"out-of-universe" or "real world" information.
Please edit this page to expand it, or visit the article's talk page to discuss proposed changes.
A government is the body that has the power to make and enforce laws within an organization or group. Since 24 is set in Los Angeles and involves law enforcement - specifically, the pursuit and capture of terrorists - the United States government is the one most prominently featured, represented in each season by multiple characters and at least two plotlines. However, the governments of other countries have also played key roles in assisting or hindering CTU's efforts.
Unless contradicted by events on the show, it can be assumed that governments operate the same way on 24 as they do in real life.
The United States Federal Government
- See full article at United States government.
The United States government breaks down into two levels: the federal and the state. The federal government includes three branches: the Executive (the White House and a number of bureaus such as the Department of Defense), the Legislative (the Senate and the House of Representatives), and the Judicial (the court system). State governments roughly mirror this setup.
The federal government makes decisions that affect all fifty states. However, many decisions are left to each state individually. Generally, the federal government only steps in when it is necessary for all states to have a consistent policy - or, in the case of law enforcement, when crimes involve multiple states or other countries. Counter Terrorist Unit is a branch of the Central Intelligence Agency, giving it federal authority.
On 24, state and local government is almost entirely absent, as the terrorist threat is either so severe as to require the direct assistance of the President, or international and therefore under the jurisdiction of federal rather than state entities.
The behind-the-scenes plotline involved Carl Webb and Sherry Palmer's attempts to cover up evidence of Keith Palmer's role in a man's death seven years prior. This plotline touched on themes of personal privacy versus the public's right to know everything about the people they elect to office.
The public plotline involved an assassination attempt on David Palmer, a member of the Democratic party and a senator from Maryland. Initially, everyone assumed the attempt was made because he was the first African-American to have a realistic chance of becoming President, but it turned out that the assassination attempt was unrelated to terrorism.
Drazen was targeted because he was Balkan war criminal responsible for ethnic cleansing under Slobodan Milosevic. The United States' involvement in the region was therefore indirectly responsible for the events of the day. During hearings conducted by a House Special Subcommittee after day 1, Jack accused the U.S. Army of intentionally setting up the operation to fail so that they could secretly keep Drazen as a prisoner. The Army's representative, Lt. Colonel Newton, denied the charge.
- Senator David Palmer and his family
- Maureen Kingsley, a reporter threatening to run a story damaging to Palmer's campaign
- Mike Novick, one of Palmer's campaign advisors
- Carl Webb, one of Palmer's campaign advisors
- Aaron Pierce, head of the Secret Service detail in charge of protecting Palmer
On Day 2, David Palmer had won his bid for the presidency, and his staff and importance to CTU increased accordingly. Instead of being the object of a terrorist threat, Palmer was forced to try and control one.
He worked with Jack Bauer and CTU, but was forced to work against and around his own staff and cabinet for much of the season. Prior to the detonation of the nuclear bomb, Palmer argued with the National Security Agency about whether to spend more time trying to prevent the attack or organize a retaliation. He also had a reporter, Ron Wieland, held indefinitely to prevent Wieland from airing rumors regarding the attack that might cause mass panic. Echoing Day 1, the public's right to know was weighed against national security.
With the help of Mike Novick, Vice President James Prescott assembled the cabinet to vote on the 25th Amendment, which states when a Vice President may take over in the event of a President's incapacitation. Although he had other evidence against Palmer (specifically, that Palmer had held a reporter against his will and had a high-level government official tortured), Prescott's major concern was that Palmer was not acting quickly enough to reprimand three Middle Eastern countries suspected of conspiring with Syed Ali to attack the U.S. After a 8-7 vote, Palmer was ousted and Prescott took over as President. However, when the Cyprus recording that implicated the three countries was proved to be fabricated, Prescott stepped down and restored authority to Palmer.
The Middle East
Day 2 focused heavily on the strained relationship between the West (the United States and Europe) and the Middle East (unnamed here, but especially Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan), as well as possible covert alliances between some Middle Eastern governments and radical anti-West terrorists. In particular, the season touched whether or not a country could be held responsible for terrorists operating within its borders, and if so, what kind of response was called for.
Three unnamed Middle Eastern countries were suspected of harboring the Second Wave terrorist group, though none would officially confirm ties to the group. Early in the day, Palmer phoned the Prime Minister of one of these countries to offer a warning. Later, the Cyprus recording implicated the governments of all three. Nonetheless, Palmer refused to issue a preemptive strike against these countries before being absolutely certain of the recording's veracity.
One of the three governments sent Yusuf Auda as a liaison to aid CTU in stopping Second Wave. Although initially greeted with distrust, Auda proved an honest and invaluable team member.
- President David Palmer
- Vice President James Prescott
- Palmer's cabinet
- Palmer's Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Mike Novick, now the White House Chief of Staff
- Aaron Pierce, promoted to the Presidential Secret Service detail
- Jenny Dodge, Palmer's Press Secretary
- Ron Wieland, a reporter threatening to broadcast rumors of the nuclear threat
- Lynne Kresge, general advisor to Palmer
- Roger Stanton, the Head of the National Security Agency
- Eric Rayburn, the Deputy Head of the National Security Agency, who served as an official advisor to Palmer
- Jonathan Wallace, head of a team of commandos operating under Roger Stanton
During Day 3, David Palmer was facing re-election against Republican candidate John Keeler. After firing Mike Novick on Day 2, Palmer hired his brother, Wayne Palmer, as White House Chief of Staff. However, Wayne's involvement with the wife of one of David's major campaign contributors (Alan Milliken), drew David into a web of illegal activities involving his own ex-wife, Sherry. David eventually decided not to seek re-election and Keeler won the election.
The Balkan angle from Day 1 returned, as a presumed-dead member of Jack Bauer's Operation Nightfall team turned out to be the one behind the day's events. Stephen Saunders, an agent on loan from England's MI6, claimed to have turned to terrorism in order to "clean up" the government that sent him on an illegal mission and left him to die.
- President David Palmer
- Wayne Palmer, White House Chief of Staff
- Jerry Whitehorn, Palmer's Press Secretary
- Alan and Julia Milliken, major contributors to Palmer's campaign
- John Keeler, the Republican candidate for President
At the beginning of Day 4, terrorists working for Habib Marwan kidnapped Secretary of Defense James Heller and his daughter, Audrey Raines. A week or so prior to the events of day 4, they had also used Heller's son, Richard, to get information for the attack.
After Marwan shot down Air Force One, incapacitating President Keeler, Vice President Charles Logan was sworn in under the 25th Amendment. He called in former president David Palmer and Mike Novick as his primary advisors, and faced down naysayers such as Speaker of the House Don Ashton.
When Chinese Consul Koo Yin was killed by friendly fire during an illicit raid on the Chinese consulate, China demanded Jack Bauer's extradition. President Logan agreed to the extradition, but when Walt Cummings plotted to assassinate Bauer to avoid turning him over, Logan agreed to the plan without officially authorizing it.
- President John Keeler
- Vice President Charles Logan
- Mike Novick, White House Chief of Staff
- Aaron Pierce, head of the Presidential Secret Service detail
- Secretary of Defense James Heller
- Koo Yin, Chinese Consul
- Cheng Zhi, head of security at the Chinese consulate
At the beginning of Day 5, Charles Logan was still serving as President in John Keeler's absence. The key event in his administration, intended to secure his legacy and help him win the next election, was an anti-terror treaty signed with Russian President Yuri Suvarov.
With some degree of direction from President Logan, White House Chief of Staff Walt Cummings plotted to supply Vladimir Bierko with Sentox VX nerve gas. Cummings' plan was to detonate the nerve gas in Russia, where it would kill the terrorists and justify a stronger U.S. military presence in the region. When the plan went awry and the terrorists decided to attack the United States instead, numerous people were murdered in a vain attempt to cover up the plan and Logan's part in it. David Palmer, who had gotten word from Martha Logan's assistant, Evelyn Martin, was assassinated on an order from Christopher Henderson. Henderson also ordered the death of Secretary of Defense James Heller, who survived. Logan himself ordered Walt Cummings and Secret Service head Aaron Pierce killed. Cummings' death was made to look like a suicide, but Aaron survived the attempt on his life when Martha shot and killed another Secret Service agent, Justin Adams.
At the behest of Vice President Hal Gardner, Karen Hayes presided over the absorption of CTU by the Department of Homeland Security. Karen's friend and co-worker, Miles Papazian, brokered a deal with Logan to destroy an audio recording implicating Logan in David Palmer's death. However, with Martha's help, a second recording was created and sent to the Attorney General. The second time, Logan confessed not only his knowledge of Palmer's assassination, but his full role in the events of the day. Logan was arrested by the Secret Service.
Vladimir Bierko and his associates planned to use the Sentox VX nerve gas against Moscow, and only targeted sites in the U.S. when CTU prevented them from leaving the country. His specific goal is unknown; however, he and his group were from the fictional splinter state of Kaukistan, suggesting that their grievance is similar to that of Chechen separatists in real life.
- President Charles Logan
- First Lady Martha Logan
- Evelyn Martin, Martha's assistant
- Vice President Hal Gardner
- Walt Cummings, first White House Chief of Staff
- Mike Novick, second White House Chief of Staff
- Aaron Pierce, head of the Presidential Secret Service detail
- Karen Hayes, Head of the Department of Homeland Security
- Yuri Suvarov, Russian President
- Anya Suvarov, Russian First Lady
- Cheng Zhi
- President Wayne Palmer
- Vice President Noah Daniels
- Tom Lennox, White House Chief of Staff
- Reed Pollock, Deputy White House Chief of Staff
- Karen Hayes, National Security Advisor