Russian roulette was a game of chance in which players take turns firing a gun at themselves, with one bullet placed in a random chamber of the weapon.
During Day 3, Jack Bauer, a prison guard named Buchanan and Ramon Salazar were forced to play Russian Roulette by Peel. Buchanan shot himself in the head. Then Jack was to play against Salazar. However, in a twist of events, during one of the turns where Jack was supposed to pull the trigger against himself, he instead suddenly turned the gun on Peel, shooting him instead, and causing enough of a distraction to allow him and Ramon to escape. ("Day 3: 5:00pm-6:00pm")
Pilar Sánchez compared the danger of modifying nuclear weapons in the field to taking up Russian roulette as a hobby. Max Newbold, her commanding officer, replied that by making a deal with terrorist Arkady Malenkov they as good as already had. (Rogue)
Background information and notes
- At the end of the episode "Day 3: 5:00pm-6:00pm" where Jack Bauer and Ramon Salazar play Russian roulette, Kiefer Sutherland made a public service announcement about gun safety.
- It appears that Jack can tell if a gun is loaded or not, because he shoots Peel at the right moment, tipped off by the snake camera in the air duct that Chase's team was ready with the explosives. Also, several hours later Jack is forced to shoot Chase, but the gun is empty. Even so, both of these events could be purely coincidental. However, one viable explanation for Jack's knowledge of the state of the revolver is that Salazar tipped the gun toward Jack before he shot at himself, allowing Jack to see four of the six chambers and determine if a round would be loaded when he received the gun.
- Buchanan's death was written as the first gunshot to invert the common filmmaking practice of the first chamber always being empty. Even so, it was still empty because Peel shot himself first.