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Series: 24
His name is Jack Bauer, he's a federal agent. A federal agent!
"Right now, terrorists are plotting to assassinate a presidential candidate. My wife and daughter have been targeted. And people I work with may be involved in both. I'm federal agent Jack Bauer — and today is the longest day of my life."

The Indian remake can be found here.

The following takes place between 2001 and 2014. Events occur in real time.

Spoilers ahoy! Read at your own risk. You Have Been Warned.

Hit US TV Series starring Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, agent for a fictional US government agency, during eight very bad days. Each season of the series takes place in Real Time over the course of a 24-hour period (each episode is one hour out of that day), during which Jack is called into service to stop a terrorist threat.

The first season revolved around an assassination plot on presidential candidate David Palmer. Jack's wife and daughter are kidnapped to make him assassinate Palmer on the terrorists' behalf; the only link the two of them have was a covert wetworks operation in Sarajevo, which turns out to be the motivation for the day's plots.

Each season since then has revolved around a large-scale terrorist threat to a major US city, usually backed up by a Crazy-Prepared Big Bad, a well-thought-out Evil Plan, and, sometimes, a Diabolical Mastermind, typically revealed during a Wham Episode. So far, the threats have been nuclear bombs, a bio-weapon, a nerve agent, and more nuclear bombs, with some presidential assassinations along the way. All in a day's work, eh?

The series is shot in strict real time, and with commercial breaks included covers a full 24 hours. (Without them it's about 18.) It uses of a lot of Split Screen, never employs Slow Motion, and displays ticking digital clocks as book-ends to commercial breaks and at various times during each act; these factors contribute to the sense that events are moving at a breakneck pace. It follows not only the adventures of Jack and other field agents, but also political intrigue centering around the people who give Jack orders back at CTU, and sometimes the people who give them orders, such as the President of the United States; the sitting President was a starring character in every season but the first, and even then, Jack reported to the candidate who would be voted into office between Seasons 1 and 2. Finally, it isn't scared of Player Punches, and kills characters off with gleeful abandon.

The Hollywood Writers' Strike of 2007/8 kept the series off the air during 2008, with the exception of a two-hour Made-for-TV Movie, Redemption, which aired in November 2008 and acted as a Prequel for the seventh season. The seventh season was a Re Tool which moved the action to the East Coast and generally improved on the fairly mediocre Season 6. Season 8 premiered on 17 January 2010 and moved the action again, this time to New York. The eighth season was the final season, and the show finished its run on 24 May 2010. The Movie, hinted at as early as Season 5, was scheduled to begin shooting in Spring 2012, but died at the hands of budgeting issues. Instead, it returned as a 12-episode mini-series called 24: Live Another Day (although the subtitle doesn't appear on screen), which takes place in London and airs from May 2014, and involves the return of much of the central cast and crew.

Anil Kapoor has driven forward an effort to create a Hindi-language remake of the show, also entitled 24 but called "Twenty Four India" here on the wiki to differentiate. Kapoor plays the main character, Jai Singh Rathod. The show airs on the Indian network Colors.

24 can be seen as a throwback to earlier works: a Dirty Harry for the War on Terror, or even a Republic Serial for the 21st century. It is also jokingly referred to as "the Jack Bauer Torture Hour", or "the Jack Bauer Power Hour". Try to guess why.


24 includes examples of the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    The following takes place between A and D 
  • Aborted Arc: Several; see the Headscratchers page for more info.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • In Season 1, Rick hints that his mother is one.
    • Gary Matheson in Season 2.
    • Navi Araz in Season 4.
    • Margot Al-Harazi in Season 9.
  • Action Girl:
    • Renee Walker. She becomes a borderline Dark Action Girl in Season 8.
    • Kim Bauer in season 7.
    • CIA Agent Kate Morgan in Season 9.
  • African Terrorists: Season 7.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Impossible to be a secret/federal agent and not use this at least once.
  • 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 alive, and yet in doing so, he is unable to see his family again. And then he gets blown up by a car bombing.
    • Dana Walsh gets this in-universe, with Cole at least. Despite the fact that she was The Mole and betrayed him, he can't help but feel disgusted after finding out that Jack murdered her in cold blood even after she begged for her life.
  • All There in the Manual: FOX's 24 website, everything you need to know.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Happens to CTU repeatedly, almost to Once a Season levels.
  • Always Save the Girl: Played out by a variety of characters, both good and bad.
    • Most notably, Dubaku doing this in Season 7 adds a lot of depth to the character. They befriended each other outside of work ("work") and she doesn't know he's a terrorist, meaning there's no need to clean up loose ends. No, the reason he asks her to flee the country is because, evidently, he genuinely cares for her.
    • Subverted with the Day 1 finale.
    • Also Subverted in season 8. Poor Renee...
    • Deconstructed in Day 3 with the kidnapping of Tony Almeida's wife. His decision to throw pretty much everything out the window in order to save Michelle is 100% emotionally understandable... but it's also morally indefensible, and when the season ends, he's facing treason charges and prison time.
    • Subverted one last time in the Live Another Day finale. Made even worse as Jack has saved Audrey multiple times over the course of seasons 4 through 6...only to have her suffer a textbook Take a Moment to Catch Your Death.
  • And Starring:
    • Cherry Jones gets it in season 8.
    • Carlos Bernard gets it in Season 7.
    • Dennis Haysbert in Seasons 1-3, William Devane in Season 4, Jean Smart in Season 5.
    • Regina King in Season 6, though she only appeared in 9 episodes.
    • Additionally, the "With" Credit went to Janeane Garofalo in Season 7, and Freddie Prinze, Jr. in Season 8.
    • Kim Raver gets the And credit in Live Another Day (Season 9).
    • Guest stars could be subjected to this as well. Examples include:
      • In Season 1, under "Special Guest Star", Lou Diamond Phillips gets the "With", while Dennis Hopper gets the "And".
      • Sarah Clarke gets it in Seasons 2 and 3.
      • Season 4 gives it to Reiko Aylesworth under the "Special Guest Star" credit, while Shohreh Aghdashloo receives it in the "Guest Starring" list.
      • Although only for one episode, Season 5 gave it to Tzi Ma.
      • Season 6 had quite a few. Ricky Schroeder earned it under the "Guest Star" credit, while under "Special Guest Star", Jean Smart received the "With" mention and James Cromwell, Kim Raver, and Gregory Itzin received the "And" credits.
      • It goes to Will Patton for Season 7.
      • Bob Gunton, Callum Keith Rennie, Jurgen Prochnow, Michael Madsen, Eriq La Salle, and Mare Winningham were credited as this in Season 8.
    • In "Live Another Day", Benjamin Bratt is given the "With" credit, while Kim Raver gets the "And" credit. Stephen Fry gets the credit under "Guest Star" status.
  • And Then Jack Was a Terrorist: Regardless of his intents and the fact that he ultimately wound up doing the right thing for the right reasons rather than the wrong thing for the right reasons, Jack still put several innocent peoples' lives in jeopardy when was attacking the conspirators and/or their mooks and, in spite of the fact that he was a corrupt bastard, committed first-degree murder against the Russian Foreign Minister. His actions wind up getting him labeled as an international terrorist in the eyes of almost everyone in the world.
  • Anti-Villain / Villain Protagonist: Jack effectively becomes this for the last stretch of the eighth season. Although Taylor, Logan, and eventually Suvarov are presented as the major antagonists and what they're doing is wrong, the show itself makes things clear that Jack, despite the cause he's fighting for, isn't exactly being all that admirable right now either.
  • Anyone Can Die: If you go to the Character sheet and do a Find for "Killed Off For Real," you'll find it eighty-six times. And not all of them are guest stars: by the end of the show's run, Jack Bauer, Kim Bauer, Mandy, Tony Almeida, and Aaron Pierce are the only first-season characters, starring or supporting, still alive.
  • Arch-Enemy: Jack had two of them: Nina Myers in the first three seasons, and President Charles Logan for the rest of the series.
    • By 24LiveAnotherDay, Cheng Zhi proves himself to be right up there with Nina and Logan in getting to Jack personally. In the original series' run, he's already done a pretty good job of this by capturing Jack personally, then torturing him for 2 years of China (and similarly doing the same to Audrey when she came looking for him). By the time of the follow-up, he cements this status when he directly orders the death of Audrey and attempts to provoke a war between China and the US. In the final confrontation between him and Jack, Jack finishes him off with all of the vindictiveness that he'd inflicted on the Drazens back in Season 1.
  • Artistic License - Medicine: The treatment of Paul Raines in Season 4 is a somewhat complicated example, but mostly falls under this:
    • This trope is slightly averted, as the doctor incorrectly diagnoses him as being in V-Fib, to which a defibrillator is actually used to restore a normal heart rhythm. However, the ECG actually shows a flatline (Asystole), which is treated with CPR and epinephrine (adrenaline), and after a few shocks with the defibrillator, this is what Jack and Curtis use for treatment.
    • This all said, the attempt to save him is rather pathetic, and he's declared dead a mere minute after he crashes. In contrast, a patient in asystole is declared dead after extensive efforts to revive them, and past the threshold at which brain death occurs, usually something on the order of 10-15 minutes. To make this worse, this all takes place in a fully-equipped medical facility, with CPR starting within seconds. The doctors likely still had time to try to revive him, particularly if Jack and Curtis had continued with CPR in the meantime.
    • The end result is that while asystole is a very dangerous medical condition, given the resources available and the minimal delay in starting CPR, there would have been a respectable chance of saving his life if they hadn't given up so quickly.
  • Artistic Licence - Nuclear Physics: Possibly justified since Jack may have been bluffing. In Season 8, Jack threatens a terrorist that if the radiological device goes off, he'll escort his mother to the detonation site, claiming that she'll absorb a lethal dose of Cs-137 in five seconds, in order to keep him from killing himself to preserve the mission. The problem? There's no way for Cs-137 levels to be high enough to give a lethal dose in five seconds, and certainly not in open air. Also, if it were possible to do that, the agonizing death would cease to be agonizing simply by hanging around for a full minute, at which point enough radiation would be absorbed to destroy the central nervous system — two weeks of vomiting your guts out becomes twenty minutes of delirium followed by slipping into a coma and never waking up.
  • Attempted Rape: One of the goons tries to rape Kim in Season 1, but Teri instead offers herself. She then takes the opportunity to steal his cell phone and call for help.
    • Vladimir Laitanan tried to rape Renee in the past (it's strongly implied that he did rape her, and that it was covered up), and manages to blackmail her into sex during a second undercover mission, but when he actually tries to rape her in Season 8, she responds by stabbing him in the eye 15 times.
  • An Axe to Grind: Season 8 Premiere: Jack Bauer + 2 Mooks + Fire Axe = 2 dead Mooks.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Season 3 ending.
  • Back for the Dead: Milo, who returns in season 6 as a regular, does nothing of real importance and then dies.
    • Subverted with Charles Logan in season 6, since he eventually returns in season 8.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Tony, in season 7
    • Jack himself is nearly tortured to death during Day 2. His heart actually stops and he's declared dead at the end of an episode. There is also the matter of him faking his death in Day 4 and returning in Day 5.
    • Both Big Bads from Season 1 and 3 are supposed to be dead, killed in the same historical wet-works operation; the first was the target, the second one of Jack's men. Surprise!
  • Badass:
    • Jack Bauer, in spades.
      • From Day 8, Episode 9:
      CTU SECURITY MOOK: [pulls gun on Bauer]
      JACK: "You'd better put that down, son, or you're gonna get hurt."
      CTU SECURITY MOOK: [lets him go]
      • Later that day, an NYPD cop holds him up at gunpoint. Jack just screams "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!" at him. The cop lets him go.
      • He's a Badass Grandpa as of season 7.
      • You can now add Retired Badass to the list as of Day 8.
    • While the show has a number of badasses, Tony Almeida might be the only character able to equal Jack.
    • Renee Walker entered the badass realm after chopping someone's thumb off.
    • Not as BAD as the previous three, but Bill Buchanan in Day 7.
    • Hamri Al-Assad in Day 6.
    • Chase Edmunds.
    • James Heller. For a 70-year old man, he measures up to a few badasses on the show, Jack himself included.
    • Curtis Manning.
    • David Palmer, probably one of the greatest fictional presidents of all time, and more than willing to stand firm against terrorist threats and political coups.
    • George Mason pretty much graduates to this in Season 2, after his infection forces him to undergo a Heel Realization, make up with his son, and fly a bomb out into the secluded desert, saving LA in the process.
    • Aaron Pierce. One of the few men aside from Jack to last throughout the series, and guided by his principles the whole way through. He was one of the only characters to stand by Palmer in Season 2, stood up to Charles Logan in Season 5, and helped protect the freaking White House from the infiltration in Season 7.
    • Let's be honest. The world of 24 is littered with badasses on both sides of good and evil. For some of these villains to go as far as they did required some serious manipulation and underhandedness.
  • Badass Bookworm: Just because someone is a computer technician, doesn't mean they can't do awesome things with an assault rifle. Chloe rocks.
  • Badass Bystander: The 2 Arab brothers who run a gun store in Day 4.
    • Carl Gadsen, the port authority supervisor who gets caught up in Season 7's events. While it's acknowledged that he's fearful of dealing with the Stark commandos (particularly as he has a pregnant wife to take care of), he goes along with Jack's plan to lead the group on. His refusal to die with a shot in the back, instead demanding that his killer look him in the eye when pulling the trigger, is remarkably courageous. Which makes it all the better when Jack saves his life at the last second.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: CTU, and to a lesser extent most American government agencies (not to mention the governent itself), is woefully bad at its job, despite its rep as a premier counter-terrorist unit. Its agents and support staff are frequently either blackmailed, let personal issues get in the way of handling a major crisis, or turn out to be The Mole (sometimes there are several operating at once — other times innocent people are easily framed, even tortured for "confessions"); Jack himself has fallen victim to the first two failings several times. It has also been attacked on multiple occasions, including by biological and chemical weapons they were supposed to be hunting down. But its worst record is the numerous terrorist attacks that happen on its watch, and especially the fact that they often find out only hours before they are scheduled to take place. Several are successful, including a couple of small-scale nuclear attacks, nerve gas attacks, biological terrorism, and numerous high-level assassinations. The rest are thwarted only at the last minute, and often with lots of casualties. It's a miracle that there is a state left to defend.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Played perfectly straight on Day 8. Samir Mehran had two primary goals: assassinate President Omar Hassan, and prevent the IRK/U.S. treaty from being signed. Not only does Mehran kill Hassan himself (in a rather brutal fashion), but the president of the United States doesn't go through with signing the treaty after she realizes the conspiracy behind it. Even though Mehran was killed and will never live to see what will happen in his home country, chances are, the terrorists back home will treat him as a martyr and praise Mehran as though he were a hero.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Wayne Palmer; also his brother David, aside from not being bald.
  • Bald of Awesome: As mentioned above, Wayne Palmer.
    • Mike Novick, too, particularly in Seasons 4 and 5.
    • Aaron Pierce.
    • Morris O'Brian.
    • First Gentleman Henry Taylor pulls this off in the first half of Season 7 when he tracks down his son's murderer and kills him with his own hands while drugged.
  • Bald of Evil: At least one just about every season.
  • Bar Brawl: How Abu Fayed was captured, of all things.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: From the page for the trope - "This is standard operating procedure for both the good and bad guys on 24."
  • Beard of Sorrow: Jack Bauer at the beginning of Seasons 2 and 6. In both cases, the beard is shaved off before the end of the first episode.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Stephen Saunders' backstory after he was caught and presumed dead in Operation Nightfall.
  • Bench Breaker: In season eight, Jack escapes by smashing his chair and attacking his captor.
    • There was also the season 3 occurence while he was being held by Nina Myers.
  • Benevolent Boss: Although the show seems to specialize in Bad Bosses, there are some pretty good ones, notably President David Palmer. President Taylor seems to be headed this way as well. Bill Buchanan, although relatively mid-level on the political food chain, qualifies. Despite conflicting loyalties, when push comes to shove, Karen Hayes also becomes this.
  • Berserk Button: Jack Bauer has a few:
    • Don't Touch Renee Walker. Unfortunately for him, Pavel pushed this button in Season 8. By killing Renee.
    • Keep any negative opinions of Kim Bauer out of your head — let alone any plans to harm her — otherwise Unpleasant Things will happen.
    • Actually, you're better off just not killing anyone Jack Bauer likes. It will not end well for you.
  • Best Served Cold: After a season and a half, covering around four years, Jack finally exacts revenge on Nina Myers for killing his wife at the end of Day 1.
    • Jack also finds Renee's killer around the end of Day 8... and interrogates him in one of the most disturbing and detailed torture sequences seen outside of film.
    • Subverted with Tony finally meeting Alan Wilson face to face, as Jack and Renee disable him before he gets the chance. Of course, had he not been on a motive rant for several minutes, this wouldn't have happened.
    • Played Straight with Jack killing Christopher Henderson at the end of season 5.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Used by several terrorists, sometimes to avoid being taken alive for information gathering.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jack and various members of CTU get these moments quite often.
    • Renee Walker saves Jack and Cole with only a handful of bullets and five seconds in Season 8 after the two spent more than half of the episode shooting at terrorists pinning them down.
    • Renee saved Jack from one guy who was about to put a bullet in his brain after Jack took out most if not all of the other terrorists with his sidearm.
    • A similar scenario occurs when President Hassan caps a mook in Jack and Renee's blind spot. Also, depending on your view of the entire hostage scenario, turning himself in and getting executed rather than be indirectly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans seems like a BDM, too.
  • Big "NO!": Usually by Jack, but his best examples would be in the Season 4 finale after Habib Marwan killed himself and in Season 7 after Blaine Mayer was murdered. His Big "NO!" actually echoed.
  • Bigger Bad:
    • The Germans in Day 1.
    • Alexander Trepkos and Max in Day 2.
    • Graem (and Phillip) Bauer in Day 5.
    • Benjamin Juma in Day 7, until he finally shows up in Episode 11.
    • Alan Wilson in Day 7 (and, retroactively, Day 5).
    • The Russians in Day 9.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Most seasons fall under this standard. The show's villains are willing to torture people, and let innocent civilians die, to achieve their goals. So is Jack. Jack is aware that he is the Token Evil Teammate of CTU, and both he and others criticize him for being Not So Different... but he also doesn't change. As a result, the show itself lands in Gray and Grey Morality at its most optimistic, and skirts Evil Versus Evil extremes near the end of season eight when Jack goes full-on Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Blessed with Suck: Jack, in a way.
  • The Blofeld Ploy: Numerous times.
  • Blown Across the Room: Jack in Day 8. Justified by the physics, for once: he helps a repentant suicide bomber duck himself into a half-open oxygen chamber. Most of the blast is absorbed by the thick metallic door, but the door still throws him across the room.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Aaron Pierce & Martha Logan in season 5 (they are involved by 6) and Tarin & Kayla in season 8. Bodyguard Betrayal.
  • Book Ends:
    • Season 4 begins and ends on the train tracks.
    • In the Season 7 finale, Kim appears in only two scenes: the first one and the last one.
    • Season 6 begins with Jack in Cheng Zhi's custody, being handed over from China to the US via Bill Buchanan. The final hour of the day has Cheng in Jack's custody, with Cheng bitterly telling Bill that China won't abandon him like the US abandoned Jack.
    • For the series as a whole, both Seasons 1 and 8 have Jack start the day interacting with his family, in the hopes of creating a stronger foundation for Kim. They both also end with Jack being driven over the edge of despair due to the death of a love interest.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Nine seasons, nine days, only two bathroom breaks (one in season four, another in Live Another Day) so far. And not for main characters.
  • Break the Cutie: Renee Walker's inevitable descent from Lawful Good to Chaotic Good, until it's alluded to in the season seven finale that she has ended up just as maverick as Jack. Made especially evident when she tells Chloe to "do what she has to do", a phrase that was previously attributed only to Jack.
  • Broken Aesop: In Season 8, the two military officers conspire against President Taylor to turn the IRK President over to the terrorists to get the terrorists to not detonate the nuke in New York City. They succeed, and, although they kill president Hassan, the terrorists DO disarm the nuke (which CTU would NOT have found and stopped in time otherwise). Taylor angrily denounces the pair of conspirators and has them arrested. So we get TWO broken aesops: 1. It is wrong to try to save the lives of tens of thousands, even if CTU is incompetent, because disobeying the president is far worse. 2. If you give terrorists what they want, they will comply with you and not cause further trouble.
  • Broken Bird: Renee in Season 8, and Audrey in Season 6.
    • Kim in between season's 4 and 5 when Jack was "dead".
    • Chloe in Day 9. The deaths of your husband and son tend to do that to you.
  • Bulletproof Vest
  • Bulungi: Sangala, in Redemption.
  • Bus Crash: Chloe's husband Morris and her son Prescott apparently died between season 8 and Live Another Day.
  • Cain and Abel: Jack and Graem, Omar and Farhad
    • And let's not forget Ramon and Hector Salazar from season 3, although that was more of a case of "evil and eviler."
    • And in some way, Jack and Tony themselves.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : In season 1, Kim and her friend sneak out after curfew to meet some boys... and, as a consequence, are kidnapped, beaten, possibly raped, and in Kim's friend's case, run over by a car and then murdered by the man who killed her father after she snuck out, and then impersonated him so he could track her down.
  • Cartwright Curse:
    • Jack. Teri (Day 1), Claudia (Day 3), Renee (Day 8), and Audrey (Day 9) provide ample evidence for this. He even ended up shooting Nina himself in Day 3. Kate Warner and Diane Huxley were lucky enough to just get Put on a Bus, though.
    • Chloe seems to carry the curse as well, as most of the men she's been close to (Edgar, Milo, Morris, Adrian) have all kicked the bucket.
  • Cassandra Truth: The extent to which Jack's bosses cooperate with him is inversely proportional to the extent to which Jack knows, and can stop, the bad guys' plans.
    • In fact, the chance that any given character will be told some variant of "Don't bother me, I'm busy!" is directly proportional to the probability that they know or are paying attention to something important. See the particularly egregious case of Carrie in season 3. CTU is for the most part a whole organization of Obstructive Bureaucrats.
  • Catch Phrase: Oh boy, let's begin...
    • "My name is Jack Bauer, I'm a Federal Agent."
    • "I'm a federal agent! A FEDERAL AGENT!" (Or, in the case of Renee Walker, after Jack hasn't been a federal agent for a while, "My passenger is a federal agent! She's a FEDERAL AGENT!")
    • "Dammit!" The 24 Wiki has a chart for how many times "damn it" is said on an episode-by-episode basis. Oh, and there's a video of every damn it too, damn it.
    • "We're running out of time!"/"There's no time!"
    • "Sonofabitch!"
    • "I'm sorry but you're going to have to trust me!"
    • "Do it, DO IT NOW!"
    • "Right now you don't have a choice."
    • "Alright?"
    • "Where's the X?" or "Tell me where the X is!"
    • "Who are you working for?!"
    • "What are you talking about?"
    • "How did this happen?". President Taylor's dialogue consists of pretty much nothing but this line for the first half of Season 8.
    • "Right now he/she/it is our only lead."
    • Jack wants you to "PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD AND INTERLOCK YOUR FINGERS!"
    • "I give you my word."
    • Jack likes to say things in his normal voice, THEN SAY IT AGAIN IN A LOUDER VOICE! ("Was Air Force One just hit? WAS AIR FORCE ONE JUST HIT!!!")
    • Sherry Palmer: "Let me help you." This is nearly always an Oh Crap moment, at least for the audience.
    • "We're in the middle of an international crisis!"
    • "Chloe, I need you to do something for me".
    • Tony's particular inflection of the word "Yeah".
    • "Move!"
    • "Copy that."
    • "Set up a perimeter."
    • Every single time Jack puts another character in a sleeper hold (which is quite a bit), it's always followed up with him saying "Don't fight it."
  • Character Development: The show almost goes out of its way to do this to everyone it can get its hands on, with the end result that all characters, be they Mauve Shirt Salaryman or Big Bad, have sympathetic moments.
  • Chase Scene
  • Chekhov's full surveillance package, used on Charles Logan in season 8.
  • The Chessmaster: Many, but particularly personified by Alan Wilson in season 7. He is essentially the man behind every single event in seasons 5 and 7, meaning that he was behind David Palmer's assassination, Charles Logan's scandalous presidency [including the Sentox nerve gas conspiracy], and the assassination of Tony's wife Michelle and their unborn son. It's amazing how he ended up lasting a full TWO seasons unscathed until the finale of season 7. Truly, he's the Biggest of all the Bads in the series thus far. And exposition concerning Renee's return in Day 8 implies that he got away with absolutely everything while she got scolded by the powers that be for torturing him.
  • Children Forced To Kill: Redemption included some children being trained to kill by the followers of an African general.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: God DAMN you, Tony!
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Whether he's shot, stabbed, declared dead, in a depression, recovering from two years in Chinese captivity, or just plain getting jerked around by his boss, Jack cannot stop trying to save people.
    • Even being labeled a terrorist doesn't stop Jack from trying to save people.
  • Clean Pretty Reliable:
    • In Season 2, Jack saves Nina by giving her a few mouth breathes, without fixating her chest or using any compression at all. It works.
    • The Reliable part is averted in Season 4, when Paul Raines dies after Jack forces the doctors at gunpoint to work on another patient with critical information, after a fairly pathetic attempt to save his life. See Artistic License - Medicine for more details.
  • Clear My Name: Jack has to do this at least once a season.
  • Cliff Hanger: Just about the end of every episode, and especially the finales of Seasons 2 and 5.
  • Consummate Liar: Charles Logan.
    Logan: How'd I do?
    Jack Bauer: You're a world-class liar. I would have expected nothing less.
  • Contamination Situation: After Jack contracts a pathogen from a bio-weapon, the entire second half of the seventh season is a string of contamination episodes.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Day 1 takes place on both Primary Day and—it is later revealed—the two-year anniversary of Operation Nightfall. The latter is the true reason for the Drazens going after David Palmer; the fact that it fell on such a big day for Palmer's presidential campaign is entirely incidental.
    • Nina Myers' return in Day 3, where she shows up as the other bidder for an auction in which Jack happens to be taking part.
    • Tony and Michelle's (separate) returns to CTU in Day 4.
    • In Day 6, Abu Fayed turns out to have stolen his suitcase nukes from Graem and Phillip Bauer. Even ignoring Graem and Phillip's involvement in the unrelated events of Day 5, what are the odds that Fayed would have two separate connections to Jack and to Jack's estranged family?
    • In Day 7, Jack just happens to be in Washington DC, where Tony, Chloe, and Buchanan are carrying out an underground operation to fight the terrorist threat.
    • Day 9 (Live Another Day) brims with them. See One Degree of Separation below.
  • Convenient Terminal Illness: Mason is dying of radiation poisoning and convinces Jack to let him fly a nuke on a suicide course into the desert.
  • Cool Old Guy: Bill Buchanan.
  • Cold War: Russian terrorists with old Soviet nukes are almost as common as Islamic ones. Occasionally, they either team up or try to screw each other out of said nukes.
  • Cop Killer: Local police officers often act as Red Shirts to CTU officers.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Seasons 2, 4, 5, and Redemption. 7 takes this to its logical extreme.
  • Cowboy Cop: Jack Bauer makes Dirty Harry look tame. And he's not even the only one.
  • Crapsack World
  • Crazy-Prepared: Jack, as well as whichever Big Bad he's facing at the time.
  • Da Chief: Usually the head of CTU, or the Regional Director. In a severe crisis, the President of the United States takes on this role.
    • To the point where, when watching Day 1 again, the US President seems strangely absent.
  • Dangerous Workplace: CTU has suffered nerve gas attacks, bombings, and a takeover by the Chinese mafia.
    • In particular, becoming head or acting head of CTU is up there with Star Trek Red Shirt as one of the most doomed occupations in the universe.
  • Dark Action Girl: Mandy, and Nina in Seasons 2 and 3.
  • Darker and Edgier: Not that the show wasn't dark already, but the final act of Season 8 takes things to a new extreme. President Hassan and Renee Walker are killed within the space of two episodes, Jack and President Taylor both commit their own Face-Heel Turn, leaving Chloe the only "good guy" trying to do the right thing and stop Jack's Roaring Rampage of Revenge before he starts a world war.
    • Day 9 is overall more cynical from the beginning, with Chloe taking on a darker personality as a result of her family's death, Heller is slowly losing his mind to Alzheimers, and one of the most evil villains the series has seen to date, culminating in arguably the biggest Downer Ending of the series.
  • Dashed Plot Line: Not with episodes (since each episode picks up exactly where the last left off), but with seasons, which are separated by several year intervals.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Kim and her husband's daughter is named Teri.
  • Deadly Nosebleed: A symptom of the cordilla virus.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Chloe, in spades. Jack, Nina, and Tony sometimes get in on the action too.
  • Death by Cameo: Averted by Connor Trineer's one episode appearance in Season 7 as a security guard.
    • Lampshaded by Tony in the very same episode.
  • Death by Materialism: There are dozens of greedy little bastards who are only in it for the money, and they are more than likely expendable. For instance, Michael Amador in Season 3, who went behind the Big Bad's back so he could score himself 240 million dollars. Later in the season, after escaping CTU custody, he meets one of the antagonist's associates so he can get more money and passports to leave the country. When he opens the briefcase, he realizes it's full of C-4. Cue Oh Crap face.
  • Death by Sex: Renee Walker
  • Death Equals Redemption:
    • Marcus Alvers identifies the Big Bad in Season 3 after he realizes he's showing symptoms of the Cordilla virus.
    • Victor Aruz in Season 8. He waits until he's seconds away from death before revealing that the hitter has an accomplice in Omar's adminsitration.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Despite not having a big role in Season 8, Marcos Al-Zacar gets an entire episode that focuses on him and his family's roots. But he dies moments after he finally surrenders to Jack Bauer near the end of said episode.
  • Death Is Not Permanent: If your name is Tony Almeida.
  • Death Seeker:
    • The last minutes of episode 8x04 and the teasers for 8x05 show us Renee is going way that way.
    • Jack is notably like this for most of season 2. The terminally ill George Mason realizes that he wanted to be the one to pilot the nuclear bomb away, since he's still blaming himself for Teri's death and feels that his own will bring some sort of atonement for what happened. Mason's able to talk Jack out of it and convince him to switch places.
    • Jack also acts like this in seasons 6 and 7 after being tortured by the Chinese at the end of season 5. He attempts to sacrifice himself numerous times, but they either become unnecessary or someone else winds up doing so in his place. By the end, after he's infected with a lethal pathogen, Jack is prepared to finally accept his death, and it takes Kim making amends after all these years and refusing to let him pass on that ultimately give him a reason to want to live again by season 8... until as stated above, where events cause him to revert back to a death seeker mentality.
  • Decapitation Presentation: "I'm gonna need a hacksaw".
  • Decoy Leader
  • Depraved Bisexual: Played with in the person of Mandy. She's a villain, and she's bisexual, but the two don't seem to have much relation to one another.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Renee's death for Jack in Day 8. All that's left for him is a massive Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • Michelle's death for Tony, which sets him off so bad by the end that he's working against the good guys and the bad guys.
    • Audrey's death for pretty much everyone in Day 9.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Jack's eternal fate, helped partially by a dose of It's Not You, It's My Enemies. And he's not exaggerating that score either, seeing as five of his Love Interests end up dead over the course of the series (Teri Bauer, Nina Myers, Claudia Hernandez, Renee Walker, Audrey Heller Raines Boudreau). He does have three other love interests who are still alive (Kate Warner, Diane Huxley, and Marilyn Bauer), but he's no longer with them.
  • Die Hard on an X: whenever any location is taken over by terrorists, which is frequently. (For that matter, 24 itself could probably be described as "Die Hard on a clock.")
  • Dies Wide Open: Nina Myers, Christopher Henderson, Bill Buchanan, Omar Hassan, Dana Walsh, among many others.
  • Dirty Coward: Charles Logan. Luckily, he's self-aware enough to step aside.
  • Disc One Final Boss: The first main bad guy of the season is almost never the mastermind.
    • Day 1: Ira Gaines.
    • Day 2: Syed Ali.
    • Day 3: The Salazars.
    • Downplayed in Day 4: The Araz Family gets some major focus initially, but Habib Marwan is established as the real Big Bad only six episodes in, and remains so throughout the rest of the season.
    • Day 5: James Nathanson and Walt Cummings.
    • Averted in Day 6: Abu Fayed remains the primary threat from Episode 1 to Episode 17 (although at one point it becomes a Big Bad Duumvirate with Dmitri Gredenko). After Fayed's defeat, the story moves on to a separate group of villains and a mostly unrelated threat.
    • Day 7: Iké Dubaku.
    • Day 8: Davros, soon followed by Sergei Bazhaev and Farhad Hassan.
    • Averted in Day 9 (Live Another Day): Margot Al-Harazi shows up two episodes in and remains the Big Bad for the majority of the season. After her death, a different group of villains take over the plot, albeit using the same override device that Margot was using.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In retaliation for Renee's murder, Jack goes on a killing spree, including Dana Walsh, Pavel Tokarev, Mikhail Novakovich and all his bodyguards, and he intends to kill the Russian president too.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Jack Bauer—Renee Walker. It's what makes them such an appealing couple.
    • In "Live Another Day", Jack now has another one with Kate Morgan. This time around, though, Chloe has one too in the form of Jordan Reed. They're pretty much a gender-flipped version of what Jack and Chloe used to be back in their CTU days.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Day 1 ends with Jack finding Teri dead.
    • Day 5 ends with Jack being abducted by Cheng Zhi and shipped to a Chinese prison.
    • Day 8 ends with Taylor resigning from the presidency in disgrace, and Jack becoming a fugitive from both the United States and Russia.
    • Day 9 ends with Audrey taking a bullet from a gunman and dying, a devastated Heller lamenting that soon he won't even be able to remember his daughter, and Jack turning himself in to the Russians to save Chloe.
    • Almost every main character from all 9 seasons of the show eventually gets one in some form or another. Some characters like David Palmer or Renee Walker wind up getting killed. Others have to deal with some sort of great loss, such as Erin Driscoll (whose daughter committed suicide), Sandra Palmer (whose brothers are both dead), and James Heller (whose daughter is killed). And then there are the characters whose lives are completely ruined, such as Tony Almeida (in prison) and even Jack Bauer himself (captured by the Russians). It's essentially impossible for any main cast member to get a happy ending.
  • The Dragon: Every season has one, but played to perfection with season five's Christopher Henderson.
  • Dressing as the Enemy:
    • Usually when the bad guy imitates an FBI/CTU agent. Foiled in Season 7 when Jack uncovers an assassin dressed as FBI by noticing his incorrect shoes.
    • In most cases, just as an FBI/CTU agent is alerted that there's an impostor, said impostor miraculously appears out of nowhere and shoots him (Seasons 4 and 7).
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Somewhat unavoidable for a show so prone to offing characters but mostly averted. The closest examples were probably both Milo (who seemingly just came back to do nothing and then get shot in the face) and Curtis in season 6 and Michelle in season 5. Tony just barely avoided it himself in the fifth season due to later being Not Quite Dead..
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: You would think saving America from destruction, every, single, season, would give Jack some credibility with his CTU superiors or the government. You would be wrong. Every new President needs to be reminded who this Jack Bauer person is, and every season a parade of Obstructive Bureaucrats will ignore him, detain him, or try to kill him.
    • Averted in Live Another Day, where in the space of five hours Jack goes from international fugitive to being given the President's blessing on his efforts to stop the terrorist attacks.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Jack had spent less than 40 hours in Renee's company and decided to throw away his life and all his moral standards to go after the people responsible for her death. Justified in that Jack has lost so many people he cared about over the years and his reaction to Renee's death probably had little to do with Renee herself and more to do with simply being the straw that broke the camel's back. One thing to keep in mind about the complexity of their relationship. Of all the women Jack had known in his life, she is the ONLY one who accepted him for what he was and could relate to him. Not even Audrey or Terry could say those things. And there's the fact that she's just as crazy as he is.
  • Dying as Yourself: President Heller's reason for attempting to surrender during Live Another Day, to allow him to die on his own terms before he loses his mind to Alzheimer's disease. Subverted when he survives the ordeal and, at the end of the season, waits for the disease to take him over.

    The following takes place between E and L 
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The top secret detention facility where Victor Drazen was sent in Season 1.
  • EMP:
    • In Season 4, a defense contractor detonates an EMP to destroy evidence that they were (unknowingly) helping the Big Bad.
    • In Season 8, terrorists use one against CTU New York by allowing them to take in an escaped captive.
  • Empty Quiver: The plots of every even-numbered season (2, 4, 6, and 8) involve Islamic extremists getting ahold of nuclear weapons.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In Season 2, Jack has to work alongside the woman who killed his wife.
    • Towards the end of Season 5, Jack works with Christopher Henderson in order to stop Bierko.
    • In Season 6, Jack is forced to team up with Charles Logan.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Tony Almeida in Season 7.
  • Episode on a Plane:
    • "Day Five: 2AM - 3AM," where Jack stows away on a flight in search of an incriminating recording.
    • In Season 4, President John Keeler spends all of his screentime on Air Force One because of all the terrorist attacks happening across the country. Turns out this was intentional for the story, as Marwan's ultimate plan involves shooting the plane down.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Happens to CTU in Season 8 after Jack goes rogue after killing Pavel, Renee's killer.
  • Ethereal Choir: Used as an ominous leitmotif for the Sentox nerve gas throughout Day 5.
  • Everybody Owns A Ford: Ford is a major sponsor of the show, and savvy viewers quickly figured out that only the heroes drive them. This spoiled a major plot twist in season 2, when the vaguely mysterious Muslim who drove a Ford Thunderbird was innocent, while his blonde, all-American, import-driving wife turned out to be a traitor.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: In the final season In the 1-2 P.M. espisode, Pillar hears this from a wounded Russian bodyguard who answers a manipulative Russian diplomat's cell phone right after Jack slaughtered the entire detail.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: In a first season episode, Teri and Kim escape from the terrorists by car and then Teri parks it at the edge of a cliff. She gets out, with Kim still in it (Kim's fine, but Teri doesn't know that, leading to her amnesia, discussed elsewhere here.) It, of course, is destroyed in a fiery explosion.
  • Everyone Is Related: A large majority of the characters in Season 6 are all Bauers, or spouses/offspring of such.
  • Evil Brit: Stephen Saunders and his organization Season 3.
  • Evil Counterpart
    • Jack - Stephen Saunders in Season 3, Christopher Henderson in Season 5, Tony Almeida in season 7, and Cheng Zhi in Live Another Day.
    • Inverted with Cole in season 8: He's actually the good counterpart to Jack by the end. Because of this, Jack gets to be the only character on both sides of this trope.
    • Michelle Dessler - Carrie Turner
    • Karen Hayes - Miles Papazian
    • Inverted with the FBI at the beginning of season 7: they're technically the good counterparts to the "unofficial CTU" lineup of Jack, Chloe, Bill, and Tony, who are essentially a rogue group, though they're both working towards the same goal of stopping Dubaku.
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: During Seasons 5 and 7 respectively, James Nathanson and Iké Dubaku operate out of some excessively dark bases.
  • Evil Plan / Batman Gambit: Every single Dragon and Big Bad has at least one - and some seasons feature multiple Bads.
    • The end of Season Seven reveals that the entire season was nothing but Tony's attempt to get close to Alan Wilson to kill him in revenge for killing his wife and son.
    • The events of Day 3 are largely set in motion by Jack, Tony, and Gael Ortega.
    • Wayne Palmer pulls one during Day 6 against Fayed's country so they can give him a full dossier that will hopefully lead them to where Fayed has been hiding his suitcase nukes.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Used in several seasons, but the final season spins a surprising take on this trope by pitting Fallen Heroes Jack and President Taylor against one another. If Taylor gets what she wants, her peace treaty will succeed, but the motives behind President Hassasn's assassination will be covered up because of it and the injustice will be allowed to go on. If Jack gets what he wants, the conspiracy behind Hassan's death is exposed, but he'll also kill all those responsible, which includes several members of the Russian government, particularly its president, which would lead to worldwide war. Neither outcome is all that good. Cole's "there are no good guys" line late in the season pretty much sums up the current status of the show: Jack nor Taylor is really a "hero" at this point anymore. In fact, Cole and Chloe are essentially the only real characters really resembling heroes now, as they're attempting to go with the preferable solution to expose the conspiracy and not just instantly take the role of judge, jury, and executioner into their hands like Jack is now doing. Their efforts do in fact eventually lead both Jack and Taylor to see the light by the end (see Heel Realization below), although at this point both have arguably crossed a line that can never be undone.
  • Exposition: Many episodes begin with heavy expositionary dialogue filling the viewers in on the current crisis and/or what happened at the end of the previous hour. Day 4 is especially bad about this.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Each season takes place in twenty-four hours.
  • Face Death with Dignity: President James Heller calmly awaits the end in Live Another Day. Or so he'd have us believe.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Tony.
    • Dana Walsh is pulling one. She was actually The Mole.
    • So is President Taylor.
    • Russian President Yuri Suvarov, who's gone from a mostly Reasonable Authority Figure in Days 5 and 6 to one of the Big Bads in Day 8.
    • And for all intents and purposes, Jack himself in the final season... unless of course, you feel that nearly starting a war that could potentially lead to the downfall of civilization as we know it all in the name of a revenge crusade is a heroic goal.
  • Fake Defector: Gael in season 3, Tom Lennox in season 6, Jack on numerous occasions, Tony in Season 7. For both sides.
  • Fake Kill Scare: used by Jack Bauer when he pretends to kill the son of Syed Ali, a terrorist he is interrogating.
  • Faking the Dead: Jack in the end of season 4.
    • Jack fakes Nina Meyers' death in Season 1 and Renee Walker's in season 7. Both ended up dead for real in subsequent seasons, the former by Jack's hand.
  • Fallen Hero: Numerous examples. Ira Gaines' backstory revealed him as having been a Navy SEAL before he became a ruthless mercenary. Stephen Saunders was a member of Jack's Special Forces team that was assigned to take out Victor Drazen, and Christopher Henderson was Jack's mentor.
    • Tony is the series' embodiment of this trope.
    • The final season is memorable for having both Jack himself AND President Taylor becoming this.
  • Fanservice: At the end of Season 4, Mandy takes Tony's shirt off for no apparent reason.
  • Fan Service Pack: Chloe O'Brian.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Pissing off Jack Bauer. Alternatively, Audrey Raines after her visit to China. To go more in-depth, she gets captured by the Chinese Big Bad/Man Behind The Man, and is the bargaining chip for the circuit board. Unfortunately, before the deal is made, she is tortured and overdosed with near-fatal amounts of liquid copper, which not only traumatizes her but leaves her in a half-paralyzed, Heroic BSOD'd state, and proving that the Big Bad is Dangerously Genre Savvy. By the end of the season, she's recovering at home and Jack Bauer promises her father to step away so he can no longer be a danger to her, with the silent clock running at the end of the episode to honor his sacrifice.
      • Jack also counts here; since the Chinese got him first, he he had to go through twenty months of torture like Audrey did before he was released. And he never said anything while he was there, so he was useless to the Chinese.
    • As of the end of the series, Charles Logan after a botched suicide attempt that leaves him with severe brain damage, code-speak for becoming a vegetable for the rest of his life.
  • Fingore: Used numerous times as a torture/blackmail tactic (by both the villains and Jack).
    • In Day 4, Jack breaks Joe Prado's fingers.
    • In Day 6, Jack severs one of Anatoly Markov's fingers.
    • In Day 7, Iké Dubaku tries to coerce President Taylor by ordering this on her husband.
    • In Day 9 (Live Another Day), Margot Al-Harazi orders this on Simone (her own daughter) to coerce Simone's husband.
  • First Day from Hell: Lynn McGill's first day as head of CTU Los Angeles involves his getting mugged by his junkie sister and her boyfriend, and that mugging leading directly to a nerve gas attack on CTU headquarters. Oh, and the sister gets executed, gangland style, to clean up loose ends. Oh, and McGill has to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to save everyone from said nerve gas less than two hours later. Don't envy the guy who has to write the "fallen in the service of our country" letters to Mrs. McGill there.
  • Five-Bad Band: There's two, both in Season 8.
  • Five-Man Band: The unofficial CTU crew from Season 7 effectively becomes one for a while:
  • Foiler Footage: There were two alternate endings of the first season filmed: one with Teri escaping torment, and one with a Really Dead Montage.
  • Follow the Leader: Ubisoft's Splinter Cell series predates Twenty Four by several years. However, there was a period where the series stalled after the release of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, and there were a lot of false starts and schedule difficulties getting the next game released. When it finally did come out as Splinter Cell: Conviction, series main character Sam Fisher had been retooled to make him more like Jack Bauer, with a more aggressive and uncompromising personality, interactive interrogation scenes, and more emphasis on gunfighting over its previous focus of pure stealth.
    • Splinter Cell came out after 24, actually. The show debuted in 2001, while the first game was released a year later in 2002.
    • Speaking of games, one of the descriptions of Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series described him as being "Jack Bauer in Space," and, especially if portrayed as a Renegade, can be a very similar anti-hero to Jack; such as pulling some nasty interrogation techniques and willing to take vengeance into his own hands if necessary. Interestingly enough, in a pretty bizarre coincidence, Raphael Sbarge's character in the sixth season of the show was killed after being caught ground zero in a nuclear explosion. In the first Mass Effect, which was released at the end of the same year season 6 came out, Sbarge's character Kaiden Alenko can potentially suffer the exact same fate.
  • Foregone Conclusion: From the moment Jack was infected by the Prion variant in Season 7 - a bioweapon so deadly that there was no 100% certifiable cure - it was obvious he'd survive somehow, given at least that he'd already signed on for Seasons 7 and 8 back in 2007. The fact that Elisha Cuthbert's return that season was mentioned by the producers also drove the point home.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Perhaps an unintentional one early during Season 5 with Spenser Wolff being found out as an unwitting mole.
      "You have to believe me. I thought I was serving the President."
    • In Live Another Day, Heller's "death" was not followed by a silent clock. The next episode reveals that he survived.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Repeatedly and consistently averted. Major characters who die are repeatedly mentioned after their deaths, and many get Manly Tears, Heroic BSODs, and a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • The death of Teri Bauer is what ultimately casts a haunting shadow over all of Jack's actions for every season following the first one.
    • In the first season finale, when Jack calls Nina out for the crimes she committed, he specifically cites Richard Walsh, Jamey Farrell, and Robert Ellis as friends and co-workers who suffered because of her actions.
    • Thrown into Jack's face a few times. Specifically, in Season 7, Larry Moss points out that people who hang around Jack tend not to survive, mentioning Teri Bauer, Ryan Chappelle, and Curtis Manning as proof. Though this falls a bit flat, as Ryan's death was commanded specifically by the President himself under orders from Stephen Saunders and would've likely been forced to occur whether Jack was present or not, and Curtis died because he was unwilling to listen to a direct order from Jack, instead letting his personal motives interfere with CTU's primary objective. Regardless, it goes to show how the body count is kept in mind well after the deaths occur.
  • Friendly Target: Kim's friend, Janet York.
  • From Bad to Worse: Happens during each season and many single episodes until the end of the day. And even then, after Big Bad is finally dead, expect a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Gambit Pileup: So...who actually ordered Palmer's assassination?
    • Good lord, Live Another Day. First a small-time hacker defects from his organization to try to sell a military override device to Margot Al-Harazi seeking revenge on President Heller for her husband's death. She's killed, then it turns out the leader of the hacker group, Adrian Cross, had created it with the intent of breaking through the strategic infrastructure of every country's military, which he plans to distribute to the entire world. Then it turns out that the device was originally commissioned by Cheng Zhi, with the intent of starting a war between the United States and China.
  • Gambit Roulette: for the above reason.
    • Marwan.
    • Tony in Day 7 very much goes here, with almost all of it relying on all the events of the day being one major coincidence after another to help him track down and murder Alan Wilson.
  • Gas Leak Coverup: On Live Another Day, a drone attack on a house that the CIA was investigating is covered up as being a gas main explosion.
  • Genre Deconstruction: You think James Bond had to deal with so much crap? A standard hero will defend us no matter how hard the bad guys make it. Jack will defend us no matter how hard we make it.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: CTU has needed the cooperation of the U.S. Secret Service and the Russians, among others.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: In the final season, Cole and Chloe as the good, Jack himself and President Taylor as the bad, and President Logan and Russian President Suvarov as the evil.
  • Gorn: In season eight, Jack disembowls and kills Pavel trying to get a sim card, as well as revenge against Pavel for killing Renee. Followed by how Jack killed Mikhail Novakovich by stabbing him with a fireplace poker and all of his guards in the next episode. It all happened off-camera, but the blood was EVERYWHERE.
    • Season 2 as a whole was really damn violent. The water torture scene that opens up the first episode was sickening, but that was nothing compared to when Big Bad Sayed Ali killed a non-CTU federal agent who helped Kate Warner find out if Reza's a terrorist or not. A. MOOK. USED. A. BUZZSAW. ON. THE. AGENT'S. BACK. Ugh. The viewers who complained about the torture during season 6 must not have been watching 24 that year.
    • Abu Fayed using a drill on Morris in season 6.
    • In season 6, the especially gut-wrenching scene where Asad sticks a knife into a man's kneecap.
    • In season 3, Chase's hand being chopped off to get rid of the virus attached to his wrist. The pain was so intense, Chase passed out after he lost his limb. The fact that this event was foreshadowed to horrifying effect made the act even more agonizing to watch.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Played straight during the early seasons of the show (as stated above in Seasons 2 and 3). From Season 6 up, this trope was averted a couple times, and people being shot in the head (or in David Emerson's case, the neck) was shown on screen. When Season 8 came around, it got graphic. The viewers did not get to see a man being hacked apart by a machete in Redemption, so there's that at least.
  • Handshake Refusal: In season 5, Jack Bauer reacts this way to his daughter's new boyfriend.
    • Bill Buchanan does this to Hamri Al-Assad in Season 6, though later he offers his own hand after it becomes clear that Assad is serious about cooperating with the U.S.
  • Happily Married: Subverted by Jack and Teri, in particular the latter's death, as well as Tony and Michelle's reconciliation after Season 4 that comes to a swift end during the start of Day 5. No President's marriage survived the show either; David and Sherri Palmer divorced in between the first two seasons and neither made it through the series alive, and Henry and Allison Taylor also divorced following the events of Day 7.
    • On the other hand, Bill Buchanan and Karen Hayes seem to be Happily Married, even when they're having to work at cross purposes.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Replaces the ticking clock in the Season Two finale.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: Josef Bazhaev. Granted, his father had to convince him that he would be pardoned for his crimes, but still. Not even twenty seconds after he agrees to help the good guys, he gets shot.
    • Later in that very same episode, Farhad Hassan grows a conscience (sort of) and agrees to help CTU. And then he's shot in the back in the next episode.
    • In the series finale, Jason Pillar realizes that he and Charles Logan are cornered, and Pillar attempts to convince his boss that it would be best to come clean and help President Taylor find Jack and call off the hit on him. What does he get in return? Logan whacks him in the back of the head and proceeds to shoot him dead before attempting suicide, therefore taking the information to their graves. Particularly galling as the previous episode had Pillar tearfully confess that he had a daughter he wanted to return to.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door:
    • Tony Almeida in season 7. Before the season, the Internet was ablaze about his upcoming Face-Heel Turn...which didn't even last for the entire two-night, four-hour season premiere event, as he turned out to be a Reverse Mole. No, wait, now he's actually a villain again. Hold on, now he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to gain the trust of the villains' boss so he can finally get close enough to kill the guy for revenge for killing his then-pregnant wife. Except the FBI needs that man alive, and on top of that he was willing to turn Jack into a living bomb in order to kill the guy, so he's still the enemy. Ah, screw it.
    • Charles Logan throughout his existence on the show. In season 4, he's a cowardly, incompetent President who allows Walt Cummings to put a hit on Bauer. While he maintains his weakness, he shows more compassion and trust in Bauer in the first half of season 5... until he's revealed as the Big Bad of the season. He makes yet another turn in season 6 when he selflessly helps Bauer find Grendenko and helps defuse an international incident with the Russians before he's stabbed by his ex-wife. When he returns in season 8, he's made yet another turn when he returns to being a full-blown villain again and drags President Taylor down with him. Evil All Along.
  • Heel-Face Turn:
    • Mike Novick becomes a much nicer character after the BS he pulls in Season 2 — by Season 5 he's one of the best and most likeable characters on the show.
    • Allison Taylor, sort of. After Jumping Off the Slippery Slope by making a deal with Charles Logan to save the peace agreement without knowing all the variables, she digs herself deeper and deeper into a hole trying to cover it up, culminating in her basically threatening to blow Kamistan to hell with the entire might of the United States Military if Dalia Hassan does not sign the deal. And then, when she's a signature away from becoming a truly unredeemable character, she backs out and begins the process of making amends.
    • The Araz family, with the exception of Navi. It doesn't end well for Dina. Behrooz was seen alive in two deleted scenes, but since those scenes weren't actually part of Season 4, we can assume he didn't last long either.
    • Simone Al-Harazi in Day 9 after her mother executes a drone strike on a hospital in an attempt to kill her.
  • Heel Realization: Jack and Taylor both get respective ones in the series finale when they realize that their actions are doing far more harm than good. Jack gets his near the beginning after Chloe convinces him that killing Logan and Suvarov would lead to war, while Taylor has hers near the end after a video will Jack leaves makes her realize that everything she's been doing ever since following Logan's plans has perverted her ideals.
    • If anything, Jack arguably starts to come to his a little earlier in the penultimate episode when he holds Jason Pillar at gunpoint and Pillar yells at him that all he's doing is carrying out a need for vengeance and not actually meting out justice, with Jack ultimately admitting he's right, but at this point feels he doesn't have anything else left, the end of which even sees him sparing Pillar after the guy begs for his life and that he wants to see his daughter again. This, combined with Chloe's What the Hell, Hero? speech to him, likely contributed greatly to his quick Heel-Face Turn early on in the finale.
  • He Knows Too Much: at least once a season, most notoriously in Season 1 (with the agent responsible to "unlink" Bauer and Palmer's pasts), Walt Cummings in Season 5, and President Taylor's son in the backstory of Season 7.
    • David Palmer discovering Charles Logan's involvement in selling nerve gas to terrorists is what led to his assassination.
  • Heroic BSOD: Jack, mostly: after being told Kim is dead in Season 1, and the Manly Tears at the end of Season 3.
    • Jack after Teri's death is pretty much the show's defining moment of this trope. He's like this for most of season 2; even after finally going back into action to stop the bomb, he still has a Death Seeker attitude for a good chunk of it.
    • Michelle has one when she thinks Tony has been killed at the end of Season 4.
    • Jack has a major one when he was forced to kill Curtis in season 6.
    • In the same season, Morris has one after he's forced by Fayed to arm his suitcase nukes.
    • Cole has a minor one after learning that Jack used him, murdered Dana Walsh in cold blood, and actually did want to assassinate the conspirators behind Hassan's murder instead of just exposing them.
    • Audrey Raines has one after she is subjected to liquid copper torture for nearly two years between seasons 5 and 6 when she is held by Big Bad Cheng Zhi as leverage for a nuclear weapon circuit. Not only are the injections incredibly painful, they also destroys her mind, ultimately leaving her in a catatonic state. Miraculously, she seems to have recovered completely by Live Another Day...although Word of God says it took quite a few years and a lot of psychiatric care.
    • In season 7, Renee has two minor ones: the first when she fails to save Dubaku's innocent girlfriend after promising she would protect her, and the second upon discovering Larry Moss' murder.
    • In Live Another Day when Kate tells Jack Audrey is dead. Jack puts down his rifle and pulls out a handgun, and the look on his face makes it very clear what he was about two seconds from doing.
  • Hero Antagonist: CTU, the FBI, the government, or any other law present will become this whenever Jack has to break the rules in order to get the job done or he's being framed by one of the antagonists, which is generally at least 2-3 times a season. This is completely flipped on its head during the final arc when Jack goes rogue and effectively becomes an outright antagonist for his revenge trip against the Russians (and Logan) rather than his usual Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right reasons. In this case, despite the fact that Jack is still treated as the protagonist, we're actually supposed to be moreso rooting for CTU (or at least the main cast trio of Chloe, Cole, and Arlo Glass) at this point over Jack.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mason in season two, Chappelle in season three, Lynn in season five, Carl Benton in Redemption, Bill in season seven, Omar Hassan in season eight, and Jack in at least seasons two and six (but he survived).
    • Although Mason had less than 24 hours to live anyway and Lynn also would have died regardless. Lynn's also would have been more heroic if it wasn't his fault the attack happened in the first place.
    • Teri makes one in Season 1 when she offers herself to Eli to save Kim from being raped.
    • This happens unintentionally to Marika Donoso in Season 7, where she blinds The Dragon's driver, thus causing the vehicle they're in to crash. Ironically, she is the only one who dies; the bad guys live through it. But only for a short period of time.
    • During Day 6, Milo realizes that the mercenary squad that's assaulted CTU is going to kill the current person in charge (which would be Nadia at the time), so he intentionally takes her place, getting shot in the head as a result.
    • James Heller surrenders himself during Live Another Day to prevent more innocent deaths.
    • Jack hands himself over to the Russians in exchange for Chloe at the end of Day 9.
  • Hero of Another Story: Tony Almeida, Curtis "Black Bauer" Manning, Mike Doyle, Renee Walker, (currently) Cole Ortiz, and more. Usually, they'll be the actual head of CTU Field Ops while Jack is on the run or being brought in for one last world-saving mission.
    • In season 8, we're introduced to James Ricker, one of Jack's old partners.
      • Or the sudden involvement of the FBI as the main heroes trying to stop terrorists attacks instead of the usual CTU. Justified in the fact that CTU had been disbanded.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Jack. Subverted in the Day 8 finale, but that might have had something to do with a bullet wound to the chest.
  • Hijacked by Ganon:
    • In late Season 8, Charles Logan pulls this when he blackmails the Russians into going along with his cover-up conspiracy, which involves them signing the very treaty they were trying to get out of.
    • In Live Another Day, after Margot Al-Harazi's death, it seems that Adrian Cross will take over as the primary villain. And then Cheng Zhi reappears, kills Cross and establishes himself as the final Big Bad.
  • Hollywood California: The show's setting - nine out of ten major terrorist threats happen here. Finally relocated in Season 7.
  • Hollywood Healing: Throughout the show, Jack has been shot, stabbed, tasered, gassed, suffered broken ribs, had a heart attack, and been rendered clinically dead twice. He typically requires little more than half an hour of recovery time before he's shooting terrorists again. In Season 8, it takes him only ten minutes to shake off a stab to the stomach.
    • In Season 7, Jack was infected by a prion based on Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a condition for which there was apparently no cure. And then it turned out that a family member's stem cells might provide a cure after all, and Kim Bauer returned shortly thereafter.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Milo, Morris, and others.
  • Honor Before Reason: President Omar Hassan of Season 8, pretty explicitly.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Season 7: Jack forges an alliance with his own nemesis, Sen. Mayer, with the two men coming to an understanding and agreeing to try playing by each other's rules. ...Just before Mayer is killed for being in the way.
    • The very first scenes of the first episode of Day 8, with Jack enjoying family life with his granddaughter, are just heartbreaking to watch again once you know how that season — and the entire series — ends.
    • Later in Day 8, Jack and Renee have sex for nearly forty minutes and enjoy themselves after a rough night... shortly before a sniper kills Jack's new squeeze.
    • Reza Naiyeer in Season 2. During a pretty rotten afternoon, Reza starts feeling a little better when his ex-fiancée changes her mind and says she still wants to marry him. Then at the end of that episode, he finds out she's a terrorist, and she kills him.
    • Near the end of "Day 6: 4pm - 5pm," a bound-and-gagged Tom Lennox tries to twist a pressure valve so that he can raise an alarm and warn someone about the bomb. It's just enough to make us think he might succeed in thwarting the assassination attempt... but he doesn't.
    • In the finale of Day 9, Audrey is saved from Cheng's shooter and everything is okay... until a second shooter comes out of nowhere and guns her down.
  • Hot-Blooded: Jack Bauer is A FEDERAL AGENT! Who wants EVERYTHING DONE NOW! Because he's RUNNING OUT OF TIME!
    • Plus, he HASN'T PEED ALL DAY!
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Kim Bauer holds it so often it might as well be called the "Kim Ball" for the purposes of this show. This is semi-justified in terms of writing: she featured prominently in the first season because ultimately Jack and his family were a target for the terrorist attacks in the first place. Without Kim regularly making stupid decisions and putting herself in danger, there wouldn't be much of a reason to feature her at all in later seasons.
    • In Day 9, Audrey's death results from this trope. First, Audrey decides to step out for a clandestine meeting in a poorly lit and unsecured park, accompanied by only two bodyguards. Then, Kate Morgan's CIA team rescues Audrey, but instead of taking her away as quickly and safely as possible, they casually escort her toward the park's exit, none of them even considering the possibility of a second shooter. Naturally, Audrey ends up dead.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: word-for-word from Jack's mouth several times, which is part of the reason some people view him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist Anti-Hero or Sociopathic Hero. He gets away with it due to: being right most of the time; being the Chaotic Good Only Sane Man (as opposed to the Manipulative Bastard bad guys and Lawful Stupid good guys); being fully aware that all this Dirty Business makes him a bad person; and copious infusions of Rule of Cool / Mundane Made Awesome.
    • The presidents (Palmer and Taylor especially) are portrayed as fighting constantly to not take the easy way out; to them, the ends do not justify the means. (The ones who do think that way are inevitably portrayed as villainous.) Confusingly, we're meant to perceive them as being just as heroic as Jack is, despite making the opposite decision he usually does.
      • Taylor changes her mind after a chat with Charles Logan.
      • In a lesser extent, David Palmer also applies. In season three, he hired Sherry Palmer to take care of Alan Milliken when he threatened to pull financial support for David's re-election, because [brother] Wayne Palmer slept with Milliken's wife, Julia. Granted, he probably didn't expect Sherry to basically kill him by not giving him his medication, but after what she did to David in the first two seasons, what exactly did he expect? More importantly, during season four, he signed off on the undercover operation to capture a Chinese consolate, which ended with another Chinese representative killed by friendly fire. Although Palmer and Jack knew the risks of the operation, they went through with it anyway to save LA from Marwan. Palmer's statement to Charles Logan when he panicked over the idea? "Sometimes, we got to get our hands dirty to do what needs to be done."
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episodes are marked as a time-period of 1 hour (e.g. 1:00am-2:00am or 4:00pm-5:00pm).
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: In Season 3, an undercover Jack is forced to shoot his partner, who followed him to Mexico. Luckily, the gun was empty: it was a test.
  • I Have Your Wife: Seasons one, three, four, six, and seven. Don't get married in this show.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Jack at the beginning of Days 5 and 8. He's finally retired and settled down as a civilian.....it won't last......
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The ratio of bullets fired at Jack Bauer to bullets that actually hit Jack Bauer is... not high.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: YMMV, but during the last several episodes of Day 8, Dana Walsh moves in this direction. She acts in a slightly more likable manner when Jack confronts her with news of Renee's death, saying that it shouldn't have happened and that she's sorry. Later, she acts like a damsel in distress when the private interrogation group comes to pick her up, quite pathetically begging Chloe to save her. And her waterboarding torture is clearly played to show the terrible depths to which President Taylor has sunk in order to get the peace treaty signed.
  • Infant Immortality: Subverted with Amy Martin in Season 5 when Christopher Henderson makes an unexpected visit. Granted, what happens next is not actually shown, but considering that Henderson's just spent the last 40 minutes tracking her and her mom down, and is shooting EMTs just for being in the way...
  • Informed Ability: Ronnie Lobell is introduced as the new Director of Field Operations in Season 4, a position normally held by badasses such as Jack Bauer and Curtis Manning (and in supplemental prequel material, Christopher Henderson). He dies after just two episodes.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Benton in Redemption.
  • It's Personal: In Redemption, Jack killed Ike Dubaku's brother, who was torturing him, so Ike followed him into jungles, where Benton tried to kill him. However, Ike's brother was never mentioned again in Season 7.
  • It Gets Easier: Characters opposed to torture early in the season, tend to be more willing to do so later in the season. Subverted with Renee; she becomes more willing to torture as the series progresses, but hates herself even more for doing it. Done with Kim Bauer when it comes to killing. She is very opposed to shooting Gary Matheson, who's been trying to kill her for awhile, the first time, but shoots him second time with a lot more ease. She still breaks down afterward, though. In Season 3 however, she does not appear to be bothered by it at all.
  • I Was Never Here: Sherry Palmer says this to Julia Milliken.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Trope Namer.
  • Jerkass:
    • James Heller became more of a jerk as the series progressed.
    • Chloe started out this way before getting some much-needed Character Development.
    • Janis Gold in Day 7.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Generally, most of the Obstructive Bureaucrat characters will turn out to be this.
    • George Mason.
    • Ryan Chappelle, at least by Season 3, when he allows Tony to bring suicide pills to the infected hotel guests.
    • Lynn McGill, as made clear by his Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Tom Lennox.
    • Frank Tramell in Redemption, who forces Jack to return to the United States to stand trial in exchange for Jack evacuating several children from Sangala. Tramell does at least show himself to be a man of his word.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Miles Papazian. Just about every other character that's been in charge and manages to be a pain for most of the other protagonists usually succeeds in also showing some sort of good side by the time we last see them. Despite the insistence of Karen Hayes that he ultimately is somebody who can be trusted in spite of his attitude, Miles sells everyone out the first chance he gets.
  • Jitter Cam: Handheld cinematography is a staple of the show.
  • Joker Jury: In season 4, the Secretary of Defense is put on trial by terrorists.
  • Jumped Off The Slippery Slope: Allison Taylor in Day 8, thanks to Charles Logan.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Averted mostly. While CTU has butted heads with other agencies, usually the severe nature of a terrorist threat causes folks to put aside their differences.
    • One exception, of course, is the friction between CTU and FBI in Season 7. CTU doesn't actually exist anymore, but friction arises when the FBI is unhappily required to reactivate old CTU servers.
    • In the 24: Live Another Day novel Deadline, a character thinks to himself about the fact that contrary to the way things are usually portrayed in the movies, the arrival of the FBI generally doesn't spark an immediate rivalry with law enforcement agencies.
    In Kilner's experience, the opposite was usually the truth. State or county cops with less manpower and typically with operational budgets that were already stretched to the limit would welcome the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Just in Time: Frequently subverted, although played straight on those rare occasions. Whenever Jack Bauer calls for backup, chances are, he'll kill a majority (or all) of the Mooks before they arrive.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Mandy. Justified by the fact that the government needed her to stop Marwan and had to let her go.
    • David Palmer's actions in season 3 led to the deaths of 4 people, and all he did to atone was to withdraw from the election.
    • Miles Papazian in Day 5.
    • In Day 9 there's the unnamed gunman who killed Audrey and is able to escape from Kate, as he's never seen again for the rest of the finale. As it stands, he's the only person to directly kill someone close to Jack and not suffer some sort of grisly death at his hands like Conrad Haas or Pavel Tokarev have.
  • Kick the Dog: In season 8, Sergei Bazhaev shoots and kills his own son, who is suffering from radiation poisoning, so that his other son, Josef, will stop trying to treat him, despite the latter having already learned how to do so from a doctor, because of his paranoia that doing so will expose them.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • In the first episode of Day 2, Jack murders Marshall Goren and chops off his head in order to infiltrate a terrorist cell. Considering that Goren was charged with eight counts of kidnapping a minor, two counts of child pornography, and first degree murder, it's hard to feel bad about it.
    • Jack throwing Margot Al-Harazi out the window to her death in Day 9.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Subverted in case of Renee Walker. She stopped talking not because she was dead, but because she was wounded to death.
    • Played straight with the interrogator of Dana Walsh. "You won't take the shot because ... " <headshot>
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade
  • Kill Him Already: Marwan, oh lord Marwan in season four.
  • Knee-capping: In one episode, Jack Bauer shoots a terrorist in the kneecap to get him to talk.
    • In another season, he shoots The Dragon's wife in the kneecap to get him to talk.
      • Actually,
      Jack: "I shot her above the kneecap, she can still walk! You make me shoot her again, she'll be in a wheelchair the rest of her life!"
  • Knight Templar: Quite a few.
  • Land Mine Goes Click: Redemption.
  • Large Ham:
    • Jack Bauer's angrier moments are basically a showcase for how loudly Kiefer Sutherland can emote.
    • Hector Salazar deserves special mention.
      • "CLAUDIAAAAAAA!"
      • "Just know that you'll be blowing away a BILLION dollars!"
    • When Jonas Hodges lets loose, he really lets loose.
      • "I've got a government that I served FAITHFULLY! For THIRTY YEARS!"
  • Leitmotif: It's not uncommon to hear parts of the main theme whenever Jack appears on screen. Several other characters have music associated with them as well.
  • Living Macguffin:
    • Josh Bauer near the end of Season 6.
    • Dana Walsh in Season 8, when every character becomes focused on getting the specifics of Russia's Evil Plan from her.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters (The openings of the early episodes of a season can get very long... the later episodes, not so much.)
  • Lodged Blade Recycling: In season 8, Jack kills one of Vladimir Laitanin's men using a knife that he'd just been stabbed in the stomach with.
  • Lolicon: Minor character Ziya Dakhilov is one, according to an offhand remark by Renee.
    The only thing he likes more than 13-year-old-girls is money.
  • Long Bus Trip: Kate Warner, Chase Edmunds, Tom Lennox, Nadia, Driscoll... You know what, it's almost easier to list characters that didn't just up and leave without warning to never return...
  • Love Dodecahedron: Dana Walsh, who is engaged to Cole Ortiz, and being sniffed after by Arlo Glass, and being harrassed by Kevin Wade, a figure from her life who sure acts like they were lovers at one point.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Tony and eventually Jack both nearly caused the deaths of anywhere from hundreds to thousands of innocent people, all to avenge the death of a loved one.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Tony Almeida's turn as a Double Agent is a Batman Gambit to gain the trust of the villain so that he can kill the bastard to get revenge for the death of his wife and unborn son.

    The following takes place between M and R 
  • MacGuffin:
    • The incriminating recordings in Seasons 2 and 5.
    • The "nuclear football" in Season 4.
    • The sub-circuit board in Season 6.
    • The CIP device in Season 7.
    • The override device in Season 9.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Used in the Season 6 finale to destroy the oil platform where Phillip Bauer has taken refuge.
  • Made of Iron: Jack Bauer shouldn't be able to walk by the halfway point of a typical season, and that's before you take sleep deprivation into account. By the time a season is over, it's not uncommon to have seen him bleed from the mouth, forehead, or arm at least once. Here's some of the worst ones. If this doesn't prove how much of a badass Bauer is, then nothing will:
    • Day 1: Grazing bullet wound to the gut. Overall, it's one of the more minor ones on this list. Also had to contend with Nina after this.
    • Day 2: Survives a plane crash in the first half of the season. Is later captured and tortured nearly to death.
    • Day 5: Ribs cracked during his fight with assassin Hank.
    • Day 6: More torture (at the start of the season no less). Later on, Jack gets cracked ribs.
    • Day 7: Infected by a biological weapon. Quite possibly the worst one.
    • Day 8: Superficial knife wound early in the season. Serious stab wound in the final hours. Didn't seem too bad at first, but as Jack walks away from the wall he's leaning on, there is a very serious bloodstain on the wall. Shot in the season finale, and even survives a serious car wreck before the end.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: China between season 4 and 6.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Used throughout the series, but taken to the extreme in season 5 where the President of the United States turns out to be the mastermind behind the terrorist plot.
  • Mandatory Twist Ending: Almost every episode.
  • Manipulative Bastard: ditto.
    • During season three, both Nina Myers and Sherry proved to be the two biggest manipulative bitches in the series. Sherry had her key part to play in Alan's death, and Nina even managed to manipulate her interrogator.
    • Charles Logan in season 8 full stop. How else to describe someone who can convince the President to stand down Jack Bauer without even lying?
  • Meaningful Name: Spenser Wolff from season 5, who was a wolf in sheep's clothing.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Played straight. Even though there are some female deaths, they're generally meaningful, and the number of men killed off massively outnumber them; in spite of the fact that Jack killed 309 people over the course of the series, only five were female.
  • Meta Twist: At the end of season one, Nina is revealed to be the mole, and Jack's wife is killed. At the end of season two, President David Palmer has possibly just been assassinated. When the season three finale came along, everyone was expecting something big. What happens in the final moments? Jack breaks down crying. ...woah.
    • The last clock of the series.
    • Kim's arc. It looks like she's about to get kidnapped (again) by a crazy mountain man. Instead, he felt guilty about taking advantage of her and lets her go.
    • The final minute to one episode in Day 3 and again in Day 5. Normally, viewers are treated to one last meaningful scene (often involving some sort of a twist) taking place between the episode's Plot Status Split Screen and the ticking clock at the end of the episode. Then suddenly, out of abso-freaking-lutely nowhere and almost at the end of Day 3, Split Screen ==> End of episode. It works, too, and the second instance is even more jarring.
    • Bill Buchanan's death. Most people saw it coming, even without the previews showing the explosion, but they never expected it to happen within the first ten minutes of the episode.
  • Mexican Standoff: The end of one episode of Season 7 sees the FBI aiming guns at an army of private mercenaries.
  • Mid-Season Twist
    • Season 1: Jamey Farrell is The Mole working for Ira Gaines.
    • Season 2: Kim finds the dead body of Carla in the trunk of her car.
    • Season 3: The events of the first 7 hours is part of an elaborate sting operation.
    • Season 4: Tony Almeida returns.
    • Season 6: Phillip Bauer is involved in the terrorist plot.
    • Season 9: Steve Navarro is revealed to have framed Adam Morgan for selling secrets to the Chinese.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Averted. In Season 6, a suitcase nuke detonates, killing over 12,000 people, and it's horrifying, despite occurring immediately after the death of Curtis Manning. It's regularly referenced for the rest of the season, and the number of casualties keeps increasing.
  • Mnogo Nukes: The suitcase nukes of Season 6.
  • The Mole: At least three per season. The number of people in the US government, and especially CTU, who are actually working for terrorists/foreign powers is appalling.
    • In Season 7, the FBI is found to be riddled with them.
    • Back in full force in Season 8, though. Earlier on, Jack Bauer and the rest of the cast confront and arrest conspirators because they disobeyed presidential orders, even though they had a very good reason to do so; this is portrayed as a heinous crime that Jack frowns upon. Later, he does the same damn thing a few episodes later.
    • Season 9 reveals that the CIA is not immune to the phenomenon.
  • Morality Chain: Renee's death seems to have been one morality chain too far for Jack.
  • Motive Decay:
    • In Day 5, Vladimir Bierko goes from trying to force the Russians out of his homeland to trying to kill as many American civilians as he can.
    • In Day 8, Samir Mehran apparently does the same as Bierko when his plan to smuggle nuclear rods into the IRK fails. However, this is subverted when Samir's true plan is revealed: extorting Taylor into handing over Omar Hassan.
  • The Mountains Of Iowa: In season 4, a nuke is hidden in them.
  • The Movie: Put on hold because the TV series kept happening. Was announced to go into production in early 2012, but then was delayed due to concerns about script and budget. Little is known about it, other than that the real-time format will not be used, with the movie instead depicting the events of a full day in an approximately two hour period. Additionally, it may be the first in a planned trilogy.
  • Murder.com
  • Mutual Kill: In Season 9, Jordan Reed manages to put a few bullets into his assassin before bleeding out.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Discussed at the beginning of the fifth season. Chloe has a one-night stand with a man (which her dialogue seems to indicate is the first time she's ever done such a thing), and becomes paranoid that people may start to think she's been sleeping around.
  • Myth Arc: 1-3, 4-6, and Redemption 'til the end each make a loosely connected story through the seasons.
    • Season 7 attempts to bookend the conspiracy plots of Seasons 5 and 6 with its establishment of Alan Wilson as the man who implemented the deaths of David Palmer and Michelle.
  • Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy: A biiiigggggggg one.
  • Necessarily Evil: Sherry Palmer proved herself to be incredibly ruthless and cunning in the first three seasons, but she justifies her actions because she knows worse things could happen.
  • New Old Flame
  • New York City: the setting for Day 8.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Nice job disobeying orders and following Jack to Mexico so you can break the tracking device in his watch, Chase.
    • From the same season, nice job going into the hotel despite specific orders not to do so and not only failing to save the guests and staff at the hotel from the Cordilla virus, but also getting your own team killed as well, Michelle.
    • Nice job bringing in Charles Logan to advise Pres. Taylor on getting Russia to sign the peace treaty, Sec. Kanin.
    • For putting the CTU in trial and causing its disbandment, Mayer, who is one of the Senators of the government, was killed by Quinn in the end. Job well done, U.S. Government.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Nice job ordering Renee's murder, Suvarov. You were about to get away with everything until you decided to piss Jack Bauer off.
    • Nice job putting Jack into a position where he has to go into hiding rather than being taken prisoner and is thus free to later thwart the Sentox Gas conspiracy, Mr. Cummings.
    • Well done telling Jack that Kim had died so that he could kill the Drazens in a rage, thus exposing your guilt when he found out about the lie, Nina. If you had said nothing, Jack might've died in the final assault, or at the very least would have been none the wiser to your complicity. Not to mention it probably would have kept you from killing his wife, thus leading Jack to later fill you with lead years later in revenge.
    • Nice job blackmailing Boudreau, Stolnavich. You just gave Jack access to someone with all the information necessary to bring you down when you were inevitably implicated in the terrorist plot.
    • Nice job trying to murder your son, Navi Araz. Now both he and your wife have turned against you and agreed to help Jack stop the meltdowns.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted; one of the minor villains in the first season has a female lover, and has a male lover in the fourth. Unusual for both the few bisexuals on television and anyone on this show, she ends up getting away in the first and second seasons, and not only being taken alive in the fourth, but being granted immunity.
  • Nobody Poops: Despite all this taking place in real time, nobody ever goes to the bathroom. Though this may be because they don't seem to ever eat. Word of God says they once thought about coming back from a commercial break with Jack exiting a restroom, but they scrapped the idea on the theory that it would be unintentionally comical given they show's history of not showing such things.
    • They did show Chloe entering the bathroom in CTU — but only to do some surreptious hacking away from her boss (Chapelle). When confronted about what she was doing in there, she hilariously says she'd send him a memo.
  • No Party Given: David Palmer is explicitly identified as a Democrat in the first season. No other politicians are given explicit party identification, but these can be easily deduced from the known fact of Palmer's affiliation. The presidential administrations tend to include more prominent examples of hawkish Democrats and dovish Republicans than one would expect in Real Life.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Vladimir Bierko, who's played by Julian Sands, does not sound Russian at all. Maybe because the actor's British?
    • Jack tries to pose as Alexis Drazen in Season 1. He fails when the guy he's talking to notices his accent changed. (And when he notices that "Alexis" suddenly developed amnesia.)
  • Not My Driver: Jack pulls this on Ted Cofell.
  • Not My Lucky Day: Jack Bauer never has a good day on this show.
    • Inverted on Day 6. An Arabic civilian is denied access on a bus because the driver thought he was a terrorist (since the country had been bombed repeatedly by Muslim terrorists). About a minute later, a suicide bomber blows up the very same bus the civilian did not get on.
  • Not Named in Opening Credits: Dennis Hopper in season one, Sarah Clarke in season two and three - any time they want a surprise appearance, really.
    • A bizarre case is during the first half of the 2-Hour Finale to Season Six, where James Morrison is uncredited after being written out a few episodes earlier, but appears before the episode's credits even begin rolling.
    • In a non-surprise appearance example, Harris Yulin was uncredited throughout all of Season 2, as he personally wanted his name to be credited on its own and not share the space with any other actor's name. When this was denied for him, he then asked to not receive any credit for his appearances.
    • William Devane does not appear in the opening credits of Live Another Day 9x09 because the previous episode's cliffhanger showed him (supposedly) being blown to bits at Wembley Stadium. His name is the first to appear in the closing credits, though.
    • Averted in episode 10 of Live Another Day with Tzi Ma - his name is listed in the opening credits, albeit after the usual cast so it's possible that viewers (including this troper's whole family) missed it.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: Happens numerous times, but Teri is easily the embodiment of this trope.
  • Not So Different: Graem to Jack, "We're the same!".
    • Jack is kind of a magnet for these given his tendency to break the rules. Season 7 has two; first an organization that hires disaffected soldiers as mercs, then Hodges, who tries to say that both he and Jack are being punished by the government for serving their country.
    • Season 8 throws a couple of these too. A disillusioned Cole states that Jack and Pillar are nothing but the same, and even Pillar later tells Jack that he's as much a murderer as the ones he goes after.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Charles Logan. He plays at President Buffoon in order to maintain his President Evil cover.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • Navi Araz attempts this in Day 4.
    • Phillip Bauer kills his son Graem in Day 6.
    • Sergei Bazhaev kills his radiation-poisoned son in Day 8.
    • Margot Al-Harazi tries unsuccessfully to kill her daughter in Day 9.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Jack killing Mikhail Novakovich, along with most of Novakovich's guards, in Day 8. Only the bloody aftermath is shown.
  • Oh Crap:
    • In Day 8, when Charles Logan realizes who's coming for him, pretty much all he can do is let out a terrified "THAT'S JACK BAUER!!"
    • Jack himself does this in Day 4, when Chloe offers to talk after an incident with Audrey Raines. His reaction to the offer is one of pure horror.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Seen orchestrating the events of season five, and then again with a different council orchestrating the events of season seven.
  • Omniscient Database: CTU's new and improved for Season 8, which takes Chloe some effort to catch up with. At one point, based on a query for the name of a suspect and where in the UN building she may be, the system shows simultaneous scans for all of the building, resulting in an instantaneous match.
  • One Degree of Separation: Day 9 has an awful lot of unlikely connections happening in London.
    • Before the day's events take place, Jack and Chloe were both in London for different reasons (the former working for Karl Rask, the latter working with Open Cell). Even better, the two only meet up because Chloe happens to be affiliated with one of the season's minor villains.
    • The President is James Heller, who's in London with his daughter Audrey. True, Jack only involves himself in the story because Heller is President, but it's still a big coincidence that Jack, Chloe, and Heller/Audrey are all in London under different circumstances.
    • Another possible example is the business relationship between Karl Rask and Margot Al-Harazi; given that Jack didn't learn of Margot's involvement until the season's third episode, this association between his boss and the Big Bad seems very coincidental. A feasible explanation is that Jack was able to discover the terrorist threat because of his work with Rask, but if so, it's never stated.
    • Steve Navarro and Adrian Cross are in cahoots.
    • Cheng Zhi shows up as the season's final Big Bad, and later turns out to be working with Anatol Stolnavich, who also happens to be involved in the subplot regarding Jack's extradition to Russia.
  • Opening Narration: The majority of episodes in Season 1 began with Jack narrating the premise and ending with him saying "this is the longest day of my life".
  • Our Presidents Are Different: David Palmer was the first black President on a major TV programme. Some political commentators claimed after the 2008 election that Palmer's strong character (as written by Republicans, no less!) made a certain man from Hawai'i more acceptable and resulted in his election. Similarly, President Allison Taylor, portrayed by Cherry Jones, is the first female President of the United States.
    • So does this mean Palin in 2012 then?
  • Papa Wolf: Do NOT mess with Jack Bauer's daughter.
    • Tony Almeida, too. His recent turn to the dark side is really just a plan to get back at the bastard who killed his wife, who was pregnant with what would've been his first son at the time.
  • Percussive Maintenance: namechecked in 8x01.
  • Pet the Dog: Strangely enough, Sergei Bazhaev gets one after his Kick the Dog moment; after shooting his younger son, who was dying of radiation poisoning, Sergei calls in a priest and asks him to perform quick funeral rites and then have him buried "out back" instead of at a cemetery. When the priest protests, saying it's "not right", Sergei remains adamant on the point, and says, "You just make it right. Say all the prayers. Where I end up, I don't care. But this boy is with the angels."
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: Jack, in spades.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Milo (season one), Edgar, Chloe.
  • CTU is useless: Anyone not named Jack Bauer or Chloe O'Brian is at best a Mauve Shirt, and at worst Too Dumb to Live.
  • Police Brutality: Jack ends up on the receiving end when mistaken for a cop killer.
  • The Power of Friendship: Believe it or not, this is what ultimately turns Jack Bauer back from the dark side in the day 8 finale and prevents him from assassinating the Russian president, Yuri Suvarov. When Chloe O'Brian comes for him to try to talk him down, he asks her why she came and she replies that she had to, as she's his friend.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Charles Logan scolded both Christopher Henderson for killing David Palmer and later Suvarov for killing Renee Walker, since both of these actions led to Jack Bauer thwarting Logan's plans .
  • Precision F-Strike: In the Day 4 prequel, after Erin Driscoll has just fired Jack Bauer.
    Erin: I've made several calls, I can help you get a position.
    Jack: I can find my own fucking job, Erin, thank you.
  • President Evil: Here's a hint, it's not David Palmer.
    • Charles Logan does this in Day 5 and seemingly does a Heel-Face Turn in Day 6. However, once Day 8 rolls around, it becomes obvious that it was a ploy to get his pardon, as he is back to his old tricks.
    • Allison Taylor started to go down this route in Day 8 before she had her What Have I Done moment near the end and resigns. Of course, Logan had a hand in this.
    • Russian President Yuri Suvarov is revealed to be behind the murders of President Hassan and Renee Walker. This may lead to debate on if he was actually involved in the events of Day 5 and 6 as well, since those seasons had Russian terrorists. It should also come as no surprise that the man is also a good friend of Logan.
      • They weren't Russians; they were Russian separatists. And their entire plan was to assassinate him, and when that failed, terrorise the United States into letting them assassinate him. So it's rather unlikely he was behind them, given that this would mean he was masterminding his own murder.
  • Previously On: Almost every episode starts with one, due to the show's extremely serialized nature.
  • Product Placement: What phone Jack uses, what car he drives, and even the laptop he has is usually determined by whoever paid the most money that season.
    • 24 loves its Ford cars and Palm phones.
      • Day 1 had Nokia phones and Palm PD As.
    • Whenever a news broadcast is seen on the show, it's usually either Fox News or a fictional network that's not Fox News but may be vaguely reminiscent of CNN or Al Jezeera.
    • In season 7 and 8, we find the Hyundai Genesis has a nice infotainment system and backup camera.
      • Season 4 had the terrorists use Alienware computers. The bright and glowing logo was this trope.
    • Live Another Day features the 2015 Chrysler 200. Particularly notable since the action takes place in London, and the 200 isn't even sold in the UK.
  • Proper Lady: Dina Araz from season 4.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: Chase Edmunds; he gets his hand cut off, and when Kim shows up in Season 5, it's heavily implied he turned into a bit of a Jerkass not long after Jack's faked death caused them to split up. Chase was also last mentioned as living in Valencia, which got nuked in Season 6, so he possibly got a Bus Crash on top of all that.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Are there any victories on this show that don't have some element of this? But special mention should go to Day 3, because it's the plan set in motion by Jack, Tony, and Agent Gael Ortega that exacts a terrible price from each of them before they accomplish what they set out to do. It's kind of the point of the series, if you think about it.
    • Season One: The most famous example, which defined Jack Bauer and the series from that point on. Jack saved President Palmer and rescued his daughter from Victor Drazen and his henchmen, but at the cost of his wife.
    • Season Two: An aversion on Jack's part, since he was able to reconcile with his daughter by the season's end. Though this trope applies to George Mason, Kate Warner, and David Palmer. Their combined help prevented the nuke attack, but Mason eventually succumbed to exposure from radiation poisoning he received in hour 3 (but at least he redeemed himself by flying the nuke away from L.A.), Kate Warner found out that her sister Marie killed her fiance and collaborated with the terrorists, and Palmer nearly died by a nerve agent, courtesy of Mandy.
    • Season Three: As stated above, Jack, Gael, and Tony Almeida all worked together in an undercover mission with the Salazars to prevent the Cordilla virus from being released to the general population. The gambit doesn't entirely work, since the virus struck an L.A. plaza, and killed Gael in the process. Tony committed treason to save his wife Michelle from Saunders. Saunders was eventually captured, but Tony faces a possible 20-year sentence for collaborating with him. As for Jack... despite the mission ultimately succeeding, he was brought to tears for everything he did that day, which included being responsible for the deaths of some prison guards during the jail breakout, Claudia's death, and most shockingly, submitting to Saunders's demands and shooting his boss in the head to buy CTU time to apprehend Saunders.
    • Season Four: Jack prevented Marwan's plans from coming to fruition, but in the process, he captured a Chinese consulate in a sting operation to get information to stop Marwan. This wound up killing one Chinese representative in friendly fire, Jack let Audrey's ex-husband Paul die on an operating table to save the aforementioned consulate, who also got wounded from friendly fire, and the resulting operation forced Jack to fake his death and flee the country. The worst part is that this could have been prevented if Charles Logan let Jack go through with the original, though illegal, operation to capture Marwan the first time. All the more ironic, considering what happened next season.
    • Season Five: Congratulations Jack! You saved L.A. from another nerve gas attack and exposed President Logan as the traitorous bastard he really is! Too bad your daughter hates you again, David Palmer, Michelle Dessler, and Tony Almeida are all dead, your old mentor tried to kill you, and the Chinese captured you as payback for your season four misdeeds.
    • Season Six: Jack stopped both Fayed's plans and the Chinese's plans, but his brother and father both died, trying to kill him, and despite getting Audrey back, she became catatonic from getting tortured by the Chinese. The fact that Audrey's father, Secretary Heller, gave Jack a "The Reason You Suck" Speech when Audrey lost her mind didn't help at all. No wonder Jack was pissed at him by day's end.
    • 24: Redemption: Jack was able to save a group of high-risk children from Songalian terrorists (read: Africans), but his old army buddy Carl Benton sacrificed himself and Jack ended up having to be brought to trial for his actions throughout the series.
    • Season Seven: This applies more to Tony than Jack when it comes to stopping the terrorists. Tony at least managed to get Alan Wilson to appear, but his plan to kill Alan Wilson failed. This wouldn't be so bad if Tony didn't betray the FBI in the process by killing the D.C.'s FBI department's boss, set up an explosive death trap for an entire S.W.A.T. team, and try to kill both Alan Wilson AND Jack by strapping a bomb to Jack's body. Moral Event Horizon to the extreme, and it would've been all for nothing, had the FBI not apprehended Alan Wilson. Jack, on the other hand, fared much better. Despite getting infected by a nerve agent that put him into a coma and nearly killed him, Jack reconciled with his daughter, and was more or less able to move past his many sins, thanks to an Islamic mosque leader. If it wasn't for season eight, Jack would've been completely at peace for what he's done.
    • Season Eight: The grand daddy of Jack Bauer Pyrrhic Victories. Jack loses Renee to a Russian sniper, he crossed many moral and personal boundaries to prove President Taylor's covering up the Russian involvement of Omar Hassan's death, and because of that, he can't contact Kim or his granddaughter again because he's on the run from both Russia AND the United States. Furthermore, the peace treaty never got signed, and even if it did, the signing would've caused never-ending animosity between the United States and Kamistan (24's Pakistan Expy). No matter what Jack did, this ensured the terrorists' victory. Along with that, Suvarov got away with everything he did, despite his followers winding up dead. It's almost a misnomer to call this a victory .
    • Season Nine (Live Another Day): On the bright side, Jack prevented China and the U.S. from going to war. On the down side... oh boy, where to start? Audrey is dead, Heller's Alzheimer's Disease is getting worse due to the stress of his daughter's death and he grimly notes that soon he'll forget he even had a daughter, and Mark is facing life imprisonment for his actions and is shattered upon discovering that everything he did in his misguided attempt to protect his wife has now all been for nothing. Kate blames herself for failing to keep Audrey alive and resigns from the CIA. Jack, worn out and exhausted after everything that's happened willingly turns himself in to the Russian Government in exchange for Chloe, who now has to deal with survivors guilt what with Jack sacrificing himself for her, and need we remind you her family is still dead so she doesn't really have anything left back home to go back to. And if we're counting main characters who were removed from play right before the finale, both Adrian and Jordan are also dead and Navarro is facing execution for being a traitor. The only one who doesn't end up in a worse position than when things started is Erik Ritter.
  • Qurac: The Islamic Republic of Kamistan in day 8. Previous Middle Eastern terrorists simply didn't have their country of origin revealed.
  • Rabid Cop: Jack Bauer, although he is - all together now — "A FEDERAL AGENT!".
  • Random Events Plot: Season 4. Oh, dear God, season 4. Try to keep up: The terrorists derail a train to steal a briefcase, then abduct the Secretary of Defense and plan to execute him live on the internet, but it's really a Trojan Horse to get viral programming code to spread across the web and use the mysterious briefcase to override every nuclear power plant in the US and cause them to melt down. Once that's averted, it's revealed the defense contractor that built the Override may be complicit in the day's events and hire mercenaries to kill Jack Bauer, who's investigating them. So far, fairly coherent. Then things go awry. The defense contractor subplot is dropped as quickly as it's introduced in favor of a series of increasingly ludicrous and convoluted terror attacks. It turns out the nuclear power plant meltdowns were just to keep Air Force 1 in the air so a mercenary can steal a jet fighter and shoot it down. Not content with murdering the leader of the free world, that turns out to be a play for recovering the nuclear football from the crash site, which terrorist leader Habib Marwan then uses to locate a nuclear warhead in transit in the mountains of Iowa, which he then installs in a missile assembled in someone's garage, and then uses to try and nuke Los Angeles. Which would have happened anyway if he'd succeeded in melting down every nuclear power plant. And all the while, Marwan evades capture from CTU no less than four times. And this plot isn't even the focus! Mostly it's happening in the background while CTU bickers like children and are preoccupied with out-of-nowhere subplots like the legal crisis over mercenary Joe Prado, the sudden return of recurring baddie Mandy, or Jack Bauer's raid on the Chinese Consulate. Whew. Are you exhausted yet?
  • Rasputinian Death: Janet York. She gets drugged, has her arm broken, gets drugged again, gets run over by a car, and is carelessly left in the middle of the street for at least a half-hour before an ambulance finally arrives. And when she's in surgery, she nearly flatlines. It isn't until a man impersonating her father mercilessly suffocates her in her hospital bed that she finally dies.
  • Rated M for Manly
  • Rats In A Box: In season 2, CTU agents put Bob Warner and Reza Nayieer in a room together in order to determine who transferred the funds to Syed Ali. Reza cracks and offers to show the CTU agents how the funds were transferred, but they find out that Reza's fiancé Marie — the last person CTU or the audience would suspect — transferred the funds, and she kills Reza and the agents investigating the funds.
  • Real Time: "The following takes place between 3AM and 4AM."
    • The first few episodes of Season 1 and the first episode of Season 2 outright state that "events occur in Real Time."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: David Palmer, Wayne Palmer, George Mason (eventually), Bill Buchanan, Karen Hayes, Allison Taylor, Omar Hassan, and Brian Hastings... after a few verbal bitch-slaps from Chloe. Larry was well on his way to this when he was killed, and even early on was somewhat more sympathetic than many CTU/FBI Directors of past seasons.
    • Strangely enough, many of the terrorist masterminds in the show are also this. Instead of executing their subordinates at the first sign of protesting against their actions, most terrorist leaders stop to think things through when their subordinates remind them of the bigger picture. Abu Fayed decides not to hunt down Jack Bauer in revenge for killing his brother when his subordinate reminds him that they have plans beyond just a single man, and Samir Mehran doesn't try to boost his ego when his subordinate informs them that Omar Hassan isn't going to break under torture to deliver a falsified confession as they wanted, and simply decides to execute him. Ivan Erwick does come close to killing one of his subordinates for speaking out, but he did have a very good point.
  • Red Herring Twist: Teri Bauer's season one amnesia, Palmer's attempted assassination in season two.
  • Redemption Equals Death: There are some terrorists who are convinced that what they're doing (or did) was wrong and try to help Jack or CTU to make up for it (or do it to get immunity). It usually doesn't end well, especially with Dina Araz.
    • Along with terrorists are the Jerkasses who manage to make up for their actions, the most heroic of cases being Ryan Chappelle.
    • Jack just barely manages to avert the latter part of this trope in the series finale. After coming back to his senses, he realizes that the masterminds behind the Hassan murder coverup will arrest Chloe if they know they're consorting together, so he forces her to shoot him and allows himself to be taken into custody, even though it's clear they'll eliminate him immediately. Fortunately, Allison Taylor managed to have a change of heart, and working with Chloe, Cole, and Arlo, save him just seconds before he's executed.
  • Red Shirt: As stated on the page for this trope, "Any CTU field agent who isn't Jack Bauer or the season's Colonel Makepeace is a red shirt."
    • The security guards literally wear red shirts.
    • Civilians who are forced either by the villains or Jack Bauer to cooperate with them are EXTREMELY likely not to live for long. If either of those gives anyone their word, that person's dead.
  • Refusal of the Call: Jack in seasons two and eight.
  • Retcon: The show seems to keep changing its mind as to who was responsible for the deaths of David Palmer and Michelle Dessler. In Season 5, Christopher Henderson claims responsibility. Then in Season 6, Graem Bauer claims it was his idea (though he may have been making it up to unsettle Jack). And in Season 7, it suddenly becomes Alan Wilson who was responsible for the deaths.
    • Technically, Christopher Henderson was The Dragon to Charles Logan and his co-conspirators, playing a role in organizing David Palmer's and Michelle Dessler's deaths. A sniper named Haas was the one who shot Palmer; it is unknown who planted the car bomb that killed Michelle. Logan worked with Graem, as shown in Seasons 5 and 6, and it is implied he is working with others with a lot of power. This is then shown in Redemption and Season 7, with Private Military Companies being involved, and finally, Alan Wilson being revealed as one of the leaders of the overall conspiracy. Almost all the characters involved have various reasons for their involvement. If you watch Seasons 5 and 6, as well as Redemption and Season 7, and treat it as a Story Arc, you can see this (convoluted) plot play out. Additionally, Season 4 can be seen as having prequel elements to this whole Story Arc, since the events of Season 4 lead to Logan coming into power, allowing the whole arc to play out.
  • Retired Badass: Jack tells someone in the Day 8 trailer that he's now retired. Of course, this being 24, you just know he's going to have to get involved one way or another.
  • Re Tool: season 7 - CTU has been dismantled after a government probe into torture committed by Jack and others, the main action takes place on the East Coast, and Tony Almeida is now the Big Bad (for the first few episodes at least... and then again sort of later).
    • Supposedly, they tried this with Season 4 too, by dismissing every character from the show except three (Jack, Chloe, and the new president). However, it didn't work — especially since a large majority of the popular characters came back as guest stars.
    • Seems like they'd be shut down for only having precisely one consistently competent person in the whole place.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • In Season 1, the Drazens carry this out against Jack and Palmer, because they were responsible for killing their family. And then, in the finale, Jack does it against them after being lied to about how they killed his family. (Guess who wins.)
    • Tony's whole motivation in season 7.
    • Jack's back at it again in Day 8 after Renee's death.
    • Jack goes at it again after Audrey's death in Day 9, slaughtering Cheng Zhi's men and then decapitating Cheng.
  • Rule of Three: The series' first three seasons were set up as loosely connected acts with a Myth Arc (mostly around the character of Nina and her relation to Jack). Seasons 4 through 6 also have a myth arc of powerful men pulling strings inside the US Government (some of which return in season 7) and Jack's conflicts with the Chinese Government. Redemption, 7, and 8 deal with the Presidency of Allison Taylor. Three myth arcs of three. Each Season also has 3 acts, which change according to who the villains are, what their plan is, and what CTU's investigation is.
    • Throughout all 8 seasons, there were in total three moments where a character who was a part of the current main cast was killed by a character that was also another current member of the main cast. These notably tied in with either the revelation that their murderer was really Evil All Along or that s/he was undergoing a Face-Heel Turn.
  • Running Time in the Title
  • Russians with Rusting Rockets: In season 5, the terrorists try to launch non-nuclear missiles from a Russian submarine.

    The following takes place between S and Y 
  • Sacrificial Lion: There’s at least one per season.
    • Season 1: Teri Bauer.
    • Season 2: George Mason.
    • Season 3: Gael Ortega and Ryan Chappelle. Nina Myers and Sherry Palmer serve as villainous examples.
    • Season 4: Paul Raines.
    • Season 5: Exaggerated. David Palmer and Michelle Dessler are both killed in the first episode before the first commercial break. Later on, Edgar Stiles, Lynn McGill, and Tony Almeida get killed (although Tony came Back from the Dead).
    • Season 6: Curtis Manning, Hamri Al-Assad, and Milo Pressman.
    • Redemption: Carl Benton.
    • Season 7: Bill Buchanan and Larry Moss.
    • Season 8: President Omar Hassan and Renee Walker, with Dana Walsh in a rare villainous case.
    • Season 9: Jordan Reed and Audrey Boudreau.
  • Save the Villain: Played with in several seasons, but almost never done straight, since it's usually for pragmatic reasons instead of idealistic ones. Examples include Habib Marwan in Day 4 and Simone Al-Harazi in Day 9.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: In season 8, a young CTU agent named Owen runs out into the middle of a firefight to rescue a wounded CTU agent. As he dragged the man back to safety, both of them are shot. Fatally. Which sucks, because Owen wouldn't have sacrificed himself if the other agent wasn't stupid. However, Jack lies to Owen and says he saved him, so at least he died believing he performed a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Serial Escalation: A staple of 24 storytelling. Best encapsulated by the 200th episode of the show (Live Another Day, 6-7 PM), in which the show does something Word of God claims they were never allowed to before: kill a sitting President. (Don't worry, he actually survives.) (It's also the first season to have a genuinely crooked Head of Station; previous CTU / FBI leaders may have been Obstructive Bureaucrats, but their integrity has been impeccable.)
  • Series Fauxnale: Day 4.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: some storylines end in a very depressing note. Of particular interest are: saving Teri Bauer in Day 1 (and Kim Bauer surviving instead made the situation worse for some fans); saving Ryan Chappelle in Day 3; and saving President Omar Hassan in Day 8.
    • And in Day 8, literally one hour AFTER what was mentioned in the spoiler above, Renee gets killed by a sniper bullet, after screwing Jack Bauer.
    • Day 5 set about making sure that Tony's entire character arc in Day 4 was ultimately a moot point.
    • In the finale of Day 9, Kate saves Audrey from a sniper, only for her to be hit by a second gunman minutes later, and a pardoned Jack ends up surrendering himself to the Russians to save Chloe.
  • Shout-Out: As mentioned before, we've got Star Trek alumni on the production staff now. In season 7, two suggestions to replace departing members of Taylor's administration were Rick Berman and Bob Justman, who were also longtime Trek staff.
    • In an episode of Season 1, Milo gives his computer password as "foothill94022", a reference to a community college where Michael Loceff, the episode's writer, teaches online classes.
    • Season 8 has an assassin named Davros. Of course, he's not nearly as effective as his namesake — but then, he fucked with Jack Bauer.
      • Not to mention the CTU agent literally named Tom Baker.
    • Jack breaking out a pair of pliers and a blowtorch to use on Pavel seemed to be a reference to Pulp Fiction.
    • In a reverse shout-out, the Department of Homeland Security launched a surveillance technology development program aimed at protecting airliners from terrorist missiles. It's called "Project CHLOE", because the then-Director of DHS is a fan of 24.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Jack, to Renee.
  • Significant Monogram: Do Jack Bauer's initials remind you of anybody?
  • Silent Credits: the famous beeping clock at the end of an episode (and twice before an Act Break) is silenced for scenes of emotional impact where the clock would ruin it, and ambient noise plays instead (for example, for Ryan Chappelle's death, a train in the background). Only one instance (Edgar's death) has had the credits completely silent. May also be the Trope Codifier.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Averted with Renee and Jack. After she slaps him twice, she breaks down crying in his arms. Word of God is that originally they were going to kiss, but it never came out right; and was ultimately dismissed as being too clichéd.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: Each season is a continuous real-time story arc.
  • Smug Snake: Many, many villains on this show, but Nina Myers is one of the best. Her actions after her reveal up until her final episode make her a great enemy of CTU. All the more satisfying when Jack wipes that smug look off her face.
  • Soft Glass: Averted and played straight throughout the series. In Season 1, Jack picks up a blunt object off the ground in order to break a van's window and strikes it. It isn't until the third strike that the window breaks. Yet in Season 7, Jack manages to jump through the glass frame of a door and receive only a small gash on his hand.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Possibly the most gratuitous use of the trope in a live-action drama this side of Buffy, with repeated use of The Man Behind the Man and climbing up the Sliding Scale of Villain Threat combining to make for more urgent threats with every passing season.
  • Split Screen
  • Spoiler Opening: Usually averted when a former cast member is going to make a surprise return, but the season five opener had Carlos Bernard (Tony Almeida) returning to the main cast and Reiko Aylesworth (Michelle Dessler) still listed as a guest star. Seeing as how at the end of season four, Tony and Michelle had left CTU to settle down and start a family, seeing only one of them returning to the main cast is a big hint that Michelle doesn't survive the episode. The irony is that Carlos Bernard only appears in six of the 24 episodes in the season and is only awake in four of them (at one point, Jack is falsely told that Tony has woken up, leading to an appearance, and then he appears as a corpse in the episode immediately after he dies), so the return to the main cast is actually rather unwarranted.
    • Also done in the case of the second season: Penny Johnson Jerald (Sherry Palmer) had been missing from several episodes and then returned late in the season during one episode as a surprise cliffhanger. The only problem was that she'd been listed during the opening credits, thus ruining the surprise. Notably, a few other rare times, the series would intentionally omit a main cast member to avert this trope.
    • Season six is guilty of this as well with Cheng Zhi (Tzi Ma) and Phillip Bauer (James Cromwell) having last-minute "surprise" reappearances in two respective episodes, both of which are ruined by listing the actors during the opening credits. In an interesting aversion of the trope, the season's 23rd episode omits James Morrison from the opening credits, despite Bill's return happening before the first commercial break.
    • Live Another Day also has Tzi Ma's name credited at the beginning of its tenth episode, ruining Cheng Zhi's surprise reappearance as the Big Bad over half an hour before he actually shows up.
  • Stairs Are Faster: Jack Bauer proves this trope when he outruns Ted Cofell's elevator, beating him to his limo. Justified since Jack bought himself time by pulling the fire alarm, stopping the elevator for about half a minute.
  • Starter Villain:
    • Joseph Wald in Season 2. CTU spends the first few episodes hunting him down while he orchestrates an attack on their headquarters.
    • Conrad Haas only appears in the first episode of Season 5, but during that episode, he manages to assassinate David Palmer and frame Jack Bauer, among other heinous acts.
    • Davros, who spends the first few episodes of Season 8 slowly carrying out his plot to assassinate Omar Hassan.
  • Static Character: In Season 8, Arlo Glass seems to fit this trope. Throughout the entire season, we hardly get to know him, and his interaction in the plot hardly ever exceeds analyzing the monitors at CTU. Despite this, he appeared in EVERY EPISODE of the season, the only character to do so besides Jack (The Hero), Cole (the Big Guy/Lancer), and Chloe (The Smart Guy and Jack's True Companion).
  • Stealth Pun: In euchre, the trump jack (considered the highest trump) and the jack of the same color (considered the second highest trump) are called bowers.
  • Stranger Behind the Mask: Starting around season five, the show set up a huge conspiracy with who was behind the events that carried over for that day, and partly leaked over to season six as well. Come the second half (and especially the last third) of season seven, the conspiracy is played out once again, and assumed to be reaching its endgame, come the season seven finale. Finally, the viewers watch rogue agent Tony Almeida get to The Man Behind the Man, and made some rather nasty decisions to reach him. So when we see the guy, it's... Alan Wilson, someone the viewers never spotted at any point or have any connection to, whatsoever. What made this twist even more jarring is that during this very season, the writers introduced Jonas Hodges, a much more engaging and charismatic villain who could've been a worthy choice to be the conspiracy leader. But instead, we have this.
  • Stock Phrase: "I give you my word." -Jack Bauer ALL THE TIME. Usually, his word is golden. Except if a certain German agent is involved.
  • Story Arc: Each season is essentially one complex story, generally split into two parts.
    • There are also elements in each season that affect the following seasons.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Renee Walker was sniped in Jack's apartment minutes after having sex with the guy.
    • Michelle Dessler for Tony.
  • Stupid Boss: Just about every season brings in an incompetent boss figure at CTU (or the FBI in Day 7). With the sole exception of Bill Buchanan, pretty much all of them have fit this mold (and often with shades of Obstructive Bureaucrat or the Tyrant Takes the Helm).
    • George Mason and Ryan Chappelle do get better as they go along in Season 2 and 3, respectively.
    • Same goes for Senator Blaine Mayer, who, after seeming like he's about to change from Bauer's greatest political enemy to his most powerful ally, gets killed by an assassin seconds later.
    • And Larry Moss from Season Seven, who got killed off just as he was starting to get the hang of working with Jack.
    • Lynn McGill seemed to have his turnaround extremely quickly (when he recognized Jack's outdated duress code), only for his pride to get nearly half of CTU killed.
  • Super Cell Reception: Cell phones can do anything. Anything. This is subverted for humor in a parody video that claimed to be the "lost pilot" of 24 from 1994:
    Jack: Chloe, can you send the schematic to my cell phone?
    Chloe: ... No.
  • Taking You with Me: Most suicide terrorists suffer from this.
    • Subverted many times, though, especially in Season 5 with Anton Beresch's men; the only casualties are the terrorists themselves. Also see Land Mine Goes Click.
    • Unfortunately, this was subverted again, because one of the Mooks survived the mine explosion and later wound up becoming The Dragon during Season 7.
    • Jack attempts this once in both seasons 6 and 7. In season 6, he attempts to make a trade with Cheng Zhi in a room that he's secretly rigged with explosives and plans on activating as soon as the trade is finished even though it would kill the both of them, but the arrival of a CTU team ruins this and allows Cheng to escape. In season 7, after Juma takes the White House hostage, Jack attempts to ignite a gas tank that will kill some of the soldiers as well in addition to being enough of a distraction to make Juma drop his guard. Bill winds up doing this instead.
  • Talking Heads
  • Team Dad: Bill Buchanan.
  • Techno Babble: So much, especially from Chloe O'Brian.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • "You won't take the shot, it's too risky!"
    • "I didn't think the president had the balls to go through with the agreement."
    • The quote "Today is going to be the longest day of my life" originates from Jack's introduction of the show's first season. Seven seasons later...
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: done at a nation-wide scale during Season 7 to apprehend all the members of Juma's conspiracy, who had infiltrated pretty much every level of government administration and the Congress.
  • That's an Order: Jack to NYPD Sergeant Amis in Season 8. Amis didn't listen and got killed along with his team.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • Jack kills Drazen by shooting him TWELVE TIMES!
    • Renee stabbing Vladimir Laitanan fifteen times also qualifies.
    • Jack stabbing Mikhail Novakovich with a fireplace poker after already shooting him in the head. Along with how he disemboweled Pavel Tokarev in the previous episode.
    • President James Heller is (apparently) killed with a direct hit by an anti-armor AGM-114 Hellfire missile. He, however, was taken to safety Just in Time.
  • They Do: Tony and Michelle, Jack and Renee.
  • Time Bomb: Constant.
    • In the second season, it was determined that a suspect was lying because she claimed that she saw one of these with a big visible timer in a truck in the city, and a real bomb of that particular size would never look like that. The real bomb turns out to be very close by.
  • Time for Plan B: Andre Drazen in Day 1.
    "I appreciate the offer, Kevin, but as you Americans so often say... Plan B is already in effect."
  • Time Skip: The conceit of each season of the series representing one full 24-hour day would necessitate a Time Skip of about a year each time. It's actually quite a bit more, with season 1 covering David Palmer's election as president and 24: Redemption, the made-for-TV movie preceding season 7, taking place on inauguration day when Allison Taylor takes office... twelve years later. A timeline of the presidency can be found here; a full timeline can be found here.
  • Too Dumb to Live: So, so, so many secondary characters. Most of them last about two or three episodes before effectively committing suicide by stupidity.
    • An especially glaring example is Consul Koo Yin. If there's anything to be learned from his untimely passing, it's probably that you shouldn't stroll in front of a bunch of guards who are busy shooting at something.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Quite a few people.
    • Almost any time Jack teams up with a random mook or civilian, that person will instantly jump up several levels in badass, as if it's caused by sheer physical proximity. For example, on Day 4, attorney Paul Raines and two teenage store clerks, under Jack's command, manage to hold off an elite, well-trained, and far better-armed commando unit.
    • Henry Taylor single-handedly not only found out his son truly didn't kill himself, but who his murderer was. Even after he was poisoned with a drug that paralyzed him from the neck down, he managed to fight off the toxin and strangle his son's killer to death with his bare hands.
  • Torture Always Works: Trope exemplar.
    • Finally subverted in season 8, where Jack spends the entire final act of the episode torturing an agent, only to realize that the agent Took A Third Option which will require a different response.
    • Even more notable is how the torture here is far more brutal than usual, even by Jack's standards, and yet the guy doesn't break.
    • The actual aversion is when Jack is tortured for years by the Chinese without giving them anything for their trouble.
    • It did get subverted as far back as Day 4, however — two innocent people (Agent Sarah Gavin and Heller's son) were tortured needlessly because they were either wrongly accused or truly had no idea what was going on. In both cases, actual physical evidence ended up saving the day.
      • Actually three — Jack tortured one Paul Raines because he wrongly suspected that he was working with the terrorists (he actually did help them, but he had no idea they were terrorists and was innocent of any actual wrongdoing; all he did was sign a lease on a building for what he thought was a legitimate business). Which was pretty bad for Jack, given Paul was the ex-husband of his then-girlfriend Audrey Raines and Jack tortured him right in front of her, putting a pretty serious dent in his and Audrey's relationship in the process.
    • Ditto for Audrey Raines in Day 5, only there wasn't any physical evidence this time.
    • Averted in Live Another Day. CIA agent Kate Morgan, undercover as a CIA agent with a different mission, immediately spills everything about the fake mission while hiding what they're really up to. Other characters have been tortured without admitting anything. The only time torture achieves something, Naveed's wife is tortured to force him to comply with the terrorists' demands.
  • Torture First, Ask Questions Later: Jack's interrogation technique sometimes doesn't actually allow for the victim to answer.
  • Torture Technician: Starting with Season 3 (at the latest), CTU has one on hand whenever they need to interrogate a suspect.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Theresa in Season 3 dooms the people who were infected with the Cordilla virus by impulsively killing Saunders, the only person who knows about the cure of said virus.
  • Tragic Hero: Loads, man.
  • Treasure Chest Cavity: A computer chip surgically hidden.
  • Tuckerization: The creators of the show held an eBay auction for fans who wanted their name in the show. The winner's name was given to Lou Diamond Phillips' prison-warden character. Who, of course, was killed. Bet the fan loved seeing that.
  • Twenty Fifth Amendment: Seasons 2, 4, and 6.
    • Implied to be the case with Season 8 as well.
    • What's further tragic about Season 6 (or amusing, depending on how you look at it), is that Noah Daniels takes over for Wayne Palmer and apparently holds office for the rest of his term, when it's established that Palmer had only been President for roughly three or four months. This means that Daniels essentially served an entire term as a replacement President.
    • And again in Live Another Day with Heller's resignation due to his Alzheimer's diagnosis.
  • Twenty-Four Minutes into the Future: Goes a long way in explaining the almost magical efficacy and efficiency of the technology used on the series.
    • Though the show's production team have never given out an official timeline (in an attempt to maintain a consistent "present-day" sense with each season), it's commonly-accepted Fanon that the entire series spans from 2002 to 2016. Given that the series ran from 2001 to 2010, this trope actually does apply.
    • This would put Live Another Day roughly around the time of 2020-2021.
  • Twist Ending: Five of the eight seasons.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Subverted a few times through the years.
    • Day 3 has the virus being released at the hotel, and later Ryan Chappelle being executed.
    • In Day 8, Samir Mehran follows through on his plan to assassinate Omar Hassan.
    • Double subverted in Live Another Day: James Heller decides to surrender himself and let Margot Al-Harazi kill him, and that's exactly what happens...until the very next episode reveals he was able to fake his death at the last minute.
  • Unstoppable Rage:
    • Jack goes on one at the end of season one when Nina lies to him about Kim dying.
    • And again in season 8 after Renee's death, resulting in him taking on Implacable Man status.
  • Unwanted Harem: Dana Walsh, in a gender-flip of the trope: not only a fiancé, but an ex-boyfriend bugging her and a coworker sniffing around her heels. (Of course, she is Starbuck, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised.)
  • Vapor Wear: Kim, but also Nina in a sexy back scene in season 2.
  • Villain Decay: In Season 5, we find out that Mr. Bluetooth and a small organization of men are really behind the colossal conspiracy that took place that day. He even got away with it all. So when Season 6 came along and it was revealed that Mr. Bluetooth was really Graem Bauer, a weasly Smug Snake with family issues, it didn't please too many fans.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • At the end of Day 7, Tony Almeida goes into an enraged rant as he is arrested.
    • In Day 8, Sergei Bazhaev gives a more subtle example as he weeps in front of Jack.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Day 8. Logan and Suvarov.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Various analysts, most notably Chloe O'Brian, at CTU providing Jack with information while on a mission.
  • Vorpal Pillow: John Quinn uses this on an elderly hospital patient to create a diversion.
  • Walking the Earth: What Jack does at the end of season 4, and again at the end of season 6 — which actually closes with a bit of the piano theme from The Incredible Hulk.
  • Wall Jump: Jack does this in the final episode of Season 2 when fighting Peter Kingsley's goons in the L.A. Coliseum. This breaks the goon's arm.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The true reason for the events of days 2, 5, and 6.
  • Waving Signs Around: On Live Another Day, there are a number of people in a crowd in Britain protesting a drone program by President Heller with signs saying things like "No more drones" while chanting similar slogans.
  • Weapons Understudies: The Russian sub is played by an American one.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist
    • The season 7 finale reveals Tony to be one.
    • Renee's thumb-chopping in Season 8 shows her to have become this. Even Jack is shocked.
    • Rob Weiss and General Bruckner commit treason against the U.S. by turning Omar Hassan over to the terrorists in order to get them to disable a bomb that will otherwise be detonated in New York.
    • President Taylor has become this, as her absolute determination to get the peace deal realized makes her cover up evidence of the Russians' role behind the day's events, and authorizing torture on Dana Walsh, even though she could simply write an immunity deal for her.
    • Aaaaaaaand it now comes full circle to Jack Bauer in season 8. He spent the final quarter of the season on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, resulting in the near-assassination of Russian President Suvarov. Fortunately, he came to his senses at Chloe's pleading, before instigating World War Three.
  • Western Terrorists: Stephen Saunders' organization appears to consist mostly of British people. At least, its leadership does.
    • Live Another Day has Londoners involved in its plot — appropriately, since it takes place in London.
  • Wham Episode: Scattered across the series, but season 5 undoubtedly has the highest concentration of them.
    • It's pretty safe to assume at this point in time - nearly 14 years in-show - that Jack hasn't recovered from the Day 1 finale
    • The fourth episode of Season 6 is notable for the terrorists actually detonating a nuclear weapon in a populated area.
  • Wham Line: Almost every episode ends with one.
  • "What Now?" Ending: seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Happened quite often, as characters would be introduced in semi-important roles only to vanish without explanation. After Season 4, this was often referred to as being "Behroozed".
    • The writers made a bad habit of this since season four. Behrooz's disappearance started the trend, but no example was as egregious as the President of the United States in season 4 after Air Force One got shot down in the middle of the season. His status was left up in the air, but since Charles Logan replaced him in season 5, he's either dead or incapacitated. Frustratingly enough, this happened again with season 6's POTUS Wayne Palmer after he unsafely gets pulled out of a coma, only to collapse hours later, and get replaced by VP Daniels. After season 6's brief subplot with the Logan clan, both Charles and Martha Logan's statuses were left in the air. Logan nearly died from getting stabbed, but returned in season 8 while Martha was alluded to have attempted or committed suicide, but her fate was still left hanging. It seems as if the writers prefer to leave characters out of commission without quite declaring them dead, so they can be brought back at anytime, but the ambiguity got irritating after a while.
    • And yet again with Simone Al-Harazi in Day 9.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: So many examples that it could just as well have its own page of them. Probably the greatest example comes in the series finale where Jack's Roaring Rampage of Revenge reaches the point of nearly starting WW 3 until Chloe successfully talks him down at the last minute.
  • What Might Have Been: One of the various screenplays written for a film adaptation was Die Hard 24/7, which would have united Jack Bauer and John McClane. It was shot down because Kiefer Sutherland didn't want to share the spotlight with Bruce Willis.
    • Prior to Sutherland signing on, Richard Burgi (Kevin Carroll) was originally cast as Jack Bauer.
  • Whole Plot Reference / Homage:
    • Several of 24's story arcs are highly similar to the British series Spooks, which also aired throughout the 2000s. They include the counter-terrorism team being locked in their office because of a nerve gas threat, the hero teaming up with Alexander Siddig as a potentially-untrustworthy Muslim ally, a plot to crash airplanes together in midair, and a hacker breaking into the traffic light network to cause havoc and blackmail the government (before Live Free or Die Hard as well). There are more similarities, as well, but are just generic enough to be stock war on terror plots, like a season revolving around Iran's — or "Kamistan's" — nuclear program and a subsequent peace deal derailed by terrorism.
    • The first few episodes of Season 5, detailing a plot to bring Jack out of hiding by killing his friends, are very reminiscent of the intro to Commando.
    • Jack's entire character arc in the last third of Season 8 is remarkably similar to the one Willow Rosenberg has in the last few episodes of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (coincidentally, writer David Fury was an executive producer on both shows and wrote episodes from both arcs). Similarities include them getting a fleeting moment of happiness with their love interest only for the love interest to be shot dead, going on a heartbroken Roaring Rampage of Revenge and brutally torturing and executing the murderer, and eventually winding up in a position to cause The End of the World as We Know It, only to be talked out of it and come back to their senses thanks to their best friend's intervention.
  • 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.
  • World Half Empty: Corporate and Governmental corruption is rife, all Jack's victories seem pyrrhic at best, and the majority of those we meet who are working to uphold justice and freedom seem to have the lifespan of butterflies.
    • Lampshaded in Season 7; as a terrorist prepares to execute a port security guard that Jack and Tony had coerced into helping them earlier, Tony remarks to Jack that both of them knew the guard was dead the moment he got involved. Subverted, as Jack seems to decide that saving one man wasn't worth tipping off the terrorists that they were involved... then, just as the guard is about to be offed, Jack decides to take the shot anyways, and the guard becomes one of the very few innocents on 24 who survives being involved with terrorists.
  • World of Badass: Because even the tech geeks, Damsel Scrappys, and peace-seeking presidents of random Middle Eastern nations are capable of bringing the pwnage.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Jack explaining his moral dilemmas in the season 7 finale. It is, for lack of a better term, awesome and heart-rending.
  • Worthy Opponent: Christopher Henderson.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Done quite a bit, most notably with Bauer's interrogations of Nina Myers (who he rammed into the wall after grabbing her by the throat) and Dana Walsh (who he slapped around and bashed her head against the interrogation desk).
    • Up to Eleven when he gets a man to talk by shooting his innocent wife in the leg.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Pretty much every terrorist/conspiracy plot in the history of the show. And usually because people didn't shut up and listen to Jack Bauer in the first place. In particular, any time CTU calls for a perimeter to prevent the bad guys from escaping, it will, without question, fail.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Big Bads and Dragons do not tolerate failure. Just ask Ira Gaines. Or Navi Araz. Or Vladimir Bierko. Or Phillip Bauer. Or Jonas Hodges. Or Margot Al-Harazi.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: EVERYONE is expendable on this show the second someone deems them useless.
  • You Killed My X: Used to ludicrous extremes, but features most prominently in Season 7 with Henry Taylor and Tony Almeida, who both lost their sons (one living, one unborn).
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: the characters are forever talking about how "this terrible day is finally over"... halfway through the season.
    • In Season 8, this is a plot point: CTU picks up a culprit pretty quickly, and Chloe asks if this person might not be a decoy.

"Shut it down....." 00:00:03 ... 00:00:02 ... 00:00:01 ... 00:00:00
    Creator/Omid AbtahiArcher
    Action SeriesAirwolf
    Creator/Billy BurkeThe Closer
    TropeNamers/Live-Action TVThe A-Team
13Short Titles300
1600 PennCreator/ 20 th Century FoxAllen Gregory
Detective DramaCrime and Punishment SeriesAlias
Zombies Vs RobotsCreator/IDW PublishingAngel
Dr. NoSpy FictionThe Bourne Series
WWETrope OverdosedAdventure Time
8 MileThe MusicalThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
21 Jump StreetAmerican Series24: Live Another Day
1-800-MissingTurnOfTheMillennium/Live-Action TV30 Rock
    ImageSource/Live-Action TVJack Bauer Interrogation Technique
21 Jump StreetCreator/FoxAlien Nation

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