2014 may have belong to Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, but the year also belong to Kiefer Sutherland returning as Jack Bauer in 24: Live Another Day.
Kiefer, who turns 48 today, has been playing the role since the real-time thriller premiered on FOX back in November 2001, two months after 9/11. It was that era that Jack Bauer became the world’s last line of defense against terrorism and corruption throughout Los Angeles, Africa, Washington, D.C, and New York City.
However, four years ago, Jack went on a dark road to avenge the death of his friend/partner Renee Walker: nearly betraying everything he stood for and ends up becoming an international fugitive wanted by the U.S. and Russian governments.
24: Live Another Day restores Jack’s good name when the ex-federal agent went to London to stop a terrorist attack and prevent the assassination of James Heller (William Devane), the President of the United States — and the father of Jack’s true love Audrey (Kim Raver), whose duplicitous husband Mark (Tate Donovan) set out to have Jack extradited to the Russians. In the end, the Russians did get Jack, who sacrificed his life for Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), the only one who ever had his back for over a decade.
This summer, TV Guide Magazine names its 24 greatest action heroes on the small screen — and Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer tops the list. He beat out favorites that included Adam West’s campy, tongue-in-cheek ‘Batman’, Lee Majors’ ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ Steve Austin, George Reeves’ Superman, Richard Dean Anderson’s ‘MacGyver’, and Bruce Lee’s Kato to Van Williams’ ‘The Green Hornet’, who is a blood relative to another masked crime-fighter that also made the list: ‘The Lone Ranger’, who was played by Clayton Moore.
Jack Bauer has all the qualifications to become ‘The Equalizer’ because he is retired, but still has his skills and abilities over his years with CTU (Counter-Terrorism Unit), and can use them to keep doing what Jack Bauer always does best: operate his own way outside the law to help those who were denied justice by the system.
Jack also has the potential to become a leader of his own ‘A-Team’, but first Chloe must get him out of prison in Russia by enlisting Belcheck to use his connections with the Serbian mob, as they begin mounting a rescue mission for their friend. Helping them are Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski), a former CTU agent from the London field office, and Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), who is doing it to get a full pardon — but is also seeking redemption in a way Jack was. Once the mission is completed — and all is forgiven between Jack, Tony, and Chloe –, they all agree to keep fighting the war on global terrorism as private troubleshooters for the innocent and helpless.
So, why is Jack Bauer the greatest action hero on the small screen? For one reason only: he’s the guy who will always do the right thing.