24/YMMV

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  • Acceptable Targets: Private security firms i.e., mercenaries.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy
    • Ryan Chappelle, when Jack is forced to execute him on Stephen Saunders' demands.
    • Lynn McGill. While his incompetence led to the terrorists getting his ID card and launching a gas attack on CTU, he sacrifices his own life to save CTU from the gas.
  • Alas, Poor Villain
    • Sherry Palmer, for all her scheming, gets a moment of emotional vulnerability as she pleads with Julia to put the gun down, but then Julia shoots and kills her before killing herself.
    • Jonas Hodges. He cooperates with the authorities to prevent the world from finding out that he's dead, and yet in doing so, is unable to see them again.
  • Ass Pull: The reveal about Nina Myers at the end of season one; according to some, the Big Bad of season five; and almost definitely the retconning of Tony Almeida's death in season 5.
    • Word of God claims they set up that Retcon by not giving Tony the Silent Clock, the traditional response to the deaths of really important characters.
    • The reveal of Alan Wilson being the mastermind behind numerous terrorist plots within the series, including the deaths of David Palmer and Michelle, has had mixed reactions. many were unhappy that what they felt was a completely generic, dull character had been set up as the series Big Bad and stole Day 7's plot away from a highly praised villain in Jonas Hodges, who was built up as the Big Bad of Day 7 since Redemption.
      • The reason the writers tacked Wilson on the ultimate Day 5 mastermind was that they needed a foil for Tony to be an Anti-Villain. The problem became that, in seasons 5 and 6, every mastermind was either an established major political figure (Chief of Staff Walt Cummings, President Charles Logan) or someone personally important to Jack (mentor Christopher Henderson, brother Graem, or daddy Phillip). Then, it all turned to be the work of... some guy. Bo-ring.
    • It seems that Day 8 has one that rivals the above, with he reveal that Yuri Suvarov, a previous respectable character that wasn't bad at all, was revealed right before the series finale to be the final Big Bad of the series. It's even more bizarre since you would think it would be more appropriate to have Charles Logan as the Big Bad, especially with him being more of a Magnificent Bastard than before. It seems the writers love making twists for the sake of twists
      • Then again, President Taylor was a good president once upon a time too...
    • Possibly also Graem being established as Jack's brother in season 6. In season 5, all of his conversations with President Logan have both participants referring to Jack only as "Bauer", no first name, which suggests that Logan doesn't even realize that the person he's talking to also has the surname Bauer.
    • And then there was Stephen Saunders' death in Season 3. To go into detail, Gael's wife found a loaded gun with the safety off in Gael's office and, so upset over his death, calmly walked over to Saunders, quickly pulled out the gun, and shot him. And she did all of this only after taking a brief glance at Saunders' profile on a monitor.
  • Base Breaker: In season 7, the decision to make Tony an ambiguous baddie splintered the opinions of fans. Some thought it was a nice change of pace, and allowed the writers to contrast Jack and Tony's experiences (despite their similarities) even further. Others thought it was an absolute betrayal of Tony's character, and even the most sensical motivations for his actions would be unconvincing if it meant backstabbing Jack. Similarly, in season 8, killing off Renee in an unceremonious fashion brought either admiration or ire to the fans. Some fans thought it was tyoical 24 nature and shrugged it off, while others thought the death was cheap and just plain cruel to Bauer's already messed up psyche.
  • Complete Monster: Main villains and their underlings frequently - and shortly after first being introduced - perform very, very bad deeds to prove how bad they are and so the audience can tolerate the "heroes" killing them eventually.
  • Creator's Pet: Dana Walsh garnered quite a bit of hate for her subplot involving her past, and yet continued to remain relevant to the season's plot.
  • Damsel Scrappy. Kim. To be fair, she got better, being eventually...
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: This may have set in for some viewers during or after season 5 when all but two major characters from season 1 had been killed off. Similarly, many newer characters added in seasons 2-4 had also been killed, written off or just forgotten about. Thanks to this and Anyone Can Die it became almost impossible to worry or even care about the possibility of new characters dying since by this point the show had become fairly predictable as far as character deaths go.
    • Renee Walker interestingly manages to escape this apathy. Fans took to her early on when she was added in season 7 and many were just as angry as Jack when she was murdered in the show's final season.
  • Double Standard: In Season 8, Jack is nearly willing to start a war between the US and Russia in the name of avenging Renee's murder. Just one season earlier, he prevented Tony from executing the Complete Monster who murdered his wife and unborn child, with much less at stake than Jack's situation.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Somewhat unavoidable for a show so prone to offing characters but mostly averted. The closest examples were probably Milo in season 6 (who seemingly just came back to do nothing and then get shot in the face) and Curtis' death.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Several over the course of the series:
    • By nothing more than sheer force of popularity, bit character Aaron Pierce has managed to be the only character aside from Jack Bauer to appear in all of the first seven seasons.
    • Chloe also went from very unpopular to one of the show's most beloved characters.
    • Renee's thumb-chopping gambit confirmed her Darkhorse status.
    • Tony was quite disliked during the first half of season one, thanks to his rivalry with Jack, and many believed him to be the CTU mole. Then he saved Teri's life, won Jack's trust and the eternal love of the fans. Even after his Face Heel Turn in season seven, a whole lot of fans still love him and refuse to see him as evil.
  • Epileptic Trees: Alan Wilson, the Big Bad of Season 7 and The Man Behind the Man extraordinaire, was also supporting behind Marwan in Season 4 so Charles Logan would take over.
    • Charles Logan in some way manipulated Tony(likely through someone else) into believing Wilson was involved in his wife's death so that Tony would target Wilson instead of him. Logan was merely placed under house arrest and later pardoned of his crimes, and Tony would have probably tried to target him(this was even stated as a possible reason for Tony's Face Heel Turn early in season seven), so he decided to pin the blame on someone else so that he would not be killed. This is supported by numerous plotholes that prevent Wilson's involvement from being believable(allowing Tony into his organization despite Tony being a target for assassination by Logan's conspirators and Michelle being killed in the same attempt, the fact the killings were organized to frame Jack Bauer, who Wilson had no connection with while others in Logan's conspiracy did, for David Palmer's assassination, which was a result of Palmer finding out about what Logan was up to, Logan's plan strongly differing from Wilson's to the point of strong contradiction, and overall the fact that other than Tony's word, in which we still don't know how he found out, there isn't any link between Logan and Wilson, etc.). Logan's manipulations in season 8 also support this, such as finding out about the Russians' involvement with the terrorists(he could have found out about Wilson's group the same way) and he even tries to make Jack believe it was Mikhail Novakovich who had Renee killed by himself in order to keep suspicion away from Suvarov so Suvarov would sign the treaty to complete Logan's plan to improve his damaged image, but Jack managed to bug Logan and found out the truth. Hey, it's better than lazily trying to link everything to an Omniscient Council of Vagueness.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Nina, Mandy, Cara, Tony...
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Torture always works. Use it. They were eventually asked to tone this down.
  • Fan Dumb: For a fanbase that usually averts this trope, it struck with a vengeance following the 24 series finale. A Vocal Minority of fans became very upset that 24 didnt receive near the amount of attention or respect the Lost Finale received a day earlier. Instead of turning their frustrations on a reasonable target (like Fox, whose marketing department mishandled season 8), they attacked Lost, and by extension, media outlets that supported Lost. Entertainment Weekly and IGN were especially hit hard, since both websites had a tepid reaction to 24's final year compared to their glowing responses with Lost. Whether you agree with the 24 fans is debatable, but it doesn't excuse their immature bashing of EW and IGN, or ripping apart Lost's flaws, its storytelling devices, and its own series finale. Considering that these 24 fans probably never watched Lost and only heard passing remarks about it, their grossly inaccurate assumptions about Lost and its finale was no surprise. For viewers who enjoyed both shows, the sudden animosity got annoying very quick.
  • Fan Nickname: Curtis is affectionately called "Black Bauer" and "Black Jack" because he measures up to Jack's level of badassery... and is black. Renee, meanwhile, has been dubbed "Jill Bauer" or "Rack Bauer" for much the same reason.
    • Television Without Pity had a cottage industry of these for 24, at least in the first few seasons worth of recaps. Some of the more notable ones include "Bitchelle" for Michelle Dessler, "Soul Patch" for Tony Almeida, "Spawn of Kiefer" for Kim Bauer, and "Im-ho-Terror" for Marwan...
    • "Sparky" for Paul Raines, after Jack used electricity to torture him. There's also the far-from-creative "Agent Hobbit" for the season five character played by Sean Astin...
    • "Darth Bauer" for Jack during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge in Season 8. He sported a full battle gear that made him resemble Darth Vader.
  • Fan Service: At the end of Season 4, Mandy takes Tony's shirt off for no apparent reason.
  • Fan Service Pack: Chloe O'Brian.
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: Tony saying how good Nina was in coming up with BS. Boy, he was right.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In Season 3, after Michelle has become trapped in the hotel with the virus, Chappelle tells Tony, "I need you to focus and the best way to do that is to assume the worst and make it about getting revenge."
    • Similarly, the cover of The Game shows him and Michelle dodging an explosion. Michelle doesn't avoid the explosion at the start of Day 5.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: George Mason's son is named John. John Mason?
  • Idiot Plot: United States Presidents and their Staff are incredibly trigger happy- and by "trigger" we mean Nuclear War. The resident President Evil is one of the few who does'nt consider starting World War Three a perfectly acceptable response to a terrorist attack, or realize that the mere threat of nuclear weapons constitutes a war crime. Its a symptom of a wider problem with the politics of the show- since its all set in one day, nobody seems to think that any of the problems can be dealt with tomorrow. Or with thorough investigations and diplomacy to make sure that the people you are accusing are actually guilty before you send them back to the stone age (or to find out that you are allowed to do that).
    • Not to mention the numerous times CTU or some other agency screws up by not listening to one of their most trusted agents, lets personal problems get in the way of their work (not that Presidents or their staff don't fall into this trap too, mind), fails to follow up on an obvious lead, is caught off-guard by attacks on itself, etc. etc. Jack himself makes many silly decisions as well, of course.
    • There is also the fact that almost every season alludes to what is either a single grand government conspiracy, or numerous unconnected conspiracies running simultaneously, involving associates or members of the government being involved in terrorist attacks or assassination attempts, if not both, none of which are ever investigated very thoroughly, or if they are said investigation is not mention- for example, is anyone investigating who masterminded the plot kill Wayne Palmer yet? Or is everyone just happy framing the terrorist-cum-Freedom Fighter who saved his life and leaving it at that?.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks: Complaints started somewhere around Season 3.
  • It Was His Sled: Nina Myers and Charles Logan are bad.
  • Jumped Off the Slippery Slope: Oh, Allison Taylor...
  • Like You Would Really Do It: They almost always would.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Take your pick.
  • Memetic Badass: "Jack Bauer is the leading cause of death among Muslim men." "TELL ME WHERE MARWAN IS!"
  • Moral Event Horizon: Many, but the worst offender is Nina Myers, who murders Terri Bauer and (consequently) her unborn child.
    • The implied offscreen murder of a child at the hands of Christopher Henderson was probably worse.
    • Jack Bauer shooting Dana Walsh in cold blood after she had surrendered and handed over the evidence Jack wanted. In my personal opinion, yes she deserved to die and I hope she burns in hell, but it was certainly out of character for Jack to to that. I realize he has a personal vendetta going with Renee's death, but Dana's connection to her assassination was very thin and she had nothing to do with it. It definitely feels like the writers are building to a point of no return to end the final season.
      • And, in the following episode, Jack's heinous torturing of Renee's murderer. Point of no return, indeed.
        • Followed by what he did to Mikhail Novakovich and all of his guards
          • Worth noting that the previous three examples have been noted in show by Cole. He has told Chloe that he no longer regards Jack as a "good guy" and lets her know he's willing to kill Jack if Bauer doesn't unconditionally surrender.
      • While pretty bad and not something he would usually do, consider a few things. First, Pavel was the man who pulled the trigger on Renee, and made the call to commit the murder, making him most directly responsible for her death. Second, he was withholding key information that Jack needed and needed quickly to try and clear his name. Third, given the situation he didn't have access to a full array of interrogation tools and had to make do with whatever was around in that warehouse. The torture was pretty brutal, but I didn't think this scene was too far out from what normal Jack would have done. There were some redeeming qualities to Dana and she had given Jack everything she could to help him, and he executed her. There was nothing redeeming about Pavel, and him getting killed was really a side effect of him swallowing evidence. I didn't find the Pavel torture sequence nearly as bad as Dana's execution in terms of a MEH.
        • Dana was also quite untrustworthy and purely motivated by self-preservation. Both her escape attempts also resulted in the deaths of innocent bystanders and law enforcement officials, so letting her live might not be a good idea.
      • President Allison Taylor has exhausted several fans' goodwill by bending over and taking policy tips from Charles Logan, a man she and close advisor Ethan Kanin reviled for his deeds as President and his getting away relatively scot-free - all for the sake of a treaty that will supposedly (read magically) bring peace of a nondescript group of Eastern countries. Whatever goodwill remained is exhausted when Taylor flat out threatens Dalia Hassan to finish the treaty. Fortunately, she does get some personal redemption when she refuses to go through with the signing and orders Jack to GTFO before he's caught.
    • Sherry Palmer elevated herself to a new level of villain BadAssery in Season 3, (when she was formerly a behind-the-scenes manipulator) when she talked Alan Milliken to death and prevented his wife from administering life-saving medicine.
    • Suvarov ordering the killings of Omar Hassan and Renee Walker.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Best. Ringtone. EVER.
    • Also, the most epic digital clock in the universe. This sound means you need to sit back down in front of your TV right the fuck NOW.
  • Motive Decay: Vladimir Bierko goes from trying to force the Russians out of his homeland to trying to kill as many American civilians as he can.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Countless examples - Jack's towel torture threat, the Cordilla virus from Day 3, the Sentox nerve gas from Day 5, Audrey Raines' liquid copper torture and subsequent Heroic BSOD, Renee being buried alive by Jack in Season 7...
    • Habib Marwan escapes by impersonating a CTU Agent; when a hapless agent realizes his buddy isn't who he appears to be, Marwan pushes his arm up, sticks his gun inside the agent's vest and puts three rounds in him. Horrible.
    • Renee's descriptions of Vladimir Laitanin and the way he treated her could also fall under this.
    • Jack mounts an armored assault on former President Charles Logan's car. We see Jack from far away, methodically shooting his way through Logan's secret service agents, Logan for perhaps the only time in the series looking horrendously afraid. Jack makes his way to the car and just stares through the window wearing this.
    • Jack's cold and clinical way of instructing a young naval engineer to slit the throat of one of Bierko's goons.

"When you get within 18 inches of him, grab him by the mouth, pull his head towards your chest and cut his throat deep enough to sever his vocal chords and his carotid artery."

    • Jack and Tony gassing Ule Motobo and his wife out of a panic room using household chemicals, especially considering that you see them choking on the gas until Mrs. Motobo opens the door, unable to watch her husband die.
    • Day 8. Jack interrogating the hell out of Pavel Tokarev while Meredith Reed is in the next room.
    • Many of the torture scenes in season 2 qualify. Two that stick out are the buzzsaw torture scene and Jack's torture at the hands of Kingsley's mooks. Also a good source of Nausea Fuel.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: Chase Edmunds, he gets his hand cut off and whenever Kim shows up in Season 5 its heavily implied he turned into a bit of a Jerkass not long after Jack's faked death causing them to split up.
    • And was last mentioned living in the city that got nuked in Season 6. So yeah, possibly a Bus Crash on top of that too.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Allison Taylor.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Dana Walsh halfway through Season 8. After being the center of an annoying, worthless subplot, Dana pulls an abrupt Crowning Moment of Awesome and garrotes a parole officer to death inside CTU. Afterwards, we learn that Dana was The Mole all along, and she spends the rest of the season being a Manipulative Bitch and Smug Snake. She's still hated, but for a justifiably good reason.
  • Reverse Funny Aneurysm: Remember all those Jack Bauer facts that was about him doing completely over-the-top badassery? The final hours of season 8 with things like storming a car tunnel full civilians to get to Charles Logan's limousine, in full body armor and an selection of assault rifles and the aftermath of his massacre of Novakovitch and his men, including Novakovich being impaled to the floor with a poker and with a bullet to his head. As well as the gory, bloody bodies of his henchmen shows Jack Bauer could very well perform all of that. Most Jack Bauer facts now pale in comparison to all the crazy shit he's actually doing in the show.
  • The Scrappy: Special mention goes to Kim's season 5 obnoxious therapist / boyfriend Dr. Barry Landis who appeared in only 2 episodes.
  • Seasonal Rot: Seasons 4 and 8 are base breakers, though season 6 is unanimously hated by the fans, thanks to the show's colossal drop in quality after the critically acclaimed season 5. Even the writers don't look back at season 6 with much optimism, and blamed the lack of a central plan or theme as a reason for the narrative shortcomings. Season 7, for better or worse, turned things back around.
  • Shocking Swerve: 24 is known for its HSQ inducing twists and occasionally out-of-field subplots, but during season six, when it revealed that season five villain dubbed Bluetooth was suddenly Jack's brother, Graem Bauer, it threw off the fanbase to such baffling proportions that was never seen again. Even with the show's crazy logistics and fast paced events, this was a twist too far. And this is coming one season after an ex-President got gunned down by a sniper and another President was involved in the terrorist plot...
    • The series finale revealing that The Man Behind the Man behind the Russian terrorists was actually Yuri Suvarov, a character that showed no previous connections to any terrorist group. In fact, despite his political connections to Charles Logan, he came off as an overall decent guy who opposed the Russian terrorists in both seasons five AND six. Suvarov suddenly switching sides so close to the show's end felt like an extraordinary Ass Pull.
  • Straw Man Has a Point: Gen. David Bruckner and Rob Weiss go behind the president's back and turn president Hassan over to the terrorists in order to stop them from setting off a nuclear bomb in New York. Their justification, of course, is that they did what they had to in order to protect the United States. Accusations that it wasn't their call to make and that they betrayed both their president and their country fall flat when their actions kept a nuclear bomb that was 7 seconds away from detonating from going off. Also notable in that this is the very same reasoning- the defence of innocent Americans trumping moral principles and established authority- that Jack Bauer has used to justify defying orders countless times in the past.
    • However, this may be due to a bit of hindsight: There was no indication the terrorist would really stick to his word and stop the bomb. Such villains on this show are rare.
      • The only thing that matters here is what actually happened. President Taylor's decision would have gotten New York City nuked had the conspirators not intervened.
    • The Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: anyone who has ever came out against this in any context is either a tyrannical, authority figure with no third option to bring the terrorists down sans torture or an unwitting pawn of those same terrorists. Senator Mayer was the most reasonable objector but was still portrayed as naive about what it takes to get the job done. It doesn't help that 24 justifies the use of torture as an absolute necessity via the "Ticking clock scenario" that some who support enhanced interrogations in Real Life think is just as much of an everyday occurrence as in 24.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Season 2 ended on an incredible cliffhanger and the reveal of The Man Behind the Man...season 3 revealed that it had been resolved off-screen, later revealed to be the video game, but even that was arguably a little lackluster, and one of the masterminds (Alexader Trepkos) was never heard of again.
    • Season 7 revealed that the ultimate Man Behind the Man was some guy named Charles Wilson and The Omniscient Council of Vagueness, though said Council may or may not be a Karma Houdini as they, too, are not heard from again, while Wilson only gets a brief mention in season 8. Most seasons prior to that had various cases of government corruption and internal conspiracies (such as attempts to kill the President) that alluded to masterminds who went unpunished, and Graem Bauer alluded to involvement in previous stories (saying that he ordered the hit on David Palmer and Jack in season 5, and that his hit on Jack was not the first). Wilson is presumably meant to be the ultimate villain behind all of this, but while the conspiracy itself wasn't exactly an Ass Pull and a fair amount of groundwork (possibly unintentional, but still), the identity of the villain certainly was.
  • Took The Bad Season Seriously: In lesser seasons one could argue that Kiefer Sutherland is this trope. Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker, in a review for the series finale, praised Sutherland's acting in the series as a whole saying that even when the show got ridiculous and absurd Sutherland's acting remained engaging and believable.
    • Cherry Jones (Allison Taylor) got similar praise from fans; while rage about Allison's storyline ranged far and wide, most fans agreed that Cherry did the best she could with what she was given, and her best is fairly awesome.
  • Tear Jerker: The last quarter of the Season 7 finale is one long cryfest (along with many other scenes).
    • Not to mention Tony's monologue to Alan Wilson. That is the sound of a man's heart being broken.
    • Jack failing to save Hassan in season 8
    • Tony's last words to Jack in season 5
    • George Mason leaving CTU for the final time.
      • And saying goodbye to his estranged son. So, so much.
    • Jack's reaction to the news about David Palmer being assassinated.
    • The death of Renee in Season 8 after it finally looked like her and Jack could get together, and they would be happy
    • The death of Ryan Chapelle in season 3. It doesn't matter how many times I watch it, it elicits this response from me with 100% consistency.
    • The fate of Jack Bauer at the end of Day 8.
      • Even after numerous rewatches, the final conversation between Jack and Chloe almost never fails to break a longtime series fan up.
    • Harry Swinton calling his child for the last time as Lynn McGill prepares to perform a Heroic Sacrifice during the gas attack that has the side-effect of also exposing Swinton to the gas.
  • Viewer Stock Phrases: Some things you'll hear a typical fan of the show say (or say yourself) while watching
    • "Holy Shit!": The shows HSQ is ridiculously high.
    • "You CAN'T end it there": The Cliff Hanger is the show's stock in trade.
    • "Just do what he says!": You would think that after 7 seasons of saving the country more times than everyone in the Justice League combined, people would listen to Jack Bauer. Alas, some folks are Too Dumb to Live.
      • There used to be a Jack Bauer Fact that said "If everyone on 24 actually did what Jack said, the name of the show would be 12."
    • "But wait, a minute. That's not the way... ah, forget it.": This show lives by the Rule of Cool and the Rule of Drama.
    • * Scoff* "Yeah, right. Go ahead and believe that...." - Characters say things that are obvious B.S. like, "We will catch Bauer", or "Everything is going according to plan", or "Jack will talk". The audience knows no such damn thing will happen.
    • "But there're still 6 episodes left." - Characters always say, "thank GOD it's over..." in the middle of the season. It almost makes you wonder to yourself who's smoking what.
  • What an Idiot!: When David Palmer's campaign goes south in season 3, he trusts his wife to help him despite her trying to sabotage him in the last two seasons.
    • Suvarov ordering Renee's assassination in Season 8. A quick check should have shown how well being on the receiving end of a Jack Bauer Roaring Rampage of Revenge works out.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Tony in season 7 is hellbent on killing everyone involved in the Season 5 conspiracy, and accepts the deaths of pretty much everyone else as an acceptable loss.
  • Working with the Ex: Happens quite a bit in 24. Tony and Michelle find themselves working together at CTU in the 4th season. Also, David Palmer ends up having to work with Sherry quite a bit, even asking for her help one time.
  • What the Hell, Casting Agency?: Dennis Hopper as Serbian warlord Victor Drazen.
    • Freddie Prinze Jr.'s announcement as a regular for Season 8 was met with similar confusion and jokes alike.
      • As Season 8 went on, his casting was viewed in a more favorable light though.