In a show split down the middle between Counter Terrorist Unit operative Jack Bauer’s longest day, and the Politics that assist his efforts, you wouldn’t expect the latter to be more thrilling than the former. While re-watching Season 1 and 2 of 24 for what could be the 4th/5th time it’s been the rise and unfortunate fall of David Palmer’s presidency that has been the most intense part of the show.
David Palmer was 24’s Black President a full 8 years before Obama made history in the ‘real’ world, along with the first female president 6 series later. Season 2 marked the first appearance of the 25th Amendment, a 24 staple where nearly every President across the show’s 8 seasons are taken out of office for increasingly more dramatic reasons. It’s a brilliant moment once Palmer is asked to step down by the Vice President, and the storylines get more and more ridiculous from thereon.
His wife, the incredible Cheri Palmer being involved in a nuclear terrorist attack to get revenge on her husband, The president himself staging a similar action in a later season, a situation so terrifying that if it did happen in the ‘real’ world it would change politics forever. It’s things like this that make me glad that the Politicians residing in 24’s Whitehouse are not those in charge of actual lives.
This is the true magic of 24 as a TV show, offering a insight into US politics and Mercenary forces in a realistic way, but pushing ever so slightly past the boundaries of reality in order to keep the tension high. Let’s be glad that no real version of Charles Logan exists, even if David Palmer was the best President the Whitehouse has ever seen.