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 2010.

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.

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.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: 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

.

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


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

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