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24: Season 7 - Review

24, Season 7

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

JACK Bauer’s seventh day was a genuine return to form after the massive disappointment of day 6.

Rejuvenated by the extended break afforded by the Hollywood writers’ strike and Kiefer Sutherland’s prison sentence, the show’s creators came back with a new setting, a new set of characters and another nerve-shredding day.

As usual, the stakes were impossibly high for all concerned but the twists came thick and fast along with the betrayals and surprise guests from the past.

The story once again involved a new threat to US security but tapped into the real life problem posed by privately funded armies, as well as ruthless African dictators.

But while certainly exaggerated and, at times, highly implausible (witness the White House siege episode), 24 consistently managed to grip like no other show. Almost every episode’s cliffhanger had you panting breathlessly for more and counting down the days to the next week’s revelations!

Sutherland, as ever, channelled Jack Bauer’s torment and dedication as impressively as ever – faced with Congressional hearings aimed at making him a scapegoat at the beginning, and his own impending mortality come the day’s end.

But the show’s writers continued to put him through the emotional wringer, with ghosts from the past and family reunions among the many issues he had to face – all with the near-perfect mix of intensity, ruthlessness and vulnerability we’ve come to expect.

Of the returning characters [and past favourites], Carlos Bernard’s resurrected Tony Almeida benefited from more screen-time and a conflicted loyalty and morality, while Mary Lynn Rajskub’s Chloe O’Brian and James Morrison’s Bill Buchanan all had key moments that rewarded long-term loyalty.

The newcomers, meanwhile, generally impressed with Jon Voight standing out as the main nemesis and misguided ‘patriot’, gleefully scenery chewing whenever occasion allowed.

But Annie Wersching’s FBI agent Walker also excelled in the challenging role of Jack’s naive but increasingly tested partner/accomplice and Cherry Jones brought some much needed gravitas to the role of the US President after the releative failures of its previous two incumbents.

Worthy mentions also go to the likes of Colm Feore as the President’s husband and Bob Gunton as her loyal chief of staff.

And there were also notable returns from Glenn Morshower’s Ex-Secret Service Agent Aaron Pierce and Elisha Cuthbert’s Kim.

The mix of action, political intrigue and emotional drama was as seamless as the show’s best seasons, while the explosive set pieces matched anything you’ll see on the big screen.

If the final hour perhaps left a few too many questions unanswered, then it equally laid some compelling markers for Day 8 in New York. On this form, 24 remains unmissable – Day 7 was utterly magnificent.

Certificate: 15
Episodes: 24
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: October 19, 2009