Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 11:20 am est

Bauer back in action in latest ‘24’ installment

Posted on May 1, 2014 | by Daniel Rubin Lieberson

courtesy of Fox

Jack Bauer is back — along with all the chilling stoicism, sharp pacing, energetic music and brilliant explosions that comprise “24’s” distinct crime-thriller style. This new season, dubbed “24: Live Another Day,” is set in London and begins with a CIA manhunt for an unknown target.

The audience quickly finds out that the president of the United States, James Heller (William Devene), is in London to negotiate a defense treaty with the British government but is suffering from mild mental health problems that are starting to manifest. The show seems to focus on the personal problems of its characters — revenge, illness, love or something more sinister.

The president’s chief of staff Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan) is no exception. When Boudreau is notified that the CIA has apprehended Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), a unique personal connection is revealed between him and the fugitive, and it begins to influence his judgments in dangerous ways.

There are few technical deviations from the first eight seasons of “24.” “Live Another Day” offers the same structure as its predecessors — a looming terrorist is about to attack a highly populated area and somehow Bauer manages to mix himself and the president up in the mess.

But the factor that has made “24” successful both in the past and in this installment is that audiences cannot tell the heroes apart from the villains. In the original series, revelatory events regarding double agents have been saved for season finales, keeping viewers guessing and on the edge of their seats. Most importantly, audiences are unsure in which category to place the protagonist, questioning if perhaps Bauer is not the man they thought they knew.

Director Jon Cassar is fully aware that this issue’s resolution should be delayed as long as possible. Along with screenwriters Robert Cochran and David Fury, Cassar slowly builds suspense, giving Bauer no dialogue until 31 minutes into the episode. In effect, the audience is constantly wondering about his motives and what other plans he is concocting while he is being interrogated.

Bauer’s silence builds tension for the audience, and also allows those who are tuning in to “24” for the first time to build their own version of Bauer from the ground up. This prevents first-time viewers from feeling left out of an already developed show.

Just before the episode concludes with “24’s” signature countdown, a villainous character murmurs into his cell phone with smug satisfaction about a successful plan, assuring the person at the other end that “It’s done.” But audiences all know that the excitement has only just begun.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, May 1 print edition. Daniel Lieberson is a staff writer. Email him at


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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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