For eight seasons, 24 kept viewers on the edge of their seats as counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) saved the world one day at a time with the help of a cast of terrific characters including computer analyst Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub). The real-time, 24 hours-a-season format kept us on the edge of our seats and made for innovative television. In 2010, Sutherland and the producers mutually agreed to end the series after its eighth year, but like nearly all good things, 24 came back — this time as a limited, 12 episode season called 24: Live Another Day.
The season premiered on May 5, and based on the first two hours, we’re in for quite a ride. I’ve thought of five reasons to get excited about 24: Live Another Day. Check them out…
5. Jack Is Darker And More Intense Than Ever.
When we first encounter Jack this season, the CIA has picked him up and everyone wants him, including the president’s chief of staff (and son-in-law), Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan). As the Feds take Jack down to an especially secure area — which is his plan in the first place — the agents soon realize in the clip above with whom they’re dealing.
Jack has been on the run for four years now, and somehow he’s still receiving intelligence! He hears of a plot to kill the president in London, and he comes back on the grid so that he can get caught and try to stop the assassination. It doesn’t seem possible, but Jack is more hardened and intense than he ever was, and it shows in his willingness to do whatever it takes to save the day.
Jack Bauer is a man who has lived off the grid, unable to contact family and without friends, for years, yet he has not lost the edge that made him so successful with CTU. We can also assume that Bauer is the same age as Sutherland — 47 — which makes this secret agent even more impressive.
4. The Producers And Writers Have Given The Plot A Timely Spin.
Lots of television shows purport to feature plots “ripped from the headlines,” and this mini-season of 24 is no exception. The plot strands unveiled in the pilot deal with a treaty between the U.S. and the UK involving the use of drones. The American delegation encounters protesters who vehemently oppose the use of drones. The bad guys engage in hijacking drones, ultimately with the goal of assassinating the president. In the first hour, a soldier (Star Wars: Episode VII‘s John Boyega) on a training assignment watches in horror as someone, somewhere, takes control of the drone he is responsible for and uses it to kill American and British troops.
The other subplot involves a Wikileaks-type organization, Open Cell, of which Chloe is a member. The shadowy figure Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott) leads the ragtag group of hackers, who uncover and release intelligence much in the same way that Julian Assange and his associates have. Jack has a tense discussion with Cross in front of Chloe and the others in which Jack reveals his disdain for the group and its methods.
These plot lines — and others that may emerge — give this season a timeliness that adds to 24‘s already exciting urgency.
3. Jack May Have Met His Match In Kate Morgan.
Unlike past seasons of 24, this season features the entire alphabet soup of federal law enforcement lining up against Jack. However, one agent has begun to come across as Jack’s match — and potential ally — at the CIA.
Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski) is an operative on her way out as a result of her late husband’s selling of secrets to the Chinese (without her knowledge). Unlike the rest of the agents and bureaucrats in the London field office, Morgan begins to unravel Jack’s plans and guess his motives. Clearly, she thinks like Jack, at least on some level. Her discovery at first hastens her dismissal, then it buys her more time in the office when her supervisor (Benjamin Bratt) reinstates her.
Morgan also displays a willingness to bend the rules to suit the mission — just like Jack has done time and time again. She often acts first, consequences be damned. Her understanding of Jack could become her downfall, or it could turn into the best thing to happen to her career in espionage. Will she become an ally, or will she trail Jack better than anyone else at the CIA?
2. The President Has A Secret!
Legendary actor William Devane plays President James Heller this season (Heller was secretary of Defense in Seasons 5 and 6). Devane has always played his roles with a certain cockiness, and outwardly, Heller is no exception. We see him smirking at protesters as he leaves the house where he is staying and addressing advisers as though he has everything figured out.
But President Heller has a secret! In the clip above, Heller receives a grilling from Mark Boudreau. As the scene continues, Heller references the deaths of three soldiers, and Boudreau corrects him, pointing out that four soldiers died. Clearly, Heller’s memory is not what it should be.
We don’t know if he is suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s or some sort of dementia, but we can be sure that whatever he is dealing with will haunt him in some way this season. But how — and will his issues turn into a major crisis or a minor embarrassment?
1. Jack & Chloe Still Make The Most Badass Team On Television.
Preparing for this post, I perused several lists of the best duos in television history, and for some reason Jack and Chloe didn’t make the lists. No pair of crime fighters has done the job with as much intensity, cleverness, and toughness as these two have for years. In the second hour of the season, it takes a while for them to get together, with Jack’s search for her and the subsequent confrontation with Adrian Cross.
But when they start working together again, the real fun begins. Chloe transforms from the sullen, shellshocked interrogation victim to the tightly wound, nervy analyst we know and love. The way Jack and Chloe play off each other works better than either character’s interactions with anyone else. They are a true team, working like a well-oiled machine. And they’re badass, far more any other team on television. I enjoy watching Jack and Chloe save the world together.
It’s not too late to catch up on a sensational beginning to what promises to be quite a ride. Check it out, watch with me on Monday nights, and tell me what you think.