|Profession:||Secretary of State, Taylor administration|
White House Chief of Staff, Taylor administration
Secretary of Defense, Wayne Palmer and Daniels administration
|Played by:||Bob Gunton|
|Season(s):||6, 7, 8|
|First episode:||"Day 6: 5:00pm-6:00pm"|
|Last episode:||"Day 8: 10:00am-11:00am"|
- "I always liked that about you, Ethan. Even when I was a little girl you always stood up when I came into the room."
- —Olivia Taylor, "Day 7: 6:00am-7:00am"
Ethan Kanin was the Secretary of Defense under President Wayne Palmer during Day 6 and White House Chief of Staff under President Allison Taylor during the events of 24: Redemption and Day 7. He decided to resign from her administration due to a scandal that could bring her down, but was reinstated following the incarceration of Acting Chief of Staff Olivia Taylor for her part in the murder of Jonas Hodges.
By Day 8, he had been named as Taylor's Secretary of State. He was a key player in Taylor's peace treaty negotiations with President Omar Hassan and the Islamic Republic of Kamistan. After Hassan was murdered and the Russians threatened to back out of the treaty, Kanin recommended bringing Charles Logan to negotiate with them because of his connections with Moscow. However, when Taylor started following Logan's advices, against Kanin's, he decided to resign from his position.
Ethan Kanin was the highest-ranking member of Cabinet within the presidential bunker during the events of Day 6. After the assassination attempt on President Wayne Palmer, Kanin conferenced with Vice President Noah Daniels over video phone. He suggested to Daniels that he should, given the President's condition, assume the responsibilities of the presidency. Daniels agreed and told Kanin he wanted to meet with Tom Lennox once he arrived at the White House.
Kanin confronted Reed Pollock, the Deputy Chief of Staff. He asked where Tom Lennox was. Reed lied about his location, saying that he was with the Attorney General, but Kanin knew this was a lie as he recently spoke to the latter. He ordered Agent Lowry to do a sweep of the bunker and find Tom Lennox. Two hours later, Daniels' assistant Lisa Miller arranged for the Cabinet to meet. Daniels announced his plans to release the full power of the military on Abu Fayed and Hamri Al-Assad's country if another nuclear bomb went off. Karen Hayes was convinced this would create another world war, as Russia and China would react to the attack. ("5:00pm-6:00pm")
CTU Los Angeles was able to prevent a nuclear drone from reaching San Francisco, and the drone crash landed in an industrial park. However, the suitcase nuke was damaged in the attack and a large amount of radiation was released. Vice President Daniels was convinced that this represented a nuclear attack on the United States and he decided to go forward with the nuclear strike. Kanin confirmed that the attack could happen within the next hour. A few hours later, the terrorist threat was neutralized, as Abu Fayed had been killed, and the suitcase nukes themselves secured, by Jack Bauer. Noah Daniels' nuclear strike plan had been aborted in the meantime. ("Day 6: 7:00pm-8:00pm", s) ("10:00pm-11:00pm")
By 5:00am, the United States government learned that an important device that could control Russia's nuclear armament had been passed along to Phillip Bauer. When CTU Los Angeles tracked him down to an oil platform ten miles offshore from California, Ethan Kanin advised Noah Daniels to authorize a full-scale aerial assault on the oil platform, despite knowing that Bauer held his grandson, Josh Bauer, hostage at the platform. Tom Lennox objected, arguing that they should not so easily approve sacrificing an innocent boy, but Noah agreed with Kanin and ordered the air strike. ("5:00am-6:00am")
After Day 6
Despite his serving her opposing party as Secretary of Defense, newly elected President Allison Taylor chose Kanin to serve as her Chief of Staff. On her inauguration day, After learning of President Daniels' decision to close the United States embassy in Sangala, Henry Taylor called Kanin to find out whether Daniels may have had an ulterior motive in doing so without consulting the President-elect.
Kanin later arrived to greet the Taylors at the Capitol building, and was present at her swearing-in and address to the nation. (24: Redemption)
Preparing for war
Ethan Kanin stayed beside President Allison Taylor throughout the events of Day 7, keeping her informed about the different situations going on, such as the near-collision at JFK, the arrest and further escape of Tony Almeida, and the demands of Iké Dubaku.
Kanin also informed First Gentleman Henry Taylor about the alleged causes of his son's death. He told Taylor that the President had decided to keep the details secret from him as not to grieve him. Later, Kanin was infuriated to learn from Agent Gedge that Taylor had gone to confront Roger's former girlfriend, Samantha Roth.
Kanin was the first at the Oval Office to witness the crash of Flight 131 over Washington, D.C. Because of the attacks, he urged the President to meet the demands of Dubaku by pulling American forces out of Sangala so lives were not endangered. After the President explained her decision, Ethan and Homeland Security Official Tim Woods still disagreed. Kanin suggested to Woods that Henry Taylor could persuade the President to change her mind. Ethan called Secret Service Agent Brian Gedge and told him to bring the First Gentleman back. Gedge informed Ethan that he was at Samantha Roth's apartment. Ethan scolded Gedge for letting Henry do that and ordered him to bring Taylor to the White House. When Gedge didn't return or answered his phone, Ethan was forced to tell the President that her husband was missing. ("Day 7: 1:00pm-2:00pm", s) ("2:00pm-3:00pm")
Kanin was present when President Taylor met with Ule Matobo, Bill Buchanan, Renee Walker, and Jack Bauer. During their meeting, the President received a call from Dubaku informing her that he had Henry Taylor, and that he would kill him if she didn't comply. After Jack, Renee, and Bill explained to them their undercover operation and offered their help in finding Taylor, she agreed. Jack and Renee went to the field, while Kanin stayed at the Oval Office with Bill coordinating how to trick Dubaku into thinking they would hand him Matobo. They agreed to use a look-alike to buy some time, and Kanin was present when they watched via satellite as Dubaku's men blew up the car with their agents. ("3:00pm-4:00pm")
When the President learned her husband had been shot, she wanted to go to the hospital where Henry was being treated. Ethan did not approve of this and said she should stay to handle things. When Taylor refused Ethan's proposal, Bill offered to drive her there since they couldn't trust the Government. While the President waited for her husband, Ethan briefed her about the ongoing success of the invasion in Sangala. The President, however, seemed distracted by her grief and Ethan decided to comfort her instead.
While at the hospital, the President told Ethan that it was her fault for what happened to Henry. Bill came to them and said that Jack had apprehended Iké Dubaku and that it would be much safer for her to go to the White House. Ethan encouraged this idea so they decided to go. ("5:00pm-6:00pm")
White House assault and aftermath
Shortly after 6:00pm, when Senator Blaine Mayer arrived, Ethan met with him and tried to convince him to suspend Jack Bauer's testimony before the Senate on behalf of his actions during the day. Mayer refused to do so, and went to meet with the President herself. When Jack was caught torturing Mayer's Senatorial Chief of Staff Ryan Burnett, Ethan advised President Taylor on believing Jack's intel that there would be an attack on the next hour. Sometime after, Ethan left for the Pentagon to supervise works on the invasion on Sangala. Shortly after he left, General Juma invaded the White House, but was killed by Jack. ("Day 7: 6:00pm-7:00pm", s) ("7:00pm-8:00pm")
When Ethan arrived from the Pentagon about an hour later, Renee approached him with the information Jack had brought about an outside source helping Juma, and he ordered Larry Moss to release Jack and have him interrogate Burnett. He then met with President Taylor who told him she decided to offer Olivia a position as special adviser. Ethan disagreed with the decision, but Taylor asked him to personally made the offer to Olivia as a truce between them. When Ethan approached Olivia with the offer, she scolded him for letting so much corruption reach her mother. ("8:00pm-9:00pm")
At 9:15pm, Ethan had to bring the news to President Taylor about Burnett's failed interrogation and subsequent murder, and apologized to her. When Taylor addressed the nation at 9:30pm, reporter Ken Dellao approached Ethan about the Burnett incident and his involvement in releasing Jack. Although Ethan didn't confirm anything, he blasted Olivia for allegedly leaking the information. Although she denied it, he brought the matter to Taylor and they confronted her. When she denied it again, Ethan apologized with her. ("9:00pm-10:00pm")
At around 10:00pm, Larry Moss contacted Ethan again and told him that they had found Senator Blaine Mayer dead at his home. Ethan was infuriated by this and blasted Larry for not keeping a short-leash on Bauer, but Larry reverted the attack on him saying that he was against letting Jack loose, but that Ethan himself authorized his release. Ethan seemed struck by the events and informed President Taylor his decision to resign his post as White House Chief of Staff. Taylor was shocked and tried to convince him otherwise, but he refused and walked away.
While cleaning his office, Olivia approached him and told him how sorry she was about everything. He decided to offer her some advice to quell her political ambitions, but she rejected it. At around 10:32pm, he walked away from the White House. ("10:00pm-11:00pm")
Exposing Olivia Taylor
Close to 6:00am, Ethan received a call from Aaron Pierce. Pierce asked him if the digital recorders in the office of the Chief of Staff that President David Palmer had put in during Mike Novick's time as Chief of Staff were still functioning. Kanin told him that they were but that he would need his fingerprint and wanted to know why. Aaron responded that he couldn't discuss it over the phone but that he should come to the White House. Ethan said he would be there in half an hour. ("5:00am-6:00am")
Kanin arrived at the White House and Aaron told him of his suspicions concerning Olivia and her role in the assassination of Jonas Hodges. Ethan agreed to help and he recovered the recording but wasn't fast enough before Olivia returned to her office. He managed to cover up his theft by claiming that he wanted to recover some old files. Olivia let him leave but then realized what he had taken and ordered security to stop Ethan. They did so and Olivia recovered the recording and had Ethan thrown out of the White House. However, Ethan had slipped the real recording in Aaron's sling as he was passing him and the card Olivia destroyed was a blank. Ethan returned to his car and listened to the recording of a conversation between Olivia and Martin Collier about killing Jonas Hodges. ("6:00am-7:00am")
Ethan and Aaron then confronted Olivia in her office and showed her the recording. Desperate, Olivia offerd to resign so that Ethan could get his old job back but Ethan angrily refused saying that it wasn't about his job but that it was about justice and that he would turn the recording over to the president and that she would decide. After Olivia was arrested for her part in the death of Jonas Hodges, Ethan Kanin met with a distraught President Taylor in a corridor of the White House. She confessed that she felt like she had lost everyone; her son, daughter, and husband (who was angered with her for turning over their daughter to the authorities). Kanin reminded her that she still had him, and he offered to take back his resignation and rejoin her administration, which she graciously accepted. ("7:00am-8:00am")
After Day 7
Shortly after the events of Day 7, Kanin was nominated to succeed Joe Stevens as Secretary of State meaning that Ethan's brief tenure as Chief of Staff came to an end, he was succeeded by Rob Weiss ("4:00pm-5:00pm")
Following Day 7, Ethan Kanin became President Taylor's Secretary of State (and successfully recommended that Rob Weiss be the replacement for his prior position, White House Chief of Staff). He was on hand at the United Nations Building in New York to help oversee the peace accords between Taylor and President Omar Hassan. Kanin argued with Farhad Hassan on the issue of the nationality of nuclear inspectors due to inspect Kamistani nuclear facilities, but ultimately Taylor asked Kanin to find a way to concede to Hassan's demands. After learning about the threat on President Hassan's life, Kanin wanted to withhold the information from the Kamistani delegation for fears of a jeopardized peace treaty, an opinion which Weiss disagreed with. During the evacuation of the United Nations at around 6:45pm, Kanin was separated from President Taylor and Weiss, reuniting with the two at the UN building at around 8:15pm, after finding out about Farhad's conspiracy against President Hassan. Kanin spoke to the American Ambassador in Kamistan who informed them that Hassan's security forces were cracking down on opposition, disrespecting the rule of law which causes the British to threaten to pull out from the accord. ("9:00pm-10:00pm")
Between 5:00am and 6:00am, Ethan suffered a heart attack while being detained by Weiss and General David Brucker in his own office as he tried to stop them from turning Hassan over to terrorists to prevent an attack on Manhattan. When General Brucker and Rob Weiss is detained in his office, President Allison Taylor and her team finds Ethan on his couch. She asks if he's still alive, and a medic says he is, but has had a cardiac arrest. He survives, and talks to Allison while being in a hospital bed. He shares his opinion about the situation, and says they need Hassan alive, or else the peace treaty couldn't be done. ("Day 8: 5:00am-6:00am", s) ("6:00am-7:00am")
Later Ethan recommended to Allison Taylor that they bring in former president Charles Logan to negotiate with the Russians in hopes that with his connections in Moscow he could coax them back into supporting the peace agreement. ("8:00am-9:00am")
However, Ethan's idea to bring Charles Logan into the picture proved disastrous. Despite Kanin's best efforts, Logan managed to convince President Taylor to go against her principles and cover up the Russians' support of the splinter cell. He made one last attempt to persuade Taylor to scuttle the conference and expose Suvarov, but she firmly refused. Deeply disappointed, he announced his intentions to resign after 10:30am. Out of consideration for their friendship, he promised to cite health reasons and to expose nothing of Taylor's controversial decision. President Taylor was upset but still chose to follow Logan's guidance. Kanin confronted Charles Logan directly, and warned him to stop leading Taylor astray, but gained no ground. Several minutes later, Ethan stood behind the large crowd of reporters to hear what Taylor's final decision was. She announced that her peace treaty would be passed "no matter the cost". The President continued her speech while she watched Ethan—who was powerless to stop the moral corruption that Logan had started within Taylor—turn around and walk out. ("10:00am-11:00am")
Following Taylor's resignation from the Presidency and Hayworth's assumption of it, Kanin returned to the UN accompanied by former Secretary of Defense James Heller.
Background information and notes
- Kanin was named after Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty member Ethan Canin who is a longtime friend of 24 show-runner Howard Gordon and writer Alex Gansa.
- Kanin's conspicuous absence from the 25th Amendment vote during Day 6: 9:00pm-10:00pm remains unexplained.
- Kanin has resigned twice, and both times were during Allison Taylor's administration. The first resignation was from the office of White House Chief of Staff, during Season 7, under pressure from the corrupt Olivia Taylor, and the second was from the office of Secretary of State, during Season 8, on account of Allison Taylor's decision to follow the advice of Charles Logan.
- Kanin is seen wearing a wedding ring throughout his run as a character but, like with Mike Novick, his spouse is never mentioned.
- Howard Gordon stated that a possible storyline for Season 8 was to have Allison Taylor and Ethan Kanin in a relationship. "We did consider it. Bob Gunton [Ethan] confessed one night after a couple glasses of wine to having some imaginary past with her that extended beyond their professional one."
- Having served in both the administrations of Wayne Palmer/Noah Daniels and Allison Taylor, Ethan Kanin is the only Cabinet secretary to serve Presidents from (presumably) different parties.
- Kanin served as Secretary of Defense in one administration and White House Chief of Staff in a later administration. In real life, three people have held both offices (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Leon Panetta), but all three did so in the opposite order.
|Secretary of Defense||Succeeded by:|
|White House Chief of Staff||Succeeded by:|
|White House Chief of Staff||Succeeded by:|
|Secretary of State||Succeeded by:|