly died from getting stabbed, but returned in Season 8 while Martha was alluded to have attempted or committed suicide, but her fate was still left hanging. It seems as if the writers prefer to leave characters out of commission without quite declaring them dead, so they can be brought back at anytime, but the ambiguity got irritating after a while.
  • "What Now?" Ending: Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6.
    • As well as the final episode.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: So many examples that it could just as well have its own page of them. Probably the greatest example comes in the series finale where Jack's Roaring Rampage of Revenge reaches the point of nearly starting WW 3 until Chloe successfully talks him down at the last minute.
  • Whole-Plot Reference / Homage:
    • Several of 24's story arcs are highly similar to the British series Spooks, which also aired throughout the 2000s. They include the counter-terrorism team being locked in their office because of a nerve gas threat, the hero teaming up with Alexander Siddig as a potentially-untrustworthy Muslim ally, and a hacker breaking into London's computer network grid to cause havoc and blackmail the government (before Live Free or Die Hard as well). There are more similarities, as well, but are just generic enough to be stock war on terror plots, like a season revolving around Iran's -- or "Kamistan's" -- nuclear program and a subsequent peace deal derailed by terrorism.
    • The first few episodes of Season 5, detailing a plot to bring Jack out of hiding by killing his friends, are very reminiscent of the intro to Commando.
  • World Half Empty: Corporate and Governmental corruption is rife, all Jack's victories seem pyrrhic at best and the majority of those we meet who are working to uphold justice and freedom seem to have the lifespan of butterflies.
    • Lampshaded in Season 7; as a terrorist prepares to execute a port security guard that Jack and Tony had coerced into helping them earlier, Tony remarks to Jack that both of them knew the guard was dead the moment he got involved. Subverted as Jack seems to decide that saving one man wasn't worth tipping off the terrorists that they were involved... then, just as the guard is about to be offed, Jack decides to take the shot anyways, and the guard becomes one of the very few innocents on 24 who survives being involved with terrorists.
  • World of Badass: Because even the tech geeks, Damsel Scrappys, and peace-seeking presidents of random Middle Eastern nations are capable of bringing the pwnage.
  • World of Cardboard Speech: Jack explaining his moral dilemmas in the Season 7 finale. It is, for lack of a better term, awesome and heart-rending.
  • Worthy Opponent: Christopher Henderson.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Pretty much every terrorist/conspiracy plot in the history of the show. And usually because people didn't shut up and listen to Jack Bauer in the first place.
  • You Fail Nuclear Physics Forever: Possibly justified since Jack may have been bluffing. In Season 8, Jack threatens a terrorist that if the radiological device goes off, he'll escort his mother to the detonation site, claiming that she'll absorb a lethal dose of Cs-137 in five seconds, in order to keep him from killing himself to preserve the mission. The problem? There's no way for Cs-137 levels to be high enough to give a lethal dose in five seconds, and certainly not in open air. Also, if it were possible to do that, the agonizing death would cease to be agonizing simply by hanging around for a full minute, at which point enough radiation would be absorbed to destroy the central nervous system- two weeks of vomiting your guts out becomes twenty minutes of delirium followed by slipping into a coma and never waking up.
  • You Have Failed Me...: The Big Bads and Dragons do not tolerate failure. Just ask Ira Gaines. Or Andre Drazen. Or Vladimir Bierko. Or Phillip Bauer.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Everyone is expendable on this show the second someone deems them useless.
  • You Killed My X: Used to ludicrous extremes, but features most prominently in Season 7 with Henry Taylor and Tony Almeida, who both lost their sons (one living, one unborn).
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The characters are forever talking about how "this terrible day is finally over"... halfway through the season.
    • In Season 8, this is a plot point: CTU picks up a culprit pretty quickly, and Chloe asks if this person might not be a decoy.

"Shut it down....." 00:00:03 ... 00:00:02 ... 00:00:01 ... 00:00:00