Television: The 15-year ‘Legacy’ of FOX’s ’24’

FOX’s “24” introduced the world to a different kind of man of steel in the form of super-agent Jack Bauer, who began the first of the longest days of his life on Tuesday, November 6, 2001.  Premiering three weeks after “Smallville”, “24” was indeed the viewers’ response to 9/11 with Sutherland as Bauer, the ultimate action hero for that era in the war on global terrorism and governmental corruption/hypocrisy.

Several years before “Burn Notice”‘s Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) and “Person of Interest”‘s John Reese (Jim Caviezel), “24” was stage one in the transition of becoming “The Equalizer” with Bauer dedicated to keeping the world safe as Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU)’s most effective, proficient, highly-trained and deadly operative.  But that dedication came at a high price with the betrayals and the loss of his family and closest friends: including that of his wife Teri (Lesile Hope), whose shocking death marked a turning point for Jack Bauer to have the means to do what is considered to be justified and necessary in getting the job done.  Jack Bauer may be ‘cursed’ by some, but he is ‘cursed’ because he continues to find “Redemption” time after time again.  Throughout Los Angeles, Africa, Washington, D.C., New York City and London, he continues to “Live Another Day” in stopping one terrorist attack after another: saving millions of lives in the process.  Jack Bauer is ‘cursed’ because he is the guy who will always do the right thing – even if it means going up against his own government and becoming the world’s most-wanted fugitive/outlaw/vigilante.

Fortunately for Jack Bauer, computer analyst Chloe O’Brian remains his one and only steadfast ally/loyal friend.

“24” surpassed the time of “The Avengers” and “Mission: Impossible” as the longest-running espionage-centric show on television: earning two Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actor for Sutherland, who now stars as ABC’s “Designated Survivor” as a low-level Cabinet member who suddenly becomes the President of the United States when an attack on the U.S. Capitol during an State of the Union address led to the deaths of his predecessors.

And speaking of POTUS, the friendship between David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) and Bauer was very integral to the success of 24, as some believed that the character Palmer may have led to the inauguration of Barack Obama.

In 2017, the clock has been reset with “24: Legacy” with “Straight Outta Compton”‘s Corey Hawkins as Eric Carter, war hero and Army Ranger who enlists CTU to help save his life and the life of his wife when his coming home to America is connected a major terrorist threat that could endanger the entire nation.  Co-starring acclaimed, award-winning actor Jimmy Smits (“L.A. Law”, “NYPD Blue”, “The West Wing”), the 12-episode “24: Legacy” begins with a two-night event right after FOX’s Super Bowl LI on Sunday, February 5.

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