Start that clock: 24 is back! Although Jack Bauer is taking a well-deserved day off, the agents of CTU are up and running and fighting insurmountable odds against the clock in 24: Legacy, starting Wednesday 15th February at 9pm on Fox.
24 is a show that's already left quite a legacy – trails of bodies, nuclear explosions, oh-so-many breaches of the Geneva Convention – that we felt it was high time to round up, in no particular order, the 24 most awesome moments from the most exciting show on TV. The clock is ticking... and spoilers await!
Warning: Some of the following scenes are not for the faint-hearted!
The plane bombing scene on Day 1
24 started with a bang - quite literally – on Day 1, when super-sexy ninja terrorist spy Mandy enjoys a bunk-up in an aeroplane toilet, then kills a stewardess, sets a bomb, straps on a parachute and jumps out of the passenger jet over the Mojave desert before it explodes, killing everyone on board. That is actually quite a lot of bangs.
Nina is revealed as the mole
We had long suspected that Nina Myers might be the mole working inside CTU, but a neat little plot feint towards the end of Day 1 seemed to allay those fears – until we saw the CCTV footage of Nina killing her colleague Jamey by staging her suicide. She went on to become one of the best villains in the history of the show.
The death of Teri Bauer
There was no more shocking moment in Day 1 of 24 – and perhaps the entirety of the show – than the devastating conclusion of the first season. Taken prisoner by CTU mole Nina, Teri is tied to a chair and shot, leaving Jack to stumble on her lifeless body. It was a twist that told us 24 would not hesitate to kill important characters. Don't. Get. Attached.
David Palmer is (almost) assassinated
That Mandy was at it again, subbed in on Day 2 during extra time for one last attempt on the President's life, after every shot on target during the previous 23 hours and 59 minutes had been wide of the mark. All it took was a brief handshake coated with a bio-weapon to take down Palmer – he survived, but damn, it was an exciting way to end a season.
David Palmer is assassinated
He managed to survive four brutal days, but President David Palmer had barely gotten out of his pyjamas on Day 5 when he was gunned down by sniper fire in the very first scene of the first episode. He never did get to finish those memoirs.
George Mason sacrifices himself
He was already a dead man, having exposed himself to a lethal level of plutonium, but CTU boss Mason did the decent thing at the climax of Day 2, stowing away onboard a plane carrying a nuke to the desert and effectively hijacking it to save Jack Bauer's life at the cost of his own. Not all pencil pushers get the chance to redeem themselves like this.
The Almeida/Dressler car-bomb
It was the event that set Tony Almeida off on a long, painful and twisty-turny path of revenge: an automobile explosion early on Day 5 that claimed the life of Michelle Dressler and nearly killed Tony too. It was another clue to women in the show: never get pregnant if you're planning on making it to bedtime alive.
Jack lets Audrey's husband die during surgery
24 takes great delight in giving its characters huge moral dilemmas, which usually wind up getting important cast members killed. On Day 4, Jack had to force doctors to stop operating on the estranged husband of his girlfriend Audrey in order to keep a terrorist suspect alive – and this after Paul Raines had taken a bullet for him. Oof.
The return of Tony Almeida
Is he a villain? Isn't he? Wait, he is? Or is he? Etc. We had to wait until Day 7 to finally figure out which side Tony Almeida was on, and sadly for those who had been with the show since the beginning, he had strayed to the dark side, driven mad by the death of his wife. Fun fact: a DVD extra on the Blu-ray for 24: Live Another Day showed Tony eight years into his life sentence but set to escape. Could he still return?
Jack Bauer cries
It was the end of the third longest day of his life and all terrorist threats to his city had been vanquished, so you wouldn't blame Jack if he sat in his car, sighed a big sigh and hit up a drivethru McDonald's on the way home. But no: Jack Bauer cried. In the solitude of his car, the man of stone opened up and sobbed his little heart out, the horrible events of Day 3 finally caught up to him. We hope he still went to McDonald's after, though.
Jack cuts off Chase's hand
Jack Bauer doesn't dilly-dally: if you're standing between him and his goal, you'd better either step aside or hope he leaves enough of you left for an open casket funeral. Federal agent Chase Edmunds finds out the hard way that Jack Bauer doesn't "do" compromise, when a vial of a deadly virus gets handcuffed to his wrist. There had to be an axe just lying around. Hilariously, Chase was also sleeping with Jack's daughter, so he definitely enjoyed chopping off his hand a little bit.
A nuke is detonated in LA
Finally, the terrorists got a win. After five whole days of being constantly thwarted within minutes of letting off bombs and bio-weapons, terrorists managed to detonated a nuclear device in the LA suburb of Valencia. This was no small incident: the explosion killed upwards of 13,000 people, which is still about half the number of terrorists that Jack Bauer had killed.
Blimey, Marie is a terrorist
See, you all thought that the Muslim guy Reza would end up being the terrorist on Day 2, but actually it was his pretty fiancée Marie, who had been recruited to extremist cell Second Wave, Patty Hearst-style. We discover this when she turns on her husband-to-be and pulls the trigger, admitting he was “sweet”. But not sweet enough to live, apparently.
Kim is menaced by a cougar
Peril isn't exactly in short supply in the 24 universe, where everyone is either a terrorist or will one day be killed by a terrorist, but the show mined an unexpected source of danger between 6pm and 7pm on Day 2, when perpetual damsel in distress Kim managed to stumble across a mountain cougar. The hilariously naff cliffhanger went on to become 24's equivalent of "jumping the shark", but even unintentional humour is welcome in this show.
Jack is kidnapped by the Chinese
Eventually, we knew there would be consequences to Jack Bauer's actions – loose cannons don't stay loose for long. Having saved the day, like, again, the last we see of Agent Bauer on Day 5 is the sight of a badly-beaten Jack being hauled off by the Chinese on a shipping container headed for Shanghai. Apparently they took exception to all of the Chinese guys Bauer had killed over the years. Tsk. Snowflakes.
Ryan Chappelle R.I.P.
Oh man. There was no death more heartbreaking than the death of CTU's Regional Director Ryan Chappelle. CTU were on the rack and had to choose between executing one of their own men or risking a bio-attack on Los Angeles. Bauer fired the fatal bullet, but not before we had blubbed ourselves dry – and the silent clock that greeted his death was one of the most subtle and respectful moments in the show's history.
Air Force One is down
Planes don't stay in the air for long in 24. Newly sworn-in President Keeler took to the skies but Air Force One was fired on by a disgruntled former Air Force captain, and the plane ended up crashing, killing several passengers, incapacitating Keeler and causing the death of his son. Keeler's VP Charles Logan was subsequently sworn in, and that's when the problems really started...
Jack rescues the Secretary of Defense
In what's clearly the greatest ever adaptation of a videogame that doesn't exist, Jack Bauer goes full-on action hero in a breathless attempt to rescue James Heller, the Secretary of Defense (and also his girlfriend's dad). With the customary clock ticking, counting down to Heller's execution via live feed, Bauer – in God mode – pops a cap in dozens of terrorists and pulls off an incredible victory with seconds to spare.
Jack straight-up beheads a dude
“I'm gonna need a hacksaw.” Jack Bauer is the epitome of “no-nonsense”. He has never suffered nonsense in his entire professional life. So when a witness – also a murderer and a child pornographer – gives Bauer a hint of nonsense and blocks the pursuit of info on a potential nuclear attack, Jack does what he has to do and shoots him in the chest. Then cuts off his head. It's the kind of scene that says: 'This is going to be a looooong day.'
President Logan uncovered
In a shock twist, the serving American President was revealed to be a highly duplicitous and morally bankrupt liar. President Logan was ultimately revealed to be the uber bad guy of the show thus far, having a hand in each of the various misfortunes suffered by CTU and Bauer to date. And you thought he was just grossly incompetent!
Jack's revenge on Nina
The worm finally turned for this mole: she couldn't run forever. Released in Day 2, Nina Myers couldn't stay gone for long and wound up causing trouble again in Day 3. Jack eventually captures Nina, and although the spy attempts an escape from CTU, the Bauers have the last laugh: Jack and Kim corner the dirty rotten turncoat, and Daddy dearest finally gets to exact his revenge for the death of his wife. Bang. No more Nina.
CTU is attacked by nerve gas
The impenetrable stronghold of American Intelligence was proven to be not quite as watertight as American Intelligence would have liked in Day 5, when Sentox nerve gas was used in an attack on CTU, wiping out approximately 40% of its staff. One of many loyal CTUers to cark it was fan favourite Edgar Stiles, a computer nerd who got a grisly death scene worthy of a full-time field agent.
Chloe kills a guy
The tech wizard was forced to adapt to life in the field on Day 4, when she found herself staring down the sights of an assault rifle. With Jack otherwise engaged and no other computer-based solutions immediately obvious, Chloe was forced to pull the trigger to take out a hitman intent on ending her and her colleagues. He remains Chloe's only kill across 137 episodes.
The Russian handover
The last time we saw Jack Bauer, he was giving up his life to save Chloe. In order to protect his family, Bauer knows he has to put himself up for collateral, and he hands himself over to the Russians. "I would tell you that you will enjoy Moscow, but you would know I was lying," says the Russian agent, as Bauer boards the helicopter. He's probably not going to be doing much sightseeing where he's going. Will we see him again? Don't bet against it: you can't keep a good terrorist killer down...
24: Legacy airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on FOX (CH 157) and FOX HD (CH 199). Also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > FOX