Wiki Headlines
It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Headscratchers: 24

  • Season One, Episode One: Gaines pays one million dollars to hire Mandy, a hyper-competent mercenary, to perform a mid-flight seduction/assassination of a photographer to secure his press credentials in order to get a surgically altered assassin within killing range of Senator Palmer. She tops off this feat by skydiving from an exploding jet airliner and landing safely in the California desert in the middle of the night. Then Gaines hires a couple of stoners with a molester van to kidnap Kim, the other crucial part of his plan. Did he run out of budget?
    • Hijacking a plane and assassinating a senator are very difficult tasks that require a lot of skill, which would require a hefty fee. In contrast, kidnapping a couple teens shouldn't be too difficult. It just turned out that it was.
      • Add to this Season One, in general: So the bad guys wanted Jack to do their dirty work as an expendable badass, and planned to use Kim as leverage, why have her kidnapped on the day at all, when you had so much other delicate shit going on that needed to run smoothly. Even one day before, a teenage girl not coming home for the night is no biggie. Sure with a dad like Jack he would be suspicious but he would hardly connect it to a planned assassination of a presidential candidate. Season one could have opened with Jack and Teri arguing about how their sweet little girl should be able to stay out without calling rather than a game of chess.
      • Jack has proven on multiple occasions that he only kinda sorta cares about the law and protocols. If they'd made their move on Kim any earlier than they did three problems would have occurred. First Jack would have raised Heaven and Hell looking for her personally instead of sending Teri whose hardly an agent. Second he would have told people at work because he wouldn't have had a reason not to (unless they contacted him) and finally Jack Bauer is known for being a hyper competent bad ass. Even with his daughter in jeopardy he managed to save Palmer's life, find the compound and save his family. That took him a grand total of twelve hours. I shudder to think what Jack could accomplish given even as little as thirty six hours.
  • In Season One, Episode 7, Gaines has Jack steal an encrypted keycard, while the CTU are working on decrypting it. In reality, this would be useless, because the first thing you do in any data forensics is copy the encrypted data onto your servers, so your investigation won't be stopped if you lose the original media.
    • And in Season Five, Jack obtains, loses and recovers an incriminating recording and never once bothers to make a copy or even play it over the phone while he is coordinating with CTU.
  • In Season Six, Episode Four, Curtis is holding Assad at gunpoint and Jack kills him so he won't kill Assad. Why did Jack shoot him in the neck? It's already been covered that Jack is a very good shot, so why didn't he aim for an arm or a leg? It would have made a lot more sense to aim for a shot that was not meant to kill, seeing as Curtis was his friend.
    • He probably either didn't have a clear shot (Curtis was standing behind Assad), and/or he was afraid that if he only wounded him that he would try to take Assad with him.
  • In Season One, Jack's wife and daughter are kidnapped and he is forced to follow the terrorists' demands over the telephone in order to keep them alive. In Season Three, Michelle is kidnapped and Tony is forced to follow the terrorists' demands over the telephone to keep her alive. Jack gets away with it (though I can't remember if he was charged with anything), Tony doesn't. Why?
    • In Jack's case, he was able to foil the assassination attempt against David Palmer (who subsequently dropped the charges against him and made amends later in the day/season), came up with an out that kept Nina Myers (who he knew at that point was their best analyst) alive, rescued his wife and daughter and took out an entire base full of foreign terrorists. Tony lets Saunders walk away scot-free from their first run-in, and jeopardizes the safety and health of everyone in downtown L.A. by continuing to let him run around free. However, Tony did get a pardon in the fourth season by Palmer (but from the way it was implied, Jack may have had some influence on Palmer's decision).
    • Protagonist-Centered Morality
  • My mom got to wondering about why Jack Bauer's cellphone battery never seems to run out. I offered two possible explanations: A) As a government agent, his phone has been modified to carry a charge longer. Or B) IT'S A F*** TV SHOW!!
    • But this only happens to Jack, doesn't it? There are many instances when someone's cellphone battery dies - or they lose the reception - just as they're trying to make a call that could save their lives.
      • A) Power of Plot. B) Jack is smart enough to always keep his cell phone charged. C) The cell phone doesn't want to piss Jack off.
      • Probably a sufficiently powerful battery. This troper's cell phone can go well over 24 consecutive hours without needing to be charged, and it's a cheap $29 model.
      • He could carry an extra battery. He usually changes them right before he uses the restroom.
      • For me it's almost a Headscratchers that people keep commenting on how his cell never dies. My phone can easily go 24 hours without needing to be recharged even when I talk on it a lot.
    • Lamp Shaded in episode 19 of season 8 where Jack buys a bunch of cellphones and tells the clerk that he doesn't need to get a charger.
      • Not a lampshade. He tells the clerk he won't need the charger because he's using them for one-time calls.
      • Nothing suspicious about that. No sir.
      • The clerk probably just figured he was a drug dealer. Which you're hardly obligated to report. It's not worth the trouble, your job, and possibly even your life reporting such suspicions.

  • How come everyone can always get from one end of LA county to the other, often in rush hour traffic, in no more than 15 minutes?
    • LA traffic doesn't slow Jack Bauer down. It doesn't dare. (I cannot explain everyone else's ability to move quickly in that city, though.)
    • I'd assume that the magnetic gumball roof light, like torture, actually works in 24's parallel universe. In real life LA drivers have trouble noticing when a fully-lit-up FIRE ENGINE is behind them.
    • This one is explained over in Wild Mass Guessing He's an exiled timelord
    • On one occasion they actually justified the lack of traffic. In Season 5, President Logan declared a curfew on the city of Los Angeles, essentially placing it under martial law, and because of this, there would be long stretches of unoccupied freeway that could be used for a plane to make an emergency landing.
  • What did Jack whisper to Nina while they were dragging her away in season 2?
    • The scripted line was "I will hunt you down for the rest of your life". As an example of Enforced Method Acting, Kiefer actually whispered "I love you, Sarah. Why did you marry Xander?" into Sarah Clarke's ear.
      • Shouldn't that make her laugh her ass out rather than make her shocked? That could easily became an Hilarious Out Take
      • Kiefer Sutherland's a pretty damn good actor. And let's face it, imagine how weird that would feel hearing from a co-worker when you've just come back from your honeymoon.
  • What was the point of the "Plan B" assassination attempt on Palmer in the season 2 finale?
    • It provided a tie-in to the 24 computer game.
    • Plus, it was the tie-back to Marie Warner's declaration, "You think you'll be safe out there. You're wrong." The entire gist of the final part of that episode was to build up a glorious sense of victory over the terrorist threat, deliberately so they could subvert it in that final moment.
  • What happened to Behrooz?
    • Or President Logan? Or Lynne Kresge? Heck, just see the characters of unknown status page over on the 24 wiki.
    • Well, Behrooz (in the deleted scenes on the DVD set) narrowly survived an execution attempt from Marwan's cell and was rescued by Curtis, then learned about his mother's death in the finale. The problem is that it was intended to be shown five or six episodes after he was last seen, and his story was intended to be resolved in the middle of the whole "Jack's fake death" plotline, which took precedence.
      • And of course, Charles Logan re-appears in the last third of season eight. And unlike his middling season six appearance, he's back to the sniveling coward we all loved to hate in season five.
    • I seem to remember there being a controversy against killing an American president on screen, resulting in the majority of Presidents who were attacked during the course of a day being unknown, the lone exception being David Palmer (who was not currently President at the time of attack). John Keeler and Wayne Palmer were both replaced by their VPs permanently, but no further information on their status is given (At 24 Wiki, Wayne Palmer is listed as alive, despite the only evidence for this being that he had not died by the end of Season 6; the Season 7 opener shows President Taylor taking over the office from Noah Daniels, Wayne's VP, suggesting that Palmer died).
      • However, that could also mean that Palmer never fully recovered and was unable to resume active duty.
  • What was the point of the bus bombing and the subway bombing in LA at the beginning of season 6, when they were intending to nuke the entire city a few hours later?
    • Terrorist cells operate largely independently from one another, to make it harder to extract information if captured. There's no reason anyone other than Abu Fayed's cell to know about the nuclear attacks for that very reason, so the bus bombing might be unconnected. Alternatively, they would provide as a distraction to stop CTU from suspecting that anything bigger was going down. Although I can't actually remember the details of the subway bombing so I might be off there.
    • It may also be to ratchet up the US's desire enough to bring in Assad that Fayed can plausibly bargain for Bauer in exchange for Assad's location. Then, not only does he gets vengeance on Jack but the US eliminate the man most capable of stopping him in Assad while he stays out of the line of fire.
    • Of course, there's the suspicious timing of how the other bombings in other cities just stop after the LA cell is taken down.
    • It's explained in the episode: Fayed is using the attacks to force the government to release his bomb maker.
  • Isn't Cheng Zhi supposed to be a diplomat or something? Why is he going around kidnapping people and leading military actions on US soil?
    • He's the nominal head of security for the embassy when we see him the first time. Given what he does after that, it's probably fair to say he's really a Chinese government agent of some kind.
    • Also, according to Charlie Wilson's War (the book), it's not all that uncommon for spies to work their country's embassies as a cover job.
    • Because it's personal for Cheng Zhi. He probably asked Beijing if he could take point on the operation, especially since embassies are the usual starting point for black ops.
  • Why did Bill Buchanan have to be fired for releasing Abu Fayed from custody, when, at the time, he wasn't wanted for any crime and he followed procedures to the letter?
    • They needed a fall guy because the press would have torn the Government apart irrespective of protocol. If the story turns from "why did the stupid President pass laws allowing this?" to "why did this dumbass Buchanan let this happen?" then it's all good.
      • But would the firing of a mid-level bureaucrat really stop the press from tearing the government apart? Does it ever?
      • What other choice did they have? Besides, as the head of the unit designed to stop terrorists, it's easy to make it look like the buck stopped with him.
      • There's a moment in Thomas Harris' Hannibal where Clarice Starling ruminates about a recent botched drug raid and who's going to take the fall. The exact term used is "Catch-Me-Fuck-Me". In a government, it's not about who's actually at fault, it's about who can be sufficiently blamed; you can't make it far into any government without being a Karma Houdini, and the fact that America is a democracy (where all elected officials need to look perfect to become elected officials) just makes it worse. Buchanan (and, as of Season 7, CTU itself) was simply too slow, and got caught. And fucked.
  • Where is Charles Logan's ranch located in LA county, that traveling from there to LAX requires President Suvarov's motorcade to travel down surface streets in downtown LA?
    • It's a good question. The route that Novick said the Suvarov motorcade would take was the 118 to the 5 (and presumably to the 101, since they are heading downtown). Since the route starts at the 118, the ranch is probably somewhere in Simi Valley. But though I don't think they ever specifically mentioned LAX, all the major airports (including LAX, Bob Hope, Santa Monica, and Long Beach) are near the coast and thus would be better accessed by the 405, which a) you would hit first on the 118, and b) even with bad traffic, it would still be faster than taking the congested surface streets of downtown LA via the 5/101. Unless they are going to a different airport or had a logistical reason for such a route.
  • What governmental office does CTU answer to? They talk about getting orders from Langley in season 2, but in season 4 the Secretary of Defense apparently has budgetary control, and in season 5 Homeland Security takes over operations without anyone batting an eye.
    • Each season is set a year/a few years apart, so operational control/the agency's structure may have shifted over time. Especially considering the body count that anything involved with Jack/CTU racks up.
    • Officially it's the CIA, according to the teaser information for Day 1. Which makes no sense, since the CIA cannot operate domestically. Plausibly it would have to be FBI or NSA (the latter being the more fitting due to its extensive Sig Int focus throughout the series.)
    • It's its own agency, in the vein of Homeland Security before there actually was a Homeland Security. I don't remember them In season 4, the DOD doesn't have budgetary control, they're haggling over the DOD getting the lion's share of the federal budget. And in season 5, they're putting it under the auspices of Homeland Security because most of the staff is dead.
  • Why did Henderson try to frame Jack for killing Palmer, when as far as anyone (including himself) knew, Jack was dead?
    • Would you frame Jack knowing that he was alive? Besides, if he's already dead then he can't say otherwise. See also: The Bourne Supremacy.
    • It's heavily implied that he did know. At least somebody did when they broke into Chloe's computer in the S5 prequel. Why they felt the need to start killing everybody else just to fabricate a "removing all the loose ends" motive is another thing entirely though.
      • Watch Commando again. It's the same gimmick as the intro to that movie: kill the guy's friends, and use that to get him out in the open.
  • Why was Fox so damn intent on painting all Russians as being evil in season 6? Did they forget that the cold war is over?
    • They were running out of other nationalities.
    • I'm reminded of a line in Ender's Game... "The Russians stopped being the bad guys after the Cold War." "Whoever's doing the bad things, those are the bad guys."
    • Tom Clancy syndrome. Clancy has never quite gotten over the Cold War, and it's clear he's the major thematic inspiration for 24.
      • Actually the Chinese are usually the bad guys if it's a nation once the Cold War is over.
      • Have you read Clancy's books? After 1991, his books pretty much portray Russia as working with America. In fact, Russia becomes a member of NATO. But that all ends in End War. But if you think about it, nothing in End War makes sense.
    • Russia worked for what they wanted in season five; it has fairly recognizable terrorist problems (in the Chechen terrorists) and fits the Cold War model that Logan can evoke Nixonian imagery by engaging in diplomacy with. The Russians also work for they wanted in seasons six and eight because the former Soviet Union is probably the most recognizable place to obtain black market nuclear weapons from.
    • Arabs and Russians are used for terrorist threats more than any other group of people in this show. The former group were primarily responsible for seasons two, four and six. The Russians were involved during seasons five, six, and season eight (and being the Big Bad in five and eight).
      • Actually, Americans are used as terrorist threats more than just about anybody. Just about every season has at least a contingent of Americans as antagonists. Of eight seasons, four have Americans as the Big Bad (2: Kingsley, 5: Charles Logan, 6: Philip Bauer, 7: Alan Wilson or Tony Almieda). Though, this can obviously be justified since the show takes place in America.
    • Just because the Cold War is over doesn't mean Russia and the United States are especially chummy. The Russian Federation is still an authoritarian country run by a personality-cult strongman, corrupt mega corporations, and mafiosos, and it and the United States are always jockeying for regional power, like in Iran.
  • Why does Season Five's Sentox Nerve Gas get faster each time you use it, but stop soaking in through the skin (or even lingering for more than a few minutes)? Is it caught in some sort of temporal anomaly?
  • When does Jack eat? Or for that matter, pee?
    • Ad Breaks.
      • Apparently, this is the standard answer given when the cast are asked that.
      • Kiefer is on record as saying he wants to include in the show a scene where Jack ducks into a bathroom and comes out a few moments later looking relieved, and that Executive Meddling keeps refusing him.
      • Since Jack is rarely near an actual bathroom, if he gets desperate enough, he probably just quickly whizzes in a convenient spot (gutter, bush, rooftop) along the way, which would not be terribly appropriate to actually depict on-screen; hence, if it happens, it happens while we are not actually seeing him. The bigger question is whether he would even NEED to go wee-wee (or do a Number 2, which would present even more formidable logistical challenges), since we never see him actually eating or drinking anything along the way anyway. (One would think it would be hard to maintain the stamina for 24 straight hours of rock 'em sock 'em, kill the bad guys, save the country action without an occasional energy bar or swig of water.)
      • Actually, in season one, when Jack was in holding (in CTU) after rescuing Teri and Kim from Paul Gaines, you see him eating lunch. Few fans remember this happening, since they probably haven't viewed that scene since 2002.
      • Squirt a little, let it dry, repeat.
  • What was the point in blowing up the plane in the first episode of Season 1? The terrorist girl just needed the information the other passenger was carrying. Wouldn't blowing up a plane draw far too much attention?
    • IIRC she needed his press pass to allow the assassin to later get into Palmer's press event. This begs the question why she wouldn't just steal it and kill him, but its possible that he was being met at the airport.
      • Is there a reason why the same assassin, at the meet-up point, was sitting down stark naked? She's fucking crazy basically.
      • Fanservice.
      • That and she'd burnt her clothes to destroy any evidence.
    • This is speculation, but possibly the reason for this is because they wanted to accomplish two things at the same time: 1) kill the photographer so that he doesn't interfere with their plans. 2) (This is the speculation part) They wanted to take CTU's attention off of themselves for a little bit. Blowing up a plane does count as terrorism, so . . .
  • You'd think that having terrorists using a single piece of hardware almost managing to cause all America's nuclear power plants to meltdown would teach the administration a lesson about centralized infrastructure control through an open medium. But no - as of season 7, it seems they've gone ahead and put all their eggs into one basket, without any form of localized oversight, contingency or countermeasure that can be implemented in a period of less than days. Just how many people had to have their hands on the Idiot Ball simultaneously, over how many months, to bring this firewall system to fruition?
    • Welcome to government. Stupidity is standard issue, both in Hollywood and Real Life.
      • Maybe, but IRL governments don't just have one central location of one organization working against a terror plot, so when CTU gets attacked or goes down (as it does several times, since clearly their security gets the Idiot Ball handed to them a lot), you would assume that other agencies can pick up the slack. Sure, it would be damaging, but the idea that all progress stops and all leads are lost is just ridiculous.
    • Is that really more idiotic than disbanding CTU?? Think about it, even with a well-funded, well-trained group of agents specifically trained to stop terrorists, you still have bad guys who manage to pull off some dastardly crap. So you decide to... get rid of ALL of them??!! Yes, that should certainly make the country even safer. Sometimes, it seems only Jack has a brain that's actually on and running....
      • Multiple nuclear bombs have gone off on American soil on CTU's watch, including one instance inside a major city. At some point, someone in Washington is going to decide to do some reorganization, and the organization that's repeatedly failed to stop nuclear incidents and has been actively pissing on federal law is probably going to be the first to get the axe. It doesn't matter how many times they succeeded, all that matters is how many times they've failed, and when CTU fails, it is usually accompanied by mushroom clouds.
      • It's also quite possible Marilyn Bauer made good on her threat to unleash her lawyers on CTU. Think about it. On top of multiple failures to stop terrorist attacks, here's a wealthy white woman who was detained against her will, without charge, and was forcibly separated from her son (a minor) by CTU, who planned to turn him over to a traitor who aided terrorists and foreign agents. In all likelihood, the government would have settled with her, but just imagine how that looks on an internal review, let alone played out in the media. And the fact that CTU staff ended up under public investigation for human rights violations (you apparently can't say "war crimes" in the War on Terror) shows that a lot of their darker doings quite clearly did get out in the media.
  • The U.N. Guy in Redemption. Ok, this doesn't really bug me that much, I actually found it pretty funny. But what bugged me was that the writers went out of their way to make him so cartoonishly unlikeable. He was snooty, had no real redeeming features to speak of, and kept repeating "The UN is neutral in such matters" like a bloody parrot. Yes, the UN is far from perfect (Rwanda genocide, natch. Plus it's your No. 1 source for pointless political bickering in the world, and I say this as a supporter), but the writers had their claws out for that character.
    • Given the general vibe of season 7 was how foolish and naive liberals were, I'm guessing the head writers for that season aren't too fond of the UN either. It's weird how 24 vaciliates between shadowy can't-trust-the-government Nixonian conspiracy and self-righteous screaming eagle torture-fest season by season.
  • While I'm here, I also noticed during the trial at the beginning of Season 7 a (perhaps) subtle but persistent message that people who find the use of Jack Bauer Interrogation Techniques distasteful, are foolish, naive cretins who want to embrace all terrorists with hugs and kittens, and then do whatever we can to aid them in their plots to kill innocent children. The close up on Kiefer's face as he did his speech kinda hammered the point home.
    • Wait, I take it back. I was wrong. Turns out Red the Senator is more than just a Strawman Liberal, and it's a bit deeper than "hippies bad, torture good."
      • While Senator Meyer was set up as a Strawman Political at first, I think we can forgive the writers for doing that because it was the Chekhov's Gun to his Character Development (which was, in this troper's opinion, some of the best moments in the whole seasons). True, they didn't have to be quite that Anvilicious, but nobody's perfect.
  • Why does everyone in Washington, D.C. who hears that Benjamin Juma is planning a terrorist attack on their city suddenly become an idiot and stay instead of running out of town? They should have at least evacuated (or added extra security) to the White House and other government centers. Instead, they all seem to be waiting for either Burnett to confess or Renee to contact them.
    • I think Tony basically said that the "window was opening (pretty soon)". As in, the attack was going down in the next hour, there's not much evacuating you can do. Also the show usually dismisses evacuations on the basis that if you suddenly start quietly trying to get people to leave, you trigger a panic if people realize what's going on.
    • They didn't know Juma was about to hit the White House until about fifteen minutes before he hit it. And honestly, who in their right mind would attack the fucking White House?
    • The British Army. Who burnt it down.
      • Key word: Army.
    • Two heavily armed Puerto Rican nationalists mounted an attack on President Truman when he was at home in DC (though at the time he was staying in Blair House due to construction on the White House). They succeeded in killing a guard.
  • Did Jack impaled Quinn the-evil-counterpart by a screw driver through his bulletproof chest plate? Did he really do this? That guy is really an OmnipotentScrewbauer.
    • Weapons like knives (and yes, screwdrivers, with sufficient force) can actually easily penetrate "bulletproof" vests.
      • Only part of it went through the vest. It looked like only part of the tip of the screwdriver was in there after Jack threw it, but after Jack hit Quinn with the 2x4 which also caused Quinn to fall over and land on his chest. I think that would have enough force to jam a screwdriver even further into his chest.
  • After Renee got out of the lake after being chased by Dubaku Jr. her hair, and her clothes were very wet, but less than an hour after that her hair was dry again and it looked like her hair was styled like it was before she jumped in instead of being flat and matted together, and her clothes looked like they were dry. I know that it takes a long time for longer wet hair to dry on its own, and it looked like Renee didn't have anything to dry herself off with, so how did she dry off so fast?
    • Look: would you want to be half-wet in all your scenes at 8 PM at night? Alternately, she did it during the commercial breaks.
  • Seriously: Why does Jack keep coming back? I know he loves his country and things need doing and blah blah blah... but after seven seasons of getting put through the ringer (only to end up seriously crapped on at the end of the day, as often as not) even Superman would be all "Fuck this shit!"
    • To save the city? To do what's right? Most of the seasons he doesn't want to, he's happy living a life in hiding. Also he's Jack Fucking Bauer!
    • Consider that it's just seven (eight) bad days out of (as of now) about ten years. Yeah, I seriously doubt that the rest of the time is tea parties with Driscoll and Chloe, but considering that some people are still working at the same CTU Branch between seasons, it must be definitively not the same character-killing level of events the other 99.9% of the time.
    • Keep in mind one of those "bad days" lasted 2 years with Jack in the custody of China. I was actually going to ask a similar question. Why does he stay loyal? He spends the first five seasons getting obstructed and betrayed at every turn, and then in season six gets brought back from China, where the government left him to rot for two years, only to be sold to a terrorist for a deal. No one stays a Face through all that!
    • He didn't stay loyal; up to Ep.4, he was on it only because when captured he learnt that there was something else going on than just him being traded fo safety (he recognized Fayed, after all). He escaped to have Fayed, but failed to catch him. Only after killing Black Jack and the Visalia bomb going off does he get "recharged". And he does call his (former) superiors on it, although he doesn't manage to call Palmer out on it. He also tells Heller he understands why they couldn't get him out and Heller did mention Audrey met some "specific" kind of blockades in her back dealing...
    • Jack doesn't do what he does out of loyalty to his country, or any particular ideology. In his "World of Cardboard" Speech at the end of Day 7, he reveals that he does what he does and keeps coming back simply because he can't walk away. Of all the bad things he's done, the one thing he wouldn't be able to live with himself with would be turning away when he was in a position to save an innocent life. Any innocent life, at any cost.
  • Why can't we have a season where the first eight hours is Jack sleeping?!?!
    • Because no one is brave enough to wake him.
      • Ha ha, very funny, if a tad Insane Troll Logic. But since the first season they have learned from their insanity and opens the show in the morning.
  • How does a trailer trash asshole like Kevin threaten Dana, a government employee, so easily, bypassing all security or background checks?
    • That's like asking how the various government agencies on the show can find out what a Muslim in LA had for breakfast, but can't seem to catch the 126 moles, counter-agents, and outright criminals on their own payroll. Unfortunately, a bit of Truth in Television.
  • On the subject of Starbuck, I mean Dana, how the hell did she get away with hiding her change of identity from CTU? Even FBI background checks for lower-level employees at secured facilities are pretty thorough. One would assume that CTU's checks would be psychotically thorough. Of course there are moles getting into every agency under the sun in the 24 universe, but they always have a powerful infrastructure helping them out via whatever nefarious organization they work for. A rube from the sticks like her wouldn't have the same access to a super-mole bag of tricks.
    • Good call! Add this to Fridge Brilliance on the main page. The answer to your question is, Starbuck is a super-mole (sorry, people who haven't seen the latest episode!) and thus had the bag of tricks at hand.
    • Makes you wonder exactly what did she get convicted for earlier in her life. But the Fridge Brilliance does apply in that Dana does not support Chloe using the trunkline to power up the computers, as well as not really doing anything useful throughout the day other than getting Kevin off her back.
    • Fridge Brilliance on the only possible explanation for Dana's background being affiliation with a larger terrorist group? Sure. However, it's still total Fridge Logic that Dana was let back into CTU at all (along with Cole). Maybe they can Hand Wave it by saying things like "We need everyone we can get today," and "On any other day, you would be fired," but that should be throwing a red flag right there. On any other day? So on the day where a major terrorist attack seems to be taking place, and the best explanation (albeit incorrect) for both the terrorists escape and the absence of two top employees is that they might, just maybe, have been leaking information, they get to walk back in entirely because there is a terrorist plot going on? I don't care how thinly stretched you are, you would not let employees just waltz back in to CTU after unexplained absences.
    • That was actually a plot point intended to have Hastings thrown out by Tim Woods, Chloe taking over, and Cole questioning himself (and second-guessing everyone else). And even if they weren't let back in, they would have had their way, it would just have Logan to move over Novakovich a little bit before (sorry people who aren't up to date).
  • The government, CTU, and so forth all appear to be run by uncoordinated idiots during the weeks leading up to any given day, whereas the terrorist organizations are always perfectly coordinated. By the end of the day, the government has survived through basically blind luck. Look at any season: four or so "good guys" will end up being moles, while rarely will even one of the bad guys be an undercover operative; the President will always have to make a decision which results in a few other people going behind his or her back and doing something even more extreme (apparently the slippery slope is easy to get onto and at a near 90 degree angle: recently on Day 8 one government official went from being skeptical about not giving into terrorist demands to allowing his close friend and boss to die of a heart attack in a matter of minutes; and there is always very little if any intel before the season about a potential attack.
    • Truth in Television? Fanatics see their task as a vocation, not a job. They work in cells where all the individual members share the same agenda, goals, and beliefs, and don't have multiple bureaucracies squabbling over which of them should get to plant the bomb. Governments have accountability to worry about, inter-agency rivalries, budgets, personal and political agendas and are staffed by people who mostly consider what they do an office job (for most) and a paycheck.
  • How did the terrorists record such a long video before killing Hassan?
    • It wasn't that long, and apparently it was done during the commercial break right before Jack and CTU arrive to the location.
  • President Taylor is all about morality and righteousness in the seventh season; she sent her daughter, Olivia, to jail, for ordering the assassination of Jonas Hodges. Now she makes deals and cover-ups with Charles Logan, the man who ordered the assassination of David Palmer. What the hell, she takes the moral high ground and prosecutes her daughter for being angry, stupid, wanting revenge, and getting it, but she accepts everything Logan tells her and tries to keep a peace deal that will fall apart anyway because the Russians aren't into it in the first place? I know some time has passed and she's a little more pragmatic and experienced, but that really bugs me that she turns out to be completely hypocritical and selfish, more concerned with her legacy than doing what she knows is right.
    • Why is President Taylor doing anything wrong? All going to the media will do is create an international firestorm. By covering it up, she not only gets a chance to stabilize a region that is causing many of the world's problems, and gets a nice piece of leverage to use over the Russians in future negotiation.
    • Because she didn't Take a Third Option... Up to the point that Jack was actually listening to her, she could have dismissed Logan, authorized Jack to get the evidence on the sole condition that he takes only the nonpublic figures as he sees fit but he allows her and the Government to exact a toll on public figures (Novakovich) that the country sees fit, and Jack would have most likely allowed it as it was like how he dealt with Chappelle — and he could still pushed the issue after his revenge was at least initially satisfied anyways. The media would not be involved unless Jack screws up, which he won't, USA would still have a leverage on the assisting countries (up to that point they didn't know it was the Russian government, although Suvarov's soon arrival to the US might reveal otherwise, sorry people who aren't up to date), and it would actually fit Taylor's legacy better, after all the announcement would be that she managed the peace, not Logan. But no, she decided to shut down Jack completely.
  • So, Taylor was fine with letting 100K+ New Yorkers die in a nuke blast (which CTU would NOT have found if the two 'traitors' hadn't conspired to turn Hassan over to the terrorists). But once her peace agreement is in jeopardy, it's time to violate some laws! And while we're on the subject, once the terrorists get Hassan, they give up the location of the nuke peacefully to CTU! So in essence, the two 'traitors' saved the lives of the 100K+ New Yorkers, got fired and imprisoned because of it, and the terrorists decided it wasn't worth keeping the nuke to see what else the government could serve them on a silver platter. Wall-banger city.
  • How does Bazhaev's son get radiation poisoning from the fuel rods, yet Farhad and his mooks have them out in the open without being affected by the radiation? note 
    • He mentions that he was "careless" with them when transporting them. What this actually means...*shrug*. Maybe he tried to eat them? All that matters is he did something that made them dangerous to him. I'm choosing to believe he thought there was chocolate inside, and spent an afternoon gnawing on one.
  • In season 4, CTU gets information about a Chinese national currently in the Chinese consulate, that supposedly has been working with Marwan, and probably knows where he is (or where the stolen nuke is). The decision to extract him from the consulate is made. They then start coming up with extremist organizations they can blame for the action. But no one thinks "You know, there's this guy named Marwan who has a knack for disappearing people we locate that were involved in his plans, why don't we blame him?"
    • The Chinese Consul died. Bern was spotted on the camera. The Chinese consulate knew that CTU wanted the national official. The consulates couldn't possibly have anyone to target other than CTU. CTU's only options would be either 1) divert suspicion or 2) make them understand the situation. Since the second option didn't work, and diverting suspicion to Marwan would screw Bern up completely, CTU needed to find some other way to fix this problem.
      • Which brings up the problem of how incompetent Bern was. Not only did he remove his balaclava while invading the Chinese Embassy (real smart!), he cracks within an hour of the Chinese capturing him. Now, I don't expect him to have Jack levels of heroic resolve (2 years without cracking!) but he should have been able to stand up to at least a few hours interrogation before confessing.
    • I know and understand the above. The problem is, before Palmer and Novick find out that the Consulate has evidence of CTU involvement they start going over which extremist groups would be likely fall guys (because the Consul died). My question is why during that specific time frame (about 15-30 minutes), no one thinks that using Marwan as an excuse is a good idea? I understand that if they used Marwan instead of an anti-Chinese faction it would have been worse, but the question still stands.
      • Because Marwan is an anti-American terrorist, there is no real reason why in the middle of his attack on the US that he would take the time out to target the Chinese Consulate. All of the groups they're going through have some beef with China that would make it plausible for them to pull off such a risky attack, Marwan has no such reason and the Chinese would see through that in two seconds.
  • Why did Kim start to develop Stockholm Syndrome after Dan and Rick kidnapped her during Season 1?
    • She befriended the one guy remorseful enough about his role in her kidnapping to help her escape. Stockholm Syndrome would be if she'd come to identify with Gaines or Eli. Not the same thing.
    • It's more of Dan developing Lima Syndrome towards Kim.
  • How come every third man in Season 8 has a goatee, and every second man of the three with goatee's will have coifed their hair?
    • Goatees were in that year?
  • Almost everything regarding Graem Bauer in Season 5. In all of his calls with Logan, he refers to Jack as "Bauer", even though that's his own surname as well—and apparently Logan somehow doesn't even realize that Graem's last name is Bauer, which makes the least sense of all. I really think that the writers decided to make up the part about Graem being Jack's brother after they'd already finished filming Season 5; it's not like there's even any family resemblance.
    • While it still reeks of an Ass Pull, it could still make sense: we don't know exactly how close the relationship between the two is. For all we know, all their communications could be via phone and Graem simply introduced himself as "Graem" leading Logan to mistake it for "Graham" and assume that was his last name, just like the entire audience had at the time.
      • Given the Day 7 Retcon that Alan Wilson was the man behind Logan's conspiracy, and that he operates as part of a cabal of oligarchs who keep their identities secret from each other and from their operatives, it's likely that Graem acted as the cut-out between Logan and Wilson (possibly via Philip Bauer.) There's no reason for Logan to know anything about Graem (more of the opposite, in fact) and definitely no reason for Graem to volunteer any personal information whatsoever.
  • Why is it that Chloe is shoehorned into both Season 8? I mean, sure she was part of C.T.U. and had a reason to be there, but, why did she travel to New York, when her kid and Morris were either in L.A. or Washington already? But if they could bring Chloe in and have most not question it because she's expected in 24, how come Aaron Pierce didn't make it in. He could've gotten out of retirement to stay close to Madam President, and leave mid-season like Ethan. Bum way to go, but at least Jack wouldn't be the only one in all seasons.
    • They actually sort of explained this. Someone (can't remember who) mentioned that Morris had gotten fired from his previous job. With a kid needing support, Chloe needed the paycheck and it stands to reason that NYC was the only job opening available.
    • Regarding Aaron Pierce, there actually are photos of Glenn Morshower on the set of Day 8. This has led to the notion that Aaron was possibly supposed to make an appearance at one point, but the plans were ultimately dropped.
  • Ok, I'm re-watching Season 7, and I am seriously confused as to how Tony's plan was all formulated. Did he plan everything that he did from the very beginning, way before the day even started?!! To me, there are numerous variables throughout the day that he definitely could not have predicted. I'm really having a hard time wrapping my head around this aspect of the plot...
    • Tony only had one goal in Season 7; to find, meet and kill Alan Wilson. The most in-character explanation we have for his presence and involvement with the first half of the series is that the threats to Washington that day were information he uncovered in his search for Wilson which lay mostly outside his goals, but he still probably wouldn't have been completely okay with them being carried out successfully. So he passed the information along to Jack, who he believed could stop them. Indeed, Tony probably even figured that if the terrorists had been successful, it might have screwed up his plans to meet and kill Wilson. So Tony had a stake in Jack foiling Dubaku and Hodges. But then Jack discovered Tony's complicity. And the rest, as they say, is damn good television.
  • In Series 5 when the gas is released in the CTU office, it's revealed they can just hold their breath to avoid dying. Could they not hold their breath long enough to just walk out of the offices? Especially that security guard trapped with Lynn!
    • Because the front doors would be locked down as well to stop the gas from spreading to the outside world. You'd get to the front doors just to find that they are locked down tight.
  • Live Another Day: How do the global news media, the entire House of Commons, and several hundred protestors all know all the details of the drone attack in Afghanistan within //less than an hour// after it happened? You'd think they'd still be trying to ID the bodies at that point.
    • Twitter?
      • What, did Tanner post something like "Omg my drone just blew up my commanding officer. Wtf? #Dronehijack"?
  • In the final season of the show, Katee Sackhoff has a personal visitor come to CTU to talk with her. 1) How the hell did he get the address? 2) Would a counter-terrorism unit ALLOW personal on-site visits? 3)Wouldn't somebody in charge have questioned what appeared to be out of character actions by her and a the potential security threat of having someone come to a supposedly secure site?
    • It depends on the agency. The CIA, for example, wouldn't allow any previously unauthorized visitors. However, there are some subagencies of DHS that allow personal visits, although I'm sure they'd prefer if they were notified ahead of time and it wasn't on the employee's work time. That being said, they would definitely have a log of it. And it's possible to find the address of many "secret" locations thanks to the interwebs. And we've seen CTU employees give out the address before, so it's definitely not outside the realm of public knowledge at this point.
  • Since "24" as an increment of time could have covered everything from 24 seconds to 24 centuries,why was it "necessary" to have every single season cover the span of 24 hours? Wouldn't have been easier to have one day seasons AND one month or less seasons? Solving a problem in day that would take days,weeks,months or years in "real life" made the show grow old for me fast.
    • Word of God is that season 2 was originally planned as a season of 24 standalone episodes in which each episode (no longer in real time) would cover an entire day, meaning each season would span almost a month. They decided against this move because it seemed like too much of a departure from the format that made the series what it was in season 1.
  • Does anyone remember how well-done the gunfights used to be between Jack Bauer and a room full of mooks? Back in Seasons 1 and 2, when Jack was clearly outnumbered, he was forced to use defensive tactics and trickery/guile to get the upper hand against Gaines' men and the Coral Snake unit, and the implication was always that Jack was at the disadvantage by being just 1 man and barely making it by the skin of his teeth. From Season 4 on, the gunfights became like a first-person-shooter: Jack just points and shoots and doesn't have to worry about being hit, or running out of ammo and the Conservation of Ninjutsu was in full effect to ensure the mooks were literally aiming for empty air when they try to shoot Jack. It took away from any sense of urgency or danger in the fights that Jack didn't even have to duck or retreat from an onslaught of gunfire when his trusty handgun could ensure complete and 100% accuracy from any distance.
    • One could argue that from Season 4 on, Jack never really felt that there was much to live for, and thus went all out and dared people to put bullets in him, because he wanted to die, but if he didn't, he'll take them all out.
    • You probably didn't watch the early seasons well enough if you thought Jack only used defensive tactics. Midway through season one, there's an entire episode where Jack stalks through the Gaines compound, killing several men before he finds his family, then he starts a massive distraction and gunfight to allow Kim and Teri to get away safely. Hell, Jack's infiltration of Marwan's compound in episode 4.06 was sneaky as well...until he had to go loud and kill everyone in the vicinity.
      • When Jack was outnumbered—I never said he only relied on defensive maneuvers. When the entire compound of the Nebulous Evil Organization bec in Season 1, it took two full hours/episodes to take them down.
  • President Taylor again; in Season 7, she persists to help a foreign nation, knowing that Col. Dubaku will use the MacGuffin to cause catastrophic damage to America's infrastructure. Then in Season 8, she refuses to hand over President Hassan knowing that terrorists from the IRK will kill thousands of Americans in a dirty bomb. Does anyone else think she's too in love with her own foreign policy initiatives that she disregards the lives of innocent Americans? In the Season 8 case, she could have at least tried to Take a Third Option and pretend to hand Hassan over while outfitting him with a tracker but she chose to just flat out refuse their demands with no other options.
    • Well, despite the United States' considerable political influence, the President does not have the authority to hand over the leader of a foreign country. When Hassan finds out what is at stake, he accepts that his life isn't worth hundreds of thousands of lives.
      • You may have a point but since when has real-world law ever mattered in the 24-verse (if it did, Taylor would likely have brought it up when debating whether or not to hand over Hassan)?
      • When it's convenient for the writers.
  • I just find it head bangingly stupid that Jack didn't think to tell anyone that Audrey was alive in Season 6. Wouldn't the news that the daughter of the former secretary of defense was being held hostage by the Chinese cause an uproar in the United States? I can't think of any situation in which the American government would just take that sort of thing lying down.
  • Day 3: Who was Nina's client for the Cordilla virus?
    • Pure speculation here, but what if her client(s) were the sentox conspiracy members? Alan Wilson, Philip and Graem Bauer, Charles Logan, all the rest. What if the Cordilla virus was their originally intended WMD and they had to resort back to the sentox gas after Nina failed to procure it and Saunders already used it?
  • In Live Another Day, President Heller signs a letter of resignation, effective at the time that he's scheduled to turn himself over to Al-Harazi, yet after Jack unexpectedly saves him at the last moment, he's still president.
  • How does Cheng Zhi know exactly where Audrey and Jiao Sim are going to meet?

Aborted Arc info moved from main article.

  • (Some fans are still hoping Max and/or Trepkos from Day 2 shows up again.)
    • An more egregious example shows up if you think about it; the past 7 seasons (some more subtly than others) have been slowly building towards an inevitable confrontation between the good guys and a shadowy organization pulling the strings behind most of the evil plots in the series. Fast forward to production of the last 6 episodes or so, and writers suddenly learn there isn't going to be a season 9. This forced massive storyline changes, and most likely we will never see a resolution in canon.
      • They haven't actually been building up to anything like that Max was killed in the Game while the rest of his group were said to have been captured prior to Day 3. The second group was a company ran by Jack's father and brother that was resolved in Day 6 with their deaths, with it being completely separate from the previous group. The third group in Day 7 ATTEMPTED to be this, but it was so thrown together at the last minute that no one bought it and it just lead to people mocking the David Palmer assassination conspiracy, so it was dropped. This "ultimate showdown with a bland cabal of vagueness behind everything" was mainly the viewpoint of some fans who wanted to have a link between all the seasons even though none really existed. Basically all of them are aborted arcs that some fans tried to link together but in the show nothing actually came of them
      • Nina Myers had a client in Day 3 who remains unidentified, and in Day 1 she said she was working for an unknown third party too. Graem and Philip Bauer were members of Day 7's Omniscient Council of Vagueness because Graem admitted to ordering the hit on David Palmer, something Tony said they were ultimately responsible for. Graeme also claimed to have been behind previous attempts on Jack's life in events prior to Day 5, suggesting a link to previous days. Logan only attained power because he was a Vice-President whose boss was nearly killed in Day 4, which might also have been these machinations. Day 6 also has the group who tried to kill Wayne Palmer who remain unidentified, but bare a lot of the hallmarks of Day 7's group. Yeah, they are linked. Not necessarily a case of Aborted Arc though since the head man was caught in Day 7, making it more like a case of Anti-Climax.
      • You left out the fact that none of them were officially confirmed to be linked. It's still Fanon since the fans made up the connections. Nina was working for a German individual in Day 1, and it just so happens that the person behind Day 2 was a German businessman named Max, who was killed in the Game and the rest of his group was captured before Day 3. Nina was working for an unknown employer, but it was barely mentioned and I don't think most fans, or even the writers, remember or even focused on that, and it was just used as a device to bring Nina back so Jack can kill her and resolve her storyline for good (to add, it was probably supposed to be Max, but of course they chose to kill him off in the game instead, which took place before Day 3) and then they just moved on to Stephen Saunders. While Logan did rise to the presidency as a result of Air Force One, it was a result of just one of Habib Marwan's plans that season, with no mention of an Omniscient Council of Vagueness at all. The infamous "never-ending" conspiracy was originally masterminded by President Charles Logan and the Bauer family, with the latter ordering Palmer's assassination from behind Logan's back (making it ironic that Logan, Day 5's Big Bad, was the one person who wasn't involved in Palmer's death), however after the poorly received Day 6, Logan was solely blamed as the mastermind behind Palmer's assassination (until the end of Day 7) while Jack's long lost father and brother were never mentioned again. They finally attempted to do something like this with Wilson's group (which was the first and only attempt at using an Omniscient Council of Vagueness to be behind much of the series), however, it flopped instantly since Wilson's plan (to cause a terrorist attack on the US) was completely different from Logan's, as Logan nor anyone in that conspiracy wanted the US to be attacked, and sometimes helped Jack thwart the terrorists, so there's a plothole, which isn't even including the fact that Wilson allowed Tony into his organization, despite the fact Tony was once a target for assassination by Wilson, and Wilson supposedly had Tony's wife Michelle killed in the same attempt, and yet he just takes his Dragon's word that Tony can be trusted and even agrees to meet with him with predictable results. And how did Tony find out anyway when even high-ranking people in his conspiracies didn't even know of his existence? In the end, it was a poorly written storyline despised by the majority of the fanbase. So they just didn't touch it again in a mixture of Aborted Arc, Discontinuity and in some cases Canon Discontinuity and instead brought back Charles Logan for Day 8's final arc.
      • The above information neglects to mention that, in season two's deleted scenes for the finale, Nina is revealed to be with Max on his boat, and it is mentioned that the German contact she was in touch with in the first season was a direct associate of Max. What "Plan B" Max and Trepkos were building towards was never explained, so it is a classic example of Aborted Arc.
      • The "never ending conspiracy" isn't just various terrorist attacks thwarted by Jack; it's also the stuff happening within the United States government, the big one being whoever was behind the attempt on the life of Wayne Palmer. Presumably whats meant to have happened is the Wilson group included Philip and Graem Bauer, and they were involved stuff before Day 5 (given Graem's confession that he had tried to kill Jack before that day, implied to be several times and in previous seasons). It's possible they were at least involved with Marwan enough to help him get Air Force One shot down, thus maneouvering their mole Charles Logan into power, though this is speculative. The group's objective seems to be setting up a hardline far-right government favoring tough action against America's enemies and policies favoring the big business interest conspirators (who mostly seem to be arms manufacturers and the like, so the goals coincide), and setting up foreign strong men like Juma (Drazen?) whose policies they like. They were only directly behind the attacks in Day 7 (Hodge's seem to hijack only the chemical weapons part), but such attacks served to drum up support for their ruthless policies, such as Logan's original plot to kill a bunch of terrorists with nerve gas, and the policies Hodges was trying to terrorise Taylor into implementing.
      • Regardless of whether these various conspiracies were intertwined or not, the real Aborted Arc was that so few of them were followed up on by the government. Powers Boothe, for instance, seems content on pinning the blame for Wayne Palmer's attack on an innocent man, which seems a temporary measure, but there is no mention of any sort of investigation into who was really behind it, which means he's not too bothered about the rampant infiltration of the White House by assassins and traitors. Graem's co-conspirators at the end of Day 5 are not mentioned again; neither are the other members of Wilson's group. Alexander Trepkos dropped off the face of the Earth Jack never looked into which evil bastard kept on hiring Nina, or who in the government leaked info about Drazen and his whereabouts (Nina doesn't seem likely to have had that clearance). The amount of karma houdini's in this show is quite staggering, and its seemingly because nobody in this world seems to be terribly interested in tracking these scumbags down.
    • 24: The Game revolves around Nina and Max working together, and brings in Chase following a lead to LA and Kim joining CTU. If you're interested in season 2.5 pick it up.

2 Broke GirlsHeadscratchers/Live-Action TV30 Rock

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy