|Written by:||Howard Gordon & Evan Katz|
|Directed by:||Ian Toynton|
|Original airdate:||March 25, 2003|
Jack Bauer returns from Ground Zero to CTU after Mason's dying deed. A recording from Syed Ali's apartment implicates three Arab countries, and when Ali is questioned, he denies it. A conspiracy thickens when Ali is assassinated on his transfer to Guantanamo Bay and Bauer tries to stop President Palmer from launching a retaliatory strike by finding evidence that the recording is a fake. Meanwhile, Kim runs into trouble at a liquor store.
- Jack speaks to President David Palmer that the nuclear bomb will have to be flown out of the city. The N.E.S.T. team loads the bomb onto the Cessna. Lynne Kresge tells Palmer that Ground Zero in the Mojave is a very specific location to dispose of the bomb. Mike conveys to Palmer that the pilot will go down with the plane. It's a suicide mission to save thousands of lives. Palmer finds out Jack is flying the plane. After this, Palmer orders his staff to prep Air Force One to L.A. much to the dismay of Lynne and Mike.
- Yusuf Auda arrives at CTU. Michelle tells Tony Almeida that Auda and his country's government helped CTU seize Syed Ali's apartment. She hands him a hard drive containing a recorded conversation of Ali and three high-ranking Arab leaders in Cyprus on April 5th. This indicates that these three Arab countries supplied Ali with the bomb.
- Kim Bauer is in the car with Anne, and she talks to her father, Jack. He divulges that CTU found the bomb. But the bomb is impossible to defuse so Jack must fly it out to the Mojave Desert. Kim cries and Jack reassures his love for her.
- Jack Bauer senses movement behind on the plane and finds George Mason in the rear. Mason gives Jack a parachute and talks Jack out of flying the plane. Mason ends up flying the Cessna. Later, Jack covers his head and hides behind a slope as light flashes on him. The bomb explodes into a nuclear mushroom cloud of powerful kilotons at ground zero...
between 11:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.
The nuclear bomb's mushroom cloud expands over the desert.
CTU personnel watches the nuclear explosion on satellite imaging and infrared. Tony, Carrie, and several others all react emotionally to the averted disaster billowing on the monitors. Elsewhere on Air Force One, President Palmer looks at the small mushroom cloud in the distance from his window. Lynne comes in and she and Mike watch Palmer's expression. Thinking that Jack is dead, Palmer looks depressed. Somewhere on the southern LA streets, Kim sees the mushroom cloud in the distance. She sits down on the curb and starts to cry, believing both of her parents now are dead.
Safe from Ground Zero and in the middle of the Mojave, Jack sets off three flares and throws them in a triangle position. Suddenly, a CTU helicopter emerges. Jack watches his hair from the wind and is picked up by the chopper. Inside, Bauer requests that the pilot alert Tony at CTU that he made it and to tell his daughter, Kim, he's still alive. The crewman tells him that radio transmissions are a no-go as well as cell phone because of the nuclear blast. Jack understands. The chopper flies to CTU.
Over at CTU, Tony tells the staff that despite George Mason's sacrifice, they still have a lot of work to do. Saying this was a long day would be an understatement, and now the Cyprus recording is their primary investigative objective. After Tony's speech, Auda approaches him and inquires why he's been excluded from the investigation. Auda leaves after Tony brushes him off, and tells Carrie that Michelle Dessler is interrogating Syed Ali in custody. Because of this, he asks her to take care of the audio authentication of the Cyprus recording.
Syed Ali sits in his chair in custody. In his bloodied clothes, he listens as Michelle plays the Cyprus recording. In the Arabic conversation, the leaders tell Ali he'll receive payment funds through discussed channels and that what they're doing will change the world. Michelle stops the tape, and shows him the pictures of the three male Arab leaders.
But Ali denies this. He says that he was in Berlin, prepping the operation. Michelle tries to intimidate him that if he doesn't confess, the interrogators at Guantanamo will press him harder. Ali points out why would he lie about this when he told the truth about the nuclear warhead. Michelle suggests he's trying to protect his country. But again, Ali confirms that the bomb was a Second Wave operation only. He says that he has never met these men. Michelle leaves.
Tony comes into the briefing room and consults with the technicians. Agent Gibson discusses with Tony about the verification of the recording. Their discoveries tell them that the evidence is real and no splicing artifacts that would have been indicative of a fake were found. Tony points out that maybe the recording could have been doctored in a way that intelligence agencies wouldn't detect. Gibson says that anything is theoretically possible, but confirms to Tony these Middle East leaders conspired with Ali to detonate a nuclear warhead on US soil.
Michelle enters the room and conveys to Tony that Ali denies this situation. Since he could be telling the truth, Michelle asks they further the investigation. Carrie interrupts in disagreement and chides Michelle for not having appropriate interrogation skills. Tony stops their argument, and says he'll present both sides to President Palmer.
Aboard Air Force One, Mike Novick briefs President Palmer on the detonation and the lack of casualties excluding the pilot. Mike then tells him that Jack Bauer got off the plane, and George Mason took over. Lynne informs Mike and David that CTU confirmed the recording is authentic. As expected, she tells them Ali is denying this accusation and the tape. Given the powerful evidence, Palmer is forced to retaliate and to respond. He gives an order to send a statement about the blast. He then wants to call for an emergency session of Congress in which he will ask for a formal declaration of war.
11:14:05... 11:14:06... 11:14:07...
At CTU, Tony asks Michelle about the hostility between her and Carrie. Even though Carrie was right about Michelle's lack of experience in interrogation, Michelle still has reasonable doubt warranting Ali's further questioning. Tony says Guantanamo will take care of it. But Michelle thinks by then it'll be too late.
President Palmer meets with the Joint Chiefs via video conference aboard Air Force One. General Bowden, who's aboard the plane, tells him they can be ready to initiate a rolling start with strikes the same day. It will take 8 to 10 weeks to get ground troops into the Middle East.
Kresge informs the President that Deputy Minister Barghouti is on the line. Lynne say if Palmer doesn't answer the call, the minister will possibly jump to conclusions. Palmer exits the room while the video feed is muted. He takes the call. The minister pledges full support against Second Wave because his country has tried to capture Ali for several years. He asks Palmer not to respond against his country. Palmer says they're gathering evidence for the time being. Barghouti appreciates Palmer's candor, while Palmer appreciates Barghouti's solidarity. Palmer hangs up as Mike smiles.
Ali is carried out by a TAC team toward CTU's exits, as an agent gets Tony's signature for prisoner transfer. Jack enters the building, and as he passes, Ali curses at him in Arabic for "killing" his son. The team keeps him under control, and Jack speaks to Tony. Tony is glad that Jack's back. Jack heard the news of Tony's promotion to Director. Tony scoffs at that amazing event. Almeida gives Bauer the telephone number of a San Jose sheriff officer who's waiting for Kim at Aunt Carol's house.
Jack puts on his jacket and walks to a phone station desk. Jack talks to the police department on the phone. Michelle hears his voice nearby and looks at Jack. As he finishes, Michelle says it's good to have him back. Bauer thanks her. She then asks Jack for his help. She believes Palmer is planning a military action based on the Cyprus audio tape. She isn't sure if Ali is telling the truth. Because Jack broke him and can read him better than anyone, she asks him to question him before the transfer. Jack obliges, tells Michelle to call the San Jose number, and he goes after Ali.
Armed tactical agents guard the back entrance of CTU. Agent Parker signs a transfer document on a digital pad and commands the team to let Ali out. Ali is taken out, and is led to the van. Jack catches up to the agents and tells them he wants to talk with the prisoner.
Jack walks toward Ali, and confesses that they didn't kill his son. They staged it. Once at Guantanamo Bay, he'll be able to speak to his family. Bauer wants to know if the Cyprus audio is real. Ali tells Bauer that what he told Michelle was true. Jack thanks Ali and walks away. Suddenly, Ali's head flings back from a single shot to the skull. He falls down dead. Jack holds an agent back and tells him to contact CTU. The agent reports that they have a shooter on the south section of the area. Bauer and the agents scan the area to discern where the shot came from.
11:26:55... 11:26:56... 11:26:57...
Tony and Jack discuss the situation at the CTU back entrance where Ali was shot. Forensics cover his body. Tony asks how anyone knew CTU was moving Ali. Jack tells him the leak could have come from any intelligence community because they all knew about the transfer.
Tony concludes that the three implicated Arab countries arranged this assassination, but Jack is starting to believe a third party did it because Ali was killed so therefore, he might have been telling the truth. As they argue, Tony rudely sends away Agent Parker after Parker tries to get him on a phone call with LAPD Captain Raskind. Stressed, Tony becomes hostile toward Jack. Jack asks why Tony's talking to him like this, and Almeida points out that he doesn't want to be told how to do his job. He tells Jack to find his daughter and let CTU do their job. Bauer agrees and leaves, and Tony takes the call from Parker.
In a desolate civilian area, Kim Bauer walks toward a liquor store under the night sky. She sees a pay phone and walks to it. She tries to call someone, but the lines and circuits are all busy. Suddenly, Frank Davies, the liquor store owner, comes up from behind her. As he asks what she's doing there, Kim tells him she wants to use the restroom in his store. Davies lets her in the store, and ominously locks the door behind him.
President Palmer continues his meeting with the Joint Chiefs. General Bowden debriefs them on scenarios. Bowden predicts 10 to 30,000 casualties in case the Arab countries would most likely retaliate against U.S. opposition. Palmer asks if China and Russia would takes sides in the war against America. Bowden responds that the Chinese and the Russians will likely want to control their oil fields before choosing sides.
Lynne Kresge interrupts with a call from Jack Bauer at CTU. Palmer takes the call in the next room.
Palmer is glad to hear Jack's voice, but he's busy right now. Jack responds with the importance of this conversation. He informs Palmer that Syed Ali was assassinated, and they don't know who did it. Jack thinks the Cyprus audio is not genuine.
Palmer says that because Ali was killed, it doesn't mean the audio was forged. Jack knows that, but because of Ali's denials, Bauer's worried that someone may be manipulating Palmer into taking the military response he's about to take. Palmer becomes skeptical, so Jack asks how much time he has to secure evidence that the audio is fake. Palmer says he has up until the bombers release their payloads, so he better find it quick. Jack understands and hangs up. He then leaves his station to find the evidence.
11:37:14... 11:37:15... 11:37:16...
Bauer calls Dessler about the recording and information. She replies that a foreign intelligence officer from one of the alleged implicated Arab countries, Yusuf Auda, is here at CTU. Jack asks why he's here, and Michelle says it's because of an intelligence agreement between America and that country. Jack tells her he'll look up his background and hangs up.
Jack goes to a computer station as Kate Warner, led by Agent Baker, walks from behind him. As Jack works, she calls out his name. Clearly surprised, she's shocked to see him alive and they speak for a moment. Kate's father, Bob, is still worn out and shaken up from today's events. She's very pleased that Jack was unharmed.
Novick comes to President Palmer with good news. General Bowden has reduced the list of American casualties. But Palmer remains unfazed. He admits that the conversation with Jack Bauer keeps playing in his head. Novick assures him that the recording was authenticated by every intelligence agency. Palmer replies everyone except CTU agent Bauer. Novick says Palmer's analyzing personality is his greatest asset and his greatest liability. But Palmer asks Novick, who sides with the facts, if he is sure that the Cyprus audio is real. At the moment, Novick is unable to respond.
Back at CTU, Auda washes his hands in the men's bathroom. Jack walks in, discreetly. After making sure the room is empty, he introduces himself to Auda. Auda is persistent because he's excluded from the investigation. Bauer asks whether it's possible the Cyprus audio in Ali's house was compromised. Because it incriminates his country, Yusuf wants to know what Jack knows. But Jack confirms that he's not at liberty to disclose anything. Auda and Bauer are not even supposed to be talking. Since Jack is asking too much, Yusuf leaves.
He confirms he's the one who killed Ali because he saw Jack and Ali talking outside the back entrance, but he couldn't kill Jack because he moved at the last second. This man is curious as to what Ali and Jack were talking about. Bauer asks what he wants. This man wants Kate Warner, and tells Jack to meet him with Kate at Studio City on Moorpark and not involve CTU.
Bauer says he needs more time, but the man hangs up. As the man drives toward Studio City, he drops his phone. As he does so, he exposes the distinctive tattoo of a coral snake on his forearm.
11:48:13... 11:48:14... 11:48:15...
In the bathroom of the liquor store, Kim watches her face and her hands. After staring at herself in the mirror, she hears commotion in the main room.
A man, Ramon Garcia, wants to be let in the store as he demands for supplies. Davies tells him the store is closed and to find another store down the street. Kim comes out the bathroom and sees Garcia at the door. He becomes threatening and Davies calls the police.
Kim cryptically states "it's starting", and Davies asks her what she meant. But she dismisses it. Suddenly, Garcia throws a shopping cart through the door, shattering it. He charges at Davies and grabs him by the throat. Kim pulls out the gun given to her by Lonnie McRae and fires a warning shot.
Garcia is startled and Kim tells to let go of Davies. But when Garcia isn't afraid and walks toward her, Kim relents. Garcia takes the gun away from her and loads his shopping cart.
At CTU, Bauer calls Dessler for her help this time. Jack says there might be another way to prove the Cyprus audio was forged.
At the liquor store, Garcia offers to pay for the goods. He only wants to fend for his pregnant wife who can be seen waiting in the car outside. He tells them he's not a criminal. After Garcia tells Davies to turn on the news, they observe a KDOA anchorwoman reporting the nuclear blast. Garcia states that he knows of scientists who have confirmed it as a nuclear explosion. Davies becomes suspicious of Kim and asks whether she knew about this all along given her cryptic statement earlier.
Just then, the LAPD arrive at the store. Led by Deputy Nirman, they draw weapons on the car holding Garcia's wife inside. Enraged that they are harrying his wife, Garcia calls out to them, but Davies attempts to retake the gun away from him. As they struggle, Garcia accidentally shoots him in the stomach. The cops order Garcia to come out. Seeing no alternative, Ramon grabs Kim and takes her as a hostage.
In CTU, Agent Baker briefs Warner on the incident when Syed Ali had kidnapped her and killed her private investigator. Kate knows a little Arabic, but she got the impression that Syed and his associate knew each other really well when they embraced each other before Syed went to the mosque.
Dessler walks in and interrupts Baker's debriefing saying that he needs to send a copy of the Macauley interview transcript to Division right away. Kate sits innocently as they leave but then Bauer walks in. He convinces her to come with him, and they leave. Yusuf and Carrie see this occur.
Seconds later, Baker walks back in to find that Warner is gone. Carrie phones Tony and explains that she believes Jack Bauer is trying to take Kate Warner away from CTU.
Split screen: Tony speaks to Carrie over the phone. Kim struggles to save Davies' life while Ramon cries and insists he didn't mean to shoot him. President Palmer reviews the damage assessment from the bomb.
Jack and Kate pass a CTU officer near the door to the parking lot. He swiftly gives Jack a car key and the spot where the vehicle is parked; Jack thanks him as he walks away. Jack and Kate run for the entrance but are stopped by Tony. Tony asks what's he doing. Bauer can't explain, so Tony suggests he should as he pulls a gun on him.
Jack knows Tony wouldn't shoot and throws him to the ground. Tony falls, spraining his ankle, as Jack holsters the gun and grabs Kate, running. Tony calls out his name as Bauer and Warner leave the building.
11:59:57... 11:59:58... 11:59:59... 12:00:00
- Tony Almeida: You talked to Michelle.
- Jack Bauer: No, I talked to Ali.
- Jack Bauer: I know it's asking a lot.
- Yusuf Auda: It's asking too much. (leaves)
- Kim Bauer: It's starting.
- Tony Almeida: (to Jack Bauer) You consider going against the grain as some kind of virtue!
- Jack Bauer: Who do you think you're kidding, Tony? You're not going to shoot me!
- Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer
- Sarah Wynter as Kate Warner
- Elisha Cuthbert as Kim Bauer
- 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
- Lourdes Benedicto as Carrie Turner
- Gregg Henry as Jonathan Wallace
- Francesco Quinn as Syed Ali
- Donnie Keshawarz as Yusuf Auda
- Brent Sexton as Frank Davies
- Lombardo Boyar as Ramon Garcia
- Dean Norris as Bowden
- Daniel Dae Kim as Tom Baker
- Terrell Clayton as Gibson
- Christopher Maher as Deputy Prime Minister Barghouti
- Jamison Jones as Deputy Nirman
- Morocco Omari as Helicopter Crewman
- Daphne Bloomer as News Reporter
- Derrick McMillon as Agent Parker
- Nicole Gomez Fisher as Lucia Garcia
- Brian Durkin as Brian Pierson (as "CTU Officer")
- Greg Hartigan as Agent Jimmy Kelly
- Commodore James as CTU agent
- Ryan Moore as Kevin
- Patrick O'Bell as CTU worker
- Jacque Parson as Eileen
- Chuck Tamburro as Johnson
- John Tamburro as CTU helicopter crewman (stunt pilot)
- Jay Whalen as CTU agent
- Emile Williams as Berkin
Background information and notes
- During a conversation with Palmer at approximately 11:45, a tear is inexplicably seen streaming down Mike Novick's face as he says the line "It isn't". It instantly disappears after a cutaway to Palmer.
- During filming of this season, Carlos Bernard had sprained his ankle playing basketball and was using crutches. To compensate for this, the writers had Tony sprain his ankle during Jack's escape attempt to make his use of crutches believable.
- Right after Ali gets shot, Jack calls out that the shot came from the north roof, but when he tells the escorting CTU agent to report that Ali had been shot, Jack claims that the shot came from the southwest roof.
- Starting with this episode, the music for the Previously on 24 segments changes for the remaining episodes of Day 2.
- In the Previously on 24 segment, Michelle introduces Yusuf Auda to Tony, but in the previous episode, Tony in fact, showed Michelle who Auda was.
- 11:00pm-12:00am (disambiguation)