×

24: Day 5

Far from running out of tricks, the fifth season of "24" opens with a bang, incorporating an element of mystery that promises to be more satisfying than the somewhat disappointing fourth day in Jack Bauer's very busy life. Fox's clever scheduling ploy of launching the show with four hours over two nights should plant the hook deep.

With:
Jack Bauer - Kiefer Sutherland Audrey Raines - Kim Raver Chloe O'Brian - Mary Lynn Rajskub Tony Almeida - Carlos Bernard President Charles Logan - Gregory Itzin Bill Buchanan - James Morrison Curtis Manning - Roger Cross Edgar Stiles - Louis Lombardi First Lady Martha Logan - Jean Smart Lynn McGill - Sean Astin

Far from running out of tricks, the fifth season of “24” opens with a bang, incorporating an element of mystery that promises to be more satisfying than the somewhat disappointing fourth day in Jack Bauer’s very busy life. Traditionally, the series starts its year on a high and sags in the middle rounds, but Fox’s clever scheduling ploy of launching the show with four hours over two nights should plant the hook deep based on a preview of those episodes, leading loyalists to hang on for the thrill ride.

Beginning 18 months after Jack faked his death, the series quickly launches into a new threat, with twists that Fox has understandably asked critics not to disclose. As for the plot, it’s enough to say the officious, sniveling bureaucrat who took office last season, President Logan (Gregory Itzin), is still in power, banking on a Russian summit to serve as the apex of his presidency.

In the world of “24,” such events are never without a hitch, but the ever-present theme of terrorism and how bad good guys must become to counter evil gets a bit less of a ham-fisted working over this time around. Then again, perhaps that’s merely in comparison to season four, which featured so many acts of righteous torture it began to seem as if Dick Cheney was among the showrunners.

As always, truly savoring this tightrope act requires some suspension of disbelief, from the synergistic plugs for Fox News (doesn’t anybody watch CNN?) to the ridiculously navigable L.A. traffic, as people zip from place to place in those ubiquitous Fords at a pace that can only leave real-life commuters scoffing.

Still, the show continues to feature a top-notch cast, with Kiefer Sutherland providing the right mix of can-do machismo and world-weariness as the indomitable Jack, who has found a new love interest (Connie Britton) that, based on history, is sure to end badly. Frankly, I’d still like to see Fox roll the dice by bringing the series back without him — letting some new agent suffer Job’s trials to keep us free — but there’s no denying the grit and intensity the actor invests in the role.

Joining the ensemble, meanwhile, is the intriguing Jean Smart as the troubled First Lady and Sean Astin as a new overseer of the Counter-Terrorism Unit.

Back, too, is Mary Lynn Rajskub as Jack’s tech-geek ally Chloe, who at one point assures a third party there’s nothing to worry about as Jack sneaks up behind a heavily armed man.

“Relax,” she says, in a voice that invariably suggests anything but relaxing, “he’s really good at this.”

That he is.

24: Day 5

Fox, Sun. Jan. 15, 8 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Imagine Television and Real Time Prods. in association with 20th Century Fox TV. Executive producers, Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran, Brian Grazer, Howard Gordon, Evan Katz; co-executive producers, Kiefer Sutherland, Jon Cassar, Michael Loceff, Stephen Kronish, Manny Coto, David Fury; producers, Brad Turner, Michael Click; co-producer, Paul Gadd; director, Cassar; writer, Howard Gordon.

Crew: Camera, Rodney Charters; editor, David Latham; music, Sean Callery; production designer, Joseph Hodges; casting, Debi Manwiller, Peggy Kennedy. Running time: 120 MIN.

Cast: Jack Bauer - Kiefer Sutherland Audrey Raines - Kim Raver Chloe O'Brian - Mary Lynn Rajskub Tony Almeida - Carlos Bernard President Charles Logan - Gregory Itzin Bill Buchanan - James Morrison Curtis Manning - Roger Cross Edgar Stiles - Louis Lombardi First Lady Martha Logan - Jean Smart Lynn McGill - Sean Astin

More TV

  • SAG Awards Placeholder

    SAG Awards: The Complete Winners List (Updating Live)

    Awards season is in full gear as actors take the spotlight on Sunday. The Screen Actors Guild Awards, recognizing the best film and television performances of the year, is just an hour away. Quentin Tarantino’s ode to old Hollywood, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”; Martin Scorsese’s mob epic “The Irishman”; and Jay Roach’s Fox [...]

  • Prince Harry

    Prince Harry Breaks Silence on Royal Split: 'There Was No Other Option'

    Prince Harry has broken his silence on his break with the royal family, saying there was “no other option” for him and wife Meghan Markle. Speaking at a dinner in central London held for his Sentebale charity supporting children with HIV in southern Africa, the Duke of Sussex said it brings him “great sadness that [...]

  • SAG Awards Placeholder

    How to Watch 2020 SAG Awards Online

    The 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, honoring the top performers in film and television, is just a few hours away. Although the show is hostless, Joey King and Logan Browning are co-ambassadors of the ceremony, taking place on Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be broadcast live on TNT [...]

  • Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers

    How to Watch Packers-49ers Online: Live Stream

    Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are looking for their first Super Bowl championship in nearly a decade. But first, they need to beat a mighty San Francisco 49ers team in the 2020 NFC Championship Game. Held at Levi Stadium in San Francisco, the Packers-Niners game kicks off at 3:40 p.m. PT and will [...]

  • Michael Ellenberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon,

    'The Morning Show' Team on Steve Carell's Season 2 Future, Season 1 Criticism

    Although the first season of “The Morning Show” ended on Steve Carell’s former news anchor character, Mitch Kessler, who was fired at the top of the season amid sexual misconduct allegations, finally feeling the weight of what he did, there is no guarantee the second season will see him learn, grow or be around at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content