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  • Acceptable Targets: Private security firms i.e., mercenaries.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy:
    • Ryan Chappelle, when Jack is forced to execute him on Stephen Saunders' demands.
    • Lynn McGill. While his incompetence led to the terrorists getting his ID card and launching a gas attack on CTU, he sacrifices his own life to save CTU from the gas.
    • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Even Teri qualifies to some degree. She spent the majority of Day 1 being pretty useless and her poorly-written amnesia subplot made her The Scrappy to many fans. Still, many of those fans were still sad to see her killed off so suddenly and sympathized with Jack's loss in the future seasons.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • 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 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?
    • Alan Wilson was telling the truth, and he didn't know Tony until he started working with him. Which absolves him from being involved in Day 5, and honestly, would make things FAR more logical and have a lot more of sense. Tony's word is all we have, and given Tony's mental state..it is absolutely not a good reference.
      • Or alternatively, he had a role in the sentox conspiracy, but it was a minor/medium one, or was somehow connected to the conspirators in an indirect way (either by previous business, or black market relations) if to reconcile both narratives.
    • Tony's actions in Day 7 do not make a lot of sense, even with him being a deep undercover mole. Certain acts of compassion simply do not fit with the behaviour of someone who is willing to let thousands die to find a man and kill him to achieve personal revenge (or murder an ally in such a cold blooded and pointless way). He does not even seem to be the same person sometimes. Aside the fact his plan also does not make much sense. So, aside from bad writing, what the hell was going on in Tony's head during Day 7, if it has any explanation?
    • Was Logan bluffing in season 6, or was he truly trying to redeem himself and do the right thing, if still in a self serving way?
    • Back in season 4, Mandy made it look like she blew herself and Tony up with a car bomb thanks to Bill hastily ordering the CTU team to move in. Was that simple carelessness or did he mean to have Tony killed?
    • For Christopher Henderson. Was he always corrupt and evil or was he originally innocent of the corruption charges Jack laid against him and being forced out of CTU made him decide it was better to throw his lot in with the bad guys?
  • Ass Pull:
    • The reveal about Nina Myers at the end of season one; according to some, the Big Bad of season five; and almost definitely the retconning of Tony Almeida's death in season 5.
    • Word of God claims they set up that Retcon by not giving Tony the Silent Clock, the traditional response to the deaths of really important characters.
    • The reveal of Alan Wilson being the mastermind behind numerous terrorist plots within the series, including the deaths of David Palmer and Michelle Dessler, has had mixed reactions. Many were unhappy that what they felt was a completely generic, dull character had been set up as the series' Big Bad and stole Day 7's plot away from a highly praised villain in Jonas Hodges, who was built up as the Big Bad of Day 7 since Redemption.
      • The reason the writers tacked Wilson on as 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.
      • Wilson himself denies even knowing Tom, and given the circumstances, he might have been telling the truth. After all, we only have Tony's word to back up his involvement in Day 5.
    • Day 8 has one that rivals the above, with the reveal that Yuri Suvarov, a previously respectable character that wasn't bad at all, is the final Big Bad of the season. 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...
    • 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.
    • In Day 7 the doctor treating Jack after he's infected with the Starkwood weapon telling him of an experimental celluar treatment that could potentially save his life. This was immediately after the previous episode where she told him that a hint of a cure didn't even exist.
    • 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.
    • In the latter half of Legacy, Asim Naseri is suddenly introduced as a henchman of the Big Bad, revealed to have a bitter personal history with The Hero, and promoted to Big Bad himself, all within a single episode. While 24 is no stranger to Disc-One Final Boss, previous seasons were usually more gradual and natural about it thanks to their longer lengths; by contrast, Naseri practically comes out of nowhere, with zero prior buildup or foreshadowing.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • A Writer's Room Saving Throw. After the highly divisive response to the plotting (or lack thereof) in season four, the show brought in professional thriller novelist Vince Flynn to help structure the story for season five. The result was the most acclaimed season of the show, which included an Emmy win for Outstanding Drama Series. Unfortunately, they failed to retain his services for season six, which became the most universally reviled season of the show by far.
    • People who hated how Kim essentially disowned her father in Season 5 were more than pleased that she came back in Season 7 and Took a Level in Kindness. She even acknowledged that she was being too hard on Jack and regretted how she treated him, almost as if she was directly addressing the viewers for her behavior back in Season 5.
    • 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.
    • A lot of fans found the subplot in Legacy involving Amira Dudayev and her family to be just as awful as the Araz family subplot back in Season 4. When the sixth episode came along, everyone involved in said subplot was killed off very quickly, and her father, the only surviving character, was never mentioned again.
    • After having many seasons end on a bitter, if not depressing note for most of the main characters, the writers decided to end Season 1 of Legacy on a surprisingly optimistic note where everyone (except Rebecca Ingram) is alive and nearly every relationship is left intact.
  • Awesome Music: Up And Down Stairs.
  • 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. For better or worse, Season 8, the (then) final season, reversed this for Jack. Hard.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Kate Morgan from Live Another Day. Fan response ran the gamut from "competent, badass, hands-down best new character of the season" to "one-note character who's stealing valuable screentime from more interesting characters". This is a first for Yvonne Strahovski, whose other two famous television roles were either unanimously loved (Sarah on Chuck) or unanimously hated (Hannah on Dexter).
    • Audrey Boudreau in Live Another Day. Some fans didn't like that Audrey was back, especially since (until the last two episodes), she contributed almost nothing to the plot and chewed-up screen-time by constantly bickering with her husband and talking to her father. Others were glad to see her restored to her full health again, and enjoyed her interactions with the President and (briefly) Jack.
    • Isaac Carter from Legacy. On one side, people hate him for constantly flip-flopping his attitude, for being a loose cannon, for being the center of a Filler subplot, and for trying to persuade Nicole to leave her husband. On the other side, some people like him for being a competent Anti-Hero, for putting himself in danger when he didn't need to, and genuinely caring about Nicole and Eric. It helps that he's more concerned about Nicole's well-being instead of his career, as opposed to Eric.
  • Broken Base:
    • 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 no story purpose (it's not like Jack doesn't have plenty of reasons to hate Cheng already). The fans' reaction was...predictable, and negatively falls into three bases. Either you hated that the show killed off yet another love interest for Jack, you shrugged off her death (since she was already a Base-Breaking Character for this season), or you didn't mind that she died, but at the same time, were appalled that the writer's threw a Diabolus ex Machina into the finale to cause her death, whereas Renee's death had proper buildup before it happened and affected both the plot and Jack's character.
      • 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. However, the two most divisive seasons are the fourth and seventh:
      • Season 4 has its fans for introducing several major characters, in particular Bill Buchanan and Charles Logan, having a particularly good character arc for Tony (to the point that one of the undisbuteably hated aspects of the otherwise fan favorite Day 5 was negating it all in the span of a few minutes), and giving a much-needed personality retool to Chloe, turning her from someone unpopular with the fanbase into the show's Breakout Character. It also has its fair share detractors thanks to suffering one of the show's worst cases of Arc Fatigue due to Habib Marwan evading capture so many times, as well as continuing to shuffle characters around all over the season, leading to quite a few too many plots that go nowhere thanks to them being written out or disappearing. A third camp also sees it somewhere squarely in the middle, finding that thanks to its aforementioned positive and negative elements it's not one of the best seasons, but at the same time not a terrible one either.
      • Season 7 is seen as having a better, more focused story arc after the Troubled Production with Day 6 thanks in part to the 2007-08 Writer's Strike allowing the crew to plan the entire season out in advance, Tony having a much better, more involved role after how hard he got shortchanged during Season 5, bringing in fan favorite characters Renee Walker and Allison Taylor, and making Kim a lot more likable. However, just as many dislike the season for its controversial character decisions for both Jack and Tony, pulling one of the most unpopular cases of a Disc-One Final Boss in the show's run by anticlimactically killing the heavily built up Jonas Hodges late into the season and bringing Alan Wilson in as the real villain, having most of the FBI team who weren't Renee being fairly disliked, and trying to reignite the David-Sherry Palmer dynamic with Allison Taylor's daughter Olivia, but failing due to Olivia lacking many of the qualities that made Sherry such a Love to Hate character, causing her to come off as annoying instead.
    • 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.
    • Now that Season 1 of 24: Legacy has finished airing, fans and critics' opinion on the show has been more divisive than even Live Another Day. Was the show just as good as, if not better than, a typical season of 24? Did it start off very sluggish, but got progressively better after the halfway mark? Did it start off wonderful, but then tumbled to the finish line after Asim Naseri was shoehorned into the plot? Was Rebecca's death shocking and saddening, or just thrown in because of a Diabolus ex Machina and because the writers felt compelled to kill off someone major? Are the characters interesting and relatable, or are they all just bland and soulless? Most importantly, should the show be renewed for a second season, or should they just drop it and never touch the franchise again?
  • Captain Obvious Reveal:
    • 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. What's weirder is that William Devane was credited at the end of the previous episode to keep his appearance a secret.
  • Catharsis Factor: Easily one of the biggest highlights of the show is Jack laying down punishment on the assorted terrorists, criminals, and murderers foolish enough to get in his way.
  • The Chris Carter Effect:
    • This was an unfortunate side-effect of the 24-hour format. The producers often had to write storylines in advance, and would often resort to filler or sidestories to kill time until the next important revelation. Likewise, the villains almost always changed midway through the season, which often threw out the carefully-set up goals and motivations for the enemies and often resulted in The Man Behind the Man being revealed and fans getting tired of it, even if it made no sense in the long run (Marwan in season 4 being a great example of this).
    • The lack of a long term story started causing problems. That certain situations kept repeating themselves after so many seasons damaged the show.
    • Done by necessity in Season 1. The production team had no idea if they would be renewed for the back half of the season, so they closed off the storyline by having Jack rescue his wife and daughter in the thirteenth episode and all plots being tied up. When Kiefer Sutherland won a Best Actor Golden Globe and the show was suddenly renewed thanks to the hype, the producers suddenly had to throw in a number of ridiculous plotlines (including a heretofore-unrevealed second assassin showing up who is having a relationship with one of his target's staff members, Jack butting heads with a sniper who hates him for something he did in the past, the Stunt Casting of Dennis Hopper, Teri's Easy Amnesia, Kim getting kidnapped again and the Ass Pull that Nina was the mole in CTU).
    • The eventual resolution of the three-season arc that began with the assassinations in Season 5, made of equal parts Gambit Pileup and Ass Pull. It is revealed that the businessman Alan Wilson- a character introduced near the end of season 7 and defeated within a handful of episodes- is the ultimate enemy overseeing a chain that passes down from himself, controlling a cabal that includes Jonas Hodges (who was working with Benjamin Juma to overthrow the White House), controlling another group led by Jack's brother Graem (being controlled by his father, who is working with the Chinese government), who is advising President Evil Charles Logan (which was itself caused by one of the writers asking midway through the fifth season, "Hey, what if the President was evil?) and finally to the group of assassins that murdered David Palmer and Michelle Dessler. The failure of season 6 (and the stalling plot arc that was created by this mess) is what forced the show to undergo a Retool and move to the other side of the country in order to get things moving and resolve it. Even then, most fans weren't happy with the outcome - Wilson becomes a Karma Houdini who basically gets away scot-free with his crimes. While the show generally implied that someone was the ultimate Diabolical Mastermind behind these various villains and events, the character of Wilson was a complete Ass Pull as he was an entirely new bad guy who had an at-best tenuous connection to a handful of characters, before being very quickly captured and the whole arc being declared wrapped up afterwards. He never appears again on the show.
  • "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.
    • It's common knowledge that the show leapt out of the gate as a scathing propaganda screed about torturing terrorists. In the beginning, though, the show was just a regular investigative cop show with a real-time twist, and on the occasions it did delve into torture the torture was rarely effective. Jack inadvertently killed Ted Cofell because he didn't know about Cofell's heart condition, he was forced to outwit Syed Ali, Marie Werner, and Michael Amador because they wouldn't break under duress, Nina Myers only escaped custody because CTU was jabbing needles into her neck, and Palmer's torture of Roger Stanton was later used as evidence against him in his impromptu 25th Amendment trial. It was only with the fourth season (which had a bevy of other writing problems to boot) where torture started becoming a "legitimate" font of information (and even then, at least three innocent people on that Day were tortured needlessly), until around mid-season six, when the backlash from critics made the writing staff look for other ways to resolve conflicts besides torturing everybody. Needless to say, Jack himself has been tortured repeatedly over the course of the show yet has never once broken himself.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • 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.
  • Damsel Scrappy:
    • 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.
    • And of course, the Former Trope Namer herself before we started fighting Trope Namer Syndrome, The Kimberly: Kim Bauer, who wandered in and out of the plot of Season 1 and then spent basically the entirety of Season 2 contributing nothing to anything. The writers learned their lesson: her appearances in Seasons 3 and 5 were much more plot-relevant, and when The Bus Came Back in Season 7 she was definitively Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, having developed into an Action Survivor who has Taken A Level In Badass.
  • 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.
  • Designated Monkey: Jack. While none of the trauma he goes through is played for humorous purposes like most other cases, it still stands out the the showrunners stuck by their rule that "Jack can never get a happy ending," through the show's run, which left a lot of the fandom frustrated at how he constantly ended up sacrificing so much with little to show for it, to the point that even the few positive things that did come his way would usually be taken away from him by the following season while often almost sadistically punishing him whenever he tried to do good. The fact that Day 9 still stuck by this rule with his pardon ending up meaningless, the death of Audrey, and him ending up imprisoned by the Russians was one of the primary reasons the ending was so heavily divisive, with many feeling after all the time that had passed he finally deserved a break. In fact, this status is the main reason why so many fans of the show were still rooting for Jack during his Face–Heel Turn period in the last act of Day 8, feeling if anything that it was more surprising that he didn't snap this bad sooner and were perfectly fine with him potentially kicking off World War III to get what he wanted after how many times the world gone out of its way to screw him over.
  • Designated Villain: The seventh season introduces Senator Blaine Meyer, an Obstructive Bureaucrat who is a leading a Senate hearing on human rights violations at CTU (which has just been disbanded), and hauls Jack before a committee to explain his actions. Meyer's behavior and dialogue indicates that he's already all-but-convicted Bauer, and acts smug and short-tempered as he accuses the latter of treating suspects terribly. The problem is that he's absolutely right. Not only was CTU an absolute failure as an agency (to such a point it exemplified Swiss Cheese Security — it was the site of at least two takeovers by terrorists, the site of a nerve gas attack, several workplace shootings, a bombing, multiple incidents of workplace violence and numerous fatalities), but other CTU staffers routinely tortured suspects, with diminishing success as time wore on and the previous season proving it didn't even work (CTU spent hours torturing an employee who was revealed to have not known anything about what they were investigating). Jack himself assaulted and tortured multiple suspects, with the showrunners doing very little to dissuade viewers that his methods weren't needed. In light of all that, it's no wonder why Meyer is abrupt and smug towards Jack (though this lessens right before the Senator is killed by an assassin midway through the season).
  • Dork Age:
    • The sixth season tried to shake up the previously-established formula with a number of surprising changes while still keeping the status quo. On paper, the season's plot probably seemed like a good idea — Jack Bauer, who has been released from Chinese custody, spends the season trying to atone for his past sins while embroiled in a battle against Middle Eastern terrorists and duplicitous family members. In practice, the season turned out to be a mess — Jack was working with CTU again (for a reason that stretched believability after five seasons of the same thing), characters dropped in and out of the plot, potential season-long storylines (the effects of a nuclear bomb detonation in California) were never capitalized on, several returning characters got a "X goes through Hell" storyline, and the entire affair was bogged down in ridiculous family drama involving Jack's brother's wife and her child, as well as Jack's father (who was a corrupt executive). Following this season (and the lowest ratings in the show's history), FOX "rebooted" the show, moved it to the other side of the continent and jettisoned most of the previous cast and locations.
    • And then, while recovering in the ratings, critically the following season still overall did pretty poorly. The season was packed to the brim with tons of poorly received replacements and brand-new characters that were not liked by most and only a few actually getting any genuine acclaim and one major character in the series returning only to go through a very controversial twist and revelation that left a massive Broken Base at best, and all this was coupled with an infamous storyarc that left Jack sidelined for nearly half the season and oftentimes completely Out of Focus and then ultimately saved by a blatant Deus ex Machina. All this led to the show being completely revamped again with yet another almost entirely brand new cast and setting brought in for the season after that (which unsurprisingly turned out to be the final). That one had its detractors as well and continued the rot for a bit, though ultimately the majority of the fans of the show did feel it (finally) managed to improve itself by the time it was over.
    • The main problem was that, after season 5, the show started feeling less and less like 24. Losing essential characters, jumping from place to place, bringing new characters without much appeal (saving exceptions like Renee Walker, Allison Taylor and Ethan Kanin), killing characters for no reason save shock value or repetition (Curtis, Milo, Bill, Renee, etc), unmemorable villains (Jonas Hodges being the exception, and of course, the return of Charles Logan as the final villain).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Several over the course of the series:
    • 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.
    • Michelle Dessler became an Iconic Sequel Character due to this, starting off with the importance of a typical analyst in Season 2 who then grew in importance to the story as she developed a relationship with Tony, and eventually got promoted to main character status as of Seasons 3 and 4. It certainly helped that, with so many untrustworthy and unlikeable characters among the cast, Michelle was always kind and could always be counted on.
    • 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 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.
    • Margot Al-Harazi also established herself amongst the series best villains in only a few episodes, primarily due to Michelle Fairley's incredible performance. The fact she was willing to murder her own children for her goal probably didn't hurt though.
    • 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.
  • Epileptic Trees: Alan Wilson, the Big Bad of Season 7 and The Man Behind the Man extraordinaire, was also supporting behind Marwan in Season 4 so Charles Logan would take over. Him, or anyone else with resources and power, for that matter. Because there is no way Marwan managed to do all that by himself (not to mention the plot holes and other failings that keep it from being believable. Granted, season 4 has more problems than just Marwan, and even with a backer, the plot is still problematic. But hell that it would make more sense like this.
    • 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, this being significant considering neither Wilson or his associated ever mention this; as a matter of fact, he mentions he doesn't even know the guy, and for that circumstancea, he could perfectly be telling the truth, and honestly, he would not be stupid enough to let Tony inside his organization had he been involved in the sentox mess, moreso considering how secretive and careful the guy appear to be; the fact the killings were organized to frame Jack Bauer, whom 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 (the Sentox conspiracy was about making the US government's foreign influence stronger, while the Prion group was trying to take over the US government. While you can somehow reconcile this two, it is still another hole to be dealt with), the fact there is no clear benefit for Wilson in the Sentox conspiracy (And, as much of an Ass Pull as it was the fact Graem was Jack's brother, they at least had an oil company, so it made some sense for them to be tied to the sentox's plan. Wilson is a militar contractor, and while there might have been benefits, it is nothing compared to what Logan and the Bauers would have won), or the fact there isn't a lot of place left for Wilson in the conspiracy to planify or do, not to mention the insane level of power, influence, and intelligence he would need to possess to be the mastermind of all that (Even in the Prion Cabal, while he still was the most powerful, it was not by that much, and a big part of the operation rested on Jonas Hodges and Starkwood. How the hell would he have enough power to be the man behind Logan and The Bauers, plus his own cabal? No one that powerful could be as secretive as Wilson seems to be). 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, and let's face it, Tony's mental state since Michelle's death is clearly not the best, and he is trying to vent pain more than anything), the fact Wilson and his group are dropped without any fanfare after the end of season 7, and never mentioned again save for one time, but Logan reappearing again as the main villain in season 8. Logan's manipulations in seasons 5 and 8, and in general, 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. He was the president of the US, after all. Also, it is possible that Logan or some conspirators had a relationship with Wilson and, Logan got the information from there. It also makes sense he might have tried to blame someone unrelated to the conspiracy, considering he never revealed anything about the Bauer's.) 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; and it definitely makes more sense. And all this is just in-universe. Out of universe, it is clear none of this was planned and all after season 5 was thrown in/improvised, and rhey just kept making the Sentox mess bigger and bigger for no reason.
    • 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.
    • Due to Tony Todd playing two different characters on the show (Mike Norris during Day 3; Benjamin Juma during Day 7) some fans have come up with the theory that Detective Norris and General Juma are actually the same person, with Mike Norris being a cover identity for Juma, and that he was plotting his invasion during Day 7 years in advance.
  • Escapist Character: Jack Bauer allows audiences to play out the fantasy of always being right, no matter what he does, and thereby being justified in using unethical means to pursue ethical ends. While this is Deconstructed — Jack being a Broken Ace with a Cartwright Curse is just the beginning — the fantasy persists, as everything Jack suffers is, ultimately and persistently, in service of some greater good.
  • Evil Is Cool: Quite a few antagonists in the series come off this way. Most notably, Ira Gaines, Stephen Saunders, Christopher Henderson, Benjamin Juma, Jonas Hodges, Tony during Day 7, and Jack during the last act of Day 8.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Nina Myers, Mandy, Cara Bowden, Tony Almeida (Day 7), Olivia Taylor, Margot and Simone Al-Harazi...
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • 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 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.
    • 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.
    • A lot of fans ignore Day 6 altogether. 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 — or, on a similar note, that Day 8, Live Another Day, and Legacy were just something that he dreamed while his brain was temporarily messed up by the prion variant, and that he's now happily living in retirement in Los Angeles.
  • Foe Yay: Jack and Nina
  • Franchise Original Sin: Certain elements of the show that were criticized in later seasons were fully present in the first two seasons.
    • Too many character deaths. Some people forget that Season 1 killed off Richard Walsh, the CTU director, in the second episode, along with Kim's friend, Janet, many other side characters, and Teri Bauer. But unlike later seasons, the deaths were spaced out throughout each season so the viewers had time to bond with the characters and therefore felt upset once they perished. Later seasons ramped up character deaths so much that it invoked Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy from fans and critics alike, and major character deaths (Curtis Manning and Audrey Boudreau, for example) were seen as unnecessary at best, and tasteless shock value at worst.
    • Trapped by Mountain Lions. Season 2 is notorious for Kim Bauer's subplot distracting the main plot, but Season 1 also had Teri Bauer's infamous amnesia subplot, along with Kim's subplot in prison. However, Teri's subplot got much less flak because it only lasted for three episodes—not the entire season—and because it was a case of Executive Meddling (Teri was forced to remain in the show when originally she was going to just fall asleep). As for Kim's prison subplot, it became very relevant in the last few episodes when the Drazen family uses this opportunity to kidnap Kim whilst she's being released.
    • Overabudance of Muslim terrorists. From Season 4 onwards, some critics pointed out that the show nearly goes out of its way to demonize Muslims given the sheer amount of seasons that focused on Middle-Eastern terrorist cells. Season 2, however, also has Muslim terrorists, but faced no criticism because the same season went out of its way to show various innocent Muslim characters (namely Reza Naiyeer and Muslim Intelligence Agent Yusuf Auda) and various American terrorists (namely Marie Warner, Joseph Wald, Peter Kingsley, etc.)
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Tony saying how good Nina was in coming up with BS. Boy, he was right.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: 24 achieved a huge popularity in many countries outside the US. The most popular examples being Japan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a big chunk of Europe.
  • Growing the Beard: The series was a fairly unremarkable police/office drama until about 5:40 AM. The show suddenly kicked into full gear at that point, with the death of Poor Man's Mena Suvari, the unveiling of Ira Gaines' "I Have Your Wife" plot, and the wonderful last-second plot twist, where Teri finds out her new friend is actually The Mole, all dropped on us in rapid succession. This episode set the tone for the rest of the series.
  • Ham and Cheese: Jon Voight as Jonas Hodges. Is it any wonder that fans felt he should have stayed the main antagonist of the season?
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the third episode of Season 2, Megan, the girl Kim is taking care of, has a seizure brought on by a head injury. Years later, her actress Skye McCole Bartusiak died at 21 after an accidental drug overdose with the drugs having been used to treat her own epileptic seizures.
    • A lot of things in the series go over this over the course of what happens with Tony by the final seasons:
      • 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.
      • Going further back, the ending of the first season features Tony as one of the people trying to talk Jack out of getting revenge against Nina after everything she's done. It works. It wouldn't work nearly nearly as well for Jack when his and Tony's roles were reversed 6 season finales later. Worse is both cases involve someone responsible for the death of their respective pregnant spouse.
    • 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.
    • Shortly after Nina Myers is killed in Season 3, Tony tells Michelle that Jack wouldn't risk dozens of innocents lives solely for personal vengeance. In Season 7 and 8, Tony and Jack, respectively, endanger hundreds of innocent lives just to avenge the murders of people they loved.
    • Jack's received some "Not So Different" Remark speeches before, but his one from Tony in Day 7 hits especially hard after knowing what he eventually pulls in Day 8.
    • After a nuclear bomb goes off and Curtis is killed in Season 6, Chloe, while talking to Morris, somberly asks him why people she knows keep dying. Live Another Day reveals that Morris and Chloe's son, Prescott, are both killed in a car accident.
    • At the very beginning of Season 7, when Renee tells Jack that the likely reason behind Tony's Face–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."
      • Additionally, in Erin Driscoll's final apperance in Season 4, Heller is shown comforting her after her daughter's death. Driscoll's last line to Heller is even saying he should check on Audrey. It's awkward to watch now knowing Heller will eventually end up facing the same loss she has here.
    • 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.
    • Near the end of Season 8, Cole shoves Jack to the ground and screams "Look, I can't do this!" at him. A few years after the season ended, Freddie Prinze Jr. admitted that he despised working with Kiefer Sutherland so much that he almost quit his career in acting, which makes this moment seem like he was Leaning on the Fourth Wall. Likewise, Cole's disillusionment over working with Jack, including his "there are no good guys here" comment about him, now has some uncomfortable Reality Subtext because of this.
    • The entire plotline of Season 8 with Jack going after the U.S. government for protecting crooked higher ups in Russia after discovering that they hired Samir Mehran to attack the U.S. becomes this after news surfaced of the Russian Government placing out bounties to Taliban soldiers to kill American and British soldiers, and the Trump Administration worked to protect them.
  • 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.
    • Charles Logan got this reaction in Season 6, as he was last seen flatlining in an ambulance. He was later confirmed to have survived in Season 8.
    • 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • George Mason's son is named John. John Mason?
    • 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 an selection 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.
    • In-universe, there's something slightly amusing about seeing Hal Gardner sincerely express empathy for Wayne Palmer following David's assassination (the first truly admirable action he does in the season) when one realizes that following Gardner's succession of Charles Logan as Commander-In-Chief, the two would have likely gone up against each other as rival Presidential candidates prior to Day 6 later on.
    • 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.
    • In the Chicago Tribune RedEye's 2007 Best TV Character Contest, Jack Bauer came in second under Kara "Starbuck" Thrace (played by Katee Sackhoff). Three years later, during 24's eighth season, Jack Bauer cold-bloodedly murdered Dana Walsh (played by Katee Sackhoff).
    • In Live Another Day John Boyega plays a soldier who's framed for being a traitor. One year later in The Force Awakens he plays an ex-stormtrooper who's attacked by another stormtrooper who declares him a TRAITOR in one of the most popular scenes in the film.
    • Day 4 has Behrooz and Dina played by Jonathan Ahdout and Shohreh Aghdashloo - who played mother and son one year later in House of Sand and Fog.
    • In Day 8, one of the CTU trainees (Julian Morris) try to have a Kamistani suicide bomber (Rami Malek) show the bomb so that they could shut down it's controls. After this, both Julian and Rami's roles got switched, in which Julian portrays a guy who works for the bad guys in Pretty Little Liars and later gets killed while Rami portrays a far more heroic character in Mr. Robot who gets harrased by a bunch of bad guys.
    • In the finale to the fourth season the main villain pulls a Thanatos Gambit by falling to his death in order to prevent the protagonist from stopping a missile, forcing said protagonist and his allies to quickly improvise and find a different way to disarm it midair moments before it hits its target. Sounds a lot like a climax to another fourth installment of an espionage work, doesn't it?
      • Not to menion Anil Kapoor, who was a regular in the show's last normal season, was also in that installment.
    • During season one, the show was described by the press and the actors as a high-octane soap opera, in reference to the melodramatic office romances and palpable sexual tension among the CTU officers and Jack's family. Ten seasons later, in light of the many, many baffling, contrived, asinine, poorly-conceived plot twists the show's trotted out, describing it as a soap opera sounds bang on the money for an entirely different reason.
  • 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. It's 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. Season 2 and 6 are particularly guilty of this.
    • Season 2 happens because some guys in the government thought it was a brilliant idea to help a terrorist group smuggle a nuclear weapon into the US. All and all, it was a miracle the bomb did not kill millions and there was no World War III. Kinda like Palmer was mistaken saying Stanton was only misguided. He was also crazy.
    • 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 he just has to tell Jack that it was really he, himself, who was behind the terrorist attacks; and then 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. For other problems:
      • Fayed would be screwed after detonating the bomb. He would instantly become the most wanted man over the face of the earth.
      • Why launching the nuke to San Francisco??? LA was so much closer!. Plot convenience.
      • How ineffective can agencies be not to discover Philip Bauer's company's involvement in the entire mess? 5 nuclear weapons unaccounted for, disappearing, one of detonating, would sound every single alarm. Even if the guy was innocent, he would have half the government in his door. For that matter, the guy is not that smart either. His involvement on all that mess would undoubtedly destroy, or deeply damage his company...but siding with the Chinese would turn him into a wanted criminal in half of the world (aside the fact if anything like it happened in real life China would be seriously fucked). What kind of legacy could he even create in China? And in that regard, once Graham took the fall for the stolen nukes, what was the point of covering up Gredenko? His company was screwed already, but he could pin the blame in his son anyway, and maybe salvage whatever he had left of the company, and avoid becoming a criminal. After all, even if Gredenko tried to screw him (and if captured, Gredenko would be much more pressed to save himself than anything else), it would be the world of a mass murdering terrorist against him.
      • Gredenko cutting his own arm. And then trying to betray Fayed. What the fuck was he thinking on doing after that?
    • Speaking of season 6, Cheng's plan in the last episodes is ridden with idiocy. Even if he had been successful, he would have dragged half the planet into a war. The fact he believed China was not going to abandon him after all the mess he made says a lot about his mental state.
      • Continuing with season 6, the last 8 chapters are a bunch of nonsense. For starters, Cheng is an idiot for believing Jack would handle him the circuit without a catch (and he has no justification, considering he tortured Jack for two years. He should know well enough by then). Jack is an idiot for leaving clues to Doyle to follow. CTU is an idiot for leaving an open for where Cheng could escape with circuit. But it does not end up there. Geopolitically, what happens after is insane. The Russians decide to take it with the US, when it was the actions of a rogue agent what causes the circuit to end up in Chinese hands. So, instead of exerting pressure alongside US to China, they decide to take it with the US. The US does the same. They both have every reason to take it with China, considering China is attacking both countries directly and indirectly. Or at the very least, go to war with both. For China's part, Cheng's plan is insane. Aside the fact no real life government would back a plan like Cheng's, considering how close to war it would lead the country (even if they somehow managed to get their hands in the circuit in time, the adverse consequences would vastly overshadow the positives), Cheng's assault in CTU is an act of war (It is even more ridiculous considering at the middle of the season there was a similar situation in the Russian consulate. Hello in previous seasons, acts like this would have driven a country to war. HELL, in season 4, when they assaulted the Chinese consulate, they edged into a crisis with China. And it was way less grave than Cheng's actions). That alone should be enough for the US and Russia to turn their sights to China. As a matter of fact, the Chinese would be hard pressed to cut Cheng loose and get rid of him. The only way the plan would make the remotest sense would be as a covert operation, and that blows off after 2 hours. So once that happens, Cheng is useless to them. To keep the operation up is basically to declare open war. But the Chinese barely get a mention, and the plot is ridden with a nonsensically ridiculous geopolitical mess (that contradicts the show's previous geopolitics which made way more sense than this), and everyone acting like idiots.
    • Bringing Logan to salvage the treaty in season 8. Granted, Kanin admits it was not his best idea. But Taylor followed through. And trying to cover the Russians. And putting Jack Bauer against the government...Basically, the latter half of season 8 is driven by idiotic decisions...To the point things get so bad war was about to start at the pull of Jack's trigger.
      • Season 8's last chapters are other bunch of geopolitical nonsense. The idea the US would continue a peace treaty with the Russians after they helped to smuggle a nuclear bomb into the US contradicts what happened in the series (David Palmer, someone as idealistic as Allison Taylor, was willing to go to war because of a similar situation, and he did not have the precedent of an allied president being killed in US soil), it is nonsensical in itself (what the Russians did amounts to a declaration of war, and after that, how could you expect them to be reliable at anything? For what you know, even if they sign the treaty, they are going to do everything to sabotage it from within. Same with the Kamistani government when they find out. With everyone being coerced at gunpoint...And for that matter, president Taylor threatening to launch nuclear missiles against Kamistan. So much for peace!), and if the information came out, would bring the Russian government down from external (something like that would put the entire global community against the Russians) and internal pressure. And that in itself might help to bring genuine peace by bringing down a massively corrupt government, not to mention strengthening the ties between the US and Kamistan. This also does not address the interrogative of why were the Russians in the peace process to begin with if the freaking Russian President was part of it? And again, let's suppose it was him and a group of corrupts, akin Logan in season 5. If exposed, the government comes down, and a new better government can come up, and with that government, a true peace process can be forged. What is some years of difference between a genuine peace process and the mess they have in there? The show tries to play it as realpolitik (and well, president Taylor's own problems catching up with her), but it is just an excuse to put Jack and Taylor against each other and keep the plot up.
      • In the same venue of nonsense, come the twists of Suvarov being evil (the guy was signing peace treaties in season 5, and was still helpful in season 6, but now he is smuggling nuclear rods into the US), and the idea that if Jack kills him, it would drive the US to war with Russia. The killing of a foreign president in the US by a rogue agent would damage relations, and would certainly drown the peace treaty, but ending up in war? And about that, if the Russians so much want to go to war, why the hell is the US making peace treaties with them to begin with?
      • Not to mention, if the truth was leaked, it would destroy any relationship between the three countries, and so long world peace.
    • 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. Aside the fact worse things have happened between countries in real life, which ended in far far FAR lesser responses.
    • In the same venue of Government stupidity, the fact that the methods for catching and fighting terrorism do not seem to improve (after a Nuclear attack attempt, a virus of 90%+ mortality, an almost nuclear meltdown of 6 power plants, the fall of the air force down, another nuke attack in LA, a nerve gas attack, again nukes, Chinese sabotage, the white house being captured...and these are just the big ones), nor inter agency communications, and that the US is constanty being put into the edge by small organizations that should not have the manpower or resources they have. Seasons 4 and 6 are particularly guilty of this, with Marwan carrying nigh impossible plans, and Fayed carrying on dozens attacks (all around the entire country, with 900 deaths before the nuke) without anyone being able to catch him (worst of all considering they are islamic terrorists, and 9-11 happened in that world). Season 2 actually had a good explanation for the fact terrorists had managed to smuggle a nuclear weapon to the US: They were being covered by the NSA and a group of oil magnates. Or another example: Season 3. Saunders' operation was carried out by someone who knew how the agencies worked, who was deemed dead by everyone, and had been preparing himself for years...and the operation only lasted 9 hours after he got his hands on the virus.
      • On the other hand of this, the super conspiracies started too getting out of hand. In seasons 2 and 5, they were well made and establish ed. Then, in season 6 and 7, the thing with the Sentox got out of hand. Season 7 made more sense internally, with the Sangalian villains beimg backed by a huge cabal of businessman.
    • Jack Bauer would be the greatest US hero if he lived in anything a bit closer to the real world. He has saved the lives of millions, averted World War III more than once (he almost caused it too), trapped or killed countless terrorist masterminds, killed one knows how many other terrorists.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • Complaints started somewhere around Season 3, where the criticism was mostly summarized as "Terrorists attack America. Jack saves the day. Rinse, repeat."
    • Season 6 is considered the worst offender for this trope, combining Season 1's attempts on the life of one of the Palmer brothers, Season 2's nuclear terrorism plot and the attempt to remove the president from office via the Twenty-fifth Amendment, Season 4's having the Chinese become a secondary threat late in the season, and Season 5's having one of Jack's mentor figures trying to cover up his supplying terrorists with weapons of mass destruction.
    • Live Another Day gets a lot of it, with many fans baffled that they'd go to the trouble of bringing the show back after four years just to tell the same old story again.
  • It Was His Sled: 24 has had some memorable twists.
    • Season 1: Nina is bad and she kills Teri.
    • Season 2: Marie Warner is a terrorist.
    • Season 3: The events of the first seven episodes are part of an elaborate sting operation.
    • Season 4: Jack fakes his death.
    • Season 5: President Logan is bad. The Chinese capture Jack.
    • Season 6: The Chinese faked Audrey's death and tortured her to the brink of insanity.
    • Season 7: Tony is alive and he's the bad guy.
    • Season 8: Hassan dies, the peace treaty he was trying to sign is a fraud, and Jack goes on a revenge spree.
    • Live Another Day: Jack surrenders to the Russians.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Many fans of the show who initially had no interest in watching 24: Legacy changed their minds when it was revealed that Tony would be appearing, continuing off the Sequel Hook from the 24: Solitary short.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: They almost always do. However, the trope has been played straight a few times:
    • Jack clinically dies in the middle of Day 2 after his heart stops during a torture session, and his character profile was even changed to "deceased" for a week on the official website. Even that early into the show, Jack's reputation had been so cemented that nobody actually bought it.
    • Jack being infected with the prion bio-weapon in Day 7. Nobody really believed it would kill him, especially with the show renewed for another season. Sure enough, a cure was suddenly revealed even though it had been previously stated there wasn't any.
    • The "death" of President Heller in Live Another Day. Even 24, a show that kills off main characters left and right, did not take the risk of killing off the President of the United States of America while he was still in office.
    • They only really started to subvert the trope on Day 5. Before that, this trope was actually Played Straight quite a lot. Jack miraculously survived clinical death at the hands of Peter Kingsley's henchmen during Day 2, David Palmer miraculously survived the deadly virus Mandy infected him with at the end of Day 2, Tony miraculously survived getting shot in the neck at the start of Day 3, Michelle miraculously survived getting exposed to the virus at the end of Day 3 when the possibility of infection was higher than 90%, Heller and Audrey survived their suicide attempt at the start of Day 4, and Tony and Mandy survived their supposed car bomb death at the end of Day 4. Popularity Power was actually pretty strong, back in the day.
  • 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.
    • Dana Walsh. At least in the second half of Season 8, where we find out she's The Mole and she becomes much more plot-relevant. Before this happened, she was an abysmal Scrappy chewing up way too much screen-time.
  • Magnificent Bastard: See here.
  • Memetic Badass:
  • Memetic Mutation: "Ore wa Jack Bauer."note 
  • Moe: Michelle Dessler is about as Moe as one can possibly get on this show. Cute? Check. Heartwarming personality, with emphasis on being selfless, caring and compassionate? Check. Woobie moments making you sympathize with her? Check. Being sincere in her do-gooder nature, never turning out to be The Mole? Check.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Many.
    • In Season 1, Nina Myers murders Teri Bauer and (consequently) her unborn child.
    • In Season 5, the implied offscreen murder of a child at the hands of Christopher Henderson.
    • 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.
    • After Jack threw Margot Al-Harazi out a window, fans have been debating whether he crossed the MEH by murdering a woman who was no longer a threat in any way or gave a monstrous terrorist exactly what she deserved.
    • In Season 4, Dina Araz crossed it when she murdered Debbie Pendleton, an innocent teenage girl AND her son Behrooz's girlfriend, because she feared she knew too much - when Debbie barely knew anything. What's more is that Dina poisoned the girl without Behrooz's knowledge, knowing he would try to help her escape.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
  • Narm:
    • 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).
    • "Day 4: 11pm - 12am" involves the hunt for a briefcase containing the US government's nuclear launch codes, known as the "Nuclear Football". This actually is what the briefcase is called in real life, but that didn't keep the dialogue from sounding extremely silly, nor did it stop fans from making endless football jokes.
    • Jack's first seizure in Season 7 (Episode 17) comes off comical due to the way his eyes bug out.
    • Alamanoooooooooooo!!!
    • Not in the show itself, but the promos for Live Another Day featured a rather over-the-top shot of Jack in Shouting Shooter mode. It even made its way into the poster.
    • 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 a commercial break.
    • When Ian Al-Harazi blows up the vehicle he thinks Jack, Kate, and his sister Simone are in, he immediately jabs the air and screams "YEAH!", almost as if he just beat a frustrating level in a video game.
    • 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 Erik describes the terrorists as making one of their own. They're finished a few moments later.
    • The protagonist of 24: Legacy is named Eric Carter. Hopefully the terrorists respect his authoritah.
    • The subplot in Legacy with Amira Dudayev and her chemistry teacher making a bomb. Both of them are so incompetent at covering their tracks that half the time it honestly feels like it's deliberately being played for wacky slapstick, except the music never stops being deadly serious.
    • Towards the end of Day 2, the U.S. gears up for war with the three countries supposedly responsible for acquiring the nuke for Second Wave. And that's how they are always referred to, "the three countries". The writers obviously didn't want to piss off three real-life countries, especially given the real life rising tensions in the Middle East at the time, but it's just hard to take seriously.
  • 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.
  • Older Than They Think: The Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique in season one? Buffy Summers did it first, only she used a cross.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Officer Jenkins from Legacy, who had the courage to walk out into a busy street and shoot Amira Dudayev by himself in order to stop her from bombing a bridge. Shame he didn't kill her though...
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: While they're not without their flaws, Seasons 1-4, where creators Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran were still in charge of the show, are generally agreed to be overall superior to Seasons 5-8, where Howard Gordon took over as showrunner — albeit with Gordon's first season as showrunner (Season 5) being agreed by many to be the show's best.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Nearly anybody around you can turn to be The Mole, even they don't look like it. Even members of CTU and the FBI.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Dana Walsh halfway through Season 8. After being the center of an annoying, worthless subplot, Dana pulls an abrupt Moment of Awesome and garrotes a parole officer to death inside CTU. Afterwards, we learn that Dana was The Mole all along, and she spends the rest of the season being a Manipulative Bitch and Smug Snake. She's still hated, but for a justifiably good reason.
    • Before that, Chloe O'Brian, who went from the annoying, obstructive scrappy of Season 3, to Jack's most consistent ally and full-on Ensemble Dark Horse in subsequent seasons. That bit with the M-16 helped too.
    • 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. She also put herself in harm's way just to uncover the terrorists' plot, and if it hadn't been for her, the FBI never would've found Jack.
    • 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.
    • Tom Lennox, who went from a weaselly little Jerkass demanding to revoke the rights of several U.S. citizens, to a clever Morality Pet who ultimately proved himself to be one of the good guys when it came down to it. Even though he only mainly appeared in the infamous sixth season several fans ultimately wound up liking him and wishing he'd come back for a later appearance.
    • Larry Moss, as established both above and below, was 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).
    • Mike Doyle. When he first showed up, he was a racist, sadistic jerkass and a Replacement Scrappy for Curtis Manning. A few episodes after his appearance, he started to lighten up a bit and his jerk attitude all but went away. Some viewers were more impressed when he revealed that he was a religious man trying to find "answers".
    • 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.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • 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 Revenge isn'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.
  • The Scrappy:
    • 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 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.
    • Erika, the woman Sean is having an affair with. She's whiny, bitchy, and despite knowing that Sean has a wife, she just wants him to leave her so they can be together.
    • 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 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. Wayne's actor shared the same sentiments as the fans.
    • 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 because 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 ensured Wilson wouldn't be all that popular the second he suddenly appeared out of nowhere to take Hodges’ 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 the most famous and arguably the most popular Big 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 Big Bad of the 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, 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.
    • Nobody liked Marilyn Bauer during Season 6 due to her annoying, whiny behavior and lack of necessity to the plot (other than constantly getting into danger and/or kidnapped). Her very brief romance subplot with Jack didn't do her any favors at all (which may have been why it got cut very short). It got so bad that she has less fans than Kim, as at least Kim is young and has valid reasons to whine about.
    • Rita Brady. She spent all of her screentime whining and bickering with Darren McCarthy. She almost got herself rescued when she decided to kill Darren and was about to free Morris, but then put the final nail in her coffin when she kidnapped Morris herself all so she could have the money Fayed intended on giving to Darren.
    • 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 (he assumed Jack's presence would send Audrey running back to him), and quickly became insufferable.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Season 4 is markedly different from the preceding three seasons; Jack is effectively deposed as head of CTU operations, the building itself has undergone a makeover, and just about everyone from the previous season is gone without explanation. It's not surprising that, by the end of the season, almost all of the major surviving characters from the series were brought back into the fold. Other faults include the Big Bad, Habib Marwan's constant escapes and his plans often seeming over-prepared to the point of absurdity, and the huge amounts of time eaten up by Behrooz Araz's subplot. That being said, the season is at least usually held in higher regard than many of the subsequent ones, if only because it introduced a number of fan-favorite characters such as Bill Buchanan, Audrey Raines, James Heller, Edgar Stiles, and of course, Charles Logan.
    • Season 6 is the only season that was hated by almost everyone; even the writers admit it was incredibly subpar. It started out promising, and then became mired in a complex, ridiculous family drama filled with plot points ripped haphazardly from previous episodes.
    • Since Seasons 2, 3, 5 and 7 are generally considered some of the best seasons (obviously debatable, but at least S5 is universally acclaimed), a distinct pattern can be seen: all non-prime-numbered seasons are subpar.
    • The Live Another Day season. While the majority of fans see it as a big step up in quality from the previous 3 seasons there are a fair number who think it's a part of the same rot that started on Day 6.
    • 24: Legacy, a reboot/continuation season, already suffered from an Audience-Alienating Premise of continuing the show but not including Jack this time around. As it progressed, many people found new lead Eric Carter to be a lackluster replacement for Jack, the story arc was criticized for its uneven pacing despite the shorter episode count, the ending came off as a huge Anti-Climax to many with the final showdown, which only soured fans further when Rebecca Ingram, whom many felt was a better protagonist than Eric ended up getting killed off. Not helping was the show hyping up the return of fan-favorite Tony Almeida, only to do almost nothing with him, including having him disappear in the middle of the finale.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: At the time, a heavily-serialized show like 24 was absolutely groundbreaking. However, decades later, viewers have been inundated with serialized shows that do such outlandish things as come up with a plot before they start making the show, so the slapdash, Writing by the Seat of Your Pants plotting of 24 pales in comparison to the shows it influenced.
  • Shocking Swerve:
    • The series 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.
  • Signature Scene: Every season has at least one:
    • Day 1: Jack's shootout with the Drazens and the very last scene where Jack discovers Teri's murder, which doubles as the signature scene for the entire series
    • Day 2: Jack's interrogation of Syed Ali and George Mason's Dare to Be Badass speech to Jack, giving him a reason to keep on living.
    • Day 3: Jack being forced to execute Ryan Chappelle.
    • Day 4: Tony arriving to save Jack and Audrey and the final scene with Jack walking off into the unknown as a new day begins.
    • Day 5: The revelation that Charles Logan has been Evil All Along
    • Day 6: A more infamous case with Curtis' death due to its anticlimatic nature.
    • Day 7: Jack discovering Tony is still alive.
    • Day 8: Jack's assault on Logan's motorcade.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning:
    • 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.
    • Legacy also suffered from this as well, for having way too many subplots early on in the series. It wasn't until halfway in when many of the subplots converged or were wrapped up and the show focused more on the major plots. Whether or not the series got better or worse (especially when Naseri came in) is debatable.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • 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.
    • Habib Marwan's death in Season 4. Viewers had a ball ridiculing the awful green screen effect.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Due to the show'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.
    • One of the reasons people doubted Heller's death in Live Another Day was the lack of a silent clock that normally confirmed major deaths or other shocking moments.
  • 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.
    • Allison Taylor spends the third act of Season 8 covering up the involvement of Russian agents in the assassination of Omar Hassan, in the name of preserving a peace treaty that Hassan strongly believed in and that it is implied will save thousands if not millions of lives. Naturally, this is treated as a Face–Heel Turn, and her refusal to sign the treaty at the last minute as an act of redemption, because apparently, human lives are less important than abstract principles.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Jack's verbal beatdown of Janis late in Day 7 was 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 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.
    • Agent Samuels from Season 6 blatantly tells Sandra Palmer multiple times that she's far too preachy than she needs to be, and that she only gets special treatment because she's Wayne's sister.
    • It's impossible to feel sorry for Rita Brady after Fayed coldly shoots her to death, especially after she willingly delivered Morris to him when she could've freed him.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • There is not a single fan who hasn't complained about the ridiculous and abrupt way Curtis Manning and Milo Pressman were killed off from the series.
    • John Quinn. Badass? Check. Evil Counterpart to Jack Bauer? Check. Killed off after only appearing in two episodes? ...Check.
    • Ivan Erwich. He was The Dragon to Vladimir Bierko who managed to realize that the American "allies" he partnered with were trying to sabotage his evil plans. He had no problem harming innocent civilians, or even shooting a man in cold blood moments after he revealed his backstory to him. Just when it looks like he might be the Big Bad for Season 5, Bierko shows up, and kills him almost instantly for "wasting" a nerve gas canister.
    • 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.
    • Ahmed Amar is everything that Behrooz Araz should have been back in Season 4. Unlike Behrooz, he cared about his cause, he was much less whiny, and much more willing to take risks despite his incompetence (not to mention he single-handedly killed Stan). His storyline could've showed him struggling to believe in his cause or had him gradually rise through Fayed's ranks and become one of his most valuable followers. Instead, he's shot to death by a CTU agent who couldn't keep his trigger finger under control, and then forgotten about.
    • 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.
    • A lot of people feel that Tony Almeida was wasted in Legacy. Despite all the hype built around his return, he doesn't appear until the season is halfway over, and during his appearance, all he does is torture Henry Donovan and get into a shootout and brief fistfight with Carter. He could've been replaced by a random Mauve Shirt who knew Rebecca and it wouldn't have changed the story at all.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • 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  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  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. Pointedly, episodes of 24 are always shot in pairs by the same director, except for those two episodes, implying the original episode 14 was scrapped. 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.
    • For that matter, despite the storyline revolves around the Bauer family, Kim wasn't involved in the plot and her reaction to the fact that most of her family members are involved in terrorism is never touched upon. This robs her of an opportunity to have major character development and a chance to develop her relationship with Jack as well as finally forgive him / realize her mistake. The fact that she can easily filled Josh and Marilyn's role (thus relief the audience of two more Damsel Scrappy), just managed to make herself useful in season 3 and their relationship plays an important role in season 7 just made this worse.
    • 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.
      • Originally Cara Bowden was supposed to be Mandy. That would have made this entire section of the plot FAR more interesting for two reasons. First of all, Mandy's connection to three separate terrorist plots before this would give more credibility to the idea that this Omniscient Council of Vagueness really did have a big hand in the plots of previous seasons. Second, considering Tony and Mandy faced off during Season 4, seeing them on the same side this time (and even possibly dating, assuming they still had the same relationship Tony and Cara did) would be an awesome way to represent Tony as a case of He Who Fights Monsters.
      • 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. Notably, despite the lackluster reception to Day 6, Sutherland's performance was strong enough to still earn him an Emmy nomination for that year.
    • 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.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: The Trope Namer. Kim Bauer and her father interact so little throughout the entire series that it's clear her role exists only due to contract requirements and her ability to fill a wet T-shirt. This was so derided that it was brought up in Elisha Cuthbert's next series, Happy Endings.
    Penny: What if you were, like, stuck in a trap in the woods and, like, a cougar was trying to eat you? Would you date?
    Alex: That's insane. Why would that even happen?
    Penny: I have no idea, forget that. 'Cause maybe your dad is the head of some elite counter-terrorist unit and he has 24 hours to—I don't know! The point is, would you date?
    • The first season was originally going to have Teri Bauer falling asleep for a few episodes (thanks to the show's Real Time format), since her storyline ended once she escaped from the terrorists that had captured her. However, the producers demanded that she stay in the show and so she ended up contracting amnesia and walking around not doing much for a few hours instead.
    • The sixth season's story arc regarding Morris' alcoholism has similarly been identified as pointless by some fans.
    • Every season of 24 has at least one of these. It's almost unavoidable. Sometimes the plot threads get tied back into the main thrust of the story. Even the villain of season 3 calls out Jack's heroin addiction, saying it's completely irrelevant to the story.
    • The 'redneck' subplot from the start of season 8 annoyed many. Made even more annoying by revelations later in the season proving the actions of a certain character COMPLETELY out of character.
    • This is subverted in season 5 when a seemingly pointless subplot involving Lynn's drug addict sister ends up causing his keycard to fall into enemy hands, which in turn allows them to attack CTU.
    • One aspect of sequel series 24: Live Another Day that's been particularly praised is the fact that this trope is overall largely averted. Its shorter episode count allowed the writers to focus primarily on the main plot at hand.
    • The Indian adaptation has one in the first season itself. Because Kim's story is split between Kiran and Veer, we have Veer needlessly fooling around escorting an unknown girl home, getting lynched by drug traders, caught in a drug bust and starting a fight in captivity, only to be released with help from his military school major- when he becomes relevant to the plot.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • The show's trope-naming abuse of the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique has been accused of normalizing torture by law enforcement, military, and intelligence officers. Even the US Army brass complained.
    • While Jack is a poster boy for the "I Did What I Had to Do" Unscrupulous Hero, he's also very clear about accountability. Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work, and he's a Bad Guy, and has never tried to weasel his way out of any resulting consequences — though he will sometimes suggest that maybe said consequences should be deferred until after he's done Saving the World, which is pragmatic if not necessarily ethical. The problem is, the audience never sees those consequences paid. Sure, he's tortured offscreen by the Chinese for 20 months, but the key word there is "offscreen": pics or it didn't happen. Since it's offscreen, it didn't happen. This has the unintentional side effect of making him look like a Karma Houdini, one who certainly suffers great personal setbacks but never actually gets in trouble for what he's done. It also makes one of the show's ongoing tropes — "People don't trust Jack because he's a Cowboy Cop" — seem ridiculous, because we never get to see the ongoing tribunals and disciplinary hearings which justify those people's mistrust in him.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Behrooz Araz's storyline. The show tried its damndest to make his subplot sympathetic, but most viewers hated him with a passion and saw him as a typical angty teen who just so happened to be a terrorist relevant to the main plot.
    • Tony in season 7. It's clear he was supposed to be viewed in some sort of Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds light by the end, but the fact that the revelation regarding it is almost thrown in at the last second hasn't sit well with some people as well as his willingness to kill innocent people despite claims that they were never actually in danger, especially when compared to Jack's turn in season 8 where he still had some principles and was cleary suffering even as his actions became darker through the final third of it.
    • Dana Walsh's death from Season 8. While some fans were shocked to see her go, a number of viewers were surprised that the show made her death seem so shocking when the character in question had just tried to murder Jack Bauer, and killed two innocent people in the same episode. And considering that her character wasn't likable to begin with, some viewers were delighted to see the character's demise.
  • Wangst: Behrooz, in spades. He whines about his girlfriend, his parents, his guilt over working for Marwan, and so on and so forth.
  • 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.
    • In Season 2, Alex Hewitt pulling a gun on Jack, a trained federal agent, and not dropping it when ordered.
    • 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.
    • Charles Logan getting involved in Season 8 at all was an unbelievably stupid move on his part. You would think that his humiliating defeat and impeachment during Season 5 would be more than enough to teach him to not get involved in cover-ups ever again, yet he does exactly that this season. Absolutely no one was surprised when he ended up getting an even worse fate by pissing off Jack Bauer a second time. Even worse is that he did seem to genuinely learn this lesson during Season 6, but apparently forgot. Clearly the meta-reason is that writers wanted to bring him back as the villain to finish the series strong, but this was at the cost of all common sense for Logan.
  • Win Back the Crowd: The sixth season was heavily panned, making many, even hardcore fans, think maybe the show ran its course. The seventh season, beginning with 24: Redemption has won back the old fans and even a fair share of new ones along with the highest ratings ever for the series.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Dennis Hopper as Serbian warlord Victor Drazen.
    • David Herman, best known at the time for Office Space, stars as a quirky CTU techie in season 3. According to the creators, they decided Chloe o'Brien possessed enough quirk, so they deleted most of his scenes and quickly wrote him out.
    • Kal Penn playing a terrorist in Season 6, which likely led to his being killed off early on.
    • 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.

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