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Jan. 25, 2006

Jack's back for a thrilling fifth-season premiere of "24"

by Alex Mazerov, Page Editor
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't gotten around to watching the premiere of "24" yet, leave this page now.

After a seven-month break, "24" returned for its fifth season with a four-hour premiere that provided everything we've come to expect from the series: explosive action, heart-stopping suspense and a shocking body count.

The premiere's first 15 minutes certainly live up to all the media hype. Just a few moments into the first hour, former President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), arguably the show's most noble figure throughout its five-year run, is assassinated in his brother's penthouse apartment by a sniper. Not long after that, a car bomb kills Michelle Dessler (played by the sure-to-be-missed Reiko Aylesworth), another of the series' primary figures. Her husband, Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), is critically injured in a secondary explosion.
Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) in action during the season premiere of "24."
Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) in action during the season premiere of "24."

But, of course, the drama is just beginning. Eighteen months after faking his own death and walking into the sunrise, superagent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), working as an oil driller under a false name, is forced to return to his previous life when he realizes that he's at the center of one of "24's" classic elaborate conspiracies. "Someone out there knows I'm alive," he says over the phone to a frantic Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) when he learns that three of the four people - Palmer, Michelle and Tony - who know of his faked death have been hit.

Just after escaping from a team of assassins herself, Chloe, the fourth person, reunites with Jack after he hijacks a rescue helicopter, in a scene typical of his "screw-the-rules" approach to getting what he needs. During a thrilling action sequence at an oil refinery, Jack tracks down Palmer's killer, who is currently after Chloe, and, as always, figures everything out. "They're setting me up to take the fall for Palmer's assassination," he tells Chloe. And that's just the first hour.

Now the entire government, running under the assumption that Jack is hunting down everyone who knows he's still alive, is after him. With Jack's love interest from last season, Audrey Raines (Kim Raver), looking on in disbelief, Jack's able former colleagues at the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) track him to the site of Palmer's murder, where, with Chloe's expert assistance, he sneaks by a swarm of federal agents (knocking a few unconscious in the process) and gains access to Palmer's computer. In an encrypted file, Jack discovers a link to an employee at the Ontario airport. With agents closing in, Jack manages to escape, steal a car and make his way to the airport to investigate the lead. Just as he arrives at the building, terrorists lay seize to an entire terminal with lethal force, taking everyone who survives the incursion hostage. Jack is able to avoid capture, temporarily at least.

The suspense continues as we learn that the events of the past two hours are all part of a larger plot. U.S. President Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin), who last year took over the White House when the real president was incapacitated after Air Force One was shot down by a stealth fighter (yes, that really happened), is in the midst of a long-planned peace summit with the president of Russia where the two world leaders will sign a joint antiterrorism treaty. The terrorists in control of the airport turn out to be Russian separatists; they demand that President Logan call off the treaty signing in exchange for the hostages' lives. What follows is an exhilarating two hours of television as Jack and CTU try to mount a rescue operation.
President Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin) and aides Walt Cummings and Mike Novick (Jude Ciccolella) in the fifth-season return of "24."
President Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin) and aides Walt Cummings and Mike Novick (Jude Ciccolella) in the fifth-season return of "24."

Perhaps to counter the loss of several of "24's" major characters, the producers added a few new faces in the premiere. Sean Astin (a.k.a. Samwise Gamgee a.k.a. Rudy) plays a by-the-book bureaucrat who takes control of CTU. He makes a name for himself by swooping in to save a CTU strike team from an ambush when he realizes that Jack is under duress and is being forced by the terrorists to feed bad recon info to CTU.

We're also introduced to someone who seems even more mentally unstable than the neurotic President Logan: his wife, Martha Logan. "Get away from me now or I swear I will have your family eating dog food out of a can!" the First Lady (Jean Smart) screams at a Secret Service agent trying to prevent her from disrupting her husband's press conference. There's also Walt Cummings (John Allen Nelson), one of the president's closest advisors, who takes "24"-style treachery to a new level by supplying the Russian terrorists with information.

The creative brilliance of "24" is that it manages to keep even its most diehard fans guessing the entire time. Will anyone believe Martha Logan's story that someone doctored the recording of her conversation with President Palmer just before his death and then knocked her out to steal the transcript of the call? Will Cummings be discovered as a traitor before he does even more harm to the nation? Will Tony survive? Is there a mole inside CTU (as there usually is)? Will Jack Bauer manage to save the world again, this time from a stolen cache of nerve gas that the terrorists get their hands on at the end of Hour Four? Well, at least one thing is for sure: once you watch even an hour of this unpredictable thriller, you're hooked.

"24" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.

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  • 24 rules! on January 25, 2006 at 7:20 PM
    Cummings is chief of staff.
  • =) on January 25, 2006 at 9:05 PM
    swaney got me hooked
  • Tv Watchar on January 27, 2006 at 9:32 PM
    yea i know you like how i spell watchar. anyways. 24 is some right wing republican bushido. It is totally unrealistic and biased. Comon now, how many people has jack bauer killed without even getting killed. LIke prolly 400. everyone should watch "the wire" on HBO its the best show on TV. No question. Im out like david palmer from the first episode.
  • jack bauer on January 31, 2006 at 10:08 PM
    actually its 93 people
  • to Tv Watchar on January 31, 2006 at 10:22 PM
    First of all, Jack Bauer is a beast, and can't be stopped, no matter the obstacle.

    Secondly, Jack Bauer gets hurt a lot, and has a physical struggle basically every season, so he is not immortal. Also, he has died...he just came back (for reasoning to that, look at point 1).

    24 is the real homeland security.
  • tv watchar on February 2, 2006 at 6:16 PM
    your points are weak and lack reasoning. How realistic is this: People are alive and awake for 24 hours a day. THey never use the bathroom, sleep, or do anything for themselves. Jack has been awake for like a 5 days straight with no rest. Anyways, Jack has kills at least 5 people per episode(approximately) and he has totalled over 100 killings without any serious injury. He gets luck and everyone gets lucky whos an american. Kill all the Iraqis there all terrorists thats the way things are in america. "The Wire" is so much more realistic. If you believe 24 is the real homeland security you are definetely not the sharpest tool in the shed.
  • YAY on February 6, 2006 at 3:46 PM
    Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.
  • Sa`Niya Harris (View Email) on March 16, 2006 at 7:56 AM
    I think 24 is the best tv sitcom on the air. I mean it really get you thinking like I am - years old and I already hooked on 24. It really is agood show. Love your fan Sa`Niya.
  • emily on May 2, 2006 at 8:17 PM
    24 is amazing.
  • Nipuna (View Email) on September 20, 2006 at 12:54 PM
    Oh 24.Can't beleave dat is a drama.It goes through my vains during I watch.I can't wait 2 next edition more.Hope U will Create a new serious.We are going 2 wathe the 6th serious 24th octomber in SRILANKA.
  • Angela (View Email) on September 23, 2006 at 9:37 AM
    hi think this is one of the most brillant tv progies ave watched in ma lyfetym.....Jack really deserves the gramy n sure he is the best actor n also a down to earth person...ope he continues forever till like episode 12...wish u all the best...u really make tv sthg worthwhile watching...may Kiefer Sutherland live long...great fun of urs.....glg..
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