|Written by:||Joel Surnow & Michael Loceff|
|Directed by:||Jon Cassar|
|Original airdate:||October 29, 2002|
|Nielsen rating:||9.3/13 (13.5m)|
After intelligence uncovers a plot to detonate a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles within the day, the Counter Terrorist Unit needs Jack Bauer to help prevent it by reestablishing his cover with a man named Joseph Wald who has links to the terrorists behind the nuclear attack. Jack refuses to respond until he receives a call directly from President David Palmer requesting his help. Bauer agrees to help as long as they get his daughter Kim out of Los Angeles.
between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.
Events occur in real time.
Seoul, South Korea. 12:00:00. A car drives to a warehouse. Inside the warehouse a man is being interrogated through torture with a large electrocution apparatus. The man is in great pain, and one of the subordinates thinks the dosage is too high. An interrogator, Deng, strikes out and grabs the victim in frustration. Another interrogator, a woman named Mina repeats, "Tell me when." She gets an answer and relays it to Deng, who departs and runs into a room where American military officers are waiting. One of them, Colonel Graham, asks "when", and Deng replies "today." Graham quickly picks up the phone and asks for NSA official Eric Rayburn.
Lake Oswego, Oregon. David Palmer is on a boat fishing with his son Keith. They talk about Nicole's absence, and Keith suggests watching a movie later in the day. David asks how Sherry is doing, and Keith says that he thinks inside she is upset. As they seem to relax, Secret Service Agent Rosser receives news in his earpiece—there is a situation, and David needs to leave.
A young girl named Megan Matheson is running through her house screaming. She runs into a bedroom and hides under the covers of the bed. Kim Bauer, Megan's au pair, emerges from the bathroom and asks Megan what she is doing. She is hiding from her dad as part of a game. Gary Matheson enters and asks Kim if she has seen Megan. Kim asks what she looks like and Gary begins to describe a wart on her nose. Megan emerges from under the sheet to protest, and Gary begins to tickle her as Kim smiles. Megan runs off to go hide, and Gary asks Kim how she keeps up with her all day. They share a long look before Megan calls for her dad to find her again.
Back on the shore, Palmer is forced to say goodbye to Keith, who is disappointed, but understands and looks forward to seeing him at retreat later. Palmer asks his aide how serious the threat is, and she says she hasn't been briefed, but doesn't feel good. So far, the NSA has never called in the President on his day off. Palmer enters an SUV.
Counter Terrorist Unit, Los Angeles. Paula Schaeffer catches up with Tony Almeida at CTU Los Angeles. She says that she didn't know how Tony liked his intelligence briefings so she organized them in two different ways. George Mason, now CTU Director, walks up and Paula says that she ordered some upgrades on all the SIM software. As she starts to explain herself, George tells her to stop, and she walks away.
Tony says that Division wants to set up a meeting next month to discuss LAX security upgrades. This displeases Mason, who is tired of "chasing little old ladies who set off metal detectors with knitting needles," and says that if he's still at CTU next year, to shoot him. Mason says he would rather be working out of Washington, DC. Tony takes a sip out of his Chicago Cubs mug and asks if the 15th is okay, George says yes.
Michelle Dessler enters and hands Mason a note from Rayburn at NSA. Mason looks at it and says that it can't be right. He asks Eileen to put him in contact with Rayburn, and then heads up to his office. Michelle walks over to Tony, who asks what that was about. Dessler tells Tony that NSA wants CTU to bring in Jack Bauer. Bauer is currently inactive. Bauer, who has grown a beard and looks shaggy, enters an SUV somewhere in Los Angeles.
David Palmer is brought into the Northwest Regional Operations Center, a military base in Oregon. He tells Jenny to reschedule his events for the day, and she says she'll take care of it. Two guards including Evans salute as David and his entourage walk down the stairs. Palmer is greeted by Eric Rayburn from the NSA who says he won't have much time today. They take an elevator to a lower floor where representatives from the Military, CIA and FBI are waiting, as well as Lynne Kresge. Mike Novick is on a plane from Washington DC.
Palmer sits down and Rayburn addresses the panel. He says that there is a nuclear weapon under terrorist control on US soil, and that the bomb is going to go off today in Los Angeles. He explains that a suicide bomber named Mamud Rasheed Faheen faked his death in preparation for the attack, and that they were able to break down a witness to tell them that the attack will occur today. Faheen works for a group called Second Wave, which is not officially recognized by any Government, but Rayburn gives Palmer evidence that one country does support the group. Palmer asks Lynne to get their Prime Minister on the line.
Carla Matheson is cooking breakfast, and calls for Gary to come down and eat. She then goes over to Kim and Megan Matheson and tells Kim she's expecting a package. They talk about Megan's safety until Gary comes down and hugs Carla. As he looks right at Kim, he puts his hand on his wife's behind. Carla leaves, and Gary comments that Kim has a nice body. He then asks Kim if she works out. Kim says she swims.
David Palmer is paged and is told the Afghan Prime Minister is on the phone. He tries to solve the matter politically, and asks him why three camps are operating without resistance in his country. The Prime Minister is outraged, and says he is not planning on attacking America. Palmer says that he will be forced to invade if a bomb goes off. The Prime Minister warns him to be careful.
Kim and Megan are playing on the driveway, Megan is learning to use a skateboard, Jack Bauer is watching. His phone rings, and, after a couple of rings he answers it. A man comes on and says George Mason wants to talk to him, and Jack says he doesn't work for CTU anymore. Megan falls down and Kim helps her up. After helping Megan up she turns around to see Jack walking towards her. Kim sends Megan to the backyard. Kim tells Jack that she's not ready to see him, and that every time she sees him she thinks of her mom. They embrace, but Kim says she's can't be a part of Jack's life right now. Jack leaves, saddened.
Eric Rayburn walks into David Palmer's office, where Palmer asks about a casualty assessment. Rayburn says they are still working on those figures. Rayburn wants Palmer to call the Pentagon about retaliation, but Palmer doesn't want to think about that yet, he just wants to worry about saving innocent lives. He says that somewhere in the city there is a terrorist.
Reza Naiyeer is driving in a car and speaking in Farsi. He stops at a very large house and gets out. He walks up behind Marie Warner and they kiss. Kate Warner sees this and jokingly tells them to stop, and Reza wants to know why he can't kiss his wife. Kate reminds him they aren't married yet. Kate tells Marie she has a phone call from Andre, and Marie takes it angrily, believing it to be a problem with the flowers for the wedding.
Kate asks Reza where his cousin is, and Reza says he sent the company car. Bob Warner comes out carrying trash. Reza sees him and offers to help, but Bob declines. Reza leaves to help Marie with the fountain, and calls for Luis. Kate asks Bob about the car, and references other supposed misuses of the Warner company including days off and a condo in Palm Springs. Bob tells Kate to relax, then ponders what she doesn't like about him: he knows it's not because Reza is from the Middle East. Kate says that something just doesn't strike her the right way, but then says that maybe she just doesn't want to give her sister up. Bob says he misses his wife - Kate's mother - and that she would be proud of both of her children.
George Mason calls Rayburn and says he hasn't been able to get a hold of Bauer. Rayburn wants Bauer, he says it's important. Mason says that Jack probably doesn't want to be found, but Rayburn says that is unacceptable. Mason says he knows a way to get to Bauer, and asks Rayburn if the President is with him.
Jack Bauer's phone is ringing. Bauer enters his apartment, which seems to be mostly in boxes, and doesn't answer the phone. It goes to the answering machine and Tony Almeida is begging Bauer to come in. Jack pours himself a glass of water and sits down. He stares at the top right drawer of a desk. He opens it. Inside there's a gun, but Jack takes out a picture of himself, Teri, and Kim Bauer. He goes to a couch and holds the picture to his chest, crying.
The phone rings again. When it goes to the machine, Janet Voet from the President's office identifies herself. When Jack hears the name Palmer, he gets up and quickly answers the call. Palmer asks how Jack is, Jack says things are difficult. Palmer says he's thought about Jack a lot, and then cuts to the chase: he needs Jack's help. Jack doesn't see what he can do, but Palmer says that his advisors think he can play an important part. Palmer says that this is not a normal request, and that he trusts Jack more than anyone. He wants Jack to go to CTU and then make up his mind. Jack asks when they need him, Palmer says, "Now."
Carla Matheson has returned home to wrap a present for Gary. Kim says she could have done it, but Carla says Gary likes things a specific way, and that it'd take too long to explain. She then asks Kim to take Megan upstairs to play.
Michelle Dessler walks up to Tony Almeida and tells him that the CIA is sending out an information flow advisory, and that something is going on, inter-agency. Tony tells her to call Lindauer and Grothy; despite it being their day off, they have to come in. He also tells her to begin filtering incoming information and she goes back to her desk, as they share a glance. Michelle sits down and Paula offers to help her. Michelle tells Paula to just do her job, and Paula apologizes.
George Mason comes downstairs and tells all department heads to huddle up, as there is an active priority. He informs CTU's staff that there is a nuclear bomb under terrorist control in Los Angeles and that for now on they can have no contact with the outside world. He tells everyone to get to work, and Tony goes up to George and asks about Bauer. George says that Jack is coming in and that it probably involves one of Jack's previous covers.
Eric Rayburn is going over the casualty estimates with President David Palmer. Rayburn is going over the best case, says that the immediate loss of life would be bad, but a dirty bomb will spread radiation erratically. Palmer asks what the worst would look like, and Rayburn says that if a Soviet warhead goes off perfectly over LA, it would be devastating. Rayburn wants Palmer to talk with the joint chiefs, but Palmer says this is not a military operation. Palmer is left looking at a screen that estimates 2,500,000 deaths.
A man walks up to a building and knocks on the door. It is opened and he enters, meeting another man. The building is fairly empty, and is guarded by someone else who carries an automatic weapon. They walk down to the floor where a section is partitioned off from the rest. Inside a man is nervously putting powder into a canister. The man asks when the bomb will be ready, and his associate answers "Soon."
Tony Almeida asks Paula Schaeffer to open some sockets for him. Paula breaks down and says she probably can't handle what they need her to do today, and asks Tony to call in someone else. Tony says there's no one else to call, that she is the best at what she does, and that she will be fine. Paula calms down, and goes off to open the sockets. Tony turns around to see Jack Bauer walking into the building. Everyone around stares at Jack, who looks around uncomfortably.
Tony greets Jack and takes him to a conference room where Paula, George Mason and Michelle Dessler are waiting. Jack asks why they brought him here, and Mason tells him about the bomb. Jack asks how close they are to a main suspect, and Mason tells him that they're not that close, and that's why Bauer was called in. Bauer leaves the room and runs to the phone. He calls Kim and begs her to leave the city with him. Kim refuses and hangs up. Jack calls her back and gets her voicemail. He leaves her a message telling her to go to Aunt Carol's.
Tony walks up to Jack and tries to convince him to stay. Jack says that he can't lose his daughter. Tony says that CTU can protect his daughter, but Jack says that he trusted CTU to protect his family once and his wife died. Tony reminds him that he was there, and tries to get Jack to reconsider. Jack walks out. He pulls out his cell phone and calls Carol to tell her that he and Kim are coming. As he gets to his car, he looks at a mother and her young son walking.
Back inside CTU George is yelling at Tony for failing to talk Jack into it. Michelle says there has to be another way, and Mason sarcastically makes fun of that suggestion. Mason says that they need to call NSA now, but then Bauer walks back into the room. Jack wants two specific agents (Knoll or Grothy) to pick up his daughter and take her a safe distance from the city, then wants Tony to keep him updated, saying he doesn't trust Mason. Mason replies he'll have to start, considering the events of the day. Tony leaves to send out the men.
Jack asks why they needed him and Mason briefs Jack, saying that the best connection they have to the terrorist group Second Wave believed to be behind the attacks is Joseph Wald. Bauer was undercover with Wald and actually put him in jail. Michelle says that Wald is out on appeal and that if he is convicted of these new charges, he'll get life in prison. Bauer asks if there are any key witnesses against Wald, and Paula says there's one: Marshall Goren. Jack tells Mason to bring him in. Mason wants to know why, but Jack refuses to say anything other than it's to re-establish his cover. Mason calls the FBI, who are holding Goren nearby.
Marie Warner, Reza Naiyeer and Kate Warner are talking about the wedding. Reza is unhappy that Scott, Marie's ex-boyfriend has been invited. Kate jokingly laughs at his jealously, but Reza angrily defends himself. Their disagreement is interrupted by the Warner housekeeper who informs Kate that she has a call. She takes the phone and answers to Ralph Burton, a private detective hired by Kate to do a background check on Reza. He tells Kate that the check revealed nothing odd about Reza's finances, but he did find something even more concerning: Reza might have ties with a terrorist named Syed Ali, and he will need Kate's help to confirm them.
Lynne Kresge walks up to President Palmer and asks him if he ordered a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Palmer says no, and tells her to cancel it. Eric Rayburn said he set up the meeting, in case the President changed his mind. Palmer tells him not to second guess his decisions. Rayburn apologizes, but does not seem to understand he has made a mistake.
George Mason tells Jack he arranged to have Marshall Goren brought in. As they wait for him to arrive, Michelle prepares Jack's background to use in the cover with Wald. She organizes it to say that Jack did not do time in California because he was extradited to Florida on two counts of robbery. Jack tells her to change it to conspiracy to transport illegal explosives; he says he would be a more viable cover for how they knew him. He tells Michelle to contact Rudi Collett, a parole officer who Jack wants in as part of the cover. Mason asks Jack about the plan, and when Jack refuses to tell him Mason considers the possibly that Jack is losing it. He assures Mason that he is not. As Goren arrives, Jack tells Michelle to leave the room. When she does, Jack goes over Goren's charges, which include murder and child pornography. Goren says he will walk free of the charges if he helps to put Wald away. After a few moments, Jack shoots Goren in the heart, and reminds a shocked Mason that he needs to quickly re-establish his cover with Wald. He requests a hacksaw.
At the Matheson house, Kim is working on a paper and Megan is playing when they hear Gary and Carla fighting downstairs. Gary comes up to the room and tries to get in, but Kim has locked the door. When she opens it, Kim says they were in the bathroom and that they didn't hear anything. Gary says Carla had an accident, and tells Kim to go down and help her. When she refuses, Gary shoves Kim which sends her to the floor. Megan begins to cry and when she tries to go over to Kim, Gary grabs her arm and accidentally knocks her head against the metal edge of the bed. Megan cries as Kim look at Gary nervously. Gary's phone rings.
Split screen: Kim and Megan are frozen on the ground while Gary argues over the phone, requesting to speak to Donny. President Palmer reviews the casualty estimates. Faheen's men continue to prepare the nuclear bomb. Kate Warner watches Reza and Marie playing.
At CTU, Jack Bauer is over a sink, with a shorter haircut and shaving off his beard.
08:59:57... 08:59:58... 08:59:59... 09:00:00
- President David Palmer: Jack?
- Jack Bauer: Mr. President.
- President David Palmer: You've been avoiding CTU's calls this morning.
- Jack Bauer: I don't work for them any more, sir.
- President David Palmer: So I hear. How's it all going, Jack?
- Jack Bauer: It's been difficult, sir.
- President David Palmer: I'm sure it has. I've thought a lot about you this past year.
- Jack Bauer: Thank you, Mr. President.
- President David Palmer: I know this is a bad time, but I need your help.
- Jack Bauer: I've been inactive for over a year. I can't see how I'd be of any help to anyone.
- President David Palmer: We are in a grave situation that requires the attention of all branches of our national security. My advisors are convinced that you can play an important part in this effort.
- Jack Bauer: I'm sorry, but I'm in no condition--
- President David Palmer: Jack, listen to me. I know you suffered a loss, I know it's hard, but this is not a routine request. Go to CTU, listen to what's happening, and then make your decision. Jack...you saved my life. I trust you as much as I trust anyone, and now I need your help.
- Jack Bauer: When do they need me?
- President David Palmer: Now.
- Jack Bauer: You are Marshall Goren?
- Marshall Goren: Yeah.
- Jack Bauer: (Reads Marshall's rap sheet) Eight counts: kidnapping a minor. Two counts: child pornography. First degree murder.
- Marshall Goren: Yeah. Hey, look. I already made my deal. I don't need to hear this noise. All I gotta do is testify against Wald, and I walk.
(Jack stares at Marshall for a moment before he shoots him in the chest)
- George Mason: No!
- Jack Bauer: Get a helicopter and a backup team ready to leave here in 15 minutes.
- George Mason: Are you out of your mind?
- Jack Bauer: You wanna find this bomb? This is what it's gonna take.
- George Mason: By killing a witness?
- Jack Bauer: That's the problem with people like you, George. You want results, but you never want to get your hands dirty. I'd start rolling up your sleeves. (looks around) I'm gonna need a hacksaw.
- 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
- Vicellous Shannon as Keith Palmer
- Reiko Aylesworth as Michelle Dessler
- Skye McCole Bartusiak as Megan Matheson
- Billy Burke as Gary Matheson
- Timothy Carhart as Eric Rayburn
- Michelle Forbes as Lynne Kresge
- Sara Gilbert as Paula Schaeffer
- Laura Harris as Marie Warner
- Tracy Middendorf as Carla Matheson
- Phillip Rhys as Reza Naiyeer
- John Terry as Bob Warner
- Tamlyn Tomita as Jenny Dodge
- Jim Abele as Ralph Burton
- Michael Saad as Prime Minister
- Esther Chae as Mina
- Billy Mayo as Rosser
- Tony Lee as Deng
- R.A. Buck as Colonel Graham
- Boyuen as Jason Park
- Carl Ciarfalio as Marshall Goren
- Marc Casabani as Omar
- Dana Bunch as CTU employee
- Greg Hartigan as Agent Jimmy Kelly
- Pete Henderson as McCollum
- Bruce Holman as Secret Service agent
- Maz Jobrani as Marko Khatami
- Philip J. Martin as CTU employee
- Rob McCarthy as presidential advisor
- Ryan Moore as Kevin
- Jacque Parson as Eileen
- Fred Toma as Basheer
- Emile Williams as Berkin
- Mark Winn as bomb technician
Background information and notes
- This episode is the season premiere of 24's second season. It aired without commercial interruption. The total running time is about 51 minutes. All subsequent airings were edited to add commercial breaks.
- Xander Berkeley and Carlos Bernard joined the regular cast after recurring in Season 1. Sarah Wynter also joined as series regular for the season.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Reiko Aylesworth as Michelle Dessler.
- This is the first episode of the series not to feature Leslie Hope as Teri Bauer and Sarah Clarke as Nina Myers. As of this episode, Jack Bauer, Kim Bauer and David Palmer are the only characters to have appeared in every episode of the series.
- This episode was one of two that circulated among Emmy voters.
- The "Hacksaw" line was originally supposed to be taken out by Fox executives. It stayed, obviously, and became one of the show's memorable lines.
- The portion of the "information flow advisory" that Michelle points out to Tony which can be read reads:
- The Agency has received credible information regarding potential disruptions to government and private industry computer installations.
- The Central Intelligence Agency continues to receive information about potential terrorist actions against U.S. interests. There is growing concern that individuals may be planning terrorist actions against United States citizens and interests, as well as computer installations maintained by the U.S. Government and private industry.
- We continue to receive reports of new developments in denial-of-service tools. This advisory provides pointers to documents discussing some of the more recent attacks and methods to detect some of the tools currently in use. Many of the denial-of-service tools currently in use depend on the ability of an intruder to compromise systems first.
- That is, intruders exploit known vulnerabilities to gain access to systems which they should then use to launch further attacks. Worldwide Caution Public Announcement of March 17, 2002. increased security of official U.S. facilities may lead terrorists and their…
- During the final split-screen of the episode, Gary Matheson can be heard saying, "Yeah, I know it's a Saturday". This confirms that Day 2 starts on a Saturday and ends on a Sunday and would explain why Megan Matheson isn't in school.
- George Mason's cynical remark that he should be in Washington DC by now is an allusion to the promise David Palmer made to him in "Day 1: 9:00pm-10:00pm": "Within the first month of my term I'll instate you in a high-level position in Washington. You'll bypass five years of middle management." Despite George's agreement, for whatever reason, President Palmer apparently failed to live up to this deal, or else George backed out of it.
- This is the only 8:00am-9:00am episode in which Jack kills someone.
- This is the series' 25th episode.
- This is the second season premiere to show Jack shooting someone in CTU, followed by a colleague asking if he is out of his mind.
- In a 2016 interview for Variety, writer Howard Gordon chose this episode as his favorite from Season 2, acknowledging the "unique challenges the first episode of each season of 24 presents" and how this one "delivered".
- The episode implies that Los Angeles and Seoul are 14 time zones apart, which means it takes place while the US is observing Daylight Saving Time. When it aired, the US had already returned to standard time.
- Schwindt, Oriana (November 6, 2016). ‘24’ 15th Anniversary: Executive Producers Pick Their Favorite Episodes.