Bloody finale ends groundbreaking '24' show

Yet again "24's" war-on-terror hero Jack Bauer got shot, beaten, betrayed and still managed to walk away.

Only this time, he wasn't coming back.

The special agent hero of "24", played by Kiefer Sutherland, appeared on television for the last time Monday when the landmark action series wrapped up after eight seasons, 192 episodes and countless foiled terrorist plots.

For his last outing, Bauer forced his friend Chloe O'Brian to shoot him in the chest, came within a hair of assassinating Russia's president, and bit an ear off a traitor.

Of course, the pain was worth it - he managed to persuade Cherry Jones' President Allison Taylor to scrap a Middle East peace deal that he knew was fraudulent.

And then, as always, he got away, saved by the ultimate melodrama of his would-be executioner wasting time talking and missing his chance to pull the trigger.

Finally, viewed via a hovering intelligence drone and advised by a weeping president to flee the country, the bloodied Bauer disappeared into TV history - and, perhaps, a movie version.

In the nine years since the first season debuted in November 2001, Fox's show has been hailed as a landmark in US television that paved the way for other unconventional dramas such as "Lost" and "Heroes."

"'24' is so much more than just a TV show - it has redefined the drama genre and created one of the most admired action icons in television history," said Peter Rice, Chairman, Entertainment, Fox Networks Group earlier this year.

The show format broke new ground by playing out in real time: each season represented a single day, spread out over 24 hour-long episodes.

That in itself was unheard of at the time, according to co-creator Joel Surnow, because conventional wisdom decreed that audiences were unlikely to stay hooked for the entire run.

"You can't syndicate it, and you can't ask audiences to watch all 24 episodes," Surnow told USA Today in a recent interview. "But people got so connected to the show, they watched all 24 episodes of the season."

The 'ticking clock' dimension of each season's storyline also paralleled the ongoing legal debate over "enhanced interrogation techniques" sanctioned by the Bush administration during the years after 9/11.

For conservative admirers of "24," Jack Bauer's readiness to subject terrorism suspects to torture provided a useful cultural reference point.

Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, who drafted the legal memos which advised on the use of techniques widely regarded as torture, even cited "24" in his book, "War by Other Means."

"What if, as the Fox television program '24' recently portrayed, a high-level terrorist leader is caught who knows the location of a nuclear weapon?" Yoo asked.

Even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia referenced the show during a legal symposium in 2007. "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles - he saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Scalia said. "Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?"

Unsurprisingly, the show's frequent depiction of torture - 67 scenes in the first five season alone - found plenty of critics including civil rights groups, television audience watchdogs and the US military.

In 2007, US Army Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan and senior FBI interrogators were reported to have met the "24" producers to complain that the show had an adverse affect on military training. "The kids see it and say 'If torture is wrong, what about '24'," Finnegan said.

Producers of "24" however have rejected that the show had set out to make the case for torture.

"To say that we've been some mouthpiece for some political point of view, it's not only specious, but I promise you, it is insane," executive producer Howard Gordon told National Public Radio.

"The show is a show for one thing. It's a thriller in the vein of 'Bourne Identity' or 'Rambo' or 'Dirty Harry.' And the hero finds the bad guy and shakes out of him where the bomb is."

Gordon believes "24" only began attracting attention for its depiction of torture after the Abu Ghraib scandal and revelations about Guantanamo Bay.

"I do think the show experienced some of the blowback. We did understand that the climate had changed, because of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib."

Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Jude Law in Black Sea


In Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before

Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops


Arts and Entertainment
Scare tactics: Michael Palin and Jodie Comer in ‘Remember Me’

TVReview: Remember Me, BBC1
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game