|Residence(s):||Willoughby House, London, England|
White House, Washington, D.C.
Malibu, Los Angeles, California
|Education:||B.A. Political Science, Yale University|
|Affiliation:||United States government|
Charles Logan administration
John Keeler administration
United States Army
|Profession:||President of the United States|
Secretary of Defense
President & CEO, Anderson Aerospace Corporation
CFO, Ballard Technology
United States Representative
President, Applied Aviation Company
U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Officer
|Rank:||Captain (U.S. Army Retired Reserve)|
|Marital status:||Widower (twice)|
|Children:||Audrey Boudreau (daughter)|
Richard Heller (stepson)
|Other family:||Mark Boudreau (son-in-law)|
Paul Raines (son-in-law)
|Played by:||William Devane|
|Season(s):||4, 5, 6, 9|
|First episode:||"Day 4: 7:00am-8:00am"|
|Last episode:||"Day 9: 10:00pm-11:00am"|
- "I admired you, I looked up to you like a father, you were the kind of man I wanted to be."
- — Jack Bauer to James Heller, "Day 6: 5:00am-6:00am"
James "Jim" Heller, a decorated American serviceman and congressman, was the President of the United States, and was formerly the Secretary of Defense under President John Keeler, and retained the position when Charles Logan became President under the 25th Amendment. A widower, Heller was the father of his former senior policy analyst, Audrey Raines. His son, Richard, was an activist who frequently participated in anti-government and anti-corporate protests, much to Heller's chagrin.
Heller's tenure under President Keeler and later Charles Logan was a tumultuous one. During Day 4, Heller and his daughter Audrey were kidnapped by Habib Marwan's terrorist organization as the first in a series of devastating attacks, but both were rescued before he could be executed for crimes against humanity. During Day 5, Heller became aware of criminal wrongdoings by President Logan and attempted to force his resignation, only to be dismissed himself and nearly killed when he refused to be held hostage by Christopher Henderson. Some two years later during Day 6, Audrey - believed dead after going to China in search of Jack Bauer - was returned, nearly catatonic from the torture her captors had inflicted on her. Though grateful she was alive, Heller held Jack Bauer responsible for what had happened to her and forbade him from seeing her ever again.
In the four years after Day 8, James Heller was elected President of the United States, aided by his daughter Audrey, who had finally recovered from her mental breakdown. In response to civil unrest surrounding the U.S. military base on Diego Garcia, President Heller scheduled a week-long state visit to London, England for a conference with Prime Minister Alastair Davies. He was apparently killed in Wembley Stadium by a drone missile fired by Margot Al-Harazi after Margot agreed to destroy the remaining drones without further attacks. However, Heller and Jack were able to deceive Margot with a looped video feed, saving Heller's life. After the death of Al-Harazi and the foiling of her plan, Heller had to deal with a new threat in the form of a potential war between the United States and China sparked by Cheng Zhi. Jack was once again able to foil the terrorist plot, but Heller then learned that Audrey had been murdered. Heller was left with a dead daughter, a Chief of Staff under arrest for treason and a deteriorating memory that would soon cause him to forget he even had a daughter, let alone that she died.
Early life and career
- View James Heller's Fox.com profile at Character profiles.
James Heller attended Yale University on an ROTC scholarship, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, and later joined the United States Army as an Air Defense Artillery Officer, pilot, and instructor. He achieved the rank of captain before retiring. (Fox.com profile)
Later, James married Susan, adopting her son Richard as his own. Susan also passed away several years before Day 4, a tragedy that Heller, as he later recounted to Erin Driscoll, desperately tried to block out until a call from one of her friends drove home what had happened. As time went on, Heller had an increasingly strained relationship with his stepson Richard, whose political views greatly diverged from his own. (24: The Ultimate Guide, "Day 4: 7:00am-8:00am", "Day 4: 6:00pm-7:00pm")
Heller served as president of the Applied Aviation Company, before becoming a congressman in the United States House of Representatives, where he chaired the House Armed Services Committee and sat on the House Appropriations Committee. During his term as a U.S. Representative, Heller also chaired the Commission to Assess National Security Policy and acted as Counselor to the President for the Ballistic Missile Threat Committee. Following his term, Heller returned to the private sector, serving as Chief Financial Officer of Ballard Technology and as President and CEO of Anderson Aerospace Corporation, for which he was honored as Aerospace Executive of the Year. He served on the Board of Trustees for both the Freedom Foundation and the National Park Foundation, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Fox.com profile)
After winning the presidential election in which he succeeded incumbent David Palmer, John Keeler named Heller as his Secretary of Defense, overseeing the U.S. Department of Defense and advising Keeler as a member of the presidential cabinet. Audrey served as a senior policy analyst, and ex-CTU agent Jack Bauer served as Special Advisor. Some months before Day 4, Audrey and Jack began a romantic relationship, going behind Heller's back, as Audrey believed he would not approve considering she was separated from her husband Paul. ("Day 4: 7:00am-8:00am")
When Secretary Heller learned that his son, Richard, planned on speaking at a protest rally at Lockheed that might embarrass the President and be dangerous to national security, he decided to meet with him and sent adviser Jack Bauer to CTU Los Angeles to attend a budget meeting. After Heller left Richard's house with his daughter, Audrey, his security detail was attacked and he was taken hostage, along with his daughter, by a group of terrorists. ("7:00am-8:00am")
Heller and Audrey were taken to a warehouse by the Middle Eastern terrorists, who posted a live broadcast on the Internet. The terrorists tied up Heller and revealed that they would put him on trial for war crimes against humanity and, if he was found guilty of these crimes, he would be executed on American soil and everybody in the country would witness it. ("8:00am-9:00am")
The terrorists, led by a man named Omar, forced Heller to sign a document confessing to the war crimes, but at first he refused to sign it. When they threatened to kill Audrey, Heller saw no other choice but to cave into their demands and sign the confession. Heller then later fakes a heart attack and manages to take out one of the guards and escape from the compound. After killing a few of Omar's men, Heller and Audrey were cornered and Omar threatened to kill Audrey if any more of his men were found dead. ("10:00am-11:00am")
After realizing the embarrassment the country would face if he was executed live, Heller suggested that Audrey kill him, which would cause the terrorist's plans to fail. Audrey refused to do it and after they realized both of them would die no matter what happened, they broke open a gas pipe in order to commit suicide. However, Omar's men detected the leak and revived them before the gas caused any permanent damage. ("11:00am-12:00pm")
Omar and his men began the broadcast, as CTU and President Keeler watched. Just as the terrorists were about to execute Heller, Jack entered the broadcast room and killed Omar's men. President Keeler called off an air strike on the compound, and Jack and Heller attempted to find Audrey, who was taken hostage by Omar. Out of ammunition, Jack and Heller were pinned down outside, but the Marines arrived and took out all of Omar's guards. Audrey managed to stab Omar in the leg, just as Jack threw a knife into his neck and a marine gunned him down.
Jack took Audrey and Heller back to CTU, and Heller confronted his daughter about her relationship with Jack, after he realized they were romantically involved. Heller learned that CTU had been interrogating Richard and after talking to his son, Heller was convinced that he was hiding something. Secretary Heller gave Curtis Manning the authorization to use any methods to get information out of Richard. ("12:00pm-1:00pm")
Heller confronted Audrey's husband Paul Raines, telling him to give Audrey the chance to decide where their estranged marriage was headed to. Heller and the rest of CTU then learned the main terrorist behind the day's attacks, Habib Marwan, was in control of an override device that could melt down nuclear plants. Luckily Edgar Stiles was able to shut down the majority of the power stations, but Marwan still held control of six plants. ("1:00pm-2:00pm")
When Jack and Audrey followed up on a lead, their location was leaked to the terrorists. Realizing there was a mole inside CTU, Jack contacted Heller and asked him to investigate. Heller informed no one but his assistant Scott Borman, whom he called in to assist. Scott planted false information pertaining to Jack's location to see who transmitted it, and when it was leaked all the evidence pointed to Sarah Gavin. CTU Director Erin Driscoll had her interrogated, but got nothing. Edgar then proved that Sarah Gavin was set up by the real mole, Marianne Taylor, who attempted to escape from CTU. ("2:00pm-3:00pm", "3:00pm-4:00pm")
When a nuclear plant started melting down on San Gabriel Island, Heller contacted President Keeler with the news. He was then alarmed when Audrey tells him that the radiation cloud was blowing towards the clogged evacuation route. Heller allowed Audrey to go to the local DOD office to help out, and was astonished when a connection was found between Paul and the terrorists. He became furious with Jack when he learned that Audrey met with Paul in order to prevent him from leaving town. ("5:00pm-6:00pm")
Jack found the override and Edgar was able to stop the remaining nuclear meltdowns, and Heller congratulated him and the rest of Erin's staff. Unfortunately, Erin's daughter Maya committed suicide, and Heller advised her to take a leave of absence. Realizing that Tony Almeida had helped out tremendously and knowing he ran CTU for two years in the past, Heller agreed to have him serve as director until Division's replacement, Michelle Dessler, arrived. ("6:00pm-7:00pm")
After Audrey witnessed Jack's aggressive behavior as a field agent, she revealed to her father that her feelings for him may have changed. After Paul was seriously injured, she started to realize that she still had feelings for him. Predicting that more attacks could come, President Keeler requested for Heller to be transferred to Division, to work with a general in laying out options for martial law. ("8:00pm-9:00pm")
When a connection was found between Marwan and Richard, Heller returned to CTU and interrogated his son after Audrey's approach didn't work. Richard confessed to his father that he slept with a man, whose girlfriend may have used his phone to contact Marwan. Although Richard expected disappointment from his father over his sexual orientation, Heller expressed no disappointment whatsoever about how Richard chose to live his life. However, he was clearly upset that Richard's earlier silence had cost lives and time that could have been saved if he'd spoken up in the first place. ("4:00am-5:00am")
At the start of Day 5, Secretary Heller was attending a summit in Japan. During the course of the day, he was contacted by his daughter Audrey, to tell him that Jack Bauer was still alive, and supposedly faked his death 18 months earlier.
Later in the day, Heller was on his way back to Washington, when Audrey called him. She asked him if he could make a stop in Los Angeles and keep it under the radar. When he asked what it was about, Audrey told him that it was something they needed to discuss in person. Heller reluctantly agreed to come to LA and had his pilot land at the Van Nuys Airfield. ("Day 5: 11:00pm-12:00am")
After meeting with Audrey, Heller was shocked to see Jack arrive, as President Charles Logan issued a warrant for Jack's arrest. Jack pleaded that he was innocent in the assassination of former President David Palmer, and asked to speak to Heller in private, with Audrey. Heller informed his guards Doug Masters and Mark Wexler to wait outside.
Jack then played an audio recording to Heller, that implicated President Logan in the assassination of President Palmer. Realizing what damage the recording would do to the trust of Americans in their government, Heller gave the recording to Masters and had Jack and Audrey restrained by his guards. Heller decided to use the recording to get Logan to step down from office, quietly, in order to avoid the country from suffering a huge impeachment process.
Proceeding with his plan, Heller called Logan and demanded to speak with him. The president reluctantly agreed to allow Heller to come to the presidential retreat. After arriving at the retreat, Heller confronted Logan. Heller agreed to keep quiet about Logan's involvement in Palmer's death and the selling of Sentox VX nerve gas to terrorists, but only if Logan resigned and left Audrey alone. ("12:00am-1:00am")
With no other options, Logan was forced to agree to Heller's terms and Vice President Hal Gardner was brought in as a witness. Moments before announcing his resignation, Logan got a call from Christopher Henderson, who acquired the recording from Bauer. Logan then told Gardner that he wanted Secretary Heller to resign. Heller became furious and made accusations of Logan ordering Palmer's assassination and selling nerve gas. Before being escorted out of the room, Vice President Gardner looked at Logan in disbelief.
While leaving the retreat, Heller called Wexler, but Jack answered instead, and informed him that Wexler and Masters were killed by Henderson and his men. Henderson meanwhile had a sniper in a helicopter follow Heller, to ensure his success. When Jack called to confirm if a helicopter was following Heller, he broke the news to Heller that Henderson's men had orders to kill him if Jack didn't let Henderson go. Heller refused to allow Henderson to be set free and he told Jack to tell Audrey he loved her, before hanging up. He then accelerated his car into a lake. ("1:00am-2:00am")
Heller managed to survive the crash and was taken to the ICU of County General. Doctors said it was likely he would pull through. After giving Palmer's eulogy, Logan was brought into custody for his involvement in the day's events. ("3:00am-4:00am", "6:00am-7:00am")
After Day 5
Due to Charles Logan being arrested and prosecuted for obstruction of justice, it is highly unlikely Heller submitted his resignation as the Secretary of Defense. Logan's involvement in the assassination of President David Palmer, as well as his ties to terrorists, were never fully revealed to the public. After President Hal Gardner finished up Logan's term, Wayne Palmer was elected to the Presidency, and Ethan Kanin succeeded Heller as the Secretary of Defense.
Audrey searched through back channels and came to the conclusion that Jack was being held prisoner in China, due to his involvement in Consul Koo Yin's death. Heller apparently made attempts to retrieve Bauer from China, but was unsuccessful. Audrey, against her father's wishes, went to China to look for Jack and was supposedly killed in a car accident. CTU Los Angeles sent over DNA samples to China, which confirmed the victim in the accident was Audrey. However, it was later revealed that her death was staged by Cheng Zhi, as he planned to use her as leverage against Bauer, who was an uncooperative prisoner.
During the events of Day 6, Jack Bauer went against an order from the White House in order to save Audrey's life. He went forward with an exchange, that required him to hand over an FB sub-circuit board from one of the recently recovered Russian suitcase nukes. Jack planned to destroy the component with a package of C4 once Audrey was safe, but CTU intervened. When Audrey was brought back to CTU, Dr. Bradley planned to bring her out of her catatonic state through a drug procedure that could have killed her. When Jack was able to extract information from her when he reached out to her, Nadia Yassir prevented Bradley from going forward with the procedure.
Heller arrived at CTU approximately a quarter to 2 a.m. He told Audrey, who was in an unresponsive state, that he would take her back home and take care of her. After Heller left Audrey's room, he asked if he could speak with Jack. Heller entered Jack's holding cell, who immediately stood up in a sign of respect. Heller told Jack to sit down and he told him that he never want him to see Audrey again. Echoing the words of Jack's daughter Kim, he told Jack that he was cursed and everything he touched ended up dead.
Heller brought his daughter back to his beach house in Los Angeles. At approximately 5:45am, Heller spoke with a close friend on the phone and showed his gratitude for his daughter still being alive. After Heller ended the call, he heard a noise and made an attempt to reach for the phone. Jack came in the room and threatened Heller with his gun. He demanded for Audrey's location and Heller refused, further enraging Jack. Heller stressed that no matter how bad Jack wanted to get his life back, he would eventually be drawn back into "the game" and the end result will be the hurt of a loved one. He felt that Jack should let Audrey go for her own protection. After Jack expressed his anger for Heller's poor attempt to bring him out of China, he sat beside Audrey's bed to say his goodbyes. After he left Audrey's room, he glanced over at Heller and exited the house.
Before Day 9
Approximately two and a half years after Day 8, after Mitchell Hayworth finished serving the term of Allison Taylor, James Heller was elected President of the United States (Deadline). He had been lagging severely in the polls in the months prior to the election, but turned it around thanks to a series of strong debate performances that Audrey and her new husband, Mark Boudreau had a large part in coaching him for ("Day 9: 12:00pm-1:00pm").
In response to civil unrest regarding the U.S. military base in Diego Garcia, President Heller scheduled a week-long state visit to London, England for a conference with Prime Minister Alastair Davies, the 32nd such visit by a sitting President. (Open-Cell.org)
Despite attempts to protect him by his family and advisers, Heller could not escape that he was beginning to show signs of dementia, having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease approximately six months previously.
He made a key mistake during a briefing and later doing so again during preparation for a planned upcoming meeting. Unbeknownst to him, he was the target of a planned upcoming assassination attempt arranged by Margot Al-Harazi. Heller was reluctant to trust Jack Bauer's intelligence, but Jack obtained proof with the help of Kate Morgan, Chloe O'Brian and Open Cell.
The conspiracy was revealed when Al-Harazi posted a video to the Internet, vilifying Heller and ordering him to surrender himself to her in order to prevent further attacks using U.S. drones that she had captured control of. Heller eventually reinstated Jack to try to take down Al-Harazi, though the revelation of Heller's condition caused some friction with Prime Minister Davies. Although the C.I.A. launched an extensive search operation, it quickly became clear that Al-Harazi was proving elusive and that it was unlikely that she and her team could be captured before they launched a devastating series of attacks. With this in mind, Heller decided to contact her and agree to terms for surrender, extracting a promise from her that she would destroy the remaining drones upon his death.
With the help of Jack and his Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau, Heller was successfully smuggled away to Al-Harazi's chosen location, Wembley Stadium in London. There, he notified Jack that he had issued him a Presidential pardon for all his actions during Day 9, and more importantly, for his actions during the nuclear fuel rods recovery crisis of Day 8, allowing him to return home and freeing him of charges from the American government. He then walked to the center of the field and waited; he was soon apparently killed by Margot when she fired a drone's missile at him; however, Heller was not actually on the field, and lived through the attack. With help from Belcheck, he made his way to safety and could only watch horrified as Al-Harazi targeted Waterloo Station. However, Jack, with the help of Chloe O'Brian and Adrian Cross managed to track down and kill Al-Harazi and avert her attack at the last moment to Heller's great relief.
After Cheng Zhi resurfaced to cause a war between the United States and China after the resolution of the crisis with Margot Al-Harazi, Heller desperately attempted to avoid war while assigning Jack to capture Cheng so they could prove the truth of the matter to President Wei. Heller was outraged to learn that his Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau aided the Russians in going after Jack and nearly arrested him for treason, but delayed the arrest so that Boudreau could aid Jack in infiltrating Anatol Stolnavich's compound to find Cheng's location. At the last moment, as the war was about to begin, Jack contacted Heller with proof of Cheng's survival, allowing Heller to narrowly avert a devastating war.
Moments after the crisis was resolved, Heller learned he suffered a great tragedy as Audrey was killed by Cheng's men. At Audrey's funeral, Heller shared a story with UK Prime Minister Alastair Davies about finding a picture on his desk before his arrival to London and didn't realize it was Audrey until the name popped into his head fifteen seconds later. Heller also remarked that because of his Alzheimer's, he would soon be unable to remember anything at all, including the terrorist attacks and that he had a daughter who died.
Selected cabinet and administration officials
|White House Chief of Staff||Mark Boudreau||9|
Background information and notes
- According to Kiefer Sutherland at the 2014 Comic-Con 24 panel, after Day 9, Heller mourned the loss of his daughter and resigned.
- Despite not having been in active service for quite some time, Heller was shown to be a skilled marksman and fighter, knocking Jack down and out with one blow and being able to take out a few terrorists with a single handgun, as well as expertly handling an assault rifle.
- Actor William Devane has played the President of the United States on three other occasions: In the 1974 TV movie The Missiles of October, the television series Stargate SG-1 and its spin-off DVD movie Stargate Continuum, and the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises.
- Heller has been noted as mirroring real-life politicians such as John McCain (the latter who also cameoed on the show due to being a 24 fan).
- Season 6 is the only season where Heller is present but not put under threat from terrorists.
|Secretary of Defense||Succeeded by:|
|President of the United States||Succeeded by:|