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This article's subject relates to Season 5 of 24.

James Nathanson was an ex-CIA officer and a mid-level member of the Sentox nerve gas conspiracy before and during Day 5. Responsible for leading most of the ground operations during the first quarter of the day, Nathanson remained in constant contact with Dawn Brigade agents Anton Beresch and Ivan Erwich in the conspiracy's plot to allow the separatists to acquire WMDs.

After the plans in which Nathanson had participated in went awry, he contacted Jack Bauer in an attempt to protect himself from Dawn Brigade, although he was ultimately murdered by Ostroff, a henchmen of Vladimir Bierko.

Before Day 5[]

Nathanson, a firm believer in Realpolitik and American supremacy, helped broker a deal to illicitly sell 20 stolen canisters of Sentox nerve gas to Vladimir Bierko's Dawn Brigade terrorist cell. Bierko, a separatist who fought for his people's independence from the Russian Federation, thought he would be able to gas Moscow with the weapon of mass destruction. But Nathanson and his American supporters planned on using a satellite trigger to secretly gas the terrorists themselves, to eradicate one of the world's elite terrorist regimes. Then, taking advantage of the police power granted to the USA in the Anti-terrorism treaty, America could increase its military presence in Central Asia and increase its oil supplies.

Nathanson had two primary roles in the conspiracy. The first was to coordinate with the Dawn Brigade sub-cell leaders Anton Beresch and Ivan Erwich to ensure that the gas was safely smuggled from Hangar BB of Ontario Airport and out of the country. He also was tasked with manipulating White House Chief of Staff Walt Cummings in order to make him think that he was in charge of the operation. Walt was an expendable layer of protection for President Charles Logan, who was the true sponsor of the conspiracy, and had no idea that Logan or many others on the higher tier were involved.

Other primary conspirators behind the plot with Nathanson, Cummings, and Logan were: former CTU director Christopher Henderson (who helped with the original theft of the gas and the cover-up); Graem Bauer and three consultants from BXJ Technologies (the original planners, who were poised to take advantage of the oil-profiteering aspect of the scheme), with support from his and Jack's father Phillip; the Russian diplomat Anatoly Markov (who helped the Americans create the false partnership with Bierko); and private military executive Alan Wilson (who was determined by Tony Almeida to be a driving force in the plot).

Day 5[]


Nathanson monitors events during Day 5.

James Nathanson had a coordinating part in the events that took place during the first several hours of Day 5. When former President David Palmer learned about the plot that the conspirators were planning, he planned on exposing it, but Conrad Haas was hired to take him out.

Along with Walt Cummings, Christopher Henderson and Haas, Nathanson had a major role in executing the death of President Palmer. Tony Almeida, Michelle Dessler, and Chloe O'Brian also became targets, in order to set up Jack Bauer for Palmer's assassination. While Palmer and Michelle were killed, Tony only found himself critically wounded, with Chloe being able to escape from Haas' men with Jack's help. During the second hour of the day, one of Nathanson's field operatives was the one to report Haas' and his men's death.

During the second hour of Day 5, Nathanson was in constant contact with a Dawn Brigade commander named Anton Beresch. Nathanson and Beresch agreed to go dark when Beresch took the Ontario Airport hostage. The hostage crisis was used in an attempt to stop President Charles Logan from signing the Anti-terrorism treaty with Yuri Suvarov, the Russian president. Nathanson was also in contact with Cummings to inform him of the status of the airport takeover. He then assured him that Logan would receive their demands soon. ("Day 5: 8:00am-9:00am")

When Walt Cummings learned that Bauer was inside the airport and working with CTU Los Angeles in order to play out a rescue operation, Cummings contacted Nathanson with this information. Realizing the situation could be reversed and things could go wrong, Nathanson contacted Beresch and told him about the news, also telling him that Jack had a connection with a hostage named Derek Huxley, the son of Jack's friend and landlady, Diane Huxley. Beresch then used this information as leverage to persuade Bauer to surrender in order to save Derek. ("Day 5: 9:00am-10:00am")


Nathanson drives away, knowing that Bierko wants him dead.

When Nathanson saw that Logan still planned to sign the treaty, he called Beresch to make sure that he was willing to carry out his threat. Still, Beresch assured him that once they had ambushed and foiled CTU's rescue attempt, Logan would have no other option but to back off the treaty. However, Logan decided to go on with the signing and, as he did, Nathanson ordered Beresch to kill all the hostages at the airport. Just when Beresch was planning to do that, CTU successfully raided the airport killing all the terrorists and securing the hostages including Derek and Jack.

At almost 11:00am, Ivan Erwich called Nathanson to inform him that they had secured the "merchandise"; a complete shipment of 20 canisters of Sentox nerve gas hidden in Hangar BB at the Ontario Airport. Nathanson told Erwich that he had already arranged transportation for them out of the airport. ("Day 5: 10:00am-11:00am") As they drove past security, Erwich called Nathanson again to inform him they were out. Nathanson then contacted Walt Cummings to update him on Erwich's activities. Walt also informed him that the situation with Martha Logan had been resolved, and that he had a man inside CTU to deal with Jack Bauer.("Day 5: 11:00am-12:00pm")

However, Cummings intercepted a call from Jack to Mike Novick which proved that his hitman had failed. He played a recording of the conversation for Nathanson, who told him that he was compromised and that he only had one option left.("Day 5: 12:00pm-1:00pm")

Eventually CTU learned about the nerve gas plot, and Walt Cummings was exposed as a traitor. Cummings attempted to negotiate with Erwich, but Erwich refused and threaten to release the gas on US soil. The true intentions of Nathanson and Cummings soon became apparent, when Schaeffer was discovered by Erwich tampering with the gas canisters. When Vladimir Bierko learned about Nathanson's betrayal, he decided to order a hit on him. Ostroff arrived at Nathanson's computer lab and executed one of his subordinates there, but Nathanson himself had fled.


Nathanson gives Jack a computer chip just before he dies.

Fleeing from Bierko's men, Nathanson called a co-conspirator, Alpha 7, and warned him that Bierko was eliminating them for their betrayal. The contact was shot before he could say anything, and Nathanson disconnected in shock. Desperate, he then called Audrey Raines, a DOD liaison for CTU, to cut a deal. Nathanson agreed to help find the nerve gas, but he would only work with Jack Bauer. Audrey patched her call with Nathanson over to Jack, and Nathanson told Jack to meet at a phone booth in Moorpark. Realizing this was his only lead, Jack was forced to assault Curtis Manning and escape from CTU custody.

At the meeting place, Ostroff and other separatists showed up just as Jack was about to meet Nathanson. Jack instructed Nathanson to head for the roof. On the way there, a running gunfight started and Nathanson tried to flee. While on the rooftop, Nathanson was shot on the leg by one of Ostroff's men. As they prepared to finish him, Jack killed both assailants. However, as Jack approached Nathanson, he was fatally wounded by a machine-gun fire from Ostroff in the helicopter. Bauer fired on the chopper, forcing the crew to land it. As he checked on Nathanson, he received a computer chip from him. Before his death, Nathanson hinted to Jack that Cummings was not the only member of Logan's administration that was complicit in the plan.("Day 5: 3:00pm-4:00pm")

The chip enabled Jack to track down Christopher Henderson, another primary conspirator.

Background information and notes[]

  • The role of James Nathanson was originally intended for Peter Wingfield, who had to withdraw when visa/work permit issues could not be resolved in time. Wingfield was replaced by Geraint Wyn Davies. However, Wingfield would later go on to play the role of David Emerson during Season 7.
  • Although he knew the conspiracy went past Cummings, whether or not he knew that Charles Logan had a hand in the plot was unknown.

Live appearances[]

See also[]

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