24 is a U.S. television series, broadcast on the Fox Network in the United States, and syndicated to the Global Television in Canada, BBC in the UK, and on TV3 in New Zealand.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 Season synopses
3 Main cast
4 External links


24 is a thriller, whose main innovation is that it is shown in "real time", with regular flashes of a ticking digital clock to emphasize this. An hour on TV corresponds to an hour in the lives of the characters — this includes lengthy U.S. advertising breaks, without ads the shows are the usual U.S. time of 44 minutes. It was created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran (La Femme Nikita), and premiered in 2001. The technique is not new; for instance, 24 borrows its use of split screen techniques from Timecode, a film released in 2000, to show events in two different places at once. 24 is undoubtedly the most ambitious exercise in such a dramatic technique to date. Also notable is the unabashed ruthlessness of its main character. Jack Bauer appears to systematically ignore any ethical and legal obstacles towards completing his mission.

It has received both critical and popular acclaim, becoming one of those TV shows that everyone talks about the next day, a "watercooler" show. However the necessities of its format sometimes lead to egregious padding and some manifest absurdities (apparently there are never any traffic jams or bathroom breaks in its world). The show is notable for its unusually accurate approach to technology (at least until Season 3, when all attempts at accuracy disappeared) and its realistic characters. Sutherland won a Golden Globe for his role and Surnow and Cochran won an Emmy.

Warning: Spoilers follow

Season synopses

The first season (2001-2002) revolves around an attempt on the life of a black presidential candidate on the day of the California Presidential Primary (presumably for the 2004 election, though this is never made clear on screen); the central character is Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland), who works for the fictional Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) in Los Angeles. Bauer becomes personally as well as professionally involved when his wife and daughter are kidnapped by the people behind the assassination.

The second season (2002-2003) takes place a year later and follows the work of now-President David Palmer and secret agent Jack Bauer to stop terrorists from detonating a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles.

The third season (2003-2004) takes place three years later and centers around a deadly virus threatened to be released in Los Angeles while President Palmer is visiting to participate in a debate with his chief opponent in his re-election campaign.

Main cast

See List of characters in 24 for a more thorough list.

Season one

Season two (additions)

  • Kate Warner - Sarah Wynter
  • Michelle Dessler - Reiko Aylesworth

Season three (additions)

External links