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24 - S01E01

Action & Adventure . Drama . Action . Mystery

It is California Presidential Primary Day in Los Angeles and the longest day of Federal Agent Jack Bauer's life is about to begin. Jack has just patched his family back together after a trying separation. Midnight finds Jack playing chess with his teenage daughter Kim. As she goes to bed, Jack gets a call from Nina Myers, his coworker at the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit, telling him to come in for an emergency meeting. Jack has no choice but to report in, but he and his wife Teri learn that Kim has snuck out before he leaves. Kim and her friend Janet York drive to an empty furniture store where they party with a couple of college guys whom they recently met. Kim enjoys herself at first, but starts to become suspicious of the two men when they won't take her home. At CTU, Jack learns that an assassination attempt is being planned against Senator David Palmer; the first African-American presidential candidate with a serious shot at the White House. Jack's boss and friend, Richard Walsh, warns him that people in their own agency may be working with those who plan to kill Palmer. Senator David Palmer is making his plans for Primary Day when he receives a strange phone call that puts him in a bad mood. Jack shows how far he's willing to go to do his job when he blackmails District Director George Mason in the hopes of learning information about the Palmer hit. Teri receives a call from Janet's father, Alan York, and the two decide to go out looking for the girls. A European photographer makes pleasant conversation with a beautiful woman on a plane bound for LA. The two end up in a lustful encounter, but more sinister plans come to light that involve a stolen wallet and the destruction of the airplane.

Episode Title: 12:00 A.M.-1:00 A.M.
Airs: 2001-11-6 at 09:00 pm
  • Phil Rosenthal

    '24' looks to be appointment television. [6 Nov 2001]

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Hal Boedeker

    A rousing thriller loaded with nifty gimmicks and head-spinning twists. [6 Nov 2001]

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    Expertly cut and polished until it practically gleams, 24 is like a flawless diamond: stylish, multifaceted and so sharp that it could cut glass. Everything clicks, from the hip sets to the whip-smart direction to the ever-shifting split screen that imbues even mundane activities such as talking on the phone with an unexpected urgency. [6 Nov 2001]

    USA Today Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    Riveting, gripping, and altogether compelling ... An innovative and expertly executed hour of suspense, '24' is without question the best premiere of the fall season. [6 Nov 2001]

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Mike Duffy

    A jolt of taut, high-velocity TV drama, a new-style thriller that really is thrilling. [6 Nov 2001]

    Detroit Free Press Full Review
  • Charlie McCollum

    One of the most fully realized, innovative and flat-out exciting television debuts ever. [4 Nov 2001]

    San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times Full Review
  • Phil Gallo

    Captivating from its first minute forward, "24" is the rare example of a television pilot that hits every mark with an aura of excitement and precision, a stellar cast that exudes personality and personal history, and direction that is as taut as it gets. [2 Nov 2001]

    Variety Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    The most distinctive, addictive new TV series this season. As an old-fashioned thriller, it's relentless, tense and deliciously paranoiac, with more twists than a Twizzler. But it's also boldly different.

    Time Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    This is a smart, exciting thrill ride with a tick-tock momentum that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat. [6 Nov 2001]

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Noel Holston

    The writing is crisp, the performances nuanced and believable, the gradually quickening pace addictive. It's hard to imagine anyone who watches tonight's first episode not wanting to to see the second installment next week. [6 Nov 2001]

    Newsday Full Review
  • Tom Shales

    Cleverly constructed and invigoratingly ambitious in design ... '24' has tension and density that set it well apart from the pack. [6 Nov 2001]

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    The show wins points for innovation, intelligence and solid production values. [6 Nov 2001]

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    Plenty of action, jaw-dropping twists, rapid-fire pacing -- 24 employs everything a good drama needs. [6 Nov 2001]

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • David Zurawik

    It's Sutherland's performance that so elevates the hour. This is a feature film star at work, and his performance demonstrates why the folks who fill the big screen make much more money than most television stars. [6 Nov 2001]

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Joanne Ostrow

    Long before Sept. 11, the standout of the fall TV season was an ambitious thriller about a counter-terrorist. ... It's even more captivating now that terrorist threats are a daily fact of life. [4 Nov 2001]

    Denver Post Full Review
  • Aaron Barnhart

    What makes '24' so nail-biting good is its use of layered storytelling, plot twists and visual trickery to create the illusion of action. The premiere starts slowly, then picks up steam as it darts deftly in and out of six different stories. ... The genius of '24' is that it makes each minute feel more precious than the last. [4 Nov 2001]

    Kansas City Star Full Review
  • Howard Rosenberg

    The lingering concussion of Sept. 11 does nothing to undermine Fox's new thriller focusing on terrorism. Instead, it adds to its credibility and makes it all the more gripping. [6 Nov 2001]

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    Innovative and compelling. ... The show gets off to a great start in its first highly eventful hour, with Mr. Sutherland excelling in his first TV series role. [4 Nov 2001]

    Dallas Morning News Full Review
  • Terry Kelleher

    The makers of 24 needn't overuse the split-screen technique to emphasize the onrush of events. Viewers can feel the suspense start to build without seeing the seconds tick off on a digital clock. Give the gimmicks a rest. We're hooked without them.

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Ann Hodges

    If the next 23 hours are half as spellbinding as tonight's - and, of course, providing that the TV audience is ready to find a terrorist attack entertaining - 24 could still be the hit of the season. [6 Nov 2001]

    Houston Chronicle Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    Although its style is novel, 24 hews to traditional crime-story conventions; you could plop this plot into a two-hour TV movie and be done with it. The advantage of the real-time hour becomes apparent, however, in the depth of characterization achieved by stretching things out.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    It's mysterious and exciting, a suspenseful and tense action-drama. [6 Nov 2001]

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Steve Johnson

    A stylish and innovative thriller that feels like the filmed version of the smartest airport novel you'll ever read. [6 Nov 2001]

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • David Bianculli

    '24'... isn't a TV show. It's a thrill ride - so intense and fast-paced, it ought to come with guardrails attached. [5 Nov 2001]

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Monica Collins

    '24' is exciting and intriguing. The cast is appealing. Using a split-screen technique to further propel the interlocking story lines, the drama has an edgy, hip style, enveloping you in suspense and danger. [6 Nov 2001]

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Julie Salamon

    Except for Mr. Sutherland, who has a strong and appealing presence, most of the actors seem generic. [6 Nov 2001]

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Preston Turegano

    Tedious and banal, '24' lacks the engrossing panache TV's 'Mission Impossible' had years ago. Even though a well-rested-looking Sutherland is cool, steady and right for his role, he can't carry the show alone. [4 Nov 2001]

    San Diego Union-Tribune Full Review
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