The series stars Kiefer Sutherland as counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer. Each season, comprising 24 episodes, covers 24 hours in Bauer's life using the real time method of narration. Premiering on November 6, 2001, the show spanned 192 episodes over eight seasons; the series finale broadcast on May 24, 2010. In addition, a television film, 24: Redemption, was broadcast between seasons six and seven, on November 23, 2008. 24 returned with a ninth season titled 24: Live Another Day, which aired from May 5 to July 14, 2014. 24: Legacy, a spin-off series featuring new characters, premiered on February 5, 2017. After the cancellation of Legacy in June 2017, Fox announced its plan to develop a new incarnation of the franchise. 24 is a joint production by Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television.
The series begins with Bauer working for the Los Angeles–based Counter Terrorist Unit, in which he is a highly proficient agent with an "ends justify the means" approach, regardless of the perceived morality of some of his actions. Throughout the series most of the main plot elements unfold like a political thriller. A typical plot has Bauer racing against the clock as he attempts to thwart multiple terrorist plots, including presidential assassination attempts, weapons of mass destruction detonations, bioterrorism, cyber attacks, as well as conspiracies that deal with government and corporate corruption.
24 won numerous awards over its eight seasons, including Best Drama Series at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards and Outstanding Drama Series at the 2006 Primetime Emmy Awards. At the conclusion of its eighth season, 24 became the longest-running U.S. espionage/counterterrorism-themed television drama ever, surpassing both Mission: Impossible and The Avengers.
24 is a serial drama that stars Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, focusing on the efforts of the fictional Counter Terrorist Unit to protect America from terrorism plots. The episodes take place over the course of one hour, depicting events as they happen, in real time. To emphasize the real-world flow of events, a clock is prominently displayed on-screen during the show, and there is a regular use of split screens, a technique used to depict multiple scenes occurring at the same time.
Each episode typically follows Bauer, officials in the U.S. government, and the conspirators behind the events of the day, often simultaneously. 24 is known for employing plot twists which may arise as antagonists adapt, objectives evolve or larger-scale operations unfold. Stories also involve interpersonal drama, delving into the private lives of the characters. As part of a recurring theme, characters are frequently confronted with ethical dilemmas. Examples of this are a bombing in Season 2, which can only be prevented by blowing Bauer's cover, and an ultimatum in Season 3, in which a terrorist agrees not to carry out an attack if a high-ranking CTU official is killed. Season 4 is also notable for a scene in which two men — one of whom possesses crucial information —
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||24||November 6, 2001||May 21, 2002|
|2||24||October 29, 2002||May 20, 2003|
|3||24||October 28, 2003||May 25, 2004|
|4||24||January 9, 2005||May 23, 2005|
|5||24||January 15, 2006||May 22, 2006|
|6||24||January 14, 2007||May 21, 2007|
|Redemption||1||November 23, 2008|
|7||24||January 11, 2009||May 18, 2009|
|8||24||January 17, 2010||May 24, 2010|
|Live Another Day||12||May 5, 2014||July 14, 2014|
Season 1 begins at midnight on the day of the California presidential primary. Jack Bauer's protocol is to protect Senator David Palmer from an assassination plot and rescue his own family from those responsible, who seek retribution for Jack and Palmer's involvement with a covert American mission in the Balkans.
Season 2, set 18 months later, begins at 8:00 a.m. Jack must stop a nuclear bomb from detonating in Los Angeles, then assist President David Palmer in proving who is responsible for the threat and avoid war between the U.S. and three Middle Eastern countries.
Season 3, set three years later, begins at 1:00 p.m. Jack must infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel to seize a deadly virus being marketed underground. President Palmer must deal with a potential scandal that could cost him his presidency.
Season 4, set 18 months later, begins at 7:00 a.m. Jack must save the lives of his new boss, Secretary of Defense James Heller, and Heller's daughter Audrey Raines (with whom Jack is romantically involved) when they are kidnapped by terrorists. However, Habib Marwan uses this as a disguise to launch further attacks against America, and Jack is forced to use unorthodox methods to stop him, which results in long-term consequences for both Jack and the United States.
Season 5, set 18 months after, begins at 7:00 a.m. Jack is believed to be dead by everyone except a few of his closest friends. He is forced to resurface when some of those friends are murdered and he is framed by terrorists with connections to the American government. The acquisition of nerve gas by the terrorists poses a new threat, and Jack discovers an insidious conspiracy while trying to stop those responsible.
Season 6, set 20 months later, begins at 6:00 a.m. Jack is released after being detained in a Chinese prison following the events of Season 5. Terrorists who hold a vendetta against Jack plot to set off suitcase nuclear devices in America. Later, Jack is forced to choose between those he loves and national security when the Chinese set their sights on sensitive circuitry that could trigger a war between the U.S. and Russia.
Redemption, set three-and-a-half years later, begins at 3:00 p.m. Jack finds himself caught up in a military coup in the fictional African nation of Sangala. Militants are being provided assistance from officials within the United States, where Allison Taylor is being sworn into office as President. Due to the 2007–08 Writers' Strike, season seven was delayed one year. To bridge the one-and-a-half-year gap between seasons, Redemption was produced. This television film aired on November 23, 2008.
Season 7, set 65 days after the end of Redemption, begins at 8:00 a.m. Jack is assisted by the FBI and covert operatives when the firewall for America's federal computer infrastructure is breached by the same people responsible for a conflict in Sangala. Jack must uncover corruption within President Taylor's administration, which has allowed the Sangalans to raid the White House and capture Taylor. She is later blackmailed by a fictional private military company in an attempt to release biological weapons on U.S. soil.
Season 8, set 18 months later, begins at 4:00 p.m. Jack is brought in by CTU to uncover a Russian plot to assassinate Islamic leader Omar Hassan during peace negotiations with U.S. President Taylor. Russia's contingency plan involves engineering a dirty bomb, which Islamic extremists threaten to detonate unless Hassan is handed over. Jack seeks retribution for personal losses suffered after Charles Logan convinces Taylor to cover up these crimes to protect the peace agreement. Jack finds himself at odds with both the Russian and American governments.
Live Another Day, set four years later, begins at 11:00 a.m. and finds fugitive Jack in London trying to stop an assassination attempt on President James Heller by terrorist Margot Al-Harazi. Later, Jack must prevent an old enemy and a Russian diplomat from sparking a war between the U.S. and China.
Legacy, set three years later, begins at 12:00 p.m. and follows Eric Carter, an ex-Army Ranger who, after leading a mission to eliminate terrorist leader Sheik Ibrahim Bin-Khalid, is targeted by terrorists in retaliation for Bin-Khalid's death. Carter and CTU are also tasked with preventing the terrorists from committing a large-scale attack.
Cast and characters
The following cast members have been credited as main cast in the opening credits: