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BEWARE OF SPOILERS. Due to the nature of the show, with its many Walking Spoiler characters, twists, and turns, the only spoilers whited out are those for the current season "24: Live Another Day". Proceed with caution!

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President of the United States

    David Palmer 

David Palmer

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Palmer_David_111.jpg
"Jack, you saved my life. I trust you as much as I trust anybody. And now I need your help."
Played By: Dennis Haysbert

"If this is what the people are going to be watching, let's show them how we're going to respond. I want them to see how we protect our citizens. We will not put up with racism or xenophobia. If this is where it's going to start, this is where it's going to stop."

A Democratic senator from Maryland, and later the first African-American President of the United States of America. David Palmer built his political career on integrity, honesty, commitment, honor, and a deep concern about the welfare of the American people.

On Day 5, David Palmer was assassinated by Conrad Haas, a hired gunman, to prevent him from exposing a conspiracy within the U.S. government. He was 55 years old.

  • Badass Baritone: Due to Dennis Haysbert's deep, reassuring voice.
  • Badass Boast: Makes one to Mike Novick and then one to his cabinet.
    Palmer: I'm the president, Mike. You don't get to call me by my first name.
    Palmer: Take a good look. Do I seem scared? Am I breaking into a nervous sweat? Am I babbling? At a loss for words? Is my voice shaking?
  • Black Leader Guy: He's the president; he's the ultimate leader guy.
  • Being Evil Sucks: He found out the hard way in Season 3. He got Sherry to help him with Alan Milliken. This action causes the deaths of four people by the end of the day.
  • Benevolent Boss: Palmer is kind and considerate of his colleagues and subordinates.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Despite his affable nature and gentle voice, Palmer is no pushover and will make the hard decision when he has to. Cross him at your own peril.
    • During season 1, Jack pleads with Palmer to pretend he is deceased after an assassination attempt, as the culprit will kill Kim if he discovers Palmer's not dead. Palmer accepts these terms. When Sherry leaks it to the press that Palmer is still alive, he utterly loses his shit, knowing that Kim might end up dead because of it. It angers him so much that he cuts off all ties with Sherry by the end of the episode.
  • Big Good: Until his death.
  • Black Dude Dies First: In the first season, the fear of this trope is lampshaded by more or less everybody. It's ultimately subverted. He lives for four whole seasons and a bit of the fifth before he's finally killed off; and even then, the lessons that he's taught those he was close to linger for years to come.
  • Broken Ace: Everybody loves David Palmer. What they don't see is his ruthlessness he hides behind his amiable manner. That's why he and Jack Bauer get along so well, because they're the same.
  • Demoted to Extra: He is arguably the second most important character in the first three seasons, but is only in the last six episodes of Day 4. And on Day 5 he is killed only minutes into the premiere.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Day 3 really pushes him over the edge, what with being forced to order the execution of Ryan Chappelle and finding out that his bitch of an ex-wife, who he still loved in a way, was killed. He drops out of the presidential race as a result.
  • Determinator / Made of Iron: Survives a couple of assassination attempts with nothing but luck and sheer bloody-mindedness.
  • Good Is Not Soft: He's easily the most upstanding President on the show, bordering on being an All-Loving Hero, but he does not hesitate to use extreme measures to protect the country. That said, Palmer doesn't shy away from taking responsibility for his orders, either.
  • Handicapped Badass: In the video game. Even though he's that he's still recovering from Mandy's attempt on his life and his body is so weak that he's currently wheel-chair bound, he steps back into command after Acting President Prescott is taken out of action from a terrorist hit in order to keep the country from falling into disarray.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason the Sentox conspirators orders his death.
  • Honest Advisor: Palmer becomes one for Charles Logan during Day 4.
  • Honor Before Reason: A Reconstruction, his combination of honor and good sense makes it so he earns the loyalty of capable men. One of those men being Jack Bauer.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: He never makes the full leap, but Day 3 especially seems to turn the entire world against him and try to force him to make some really bad (in every sense of the word) decisions. He decides to walk away from office rather than let things escalate.
  • Large and in Charge: He's 6"5" and definitely in charge.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In some ways he and his brother Wayne become expies of Jack and Bobby Kennedy, with David being more like JFK and Wayne being more like RFK: Two brothers—one calm, the other temperamental—who work closely together on policy and both ran for President. (And both targeted by assassins.
  • No Party Given: Averted. Sherry offhandedly identifies him as a Democrat on Day 1. He's the only president in the series whose party affiliation is specified, though there's plenty of Fanon regarding his successors' affiliations.
  • Not So Different: Tough as nails, honorable but ruthless, a quick and decisive decision-maker, is mentioned to have "the patience of Job" and struggles to juggle his personal life and being a good father. Jack or David?
  • Papa Wolf: Proudly serves as a Papa Wolf figure for the entire American population; and of course, don't ever, ever threaten his daughter Nicole or his son Keith. You will deeply regret it.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Target, Personable, Iron and Minority.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Palmer is a pretty great president, and rarely allows his personal feelings to come first when it comes to doing the job.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Although he's killed in just the second scene of Day 5's premiere, the impact of his death is felt through the remainder of the season.
  • Scars Are Forever: The poisonous injection Mandy sends into the palm of his hand at the end of the second season permanently scars it, and for the rest of his appearances, whenever there's a clear shot of his inner palm, it can clearly be seen.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: He barely gets a line of dialogue in the opening of Day 5 when he's very suddenly shot by a sniper out of absolutely nowhere.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: His involvement in the events of season 4 are swept under the rug and he leaves the White House through the backdoor. Charles Logan takes all the credit.

    Jim Prescott 

James "Jim" Prescott

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Prescott_James_4132.jpg
"Everybody is sure, Mr. President. Everybody but you."
Played By: Alan Dale

Vice President of the United States of America under President David Palmer.

  • The Atoner: Becomes this eventually; he's genuinely sorry for trying to overthrow David Palmer and offers his resignation.
  • Cool Old Guy: He might be something of an antagonist, but Prescott is still an honorable man with the best of intentions who is unafraid to do what he feels is necessary.
  • Hero Antagonist: To David Palmer. Prescott is genuine in his intent and is only antagonistic because he was fooled by falsified evidence.
  • Honor Before Reason: When the forgery is discovered and Prescott realizes that Palmer was right all along, he's ashamed that he was fooled and offers his resignation to Palmer in an act of contrition.
  • Irony: At the end of Day 2, he becomes Acting President after returning power to President Palmer only minutes before. Also there's his rise and fall from power. He becomes Acting President because Palmer is injured in an assassination attempt, in The Game Palmer resumes office after Prescott is injured in an assassination attempt.
  • The Starscream: During Day 2, he and a few others, concerned about the course Palmer takes, plan to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Prescott doesn't become The Starscream out of a lust for power; he's genuinely concerned about the direction of the country under Palmer's leadership.

    John Keeler 

John Keeler

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Keeler_John_1718.JPG
"I'm offering you the chance to leave office with honor, to control how your legacy is written."
Played By: Geoff Pierson

The President of the United States after David Palmer dropped out of the election. He was succeeded by his Vice President, Charles Logan, when an assassination attempt left him incapacitated on Day 4. He had one son, Kevin Keeler, who died from the attack on Air Force One.

  • Ambition Is Evil: Played with. While he's prepared to do some nasty things in order to get the presidency, such as smearing Palmer and attempting to blackmail him into resigning the presidency, much of the stuff that Palmer himself does during Day 3 is actually worse than anything Keeler ever does.
  • Blackmail: How he tried to achieve the presidency. It becomes unnecessary when Palmer's own actions cause him to drop out the race.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Keeler keeps his composure until the moment a missile hits the plane.
  • Honor Before Reason: On Day 4 when CTU warns him that the terrorists have access to a stealth fighter and are targeting Air Force One. The smart thing to do would be either land immediately or get as far away from LA airspace as possible. Instead President Keeler remains determined to land in LA and give a speech. Guess what happens?
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Picking Charles Logan as his running mate. Then again, Logan fooled everyone.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As oily as the motive behind it is, Keeler saying that Palmer should resign from office for covering for Sherry isn't unreasonable. Palmer did commit a crime by lying to the police. The Constitution makes it pretty clear that's an impeachable offense.
  • Out of Focus: Compared to the other onscreen U.S. Presidents, he doesn't have any key storyline and is mainly there to go over the situation with the others. Then he gets taken out halfway through the season. He's also notably notable for being the only starting President to not be part of the show's regular cast.
  • Pet the Dog: He lets Palmer know in confidence that he has evidence Sherry is a murderer and that Palmer covered for her, something that, if made public, would ruin Palmer's legacy. Keeler then offers to let Palmer quietly resign rather than face public impeachment.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: During Day 4, he proves to be a fairly level-headed president and gets most of the key decisions right prior to his plane being shot down.
  • The Rival: To David Palmer.
  • Uncertain Doom: Like Wayne Palmer later in the show, an assassination attempt on him left him in critical condition, never to be mentioned again, resulting in Charles Logan being sworn in as president and being pretty much the worst president ever. Not helped by different Gods giving conflicting information, some saying he's dead, while others say he's alive.

    Charles Logan 

Charles Logan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Logan_Charles_4889.jpg
"I suppose if you hurt me enough Jack, I'll say whatever you want. But that won't make it the truth."
Played By: Gregory Itzin

"It's all gone wrong, none of this should have happened. All of these killings... This whole thing was planned to make our country safer, stronger."

Vice President of the United States during the administration of President John Keeler. He became President pursuant to the 25th Amendment after Keeler was grievously wounded when Air Force One crashed during Day 4.

Beholden to a highly secretive corporate cabal inside BXJ Technologies, President Logan sponsored the Sentox nerve gas conspiracy with the intent to acquire more oil for America from Central Asia. Among the actions he supported was the selling of Sentox nerve gas to terrorists and the assassination of Former President David Palmer.

  • Abusive Parents: Not him personally, but according to the backstory Itzin created for the character Logan suffered at the hands of an abusive father. This is referenced when Logan points out that he's stronger than Walt Cummings at resisting torture and later when he warns Martha that she doesn't know what pain really is.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Jack Bauer. He and Nina Myers share this role for the series, though Logan appears more frequently and is the actual Big Bad. It's taken Up to Eleven in the Series Finale, when Logan shows just how much he HATES Jack Bauer by trying to commit suicide just to make sure Jack Bauer dies along with him. Of course, this final act fails as both survive, though Logan probably wished he hadn't.
  • The Atoner: Logan briefly attempted this during Day 6, and was actually genuine. Unfortunately, it didn't take.
  • Bad Boss: To both Mooks and innocents. He even murders his right-hand man Jason Pillar seemingly out of frustration.
  • Bastardly Speech: He delivers a eulogy for David Palmer and is promptly arrested afterwards when his role in Palmer's assassination, among others things, is finally exposed.
  • Beard of Evil: Inverted; he has a beard in Season 6, the only season where he's truly one of the good guys, and is clean-shaven in all his other appearances.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Probably one of the biggest examples in the series. Logan appears ineffectual, cowardly and actually pretty funny in his incompetence. The truth is that he's an incredibly dangerous man.
  • Big Bad: Repeatedly. Probably the closest to an overall series Big Bad, given his aforementioned Arch-Enemy status and the fact he's the most reoccuring both episode and season wise.
  • Breakout Villain: Logan at first merely seemed like a cowardly President Buffoon, only to be revealed as President Evil and the Big Bad of Day 5. He became arguably the most popular and most well-known villain from the show, and became one of the series' primary antagonists, even hijacking the final season.
  • Consummate Liar: A world class one. Considering who he is based upon, makes sense.
  • The Corrupter: He's directly responsible for luring President Taylor into abandoning her ideals, for a plot that he hoped would end with himself looking like a hero. His actions throughout the series also indirectly contributed to the Face Heel Turns of Tony and Jack, and he's possibly responsible for Suvarov's as well by allowing his failed assassination to be carried out in Day 5. One way or another, this man truly does bring out the worst in everybody.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He seems like an out of his depth Vice-President Who? in his first appearances, but he's far more dangerous than it appears. Notably, he's one of the few people who withstands being interrogated by Jack Bauer.
  • Driven to Suicide: in the series finale, although it was mentioned that paramedics might be able to save him, he would at best have permanent brain damage. He originally intended this in Season 5 as well, before Miles calls to help Logan destroy CTU's only piece of evidence against him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Played with. Throughout Day 5, there are points where he seems to generally care for Martha and her opinion of him. However, he ultimately averts it in the season finale by threatening to drug her until she forgets her own name should she interfere with his plans again. However, he does appear regretful for his actions in Day 6, and after getting stabbed by her, his last line before flatlining is to utter her name in a weak, saddened tone.
  • Evil Counterpart: To David Palmer.
  • Evil Is Petty: He demands that a Secret Service agent be kicked off his detail because the guy didn't smile back when Logan greeted him.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Logan's act of recommissioning Jack to stop Bierko and his men was at least genuine, but it was mainly to clean up the mess he secretly started. Too bad for him Jack was a bit too effective and kept digging for information, eventually discovering his own involvement in the whole Sentox mess.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: There's some subtle hints that he was extremely jealous of the respect that David Palmer commanded during their interaction on Day 4.
  • Hate Sink: If all of his lying, cover-ups, murders, spinelessness and hypocrisy won't piss you off, his treatment of his wife will.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: In Day 4, he starts out as a good guy (albeit a very inept and unlikable one). In Day 5, he becomes a villain. In Day 6, he seeks redemption by helping the good guys. During Day 8, he's a villain once again. Justified, since the villains of Days 4 and 6 are terrorists attacking the US, while in 5 and 8, Logan takes initiative to do what he thinks is best for the country.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Day 6, but it doesn't take.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: He is the one responsible for the cover-up conspiracy that forces Jack to go on his bloodthirsty rampage.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: How he justifies his actions in Day 5, most notably to his wife.
  • Joker Immunity: Interesting variation, as it wasn't due to him being a major villain, but him being the President which had him survive season 5, only being exposed and arrested, though it was played straight since he only got house arrest, leading to him being able to appear on Day 6. Invoked by Word of God after fans were pissed over his storyline ending with his fate unclear, thus he got better as well as pardoned of his crimes, and eventually returned in season 8 to antagonize Jack once more. Interestingly, it's not revoked in the series finale when he shoots himself in the head, though he possibly suffered brain damage.
  • Karma Houdini: He never receives any sort of actual punishment for any of his crimes. The worst thing he received was being forced to quietly resign his presidency and be placed under house arrest in his giant ranch where he lived a comfortable lifestyle compared to Jack's imprisonment in China. Allison Taylor was going to expose his crimes, but he managed to put a bullet through his head before the Secret Service could arrest him, so he'll never be sent to trial. Though, considering the state his suicide attempt left him in, this may actually be subverted.
  • Mole in Charge: The President of the United States turns out to be complicit in the Sentox Conspiracy.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Before his role in Day 5 was revealed, he came across as ineffective and unsuited to his office. Kiefer Sutherland confirmed in an interview that this was mostly an act. Itzin, on the other hand, claims that it was Enforced Method Acting: he played Logan as a well-meaning, if bumbling, good guy, because he did not know he was a bad guy until receiving the script with The Reveal in it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Oh. Dear. Golly. Anton Beresch, the ringleader of the Russian terrorist group attacking the airport, is merely an underling of terrorist leader Ivan Erwich, who is himself an underling of the group's true mastermind, Vladimir Bierko. Bierko is merely the pawn of Christopher Henderson, who is himself Logan's Dragon. Logan also hijacks the Russian government by blackmailing them and manipulates Taylor into throwing away her beliefs in order to try and repair his image. He manages to do all of this despite initially having nothing to do with the season.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Logan successfully manipulated the entire country.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction after realizing he pretty much let Marwan go free on Day 4.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: His appearance, awkwardness, criminal activities, and foreign policy success (i.e. the Russian treaty) all mark him as an Expy of Richard Nixon.
  • Oh, Crap!: "THAT'S JACK BAUER!!"
  • President Evil: He was the most powerful man in the free world, and also responsible for thousands of deaths.
  • Redemption Rejection: He tries to reform himself during Season 6... which leads to him being stabbed and nearly killed by his ex-wife. No wonder he turned evil again for Day 8.
  • Taking You with Me: Does this to his Dragon, Jason Pillar, and tries to do it to Jack, in the series finale.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Getting stabbed by his ex-wife while he was trying to atone for his actions shifted him from being a Well-Intentioned Extremist: into a straight up evil bastard.
  • The Bus Came Back: Last we saw Logan in season 6, he was stabbed by his ex-wife. He is fully recovered by season 8.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Logan's had a few of these, though the most notable one was in the series finale, in which once he realizes Jack has thwarted his plans once more, he murders his own Dragon and attempts to commit suicide just to make sure that Jack would still be executed on his orders.
    Logan: This was my last chance, and Bauer took it away. It's come to this because of him.
  • Villain Protagonist: Was a main cast member in Day 5, which he was the Big Bad of. While he wasn't the only antagonist to be one, he's the only actual Big Bad to also be a Villain Protagonist, especially in Day 5, where he played both.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Logan's goal seems to be getting the public to view him as one of the great US Presidents, despite him actually being the worst. Even after he was arrested and removed from office, the public was unaware of his villainous actions. In the series finale, it becomes clear that Logan will finally be exposed as the villain he truly is, which causes him to snap.
  • Walking Spoiler
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In Day 5. Not so much in Day 8.
  • Wham Episode: When Itzin doesn't know he's a playing a bad guy, you can bet that the audience had no idea.
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    Hal Gardner 

Hal Gardner

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/halgardner2.jpg
Played By: Ray Wise

"Don't worry, Mr. President. I'm in control of the situation."

Vice President after Charles Logan became President following the attack on Air Force One that incapacited John Keeler.

  • Jerkass: Has a very abrasive personality, tries to bully Logan into making important decisions, and also advocates imposing martial law on Los Angeles.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Show himself to be this when Wayne Palmer shows up at Logan's retreat and unwittingly bumps into Gardner, who is genuinely humbled to see him and speaks at length about his admiration for David Palmer. This is the first clue that he's not the actual bad guy.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever it was he did in Chicago at the WTO that reflected badly on Pres. Logan.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He apparently never followed through with his plan of firing Bill Buchanan as director of CTU Los Angeles after becoming president.
  • Red Herring: Both in and out of universe; Bauer and Aaron Pierce suspect him of being behind the terrorists.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: Outwardly charming but is suspected to be The Starscream. It turns out that Gardner really is a reasonable, well-meaning man, who unfortunately serves under a lunatic.
  • Unwitting Pawn: While Logan never actually does anything to directly implicate Gardner for his own crimes, he no doubt chose Gardner as Vice President due to the fact that his personality and political views would serve to divert suspicion away from Logan himself.
  • You Are in Command Now: We don't actually see him as President on-screen, but Word of God confirmed that he took over after Logan resigned, and served out the rest of his term before losing, ironically enough, to Wayne Palmer in the next election.

    Wayne Palmer 

Wayne Palmer

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/palmer_wayne_3131.jpg
"...I'm starting to wonder if I'm the right person to lead this country."
Played By: DB Woodside

The brother of President David Palmer and lawyer Sandra Palmer. He served as David's White House Chief of Staff following Mike Novick's dismissal. By Day 6, he had been elected President of the United States.

  • Hot-Blooded: He's much more prone to anger than his brother. Wayne mellows out a little more after becoming President.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In some ways he and his brother David become expies of Jack and Bobby Kennedy, with David being more like JFK and Wayne being more like RFK: Two brothers—one calm, the other temperamental—who work closely together on policy and both ran for President. (And both targeted by assassins.
  • Number Two: To his brother, David Palmer. Wayne was his Chief of Staff.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: President Action, Target and Minority. Our presidents kill conspiracy enforcers who helped kill his brother.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite the influence of Tom Lennox, he manages to be this after becoming President.
  • Uncertain Doom: While a newspaper from Redemption suggests that Wayne died as a result of complications from the attack, Word of God states that he believes Wayne is alive. However, like with Keeler, there conflicting Gods who have said Palmer died from his injuries.

    Noah Daniels 

Noah Daniels

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/daniels_noah_9552.jpg
"Nothing about this job lends itself to simple answers, just... jagged edges and moving parts. Most you won't see even coming till they've smacked you in the head."
Played By: Powers Boothe

The Vice President of the United States in the administration of President Wayne Palmer. He became the President of the United States under the provisions of the 25th Amendment due to President Palmer's incapacitation from aftereffects of an attempt on his life. He completed Palmer's term, but lost his bid for re-election to Senator Allison Taylor. His wife, Nancy Daniels, was deceased.

  • Badass Baritone: Since he's played by Powers Boothe, he has a very deep, intimidating voice.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He spends a good portion of Day 6 plotting to steal the presidency from Wayne Palmer, only to find out the job really just sucks.
  • Character Development: Daniels goes through a lot of this, changing from a ruthless, power-hungry conservative to someone much more level-headed and cautious.
  • Dirty Old Man: Describes himself as this when it's revealed he's been having an affair with his assistant Lisa.
  • The Extremist Was Right: His plan of nuking Assad's home country turns out to be the exact thing that was needed to get its prime minister working with U.S. intelligence to stop further attacks. Thankfully, Wayne Palmer faked the nuclear strike, which wasn't part of the original plan.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: His chief of staff was cheating on him with a Russian spy, he kept Jonas Hodges as a close advisor in his administration, and he thought pardoning Charles Logan was a good idea.
  • Hot-Blooded: This is Powers Boothe, after-all. Hotblooded characters is what he is known for, and Daniels was no exception. However, during the course of Day 6, he changed considerably from when he first appeared to Redemption, where he is more or less cooled down when transferring presidency over to Taylor.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He forces a vote on the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, saying that Palmer isn't ready to resume the presidency yet. He's proven right hours later when Palmer collapses and possibly dies from his wounds.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Daniels is a Hot-Blooded ambitious man who can be seriously intimidating. At the end of the day, however, he shows a much softer side.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Daniels correctly pointed out that Karen Hayes' vote to keep Wayne Palmer in office as president is invalid. However, his reason that she had resigned earlier in the day would take lesser precedence over the fact that as National Security Adviser, Hayes shouldn't even get a vote at all. Only Cabinet secretaries would get a vote according to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.
  • The Starscream: To Wayne Palmer. He wants to be President, and he's willing to push moral and legal boundaries to achieve this.
  • True Companions: Seems to share this relationship with Tom Lennox after the events of Day 6, with the latter serving as a greatly needed Honest Advisor. At the very least, they serve together for the rest of Daniels' term, which would've taken up all but the first 4 months of Wayne Palmer's presidency.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His pardoning of Charles Logan resulted in a whole mess of trouble on Day 8.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: During his vice presidency he supported indefinite detention of Muslim-Americans, martial law, and using nukes to retaliate for the destruction of Valencia. Succeeding to the Oval Office and actually having to deal with the ramifications causes him to mellow out.

    Allison Taylor 

Allison Taylor

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Taylor_Allison_8796.jpg
"How can I ask the American people to make sacrifices I'm not willing to take myself?"
Played By: Cherry Jones

A United States Senator, and the first female President of the United States. Taylor had to face tough decisions throughout Day 7 which, whilst resulting in the death of innocent American lives, proved herself as a President unwilling to cave to terrorist demands. During her Presidency, she had to deal with many difficult situations and by the end of Day 7 was left with a murdered son, incarcerated daughter, and a husband who had been shot and who could not forgive her for her actions which resulted in the dire situations of their children.

  • Big Good: During Day 7 and 8, aside from her Face–Heel Turn period in the latter.
  • Break the Cutie: The end of Day 7; she's forced to have her daughter arrested, and her husband divorces her as a result.
  • Broken Pedestal: Winds up becoming this to Ethan Kanin, which is why he makes his exit. To Jack as well since it's the final straw that kicks off his rampage, but he does regain some respect for her after learning what she did in the finale.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Former President Logan does this to her in Day 8, luring President Taylor away from her ideals... with utterly disastrous results for everyone. Eventually results in Taylor having a My God, What Have I Done? moment towards the end, and ultimately choosing to face the consequences of her actions, fully aware that it will mean the end of her career. (Meanwhile, Logan attempts to take the cowardly way out and shoots himself in the head. It's left vague whether he survived or not.)
  • Fallen Hero: Oh boy, does she fall hard in Day 8. So much so that Ethan Kanin resigns AGAIN, and this time permanently. To say that watching her fall simultaneously with Jack is painful is an understatement. Thankfully, she does come about before becoming irredeemable.
  • Heroic BSoD: At the end of Day 8, after she realizes how former President Logan has corrupted her and twisted her away from her ideals. Overlapped with My God, What Have I Done?.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Not of her life, but of her political career. At the end of Day 8, Taylor decides to do the right thing and face the consequences of her actions, fully aware that it will likely mean the end of her career.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Ethan Kanin actually almost gets her to realize what she's doing in the final season is wrong, but only minutes later, Logan is successfully able to persuade her to continue in her current actions. Thankfully, she does not ignore this the second time.
  • Married to the Job: Ultimately decides to send her daughter to prison for killing Jonas Hodges, and ultimately get divorced by her husband in the name of upholding the law. Her devotion to her job leads her to go to questionable lengths to uphold the treaty.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Cherry Jones notes that "at least [she gets] personal if not professional redemption."
  • Our Presidents Are Different: President Minority.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: Late in Day 8, she's driven on by the belief that she's sacrificed too much for the treaty to back down, even if Hassan is dead and the only way to obtain it is to break the law.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: After everything she went through over Days 7 and 8, she started genuinely believing that breaking some laws and letting some terrorists go free was worth it if it meant her peace treaty was preserved.
  • Villain Protagonist: A dual one opposite and opposing Jack during the last quarter of Day 8, although, like, Jack she's able to redeem herself in the final episode.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In Day 8.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Goes through this in both the Day 7 and 8 finales, the former being her decision to give her daughter to the authorities for her part in Jonas Hodges' murder and the latter being her ultimately coming through in revealing the Russians' hand in the attacks on New York.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Unfortunately, Charles Logan saw her as being ripe for a Corrupt the Cutie.

    Mitchell Hayworth 

Mitchell Hayworth

Played By: Cameron Daddo

Taylor's ineffectual, indecisive vice president, who is first seen during the White House siege in Day 7, and eventually replaces her as president shortly after Day 8.

  • All There in the Manual: He isn't mentioned in Day 8 or Live Another Day, but the novel Deadline shows him being sworn in as president.
  • Functional Addict: According to Olivia Taylor, he relied heavily on prescription drugs to get him through the election, and still uses them a lot in office.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Tries to delay the rescue operation after the White House is captured, ostensibly because of the risk involved. His aide congratulates him on taking the "smart" move to ensure Taylor gets killed or incapacitated, though Hayworth quickly rebukes him.
  • Stupid Boss: Seems like this outwardly, though given his actions during the White House siege, he may well be another Charles Logan in the making... though if Live Another Day is anything to go by, he apparently didn't do any major damage after becoming President.
  • You Are in Command Now: Subverted in Day 7, when he gets authority of decision-making during the White House siege, but refuses to actually do anything, forcing Jack and Bill (inside the White House) and Renee and Larry (outside it) to rescue the situation themselves. Played straight after Day 8, where he ends up as President for real following Taylor's resignation.
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    James Heller 

James Heller

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/heller_james_1373.jpg
"I'm with Churchill on this one, "Having enemies means, you've stood up for something"."
Played By: William Devane

"Spare me your sixth-grade Michael Moore logic."

Audrey's father, the Secretary of Defense, and at one time between Seasons 3 and 4, Jack's boss.

By the time of Live Another Day, he is President of the United States.

  • Action Survivor: Manages to maintain himself quite well during his kidnapping in the early parts of Day 4, regularly rebuking his attackers and threatening to kill them if they lay harm to Audrey. When Jack busts in to rescue them, he takes up a gun and helps fight off the terrorists.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: With Jack in Day 4 while fighting off his kidnappers.
  • Badass Grandpa: Despite being in his later years, he's able to knock out Jack freakin' Bauer.
  • Badass in Distress: After being kidnapped by Marwan's group.
  • Big Good: Of Day 9.
  • Broken Pedestal: For Jack throughout Day 5 and 6 as he becomes more of a Jerkass, to the point the final scene of Day 6 is Jack calling him out on it. Though by the time of Live Another Day the two have regained respect for each other.
  • Cool Old Guy: Despite being an older man, he fought his way out of a terrorist base alongside Audrey on Day 4. He was also apparently the only member of President Logan's administration who was not corrupt, other than the Attorney General. And of course there's his Presidency in Live Another Day where he was 100% willing to sacrifice himself to save London.
  • Downer Ending: At the end of Live Another Day, his worst fear—Audrey dying—has come true, and he's gradually losing his memories because of Alzheimer's. As he leaves London with Audrey's casket, he wistfully comments to Prime Minister Davies that in another year he won't even remember that he had a daughter who died so horrifically...and that he probably won't remember anything else either. Definitely one of the biggest Tear Jerker moments of the series, as Prime Minister Davies's facial expression shows.
  • Dying as Yourself: Part of the reason that he ultimately gives himself up. Knowing that Alzheimer's will eventually take his mind, he prefers going out while he can still remember everything. Subverted as Jack still saves him.
  • Face Death with Dignity: He would have anyway, but the death part is ultimately averted.
  • Heroic BSoD: In Live Another Day, he has one when he sees television footage of the devastation caused by the drone strike on the hospital. Then, in the final episode, upon being informed of Audrey's death, he is so devastated that he simply collapses on the spot.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Drives his car off the edge of a cliff to prevent Jack and Audrey from having to choose between his safety and letting Henderson escape. However, he survives. During Day 9 he's ready and willing to do this again in an effort to stop the attacks on London as well as go out on his own terms. He survives this one, too, but not willingly.
  • I Have Your Wife: Targeted by Christopher Henderson's men to try to secure his release.
  • It's All About Me: He views his son's actions as a reflection on him rather than anything he chose on his own.
  • Jerkass: To his son (though it was because he really did believe his son was protecting the Big Bad) and later to Jack.
    • Jerkass Has a Point: Jack reluctantly realizes that Heller is right in that it's best for Audrey that he stay away from her after all she's been put through. He also had a valid concern that Jack's drive to expose Logan's actions was starting to become too personal for him as a way to avenge David Palmer's death and he wasn't thinking about the consequences that could go with it, which wound up foreshadowing Jack's rampage three seasons later.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite their differences as well as the ups and downs they had, it's ultimately Heller that tells Jack he can finally go home when he gives him The Pardon.
  • Knight Templar Parent: For Audrey, who he's fiercely protective of. Less so for his son, Richard.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Heller was partially responsible for Pres. Keeler's plane crash because he advised Air Force One should stay in the air for another hour.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: A President Personable, Iron and Target.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Audrey is killed by Cheng Zhi's men, and so Heller's worst fear comes to life.
  • Overprotective Dad: Gets a restraining order put on Jack after Season 6, and blames him for what happened to Audrey. Jack calls him out on it and claims that he can't accept the fact that it was her decision to search for him. Horribly averted with his son, who is very liberal. Although they share a moment happy to see each other following Heller's hostage situation, the Secretary has no problem letting CTU torture his son for information when he believes his son is protecting information that could lead to the capture of the Big Bad. It turned out that the secret his son was really hiding was that he's bisexual. Secretary Heller doesn't seem to have a problem with his son's orientation, but the two have polar opposite political beliefs and we never actually see if they reconcile or not.
  • Papa Wolf: To Audrey only.
  • Parental Favoritism: He pretty blatantly prefers Audrey to his son Richard. He has no problem letting CTU subject him to nightmarish torture methods for information when he thought Richard was withholding information that could lead to the capture of Season 4's Big Bad.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He's one of the few people in the government who usually takes Jack's warnings seriously, and was one of the only members of President Logan's administration who was NOT corrupt (the fact that he was a holdover from the previous President's administration may explain that), and during Live Another Day he grants Jack a full pardon.
  • Sanity Slippage: He's in the early stages of Alzheimer's by Live Another Day, something his daughter and chief of staff are desperate to hide from everyone else. He even comments on this that sometime after the events of LAD, he won't remember any of it, including Audrey's death.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: As the series progressed, he became more and more of a jerk, mostly where Jack was concerned. It's hard to blame him, though, since he's fully aware of Jack's Cartwright Curse and wants to protect his daughter. Constantly seeing your daughter go through more shit than anybody living should, will not to good things for your view on people, either. He's a little more reasonable on Day 9.
  • Where Did We Go Wrong??: Has this view of his son.
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