Friday, August 17, 2007

Not even the evil are that evil

One of my guilty pleasures is the gonzo TV action show 24, and we've started seeing what we missed by joining the soap opera with the fifth season. I call it a soap opera because only in such vessels does someone stop in the middle of a search for a missing nuclear bomb to have a heart-to-heart about how the fire has gone out of the relationship.

So we started Season 2 the other day, and right away there came a jump-the-shark moment. Jack "he's crazy but he gets results" Bauer needs to find a way to quickly re-establish his credibility with a guy suspected of working with terrorists, so he has the FBI deliver a key witness against the guy. This is the witness who will put the guy away for good. Bauer has a conversation with the witness of about 45 seconds - long enough to establish that he's a total slimeball who will one day be back on the street because he's getting immunity in exchange for his testimony.

Then without warning his boss who is watching the interrogation, Bauer shoots the witness to death and cuts off his head. His rationale is this is the only way he can quickly inject himself back in the bad guy's gang and get the needed information in time to save Los Angeles from its latest nuclear threat. When the boss objects, Bauer replies, "That's the problem with you, George, you never want to get your hands dirty." Bauer is allowed to leave the building with the severed head, and the story moves on.

Give me a break. I count myself among the biggest skeptics about the cleanliness of our government, but even I can't buy that a federal agent could get away with that. A few hours later Bauer finds himself leading an operation that includes a small army of FBI agents, who do what they're told. In real life he's immediately wrestled to the ground by his shocked colleagues after shooting the witness, and he spends the next 24 hours in protective custody so the federal prosecutors don't come in and personally strangle him for killing their star witness. Any contact with the FBI is limited to being slugged and kicked by agents who worked their butts off to make a case with that witness.

You may wonder what the photo has to do with this. Well, I always had a crush on the girl with the hat. All week I've been grabbing photos from my archive and writing whatever came to my mind while looking at 'em. I'm not going to dwell on what in that picture made me think about 24.

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