|Written by:||Robert Cochran|
|Directed by:||Ian Toynton|
|Original airdate:||March 4, 2003|
As President David Palmer tries to decide whether a taped conversation concerning the bombing attempt is real, Jack gets one last chance to talk to Kim as he pilots the small plane carrying the nuclear bomb into the Mojave Desert outside Los Angeles.
- George Mason steps down as director of CTU Los Angeles and gives the access codes to Tony Almeida, the new director. George then leaves CTU.
- Kim Bauer demands Lonnie McRae let her go as she knows the bomb didn't go off. Lonnie confesses he lied, but explains that he just wanted company. After Lonnie gives her a gun for protection against cougars, Kim leaves into the forest.
- President Palmer speaks to Sherry after interrogating Roger Stanton, who's known about the bomb for weeks. Then President Palmer orders Sherry to leave. He threatens to place her under arrest should she resist.
- At Norton Airfield, Marie Warner points a gun at Kate Warner's head and threatens to kill Kate unless she hands over her badge. Kate resists and Jack comes out and shoots Marie in the arm, disabling her.
- Jack Bauer is suspicious because of Marie's hurried tone, and orders his agents to initiate a grid search of the airfield staring from north to south. The N.E.S.T. agent runs to a truck and finds a green duffel bag inside. They open it, revealing the real nuclear bomb. Jack Bauer asks them how much time they've got. They respond by saying any second...
between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
Jack and the N.E.S.T. unit walk into Hangar 12, and Jack alerts someone to tell everybody they'll be working on the bomb in that hangar. The team bring the nuclear bomb into the hangar and set it down easily. As they work on the bomb, George Mason arrives at the airfield alone. Jack sees him and ask what's he doing here. Mason wants to be there when the nuclear bomb is disabled, since it's ultimately responsible for his death. Jack tells him that the N.E.S.T. team has everything under control and that they are looking for the internal timer, adding that there must be somewhere else he'd rather be. Mason drops his pills and Jack helps him pick them up.
After seeing that the N.E.S.T. team is having problems, Jack excuses himself, wanting to know what's wrong. A N.E.S.T. technician explains that the trigger is tamper-proof and disguised. If the bomb is dismantled or disconnected from the main casing, it will detonate. There is no way to defuse the bomb.
Hearing this, Jack orders Agent Goodrich to find a plane capable of flying fast. Agent Goodrich says there is a Cessna Caravan in nearby Hangar 3 that cruises at 210 miles per hour. Jack orders him to get it and calls the O.C. to brief President Palmer on the situation. Jack asks the N.E.S.T. team how much time they've got. Another N.E.S.T. technician responds that they have 55 minutes and holds up the timer.
Kim walks down a deserted street. She sees two men on motorcycles but they pass her by. A car drives to her and stops. Inside is a male motorist who asks where she's going. She says San Jose, and he claims it is not far from his own destination, Santa Clara. Kim becomes suspicious and refuses. The guy angrily comes out of his car, and she draws her gun. She fires at his car, shattering his back right window as a warning to back off. The guy drives away.
Jack and President Palmer discuss over the satcom two different locations to take the bomb: the Pacific Ocean or the Mojave Desert. President Palmer tells Jack that his advisors will analyze both options and get back to him.
Mike Novick and Lynne Kresge accompany President Palmer into the O.C. war room. Mike announces that he will outline the consequences of taking the ocean as Lynne will outline the desert. There is less risk at taking the desert but there's a catch: the bomb has to be deposited at a very precise location. Since the aircraft carrying the bomb is not a military aircraft, there's no method to deliver the payload accurately. The pilot would be forced to go down with the plane. It's a suicide mission.
President Palmer calls Jack with the news. CTU has already come to the conclusion about this mission being one-way, and Jack claims that several men have volunteered to take the plane to the desert. President Palmer will pledge the nation's gratitude for that man's service and vows to take care of whatever family he leaves behind. President Palmer asks Jack to call when the plane is in the air.
George Mason approaches Jack after overhearing his conversation with President Palmer. He knows there are no volunteers for the mission because Jack wants to do it alone. He then offers himself up to pilot the plane, arguing that he is an instrument-rated pilot, and he's going to be dead by the end of the day anyway. Jack refuses, explaining that Mason could black out or die before he gets to Ground Zero. Jack tells his agents the mission is a go and the plane is readied for flight.
10:12:49... 10:12:50... 10:12:51...
After Tony receives a phone call, CTU Agent Graves brings a suitcase full of Syed Ali's belongings to him. An encrypted hard drive is among these items. Graves also escorted Yusuf Auda, an intelligence liaison from an Arab country suspected of helping Second Wave. Auda is eager to participate in the analysis, but Tony is hesitant. He asks Michelle Dessler to assign someone to watch Auda and not let him see anything of importance to the case. Michelle states that she personally will work with Auda, and tells Carrie Turner to call Jacobs if she needs any more help. Carrie reminds her that Tony asked Michelle to assign a subordinate, and asks whether Michelle has problems working with her.
The N.E.S.T. team loads the nuclear bomb onto the Cessna as Jack calls Tony to find out Kim's whereabouts. Much to Tony's dismay, Jack confesses he's the one that's flying the plane. Jack must tell Kim immediately about the situation. He also tells Tony that there's a safe in his apartment with his will and a letter to Kim if anything happens to him. Tony promises to make sure that she gets it.
Kim is still hitchhiking along the road as a car pulls up. Kim tells the driver (Anna) that she fled a date and is going to San Jose. Anna invites her for the ride and lets Kim use her cell phone to call her father.
Kate Warner questions Agent Baker regarding how the bomb will be transported to ground zero. She then learns that Jack is the one that's flying the plane. Horrified, she calls out to Jack as he gets in the cockpit, equipped with a clock synchronized to the bomb's timer. He turns and sees Kate, but there are no words for what's happening. Jack closes the cockpit door as Kate watches him fly the plane out of the airfield.
10:24:31... 10:24:32... 10:24:33...
Mike Novick gets word that the plane is in the air. President Palmer requests Lynne Kresge contact Davis and have him prepare Air Force One for transport to Los Angeles. Novick and Kresge try to talk him out of the trip, but President Palmer wants to be there to reassure citizens he's in control of the situation. President Palmer is then shocked to hear that Jack is flying the plane. Lynne then said that she would call Davis.
Tony calls Jack to tell him he has Kim on the line and he connects the two. Jack is relieved, but then tells Kim they found the bomb and now he has to fly it out of the city. Kim cries and apologizes for the way she treated him. Jack assures her that she has nothing to apologize for, and pledges his love to her. They say their goodbyes to each other.
10:35:05... 10:35:06... 10:35:07...
Anna pulls the car over to comfort Kim, but she leaves, wanting to be alone. She runs off into the night, not caring anymore about leaving Los Angeles.
Michelle brings Tony a transcript of a recording pulled from Syed Ali's encrypted hard drive. The audio is a conversation between Ali and three high-ranking officials of three Middle-Eastern governments. It confirms that these officials supplied Ali with the bomb. Tony requests they run a voiceprint authentication on the tape.
Tony calls President Palmer about what he found in the recording. Aboard Air Force One, President Palmer is concerned that Division may have already reported this to other intelligence agencies, spreading alarm. President Palmer asks why Syed Ali would tape the conversation. Tony suggests that Ali probably wanted to keep proof in case those officials turn against him. President Palmer thanks Tony, but isn't thoroughly convinced. President Palmer tells Novick that they would be soon at war, not only be with those countries but with others.
As Jack pilots the plane in the Mojave Desert, he senses movement behind him. He draws his gun and swings around to find George Mason behind him. Mason hands Jack a parachute. Jack tells him he's taking this plane in. George asks whether Jack has had a death wish ever since Teri died, and the look on Jack's face tells him that he has. George then tells him that it would be more heroic if Jack put his life together, reconnect with his daughter, and continue to serve his country. Jack considers this seriously. He asks Mason if he is absolutely sure he can do this. Mason says he can, and Jack instructs him on how to man the plane. When the clock reaches 1:30, Mason will have to initiate a dive at the precise coordinates of the depression. After telling Mason this, Jack thanks him solemnly.
10:48:08... 10:48:09... 10:48:10...
Jack gets ready to make his escape, but will wait to jump four minutes before impact so that he can stay with Mason as long as possible. He phones Tony about the change of plan. Tony instructs Michelle to send a helicopter to pick up Jack in the desert. Auda notices the commotion at CTU and questions Tony about what evidence has been found. Tony won't divulge anything to Auda, who becomes annoyed because his government helped the Americans to locate Syed Ali's apartment.
Lynne Kresge escorts General Bowden from the Joint Chiefs in the President's room to talk about the plans for retaliation. The military now knows that Ali's conversation points to three governments complicit in helping him obtain the bomb. Plans for war are underway even though the conversation isn't authenticated yet. Bowden assures President Palmer that retaliation is in the planning stages only. President Palmer gives him approval to activate his plan, but the military cannot implement the plan without direct authorization from him first. As Bowden leaves, President Palmer tells Lynne they may be talking about World War III.
Jack asks George if there's anything he can do for him. Mason explains he was able to see his son earlier and asks Jack to watch over him. Jack places his arm on Mason's shoulder, who touches his hand in return. They let go, and, after looking at George one last time, Jack leaps from the plane to safety.
Novick gingerly informs the President Palmer that he'll be able to see the nuclear explosion on the eastern horizon out his window. President Palmer grimly faces his window to the east. Mason determinedly flies the plane toward Ground Zero. As the clock reaches 1:30, he dives into the depression. Jack drifts down to the ground and releases his parachute. He shelters behind a rock, looks at his watch and mouthes down the countdown. He puts his arm over his head as a nuclear blast roars in the distance.
Kim watches in horror as a red glow lights up the horizon above the trees. She begins to cry. President Palmer watches from his seat aboard Air Force One. From behind his rock, Jack lifts his head to see the mushroom cloud rising above the desert.
10:59:57... 10:59:58... 10:59:59... 11:00:00
- Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer
- Sarah Wynter as Kate Warner
- Elisha Cuthbert as Kim Bauer
- Xander Berkeley as George Mason
- Carlos Bernard as Tony Almeida
- and Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer
- Reiko Aylesworth as Michelle Dessler
- Jude Ciccolella as Mike Novick
- Michelle Forbes as Lynne Kresge
- Max Martini as Steve Goodrich
- Lourdes Benedicto as Carrie Turner
- Donnie Keshawarz as Yusuf Auda
- Daniel Dae Kim as Tom Baker
- Dylan Haggerty as Randy O.
- Dean Norris as Bowden
- Neal Matarazzo as D.J. Graves
- Susan Gibney as Anna
- James Oliver as Male driver
- James Caffery as Jimmy Bronson
- John Dalton as N.E.S.T. tech #3
- Kenneth Davila as CTU field agent
- Brian Durkin as Brian Pierson
- Joe Gomez as CTU field agent
- Greg Hartigan as Agent Jimmy Kelly
- Commodore James as CTU agent
- Mike McQueeney as CTU field agent
- Ryan Moore as Kevin
- Fred Porras as CTU field agent
Background information and notes
- During the scene in which Jack Bauer and Kim Bauer say goodbye over the phone, Kiefer Sutherland sat in the backseat of the car behind Elisha Cuthbert, reading his half of the conversation. When filming Jack's half of the conversation, Cuthbert sat in the seat behind him in the airplane.
- N.E.S.T. stands for Nuclear Emergency Support Team. It is controlled by the Department of Energy.
- This is Xander Berkeley's last episode as George Mason.
- This episode features two of the songs released on the Seasons 1, 2 & 3 Soundtrack, being "Jack Tells Kim He's Not Coming Back" and "The Bomb Detonates".
- Sean Callery won his first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series for this episode.
- Ian Toynton was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series in 2003, for his work on this episode, making him one of only 3 directors on 24 to be nominated for that award, first being Stephen Hopkins in 2002 for Day 1: 12:00am-1:00am & Jon Cassar for Day 5: 7:00am-8:00am in 2006 (which he went on to win).
- Instead of a split screen at the end of the episode featuring the multiple concurrent storylines, the split screen simply shows two angles of Jack descending to the ground in his parachute. A deleted scene on the 24: Season Two DVD has an alternate ending that uses a split screen featuring several characters, however.
- The external flying footage of Air Force One used at 10:54PM is footage from Harrison Ford's film Air Force One (can be seen at the 1:51:17 mark), and the set used for onboard Air Force One were also used in the TV show, The West Wing.
- Jon Cassar reported how the stuntman for Kiefer's jump from the plane insisted on wearing a helmet, thus, Kiefer had to wear a helmet as well which made this one of the few times that the character Jack Bauer wears a hat wear of any kind throughout the entire series.
- In a 2016 interview for Variety, co-creator Robert Cochran, and writers Manny Coto and Evan Katz chose this episode as their favorite from Season 2.
- Schwindt, Oriana (November 6, 2016). ‘24’ 15th Anniversary: Executive Producers Pick Their Favorite Episodes.