TV’s Greatest Hero



Promotional Image of Jack Bauer from Season 7 of 24
(Photo Credit: Wikia)


With the opportunity to talk about pop culture and its relationship to business,government, and society, I knew I had to write about one of my all time favorite shows: 24. In each season, there are 24 episodes (aka one full day), and each episode represents one hour of this full day. Jack Bauer, the main character, works for the Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) as an agent, and the show focuses on their efforts to protect America from terrorism plots. Over the 8 seasons, the political thriller has ranged in plots from presidential assassination attempts to nuclear threats to government and corporate corruption.

CTU often credits Jack Bauer as their most valuable agent, yet his methods of saving civilian lives and government administrations causes much controversy on the show as he frequently uses questionable methods such as torture to gather his insight in preventing terrorist attacks against the U.S. Jack’s methods usually go against what the CTU wants him to do, not to mention the law, but he doesn’t care. The way Jack sees it, he’s going to save lives and protect the greater good of society no matter what the cost may be.

24 exemplifies a couple of different topics that relate to business, government, and society. Each season’s plot always has some sort of political scandal involved where a cover-up, secrecy, and betrayal by someone high up in the current government administration comes into play. This clearly is a question of ethics, and although most of our ethical discussions have been focused on companies, there is much to be said about unethical practices in the government as they are always supposed to be looking out for the greater good of society. That brings me to my next point. Although Jack Bauer typically breaks the law and acts in ways that some would say are inhumane, he is the only person throughout every single episode that is trustworthy and can truly say that he is doing all he can to protect Americans. Even though his methods aren’t always ethical, his ultimate intentions and reasoning for doing so most definitely are.


4 responses to “TV’s Greatest Hero

  1. I have never watched 24 but from what I have heard about it from friends and family, it would be an exemplary show for this assignment. Your post is consistent with my assumption! You discuss how the show demonstrates political corruption and unethical practices in the government. You also discuss how the government should be looking out for the greater good of society. This reminds me of the discussion we had in class regarding Wall Street’s influence on politics. The government should practice better morality and make choices that improve society, not Wall Street. I’m sure this is the type of thing Jack Bauer would help to improve, too bad he’s a fictional character!

  2. I absolutely love this show and use to watch it religiously. I think it is a great example for our the log topic as it covers a lot of the ethical questions we have discussed in class. I thought your point about Jack’s unethical approaches at times was really important. I find it interesting that when the government, businesses or other corporations act unethically it is clearly wrong and they are deemed the “bad guys.” However Jack’s unethical behaviors are often overlooked and he is still seen as the hero of the show since he has America’s interest at heart. This makes me question how we judge ethics and when we decide to make it an issue, or just look the other way.

  3. I think this is an interesting post to bring up, especially with all the focus on the government considering the impending election. I haven’t seen 24, but I have heard alot about it, and I have had the same ethical questions about the government that you bring up. My biggest question now is, i wonder if there really are agents like Jack Baur who perform means because they believe they justify the ends. Furthermore, I wonder if this is as good in reality, as it appears to be in the show.

  4. Bruce Springsteen’s answer to your point how Jack Bauer is saving America.

    <A href=""Listen

    We’ve got God on our side
    We’re just trying to survive
    What if what you do to survive
    Kills the things you love
    Fear’s a powerful thing, baby
    It’ll turn your heart black you can trust
    It’ll take your God filled soul
    Fill it with devils and dust
    It’ll take your God filled soul
    Fill it with devils and dust

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