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 following takes place between 2001 and 2010.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-PreparedBig Bad, a well-thought-out Evil Plan, and, sometimes, a Diabolical Mastermind. 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?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.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 has been put on hold by 20th Century Fox due to budgetary issues.24 will return for a 12 episode mini-series entitled 24: Live Another Day, expected to start in May 2014.24 is also jokingly referred to as "the Jack Bauer Torture Hour", or "the Jack Bauer Power Hour". Try to guess why.
"You probably don't think that I can force this towel down your throat. But trust me, I can. All the way. Except I'd hold onto this one little bit at the end. When your stomach starts to digest it, I pull it out. Taking your stomach lining with it. For most people it would take about a week to die. It's very painful."
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.
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: she doesn't know he's a terrorist and isn't a loose end; he wants her to leave with him because, evidently, he genuinely loves her.
Subverted with the Day 1 finale.
Subverted again 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.
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.
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 people's 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 final 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, Tony Almeida and Aaron Pierce are the only first-season characters, starring or supporting, still alive.
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 eye15 times.
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 return 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!
Bad Ass: Jack Bauer, in spades. From Day 8, Episode 9:
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. Its 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.
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 the push comes to shove, Karen Hayes also becomes this.
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.
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.
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.
Bottomless Bladder: Seven seasons, seven days, only one bathroom break [in season four] so far. Don't know if that refers to a main character.
Book Ends Season 4 begins and ends on the train tracks.
In the Season 7 finale Kim is featured in the first scene, and then doesn't make another appearance until the final few minutes to finally resolve the foregone conclusion of Jack's life-threatening exposure to the pathogen.
Season 3 began and ended with Jack in his car on his way to his next assignment.
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.
Confirmed in season eight. She apparently suffered a mental breakdown off-camera between seasons and is currently showing signs of an impending Roaring Rampage of Revenge with a streak of axe craziness.
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.
Fridge Brilliance, actually, if you remember that it is the Russians who are behind the IRK terrorists. If the nukes go off and America finds out Russian involvement, then Russia will be in big trouble. The most likely theory is that Russians only want Hassan dead, not to nuke NYC.
Broken Bird: Renee in Season 8, and Audrey in Season 6.
Kim in between season's 4 and 5 when Jack was "dead".
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
Cant 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.
Don't forget Claudia Hernandez in Day 3 and Audrey Raines in Day 6. He he even shot Nina himself in Day 3, just to be certain. Kate Warner and Diane Huxley were smart enough to get the hell out of dodge, though.
Also, Michelle Dessler in day 5... sorry Tony
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.
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.
The Chess Master? More like Informed Ability, as we only learn of his past actions from Tony. What we actually see of Wilson is an Unwitting Pawn and Butt Monkey who carries Idiot Ball. He got betrayed by Hodges before the season even began(and had little to do with most of the events on Day 7 as they were part of Hodges plan), and simply gave in to Tony's plans due to Cara's pleading, even when their plan was going increasingly downhill. Which eventually lead to him being held at gunpoint by Tony, who reveals his true motives which, if Wilson really did kill Michelle, Wilson should have known already since Tony himself was also a target in the same murder attempt, and thus should have never let Tony in his organization at all(Tony didn't even use an alias). He gets saved at the last minute, but gets tortured by Renee so badly he almost died. As far as him being a Karma Houdini, they never said anything like that, and since the series is almost over and he hasn't returned, it's likely he did go to prison for his actions but Renee got punished regardless.
Children Forced To Kill: Redemption included some children being trained to kill by the followers of an African general.
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.
Hilariously towards the end of Season 5, in an attempt to delay President Logan, the First Lady seduces him. One episode ends with them undressing... and the next (following the Previouslies) starts with them getting dressed again, about two minutes later. Truly he is the most powerful man in the world!
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 Seeker: The last minutes of episode 8x04 and the teasers for 8x05 show us Renee is going way that way.
Not to mention, as of the final episodes of Season 8... Jack Bauer.
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.
Michelle's death for Tony, which sets him off so bad by the end he's working against the good guys and the bad guys.
Did Not Get the Girl: By the end of the series, the only women Jack has had a strong, personal relationship with who aren't dead are Kate Warner and Audrey Raines. He ends up dumping the first woman, and says a painful goodbye to the second one to keep her safe.
Chloe O'Brian and Diane Huxley would also count, albeit neither of them were his girlfriend. Jack is forced to leave them too.
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.")
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. The biggest exceptions are Habib Marwan, who is established as the Big Bad four episodes into season 4 and remains so throughout the entire season, and Abu Fayed, who appears in the very first episode of season 6 and acts as the primary threat for the majority of the season until he and his terrorist group get taken out about two-thirds of the way through, and Philip Bauer and Cheng Zhi take over as the threat.
Disposable Women: The sole reason for Renee Walker's death was to push Jack back into the fray under the pretext of revenge.
Downer Ending: Pretty much every single main character from all 8 seasons of the show gets one in some form or another. Some characters like David Palmer or Renee Walker wind up getting killed, others will have to deal with some sort of great loss, especially that of a loved one, such as Erin Driscoll whose daughter committed suicide or Sandra Palmer who's likely going to have one big case of survivor's guilt considering both her brothers are now dead, and then there's the ones who are now trapped in some situation where their respective lives have now been completely ruined such as Tony Almeida and even Jack himself. It's essentially impossible for any main cast member to exit this show happy.
The Dragon: Every season has one, but played to perfection with season five's Christopher Henderson.
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 Milo in season 6 (who seemingly just came back to do nothing and then get shot in the face) and Curtis' death.
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.
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.
So a year and a half is not long enough? Especially by 24 standards. You know, the show where people come into contact 3 times total in a 10 year period. Yet act like they're best friends forever. Not including all the time he TRIED to contact her, we don't really know exactly contact they had immediately following season 7.
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.
The top secret detention facility (also in Season 1).
Also, Dubaku's base in Season 7 would totally fall under this trope (complete with its dark green lighting and computer screens everywhere), only its not underground.
EMP: Used by terrorists against CTU New York in Day 8 when they take in an escaped captive.
Done earlier in season 4 when a private defense company detonate some EMP to destroy evidence that they (unknowingly) were helping the Big Bad.
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 two, Jack had to work alongside the woman who killed his wife. He also works with Christopher Henderson towards the end of Season 5.
And let's not forget Charles Logan, whose actions led to the murders of David Palmer and Michelle Dessler, Jack having to fake his death and give up everyone he cares about and of course the 20 months he spent being tortured by the chinese.
Episode on a Plane: In season 5 when he had to find the guy who had the recording implicating Logan.
The Day 4 President's setting had him up on Air Force One for the entire season because of all the terrorist attacks happening across the country. Turns out this was intentional, so Marwan could have it shot down and then in turn steal the access codes to the country's nuclear missiles.
Et Tu, Brute?: Happens to the CTU in Season 8 after Jack goes rogue after killing Pavel, Renee's killer.
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.
Jack - Stephen Saunders in Season 3, Christopher Henderson in Season 5 and Tony Almeida in season 7.
Inverted with Cole in season 8: He's actually the good counterpart to Jack at this point, with him working with Chloe to expose the coverup without just killing the conspirators in retaliation regardless of the consequences.
Michelle Dessler - Carrie Turner
Karen Hayes - Miles Papazian
Somewhat 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.
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.
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.
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 himselfAND President Taylor becoming this.
Fanservice: At the end of Season 4, Mandy takes Tony's shirt off for no apparent reason.
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.
First Day From Hell: Lynn Mc Gill'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.
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 six 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.
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.
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.
Just season 8? We all remember Jack beheading someone in season 2, right?
No, we don't, since it happened off-screen.
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.
Speaking of power tools, how about Abu Fayed using a drill on Morris in season 6? Also from season 6 was the especially gut-wrenching scene where Asad sticks a knife into a man's kneecap.
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...yeah.
Handshake Refusal: In season 5, Jack Bauer reacts this way to his ex-wife's new boyfriend.
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.
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.
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.
Also, 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 diffuse 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.
Charles Logan is most likely a case of Evil All Along, as he was probably linked to season 4's events since it led to him becoming President, and he was most likely only pretending to be The Atoner in season six in order to get a pardon, despite him claiming otherwise.
A scene in Season 6 heavily implies this to be the case, with an isolated Logan staring at his own reflection in the mirror and telling himself: "One step at a time, Charles... one step at a time."
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.
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 both 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 Charle's Logan's involvement in selling nerve gas to terrorists is what lead 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.
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.
Hijacked by Ganon: Charles Logan pulls this in Season 8, 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
Hollywood California: The show's setting - nine out of ten major terrorist threats happen here. Finally relocated in Season 7.
Hollywood Healing: In various seasons, Jack has been shot, stabbed, tasered, gassed, suffered broken ribs, had a heart attack, and been rendered clinically dead twice, and typically requires little more than half an hour of recovery time before he's shooting terrorists again.
Oh, and now he's been infected by a bioweapon based on Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a condition for which there is no cure. But this was deflated quickly by 1) information in Episode 16 that a family member's stem cells might provide a cure; 2) information from the producers that Elisha Cuthbert would return in Episode 17. You do the math.
Well, considering the fact that Kiefer Sutherland has been trying to convince the writers to kill off Jack for a number of seasons now, just to show that Anyone Can Die, I'm going to say that he actually does die. But not before doing something else reallyBadass.
And now Season 8's cast is confirmed... and Jack is still alive in it.
As of Season 8, Jack's recovery time for a stab to the torso has gone down to about 10 minutes.
I wouldn't exactly call Jack bleeding, being in visible pain and leaving a large, very alarming blood stain on a wall at the end of episode 22 a recovery.
That's because you're thinking of the one in 8.22. I'm thinking of the one in 8.07. (Curiously, they went to the same location.)
But just a few roughly done stitches will instantly undo all damage. But to top off this trope being shot point-blank in the chest only takes a single hour of paramedic treatment.
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. Day 8 has Jack and Renee having sex for nearly forty minutes and enjoying themselves after a rough night... shortly before a sniper kills Jack's new squeeze.
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.
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.
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 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."
Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: YMMV, but the most recent episode's treatment of Dana Walsh seems to be moving in this direction. She seems to act 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), acting like a damsel in distress when the private interrogation group comes to pick her up and seeming quite pathetic begging Chloe to save her, and her torture to reveal the evidence of the Russian's involvement in the events of the day is clearly played to show the terrible depths the president has sunk to in order to get the peace treaty. Yet...with the way she played everyone, the smug snake way she carried herself immediately after being caught, and everything else, part of me hopes she breaks and is offed before Jack can save her.
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.
Frank Tramell in Redemption, who forces Jack to return to the United States to stand trial in exchange for Jack evacuating several children his friend Carl was looking after to America away from warlord Benjamin Juma. 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.
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
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.
Suvarov is going down as one of these unless The Movie changes it. At most he'd receive a slap on the wrist just as Logan did.
Logan only got a slap on the wrist because his role in season 5's events was hidden from the public, with them thinking he was impeached for something fare less severe. Since Taylor was going to expose the entire conspiracy to the world(which is why Logan had a Villainous Breakdown and tried to commit suicide), unless Russia was willing to go to war over the issue, it's likely Suvarov got a far more severe punishment, if nothing more than to prevent a possible war.
Miles in Day 5.
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: Jack's murder of the man in CTU and chopping off his head. He was a drug dealer or pedophile and Jack needed the guy's head in order to infiltrate a drug lord's inner circle.
It was to infiltrate a terrorist cell, which automatically makes it If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten, and he was hardly a kitten. And considering that he 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.
Killed Mid-Sentence: Subverted in case of Renee Walker. She stopped talking not because she was dead, but because was wounded to death
Played straight with the interrogator of Dana Walsh. "You won't take the shot because ... " <headshot>
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.
Life Imitates Art: Recently disclosed memos from within the former Bush administration suggest that, if 24's torture methods didn't inspire the initial events at Abu Ghraib Prison and Guatanamo Bay Prison Camp, they at least inspired their justification and continuation to this day.
On a less controversial note, the suspects of the Abu Ghraib abuses claimed 24 as inspiration for their tactics, and military intelligence instructors have complained to reporters that they have to drill 24 and its depiction of torture out of the heads of new students.
The set of CTU LA also inspired the design of the new Joint Counter-Terrorism Center in Washington, DC.
Living Macguffin: Dana Walsh looks like this trope, as now every character is focused on getting specifics of Russia's Evil Plan from her.
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 its 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.
MacGuffin: The "football" in season four, the incriminating recordings in Seasons 2 and 5.
The CIP device in season 7
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 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 final episode and even survives a serious car wreck before the end.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Morality Chain: Renee's death, seems to have been one morality chain too far for Jack.
Motive Decay: Vladimir Bierko goes from trying to force the Russians out of his homeland to trying to kill as many American civilians as he can.
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.
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.
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 but 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.
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.
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.
Omniscient Council Of Vagueness: Seen orchestrating the events of season five, and then again with a different council orchestrating the events of season seven.
Opening Narration: season one began with Jack narrating the premise and ending with him saying "today is the longest day of my life"
Turned out, not necessarily.
Still, Season 1 'is' the only season that runs midnight to midnight, every other season technically takes place over two days.
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.
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 priests 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."
Police Brutality: Jack ends up in 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 final episode and prevents him from assassinating 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, 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 these actions led to Jack Bauer thwarting Logan's plans .
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 its rather unlikely he was behind them, given that this would mean he was masterminding his own murder.
Put on a Bus to Hell: Chase Edmunds, he gets his hand cut off and whenever Kim shows up in Season 5 its heavily implied he turned into a bit of a Jerkass not long after Jack's faked death causing them to split up.
And was last mentioned living in the city that got nuked in Season 6. So yeah, possibly a Bus Crash on top of that too.
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 Drezen 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 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 misnomerto call this a victory.
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 ludicrousand 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.
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 Abu Fayed. Reza cracks and offers to show the CTU agents how the funds were transfered, but they find out that Reza's fiancee 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.
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 organizng 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 workâ€”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.
Rule of Three: The series' first three seasons were set up as a 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 seven) 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.
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.
Save the Villain: Played with in several seasons, but almost never done straight.
Senseless Sacrifice: In season 8, a young CTU agent named Owen runs out into a 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.
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: Philip Bauer is involved in the terrorist plot.
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.
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.
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.
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 cliche.
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.
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 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 Philip 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.
Stairs Are Faster: Jack Bauer proves this trope when he outruns Ted Cofell's elevator, beating him to his limo.
Of course, Jack did buy himself some time by pulling the fire alarm, stopping the elevator for about half a minute.
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.
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.
Don't forget Lynn McGill, who 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. And he, too, had a Heroic Sacrifice.
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 attempts to make a trade with Cheng Zi with a rigged device that will explode and kill the both of them, but the arrival of a CTU team ruins this. 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.
"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 aprehend 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.
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 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.
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 people who are busy shooting at something.
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.
Finallysubverted 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.
Ditto for Audrey Raines in Day 5, only there wasn't any physical evidence this time.
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.
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 2004 to 2019. Given that the series ran from 2001 to 2010, this trope actually does apply.
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 fiance, but an ex-boyfriend bugging her and a coworker sniffing around her heels. (Of course, she isStarbuck, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised.)
Vapor Wear: Kim, but also Nina in a sexy back scene in season 2.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Would Hit a Girl: Done quite a bit, most notably with Bauer's interrogations of Nina Mayers (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).
Artistic License - 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.