In Season 7, Jack Baur, our intrepid hero / anti-hero, has been brought back to Washington, DC to face Congressional hearings on whether he violated US policies by torturing suspects when he worked for the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) in LA. Part of the fun was in recognizing the names of the places involved, but it was pretty amusing to think that so many international terrorists wanted to blow up the San Fernando Valley. Really? This year the show moves to D.C. which may provide a little more realism. Or not. Washington has become pretty surreal lately.
The show has been some controversy in recent years because of its depiction of torture, excuse me, enhanced interrogation techniques. Here are just a couple of links if you're interested in following the controversy:
Christian Science Monitor
Now I'm not in favor of torture, and frankly, some of those scenes had me cringing in my seat. When Jack needs information, nothing stops him, even if the bad guy he's interrogating is his brother. But still, the show is pure, entertaining fun. Even Dick Cheney likes it, and I imagine that's the one thing he and I agree on.
So what is the message to be gleaned from 24? That torture works? No, there's too much real life evidence to the contrary. To me, the message of 24 is that you can trust Bad Jack Bauer to get the job done by any means he deems necessary, even if he has to disobey a direct order to do. He always gives 120%. Jack marches to his own drummer and follows his own conscience, however twisted his actions may seem to us. He can also be counted on to protect the innocent. In many ways, Jack is the perfect hero for our time: complex, scarred and imperfect. He's probably suffering from severe PTSD and shouldn't be allowed to carry a gun, but this TV not real life.
What you can't count on in the world of 24 is the government. You never know who's going to betray Jack, and by extention, the rest of us. Sometimes the betrayal goes all the way to the Oval Office, as with Gregory Itzin's duplicitous President Logan, a slimy villain if there ever was one. Good job, Greg!
Another interesting tidbit about 24 is that it may have made it easier for the American people to accept the idea of an African-American president. So far, there have been two on 24, presidents David and Wayne Palmer, played by Dennis Haysbert and D. B. Woodside. They were the good presidents, the ones you could trust, though First Lady Sherry Palmer was a real piece of work. Did that make it easier for Barack Obama to be elected? Who knows? If so, the good news this season is 24 has the first female president in the show's history.
Click here for more background on the show and a list of episodes.
Will you be watching tonight? The DH and I will!