'24': Jack Bauer, meet the NYPD
Looks like it's still "Giuliani time" in New York City.
Monday night's two-hour "24" special opens with Jack Bauer getting pounded by the NYPD in a basement in Queens. He went there alone in pursuit of the mysterious assassin Davros, who has infiltrated the police as part of the plot to kill Kamistan President Omar Hassan.
Bauer arrives too late to find Davros, who has killed another cop and his wife so he can pick up the cop's shift at the United Nations. But while he's lurking around the murder scene, two of New York's finest show up and one of them lays a 1970s-style beat-down on our hero.
Back at CTU, a concerned Chloe O'Brian can't persuade CTU boss Brian Hastings to send a team to find Bauer. Hastings and CTU agent Dana Walsh, who dresses more for a night out in the East Village than for a day analyzing data, are still focusing on reporter Meredith Reed as the link to the hit on Hassan. When they find plans detailing a bomb in the U.N. on her computer, they move to evacuate the building, not realizing that is exactly what Davros and Hassan's brother Farhad want to happen so they can blow up Hassan's car on the street.
Bauer manages to break free of his NYPD tormentor before the plunger comes out and he convinces another cop that he's a good guy. Before you can say civil suit, Bauer's racing to the U.N. and persuading CTU agent Cole Ortiz to go rogue to stop the assassination.
Ortiz saves the Kamistan president's life and Farhad, realizing he's going to suffer the same fate as Fredo Corleone if he sticks around, goes on the run, but not before killing a cop. Ortiz then almost gets taken out by Davros, but is saved by Bauer. The two then return to CTU's high-tech bunker where Bauer is finally given respect by Hastings.
Realizing that the Russian mob is involved, a decision is made to bring back in Renee Walker, the FBI agent from last season who was forced out for becoming a Jackie Bauer and has since been struggling to keep it together both personally and professionally. In a "let's suspend belief even more than usual" move, it turns out she used to be undercover with the Russian mob and now six years later will try to go back inside. Bauer, who's against this idea, tags along, which is even more absurd. The idea of Bauer being able to go undercover anywhere after testifying before Congress and being splashed all over the news for years is, well, as likely as Jay Leno getting "The Tonight Show" back (oh wait, never mind).
Walker quickly reconnects with one of her old Russian operatives and in no time at all is chopping his hand off to get information from him. Even Bauer is shocked by her brutality (now that's saying something).
Back at CTU, Walsh is stuck in a subplot involving an ex-boyfriend threatening to expose her tawdry past. Let's hope this goes somewhere in the weeks ahead, otherwise it's just a pointless distraction.
One can measure how good an episode of "24" is by how far you sit from the TV. During the first two hours, I was on the couch. By the end of hour three, I was inches away from the screen. But during Episode 4, I was behind my desk across the room. Let's hope I get a little closer to the screen next week.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: Kiefer Sutherland in Fox's "24." Credit: Richard Foreman / Fox