Top 24 '24' Moments
by Kim Potts, posted Apr 5th 2010 4:00PM
A primetime landscape without Jack Bauer? We thought -- hoped -- the day would never come. But Fox has made it official, and, after eight seasons and a two-hour finale on May 24, '24's' Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) and his terrorist-thwarting cohorts will indeed ride off into the TV sunset.
And the only way we can think to soothe our grieving, Bauer-lovin' hearts: Recalling the real-time drama's all-time greatest moments -- 24 of them, of course -- from brutal interrogations and jaw-dropping twists to the biggest villains and heroes and the moment that sealed the fact that '24' was some kind of totally different, some kind of wonderful, TV show.
Jack Has the Stomach for Torture
Season 1, episode 11
There would be other, more brutal, interrogations by Jack Bauer. So many interrogations ... but this would be the first time viewers realized just how committed to getting information out of a bad guy Jack was. In fact, he didn't even actually commit the act he was suggesting here -- stuffing a towel down the throat (and into the stomach!) of Ted Cofell, who had info on the whereabouts of the kidnapped Teri and Kim Bauer -- but his description of it, and the menacing manner in which he told Cofell about it, left no doubt that he was perfectly willing to carry it out. "You probably don't think that I can force this towel down your throat. But trust me, I can. All the way," Jack tells Cofell. "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."
Season 1, episode 22
The most shocking moment in the show's history was just a couple of episodes away, but if you said you saw this one coming, well, you're probably fibbing. Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke) was Jack's former lover, Tony's current lover, a trusted and valuable CTU staffer and a suspected traitor who'd already been cleared of any wrongdoing after she was fingered as a mole earlier in the season. So you could have knocked viewers over with a pin (which is one of the many ways, we suspect, Jack Bauer can actually kill someone) when, as the Drazens were holding Kim Bauer captive, they received a phone call from a mysterious woman: Yelena, aka. Nina Myers!
Season one, episode 24
David Palmer, finally unable to deny the lengths his ambitious wife Sherry (Penny Johnson Jerald) will go to to ensure a stint in the White House, realizes just how far her disregard for other people goes when she jeopardizes Kim Bauer's life when she leaks info to the press. The future President calls Sherry into a meeting, where he lets her know, in no uncertain terms, that she won't be continuing along the political path with him. "I just don't think you're fit to be First Lady," Palmer tells his soon-to-be ex-wife.
Season 1, episode 24
Jack Bauer has managed to save his wife and daughter from kidnappers, and, after a day that also included his wife's bout of amnesia, him finding out he was about to become a father again and the reunion of his family after he and Teri's separation (and his fling with Nina), the frenetic first season of '24' seems set to end on a happy note. Or it would have, had it been almost any other series. Teri stumbles upon mole Nina at CTU. And Nina, worried that Teri (Leslie Hope) has heard her getaway plan, shoots Teri. Jack wanders into the CTU room and finds his wife's body ... his dead(!!) wife's body, sending him into a grief-fest and proving with this truly shocking ending that '24' was a very different, risk-taking series. No character would ever be safe (including, throughout the seasons and a couple of deaths, Jack) and no storyline would be off-limits in the world of tortured hero Jack.
"I'm Gonna Need a Hacksaw"
Season 2, episode one and two
Aside from Jack's "Damnits" (which have inspired a drinking game), it's the single most memorable line in the show's eight seasons. Jack, still reeling from Teri's murder, is reluctantly pulled back into a CTU crisis, and has little patience for CTU honcho George Mason's ways. During an interrogation, Jack shoots and kills suspect Marshall Goren. Jack then needs to go undercover as a criminal to get info on a terrorist group, and tells Mason, "I'm gonna need a hacksaw." In episode two, we find out why. He goes to visit thug Eddie Grant, who suspects Jack of being a narc after a previous undercover stint when Jack and Eddie's paths crossed. Mr. Bauer proves his friendship to Eddie by giving him a "present": a bag, which contains the decapitated head of Eddie's foe, one Marshall Goren.
The Mountain Lion Vs. Kim Bauer
Season 2, episode 11
It wasn't a particularly surprising moment, but it was one of the show's funnier moments, for two reasons. One: Only the hapless Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert) would find herself nearly on the business end of a mountain lion and a chain trap. And two: Admit it ... you kinda wanted that mountain lion to get her, because the character's stupidity caused a lot of grief for papa Bauer.
George Mason's Suicide Mission
Season 2, episode 15
If you're an enemy of Jack Bauer, the odds are stacked against you. But being a member of Jack's team certainly hasn't ensured anyone's safety, either, especially if they happen to be his boss. Ryan Chappelle, Tony Almeida, Erin Driscoll, Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) ... all suffered tragedies (or death) during their CTU tenures, and none got quite the opportunity prickly George Mason (Xander Berkeley) did to become such a life-saving hero in the process. Mason had frequently been a thorn in Jack's side, and was such a, well, tool, that even his son had nothing to do with him. But after being exposed to radiation poisoning and with a very painful death imminent, Mason stowed aboard an airplane Jack was flying into the Mojave Desert to sacrifice himself and get rid of a nuclear bomb. At the last minute, Mason gave Jack a parachute and convinced him he still had much to live for. Jack assured Mason he'd watch over his son, and with Jack parachuting to safety just minutes before the bomb was set to explode, George took over control of the plane himself, and the iconic '24' clock ticked away silently to the episode's end.
Bye, Bye Nina
Season 3, episode 14
She was one of '24's' -- TV's -- biggest female baddies ever, and she was so wily that she could have hung around to wreak havoc forever. But in another big move by the show's writers and producers, Jack's former CTU co-worker (and former lover) Nina, the woman who murdered his wife, had to die in season three. Jack had been forced to work with her earlier in the season in the name of thwarting a terrorist threat, but when it became clear that rotten Nina had no more useful information, Jack pulled the trigger. Three times, actually. "You don't have any more useful information, do you Nina?" Jack says. Nina: "I do." Jack: "No you don't."
Michelle Vs. the Hotel Guest
Season 3, episode 16
As many tough decisions as Jack Bauer has been called upon to make, he's not the only CTU staffer who's had to make painful choices in the line of duty. Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth) was the agent on the scene at the Chandler Plaza Hotel, which had been quarantined after a vial of the deadly Cordilla virus was released. Michelle herself was waiting to hear if she had been infected (and faced certain death), while she also had to explain to a hotel full of guests that they were going to die, give them the option of taking a suicide pill to avoid the particularly painful death that awaited them if they were infected and had to keep the panicked guests under control at the same time. So when one particularly rowdy man broke a window and started to walk out of the hotel -- which meant he could potentially spread the virus to a countless number of people in Los Angeles -- Michelle pulled her gun and threatened to shoot him. He told her she was bluffing. She said she wasn't. He moved for the window to leave, and Michelle shot him twice in the back.
The Death of Ryan Chappelle
Season 3, episode 18
Like George Mason, CTU boss Chappelle (Paul Schulze) at least got the chance to save a lot of lives by giving up his own. For Jack, though, Chappelle's death was yet another horrifying entry on the long list of crushing things he's been asked to do on the job. Bad guy Stephen Saunders had demanded that Chappelle be killed, lest he carry out his threat to release more of the Cordilla virus. All of CTU worked furiously to locate Saunders before the deadline he gave for Chappelle's dead body to be delivered to him. CTU team members thought they had located him, only to find he'd thrown them off his trail. With the time up, President Palmer asked the only guy he trusted in such situations -- of course, Jack -- to carry out the heartbreaking deed, and, with Chappelle on his knees and Jack telling him, "I'm sorry we let you down, Ryan," Jack asked for God's forgiveness and pulled the trigger that ended his boss's life.
Like Father, Like Daughter
Season 3, episode 23
Many of Jack's more desperate moments have come when he's been in the position of having to save daughter Kim. So it was extra taxing on him in season three when, to get his former fellow agent (turned baddie) Stephen Saunders to give up info about the Cordilla virus, Jack had to threaten to send Saunders' daughter Jane into the quarantined Chandler Plaza Hotel, where the deadly virus had already infected many guests. Saunders spilled the info in the nick of time, as Jack had already started pushing Jane Saunders towards the hotel entrance, proving that he was willing to give up one life -- even one just like his own daughter's -- to save the lives of many.
Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead
Season 3, episode 23
At last, manipulative Sherry Palmer was hoisted by her own petard. After letting Alan Milliken die earlier in the season, she lost control of the situation when Alan's widow (who had also failed to help him get his medication while he was having his fatal heart attack) became convinced that she would end up taking the blame for the death and land in jail. As Wayne Palmer (D. B. Woodside) rushes into the situation, a fearful and guilt-stricken Julia Milliken fatally shoots Sherry and then, just as shockingly, puts the gun to her own head and pulls the trigger. Add two more to the already high body count for season three, and subtract one of the show's all-time greatest villains and female characters.
Season 3, episode 24
We'd learned at the end of season one that there was no such thing as assuming a happy ending in Jack Bauer's universe, even if the season's big baddie has been caught. Such was also the case in this season finale, when Jack and partner Chase (James Badge Dale) were tracking down one more villain and Chase ended up with a bomb strapped to his arm. With no way to disarm the bomb, or remove it from Chase's arm before it detonated, Jack scanned the room they were in and landed his gaze on an ax. Yes, he was going to have to chop off the arm of his partner (who was also his daughter's boyfriend) to get rid of the explosive. Sure, Chase's arm was later surgically reattached, but, you know ... that's so not the point.
Jack: For Crying Out Loud
Season 3, episode 24
Just a little recap of what he'd gone through earlier in the day: He had to kill his boss, he finally got vengeance on the woman who'd murdered his wife, his daughter had yet again been in danger, he had to threaten to send an innocent young woman to her death to break a bad guy, he had to chop off the hand of his daughter's boyfriend and the President he had been fiercely loyal to resigned. Oh, and he had to kick a heroin habit, which he had acquired as part of his ever-stressful job. So it was totally understandable why, at the end of day three, Jack got into his car and began to sob. It was understandable, and the most powerful example yet of just how affected the seemingly unshakeable Jack was by the sometimes unimaginable things he's called on to do in the name of protecting the public. Of course, in the middle of his breakdown, his phone rang; it was CTU, calling him back into duty. And so his life goes ...
Air Force One Undone
Season 4, episode 16
Terrorist Marwan and his crew got their mitts on a U.S. stealth missile, and, despite the best efforts of Jack and the CTU gang, headed it straight towards Air Force One. Onboard: President John Keeler (Geoff Pierson). Few action sequences in '24's' history have been more powerful -- graphically and impact-wise -- than the scene of the POTUS and Air Force One being knocked out of the sky by a missile. Not only did the baddies nearly kill the President, but they put him out of commission, which led to Charles Logan taking over as President and set off a chain of events that would lead to major disasters (and one of the show's best seasons ever with season five) under Logan's leadership.
Chloe's Got a Gun
Season 4, episode 19
No one's more competent than Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) when it comes to tactical support in the CTU office, but in season four, she was called upon for a field operation when a much-needed piece of information was on a civilian computer. Chloe arrived at terrorist girlfriend Nabilla Al-Jamil's house and she and Nabilla came under ambush from a gun-toting baddie. They ran to Chloe's CTU car -- to which she couldn't find the keys -- and a panicked call to CTU led to info that there were weapons hidden in the backseat. After Curtis Manning gave her the code to unlock the weaponry, and just as the hitman began to ram his car into the CTU vehicle, Chloe grabbed a rifle, hopped out of the car and started shooting at the thug until he was dead. The computer genius surprised even herself, telling Edgar when she was back at CTU, "When I shot that guy, I thought I'd go all fetal position. But the truth is I didn't feel anything. At all. I hope I'm not some kind of a psychopath."
Season 4, episode 20
Jack had already erroneously suspected Paul Raines -- the estranged husband of his new girlfriend, Audrey -- of being involved with terrorist Marwan, and tortured Paul in the process. Later, while helping Jack, Paul takes a bullet that saves Paul's life. So it was yet another impossible position Jack found himself in when Paul was being operated on by Dr. Besson, the only doctor who could possibly save the life of Lee Jong, a wounded bad guy who was the only guy who had vital, save-the-world info Jack needed. Jack put a gun to Besson's head to make him stop operating on Paul and attempt to save Lee Jong, and Paul (James Frain) died in the process, sending Audrey screaming at Jack, calling him a killer and telling him she hated him. Jack looked stricken, not just by Paul's death and his role in it, but by the fact that his first chance at happiness since the death of his wife had probably just slipped away.
Jack's Back. From the Dead. Again
Season 4, episode 24
He's the one, the only, character who could never be killed off. Except he has been. Twice. This second time, Jack by a Secret Service agent who'd been sent to kill him because the Chinese government was demanding Bauer's death after his break-in at the Chinese consulate. Charles Logan had OKed the hit on Jack -- via Walt Cummings -- and in a shootout between Jack, Agent Spaulding and Tony, Jack ended up dead at CTU, with a pool of blood near his head. But wait! As soon as Agent Spaulding was sent off to another room, Tony, Michelle and Chloe quickly injected Jack with an epinephrine shot. Jack didn't come to. Tony began to pound on Jack's chest. Still nothing. Tony begins yelling at Jack to wake up, and suddenly he does, gasping for air, but alive. Tony and Chloe discuss the plan for covering Jack's trail with another dead body and no autopsy, while Jack, thought to be dead (and a target for immediately assassination by his own government if they found out he wasn't), ends the season alone, wandering off into the sunset, like Caine from 'Kung Fu.' But with way cooler sunglasses.
The Killing of the President
Season 5, episode one
He was, perhaps, the most beloved character of the whole series, after Jack Bauer, of course, so it was both heartbreaking and shocking when the events of season five began with a sniper killing former President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert). The only thing more unbelievable? That then-current President Charles Logan was complicit in the assassination.
"Chloe" ... "Edgar"
Season 5, episode 12
He wasn't an action hero ... Edgar (Louis Lombardi) barely ever left his analyst desk in the CTU office. But he was a beloved character and a beloved co-worker, which made it personal for the CTU gang, especially Chloe, when Edgar came running into the office just as most of the staff had sealed themselves in a conference room to avoid being infected with the deadly Sentox nerve gas was spreading through CTU. Edgar got there just seconds too late to make it into the safe room himself, meaning his co-workers, and friend Chloe, could nothing but look on in horror as he dropped to the floor, gasping, and calling out Chloe's name as he met a painful death.
Martha Logan ... Crazy Like a Fox
Season 5, episode 24
We knew from her first appearance -- when, displeased with her look, she dunks her fully made up face and hair into a sink full of water -- that there was something a little kooky about First Lady Martha Logan (Jean Smart), but the fact that she seemed to have a healthy mistrust of her snake of a husband and was a close personal friend to the just slain, beloved David Palmer, spoke volumes about her true nature. And so who didn't let out a cheer when, though she had continued to unravel throughout the season, it was because of her that Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin) not only admitted his many misdeeds and his role in David Palmer's death, but unwittingly did so into a recording device?
Season 6, episode four
With memories of Ryan Chappelle no doubt still floating around in the by-now massive guilt section of his memory bank, Jack was again forced to kill another co-worker when Curtis Manning (Roger Cross) was confronted with a terrorist who had once killed several of his fellow Special Forces team members during Desert Storm. Curtis wanted to kill the man, Assad, but President Wayne Palmer had cut a deal to pardon and protect Assad in exchange for his cooperation in thwarting new baddies. Curtis took Assad hostage and wouldn't let him go -- "I can't let this animal live," he told Jack -- forcing Jack, who had promised the second President Palmer he'd protect Assad, to shoot and kill Curtis. Jack stumbled away and vomited, and called boss Bill Buchanan to tell him, "Tell the President I'm sorry, I can't do this anymore."
Martha Logan ... Just Plain Crazy
Season 6, episode 13
She'd been institutionalized since helping to expose her Presidential crook of a hubby, and she'd begun a romantic relationship with the ever-reliable Secret Agent Aaron Pierce (who, as so endearingly played by Glenn Morshower for seven seasons, we desperately hope to see make an appearance in season eight before '24' ends), so it was a bitter, unstable and eager to flaunt her new lover Martha who agreed to meet with her ex in season six. Charles, it turned out, needed Martha to talk to her friend Anya, the wife of Russian President Yuri Suvarov, to help mediate a tense political situation. After taunting and berating Charles -- who responded, with seeming sincerity, kindly -- Martha just couldn't bear the fact that he had received only house arrest for his machinations, and she walked up behind him and plunged a kitchen knife into his shoulder. It was much later that we found out he actually survived the attack. Martha, meanwhile, though hysterical about what she had done and under arrest, still managed to get on the phone and talk to Anya Suvarov. OK, so maybe still crazy like a fox ...
Tony's Alive! But He's a Bad Guy! (No, He's Not! Wait, Yes, He Is!)
Season 7, episode one
Yes, it was one of the more over-the-top storylines ever, but so happy were we to see Carlos Bernard back in the '24' universe that we didn't even care that we were supposed to believe his Tony Almeida had been brought back from the dead and remained undetected, all the while befriending some big baddies and setting in motion a giant plot for revenge against the government because his wife (and unborn child) had been killed. Yes, in spite of all that, we're guessing most '24' fans were thrilled when, less than halfway into the first episode of season seven, Tony's face popped up on a computer screen as a suspected terrorist, and moments later, Tony himself popped up on screen as a menacing figure threatening a security expert to help him out with his evil plotting. Yes, we were thrilled when he turned out to be an undercover good guy working with Chloe and Buchanan, and crushed when he turned out to ultimately be a really, really bad guy who killed Larry Moss. And yes, we'd still love to see Tony again before '24' leaves the air.
Tell us: What was your favorite moment on '24'?