So Just How Old Is Jack Bauer, Anyway?

’24’ is currently in its 8th season on the air. That’s a lot of bad days for Jack Bauer. The show’s producers have been careful to never explicitly state in what year any season of the show takes place. However, they do usually announce how much time has passed since the previous season. With that in mind, I’ve put together a little timeline of events and fun facts that should give you something to ponder while watching tonight’s new episode.

The following information was compiled mostly from watching the show itself, some from Wikipedia, and some from Wiki 24. As far as I know, all of these facts (except for those designated “presumptive” or “presumably”) are considered part of the official canon.

[Information about Season 8 has been updated now that the finale has aired.]

’24’ premiered in the Fall of 2001. That first season’s storyline took place during an election year. Obviously, there wouldn’t have been an election in 2001. For that reason, I’ve taken the liberty of assigning presumptive real-life years during which each season might have taken place. These presumptive dates were created by me alone, and are not official canon. They’re used only as a reference point to show how many years have passed over the show’s timeline. For the first season, I’ve chosen the year 2000, because it was the election closest to the actual air date of the show. Starting at a decade marker also makes for easier illustration.

Season 1
Air Date: 2001-2002
Presumptive Year of Setting: Mid 2000
President in Office: Harry Barnes (Never shown)
How President Took Office: Presumably elected
President’s Fate: Left office peacefully after election.

Season 2
Air Date: 2002-2003
How Long Since Previous Season: 18 months
Presumptive Year of Setting: Early 2002
President in Office: David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert)
How President Took Office: Elected
President’s Fate: Still in office at end of season.

Season 3
Air Date: 2003-2004
How Long Since Previous Season: 3 years
Presumptive Year of Setting: Early 2005
President in Office (1): David Palmer
President’s Fate: Poisoned but survives season. Decides not to run for re-election. Later assassinated in Season 5 premiere.
President in Office (2): Jim Prescott (Alan Dale)
How President Took Office: Temporarily takes office while Palmer incapacitated.
President’s Fate: Concedes office back to Palmer.

Season 4
Air Date: 2005
How Long Since Previous Season: 18 months
Presumptive Year of Setting: Mid 2006
President in Office (1): John Keeler (Geoffrey Pierson)
How President Took Office: Elected. However, this is a continuity error in the timeline. If Keeler were elected 4 years after David Palmer (presumably in 2004), he should have been in office during the events of Season 3.
President’s Fate: Shot down in Air Force One. Survives, but is never seen again.
President in Office (2): Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin)
How President Took Office: Takes office when Keeler incapacitated.
President’s Fate: Still in office at end of season.

Season 5
Air Date: 2006
How Long Since Previous Season: 18 months
Presumptive Year of Setting: Early 2008
President in Office (1): Charles Logan
President’s Fate: Taken down by Jack at end of season. Impeached and placed under house arrest.
President in Office (2): Hal Gardner (Ray Wise)
How President Took Office: Takes office after season end when Logan is impeached.
President’s Fate: Defeated at next election.

Season 6
Air Date: 2007
How Long Since Previous Season: 20 months
Presumptive Year of Setting: Mid 2009
President in Office (1): Wayne Palmer (D.B. Woodside)
How President Took Office: Elected.
President’s Fate: Incapacitated after assassination attempt. It is later confirmed in the ‘Redemption’ TV movie that Wayne Palmer succumbed to his injuries and died after the end of Season 6.
President in Office (2): Noah Daniels (Powers Boothe)
How President Took Office: Takes office when Wayne Palmer incapacitated.
President’s Fate: Still in office at end of season.

’24: Redemption’
Air Date: 2008
How Long Since Previous Season: 3.5 years
Presumptive Year of Setting: Early 2013
President in Office (1): Noah Daniels
President’s Fate: Defeated in re-election.
President in Office (2): Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones)
How President Took Office: Elected.
President’s Fate: Still in office at end of movie.

Season 7
Air Date: 2009
How Long Since Previous Movie: 2 months
Presumptive Year of Setting: Mid 2013
President in Office: Allison Taylor
President’s Fate: Still in office at end of season.

Season 8
Air Date: 2010
How Long Since Previous Season: Not specified, but approximately 2 years.
Presumptive Year of Setting: Mid 2015
President in Office: Allison Taylor
President’s Fate: Resigns office at end of season.

What Can We Learn from All This
Approximately 15 years have passed from Seasons 1 to 8.
Jack has served under 9 different Presidents, only 5 of whom were elected.
3 Presidents were incapacitated after assassination attempts: David Palmer (later returned to office), John Keeler, and Wayne Palmer (later died).
2 Presidents were successfully assassinated: Wayne Palmer and David Palmer. However, David Palmer was killed after he’d left office.
1 President was impeached: Charles Logan.
1 President resigned: Allison Taylor.

That’s one chaotic universe that Jack Bauer lives in!

3 comments

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      The question is open-eneded. We can only guess.

      Kiefer Sutherland was 35 when he started the show. If we assume that Jack was supposed to be the same age, he’d be 50 now.

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