These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
On that same note, his drug-addicted sister Jenny. She didn't get as much hate as Lynn, but she was still a fairly annoying and useless side character. Doesn't mean she deserved to get shot in the back of the head.
Dina Araz. Some fans hated her for taking up too much time in Season 4, along with her son, and also because she still believed in what the other terrorists were doing even after her own husband tried to kill the both of them. When she finally tries to do something right with her life, what's her reward? Two bullets to the back. The fans were not happy, especially with the way she was executed.
Larry Moss. While some fans could argue that he was Rescued from the Scrappy Heap halfway into Season 7, others still hated him for being an FBI version of George Mason, Ryan Chappelle, etc. But when Tony mercilessly suffocated the man to death, all his haters were deeply upset and shocked over it. Many fans would even say Tony crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
Blaine Mayer. In Season 7, he was nothing more than a senator with the word "Anvilicious" tattooed on his forehead. But in the final episode he appears in, not only does he stand up to Jack and tell him right to his face that he's more resilient to torture than Burnett, but he Took a Level in Kindness and tried to help him expose the Starkwood conspiracy. Then Quinn shows up at his door and guns him down. Even Jack didn't take his death well.
Dana Walsh. After begging Jack not to execute her, he does it anyway. And unlike Nina Myers, who was actually reaching for a gun despite already being shot, Dana Walsh had no weapons nearby and had her hands in the air. Even though very few people liked Dana, a majority of the fans were disgusted that Jack killed her so coldly.
It's worth noting that this occurred minutes after Dana Walsh murdered innocents, threatened to murder others, attempted to escape police custody, and attempted to murder Jack. The only reason she was unarmed? She had just emptied out an entire gun trying to kill Jack.
Although not a death scene, Mark Boudreau's final scene where he's near-catatonic after learning about Audrey's death as he's awaiting being transferred to prison has been noted as a depressing exit even by his haters.
Alternative Character Interpretation: A pretty big one regarding Jack's behavior in the last few episodes of season 8. When he originally broke out of CTU and went rogue, were his plans originally exactly what he claimed, to expose the masterminds behind Mehran's attacks on New York and his murder of Hassan, and only fell off that path in favor of murdering them instead when Dana became an obstacle again, more or less proving to be the last straw for him after already pushed to the breaking point several times in the last several hours? Or did he pretty much mean to kill everyone involved in it the second he made the decision to take that security guard hostage, meaning his claims to both Chloe and Cole were nothing but complete lies, using them to successfully manipulate the latter into briefly working for him?
The reason the writers tacked Wilson on the ultimate Day 5 mastermind was that they needed a foil for Tony to be an Anti-Villain. The problem became that, in seasons 5 and 6, every mastermind was either an established major political figure (Chief of Staff Walt Cummings, President Charles Logan) or someone personally important to Jack (mentor Christopher Henderson, brother Graem, or daddy Phillip). Then, it all turned to be the work of... some guy. Bo-ring.
It seems that Day 8 has one that rivals the above, with he reveal that Yuri Suvarov, a previous respectable character that wasn't bad at all, was revealed right before the series finale to be the final Big Bad of the series. It's even more bizarre since you would think it would be more appropriate to have Charles Logan as the Big Bad, especially with him being more of a Magnificent Bastard than before. It seems the writers love making twists for the sake of twists
Then again, President Taylor was a good president once upon a time too...
Possibly also Graem being established as Jack's brother in season 6. In season 5, all of his conversations with President Logan have both participants referring to Jack only as "Bauer", no first name, which suggests that Logan doesn't even realize that the person he's talking to also has the surname Bauer.
And then there was Stephen Saunders' death in Season 3. To go into detail, Gael's wife found a loaded gun with the safety off in Gael's office and, so upset over his death, calmly walked over to Saunders, quickly pulled out the gun, and shot him. And she did all of this only after taking a brief glance at Saunders' profile on a monitor.
Easily the revelation of Tony's unborn son, something that isn't even hinted at until the season 7 finale. As stated by the below trope, the fans who hated his final Face-Heel Turn didn't exactly take that out-of-nowhere excuse for it well.
How does Jack finish off the Big Bad of Live Another Day? For some reason, there just happens to be a katana in the room.Word of God says that Cheng's death was set specifically in an area where the boat captain keeps items that he's collected from traveling the world. Granted, the explanation is arguably flimsy.
Author's Saving Throw: For the fans who heavily disliked Tony becoming the antagonist in Day 7 his claim of having a Heel Realization in 24: Solitary could very well be this for them if it is indeed on the level.
Badass Decay: In response to criticisms that the show promoted the use of torture, the writers of the show drastically toned down the number of times Jack tortures bad guys in the later seasons. Many fans felt that the kinder and gentler Jack Bauer made the show less entertaining to watch, as much of the show's appeal came in watching Jack interrogate antagonists who are completely unsympathetic.
The last few hours of season 8, the (then) final season, reversed this for Jack. Hard.
In season 7, the decision to make Tony an ambiguous baddie splintered the opinions of fans. Some thought it was a nice change of pace, and allowed the writers to contrast Jack and Tony's experiences (despite their similarities) even further. Others thought it was an absolute betrayal of Tony's character, and the most sensical motivations for his actions would be unconvincing if it meant backstabbing Jack.
Similarly, in season 8, killing off Renee in an unceremonious fashion brought either admiration or ire to the fans. Some fans thought it was typical 24 nature and shrugged it off, while others thought the death was cheap and just plain cruel to Bauer's already messed up psyche.
Live Another Day. It's either one of the stronger seasons, with people saying it benefited from its 12-episode format, resulting in tighter plotting and a lack of Padding, or it's one of the weaker ones, with people saying it was unnecessary to bring the show back after a 4-year hiatus, only to do nothing new. More specific examples include:
Jack throwing a handcuffed and wounded Margot Al-Harazi out a 5-story window was either one of the most awesome things he's ever done or one of the most monstrous things he's ever done.
President Heller's Disney Death. Some felt it ruined all the buildup throughout the season and was a poor copout, while others are fine with it.
In the final episode, Audrey is killed off for literally no story purpose (it's not like Jack doesn't have plenty of reasons to hate Cheng already). The fans' reaction was...predictable.
The Downer Ending feel of the finale itself wound up creating a split in the fandom. Some are used to it since the show has in practice marked itself as a tragedy and are happy that it still has some finality to it while still leaving things open for another continuation, while others are wishing that after the show came back after such a long hiatus that just once the show could have closed out on a happier ending.
Every season of 24 is heavily hit with this. Even the beloved season 5 and loathed season 6 aren't immune; with the former being hit with Hype Backlash and the latter affected by Critical Backlash years after they originally aired.
The announcement that another sequel series is being considered without Jack in a starring role, and possibly even being completely absent. People are unsurprisingly split all over the place on whether it's a good idea or not.
In Day 7, Sean Hillinger was such a Jerkass that most people thought him being a mole was pretty obvious, even with the Bait and Switch of another mole being revealed right before he was.
In Live Another Day, Adrian Cross selling Jack out (and later being revealed as Steve Navarro's contact) would probably have been more surprising if he hadn't been played by perennial villain actor Michael Wincott.
Also in Live Another Day, Cheng's return is completely spoiled by Tzi Ma openly being listed in the guest cast credits.
Common Knowledge: Despite what many people think, Jack faking his death at the end of Day 4 was never to escape being imprisoned in China, as he was actually fully willing to let the Chinese Government take him in. He faked his death in order to avoid being ambushed and killed by corrupt members of the U.S. government that were afraid he'd spill something while being held in captivity. Also, due to him working with CTU for the majority of the series, Jack is mistakenly thought to be a CTU agent for the whole show. It's only Days 1 and 3 where he's officially working on duty as an agent. CTU isn't involved at all in either Day 7 or Day 9, and in all other seasons he's specially recommissioned just to help them out for the events of the day only.
Creator's Pet: Dana Walsh garnered quite a bit of hate for her subplot involving her past, and yet continued to remain relevant to the season's plot.
And though some viewers did have sympathy when she died, it stands out a bit that it's her death out of every character that the writers used to indicate the point that Jack was starting to morally lose it.
Kate Warner. In one episode, she manages to survive a gunfight involving at least ten heavily-armed mercenaries without a scratch. About two episodes later, she gets captured by three random racists who have NOTHING to do with the plot. The only reason why fans tolerated Kate was because unlike Kim, her subplot in Season 2 eventually became relevant to the main plot.
Derek Huxley. He did nothing but get in Jack's way during Season 5 and made it harder for him to deal with the terrorists. He even wound up becoming a hostage during the Russians' attack on the airport, despite the fact Derek only entered to try and warn Jack about the impending attack.
Josh and Marilyn Bauer. Whether they were in danger from Phillip Bauer's mooks or Chinese mercenaries, these two had a very bad habit of getting kidnapped/held hostage in Season 6, and contributed nothing to the plot other than being damsels in distress.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: This may have set in for some viewers during or after season 5 when all but two major characters from season 1 had been killed off. Similarly, many newer characters added in seasons 2-4 had also been killed, written off or just forgotten about. Thanks to this and Anyone Can Die it became almost impossible to worry or even care about the possibility of new characters dying since by this point the show had become fairly predictable as far as character deaths go.
Renee Walker interestingly manages to escape this apathy. Fans took to her early on when she was added in season 7 and many were just as angry as Jack when she was murdered in the show's final season.
The end of Live Another Day, with many accusations that cheap shock deaths are the only thing the writers have left in their bag of tricks.
Double Standard: In Season 8, Jack is nearly willing to start a war between the US and Russia in the name of avenging Renee's murder. Just one season earlier, he prevented Tony from executing the killer of his wife and unborn child, with much less at stake than Jack's situation.
By nothing more than sheer force of popularity, bit character Aaron Pierce has managed to be the only character aside from Jack Bauer to appear in all of the first seven seasons.
Chloe also went from very unpopular to one of the show's most beloved characters.
Renee's thumb-chopping gambit confirmed her Darkhorse status.
Tony was quite disliked during the first half of season one, thanks to his rivalry with Jack, and many believed him to be the CTU mole. Then he saved Teri's life, won Jack's trust and the eternal love of the fans. Even after his Face-Heel Turn in season seven, a whole lot of fans still love him and refuse to see him as evil.
For a while, Curtis Manning was the second-biggest badass on the show (after Jack Bauer) and became very popular among fans. Said fans were heartbroken when he was suddenly killed off near the start of Season 6.
Mandy. She's only appeared in 7 episodes for the whole series, but the fanbase absolutely loves her.
Bill became fairly popular himself, mainly for being just about the only CTU director who was 100% trustworthy and would more often than not agree with Jack rather than try to get in his way.
Tom Lennox is largely considered one of the few consistent bright spots of Season 6.
Kate Morgan has managed to get pretty popular after just a few hours thanks to her own pretty Badass behavior.
Despite having limited screentime, Belcheck has managed to develop a strong fan following due to being able to hold his own in the action opposite Jack and for being one of Jack's few allies in the later years to consistently stay on his side.
Charles Logan in some way manipulated Tony(likely through someone else) into believing Wilson was involved in his wife's death so that Tony would target Wilson instead of him. Logan was merely placed under house arrest and later pardoned of his crimes, and Tony would have probably tried to target him(this was even stated as a possible reason for Tony's Face-Heel Turn early in season seven), so he decided to pin the blame on someone else so that he would not be killed. This is supported by numerous plotholes that prevent Wilson's involvement from being believable(allowing Tony into his organization despite Tony being a target for assassination by Logan's conspirators and Michelle being killed in the same attempt, the fact the killings were organized to frame Jack Bauer, who Wilson had no connection with while others in Logan's conspiracy did, for David Palmer's assassination, which was a result of Palmer finding out about what Logan was up to, Logan's plan strongly differing from Wilson's to the point of strong contradiction, and overall the fact that other than Tony's word, in which we still don't know how he found out, there isn't any link between Logan and Wilson, etc.). Logan's manipulations in season 8 also support this, such as finding out about the Russians' involvement with the terrorists(he could have found out about Wilson's group the same way) and he even tries to make Jack believe it was Mikhail Novakovich who had Renee killed by himself in order to keep suspicion away from Suvarov so Suvarov would sign the treaty to complete Logan's plan to improve his damaged image, but Jack managed to bug Logan and found out the truth. Hey, it's better than lazily trying to link everything to an Omniscient Council of Vagueness.
After the ending of Live Another Day, a popular theory is that the Russians actually want Jack to send on a dangerous mission of their own, rather than just imprisoning him.
People started rooting for Jack/Renee almost the moment she showed up. Which led to the fanbase nearly rioting after she was bridge-dropped in Season 8.
During Live Another Day, some fans rooted for Jack to get together with Kate Morgan, due to her being basically a Distaff Counterpart to Jack (i.e. a badass government agent who has no problem breaking the rules when necessary).
Fanon: No President but David Palmer was ever explicitly linked to a political party, but ask fans and they'll tell you that Wayne Palmer and by extension Noah Daniels were Democrats, and every other featured President was a Republican. It makes sense for John Keeler, Charles Logan and Hal Gardner given that Keeler was running against Democrat David Palmer and Logan was his Vice President, and later Gardner was Logan's, but there's nothing in-show that speaks to any of the others.
Fanon Discontinuity: Logan's collaborator is named Graham, not "Graem", and he is definitely not Jack's brother. And either Tony didn't "die" at all midway through Day 5 and just disappeared instead until Day 7 came up, or alternatively he did die and never suddenly turned sorta-evil and tried to kill a bunch of innocent people to further his own goals of revenge. Also, a lot of fans ignore Day 6 altogether. Heck, some fans are happy to believe that everything after the end of Day 5 was just a hallucination that Jack had while being tortured by the Chinese.
In Season 3, after Michelle has become trapped in the hotel with the virus, Chappelle tells Tony, "I need you to focus and the best way to do that is to assume the worst and make it about getting revenge." Guess what Tony's main motivation was during Day 7?
The cover of The Game shows Tony and Michelle dodging an explosion. This same thing happens to them at the beginning of Day 5, but they don't quite dodge it as well that time.
One mission in the game features Tony raiding a subway station in an attempt to prevent a terrorist bomb from being set off which would unleash a biological weapon. A similar event happens late in Day 7, except this time around he wasn't trying to prevent the attack.
In Season 3, in the middle of his Motive Rant, Big Bad Stephen Saunders tells Jack, "I was abandoned by the people I worked for...as you'll be someday." Events from future seasons slowly prove Saunders's point, with the latter half of Day 8 taking the cake.
Jack's received some Not So Different speeches before, but his one from Tony in Day 7 hits especially hard after knowing what he eventually pulls in Day 8.
At the very beginning of Season 7, when Renee tells Jack that the likely reason behind Tony'sFace-Heel Turn is to seek revenge against the people who wronged him and killed Michelle and states that Jack should understand what it's like after he lost Teri, Jack claims even after what he went through he would never have gone that far. Season 8 proved that, after losing Renee no less, if it wasn't for Chloe he most certainly would have.
In the Season 7 finale, Allison Taylor opines that she's lost her family and has no one left. Ethan Kanin, her former Chief of Staff, states that this isn't the case, and they reconcile, with him accepting a part in her administration once more. The implication is that a brighter future would await the two of them. This makes Season 8 all the more disheartening, as Ethan, disappointed in Taylor for letting herself be corrupted by Charles Logan, resigns once more, while Taylor herself prepares to resign from the Presidency after realizing the depths to which she sank. So, essentially, Taylor loses her family and her job, all for nothing.
Episode 8 of Live Another Day features a pointed statement that America does not negotiate with terrorists. At the time of its airing, five Taliban leaders had recently been traded for an American POW.
At the conclusion of the sixth season, as Cheng Zhi is being taken away into custody, he defiantly shouts at CTU that his government won't abandon him. As Live Another Day shows, they did. This would almost count as Hilarious In Hindsight were it not for the fact that this has caused Cheng to start orchestrating a war between China and the United States in revenge.
The reveal in Live Another Day that Moscow is conspiring to start a war between the USA and China so that Russia can gain a strangehold on its Eastern European neighbors is eerily unsettling in light of the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
In Season 6, Heller tells Jack to stay away from Audrey, blaming Jack for Audrey's torture at the hands of Cheng Zhi: "You're cursed, Jack. Everything you touch, one way or another, ends up dead." At the end of Live Another Day, Audrey is held hostage by Cheng Zhi as leverage against Jack, and ultimately killed.
"Sooner or later you're going to get back into the game, and my daughter is going to pay the price, like your wife did."
In Season 2 after CTU was bombed, Megan Matheson winds up going into shock and suffering a seizure. Megan's actress Skye McCole Bartusiak would later die from complications resulting from a series of seizures.
He's Just Hiding: Happens a lot due to the show's tendency to kill off beloved characters. Some of the biggest examples are listed below.
After Season 5, fans everywhere predicted that Tony was still alive. Eventually, the writers relented and resurrected him for Season 7.
In Live Another Day, a lot of people are feeling this about Morris and Prescott, who were apparently killed offscreen in a car crash some time after Day 8. Many fans are under the impression that reports of their deaths may have been faked, especially since the show has had a precedent for that in the past, such as Audrey in Day 6.
After the apparent death of James Heller via missile, droves of fans began debating whether or not he was truly dead (as it turns out, he wasn't). Actual Flame Wars began to break out over this, making the internet a particularly nasty place to be for 24 fans the first day or so after the episode aired.
Nine years after playing Chase Edmunds (who famously got his hand chopped off), James Badge Dale starred in Iron Man 3, playing a character who could regenerate lost limbs.
Ira Gaines ordering Jack over the radio. Phone Booth had Kiefer Sutherland play a vigilante who holds people at sniper point in phone boxes and orders them what to do. It even took place in Real Time. Doubly so after Day 8's ending, where as an Actor Allusion Jack winds up acting like Sutherland's character in the film and orders Charles Logan over the phone at sniper point making things come full circle.
One of the early descriptions of Mass Effect was that Commander Shepard could essentially be played as "Jack Bauer in space". Two years after playing Cole in the eighth season, Freddie Prinze Jr. would go onto voice James Vega in the third game, serving in a similar Lancer role to Shepard that Cole served to Jack in the first half of the season.
A few years after C. Thomas Howell played Dr. Barry Landes, who was a therapist that helped people, he had a recurring role in Criminal Minds as George "The Reaper" Foyet, who was a serial killer.
It's a staple of the series to have Jack go on the run when someone frames him as early as the first season. The 2006 thriller The Sentinel saw Kiefer Sutherland playing the role of an agent similar to Jack, with the exception that this time he's in the Inspector Javert role trying to catch a fellow agent that's been set up instead of the other way around.
Remember all those Jack Bauer facts that was about him doing completely over-the-top badassery? The final hours of season 8 with things like storming a car tunnel full civilians to get to Charles Logan's limousine, in full body armor and anselection of assault rifles and the aftermath of his massacre of Novakovitch and his men, including Novakovich being impaled to the floor with a poker and with a bullet to his head. As well as the gory, bloody bodies of his henchmen, while Jack was dealing with a good sized knife wound in his chest shows Jack Bauer could very well perform all of that. Most Jack Bauer facts now pale in comparison to all the crazy shit he's actually doing in the show.
The Big Bad of Live Another Day is played by Michelle Fairley, whose motivation is her husband being killed, and one of her henchmen is her daughter (who has red hair). And we all know how important family is to Catelyn Stark. And this time she actually gets to see her son thrown out a window.
An old joke read that "If everyone listened to Jack Bauer, the show would be called 12." Cue Live Another Day, where Jack actually receives a lot more cooperation than before. The length of the series? Twelve episodes.
Idiot Plot: United States Presidents and their Staff are incredibly trigger-happy—with the "trigger" being the Nuclear Button. The resident President Evil on the show is one of the few who doesn't think that starting World War III a perfectly reasonable response to a terrorist attack, or fail to realize that the mere threat of using nuclear weapons constitutes a war crime. Its a symptom of a wider problem with the politics of the show- since its all set in one day, nobody seems to think that any of the problems they are facing can be dealt with the next day, or with thorough investigations and diplomacy to make sure that the people you are accusing are actually guilty before you send them back to the stone age.
The numerous times CTU or some other agency screws up by not listening to one of their most trusted agents, lets personal problems get in the way of their work (not that Presidents or their staff don't fall into this trap too, mind), fails to follow up on an obvious lead, is caught off-guard by attacks on itself, etc. etc. Jack himself makes many, many silly decisions as well.
There is also the fact that almost every season alludes to what is either a single grand government conspiracy, or numerous unconnected conspiracies running simultaneously, involving associates or members of the government being involved in terrorist attacks or assassination attempts, if not both. None of which are ever investigated very thoroughly, or if they are said investigation is not mentioned- for example, was anyone looking into who masterminded the plot kill Wayne Palmer? Or was everyone just happy framing the terrorist-cum-Freedom Fighter who saved his life and leaving it at that?.
In the season 6 premiere, everyone had a piece of the Idiot Ball. Fayed could have easily continued his plot and let CTU think Assad was actually behind it. He wouldn't have even had to worry about Jack since he was in a Chinese prison, suffering much worse than anything Fayed could have done to him. Instead, he demands Jack Bauer so he can personally kill him. Foolish, but understandable- he wants to murder the man who killed his brother with his own hands. But of course he just has to tell Jack that it was really he, himself, who was behind the terrorist attacks; and then, of course, he is incompetent enough to let Bauer get away.
CTU trusted the words of a known terrorist (Fayed), believing he would give up Assad in exchange for Jack. They didn't even check the intel and just sent helicopters to blow up the supposed location of Assad. So many things could have gone wrong, but fortunately for them, they weren't the only ones being stupid. That was just the first couple of episodes.
In Live Another Day, Margot Al-Harazi sends her daughter to find what her uninvolved sister-in-law knows about their drone hijacking plot and, after it turns out she doesn't know anything, to kill her and her young daughter just to be sure...after she's already released a video to the American and British governments announcing what she's done. It comes off as just a contrived way to send Margot so far over the Moral Event Horizon that even her daughter would turn against her.
Later on, China is willing to start World War III after the destruction of one ship by a rogue operative who framed America. The amount of insanity required for this scenario to work is beyond words; 24 quite simply treats Realpolitik as a global dick measuring contest.
Many fans and critics were disappointed with the way Season 8 started out, due to the sheer amount of potential villains that ended up being wasted, the general slow pacing of the season, and Dana's infamous subplot with Kevin Wade. However, around the time Kevin Wade was killed, and CTU was hit with an EMP, the season started to get much better, and the sheer amount of Wham Episodes and Character Development led to a much more well-received second half.
A fair number of fans were unimpressed by the Salazar arc in Season 3's first half. However, the second half (where Stephen Saunders takes over as the Big Bad and Jack is forced to execute Ryan Chappelle) is near-universally regarded as one of the finest run of episodes the show has ever accomplished. In fact, there are a large number of viewers who regard the execution of Chappelle as THE defining moment of the series, even rivaling Teri's death.
Live Another Day was initially slammed for playing into every cliché the show had built up, to the point where it was completely predictable and there seemed to be no point to bringing the show back. But the last four episodes piled on the shocks and twists, which won over some naysayers.
Love to Hate: Nina Myers may be a heartless Sociopath who killed Jack's wife, and Charles Logan may be a manipulative, weasly Smug Snake, but they are by far two of the greatest recurring villains in the series. There's even a poll on the 24 Wiki asking users who their favorite recurring villain is, and well over two-thirds of the voters chose them.
Mary Sue: During Day 9, a number of viewers criticized Kate Morgan as an insufferably perfect character who was being pushed too hard on the audience. However, these complaints died down some after the finale, in which Kate failed to save Audrey from death and exited the show with an air of disappointment and disgrace.
Memetic Badass: "Jack Bauer is the leading cause of death among Muslim men." "TELL ME WHERE MARWAN IS!"
Moral Event Horizon: Many, but the worst offender is Nina Myers, who murders Teri Bauer and (consequently) her unborn child.
The implied offscreen murder of a child at the hands of Christopher Henderson was probably worse.
President Allison Taylor has exhausted several fans' goodwill by bending over and taking policy tips from Charles Logan, a man she and close advisor Ethan Kanin reviled for his deeds as President and his getting away relatively scot-free - all for the sake of a treaty that will supposedly (read magically) bring peace of a nondescript group of Eastern countries. Whatever goodwill remained is exhausted when Taylor flat out threatens Dalia Hassan to finish the treaty. Fortunately, she does get some personal redemption when she refuses to go through with the signing and orders Jack to GTFO before he's caught.
Sherry Palmer elevated herself to a new level of villain BadAssery in Season 3, (when she was formerly a behind-the-scenes manipulator) when she talked Alan Milliken to death and prevented his wife from administering life-saving medicine.
Suvarov ordering the killings of Omar Hassan and Renee Walker.
Jack almost starting World War Three, CTU having torturers on speed dial, the Secretary of Defense ordering the torture of his son, the show is kind of Moral Event Horizon: The Series.
Margot Al-Harazi torturing her own daughter to pressure Naveed into piloting the drone attacks.
The infamous setting up of perimeters. Across eight seasons there was almost never a time when this actually worked, and yet CTU still kept trying (humorously enough, Season 7 did feature somewhat effective perimeters that required the suspects to try a little harder to escape, but those were set up by the FBI, not CTU).
Jack's first seizure in Season 7 (Episode 17) comes off comical due to the way his eyes bug out.
The real time format doesn't do any favors for the sequence where a torturer simply stares at Kate while threateningly revving a drill without actually doing anything with it for at least ten minutes. This includes an entire commercial break.
At one point in Live Another Day, Margot Al-Harazi talks to Simone about whether her loyalties lie with her husband or her mother and gives off a Death Glare. Kind of hard to take her seriously when the tea kettle in the background starts whistling shrilly.
Live Another Day features what was perhaps always the inevitable end of the "perimeter" motif, as Eric seems to become Genre Savvy and describes the terrorists as making one of their own. They're finished a few moments later.
No Problem with Licensed Games: The PS2 game, covering between seasons two and three, is a box set in it's own right that begins with Jack raiding a cargo ship before a bomb expert disarms explosives, then a driving scene, then it cuts to Chase, then a shootout and a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique before analysts track down snipers Jack has to stop, so you won't be bored. The music, cinematics and intrigue are of the same quality of the show, it plugs up many plot holes and there are lots of little nods to the fandom, easily as high quality as the Buffy the Vampire Slayer games.
Arlo Glass. He spent the first half of Season 8 sticking his nose into Dana's business while repeatedly flirting with her, even though he knew she planned on marrying Cole. But after Dana turned out to be The Mole, Arlo dropped his perverted act, focused more on his job, and became Chloe's most trustworthy agent within CTU, alongside Cole. At one point Arlo blatantly said that he shouldn't have spent so much time eye-humping Dana, indicating that he knew he was becoming annoying and needed to change.
Kim Bauer in Season 7. Yes, she's still a damsel in distress, but she quickly shows everyone that she can get out of a sticky situation using nothing but a pen.
Tony was widely hated in the first half of season one. After receiving Character Development and becoming a Jerk with a Heart of Gold he eventually started growing more likable and had all the fans won over by the time he saved Jack's wife late in the season.
Larry Moss, as established both above and below, was basically like an FBI version of Ryan Chappelle - a stickler for protocol who constantly reproached Jack for his hotshot antics and overuse of torture. However, as Season 7 progressed, some of his more proactive actions (notably leading the counterattack on Juma's men in the White House against the Vice-President's orders and helping Jack and Tony in taking out Jonas Hodges) helped to redeem him in the eyes of more than a few viewers (the reviewer at EW.com even affectionately referred to him as "Boss Moss"). He also showed that, despite his disagreements with Jack on how to handle Day 7's situations, he was still human, given his interactions with Renee and his appreciation for Tony's efforts in stopping Hodges. When Tony killed him later on in the season, quite a few fans were annoyed, though some of this also had to do with how little Tony's motivations made sense.
Cole Ortiz got a lot of hatred from fans before he even debuted on the show, solely because he was played by Freddie Prinze, Jr. However, the hate died down after Cole performed two near-Heroic Sacrifices in a row (the first to save Omar Hassan from assassination, and the second to prevent the assassin from escaping).
It's kind of hard to remember now especially with his status as one of the major villains is so commonplace, but back when Charles Logan was originally revealed to be the mastermind behind Day 5's events, the initial reaction was very divisive, with the majority of the viewers and critics feeling that the twist was so ridiculous that trying to paint the incompetent president as a criminal mastermind had turned the show into a joke by that point. As the season went on he proved himself to be genuinely threatening and resourceful, quickly changing opinion toward the positive.
While not as reviled as most characters on this list, few viewers were fans of Audrey Raines as both a character and a love interest when she was first introduced, especially when she spent the vast majority of the season weeping and haunting CTU for no plot-relevant reason. Fortunately, she receives a healthy dose of Character Development and becomes a bigger player in the events of Day 5, leaving her redeemed in the eyes of many. However, the jury's still out about Audrey now that she's back for Live Another Day.
Ron the Death Eater: Oboy. In the final season when Chloe initially refused to help Jack out of worry that he wasn't thinking straight and tried to get him captured, several fans immediately proceeded to demonize her and paint her as a heartless monster. This is even though one, her fears turned out to be valid, and two, within the show's narrative, Jack actually was the one being the bad guy.
Rooting for the Empire: Kind of. Jack is always the protagonist and the character that most of the fans of the show root for. This includes the final six episodes even when it's obvious that he isn't the hero this time around and his Roaring Rampage of Revengeisn't the right thing. But with Logan and Suvarov clearly being even worse, Allison Taylor also doing the wrong thing by protecting the two, and them finding the CTU staff rather forgettable it meant they were still with Jack even though he was closer to Villain Protagonist status at the moment than anything else. Some of them even wish he'd succeeded in killing Suvarov, even though doing so would have led to a war between Russia and the U.S.A.
Behrooz Araz from Season 4, due to his whiny personality and the fact that his subplot took up huge chunks of the season, yet ultimately went nowhere.
Kim's season 5 obnoxious therapist / boyfriend Dr. Barry Landes, who appeared in only 2 episodes.
Miles Papazian in Season 5, for being one of the biggest Obstructive Bureaucrats in the series as unlike most of the others he never received any sort of redeeming traits whatsoever. He was also a major Karma Houdini.
Janis from Season 7 was pretty much what Chloe would have been if she hadn't received the necessary dose of Character Development after Season 3, and a lot of her snarkiness came off as irritating rather than funny. Most fans were glad she wasn't back for the final season.
Marianne Taylor from Season 4. She slept with Curtis Manning just so she could get ahead in her career, and then she dumped him. And this was before Season 4 even began. During Season 4, she's a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who blackmailed Edgar into doing tasks for her. And to top all that off, we find out she's working for the terrorists, and she (almost) made Sarah take the blame for it.
For that matter, Sean himself. He's a Smug Snake and a Jerkass who banters back and forth with Janis, despite knowing he can't insult her properly. The only redeeming quality about him is that he loves his wife dearly, and even that was wasted potential when it was revealed that he was having an affair. Did we also mention that he's The Mole?
Larry Moss. Imagine an FBI version of Ryan Chappelle, and you'll have a fair idea on why he's not too likable.
Sandra Palmer just wasn't lucky compared to either of her brothers. Fans ultimately found her to be far too preachy for their liking, which more than likely was what led to her ultimately making only a handful of appearances.
A lot of fans didn't like Wayne Palmer in Season 6 for one of two reasons (and for some, both reasons). Some fans didn't like that he wasn't the shady, albeit caring Anti-Hero from Season 3 who was willing to bend a few rules and cross a few lines in order to get things done. Others felt that he suffered from Badass Decay when compared to Season 5, where he not only Took a Level in Badass and helped Jack on his quest to uncover the conspiracy, but also figured out that Evelyn Martin knew who the true Big Bad was.
Alan Wilson, The Chessmaster in Season 7. He is by far the least developed, boring villain in this season. Even Cara Bowden, who was Wilson's Dragon, and General Juma, who was only in three episodes, were far more interesting than Alan Wilson was. Out of the four major villains in this season (Ike Dubaku, Jonas Hodges, Tony Almeida, and General Juma), in the end, the fifth and final villain turns out to be...a bald guy in a suit.
Wilson is also seen as a Replacement Scrappy to Hodges due to the fact that the show had been building Jonas Hodges up as the main villain of Season 7 up for the past year. Thanks to his appearances in "Redemption" his shadow was looming over everything even before he showed up properly in the series, and when he did finally show up he was quickly able to win over the fanbase with how hammy and affable he could be. That alone pretty much ensured Wilson wouldn't be all that popular the second he suddenly appeared out of nowhere to take Hodge's place as the real mastermind so late in the season.
Even worse in the season finale they have Tony reveal that he was The Man Behind the Man to Charles Logan, who was pretty much the most famous and arguably the most popularBig Bad of the series. They had already tried this with Jack's father and brother but as that didn't work out they were Killed Off for Real and never mentioned again, with Logan getting sole credit as the mastermind of Day 5's conspiracy at the start of Day 7....only for them to do it again with the even less popular/more hated Wilson in the finale out of the blue. It seemed they intended on making Wilson the ultimate Bigger Bad of the entire series, yet they have him come completely out of nowhere with little to no foreshadowing with the even bigger reveal equally coming out of nowhere, make him as bland, boring, and uninteresting as possible, and his actor gave an extremely poor Dull Surprise performance that screamed They Just Didn't Care, and finally explicitly claimed two highly popular Big Bads were merely his pawns. Then the season ends with the implication that Wilson will be a Karma Houdini with the intention of him returning as the Big Bad of a future season, likely the final one. They even reference him a couple of times in season 8. However likely because of his Scrappy status they stopped mentioning him, and instead Charles Logan was brought back as the Big Bad of the final season via Hijacked by Ganon with no mention of Wilson. Word of God also revealed after the series ended that Wilson actually did face justice along with the rest of his group following Day 7.
Olivia Taylor quickly earned herself a hatedom after mending bridges with her mother for more or less being an ungrateful brat only to quickly reveal her real colors as a complete Manipulative Bitch. Her Genre Blindness when dealing with the Jonas Hodges affair at the end of the season just cemented things.
Mark Boudreau from Live Another Day started off tolerable as the typical Hero Antagonist who in this case had some very good reasons to think Jack was up to no good. But then he continued working against Jack after the real situation became clear for a quite astoundingly petty reason (basically, Jack makes him feel like he has a small penis), and quickly became insufferable.
Seasonal Rot: Seasons 4 and 8 are base breakers, though season 6 is unanimously hated by the fans, thanks to the show's colossal drop in quality after the critically acclaimed season 5. Even the writers don't look back at season 6 with much optimism, and blamed the lack of a central plan or theme as a reason for the narrative shortcomings. Season 7, for better or worse, turned things back around, though that one itself can be touchy to some people.
24 is known for its HSQ inducing twists and occasionally out-of-field subplots, but during season six, when it revealed that season five villain dubbed Bluetooth was suddenly Jack's brother, Graem Bauer, it threw off the fanbase to such baffling proportions that was never seen again. Even with the show's crazy logistics and fast paced events, this was a twist too far. And this is coming one season after an ex-President got gunned down by a sniper and another President was involved in the terrorist plot...
The series finale revealing that The Man Behind the Man behind the Russian terrorists was actually Yuri Suvarov, a character that showed no previous connections to any terrorist group. In fact, despite his political connections to Charles Logan, he came off as an overall decent guy who opposed the Russian terrorists in both seasons five AND six. Suvarov suddenly switching sides so close to the show's end felt like an extraordinary Ass Pull.
This is usually the case whenever the show uses CGI, especially for explosions.
"Day 1: 6am - 7am" features very dim picture quality during the scene where Jack is driving to CTU. It's pretty obvious the scene was filmed in the middle of the day, with the video's brightness turned down in order to (poorly) simulate the early morning.
Spoiled by the Format: Due to 24's tendency to end every episode on a cliffhanger, if a scene appears near the end of the episode, (usually the one after the split screen) you know that something bad is about to happen. This is especially true as the season is drawing to a close. For example in Live Another Day when Audrey goes to talk to the daughter of the Chinese consulate, you know that it isn't going to end well, because it's the near the end of the penultimate episode. However, even though you know that something bad will happen, sometimes you don't know what, which still creates some great suspense.
Strawman Has a Point: Gen. David Bruckner and Rob Weiss go behind the president's back and turn president Hassan over to the terrorists in order to stop them from setting off a nuclear bomb in New York. Their justification is that they did what they had to in order to protect the United States. Accusations that it wasn't their call to make and that they betrayed both their president and their country fall flat when their actions kept a nuclear bomb that was 7 seconds away from detonating from going off. Also notable in that this is the very same reasoning- the defence of innocent Americans trumping moral principles and established authority- that Jack Bauer has used to justify defying orders countless times in the past.
However, this may be due to a bit of hindsight: There was no indication the terrorist would really stick to his word and stop the bomb. Such villains on this show are rare.
The only thing that matters here is what actually happened. President Taylor's decision would have gotten New York City nuked had the conspirators not intervened.
Then there's the fact that neither President Taylor nor Gen. Bruckner & Weiss told President Hassan about this (though in President Taylor's case she deliberately avoided that), and President Hassan was more than willing to give himself up when he realized the gravity of the situation. Them deciding not to/forgetting to tell him actually mean that several soldiers and secret service agents died for no reason, and ruined any chance to save Hassan. So it comes across that they are both in the wrong, or at least in how they went about it.
The Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: anyone who has ever came out against this in any context is either a tyrannical, authority figure with no third option to bring the terrorists down sans torture or an unwitting pawn of those same terrorists. Senator Mayer was the most reasonable objector but was still portrayed as naive about what it takes to get the job done. It doesn't help that 24 justifies the use of torture as an absolute necessity via the "Ticking clock scenario" that some who support enhanced interrogations in Real Life think is just as much of an everyday occurrence as in 24.
Similarly, one time one of Jack's prisoners had a lawyer come in. Even though it's easy to sympathize with Jack since they are working against a clock and we know that he's a terrorist, he still has the right to an attorney and due process until he is proven guilty in a court of law, making Jack's "How do you sleep at night?" comment come across as anarchical and petty.
Jack's verbal beatdown of Janis late in Day 7 was pretty much this. Let's just say that him telling her to shut up for once made a lot of fans pretty happy.
Erika getting shot in the gut by Sean, who was ironically the man she was having an affair with.
Not too many fans were upset when Marianne Taylor got shot to death by her own employers. Even Curtis barely raised an eyebrow.
Even Edgar stated that she deserved an even worse fate than what she went through. Granted, he had just gone through some traumatic events recently, but his attitude about her more or less reflected the audience's views.
Admit it: you were happy when Jack choked the hell out of Dr. Barry Landes after he pried into his personal life too much.
Quite a number of fans couldn't help but nod in agreement when Jack angrily called Mark Boudreau an "idiot" for forging the President's signature and helping the Russians to impede Jack's duties.
In the third season, Tony getting fed up and bluntly telling Chloe that he was sick of her behavior served as this while she was still in Scrappy territory.
Regardless of feelings on Season 7, most fans have agreed that Jonas Hodges getting sidelined and then later blown up in favor of Alan Wilson wasn't the best of choices.
Hamri Al-Assad. A very interesting and complex badass who could have played a bigger overall role in Season 6 and whose character study could have given the story much more depth and substance...had he not been unceremoniously killed less than halfway through the season and reduced to little more than someone else's patsy.
Some people feel this way about Belcheck. During Live Another Day he has an undying loyalty for Jack, just as loyal as Chloe is, and was pretty badass when he was in action. And yet he only appeared in 9 of the 12 episodes, and most of the time he was just standing around not really doing anything. And other than an off-hand remark about him being part of a Serbian crime group, and the fact that Jack saved his life once, we know nothing about his backstory. Many fans feel that if the show continues, that his character needs to be explored.
The early episodes of season 1 make it perfectly clear that CTU is behind the Palmer assassination, and that Jack is being targeted because he busted several of his corrupt fellow agents. After episode 7, though, that whole angle is droppednote probably because of solidarity after 9/11 and the villains are revealed to actually be Serbian warlords.
In the season 1 finale, it was revealed Nina Myers was working for....someone. Even though she reappeared twice, it's never explained why she was a mole or who she was working with. A foreign government? Terrorists?note A non-canon deleted scene from season 2 reveals she's working with the villain. Some kind of rent-a-mole dispatch office?
Season 2 ended on an incredible cliffhanger and the reveal of The Man Behind the Man...season 3 revealed that it had been resolved off-screen (later revealed to be the video game, but even that was arguably a little lackluster), and another one of the Season 2 masterminds (Alexander Trepkos) was never heard of again.
In season 3, Nina Myers comes back, working for some vague, unspecified group. Not only is it never revealed who they are, what they want, or whether it's the same group as in season 1, but Jack blithely doesn't ask her anything at all about it.
In season 4, the "corrupt defense contractor selling weapons to terrorists" plotline is abruptly dropped after episode 13, right as the show was getting into full-on conspiracy mode. Seems like someone at FOX didn't like where it was heading....
Season 5 ends with Jack being abducted and shipped away by the Chinese government. Come Season 6 and...Jack is returned to the US in the first ten minutes, and the story moves on to an unrelated terrorist threat. Although the Chinese do reappear later on, most fans agree that that storyline is a weak shadow of what could have been.
The fourth episode of Season 6 concludes with the detonation of a nuclear weapon in Los Angeles as Jack severs his ties with CTU in the midst of a severe Heroic BSOD, displaying a drastic shift in the status quo. Within ten minutes of the next episode Jack snaps back into his usual mode and within the space of a couple hours the entire population of LA has seemingly forgotten about a nuclear attack that happened just miles away while the Bauer family Plot Tumor takes over the season.
In the middle of season 7, Jack was set up for the deaths of two government officials, with the law falsely believing that he was attempting to avenge Bill's death and taking it out on anyone potentially involved. Jack also couldn't bring the guy who really committed the murders in to clear his name because he'd been attacked by and forced to kill him in self defense. Believing that Jack had crossed the line, the order was put out to shoot him on sight because he was too dangerous to be left alive. Although Jack being framed and wanted by the authorities was nothing new, being wanted dead or alive certainly was; before this whenever he was set up the law would just try to detain him. However, this potentially interesting spin on an old arc was quickly killed since the following episode after that cliffhanger then almost immediately had the FBI discover the existence of the real killer and learn that Jack really was framed, leading to him working with them once again before the hour was even halfway over, and making the previous two episodes that had been building this plot up completely pointless.
Season 7 revealed that the ultimate Man Behind the Man was some guy named Alan Wilson and The Omniscient Council of Vagueness, though said Council may or may not be a Karma Houdini as they, too, are not heard from again, while Wilson only gets a brief mention in season 8. Most seasons prior to that had various cases of government corruption and internal conspiracies (such as attempts to kill the President) that alluded to masterminds who went unpunished, and Graem Bauer alluded to involvement in previous stories (saying that he ordered the hit on David Palmer and Jack in season 5, and that his hit on Jack was not the first). Wilson is presumably meant to be the ultimate villain behind all of this, but while the conspiracy itself wasn't exactly an Ass Pull and a fair amount of groundwork (possibly unintentional, but still), the identity of the villain certainly was.
And Season 8 forgets all about this plot that interconnected the previous seasons and instead goes for a brand new storyline that ends up with Middle Eastern terrorists....with nuclear weapons...again.
Took The Bad Season Seriously: In lesser seasons, one could argue that Kiefer Sutherland is this trope. Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker, in a review for the series finale, praised Sutherland's acting in the series as a whole, saying that even when the show got ridiculous and absurd, Sutherland's acting remained engaging and believable.
Cherry Jones (Allison Taylor) got similar praise from fans; while rage about Allison's storyline ranged far and wide, most fans agreed that Cherry did the best she could with what she was given, and her best is fairly awesome.
Tough Act to Follow: Season 5 received critical acclaim, record viewership, and the Emmy for Best Drama. What followed was a widely panned sixth season and an era of declining popularity, all overshadowed by the former glory of Season 5.
"You CAN'T end it there": The Cliff Hanger is the show's stock in trade.
"Just do what he says!": You would think that after 7 seasons of saving the country more times than everyone in the Justice League combined, people would listen to Jack Bauer. Alas, some folks are Too Dumb to Live.
There used to be a Jack Bauer Fact that said "If everyone on 24 actually did what Jack said, the name of the show would be 12."
* Scoff* "Yeah, right. Go ahead and believe that...." - Characters say things that are obvious B.S. like, "We will catch Bauer", or "Everything is going according to plan", or "Jack will talk". The audience knows no such damn thing will happen.
"But there're still 6 episodes left." - Characters always say, "thank GOD it's over..." in the middle of the season. It almost makes you wonder to yourself who's smoking what.
We're Still Relevant, Dammit: The show was first created at a time when doing such a heavily serialized story on television was still quite innovative. As this became the norm over the course of its run it occasionally seemed quite desperate to keep itself relevant, with a special standout being turning Chloe into a Lisbeth Salander clone in Live Another Day.
What an Idiot: When David Palmer's campaign goes south in season 3, he trusts his wife to help him despite her trying to sabotage him in the last two seasons.
Suvarov ordering Renee's assassination in Season 8. A quick check should have shown how well being on the receiving end of a Jack Bauer Roaring Rampage of Revenge works out.
Cole threatening to "put Jack down" if he doesn't surrender after going rogue.
Olivia Taylor puts a hit on Jonas Hodges but decides to call it off. She's too late and Hodges is killed. The part that qualifies her as an idiot for this was she actually didn't even believe that the assassin was going to carry it out.
She's also an idiot for deciding to cover it up. If she hadn't paid the assassin she could've turned herself in and used that as evidence that she had wanted to call it off, and as a result gotten a much lighter sentencing or even got no prison time.
Simone Al-Harazi has, under her mother's orders, already had one of her own fingers sliced off, and watched as she ordered the death of her sister-in-law and niece even though they posed no threat whatsoever to spoiling their plan. So when she winds up wounded and in hospitalized forcing Margot to order her death to keep her quiet, she's still refusing to help at all and under the belief that her mother wouldn't try to hurt her. Jack actually says "screw it" at one point and is perfectly willing to let her die in the hospital when the drones Margot hijacked is ready to blow it up, quickly causing Simone to change her attitude and beg him to come back.
Freddie Prinze Jr.'s announcement as a regular for Season 8 was met with similar confusion and jokes alike.
As Season 8 went on, his casting was viewed in a more favorable light though.
Similarly, Katee Sackhoff being cast as an office drone seemed strange, with some viewers suggesting that maybe she and Prinze (who was playing a badass field agent) should switch jobs. Once she was revealed as a double agent the casting seemed to make more sense.
Stephen Fry as the British Prime Minister in Live Another Day. Which wasn't helped by his being given very little to do.