It's been three years since the events of Day 2. This time, another day begins for Jack Bauer as bioterrorists are attempting to release viral capsules into Los Angeles and eventually throughout the United States. President Palmer must deal with a scandal as he seeks re-election against a Republican senator, John Keeler. Jack is again thrust into action as he tries to tie Ramon Salazar to the viral threat; however, presumed-dead Operation Nightfall operative Stephen Saunders turns out to be the mastermind behind the release of the Cordilla virus.
The season can essensially be broken up into three acts:
1. The first act of the season revolves around drug kingpin Ramon Salazar's release from prison against the threat of the release of an engineered virus if he is not set free.
2. In the second act, Jack, Tony and Gael Ortega enter the final phase of a complex sting operation to eliminate the virus.
3. During the final act, the original purchaser of the virus uses the disease during his call to vengeance against the United States for abandoning him on a covert mission.
- Sherry Palmer complicates things as David tries to be re-elected amid political scandal.
- Jack's personal life: Trying to recover from a heroin addiction while trying to stop the viral threat. Soon, he learns the relationship between Kim and Chase.
- Tony Almeida, now director of CTU, is injured in the attempt to apprehend a suspect
- Kim now works for CTU and has a personal relationship with Jack's partner, Chase Edmunds.
- A strained relationship between Tony and Michelle causes conflict throughout the day.
- Saunders' personal life: his daughter attends college in California, in close proximity to the viral threat.
- Tony is forced to make the choice between his career and the love of his life.
Jack threatens to kill Saunders' daughter unless he confesses where the other vials are. Arthur Rabens, a courier, is under orders by Saunders to release the virus. Chase stops him but must sacrifice his arm. Jack places the virus in a fridge and the threat is neutralized. Jack breaks down and cries at the end of another long day....
- Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer
- James Badge Dale as Chase Edmunds
- Carlos Bernard as Tony Almeida
- Reiko Aylesworth as Michelle Dessler
- Elisha Cuthbert as Kimberly Bauer
- and Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer
|Picture||Time||Episode Number||Production Code||Original Airdate|
|1:00pm-2:00pm||49||3AFF01||October 28, 2003|
|A body infected with a deadly virus is dumped outside National Health Services. President Palmer returns to Los Angeles for the first time since the attempt on his life. Kim is working at CTU and secretly dating Jack's partner, Chase.|
|2:00pm-3:00pm||50||3AFF02||November 4, 2003|
|Chase and Jack argue about Chase's relationship with Kim. Kyle Singer's girlfriend leaves him when she finds out he's dealing drugs. Wayne Palmer approaches the President with potentially damaging information about his girlfriend. Someone at CTU isn't who they seem to be.|
|3:00pm-4:00pm||51||3AFF03||November 11, 2003|
|Chase finds himself on the sidelines when CTU and Hector Salazar both search for Kyle Singer. Tony leads an operation to bring Kyle in, but things take a disastrous turn when Salazar's man gets there first.|
|4:00pm-5:00pm||52||3AFF04||November 18, 2003|
|Kyle and Linda are abducted by Hector's men. Michelle struggles between her personal and professional obligations. Jack takes drastic action in response to the Salazars' threat, but Chase gets in the way and complicates matters.|
|150px||5:00pm-6:00pm||53||3AFF05||November 25, 2003|
|Jack and Ramon's plan hits a snag when a group of inmates take them hostage. Chloe discovers Jack's addiction and reveals his secret to Kim and Michelle. Palmer begins his debate with Keeler. Kyle decides to kill himself to save Linda.|
|6:00pm-7:00pm||54||3AFF06||December 2, 2003|
|President Palmer postpones the debate because of the prison break. Jack and Ramon continue to evade CTU and the police. Kim discovers Gael's secret, but she isn't able to warn Michelle in time. Doctors reveal a startling revelation about Kyle's health.|
|7:00pm-8:00pm||55||3AFF07||December 9, 2003|
|Ramon wants to kill Jack on the way to Mexico, but learns that Jack and Hector are working together. Gael is captured while trying to escape from CTU. Tony stops Gael's interrogation and reveals that Gael is part of a secret operation. Chase heads for Mexico to rescue Jack.|
|8:00pm-9:00pm||56||3AFF08||December 16, 2003|
|Hector tries to convince Ramon to let Jack live in order to purchase the virus. Claudia expresses her fury about being left behind when Jack arrested Ramon. Hector's men capture Chase and Ramon forces Jack to prove his loyalty. Anne ends her relationship with President Palmer.|
|9:00pm-10:00pm||57||3AFF09||January 6, 2004|
|President Palmer learns of a conflict involving one of his biggest contributors and Wayne. Kim and Michelle question Tony's ability to make decisions. Jack and the Salazars face an unexpected competitor when they go to buy the virus.|
|10:00pm-11:00pm||58||3AFF10||January 13, 2004|
|President Palmer asks Sherry to help him deal with Alan Milliken. Jack and Ramon decide to intercept the virus. Chloe's work at CTU is disrupted by a baby. Claudia helps Chase escape, but tragedy strikes during their getaway.|
|11:00pm-12:00am||59||3AFF11||January 27, 2004|
|President Palmer meets with Sherry, who agrees to help him with Milliken. Jack convinces Nina to work with him to get the virus from Amador. Hector wants to pull out of the deal.|
|12:00am-1:00am||60||3AFF12||February 3, 2004|
|A firefight ensues as Jack, Ramon, Nina and Chase all attempt to secure the virus. Kim becomes suspicious of Chloe when her backstory about the baby doesn't check out. Sherry discovers a witness who can damage Milliken.|
|1:00am-2:00am||61||3AFF13||February 10, 2004|
|Nina gives CTU a phone number that ends up initiating a computer worm. Chappelle detains Chloe when she refuses to discuss the baby, but releases her to deal with the computer crisis. Sherry goes to see Julia, but ends up confronting Alan.|
|2:00am-3:00am||62||3AFF14||February 17, 2004|
|Chappelle insists that Jack undergo a medical exam because of his addiction. President Palmer confronts Sherry about Alan Milliken's death. Tony questions Nina about Marcus Alvers. Julia Milliken asks Wayne for help.|
|3:00am-4:00am||63||3AFF15||February 24, 2004|
|Jack is almost removed from the investigation for killing a material witness. CTU sends a tactical team to the hotel where the virus is scheduled to be released. Gael finds the armed mechanism that contains the virus, but cannot disarm it in time.|
|4:00am-5:00am||64||3AFF16||March 30, 2004|
|Jack and Chase allow Amador to escape, hoping that he will lead them to the man behind the virus attack. Sherry blackmails President Palmer and forces him to support alibi during the time of Milliken's death. Michelle deals with mass hysteria at the hotel.|
|5:00am-6:00am||65||3AFF17||April 6, 2004|
|Steven Saunders threatens to release more vials if President Palmer doesn't comply with his demands, and one of his requests tests CTU on how far they are willing to go to stop the virus from being released. Michelle proposes a solution to the suffering at the hotel.|
|6:00am-7:00am||66||3AFF18||April 18, 2004|
|CTU races to capture Saunders before his next deadline. Michelle initiates a frantic search when she discovers that a potentially infected hotel guest may have slipped through her fingers.|
|7:00am-8:00am||67||3AFF19||April 20, 2004|
|Kim goes undercover in a mission that may help CTU gain a bargaining tool for Saunders. Chase finds the man who left the hotel. CTU learns that the virus has begun to spread to the general public. Saunders makes another demand.|
|8:00am-9:00am||68||3AFF20||April 27, 2004|
|Michelle finds out the results of her test as Adam finds out the virus has infected someone he knows. Jack tries to use Jane Saunders as leverage to force Saunders to surrender. Tony commits treason when Saunders exploits his only weakness.|
|9:00am-10:00am||69||3AFF21||May 4, 2004|
|Tony attempts to free Jane from CTU before Saunders' men hurt Michelle, but Jack and Chloe become suspicious of his behavior. Sherry offers Senator Keeler a chance to guarantee victory in the Presidential election.|
|10:00am-11:00am||70||3AFF22||May 11, 2004|
|Jack catches Tony and forces him to work with CTU on the hostage exchange. Senator Keeler meets with President Palmer and demands his resignation. Wayne participates in a covert operation to recover Sherry's incriminating evidence.|
|11:00am-12:00pm||71||3AFF23||May 18, 2004|
|The tables are turned as Jack exploits Saunders' weakness to disclose the location of the other vials. President Palmer meets with Sherry to work something out, but she becomes suspicious of his offer and leaves. Tony faces a harsh sentence as a result of saving Michelle.|
|12:00pm-1:00pm||72||3AFF24||May 25, 2004|
|Jack and Chase track down the last vial and Chase makes an incredible sacrifice. Gael's devastated wife visits CTU and seeks vengeance on Saunders. President Palmer makes an unexpected announcement after Sherry's death. The day's events take a toll on Jack.|
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